Tag Archive: abuse


Ferocity In Me

~I am grateful for my ferocity.

I feel as though I am finding a glimmer of my former self (;} remove all ideas about dissociation from that statement). I am a feisty, persistent, tough cookie. I am doing great! I hit a low point a couple of times a week, but I’ve never felt this good. Nor have that many other acquaintances, friends, and people closest to my heart noticed quite like this before. I’m living my life. It’s actually a little odd and uncomfortable. But, hey, I’ll take it. This is the first time I’ve ever been remotely interested in my studies. I can take care of my adult responsibilities. I can make it through the day without falling apart. I would do a cartwheel and little dance, but I must admit that I fear nothing gold can stay…

I also believe I have to step up in a major way if I want any repercussions for the assailant who assaulted me during the first week of school. I certainly live with repercussions each and every day. If you make such an egregious error in boundaries, violating a person’s rights, etc.–you should experience consequences. I will not stop until that happens. I don’t care what other people think of me, or what occurs as a result. It can “always get worse”, but I’m presently the pariah at my med school to some, the situation has interfered with my academics, personal life, relationships, healing process.. I could go on and on. Some people have awful things to say to me (go on brush ya shoulders off), about me, behind my back, some people don’t know what to make of it, and one person told me it happened to her in college and she didn’t have the courage to report it then and is amazed that I’m still standing and grateful to know me. I’m good with all of that. And the fact that one woman told me she feels empowered by me standing up for myself is extremely moving. Everyone seems to have an opinion, everyone supposedly knows—and I don’t care. No matter how uncomfortable it is for me and my squeaky lil mouse self I will continue to stand up and keep elucidating it is NOT OK and I won’t let anyone sweep this under the carpet.

Continuing on what I am thankful for…

~I am grateful for my incredible friends.

~I am grateful that my roommates and I were able to come to a relative agreement and expect that our communication will make living together even better.

~I am grateful for all the therapy that I have underwent, and all the work I did on my own, because my roommate who is getting her Ph.D. in social work told me the other night that she felt like our conversation included an MFT (marriage and family therapist–me lol). She is very logical and not particularly warm and fuzzy–but she told me I was effective, well-spoken, practical, solution-focused, & amusing (considering her profession and mine) and that I’m going to make an amazing doctor.

~I am grateful for the hours/days/weeks where I feel well.

~I am grateful that the times that I feel crappy are continually and slowly decreasing.

~I am grateful for the other survivors I know both “in real life” and those whom I have connected with on here and other venues.

~I am grateful for sleep.

~I am grateful that even though I’ve been dealing with some physical health crap that I’m still ambulatory and keep it moving.

~I am grateful for my own personal healthcare needs being mostly met.

~I am grateful for the current time, which is the longest I have gone sans an ip stay in two and a half years.

~I am grateful that tomorrow is a trauma anniversary and I’m feeling relatively strong.

~I am grateful that I FEEL OK.

Hope you all are well and are on your path to healing, no matter how bumpy, winding, and/or smooth that road may be. ❤

Love and peace,

Joy

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As I lay in my bed with my mind wrestling with feelings about my Dad and stepmom, I came to a startling (to me), frightening, and wonderful realization: I’m the best parent I’m ever going to get.

I had an abusive childhood. This is not exactly a revelation. But, I’ve spent the last two years really trying to alter the negative messages and incorrect beliefs I was raised on. My perception of self (selves ;}) is much healthier and continues to go in that direction. I’ve really worked on self-care, especially since filling out a self-care survey a little over a year and a half ago and coming to realize that I took the least care of myself outside of showering and dressing in a room of trauma survivors. I try to be at least a decent to good leader of my internal system and take good care of all of us. I try to be a good “parts mom” (when I’m not denying that I have DID, I stopped denying the abuse this past fall, so — this is progress).

I am the healthiest parent I’m ever going to have nurture, discipline, and love me. So I better amp up my maternal skills and parent myself like no one else ever has (literally & figuratively). My mom definitely is a big part of my life, and despite past abuse, I do know she loves me very much. I don’t condone her behavior, but I forgive her. She’s at least TRYING. My father and my stepmother only care to peep into my life when it involves degrading me in some capacity. I can mindfully let it go now, but I still find it very hard to let go of the pain and other associated feelings about the fact that they are never going to be the healthy parents I want and deserve. I love them, at times I pity them, and most of the time, I don’t like them. Yet, I still live with this itty bitty glimmer of hope that they’re going to ::poof:: be somewhat healthy, non-toxic, loving influences in my life. Radical acceptance sucks and yet it is also one of the most healing things for me to employ skill-wise. I have to radically accept that in their entire 5 decades of life, they’ve developed into the people they are. And, I don’t like them. They are not people with whom I share values, beliefs, interests, or much of anything. I know it’s hackneyed, but many say “little apples don’t fall far from trees”. Well, this little apple seems to have rolled up and down a few hills and landed in a markedly different place to grow. I do share some characteristics with them. Some or most of which are actually positive! But, for the most part, I’m a totally different type of apple.

I am never going to win their approval. I do all these things and am all these things that other people’s parents and families (even my extended family) think make me a phenomenal person. I am much more accepted by just about anyone else’s family than I am by my own. My friends are wonderful, unique, so-special-to-me, and accept me for who I am (whoever that is at the moment). They give me a swift kick in the tush when I need it. They are the siblings I wish I had. I love my brother, but no matter what I do, we are not close. I can’t change that either. My point is that it is very evident that I am a loveable human being by the people who know me the best, and even by people who barely know me. It is sometimes really shocking to me that the people who truly know me love me so much. 😉

Evidence is something I really like. I’m going to be a physician. I’m a very scientific and mathematically oriented woman. It’s just in my nature to appreciate things more so if they are tangible and evidence-based. So, based on evidence, I am likeable and a pretty good person. I deserve love. In comparison to how I felt about myself two years ago when I began therapy, or even a year or six months ago, I have an enormous amount of self-esteem. I’m going to try and figure out where it came from and will gladly share that when I figure it out.

I have enough self-esteem, enough skills, enough innate maternal instinct to self-parent myself in a loving and healthy way. I better get to stepping because I really am the best I’m going to get.

Love yourself as much as you can today,

Joy

I’ve been pondering this all morning. I feel better. I don’t feel any “older” per say, but I do feel more composed and capable of dealing with things. I’m the one all the “others” consider a morose, sullen teenager who is a “hot mess”. But, I don’t have flashbacks all the time anymore when I’m out (but I don’t get to come out often because no one trusts me to hold it together[-ish]). Instead of feeling totally hysterical and pained, I do feel a little angry. I’ve also been able to hold up my part of the no more self-harm bargain. I’m also more assertive & kinda demanded that I get to come out since it was a safe environment and our best guy friend was over & he’s safe. And he knows some of us. Most people don’t know me. Our parents know me, unfortunately, though. But, I’m starting to feel less shattered into a million pieces about them and more angry that they were so cruel. I was so good. This reminds me of me (and is something I played and sang over and over again when I lived with them):

“Perfect” ~Alanis Morrisette

I did everything I could do to be “perfect” for everyone. And it was never enough. But right now, it doesn’t feel like it’s gonna kill me. It feels unjust. I know I took the brunt of the crap that happened at home (and sometimes outside) while Joy was a teenager. And she remembers what happened to me (to us)… it’s not like there’s this huge dissociative brick wall between what happened and what she knows. At least the stuff that happened in her pre-teen and teen years. So I guess, 15, kept us alive & was a tough little bitch (who kept her mouth shut though bc as many of us know, the more you fight back, the worse it gets). And, I took all the feelings? I took all the hurt? I wrote all the sordid poetry, I did all the art. I hid when Dad’s car came around the corner.

I would like to share my art with you guys one day. I never shared it with anyone. And, a lot of it was destroyed (thank you parents for destroying my belongings), but a lot of it remains. It’s in a big tote box with all of Joy’s scrapbooking stuff. And 8’s art is in there too. Her Alice in Wonderland vase (it has a hand-carved by her white rabbit stamp on it) is on our coffee table. Anyway, I just wonder if I have genuinely gotten better, or if this is all a facade (all of my healing, my skills acquisition, and Joy likes to think we don’t exist sometimes too–so maybe we’re the facade)?

I hope you have a great day. I have to get ready to peace out and have a productive day. 😉

~16 (I have a name, I just don’t feel like sharing it)

*May trigger: Inpatient discussion, as well as mention of suicidality.*

I view inpatient psychiatric hospitalizations as mental health vacations (on the best of days) and holding cells for safety (when I’m not in such a pleasant mood). For some people, going “inpatient” is a whole different experience and is really therapeutic. But, with me, they never really know what to do with a suicidal trauma patient, so on gen. psych., they tend not to bother. I actually, at this point, prefer it that way.

“Don’t want your hand this time. I’ll save myself.” ~Evanescence

I’m not viewing an inpatient hospitalization as a poor experience for me. I go when I need to maintain safety and can’t do it with my skills and outside supports. I’d rather do that than be dead (as much pain as I’m in at that time & as much as I see that as the ONLY option, logically, somewhere–I know it’s not). By doing so, I have committed to safety, removed myself from my triggering environment, and have given myself a few days to figure out why I was downward spiraling. I do know why now, and it has mostly to do with fear of failure (aka going back to school, maintaining a real life, etc.) and interpersonal hurts. I had been downward spiraling for about 8 weeks and in a pit for about 3 weeks. At some point in time, I was going to have to do what was in my best interest, and continue with self-care. Now the fears to me felt like absolute terror, suffocation, and the hurts felt like the size of Texas because G-d forbid I have a feeling that isn’t at least as big as the county (this after reality checks, radical acceptance, mindfulness, and everything else up the wazoo). My flashbacks had increased, and they hurt like hell. I wasn’t able to contain them as well as usual, my skills were not working as well as they had been. I know why now, but at the time I couldn’t figure out why I was in some aspects doing very well, and in others falling apart (several times a day). My symptoms were huge, my flashbacks were huge, my urges were huge, and my progress was huge. It was oxymoronic to me.

Regardless, I am glad to have gotten a better grip on things. Self-care means more to me than do the old patterns of self-harm that are dying a slow painful death.

I’d like to thank the people closest to me for supporting me through another bump in the road. I’d especially like to thank my Mom, for stepping up to the plate now that I’m an adult (hey–better late than never!!!) and need her even more than when I was a kid now that I’m healing. And I’d like to say an exceptionally huge thank you to my best friend, Hope, for driving a 100 miles just to spend a little bit of time with me, and being my unbiological sister.

I hope you are all doing well and look forward to catching up on what I’ve missed while I was inpatient (and um, the week after I got out lol).

Peace and serenity to you,

Joy (and another who really wanted to put her 2 10 cents in lol)

The Black Sheep, The Sick Child

In the olden days (for me), before I got incredibly symptomatic, I was a feisty little thing. I still am, but I feel like I have diverted my own fire to learned skills, coping, self-care, etc. I hated being told that I couldn’t do something. And, as many of us have likely experienced, we were told we couldn’t, or would never make it, in whatever capacity, quite often. I plowed through hs and college because I was told I’d never make it and would flip burgers for the rest of my life. I never worked in fast food, but good G-d did my father want me to fail miserably at everything. That’s what happens with sick parents, they want to kill the light within their children, starting from an early age–so hopefully by the time it’s time for their child to “fly on their own”, their wings are too broken and they remain “the sick child”.  It diverts ever-so-much attention from the sick, dysfunctional family. I choose not to be “the sick one”. I’ve been working for several years in therapy without my abusers, two years particularly on my trauma disorder and any associated issues. My entire life isn’t going to be like this. This has just been the ugly part. The undoing of my entire psychological and some of my personality sweater only to be re-knit in a healthier way without the same disgusting messages about who I am woven in between. I’m not by any means done “re-knitting”. I’ve got a long way to go. But, I’ve come a long way. And when I’m symptomatic, I know why and at least a good portion of the time, how to cope (sometimes alone, sometimes reaching out to my awesome supports). Bad things happened, but I am not to blame for them, and patient is not all that I am. I’m terrified, but I’m desperately trying to carve a life out for myself that includes all the good things I’m doing to get better, but also includes reclaiming my life, and altering the old one I was living. I just want to live, as frightening as that may be to me.

“I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela

Wishing I was fearless, but at least I have courage (and a red cape… but that’s a whole ‘nother story). Have a great day if you so choose! =)

Love,

Joy… and some others 😉

All I want is for some semblance of normalcy, to be well enough to get through the day, not have my symptoms follow me incessantly, and to return to and do well in school. I worked so hard with the facade going on for decades and now I feel very stuck. It’s like I made it out, but I want to be more than what I made it out from. I want to live the life I crafted for myself, the one I have the intellect and many other qualities for and yet it seems so evasive. And to be quite honest, it pisses me the hell off. That’s it! It makes me very angry. I feel a lot of other things, but the root is anger. Especially today I just wanna be like, screw you (past, symptoms, old patterns of behavior, I could go all day), I want to LIVE my life!

**This is a portion of a comment I left on Hope’s blog. It so clearly defined how I feel, I really wanted to share it here. I have more to say, but I want to gather my thoughts, and cope with my anger in a healthy way before I share any more.**

Wishing you an awesome day,

Joy

I’m sorry I lied

Hi. I just wanted to tell you that this is all a lie. The others and Joy might get mad or sad because I said that, but I don’t care. Nothing happened with grandpa. He just gave us gum. The others still hate that gum, but I just want it back. It was so yummy. And he would let us play with the teeth models downstairs and tell us how smart we were and how we were his favorite.

Daddy was kinda mean. But, that’s because we were so bad. We took too long with everything. Homework, piano practice, clarinet, “perfect practice makes perfect”. If we didn’t get 100 like in Geometry when Joy was 8, she got a 92, he said “where are the other fucking 8 points”? But, that’s because we weren’t perfect. And we didn’t do our chores fast enough or perfect enough. So anything that happened was our fault. We knew the rules, and even if we worked really hard at them, we didn’t “stick to them” like Daddy said. So what happened with Daddy wasn’t all a lie, and we kept our mouth shut like we were supposed to and then school people kept asking questions. So if we told one little thing, they would call home and things would get worse. I think that’s all I have to say. Sorry for lying.

From, 7

**Although I’m pretty sure this is a pretty non-triggering post, it does mention trauma, parts, flashbacks and eating issues. So if you are particularly sensitive at this time, please do not read this until you are safe and supported enough to. Ty.**

Upon returning from my Mom’s a few weeks ago (no NEW triggers there, same old, dealt w them well, etc.)… I seem to have fallen off my recovery path a bit, or maybe found a new direction. I’m not sure. All I know is that since I’ve come home, I’ve gone to my psychiatric rehabilitation program increasingly as the two weeks have gone by, gone to every DBT session, and stayed s/h free. It has not been easy. Outside of PTSD stuff, there’s been a LOT going on for me in my personal life, be they interpersonal problems, financial difficulties, pending homelessness, and eating issues.

I have made a lot of mistakes the past few weeks, but nothing too detrimental. I may have said the wrong thing, even though I meant it to be so gentle, yet not so subtle that someone didn’t get the boundaries I asserted, I may have shared too much or too little at times… but, I am doing my best. I have also embarked on a little bit of late teenager silliness… and then the following does not include any mistakes I’ve made: but I’ve let my parts play. It’s been phenomenal for all of us, including me, as the host. However, what I’ve come to know for myself is, as I’ve learned how to better communicate w my internal system, and become more stable… now the traumatized parts are coming out more. And if I’m not going to care for them, they’ll be in the same boat they were when they fragmented off. So, I choose to be a good parts mom & nurture, love them, and keep them safe. I don’t have a DID nor a trauma therapist. I am essentially winging it, and doing what I know works in other situations, other safe skills, and I am riding the wave and seeing it through to the end of the pain. I am also consulting w two trauma tx’ists soon bc this is becoming much too much for me to manage on my own. I know when to reach out for help. And I’m pleased that my clinician at my program, though she is a very emotionally boundaried person, and truly barely knows me–knows that I REACH out (even from the pits in the past) when I need more help than what I can currently do by myself and with my current supports.

I also called Renfrew yesterday bc the not-eating thing was not something I was managing well. I have no idea why this is going on. I am a little chubby, but I am a curvy, cute lil thing according to most–so I am a teensy weensy bit insecure. And some of my more protective parts have eating issues (namely 15, she was ballsy and would eat in the middle of the night, not caring if she got caught bc we needed nourishment), but nothing like this. And it’s not just lack of appetite. I refuse to eat. I will eat socially. And not in a disordered manner w lots of rules, but I can only will myself to eat socially. I am a very strong-willed individual. I figured going to the supermarket and getting Carnation Instant Breakfasts, baby food in flavors I’d consider, and other similar things I could will myself to consume those. But, I couldn’t. All week. So I called Renfrew. But, I have decided, I don’t want to go back to the hospital. I WILL manage this on my own. And if it does become so incredibly unmanageable, I will go. But–I am willing to work my tush off so I don’t have to go back inpatient for any reason right now. I am safe, I am not suicidal, I am dealing w my symptoms as best as I can. And that’s THAT.

So that’s where I’ve been hiding these last two weeks. I even let my fb games peter off. I have been working on me. And experiencing the absolute joy and serenity, when I’ve gotten through the pain. It’s so oxymoronic. It has been such an ugly and yet beautiful, self-actualization, phenomenal time for me. And if you have any suggestions on the nurturing and keeping the traumatized, little (and sometimes a little older) ones safe and protected, please by ALL means share. I would be forever indebted to you bc I have no idea what I’m doing. I hope you are all doing well. ❤

Wishing you peace, safety, and serenity,

Joy

Today is Self Injury Awareness Day. Therefore, I’m using today as an impetus to share with you my own experience with self-injury (aka self-harm=s/h). Please do not read this if it will trigger you. Also, I want to make it explicitly clear that I do not condone self-harm as a coping skill, however do not judge myself or others for resorting to it when we feel as though nothing else will assuage our pain (or whatever other things trigger an urge to self-harm).

My first incident of s/h was when I was 7. I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing. All I recall is that I explained (and lied) to my step-mother and told her I was trying to shave just like she did. Needless to say, when it did come time to shave in my early adolescence I was not permitted to do so. I have no idea why. Especially since I was apparently very convincing when I told her it wasn’t on purpose.

I then began sneaking hard liquor (and refilling what I had consumed in the most brilliant way an elementary-aged child could) from the liquor cabinet until my parents gave up drinking quite as much. Then, since their liquor required less space, they relocated it to a cabinet that was well out of my reach (then and almost now).

As I look back on these experiences I can recognize that they were ways for me to drown out something, what? At the time I had NO idea.

I achieved my first degree black belt when I was 16. I used these skills to s/h in a way that I was pretty sure no one would know about and no one would question. I continued this from middle school through college. I was in an incredible amount of emotional pain; that I couldn’t get rid of. All I knew is that my parents didn’t love me and it made me feel like my heart was slowly dying. Nothing I did won their approval. No amount of good deeds at home, the meticulous attention to my chores (which included EVERYTHING while my brother, of course, had none), my excellent grades, my involvement in the community in various ways… nothing. So my Catholic school girl self abused herself in the only way I knew how without getting caught. I had such enormous pain, and severely repressed anger, hostility, shame; I could go all day with what I had stuffed in my “little box”. I was a breakdown waiting to happen. I believed I had to be perfect in every aspect of my life, stuff all the pain away, and put on my (apparently slightly scary) fake-smile.

The year before I started medical school I had an extremely abusive relationship with my first girlfriend. I had previously been treated like gold by my boyfriend of 5 years. We had some major PTSD-related issues in our relationship now that I can look at it in hindsight, but he was the least abusive partner I’ve dated.

I slowly descended into madness during and after this relationship. I ended it, I simply couldn’t take the tumultuousness of our relationship anymore–I knew I was about to snap. And I did. But, I apparently was still able to put on a fascade that I was “just fine”. I did well in medical school while the symptoms of complex-PTSD continued to ravage my life. I was finally diagnosed with C-PTSD in medical school after a litany of misdiagnoses. I continued in the s/h behaviors I had long used, and introduced more. These new ones I was terrified by, these new ones had to be so minor that no one could see them or “everyone would know”. Que dira de la gente… what will people say? That was my only concern and the only reason why I kept my s/h superficial.

I took three weeks after the summer of my first year to seek out trauma-specific treatment. Every summer since I was a sophomore in college I had spent doing research to bolster my resume. I took a little bit of time from this for my treatment. I figured three weeks was plenty of time to figure out what the hell was really wrong and how to quickly fix it. I was adept at most everything else I did, therefore I approached intensive trauma tx with the same tenacity.

Apparently, my PTSD didn’t give a crap about my timeframe. Beginning trauma tx was like ripping off a bandaid on my fullbodied wound. My flashbacks got worse, my s/h urges became totally unmanageable. I tried using some of the skills I had learned and they were ineffective. I resorted to the only thing I knew would help alleviate some of my pain.

I used to (and still do) restrict access to certain rooms in my apartment in order to avoid s/h and to see if I could tolerate the pain until it ended. Sometimes, some days I was successful. Others I was not. Going to the ER with a self-inflicted wound got me nowhere. I did a good enough job tending to my wound that it was not necessary for the ER to intervene medically. And since I was no longer suicidal, my psychiatrist who happened to be on call that night, told me to “step up the individual tx and step up the DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy)”; and I was sent home. That was the first time I had actually scared myself by what I had done to my body.

After almost two years of therapy programs, I have come to realize that I no longer need to physically abuse myself. However, that did not stop my s/h. I would do it in the same place so that no one would question it should they see. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t rock my skills which I knew and practiced like it was my job. As I explained to my mother yesterday, the pain of my flashbacks or other PTSD-related pain is about a million times worse than any physical pain I’ve ever had. The other day she saw me, and I was barely able to walk because of undiagnosed rheumatological problems (I have been to the doctor several times to try to pin down why one day I can run a mile and others I have to army crawl to the bathroom).

I have used s/h when I saw no other options to reduce my pain/suicidality, or when after going through the most effective coping skills (for me), several times, I was still in intolerable pain. I am in no way glorifying my s/h behaviors, but as I said before, nor do I judge them. It was all I had at times when I was emotionally grasping at straws and knew that I didn’t want to permanently terminate my existence (even if it hurt so bad that I obsessed about it). Everyone who s/h’s does it for their own personal reason. This was mine.

I have not purposely taken any action against my body in 50 days as of today. It has not been easy or pretty as I have said several times elsewhere today. Am I proud? Yes. Has it been hell not resorting to self-abusive behaviors? Absolutely. I will gladly share some of my favorite coping skills in the next few days. But for today, I wanted to share a part of my journey to recovering from child abuse. And I also want a keychain, coin, or gold star to recognize my efforts to end my addiction to s/h. 😉 I cannot for certain say I will be able to continue to abstain from s/h as I continue in my recovery. But, I never thought I’d be able to abstain for a significant amount of time any time in the near future, and the 50 day mark is a pretty damned promising start.

Wishing you peace and safety this evening,

Joy

Hello my loves

I just got out of inpatient gen. psych a few days ago. I couldn’t stand the lack of safety post flashbacks anymore. I waited 8 weeks. I don’t know how I maintained safety those weeks, sometimes. I made it through Christmas and then decided my health and safety was worth way more than New Year’s Eve. I’ve also had a rough couple of days following my ip stay. I did really well the first day, and then descended. I start the acute partial hospitalization program tomorrow. I have a lot to share with you (updated safety triangles, new plans for tx and life, in general) right now, but I wanted you to know I’m thinking of you, and will have to share later. Yesterday was also a trauma anniversary for me. And I made it through safely and feel very empowered. I will touch on that when I get a chance (I can’t really go there right now). Distraction and spending time with friends are my safety tools this evening. Gotta jet! But as always, wishing you safety and peace, Joy