I know that I’ve written often in the past on the blog about how hard it is to be kind and gentle to my body while doing self-care. I figured out a while ago why specifically that was an issue for me, but I needed a lot of time to process about it alone, so I haven’t written about it here until now.
I had noticed some time ago that I have difficulty handling my body gently and kindly. I tend to have a very utilitarian approach to it. I realized that what I was communicating and feeling was that I had little compassion or love to myself. I often try to do things very quickly and feel very frustrated at my body and at how much pain it is in and at how tight my whole body is.
I decided to try to be very gentle in the shower. I love very warm showers and water is my special element, so I thought this might be a good area of self-care for me to work at this gentleness issue.
I did it once and got a flashback immediately. This was very disturbing. I did it again and got another flashback. I’m sure that you can understand how upsetting this was for me. I stopped doing it and thought about this over some period of time.
What I figured out was that my mother, at times, would touch me gently, and that was a trigger and when I did it to myself I was triggering flashbacks of her abusing me. I decided to slowly start treating myself and my body more gently when in the shower and see how that went. What I have discovered is that, a little less brisk and a little less disconnected from what I am doing and how it is feeling and how I am treating my body and what that is communicating to my body and my system is not triggering me. That is great news. I am treating myself better and avoiding a trigger and avoiding the accompanying flashbacks.
I wanted to share about this issue here because I want everyone to realize that we all have these issues where we are rushed and brisk with our bodies and where we blame our bodies or ourselves rather than understanding that even those of us with the best of childhoods can be programmed into being dismissive, insulting, devaluing, and disconnected from their bodies and that bringing that programming to conscious awareness is important and healing. What we do with that awareness can be life-changing. Even the little things. Even the little moments. Good and healing thoughts to you all.
Every survivor that I have ever interacted with about denial share they have gone through it for a time period after starting to have flashbacks of abuse. Some survivors go through it for years.
Their denial kicks in and they are tormented. They question their memories. They question themselves and accuse themselves of being a liar, of potentially ruining an innocent person’s life. They are concerned about God and eternity and burning in hell. I’ve heard this from a lot of survivors. I have read it on every message board I have ever been a part of.
It reminds me a lot of the old messages my mother, the sexual abuser, implanted into my little mind. It all sounds evil and vicious to do to a little child, while sexually violating them, to tell them they are worthless, that they are crazy, that they are lying., that we are going to burn in hell for all eternity.
These monsters, they take our innocence. They rape us and they revel in it. And then they want to fuck with our minds, our souls, our eternity.
We all deserved much better parents than that.
For half of my life I was abused. For the second half of my life I have been dealing with health issues caused by the abuse.
It makes it very hard to avoid the facts of being a child sexual abuse survivor when my body is showing the signs and damage to me every day. But I managed to until I started having flashbacks of child sexual abuse.
I don’t have denial, after flashbacks. I never have. I don’t know why. I think that I have enough denial inside myself to keep many of my memories of abuse repressed. But I don’t doubt memories as they emerge.
I may not understand what I am remembering, it might not make a lot of sense, and it may be completely disjointed to time and place and they may jump around covering years in a few days, but I understand my emotions as they come out. I know they are terror, and pain, and fear and sorrow. I know they are standing on the edge of oblivion and hoping to jump. I know what my emotions are and I do not disbelieve them.
Slowly, over time, the puzzle pieces started fitting together and I got a better view of the life that I lived. Each time I re-write my personal history, the story of my life. The one that non-abusers have every day of their lives, their whole life story.
I was robbed of a huge chunk of my life, due to abuse and the repression of a part of my life and my life experiences. My flashbacks are giving myself back to me.
They say a person is the sum total of all our experiences. I am the sum total of the ones that I remember, the ones that I don’t though they still influence me, and the healing that I have done and have not done and everything else that is within me.
I see that little girl I was and I love her fiercely. I see the innocence, beauty, and purity in her. Something I couldn’t see for most of my life. I see the pure me that was. I see in her all the good that I cannot see in myself. Both her and I deserve that love. We are all innocent.