Emotional/Verbal Abuse is Abuse

I have expressed a hatred of teasing and emotional/verbal abuse to my parents and my siblings all of my life. My parents and some of my older siblings gave us children very abusive nicknames. Some were given to my older siblings when they were teenagers. Mine was given to me when I was three. My siblings around my age were given their nicknames when they were older children. Just based on the age when abusive nicknames were given,  you can see they started after mine in age and in time. I was named two nicknames filthy and abusive and my siblings had very less damaging and abusive nicknames and they were done when they were much older than I was

My mother, who I used to confront often on this issue, would gaslight me and say, well all your siblings have nicknames they don’t like either, like well they are all being treated like shit and I am normalizing shit, so you can’t complain and have no right to complain and have no rights  that you can appeal to, because this is normal, they are all treated like you are treated, it is not mistreatment, it is normal, it is okay, no one is going to stop. And if you want to stop them, if you want this to end, then what you have to do is not be hurt or complain or say anything. They are getting a reaction and that is why you are to blame for the perpetuation of their treatment of you. My mother was a master at blaming victims for being abused, even while she abused them.

When the only person that I could go to for relief from emotional and verbal abuse against me by my siblings was my mother, who was my sexual abuser and my emotional/verbal abuser and who encouraged and perpetuated sibling emotional and verbal abuse against me , that made life very hard for me. Still, I was very determined that they should stop and that I deserved better treatment by my siblings, that I persisted. I don’t know where I got this strong belief in myself and that I deserved good treatment, but I had it, all my childhood. I think that is very strong of me and I am very proud of myself.

I knew that I deserved better from them all, even though none of them agreed with me. I knew that none of them should be called nasty and vicious and filthy nicknames. Some of the nicknames were not very bad, compared to mine, though they were all emotional and verbal abuse.

I didn’t just ask my mother to intervene and stop abuse. I asked other siblings as well. I don’t recall any of them trying to stop.

I don’t remember ever asking my father to stop. I don’t believe that I thought that he would, since he was the one who gave me the nicknames and the one who spread it all around the family and who allowed it to continue without ever once commenting about it or ever once trying to stop it.

When I was ten years old my father retired and was at home all the time, all day long and all night long. That was when the two nicknames about me stopped. I know that he did nothing to stop it. I just think that having him around, as a witness, is what stopped others from abusing me as much as they were. I suppose it was a shock to him to see how bad it was, how much of a scapegoat that I was, and how much I was being verbally abused.

I know that he enjoyed mistreating others, especially with words, especially with his children, but the bad nicknames stopped. I don’t believe that he ever lifted a hand to stop it. In fact, he started verbally abusing my brother more directly, who is 18 months older than I, during that time period.

It’s hard when this is the closest man in your life; someone who cruelly enjoys mistreating you with words and mistreating your emotions. It’s horrible that this was the closest example of an adult man that I had. It’s sad and pathetic that this is the best that he could be for his own children. I didn’t have a male teacher in my life until sixth grade, and that was a physical education teacher who was verbally and emotionally abusive to students. So not a good man or a good human being either.

I never felt that my father was on my side. I never believed that he would protect me. never felt that he loved me, though there was a time in my childhood when he would say that, though that had been some time before that.

If only there had been one person in my family who loved me and was good to me through my childhood. That would have changed my life so much. But none of them were willing to stand up for me and to suffer the consequences. With my mother, there was always consequences. I know that I deserved their love and loyalty.

New Therapist

I started therapy again, two weeks ago. It took a while to get an appointment and I had to keep cancelling it because of the chaos of the abusive tenant below me. Being unable to think or form sentences makes it difficult to do the intake session and the treatment plan session.

Finally the day came when I did indeed go to my first and second appointments. I hadn’t gotten enough sleep, not for weeks and weeks, actually not for months and months, but I was feeling that I was going to be able to get through the appointments, and I did.

I will be seeing her every two weeks. Initially my reaction was that I wanted to go once a week, but since my health issues are interfering with things in my life quite a bit right now, and there are other groups and activities that I am interested in as well.  Since the clinic I am going to is through the county, and they are accepting the amount of money they will get from Medicare and not being co-pay billing me, I think I am probably getting a great deal. I am really beyond happy about not having to pay anything out-of-pocket.

There is a therapy support group for women that I can go to as well, which should be good if I can manage to do that. As well there is another non-profit that has another women’s support group that meets twice a month and has other activities that I am interested in. I was a member there several years ago, but it expired. First I have to get to another intake appointment there, which is on a walk-in basis twice a week, so I am hoping to get that done within the next couple of weeks as well.

I like her. And we talked about my major issues and my goals and what I want in therapy and what my goals and treatment plan will be. When we started talking about treatment goals and filling in the treatment plan, she asked me to speak about that. I told her first I wanted to say something, I said I think it is more important for me to say what does not work for me and what really derails me from staying focused and how I need help in staying on task during therapy, and what does and does not work from a therapist and the kinds of feedback I am looking for.

I said because I easily get derailed and can go on and on about tangents it is important not to be asked how I am doing and how my week was. I have done a lot of therapy and I am trying to not waste my time in therapy with issues that are on-going, but that are issues that I am trying to address from the start of the issues, rather than the most recent reincarnation of the issues.

I said that I try to bring a short list of things that have happened and/or issues that I want to start addressing in session, that I really want to mention during session. I told her that other therapists have not been amenable to letting me work from a list, rather than encouraging me to ramble a lot. I told her that I really need a therapist to help me stay on task and to stop me from being distracted. I told her that I realize that is a technique that therapists use, to let a client do stream of consciousness conversing, but for me, and after so much therapy, I don’t need to talk about my week or problems or my family to get to what I need to work on and am willing and need to work on the hard stuff, especially the core issues, from the time period they were created in.

We talked a lot about that, she seemed responsive and that was great.

I talked to her about being a survivor of mother-daughter sexual abuse. And she was incredibly good at handling that, though I realize that a therapist should be okay with dealing and addressing mother-daughter sexual abuse, but that has not been my experience. I talked about the stigma of that being reinforced by therapists not being willing to let me discuss that and that instead what I really need is to be able to release the stigma of being sexually abused by a mother.

I told her that other therapists have steered me away from being able to discuss that and that hurts me and does not help me to heal. I told her that I have in fact brought up the topic of mdsa during sessions and had therapists change the subject abruptly and rudely. I told her that I do not want to see a therapist who cannot cope with that, who cannot deal with that, who cannot hear me speak about it and who cannot support me in healing as I go through this.

I told her that I don’t want to discuss specific memories, but more of mdsa in general, it’s aftereffects, it’s differences, and it’s similarities to other child sexual abuse. I told her that over the years, since remembering the mother-daughter sexual abuse, I have had many interactions with other mdsa survivors and many friendships online and that it has been very supportive and healing to me. I told that still I feel the need to work on this in therapy. She took it all in, with no bad reaction. She was pretty great, actually. So I am looking forward to having someone who is on my side through this healing process, someone that I can actually talk about this with.

My Favorite Show

mentions mother-daughter sexual abuse and mother physical abuse

My favorite show of all time is Law and Order. I’ve seen it late at night so many nights. For the longest time I could watch two episodes in a row from two to four in the morning. (Hello, insomniac!)

For the longest time I recorded on my vhs recorder lots and lots of episodes and watched them over and over as well. Eventually I got rid of my vhs recorder and all the old tapes that I had. My player made tons of squeaky noise while playing, so it was definitely time and I couldn’t buy another new machine. I was trying to convert a lot of my favorite stuff by buying dvds.

So much of the dvds that I have now were bought  on sale or used. After you have paid several times for a movie, you tend to not want to buy things at the high price that they want. At least for me.

I do have the whole nine seasons of Seinfeld on dvd, got it for an incredible price around Christmas shopping season a couple of years ago. I got the whole show for about $75, a huge sale.

But I still don’t have any seasons of Law and Order. Nor Homicide: Life on the Streets, another show that we are kind of loopy about watching over and over, and used to have recorded on vhs, and watched many, many times. I just never come across those shows at used stores and just didn’t want to spend the money on getting them new. I think that it is about time to start doing that, cause I miss not being able to watch specific episodes when I want to watch them. Oh yeah and Law and Order has not been available on Netflix for some time and Homicide never has been on there since I became a member.

I think that my favorite seasons of both series are the earliest seasons. I think they are both the best earliest in their creations.

One reason that I love Law and Order so much is that one of the main characters, Mike Logan played by Chris Noth, is that he was a survivor of abuse. Slowly it comes out, his mother was a drunk and physically violent. Raised Catholic and from  a dysfunctional family he was vulnerable to also being exploited by a sexual offender priest. Other boys of his acquaintance were sexually abused by the priest, one who he confronts years later for trying to recruit him for being abused by the priest. He’s a complex flawed character throughout. Chris Noth plays layers over the years.

I was a fan of the show from the first. For the longest time I did not remember that my mother had sexually abused me, it really wasn’t until 2002 that I started having flashbacks of her cruel physical abuses of me while I was a toddler and pre-schooler and wasn’t until 2003 that I first started having flashbacks of her sexual offending against me, mother-daughter sexual abuse.

A weird thing happened after I started remembering being sexually abused by my mother, though I’m sure that any survivors of child sexual abuse will not find this weird at all. For so many years I had blanked out, forgotten, suppressed, and repressed the scenes where the Mike character talked about his mother’s physically abusing him. When I started remembering and healing from mother-daughter sexual abuse and physical abuse by me mother I was watching episodes quite often and sure enough there were scenes where he talks about his mother and her physically abusing him, episodes I had watched and thought I remembered. Sometimes life can seem so seamless to me, it is hard to see how much I was deleting from my adult life that I was oblivious to.

Much later in the life of the series he has a new female partner that he discloses to, and yeah I had blanked that out too. He says, rum punch, and doesn’t explain it. Later he shares how his mother used to recruit him to go to the liquor store and buy rum for her. For the first hour he was her favorite person in the world, showered with kisses and attention. Later, as she got drunker and drunker, and meaner and meaner, she would start throwing her rage onto him with punches; rum punch.

After that I really understood why I had such a strong connection and commonality with this character. Even though my mother was not a drinker, she used her rage and used it to try to work all her issues and problems out on my precious little body.

 

I’m Not Grieving Anymore

I’m not grieving anymore. I was going to post about this when this first occurred to me, some months ago, but then I was in doubt as to whether or not I had already posted about that. Such is the life of someone who is a survivor with dissociation, PTSD, and fibromyalgia, which can have memory challenges as well.

It had been my contention, over many years, to family, to therapists, and to others that I had a lot to grieve over and that I needed to be allowed and encouraged to work on my grieving work.

After living in the women’s shelter three years ago and starting back with therapy, I worked a lot on issues of being a survivor, as I was able, over time, to really work on grieving my childhood, abuse, and my parents. I believed that I would just need to work on grieving for as long as I needed to, and I guess, I was fine if that took me the rest of my life. But one day I woke up to the fact that I was done grieving. I was shocked and surprised.

Something huge has changed in me. I am not sure if I can describe it. But I think that I feel that I validate myself and my life now. I don’t feel the need for someone else to validate me. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but for sure, I feel grownup now. Not to say that I am not connected to my inner child capabilities or our inner selves, cause I am. But life is different.

I had a few conversations over the phone with my advocate, from the women’s shelter, and since they always go good, I couldn’t tell for sure if she could tell that a huge difference had happened to me. But then we got to meet up at the shelter one day after that, before a therapist session that I was waiting for, and had a chat.

I told her, I’ve changed a lot. She would always agree with me when I said that to her. I said, No I mean it, something huge. She said, yes, I know, I see it. It is huge. She saw it! I said, I’m not grieving anymore, I’m living my life. She said, yes I can tell.

(That made me feel so proud, she really saw me and all the progress that I/we had made and honored all our hard work. She is my chosen mom and always makes me happy and excited and a little queasy and scared as well. Since I never had a good mom, and instead had a sexual abuser and physical abuser for a mother, I suppose it makes sense that I love my advocate from a very small little girl space inside us and that it is scary and happy all at the same time to feel love for her. I always want her love and care. She is the mother we chose while there, not that staying at the shelter was easy or a happy time, but that she taught me so much, believed in me so much, and was so supportive in a tough way, the I’m going to help you become empowered and to go out and get what you need kind of way. She believes in me, even when I am on the verge of a panic attack and feel as though I can’t possibly stand up for myself or lift a finger to make my life better. That is a powerful thing.)

I don’t have as much inner emotional pain and I am not filled with as much poison from my abuse since being post-grief. I’m not saying that I have emptied myself completely of those things, or that I am completely done with grieving everything that has ever happened to me or not happened to me, or that will ever happen to me, but that the level has lowered by a significant amount. That is what grieving has done for me; significantly allowed more good things to occupy all those spaces inside that used to be occupied by grief and the damage that abusers caused.

I wanted to share about this as a testament to trusting your own intuitive sense of what you need to do in order to heal or even what you need to do in any area of your life, no matter what others think or tell you or how they respect your process or don’t. It is okay to believe in yourself and to respect yourself. Healing happens in those spaces, those little pockets of space-time continuum, those little moments of self-belief.

So That Was Good

I sort of slept most of yesterday. After spending a lot of hours with family on Sunday it was necessary. And then of course there was the mistake I made accepting a ride home from my verbal and sound abuser brother. Even though I stood up for myself and answered him back repeatedly and kept telling him to stop what he was doing and pick another topic, it still did not go well, in that he still hurt my feelings, judged me, yelled at me, and treated me in a manner that I would not even bother treating someone that I hate intensely.

Ahhh,family. The crap they put you through, even though you have spent decades doing intense and excruciating healing work.

I am happy to say that my oldest brother is dead, the abuser got what he deserved, an early death. I am happy to report that my second brother, another sexual abuser, is out of my life forever and has been for a very long time. I relish the memory of telling him that as far as I was concerned he was no longer my brother or relative and I never wanted to see him again and would no longer talk to him.

Then there is my third brother who I did cut out of my life for many years. I lost a lot during those years, a good chunk of his children growing up and a friendship with his then-wife. That is my loss to carry. I am happy to be connected to some of his adult children and their children now. It has been very restorative and healing to have them.

So I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for my third brother, even though he burned that up repeatedly by his rages. We had been associating with one another somewhat since he tried to make amends after all the crap he put me through when I lived with him in California about six years ago for five horrific months. And he had a lot to make up for!

But he never once admitted to how he treated me nor apologized nor asked for my forgiveness. He shows an appalling amount of accurate recall on a huge number of things, things he did as a teen and as an adult, even in the last few years. I can never guess if it is because he is just lying for kicks, cause he does that, or if he just toked too much for decades. If he can’t remember he insists that instead it is that I am just making things up, like his memory recall is better than others, even though there is no one in the family who would agree with him. He’s one of the reasons that I hate drama so much in my life.

So late Sunday night I was up late crying and lamenting to my sister over the phone about how much he hurt my feelings again, and how it makes me so mad that he can offer me a ride home but cannot be loving to me for 15-20 minutes and insults and demeans me, after I repeatedly refuse to argue politics with him. I got my sister out of bed to do so, and that wasn’t even the most horrible part. It’s that he still hurts my/our precious soft heart. I hate that so much about him, that I still love him and he still hurts me and it still makes me cry. We don’t want to have to stop being soft-hearted. I think it is one of the best parts of us. If my mother sexually offending against us and physically assaulting us and ritual abuse perpetrators could not get us to change our ways, why should we have to for him? For the time being we are resolved to be ourselves and keep him further away from us and not trust him with rides, cause then he has been alone and that is when he is at his worst.

I was pretty rung out from Sunday with him and Sunday night crying about him, so I sleep late, got up for a bit, and slept again in the afternoon. I was surprised to see that I was tired enough around nine thirty Monday night to be dozing off so I got ready for bed, fell asleep and woke up again after only two and-a-half hours sleep.

Actually more than 50% of my body levitated about six inches off the bed. There was an appalling noise that woke me up. It sounded like someone was stomping around in my bedroom. It had to be a very loud sound to be doing that, since I sleep with a loud fan on, which drowns out a lot of noise. And for a noise outside my apartment to sound like that, it had to be a very loud noise, since happily and luckily I was alone in my apartment. Then I heard screaming and shouting by at least two adults. Then huge banging and bumping noises and shouting and screaming that lasted for a few minutes. Then lots of shouting and hitting walls for some time. I did send them some Reiki during that time, it is a new coping thing that I have been trying to do. It helps me not to hate their raggedy asses. And I’m hoping sincerely that it will shut them up and make them want to stop arguing.

I didn’t go out to identify where it was coming from, but it sounds like the crazy, dysfunctional woman and her adult children across the hall and half an apartment down from where I live. They are crazy addicts and the smell of marijuana and the sound of their yelling conversations have often greeted me in the hallway, sometimes in my apartment as well. I was still trying to sleep, but eventually had to give up, cause I got too hot with the ac/dc off and I can’t sleep with it on or my sinuses get swollen and painful. So I had to get up and took a wonderful healing shower. Then I watched some funny tv stuff and am feeling better, though not tired, several hours later.

I guess I’ll do some more Reiki and then some more funny stuff, prob Seinfeld, as it is my go-to comedy stuff to watch. I love that show. Still my favorite and the funniest show, in my opinion. Then I’ll try to sleep some more, if I can. I’m seeing my sister for lunch and it would be nice to be awake for that. Toodles.

A Different Kind of Dreaming

They say that people dream often and often don’t remember them. I don’t think that I was doing a lot of deep sleep or dreaming for a long time. It was hugely influenced by my PTSD, my high pain levels and health issues, and noise levels where I have lived for many years. I am sleeping better now than I have for a long time, since having my gall bladder removal surgery and dreaming more, which is a tremendously good sign that my body is healthier and healing more.

About a year ago or so I started dreaming about my family. I’ve always dreamed about family members. But it used to be different.

I used to dream of them and me, but I was a different person and they were different people. In the dreams I would always have lucid thoughts, I would realize that so and so in the dream was really my mother in real life and that it was a dream. I would be a different person, but I always realized that it was me in the dream.

I don’t like it when I dream about my mother, even though in the dreams she is usually someone else. I wake up feeling creeped out and disgusted and dirty. I suppose most people would feel that way, if they dreamed about their primary sexual abuser. I try not to think about her after I wake up.

In the last year I’ve started to dream of family members and they are themselves in the dreams instead of being someone else. I believe this is a sign that I am associating with my life more than I am dissociating from my life, and in some ways it is comforting and a sign of healing and in others ways it is difficult and disconcerting just because it is new and something that I never done in my dream life before, at least not that I have remembered.

I sometimes dream of someone who died decades ago and sometimes of people who are alive now. I still seem to be aware that it is a dream, though I don’t seem to have to have as much inner dialogue going on in the dreams.

Recently I had a bizarre dream that seemed to have no inner monologue, showing me that I was lucid dreaming. I was dreaming of my aunt and my cousin, her daughter. I was an adult, my aunt was an adult, and older than me, but her daughter was still a child in the dream. This was weird because she is only three years younger than me in real life and has three adult children herself now. Weird and weird to wake up and realize that I wasn’t talking to myself during the dream. It was disconcerting to wake up while dreaming and not having worked on understanding the dynamics of the dream already. It seems abnormal to me.

I suppose that one dream doesn’t mean that I will always dream like that, not talking to myself during the dream. I might do both kind of dreaming in the future.

I wouldn’t be upset if I didn’t dream of my family, but one way or another, as themselves or as a fictional character in my dreams, I suppose that my mind needs to work out issues and they are definitely issues in my life, even when I don’t see or associate with some of them.

I Told Her Thank You For Mothering Me

On the holiday I was over at my sister’s for a family gathering/celebration. I love my sister’s potato salad, absolutely freaking love it. A huge bonus was that she gave me a bunch to bring home in a plastic container, it was a lot. I always look forward to eating my little mothering food gifts from her a lot.

The only reason that it did not get eaten right away when I got home was that I was so tired out that I went to bed at nine pm that night, just at the time I started hearing some fireworks were starting. It was nice that the fireworks did not continue to bother me, because I went to sleep right away.

While my sister was preparing the potato salad to be dished out and put on the dining table, she does this thing where she always mixes it together one more time and then takes a spoon and tastes it.

She brought a full spoonful over to me and I opened my mouth and she put the wonderful food into my mouth. It was wonderful! What I didn’t expect is that my sister was overcome emotionally and started to cry because she was so touched that I let her put the spoon in my mouth. She said she was so moved that I let her.

I told her thank you for mothering me. Then I told her, thank you for mothering me when I was little. If it wasn’t for you and our brother, [who was born about 18 months before me], I don’t know who I would be. I think I may have started out sweet and good and kind but I don’t know who I would have become it wasn’t for the mothering by you and him.

(What I had left unsaid, but she understood was, since I didn’t get one iota of love or mothering from our biological mother I don’t seriously know what I would have become without finding others to love, nurture, and mother me. As well as being a survivor of mother daughter sexual abuse, neglect, and physical abuse by my mother, and being hated and rejected by my mother.)

I’ve said it before, but she usually pooh poohs what I say about the mothering that I got from my siblings, how it has positively effected my life, and most other positive things. She is a lot like me, in that she discounts most good things that others say and believe about her. But I think that I caught her at a vulnerable moment and that she might have let it in, even for a moment. It’s nice to be mothered in a good way, I desperately yearn for that, and I’m glad that I could say it again by thanking her for mothering me, in small little gestures of trust and devotion, and in all the other moments.