Before I got sober and learned how to get better, my days added up to depressing, self-defeating thinking. I stumbled through my day, chained to my past, not even being able to think about how to get better. That is how overwhelmed I was from my abuser’s impact and that is why I drugged, drank, and over ate most of my life.
I inherited that self-destructive mindset from the three monsters who raised me. I also know them as my “mother” and two older “sisters”. Outsiders did not know them as I did; I knew them as hypocritical monsters. They conned outsiders into thinking they were happy family members and I was the problem child. Unless, of course, outsiders knew the body language and tip-offs that would reveal our true identities. We lived a big fat distortion and putrid lies.
Now, after having devoted the time I needed to face and accept how cruelly they treated me, FREED ME FROM THEIR CLUTCHES, plus I can think clearly!
I never could before. I could not figure out how people arrived at their simple, logical decisions because I was still struggling with the questions.
I didn’t understand how my brain worked and dealt with trauma, with assault. Assault so severe and damaging, I locked it away in amnesia. Almost the entire time I lived under mother’s roof was a COMPLETE BLANK. I am 63 years old and I cannot remember any Christmases. I have one flash of moving to a new home, but not moving out of old ones, and mother moved us every two years, mostly. I have images of two of my birthdays, and random days from different schools. I have occasional brief snapshots here and there of other occasions. But that is it; I locked away the rest in my head and it exhausts me. I know my exhaustion and chronic fatigue connect because when I process a big problem, my energy improves a bit. It is tiny, but it is there and I feel it. I know those will add up over time to enormous improvements for me, so I keep going.
While I know I may never retrieve every memory, I have the right to know what they did to me I cannot remember. What worries me is this: Our thoughts fuel our behavior. And our brains learn through repetition, whether it is accurate. Mother could not talk about anyone, family or friends, without ripping them to shreds with hateful, destructive criticism. That is what I heard from them: Dripping sarcasm, super glued with hypocritical hatred, simmering with rage.
So, what did I lock up in my brain, that one day will show up, triggered, echoing mother’s vile, sickening way of life?
Believe me, I work hard to resolve that because that is what my family cemented inside me. They taught me hatred. It worries me!
So, with that in mind, what I can do is accept the issues that nagged me my entire life and kept me awake at night. What kept me running, drinking, drugging, and overeating was the chant in my head from my monsters I could not get to stop: that I would never be lovable or good enough. They chanted I was a bother to everyone; I was beyond repair. I should never have been born. I could do nothing right.
Another crippling fear I had? What if they were right?
Those problems overwhelmed me, so I could not avoid them any longer. I had to face them. I knew I would relapse if I did not face them. Yet, I did not understand why I sabotaged myself consistently. I tried different things to help myself, but I always blew it. See? I could not think clearly. I could not put 2 and 2 together.
Discussing that with my therapist, she suggested hypnotherapy. I asked her a couple of questions and agreed to try it. On my next session, I brought a voice-activated recorder with me. We got to work on that iceberg of confusing pain. Those sessions got those buried, padlocked in place, cemented emotions moving and OUT of my system.
So, to keep that moving out of me, I listened to the sessions 2 or 3 times at home most days. I watched movies that made me cry. I would sit down at my computer and just type out what was in my thoughts. I didn’t stop to edit, I just typed.
Over time, I saw how much better I felt to get that toxic waste out of my head and in black and white in front of me where I could see it for what it was: LIES! DISTORTED. PUTRID.LIES!!!
What do you think? Is that something you think you could do or can you think of another way that would suit you? The events that hurt us will vary from person to person. But, the underlying emotions are the same: shame, humiliation, guilt, self-loathing, self-hatred, anger, rage, need to escape, not knowing how to problem solve or take care of ourselves…….. Those feelings are a huge part of who we are. They need validation their wounds are real, and when they get it, they will heal and quiet down. The best way to heal them is to face how the abuse hurt us. Then they will settle down.
Do you want to know what happened next after I did that for a while? I thought clearly and arrived at solutions ON.MY.OWN.!!!!!
Being able to do that makes me want to HUG MYSELF! I go through my day so much easier now; I don’t have dark, depressing worries and thoughts pummeling me throughout my day. I think about what I am going to do and come up with simple productive steps and I get things done as best I can. I say “as best I can” because I am disabled and have a lot of chronic health issues. The worst for me now is my chronic fatigue.
Over the years, as I worked on my mental health issues to get better, my fatigue problems would improve a teeny bit every time; it was teeny, but I felt it. That encouraged me to keep going because I know those teeny steps add up to enormous improvements.
So, in closing, working on my emotional wounds has brought me the furthest. I am better than I was and I do everything I can to polish my writing because I am determined to find the way to earn my own living with my writing, and get off of welfare and out of poverty for good.