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Not Sleeping

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I’ve found that the more I work on my issues, the better I feel, the safer I feel, the less anxious I feel, the better I sleep.

Growing up I was like a giant knot twisted in on myself. At first, it seemed impossible to untangle. At first, it WAS impossible to untangle. But it has slowly progressed and gotten easier.

I don’t get the insomnia as often now. And when I do, I can generally point to something to cause it. Nowadays there isn’t any pressing danger to my safety. It is mostly all in my mind.

But back then, I never knew when one of my parents would come into my room in the night. Sometimes they just wanted to talk. Other times I would wake up to them screaming over me.

If my mother found one dirty dish in the dish drainer, she would wake us up and make us wash every dish in the house. Even if it was a school night. Even if it was 2am. I remember this happening beginning in elementary school.

I hated being surprised that way by them. I hate surprises in general. I hated opening my eyes to find them in my room. Sometimes hitting me. Sometimes being so frighteningly angry or verbally abusive. But I shouldn’t say just towards me. Because they did it all to my siblings too.

I used to sleep fully clothed; shirt, shorts, bra (when I finally needed one). I even kept a few dollars in the pocket of my shorts. Being dressed made me feel safer. I became a lighter and lighter sleeper over the years.

I was functioning on a heightened awareness. I was constantly on guard. Waiting for the next incident to get through. It was like being in a war zone. It was hard to know what would set them off.

I suspected my brother of intentionally misbehaving to give them an excuse sometimes. Let a little steam out of the pressure cooker before it exploded.

I wasn’t like that. I was quiet. Shy. I grew more and more removed from them and from my life. I was like a shadow. Always in my room. Hidden away in a book. Quick to please, always trying to keep the peace. But there was never peace.

I remember times when there was no pretense of an excuse. They just needed someone to take their anger and abuse. The violence was always there. A numbing dullness that pervaded my life. I never thought I would escape from it.

And I almost didn’t. I almost re-created my childhood with someone else. With several someone else’s. But I got away from them too.

I don’t generally post specific stories about my past. For a long time I didn’t think I could talk about them. But now I am beginning to wonder if I can keep NOT talking about it. I feel like this blog is so much about how I feel about what happened to me. Maybe I should also be talking about what actually happened. I don’t know.

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10 responses »

  1. I appreciate your vulnerability in this post – the world needs more people to just be themselves!

    Way to take the lead!

    Reply
  2. Your mum sounded a lot like mine, and now I’m OCD and a clean freak haha

    Reply
    • If I continue telling stories, I am still not done with her. But I used to be a total clean freak. But it was really her that made me that way. Now I am just tidy.

      Reply
      • How did you let go?

      • Because it was never my issue to begin with. She was the one with the cleanliness issues. But I was the one that did the cleaning. It took a few years, but once I moved out I realized that this was her deal, not mine. And I had enough problems without adding hers to my list.

  3. I can relate, sadly. Funny how super negative/abusive life experiences teaches us to go inside ourselves in order to put distance between “us” and “them”. Teaches us to find an escape even when there is none. Funny how it makes us become, as you put it- more and more removed from them but also our own life. Funny. But not in the -ha-ha way. More like in the-Oh, I thought that was helping but now I get that it was not, kinda way. Kinda like the joke is on us. ugh…sorry. I’m not so glass half full lately.

    PTSD-gotta love it.

    I’m glad your having a better time sleeping now. And hopefully your in pj’s.

    Reply
    • Sometimes I even sleep naked and it feels so weird! It took me a long time to stop sleeping in my clothes. And I know what you mean. I thought not thinking about my problems was what kept me functioning. But it really just kept me from getting better.

      Reply
  4. I think you should write about whatever you feel like writing about when you sit down.
    The anticipation of violence is exhausting. No wonder you’ve had sleeping problems :-/ Hopefully things continue to get better.

    Reply
    • Thank you. I really want to tell these stories. Especially as I get better and feel equipped to tell them. But I worry they will be seen as trying to get attention. Or even lying. I still haven’t gotten over the old not being believed thing. It’s apparently very common in people with childhoods like mine.

      Reply

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