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Monthly Archives: April 2014

Forget

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It’s weird the sort of short term memory loss that seems to come in an abusive relationship. When things are good with him it can be hard to remember how bad they were. It’s hard to believe the man I am with now is the same person that was abusive to me.

It doesn’t help that this is part of his plan. He tells me it was a mistake. Just an accident. A one time thing. He got carried away. Because he was mad. Because I made him mad.

It’s so easy to believe it will never happen again. It is easy to forget. Because I want to forget.

I don’t want to dwell on negative things. I want to believe him. I want the past to stay in the past. I don’t want him to think I’ll hold a grudge forever. Besides, he said he was sorry.

Or did he? He said he was sorry IF he hurt me. When he know damn well he did. And that type of apology really isn’t the same thing. He says “Why can’t you just get over it? Why can’t you ever let things go? It’s over and in the past.”

And technically it IS in the past. Even if it happened 10 minutes ago. That’s the past. Maybe I should just get over it.

Except it’s never the last time. In fact, it seems like he gets progressively worse. But that makes me cling even more tightly to the times he acts sweet and caring. And it’s not like I want to cause problems with him when he is being nice by bringing up something that will upset him. That will only start a fight. A fight which he will then blame on me.

And I want to believe him. He says he loves me and I want to believe he does. I don’t want to have to end things. I don’t want to admit I was wrong. Again.

But I am wrong again. And eventually I can’t keep choosing to forget. I have to remember. I have to keep catalog of everything he does. I have to stop forgetting. Because that is the only way to get the strength to leave.

But, once I leave, there is an more insidious type of forgetting. The forgetting once the relationship is over. My mind starts to forget why I left. It starts to remember only the good things. I start looking through old pictures where we are smiling and look happy.

I know we weren’t happy. I remember that picture. But there were plenty of times where we were happy. There were plenty of good times.

Every month that I am alone gets harder. I know he’d take me back. And I wonder if I will ever find someone that loves me. I wonder if I will ever believe I deserve to find someone that loves me.

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Corporal Punishment

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I have told a few stories now about my father. But I felt like I really wasn’t painting a complete picture here because my mother was also involved in a lot of these stories. So here is another one:

My parents were both big believers in corporal punishment. Unfortunately, I just read a whole wiki article on child abuse that I probably shouldn’t have. But I wanted to get the terminology right.

I don’t want to get too political here and I know I don’t have children, but I don’t support the idea of causing physical pain to a child intentionally. And even if I did, I don’t know where the line is drawn between punishment and abuse.

Neither one of my parents particularly cared about responding to an offense in an appropriate or rational way. I certainly misbehaved on occasion, though not often. The punishment was always too severe to be worth it for me.

My mother was generally the one that ‘punished’ us. It just occurred to me that she may have been protecting us from my father’s wrath in doing so. But her punishments always crossed the boundary.

She would slap us in the face, even from a very young age, if we said something she didn’t like. Especially if we hurt her feelings. She would force our heads under running water and wash our mouths out with soap if we said something offensive. She was vicious and inconsistent in these areas. One day she didn’t care if I cursed and the next she was dragging me by my hair into the bathroom.

She was big on hitting us with things. Her hand was only satisfying if she was hitting our face. And not always even then. I think she wanted more leverage than her arm could give her.

At dinner she would hit the backs of our hands with wooden spoons for something like playing with our food. Or not wanting to eat something (which with my pickiness was all the time). When we didn’t want to take a bath she would hit us with a yardstick. I actually remember she had to replace several old wooden ones that she had broken on us. The new ones had a metal spine that would cut our bare skin.

Once we got a little bit older, she stopped hitting us with things and starting throwing things at us. I can’t tell you how many glass coffee pots my siblings and I have had broken over us. Dozens.

She would get so angry at us. Or in general. That she would pick the nearest object and throw it as us. Or hit us with it. Sometimes, if I was quick, I could avoid it. But other times, she would catch me off guard. Or my back would be turned.

She suffers from severe depression and that probably actually helped us. Some days she was too depressed to get out of bed. Or care what we were saying or doing. Or hurt us.

There was never any real rhyme or reason to her violence. That was one of the scary things about it. My father was almost always angry, always volatile. But my mother would seemingly choose random things to lash out at us.

There was always a catalyst. A minor argument, saying the wrong word, laughing at the wrong time. I think she always intended to be violent and abusive, she just like to have an excuse. And if we hadn’t done anything wrong lately, she would find an excuse.

I think this casual, ongoing violence in my home is one of the reasons why I have touch issues. Even to this day, if I am arguing with someone and they move their hands or move towards me, I flinch. I am mentally and emotionally preparing for them to hit me, or find something to hit me with. I don’t know if those instincts will ever disappear.

Depression

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I don’t know if anyone has noticed that I haven’t been around as much lately. I have been extremely depressed. I know everyone’s depression is different. We all experience it differently.

Mine has been so bad. And when I am in the middle of a depressive spell, I can’t tell anyone. I don’t even recognize it as depression. I think that I am just awful and miserable because my life is terrible and I have no friends. I think I just suddenly hate my job and myself. I think that everyone would be better off if I wasn’t around.

I have had a really bad two weeks. I keep thinking that this blog is pointless and that my life is pointless. And that I really shouldn’t even be alive anymore. I don’t want to kill myself, but if I could just stop breathing or stop living, I would.

I have been doing so well for so long, I almost forgot what it looked like to be in the middle of a depressive spell. And the forgetting, made it so bad. I couldn’t understand why I was so unhappy.

My life is actually going really well. Which made it even more confusing. Why was I thinking about killing myself when I had finally met someone I liked? Why was I wanting to call out sick and sit at home alone all day? Why wasn’t I writing?

And I haven’t been sleeping. Which makes me feel terrible physically too. I’ve been having horrible anxiety at night. I’ve been sitting awake in my bed with a baseball bat for hours instead of sleeping.

Last night, I kept jumping at every noise. I thought there was someone in my apartment (even though I logically knew there wasn’t). And this next part I feel ashamed to admit. But it’s the truth and this is all anonymous anyway.

I thought someone was whispering in my ear. A man’s voice was saying something. It was rhyming words over and over. They were nonsense sounds. Like ooh, boo, woo, too. That has never happened to me before. It really upset me and freaked me out. I also felt like something was crawling up my back. Like a hand sliding over me. But I was alone. That has also never happened before.

Maybe I was dreaming and just thought it was happening. Sometimes my dreams really like to mess with my mind. But if I wasn’t…

I don’t know what it means. It might sound funny or silly. But it really upset me. Am I having auditory hallucinations? I never have before. What does it means? I don’t know.

There is no need for anyone to worry at this point. The very fact that I can write about it is proof that I am feeling better. And I’ll be back to my cheerful self in no time.

Laughter and Shadows

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I guess it is time now for another story. I don’t know if these stories are doing anything for anyone else. They are helping me immensely to write down and share. I spend so much time trying to be positive, trying to not think about them.

I think it is good for me to focus on them and get them out. I worry that thinking about them too hard will damage me in some way. But then I realize that I am always thinking about them anyway. These stories are always inside me. Maybe if I let them out they will go away. Or at least be easier to contain.

I was 10 and we were living in a tiny house. There was only one bathroom and no dining room. My sister and I were in the kitchen. We were getting ready for school. It was still in that quiet grey light of dawn.

Mornings had been tense lately. My mother suffered from severe depression. And it was my job to get my sister and myself off to school.

A few weeks previously, my mother had called me into her bedroom and told me she wanted to die. It was science fair day. I had spent the whole day on the verge of tears wondering what to do. I wasn’t even really sure what she had meant. I wound up doing nothing, hoping it would pass. It did.

But this morning my sister was waiting to use the bathroom. My father was in there, getting ready for work. I was pouring a bowl of cereal.

She was wearing these slippers we had gotten only a few months previously. They were fuzzy dog slippers. When you squeezed the ear, they barked. She was 8 and was delighted with them. I secretly felt too mature for them, but knew better than to complain. Plus, I didn’t want her getting too cool too fast.

I normally was not very chipper. I wasn’t one for joking. I was so quiet and shy and secretive.
But that morning, I could see my sister was upset. She was getting impatient. And I could hear my father’s voice behind the door. He was agitated. My sister didn’t seem to recognize the danger. Not like I did.

I took the little plastic ring off the gallon of milk and threw it at my sister. It landed in her hair. She had thick, curly hair and the ring stuck. We both started cracking up laughing. Hard. It was the funniest thing that had happened in a long time.

I was on one side of the bar counter top and she was on the other, right in front of the bathroom door. That door swung open so wide and hard. I immediately stopped laughing. My sister didn’t.

My father stormed out of the bathroom. He saw my sister standing outside the door, laughing so hard she was almost bent over. He started screaming at us for being so loud.

I was too far away to intervene this time. He grabbed her by the wrist and shook her, hard. I can still see him yanking on her arm. She had always been smaller than me. She fell down and landed painfully on her ankle.

She cried out in pain and he took that as her talking back to him. I don’t even know what he was saying by this point. Scary things.

She started to cry and that seemed to satisfy him. He went back into the bathroom. My sister was bawling on the floor.

I went over to soothe her. Really, it hadn’t been so bad. He hadn’t hit her. Or thrown anything at her. She wasn’t bleeding, nothing was broken.

And that’s when she told me; she had gotten so scared she had urinated on herself. She had peed all over her slippers. They were one of her favorite things in the world. Part slipper, part stuffed animal and all little girl magic.

I tried to hand wash them for her. But couldn’t get the smell out. Her fear was soaked into the fabric of those sweet slippers. I wound up throwing them out and giving her mine. But I never saw her wear them ever again.

That day my father taught me that it didn’t matter what we did. It didn’t matter how good we were, how smart we were, how responsible we were. We were going to get punished if he felt like punishing us. He didn’t need to justify it to himself or to us. We were never going to be safe as long as he was around.

That day my father taught me to be a shadow. And I stayed a shadow for a long, long time.

Going Home

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I have the privilege of reading many talented bloggers via this blog. It is sadly comforting to connect with people that have experienced the same things I have. I wouldn’t wish my issues, or my past on anyone. But it is reassuring to know I am not the only one who feels the way I do. And that my reaction to my past experiences is normal.

But I as yet have not read someone discussing what I want to talk about today. The idea of home.

I didn’t have a home growing up. I lived in a household full of abuse and anger and sadness. I was not safe there. I was not comforted there. And I never felt at ease.

I think having a home is one of the most important things in the world. I think it is what we are all looking for in finding a partner. Someone that gives us the sense of security that we ideally felt as a young child. But that so many of us never had (including me).

So what do we base this idea of home on? I certainly don’t want to recreate my childhood home with someone. I don’t know what I want my home to be. I have never been in a happy home.

I have these ideas in my mind of how I think it should feel. But it is hard to know if they are even things that exist. Maybe the things I want are things that nobody has. I don’t know what a home should be like.

To make matters worse, I have been very abusive towards myself. I wasn’t able to create a home for myself, with myself. It is only now that I have worked so hard to be kind to myself and to care for myself. It is only now that I am making a safe place for myself.

And yet, I want to be in a relationship with someone. I want to keep this home that I have made for myself. And I want to share it with someone else.

I keep my home within myself. It is inside me. It is safe there. And nobody can ever take it from me. But I also want it to be outside me. And I want someone to share it with, someone that will protect it as I have.

I don’t want to be a self contained unit forever. But I am afraid I will never meet someone that is safe. I am afraid my home will always be inside me and never shared with someone. Like one more secret I carry around with me.

Life and Death

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As you know, I have suicidal ideation. I think this gives me a different perspective on suicide and depression. I know many of my readers also struggle with this issue. And I have a few friends in real life that do as well.

One such friend, was recently going through a difficult time in his life. His relationship had ended. He was going through a vicious custody battle. He suffers from depression. And he had once been hospitalized for previously attempting suicide.

We all know that nobody kills themselves just because they are sad. Or because something bad happens in their life. The story is never so simple.

This friend confided in me that he was starting to think about suicide. That it was on his mind all the time. That it seemed like a reasonable response to what was happening in his life.

I was glad he told me. He is the first person that I have ever talked about my own suicidal ideation with. I was a relief to hear him tell me all these feelings that I myself have felt. And to know that I could speak to him from experience.

I was very concerned for his well being. He asked me to promise to not call anyone. He did not want to be Baker Acted. I made the promise. But he doesn’t know how close I came to breaking it.

I felt that being hospitalized would only make him more apt to kill himself. That does happen sometimes. But I was determined to help him.

I called him every day, multiple times a day. I let him talk for hours. I stayed up till late into the night and early morning, listening, giving him advice, sympathizing.

He came close several times. Maybe even closer than I know. Once he called me in the hopes that I could talk him out of it.

But I am happy to say that he is still with us. And he has since told me, that him being hospitalized would have been the worst thing for him. And that knowing I was available to talk any time helped. That knowing that I was there, listening, letting him feel his feelings, was more help than any doctor could have given.

I know he is not out of danger. People with suicidal ideation will always be in danger of acting upon it. I have tried to get him to go to therapy. But he has resisted.

I urge anyone that is feeling these feelings to tell someone. Talk to someone you can trust. Get help if you can. But talk if you can’t. Sometimes our feelings really are a matter of life and death.