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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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Past Lives

Today, someone asked me what I was like as a child. I had to think about it for a long time before answering. But it really depends on what age we’re discussing.

I did nothing but cry for the first 6 or 7 years. I was unhappy and morose. And suffering from PTSD from many physical, emotional and sexual abuses. Eventually my family punished me for crying enough that I stopped.

I spent the next few years like a wild animal backed into a corner. I had zero control over my emotions. I was angrier than I have ever felt in my entire life. My anger was like a separate being trying to violently claw it’s way out of me. This is when I began punching trees. A lot.

Finally, around 10, I completely shut down all my emotions. I began working out compulsively, reading obsessively. I had an eating disorder and began journaling. I was extremely secretive.

I had severe insomnia and depression. Some weeks I would sleep less than 5 hours the entire week. My life was kind of a fog of blankness. That is really the best way to describe it. It was like being on drugs that took away everything it was possible to feel. But I wasn’t on drugs.

All I ever felt was sadness, despair and anger. And the safest place to direct that anger was on myself. It led to getting into and staying in many abusive relationships; platonic, romantic, and familial. It also was the partial driver for some of the emotional/mental issues I have.

And that’s basically where I stayed until my health problems at 25. Like I was frozen in place. Frozen emotionally. And I was. I only allowed myself to feel the barest tip of what was wrong. Only the strongest, most persistent emotions came through.

It has taken a few years to even realize that things were wrong inside me. And it took a few years to get help. I have been in therapy for just over a year.

I am amazed when I look back on the changes I’ve been through this past year. It actually impresses me. People that have known me very well can hardly believe I am the same person. Neither can I.

I can’t believe the life I was accepting for myself all that time. I can’t believe those past people, those horrible past lives, were all me. I look back on how much I’ve changed this year. And I wonder how unrecognizable I’ll be to myself by this time next year.

Addiction

I rarely spend any time with the majority of my family. I have been taking a more active role in avoiding them this past year. I’m trying to clean up my life.

And that means getting rid of people that are indifferent to me, abusive, manipulative, emotionally draining, or negative. Which includes most of my family and old friends.

There is only family member that I see fairly frequently (only because my sister is so far away). My brother. When we were kids TM and I were very close. He was one of my best friends. And he could always make me laugh.

But now, he is an alcoholic and a drug addict (and I do not use those terms lightly). I have repeatedly asked him to not do those things around me, but he refuses. Not only can he not go one day without his addictions, he can’t even go a partial day. Not even to see me.

And now he is one of the most negative people I have ever met. At least 80% of what he says is a complaint. And no matter how hard I try to steer the conversation in a positive direction, he seems determined to turn it into a complaint. It’s exhausting.

And it depresses me. Being with him makes me sad. He’s barely recognizable as the same person. When I see him, it’s like there is a man trapped inside another man. That smart and funny boy I knew growing up is somewhere inside the addict he has become.

And I can’t set that boy free. Only he can. But he doesn’t want to.

It has been making me realize that I am going to need to start limiting my contact with him. I’m not ready to totally cut him out of my life. But I just don’t want to be around it anymore.

But I also know the reason that I am so hesitant is a combination of how close we were growing up. And also with how little contact I have with the rest of my family now. I don’t want to lose one of the last people left.

Crying

I think another one of the reasons I hate crying so much is that it always feels like a type of emotional manipulation.

It was used a lot in my family as a way to guilt me into something. Or maybe to make me feel bad for having feelings. Especially if my feelings were contrary to someone else’s.

But mostly, it’s been my own tears that have been used against me.

As a young child it was to deny me of my right to have them. In fact, they were used to deny me of my very existence.

And then, as a teenager, my complete lack of emotions and tears were used as proof of the emotional disorder I don’t actually have. The emotional disorder they tried to convince me I had for years. The emotional disorder they told me would keep me from ever having a long lasting or healthy relationships of any kind with anyone.

And, as an adult, when I actually began experiencing emotions again, my tears were used against me by my abusive, manipulative ex’s. Any time I opened up to them, they would throw it back in my face later. Especially during a fight. And especially as a means to prove how horrible and wrong I am.

And now, when I cry, I am terrified it will be used against me. Or that someone will think I am trying to manipulate them. And god forbid I cry at work. Then I am seen as weak and overly emotional