Sometimes I need to step outside my own mind and why I hate complex PTSD

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I am probably triggered every single day by something. Relationships trigger me, period. The beginning doesn’t trigger me, it’s the middle. I am married now to an awesome man, I love him very much and I know he loves very much me too. He does a lot for me and our kids and our family. He works tirelessly day in and day out, so I can stay home. He cooks, cleans, dotes on me, but my inner self feels alone today. I have major trust issues, likely due to watching my mom’s relationships and my own past relationships.

My first marriage ended very abruptly due to my ex husband’s infidelity. I had to find out in an awful way and my mind goes back there often. I feel bad sometimes that my husband even has to put up with me.

My complex PTSD was built because I have layered traumas, not just one or two, but multiple. Why? I don’t know.

Layer one: I watched my parents get angry, yell, scream and throw things at each other. I had to console my mom from a very young age, she used me as a counselor. My mom would pull my hair and call me names when I was little.

Layer two: My mom abandoned me and my sisters and my dad at age 8 for another man leaving us with our dad to fend for ourselves.

Layer three: At age 9 my mom wanted us back and we moved in with her and my stepdad who sexually, physically, mentally, and emotionally abused us. My mom did nothing.

Layer four: Hot air balloon accident that almost killed me and my middle sister at age 13. I still have flashbacks but don’t like to talk about it.

Layer five: At the age of 15 my step dad almost killed me by strangulation in an alcohol induced rage. I had to move back in with my dad and new stepmom and leave my sisters and mom behind.

Layer six: Also at age 15 after moving back in with my dad my mom would not speak to me and said I caused the problems between her and my stepdad. They would send me family pictures of them all together, we had never taken family pictures when I was there.

Layer seven: At age 16 I told my dad about the abuse, my dad got custody. My mom’s dad (my granddad) forced her to leave my stepdad, a day later my granddad died from a heart attack.

Layer eight: I had a baby at age 18, I loved her and still do! I fell in love young with her dad. He was a drug abuser, but he loved me. He lied to me all the time about where he was and hid the drug use from me. His mom (my daughter’s grandmother) died tragically when I was 19. I remember my daughter’s dad crying and I wasn’t there to console him, I felt emotionally numb I was so distraught. We all loved her. I still feel bad about not being able to comfort him.

Layer nine: Car accident at age 25 on a highway going 70, head on. I almost lost my daughter, and when I looked at her slumped over in the seat I thought I had for a split second. I have major fears of her now being at the age to drive. I still have flashbacks of that accident and can’t talk about it without getting really upset.

Layer ten: At age 26 I married and divorced my son’s dad. We were on and off for five years. He physically and mentally abused me. One time the physical abuse put me in the hospital. He was never faithful to me but always came back begging me to take him back. After he cheated on me once we were married I had finally had enough, filed for divorce and never looked back.

Layer eleven: I jumped right into another abusive relationship upon divorcing my ex husband. I ended up in the hospital for a week while I was with him after experiencing a swallowing problem that got so bad I lost 15 pounds and got down to 92 pounds. I later learned that trouble swallowing is a result of childhood sexual abuse and in this relationship with him somehow I was triggered back to all of that. I lived and dealt with his drug use and abuse for three years and my dad finally coaxed me into leaving, thank goodness.

Layer twelve: In my 30’s my mom and sisters have abandoned me because I started speaking up about our past and because I’ve realized how much my mom needs to take responsibility for the abuse and neglect of my sisters and I. My mom and two younger sisters all started shunning me about the same time. None of them came to my wedding.

So these are the layers of trauma that have defined my life. I may have left some stuff out, but those are the major ones. I know I’m a strong woman, I mean look at what I’ve gone through, and for the most part I am balanced and happy, but I have days when I am definitely not, and I don’t know how to handle myself on those days. Emotionally I feel like I am weak, although mentally and physically I feel strong. I know I’m a good mom, good wife and a good friend, but when I’m scared of things all the time it makes it hard. My husband is aware of my triggers, and is sensitive to them. Anyone else deal with issues like this?

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I’m always dragging that horse around…

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It’s been a long time baby! I just realized I haven’t blogged since last April. Shame on me. I have had a lot of big things happen. Number one, I got MARRIED to my best friend and we are blending our children (he has kids and I have kids) and loving every second of it. Number two, I quit that life sucking job I had that was creating such horrible anxiety for me. 

Now, onto some heavier stuff. I’ve written before about my issues with my sisters and my mom and the way the trauma and abuse we dealt with at the hands of my step dad affected all of us differently. I am the oldest and I remember far more than my sisters do. I also took the brunt of the abuse trying to protect my younger sisters and my mom at times too. My sisters and I were back on speaking terms for a few months around Aug-Sept of 2013. We had a blow up the year before, my middle sister got verbally abusive and started her manipulations basically forcing my younger sister and mother to take her side and to start shunning me. I had already not been in contact with my mom for quite a while anyway due to the way she treated me and my kids. My mom lives ten hours away from us and we have not seen her since 2007. I always had strong reactions to my mother. I remember being very emotionally distraught anytime she would leave after visiting, to the point where I would not be myself for days and could not be consoled. I read in a trauma book that is normal for someone to react that way after being abused by that person. All those times in the past I didn’t realize she abused us too, I always blamed it all on my step dad. I’m sure that was easier for my young mind to believe rather than facing the fact that my mom was in fact, a monster herself. Despite all of that I always missed my mom and longed for a normal relationship with her and for my children to have a grandmother in her. I have begged her to come out and visit all of us (my sisters and our children) and she always makes excuses. We used to go visit her but after my last visit in 2007 I decided it was time for her to start making the effort, and she never did, so I gave up chasing her around about two years ago, and since I stopped chasing, we have no relationship at all. I haven’t spoken or heard or even a text message in over two years. I wanted to give that brief history so you can understand how hurtful what she did a few days before my wedding was. 

In September of 2013 I was in the thick of wedding planning. I tried to involve my sisters, but they seemed uninterested. My youngest sister said my wedding would be a “circus”, even though we planned a small wedding in a friend’s backyard and had maybe 50 guests. I still tried to involve them to no avail. Three weeks before my wedding my middle sister called me and said she had something to tell me but was afraid of how I would react. She said no matter what I couldn’t tell my youngest sister or my mom that I knew about what she was about to tell me. I was worried my mom was really sick or something or dying and just didn’t want me to know. I was shocked when she told me what I’m about to share. She said mom is coming out here to visit three days before your wedding. I wasn’t sure what to say about that at first…I had sent my mom invitation even though we weren’t speaking, so when she first told me that I thought well at least she is going to come meet my fiance and make nice before my wedding day. THAT was not the case. My sister said she is coming to visit, but she refuses to see you or have anything to do with you. At that moment, I think the world stopped spinning for me. I was devastated. Yeah we hadn’t spoken in a year or so, and maybe she was angry at me for a facebook post, but to come out here a few days before my wedding and you haven’t seen me nor my kids since 2007  and you refuse to see me?!! THREE DAYS BEFORE MY WEDDING?? I never understood how much my mom hated me and how cruel she could be until that day. I hung up the phone and laid down on that cold bathroom floor and cried. I was devastated. I never will understand how she could do that to me. Three days before my wedding. I wanted to think she just didn’t think about how close that day was to my wedding, that it wasn’t intentional, that she just didn’t think about it. But then I remember that cruel smile my mom got when she knew she had hurt me to the point where I was in tears and I know she wanted to hurt me, and hurt me she did. I texted my fiance and told him I just got the most devastating news. He called me immediately probably thinking someone was dying. I sobbed uncontrollably and could barely get the words out that my mom was coming out right before the wedding, but that she refused to see me. My fiance was sad for me and tried to comfort me as best he could. I called my dad and he said just try to fix this, call your mom. I did call her to no avail, no answer, no response to text messages other than a “no” when I asked her to call me. My middle sister set up a three way call because my mom refused to speak with me on her own. It was no good, all she did was yell at me because my apology over the Facebook post (I posted over a year ago about her neglecting my sisters and I for years and not being involved in our lives or making effort and somehow word got back to her about it) was not good enough and I should be “begging her for forgiveness on my knees”. Sorry, begging is not in my vocabulary, maybe I begged her when I was a child, but not as an adult, I refuse to put myself at her mercy any longer. 

She did come out three days before my wedding. I deleted my sisters from my Facebook so I didn’t have to see pictures of them all together days before my big day. Because of that neither one of my sisters came to my wedding, and of course my mom didn’t show. 

Despite all of that we did have a really awesome wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception. I am realizing that family isn’t always blood, sometimes it’s the family that you create that means the most to you and I see that now. I haven’t spoken with my sisters or my mom since before the wedding back in October. No well wishes, no how is everything, nothing. And to think I protected these people for years from a monster. I took hits for them, I took kicks, I got strangled for them. It’s so hurtful to me it’s hard to put all this in words. I’m sorry if this post isn’t as good as my other ones. It’s hard to cram all thats happened in the past six months all into one post without making it lengthy and boring. 

I am still in therapy. I work from home now and help my husband build his business, do most of his marketing and run our business Facebook pages and updates. I love having all this time to spend with our children and make sure they always have what they need.

My anxiety has gotten the best of me at times, ever since that phone call with my mom I have a hard time at the grocery store (I was on the phone with her, then my sister at this grocery store) I can’t stand in line at that grocery store without having anxiety. Even going through that grocery store and grabbing items is hard for me. I’m not sure why, it’s like I feel trapped in there, especially when I’m waiting in line to check out, my body wants to RUN out most of the time, so I avoid it as much as I can. I am ashamed that I cannot do something simple like go to the grocery store. My counselor told me to not go until those feelings pass, at least for now, but what if they never pass? Anyone else deal with anxiety/panic like this? I don’t know if I’m dissociating and that is causing me to panic or what? Anyone else have issues with parents/siblings like I do? 

I do always feel like I’m dragging a horse around, that horse is my past and sometimes I feel like it’s running faster than my present and my future and I can’t beat it. Those demons keep popping up and almost ruined my wedding. I don’t think I will ever understand how a mother can be that intentionally cruel to her own daughter. I love my children with every ounce of me and couldn’t imagine hurting them. 

Trust, relationships, and complex PTSD

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beautiful

I think relationships are hard period, end of sentence.

As a childhood survivor of physical, sexual and emotional abuse I developed PTSD. I was diagnosed with PTSD three years ago when I had a really bad episode and ended up hospitalized. It has began to come up again and I was diagnosed with complex PTSD. It seems to fester and wane at times. For many, complex PTSD doesn’t show up for years and years after the initial trauma occurred. I think I’ve had the symptoms on and off since I was in my early 20’s, and I can remember dealing with anxiety since my teens.

My biggest fear is abandonment. It’s also one of my biggest triggers. I never attached normally to either of my parents. My mom abandoned me at age 8 for an abusive man. She later married him and moved me and my sisters with her and her new husband. She not only let him abuse us, but she was emotionally abusive as well. She would at times love us, but then withdraw her love, affection, and attention anytime she felt slighted by me or my sisters. It was a very confusing relationship she had with us and very cruel. It’s scary being a child in this type of environment. You cannot escape and there is no one that will listen or help you. You have to stay and endure the abuse.

My mom hasn’t spoken to me in almost a year now. This could also be triggering me because it’s a feeling of abandonment all over again even thought I’m an adult now it still makes me feel rejected and unworthy of love.

Intimate relationships are difficult for me. I was never given the proper love or sense of well being that you get from your parents. I sought that type of love outside of home. This is one of the many reasons I became pregnant at the young age of 17. I found someone that loved me finally. I found the love that my parents wouldn’t give me. I craved that love my whole life. I craved love, affection, attention. I would do anything for it. I would be and could be anything that anyone wanted just to be and feel loved by someone. It made me feel ALIVE. It made me feel like I was worthy of something good for once in my life.

However, being in a relationship also triggers me. The slightest hint of mistrust from the one I love and I’m back in that childhood state. I go back to the frightened and abandoned feeling of my childhood. I have emotional flashbacks of how it felt to be abandoned by my mother. My fight or flight instinct kicks in and I’m stuck in this intense and confusing episode of fear, toxic shame, and despair, which shows up as angry reactions against myself or others. I don’t want to feel like that. I don’t want to be that little girl anymore. She is so very wounded and I am unsure how to fix her. Emotional flashbacks are awful. They trigger emotions in me that I haven’t been able to work through yet.

I’m in therapy and my therapist sent me home with some paperwork to assess my PTSD. One of the first questions is “What about me gives me a positive sense of who I am?”. I have no idea how to answer it. With complex PTSD I’ve spent so much time surviving and not really living. I’ve built so many walls around myself that I display a totally different person to the world than who I really am. Only people that are very close to me see the real me.

How can I show who I really am when who I really am is scared, insecure, vulnerable and severly wounded? At this time I’m not even sure I can answer that question, but I’m working on it.

If you could only see the beast you made of me…

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who you really are

Pieces of me.

The parts that hurt…the parts that I cannot control.

They still come out. They are not healed. The smallest scrape and I’m openly bleeding. I have a little girl inside of me. She is neglected, abused, dismissed, and unloved. I built something inside of me to protect her. No one else would protect her so I built inside of me the most angry, vicious, fierce, protective mother lioness that you would ever encounter. She even scares me sometimes. I have no control over her. Any hint of being abandoned, unloved, abused, neglected and she comes out. She is fierce and she goes for the jugular every single time. I know why I made her. She was there when I was being abused. She fought back. She tried to protect that little girl. She HAD to become mean, vicious, fearless and cruel. SHE had NO OTHER CHOICE.

I love every part of me. I love the little girl and I love the protective lioness in me too. However, I cannot go on letting both of them throw tantrums anytime they feel slighted. They will push every single person out of my life because all they need are each other.

I have a healthy, centered, loving part of me that I am building day by day. She’s always been there too, she’s just been afraid to come out. She’s waiting for it to be safe. She is safe now. I need HER to come out when I feel slighted. I need HER to take over when I’ve had an argument with my fiance or a coworker or a family member. I need HER to learn how to protect without hurting others. Day by day, brick by brick I will build her up.

Anyone else learn about these “parts” of your personality that were built as a result to significant, long standing trauma?

No more dreaming like a girl so in love with the wrong world…

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MLK quote

I must apologize, I haven’t blogged in a bit. My anxiety is heightened. I’m not sure what’s causing my anxiety to be so bad, but I have a few ideas. Dealing with PTSD is not for the birds. Everything seems to have escalated since going to therapy and facing my past. Maybe one of the reasons it’s gotten so bad is because of my mom’s behavior. Watching my mom drift out of my life without a care has been so very hurtful and it triggers me back into my past, back into the little girl begging her to love me and protect me. I have accepted that she will never be what I need her to be. She will never be that rock or foundation that I need. She will never comfort me or console me. She will never care about me or my children. She will never see the truth. She will never understand how much the abuse affected me. She will never tell me I’m smart, or pretty, or worthwhile. She will never miss me or wish I was in her life.

She does not define me.

The place my anxiety affects me the most is at work. I know I need to find a different job. This job is very stressful, but it pays really well. The environment is full of abuse. The men there gawk at me and see me as a sexual object and less than them. I work in sales. If you have ever worked in an environment like that then you probably understand. My desk is literally just out in the open on the showroom floor. That’s my biggest thing. For some reason it’s hard for me just to sit at my desk. I dissociate a lot. Then that causes me to panic. I get dizzy at work when I’m talking to customers and have to grab my desk. I feel unsteady and can’t ground myself because there are no walls. I’m in a huge showroom floor. I feel like I’m on display and that I’m not good enough, not pretty enough to be out there, not normal enough. Just thinking about it freaks me out. So, I do anything I can to not have to sit at that desk. The less I sit at the desk, the less sells I get, the less money I make. I’m not sure how to get over the fear of that stupid desk. It makes me feel like I’m in a fishbowl, if that makes sense., and everyone is watching me.

I’m usually so self sufficient and put together…well at least that’s what I want the outside world to see, but I feel like now my flaws are showing. My wounds are open and bleeding. People can see me fidgeting, not able to sit still, grabbing my desk when I start to dissappear (dissociate). I don’t want people at work to know or see my weaknesses. That place is so cutthroat, you cannot show weakness.

Part of me wonders if I have dissociated my whole life and now therapy has brought me in the real world and the real world is just too much for me? I’ve lived this lie for so long. I’ve believed that my mom loved me unconditionally. I believed that my grandparents were normal and that was part of the foundation I built myself on. That is all shattered now. They are all gone. There is no stability there and it’s scary. Was I someone else for 32 years and now this is the real me? Or does that sound totally crazy?

I have had bad anxiety off and on my entire life so this isn’t totally new. Learning the truths of my past are new though. I believed certain things for 32 years that I now know aren’t true. I now have to see who my mom really is and it’s not pretty. I love her and I hate her and I mourn her and part of me wants to protect her. It’s so confusing and devastating. It’s a loss. I don’t know if we will ever talk again. I feel like she could shun me forever.

Sorry, this has been such a sad post. I try to make my posts uplifting and strong. I’m such a passionate person, but my anxiety is draining me. Please send me good vibes. I need them.

Anyone else experience anxiety like this? Anyone have any suggestion/solutions for how to deal with the type of work environment I’m in? Any ways to calm myself when I’m scared and/or dissociating?

Toxic family members and Complex PTSD…

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trod me in this very dirt

Wow I haven’t posted in quite a while.

I was triggered recently by a family member and it leaves me questioning everything.

I imagine there are a lot of people here that also have symptoms of complex PTSD and deal with toxic families especially since one of the causes of complex PTSD is long term childhood abuse.

I have come to terms (somewhat) about my mom’s role in the abuse. In fact she continues to abuse and neglect me into my childhood. Have not seen her since 2007, neither have my children. I have not spoken to her since before Thanksgiving, neither have my children. She doesn’t reach out or behave in the way a mother would behave to her children or grandchildren. I have almost come to terms with realizing I am never going to get what I need from my mother.

My mom has definitely got issues of her own. From what my therapist and I talked about, we believe my mom was abused as a child. I don’ t think she had any support for it and that makes me sad for her, but it does not make me feel like I deserved to be abused by her.

I was triggered right around thanksgiving by my middle sister whom I had a disagreement with. Instead of us talking it out like you would in a normal, healthy relationship, she immediately went on the attack, sent me vicious text messages, played conquer and divide with family members and any mutual friends we had, and they all shunned me because they believe the things she said about me. This has gone on since I was a child. She has always made everyone take a side. My mom enjoys the drama and feeds into it so she began shunning me right around the time my sister did. I believe my sister learned this behavior from my mother, unfortunately.

I think my sister is a narcissist, my therapist agrees.

My sister and I hadn’t spoken since thanksgiving. I have been doing fine without her. I cried about it for a while, but therapy and my system of support (mainly my fiance) have helped me rise above all her cruelty. I even had an aunt, whom I barely spoke with delete and block me on facebook as well as any mutual friends I had with my sister. Talk about ridiculousness.

My sister friend requested me on facebook a little over a week ago. The old me would have immediately accepted her friend request and would have been relieved she was finally not mad at me anymore and allowing me to feel valued and human again. I would have allowed her to sweep everything under the rug. The new me is stronger and doesn’t need her approval. I didn’t accept her request. Instead I sent her a text saying I wasn’t comfortable accepting her on facebook just yet and that I think before I did that the incident needed to be talked about. I had apologized for hurt feelings and felt I deserved the same from her.

She sent me a long email and it did include an apology, but there were a lot of little digs in it that stung and triggered. I decided not to respond until I could talk to my therapist about it. We both decided that my response to her should be letting her know that certain boundaries needed to be put in place for us to continue our relationship as sisters.

Here are the two boundaries that I will be emailing her about:

1. No personal character attacks in disagreements. No attacking my relationships with other people. My relationship with my fiance, my children and his children are dear to me and when you attack that, you are crossing serious boundaries for me.

2. I don’t want to talk about our mother. I don’t want to hear about your phone conversations with her, or trips you guys take together. I don’t want to know what she is doing. Sensitive topic for me at this point in my life.

I am not sure how she will react to this email. I have a feeling she will feel attacked and may even go on the attack again. If she does I will disengage myself and I will not respond.

Have you guys ever had to set up boundaries in your personal relationships with toxic people in your life? How did it go? Did it help your relationships? Anyone else have any other advice on dealing with toxic family members?

When the walls come crumbling down…

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little girl 2
I woke up this morning a little late. I rushed into the shower, fixed my hair and makeup as best I could, grabbed a yogurt and a glass of ice water and out the door I went. As I was driving I was reminding myself to be present, and to breathe. I told myself that no matter what was brought up in therapy today that I would stay there and not dissociate and work through it.

I walked into her office apologetic and about ten minutes late. She was very understanding and said no, don’t apologize it’s not a problem at all. She asked me how I’ve been. I started telling her how I’ve had a hard time writing that unsent letter, that I’m unsure at times what to say to my mother. We haven’t spoken since before Thanksgiving. Sometimes I just loathe her and sometimes I feel sorry for her because she is in a relationship with an alcoholic, who I believe controls her life. I explained to her that when my mom was in between relationships that she was there for me more and actually reached out to me, and was more of what I would think a mother should be. When she is in a relationship she goes off the grid. She doesn’t call, she doesn’t reach out, she doesn’t return calls, she doesn’t come and visit me or my children (her grandchildren). I have not seen or touched my mother since 2007. My therapist explained that I was filling an emotional need for my mother when she was single and that when she got in a relationship her husband filled that need. She said this isn’t normal or right, but it happens often in abuse situations.

She opened her folder and said she had been going over my family tree that we did in my first session. She said she was looking at all the good things that I had said about my grandparents on my mom’s side. She looked at me and said all these good things you said about them, I’m not buying it..there had to be something going on for your mother to be the way she is.

I looked up and everything started to go a little blurry and my therapist was getting further and further away. I reminded myself to breathe and that I wasn’t in danger. Deep breaths. I grabbed my keys inside my jacket and felt them in my hand. I was back. I remembered some odd stories my mom would tell me about her father (my Papa). She would tell me that they would shower together often and that he had a large penis and a nice body. She said she always thought he was the best looking man and that they would sleep in the same bed sometimes. My mom always seemed to have him up on a pedestal. My therapist then asked at what age my mom was when all that was going on and I told her less than ten years of age. I went on to tell her that my mom had very low self-esteem as a child. My mom told me that she grew up thinking that she was ugly and weird and that she thought people didn’t like her. All these things always struck me as odd, but I was a child and didn’t understand much of it.

My therapist said that my mom’s behavior and the stories she told me indicate some type of incest/abuse going on. This was eye-opening for me. I often thought my mom must have been neglected some because of the way she neglects my sisters and I, but never would have thought incest.

This breaks down some serious truths I have believed my whole life. It is as if some of the walls I have built around me crumbled today. I felt my wounds opening again and bleeding freely. I always held my papa and my granny up on a pedestal, much like my mom did. I think about them often. A piece of NORMAL in my family that is now broken. I felt like I was disappearing while I was having these thoughts.

I grounded myself in the session and we talked about it more. How it’s not my fault. She asked how I felt knowing all of this and I really didn’t have a word to describe it. She explained to me that when I’m talking over the abuse that there doesn’t seem to be much emotion there. I wasn’t sure exactly what she meant by that. She said at times some emotion comes though, but not very often. She explained that much of my childhood I was dissociating and that is the way I learned to protect myself. That it’s a normal reaction to an abnormal traumatic situation. She said I may be doing some emotional numbing as well.

We talked about my back to back abusive relationships. I told her how I was hospitalized for a physical ailment that ended up being more psychological during my second abusive relationship. She asked me how I was feeling now that I’m in therapy. I told her about my anxiety, panic attacks and dissociation moments increasing. Then she asked about my physical symptoms. I described my trouble swallowing, stiff muscles, TMJ, grinding teeth at night, and reflux. She said these can all be from internalizing my stress and that she recommends I use medication while going through therapy and gave me the name of a good psychiatrist here.

This scares me. I don’t like taking new medications, especially ones that alter the way my brain works. I have medication phobia big time.

I left her office, got in my car, drove about a mile and completely broke down. I wonder why I can’t break down like that in her office? I felt so scared. I always look up at the sky and know my granny and papa are watching over me, but now they may not be who I believed them to be. I cried for my mother and what she must have endured. I almost reached out to her, I wanted to hear her voice and I needed to be comforted. I stopped myself. The little girl inside me wanted her, but I am the only person that can protect that little girl now. I cannot let her feel the rejection from my mom, not today. Not while these wounds are opened. I do hope my mom knows I love her.

I was diagnosed with complex post traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder three years ago by a psychiatrist after that week-long hospital stay for severe difficulty swallowing, but no physical reason for it could be found. I was in the midst of a horribly abusive relationship at the time, but wouldn’t open up to anyway about it then. I opened up to the psychiatrist about my past and he diagnosed C-PTSD immediately.

I would like to pose a question to my readers (and thank you for reading, sorry so long!). Have any of you tried medication for PTSD or GAD? What have you tried and has it helped you? Did it help your physical symptoms too?

Thanks!!

I lived despite YOU. I no longer fear you. You will NOT silence me.

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courage2I got away from my childhood abuser, my step-dad, at the age of fifteen. After a bad episode of physical abuse that almost lead to my death my mom and I decided it would be better for me to live with my father. I left my mom, my two sisters and my half sister behind. Like I described in my earlier posts, my stepdad hated me. He took out most of the physical and verbal assaults on me. I was very willful and would often fight back and it would just make things worse, but I’ve always been a fighter. That’s one thing he never could take away from me.

I cannot begin to describe the feelings I had when I had to leave. I ached for my mom and sisters. I would take a shower and cry so hard because I missed them so much. I knew I could no longer live anywhere near my stepdad, but couldn’t understand why my mom wouldn’t just leave him and bring my sisters too.

The shunning began a little after I left. I moved a state away. I would try to call my mom and my stepdad would tell me she was either busy or didn’t want to talk to me. They would send me “family” pictures of how happy they all were without me there. We never took family pictures with me there. It was another one of my stepdad’s manipulations. He wanted me to feel like I was unwanted and unloved. He wanted me to feel like I didn’t matter. He wanted me to believe that no one would ever believe a word I had to say. I did feel unwanted and unloved and I also felt really confused.

It took me a year to tell my dad about the abuse. A YEAR. Can you imagine allowing someone to abuse the people you love for a year and not saying a word about it? That’s the power these abusers can have over people. He had so much power that even after being an entire STATE away from him I was still afraid to tell my dad that he abused me and my sisters and my mom for over a decade. To think about that now is mind boggling. There’s no way I would let something like that go on now, but I was young and I was scared. I was told by my mom that she could not live without him. I knew my step dad’s power that he had over people. No one would believe he did those things.

But, tell, I did. One night at a park with my best friend I spilled everything to her, I don’t remember why, I just know I did. She urged me to tell my dad and told me how I had to get them away from him, that he could kill them. It brought something out in me that I’d seen sparks of before. It brought out my courage. I sat my dad and my stepmother down and told them everything through tears and sobs…I let out the truth that had been going on for years. My dad was frantic. He called child protective services that night. It didn’t do much good as my sisters and mom denied everything with my stepdad present. However, my dad got them for Christmas that year and he never let them go back. I had my sisters back. We told our truths to child protective services. My mom stayed with my stepdad along with my half sister who was only two at the time.

My dad told my papa (my mom’s dad) about the abuse. The next day my dad and my papa got in a van and drove ten hours to go and get my mom whether she wanted to leave or not. They got her and my half sister and all their belongings as well as some of my stepdad’s. My papa urinated all over the side of my stepdad’s van…this still brings a huge smile to my face when I think about it. My papa was a very onery man from southern Georgia…where people treated each other with respect, where men were gentlemen and women were ladies. This was all a huge shock to his system. He saved my mom and my half sister from any further abuse. He brought them home. A few days later my papa died of a heart attack. It was sudden and unexpected. It was one of the saddest days of my life. His heart could not handle what that man had done to us. I thank God for him, I know he still watches over us.

Life is not perfect. We all have or have had bad people in our lives, but sometimes it just takes an ounce of good to take care of decades of bad. I’m so thankful for the ounces of good in my life. I’m still recovering and I struggle with post traumatic stress disorder and get triggered at times, but I’m very grateful to be here.

My stepdad never served any time for the abuse, I don’t remember why. I do know that he lost a very good job because of the charges we filed and I’ve never heard or seen him since I was fifteen.

My mom moved away from us to live with her sister and took my half sister with her. We lived the rest of our childhood with my dad and stepmom and lived abuse free. My mom and middle sister still shun me to this day. My two other sisters do it to some extent as well. I still love all of them and would do almost anything for them, but have also put up healthy boundaries to keep them from hurting me, my children, or my fiance. I know they act this way because of the abuse we all endured. It affects everyone differently. I’ll never regret getting them away from him.

I am still very angry, but I’m no longer ashamed of my anger and I feel righteously that it’s justified anger. He ripped my family apart. The wounds he left still affect us today. This is the best kind of anger and the worst kind. The highest grade opiate of pissed off, middle finger, self affirming scream of “I lived despite you” that can be had. I am owning it and I am honoring it.

seven devils

I must become a Lion Hearted Girl…

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strong2
Away from him, away from him. I am away from him. I still feel his presence though, I can still feel his words cutting at my very soul.

He did bend me, but he didn’t break me.

My last post I talked about how the abuse started when we walked in on my step dad and my younger sister. This post will be about how I ended it.

My stepdad was a soul sucker. He could literally make you feel like you were nothing, like you had disappeared.

I was the protector of my sisters and my mom. If I saw the abuse going on I would always intervene. I would tell him to stop yelling, stop shoving or hitting my sisters, stop doing whatever abuse he was doing. Then he would take it out on me instead of my sisters and mom. I didn’t care I just wanted him to stop.

The verbal abuse was worse than the physical abuse. He would sit my sisters and I down and pit us against one another. He would tell my middle sister how amazing, awesome and smart she was then look at me and tell me how awful and ugly and skinny I was, he would tell me that I was a loser and would never amount to anything. He hated me and wanted me out of the picture, he knew I was too smart to be manipulated by him. I was to be his undoing. This ruined the relationships between my sisters and I, abuse affects everyone differently. We all had to play different roles, never allowed to let our true feelings or our true selves show.

He also liked to call us all leeches. He said we leeched off of him and sucked him dry. He would tell us this in public in front of people sometimes. He said we were all selfish and that we used him. How could three young girls even know how to be selfish and use anyone?

Eventually, by the time I was about 14 the abuse had gotten so bad I feared for my life. I had already made plans to move back in with my dad (who lived in a different state). My stepdad caught wind of this and it infuriated him. He came in my room one night and he looked down at me and he said “so you are moving back in with your daddy so you can suck your daddy’s ____” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This sick bastard, how could he say something like that about my dad when HE was the abuser, not my dad. I stood up to him for the last time and I said F__K you!!! He picked me up by my throat and threw me on the bed and began strangling me screaming “I’m going to kill you stupid b_tch” …I remember blacking out. I must have already learned to disociate at that point because the way I remember that incident is from a different viewpoint. I can see him grabbing me and choking me as if I was a bystander, floating on the ceiling, like it wasn’t happening to me, it was happening to someone else. My mom got him off of me and he went and slept in his van. I slept with a kitchen knife in my hand that night.

I moved back in with my dad pretty quickly after that. I got out of there and I never went back. My mom begged me to not tell anyone about the abuse. She said if my stepdad left her she would be ruined, she would have nothing and that he might hurt her or my sisters. So I stayed silent for quite a while. I did eventually get my sisters out of his grip and I’ll go more into that later.

While I lived with my dad my mom and sisters and step dad began to shun me. They wouldn’t take my phone calls. My stepdad would tell me that my mom was not my mom anymore, that she didn’t want me. I felt tossed aside. My heart was eternally broken. I was only 15 and did not understand why I was being treated this way. I didn’t understand that my mom and stepdad were abusers and users and that I deserved better.

I can tell you this all happened about 18 years ago and my sisters and my mom continue to shun me (off and on). They are only nice to me when they need me, otherwise I don’t exist. I feel like I don’t have a mother or sisters that love me even though I protected them and would do anything for them. They tossed me to the side like I was nothing. They treated me almost as badly as my stepdad treated all of us. I was their scapegoat and have always been blamed by them for anything bad that goes on in their lives. They use me and manipulate me any chance they get.

I have put quite of bit of distance and boundaries up for my mom and sisters, but they continue to run rampant over any boundaries or rules that are set up, so going no contact with them has been my only relief…as badly as it aches me.

I continue to struggle with understanding all of this.

In saying all of this, I must become a lion hearted girl, ready for a fight. I cannot be fearful as I am going at this alone as I tell my truths. I am having to go against some pretty big monsters in my life who try to keep me from telling, but I just cannot stay silent anymore.
courage

How I lost my childhood…

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ballerina
I wanted to be a ballerina…I wanted to jump on a train with my ballet slippers and travel the world. I wanted to be a daddy’s girl. I wanted a mom that cherished me. I just wanted to be a little girl…I wanted…I wanted ….I wanted. ……. and it blurred….

My childhood is just one big blur. From what I’ve been told that is normal for adults who endured long term childhood abuse/trauma. I can remember bits and pieces..some good and some bad. It’s hard to share my full story when I’m not even sure what my story was. I’m hoping through therapy I can recover some of the lost memories.

That being said, I’m prepared to share what I remember about the beginning..

I’m the eldest of four girls. The biggest turning point in my childhood would be when my mom left my dad when I was about age 8 or 9. Before she left I remember my mom and dad fighting a lot. I can recall them throwing objects and yelling at one another. I can remember my mom crying saying that she was going to leave him and get us away from all of that and I remember feeling confused. I can remember being up late at night and sneaking into the living room and my mom would be on the phone with another man and she would be smoking (I would never see her smoke during the day).

One morning I was getting ready for school picking out my dress…for some odd reason I would only wear dresses as a young girl…I hated pants and hated the way they felt. Anyway as my little 9 year old self was getting ready for school that morning, my mom sat me down on my bed and told me she was leaving and that she wasn’t coming back…and that is exactly what she did. I was scared. I had thoughts of being homeless as I got older. My whole world was broken and we were left with my dad, who was a good dad, but he was also emotionally disconnected from us, distant and definitely not equipped to raise three young girls. My mom moved to another state with her new boyfriend. My dad was gone a lot, managing a restaurant. We walked to school in the morning and walked home every day. Sometimes our teacher would pick us up halfway, she was really sweet and I will never forget her. I remember having to fend for ourselves a lot and I took care of my younger sisters too with not much adult supervision. Eventually my grandmother reached out to my mother and told her that my dad could not take care of us right and my mom took custody of us.

We moved in with them and the nightmare got worse.

My step dad seemed nice at first, before my mom moved away with him we would visit them sometimes at their apartment and we would set up a tent in the living room and watch movies. We always had fun. When we moved in with them permanently I remember it being Christmas time and we were lavished with awesome gifts that year. Shortly after my mom went to a family reunion and left us in the care of our stepdad. He was drinking that night. I was around the age of 10, my sister was 8 and youngest was 6. My middle sister and I had set up a tent in the living room. My youngest sister had been missing for a while so we went to check in on her. We walked in on something that little girls should never have to witness. My stepdad was abusing my youngest 6 year old sister. I remember asking what they were doing because at the age of 10 I still didn’t quite understand what was going on. My stepdad said “we are having fun, want to join?” My middle sister and I both said no and went back to our tent. I remember helping my youngest sister bathe afterwards and asking her what all happened. We told her we had to tell mom. She cried and said no that she would get in trouble. At the age of 10 I knew deep inside that she didn’t do anything wrong and I told her that and I told her that mom needed to know that he’s doing something wrong.

Once my mom got back we told her. I remember my youngest sister getting into trouble…I think she got a spanking but it’s kind of a blur. My mom went into the garage and argued with my step dad. We were told to never tell anyone about it and that my youngest sister may have been lying. We shoved it deep down. This is when it all began. This is when I lost my childhood. Fucking bastard.

He stole our childhood like it was nothing..like a thieft in the night. He never had any remorse. He abused us more and more after that incident. In my eyes he’s the devil, the very worst type of human that could roam this earth…and my mother found him and married him!

I still have guilt about that moment when and wish I would have done something to protect my sister. It’s something I’m working on within myself. I wish I had done more. I wish I had run at him like a rabid dog and ripped his throat out and left him to die. However, I was only 10 and I don’t remember what I was thinking or how I processed all of it. I’m sure that is the point when I learned to dissociate, especially after we were told to never talk about it. We were threatened and coerced into compliance and we stayed silent for years.

What should have happened at that point? My mom should have called the cops…she should have protected us! We were just BABIES! She allowed that man to abuse us and she STAYED!! So at the ages of 10, 8, and 6 my sisters and I were taught that we were worthless, that we weren’t good enough to protect and that we deserved to be abused. What else would a young child think?

I have so much ANGER towards my step dad for all the abuse (which I will go more into later) and my mom for allowing it to happen!

I have lost contact with my mother as of this past year. I decided I could no longer handle her toxicity, neglectfulness or her abuse in my life. I could no longer handle her not allowing me to speak out against the abuse, I could no longer allow her to negate my feelings. She did eventually leave my stepdad and I will go more into that story later too. She left him much too late and let WAY too much go on before she left. My sisters and I are no longer on speaking terms either. Abuse affects everyone differently. We were taught our WHOLE lives to not talk about any of the abuse. We were very enmeshed and manipulated by my mother and were punished with shunning if we ever spoke out against her. My middle sister is currently infuriated that I have spoken out against my mom. My middle sister is very controlling and so my younger sister just follows along with whatever the middle sister thinks. My mom has been shunning me for almost a year now.

I am now the age of 33 and I am speaking out, I have found my voice. I am a survivor and I no longer fear the punishment and the abandonment of my family…I have lost family members because of this and I may be better for it. I will still forge ahead on this journey that I am on. I will tell my story. I will be heard. I will not disappear like they want me to.

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