I’ve been having nightmares lately, almost like sleeping flashbacks. I’ve been almost not sleeping. I’ve also been doing almost no work on my childhood trauma in therapy. I’ve had other stuff to focus on…my wife refusing to admit that she is physically falling apart, my oldest son with his increasingly intense behavioral issues, my constantly failing friendships, my seeming social ineptness. But, I think in not spending time on my childhood stuff, I’ve forced my mind, my heart, my younger parts to leak the stuff out anyway possible; hence the nightmares. And I’m realizing that most of these nightmares are of events that took place between the ages of 10 and 14. In fact, this evening, I took time to attempt to list out everything that happened in those years. It was so much, and so completely horrifying, that I dry heaved through the writing of the list. It was pretty gross, but pretty telling of just how petrified i must have been as a kid. I am overwhelmed by the ghastly things I lived through in those years, and for the first time ever, I also found myself totally awed by the child who could survive those things, and not die. That child, not only survived, but found people to love her. That child grew up to be a good person….a good wife, good mother, good friend.
So, that is the state of my heart right now…overwhelmed and awed (and intensely nauseous…yuck).
I’m realizing that lots of times, it’s been me that gets hurt when I don’t know the rules. I didn’t know the rules sbout how to be sa kid in my family. And right now, I apparently don’t know the ruled of many friendships. I guess that if my family were a real family and my friends were real friends, they would make sure I knew the rules. In fact, I’m wondering if there should even be rules. I only have one rule with my friends, “please do not hurt me intentionally”. However, apparently, supposed friendships can have many kther rules. And then, i start to wonder, are those people really my friends?
To the infant me:
I will take you to parks and creeks and mountains and lakes and hills and oceans and wetlands and beaches. You will be safe with me. I will not let go of you until you are ready to walk on your own. I will never let go of you until you are ready to swim on your own. Even when you are older and stronger and more independent, I will hold your hand and hug you. When you are scared, I will honor your fear. When you are brave, I will honor ypur courage. I will teach you to be a warrior, even when you are needy. I will teach you to be brave enough to learn to value solitude. I will be with you. No matter what.
In a previous post, I wrote that my therapist has started Corrective Attachment Therapy with me. It is something that gives me great hope for my healing. The idea is to get me attached to my younger self, really voice what happened in my life, and then, through role plays or empty chair exercises , tell the people who hurt me exactly what they did to me and what I feel about those things. One of my hopes about this therapy is that it will help to loosen the tentacles of abuse that hold my younger selves hostage, who in turn hold parts of my mind, heart, and soul hostage through the constant replaying of that abuse. Hopefully, my younger selves will eventually be attached to me and the strong, caring woman I am instead of being attached to the abuse and trying to get that love and protection from the abusers themselves.
This therapy is not easy. It requires follow-up between sessions. It requires lots of attention from me because the infant me requires lots of attention. This therapy is bringing to light what a baby needs and how many of my normal baby needs were not met. The good part of this therapy is that it requires lots of reflecting and talking from me. I’m beginning to make connections I’ve not made before.
I’m using a doll from my childhood as a representative of the baby I was. It’s peculiar how often I’m drawn to cuddle that doll at night. I believe parts of me are starting to relax as they understand that I am working to meet their needs.
Today is one of those 2 days a year that I really dread. The other is Mother’s day.
I don’t want to celebrate Father’s day. I could celebrate it in two ways. I could celebrate my father…, but, I don’t know how to do that. He did horrible, vitriolic, deviant, and heinous things to me, but i also inherited some of my favorite parts of myself from him. I learned my love of music and reading from him. He taught me most of what i know about nature…and I know quite a bit. I inherited my intelligence from him. My sense of humor, which I also share with my brother, my nieces, and a few of my cousins, mirrors that of my father when be was in a good mood or out in social situations. I learned to be creative from my father. It’s really a Catch-22 for me.
I could also celebrate the father of my children. I am grateful for the man’s sperm as it helped to create my children, whom I love with all my heart. But, he’s not a good man. My children’s father hurt them in many different and horrible ways. He’s the reason they have many of the issues they have. So, really, im not interest in celebrating him.
We did celebrate my wife’s father today. He is a great father. He’s quiet and unassuming and supports his children in anyway possible. I love holidays with him. He recently went on a cruise with us and was great with our kids. He actually started teasing me in a loving way on our cruise and l realize that even though he didnt understand his daughter wanting to marry me, he is now totally accepting of me as his daughter-in-law.
That is how I feel today.
When will I ever get life right?