Unhinged

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Yesterday I wrote. My head was bugging me so I said okay, try and write you bastard, and to hell with the pool and swimming. Figured I may do 20 minutes and then pull back.

I didn’t stop for two hours. And when I did finally stop, I felt shaky and sick.

I was trying to write about my early years. Trying to explore that abuse by my mother. I began with ‘my mother’ and that wasn’t right. I tried ‘my mom’, which was better but still didn’t give me the flow.

Then I typed in ‘Mommy’, and it came flooding out.

First lesson: Mommy could, and did, hurt. The girl always hoped Mommy wouldn’t hurt. She always hoped Mommy would be the Mommy she loved; the one who hugged her and kissed her and told her it would be alright. But there was that other Mommy. She came unexpectedly. Odd times of the day or night. And she brought pain with her.

There it was. I remember now. I didn’t have the words back then. Now I do. And the child that was me felt my mother had split personalities. She was the perfect example of a loving mother in public. In private, just the two of us (and oh! how she managed to spend so much time with just the two of us I’ll never quite figure out), she could be ‘Mean Mommy’. I thought that way for all of my early years. Later on, as I grew, these irreconcilable mommies would merge and become one and the same person to me. But in those very early years, they were two separate individuals.

Who would Mommy be today? Nice Mommy or Mean Mommy? Mean Mommy was good at hiding. You never knew when she was around. Not until her mouth clamped down, or she hurt.

I confronted the repeated abuse:

Mommy didn’t promise the pain would stop. And it didn’t. It seemed to go on and on. And when she finally stopped hurting the girl, it was only for a little while. The pain would come back, another day. Again, the girl would beg for it to stop. Again she would be told it was for her own good, that it must be done, and the scrubbing or pinching would continue and continue until the girl felt she must be bleeding from a thousand wounds.

To say I feel unhinged would be an understatement. I’ve been wondering if I really have cracked, if I truly do have my feet on the path marked ‘INSANITY’. The entire world has shifted under my feet.

But those remembered feelings are true.

I’m clinging to that.

I found my fear of my mother:

The girl said nothing. Mommy was known. Mommy was popular. Mommy was important.

Most of all, Mommy was powerful.

Never say anything. I must have, once. Sometime. Because I learned to be so very afraid of saying it ever again. I was afraid of my mother’s retribution, exacted when we were alone. My mind quakes just thinking of it.

The child in me also brought up another point, one that really makes me wonder now that I’m an adult:

Her brains could ensure she was slave to no man, ever. That was the worst thing in all the world, and Mommy was going to make sure it never happened if it was the last thing she did.

This coming from a woman who put her husband before her children.

The ironic thing is, of course, that my mother trained me to be a doormat so I was prime territory for abusive men.

And my grandmother (my mother’s mother) was infamous in the family for the following statement: “Men have a place on this Earth. It’s six feet under.”

What happened? I’ll never know now. All the relevant characters in this story are dead long ago. But it makes me think my grandmother and mother had an awful lot of hate towards men, despite their ‘happy’ and long-lived marriages. Men weren’t partners. They were necessary combatants in daily life. Women had to work extra hard – get up early and go to bed late – to keep men in their place.

Yet men were everything. Number one. Daddy came first, work a close second, bills/friends/phone third, house fourth, savings/investments fifth, and somewhere bringing up the rear were children.

Every child wants to feel special to their parent, but my dad and I did have a special bond. I was the only child of natural birth; my siblings had to have medical intervention to even be conceived. I was the ‘gift’. I was also the only one to carry my dad’s coloring and dimples.

I do not have any memories of my father playing with my siblings the way he played with me. Then again, I have no memories of my siblings wanting to spend time with my dad. I was the one he tickled, I was the one he taught football and baseball to, I was the one who had full rights to climb up on his lap and fall asleep listening to his heartbeat.

Dad was safe. My mother wasn’t.

The little girl remembered a bed time thing, a game my dad played with me. My mother was drawn into the game because she had to be; they’s swing me by my hands and feet and gently toss me onto my bed. Then Dad would tickle me and kiss me and tuck me in. As I was there, in that memory, I saw my mother. Looking on from the doorway, her part in the game done. She had that look I call ‘Mean Mommy’ about her. She didn’t like that Dad and I played, that we shared something she wasn’t involved in.

My mother was jealous of me.

When I was four, or five.

…Things being the way they are, I’ve tried looking up idea on how to deal with this. Half the time I’m telling myself I’m going off the deep end, my memory is screwed up, none of this happened. The other half I feel sick and afraid. For now, I’m trying to let it just be. I want to write more, but I’m going to wait awhile. The memories I’ve been unlocking have shocked me deeply. And it’s lonely to think I still don’t feel safe talking about it.

But I am here. I have survived what was done to me.

Now I just need to forgive myself.

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16 thoughts on “Unhinged

    1. I also find it unsettling to know with such certainty how the rest of my family would react if I told them. Complete shut down, I’m wrong, I’m crazy, etc. It’s very scary to move forward knowing the other people who were around during those times would deny anything like it ever happened.

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      1. Yeah, gaslighting…The favorite tool of the narcissist. I am sadly all too familiar with it. My sister is the worst, absolute worst. The rest of the family is at various levels of denial over …well, the family. Which is why I’ve elected to not interact with most of them. My sister is completely cut off. Forever. A rousing chorus of ‘Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead’ will be sung when I hear she’s finally dead. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t think you are going off the deep end. It IS shocking when things that have been deeply buried come up to the surface and you see, with your adult eyes and knowledge, how messed up things were. It shakes you up because it alters the narrative about your own life that you have been telling others and yourself for years. But at the same time, something about it feels true and makes sense.

    I was very hung up for a long, long time on whether things I remembered were exactly right or maybe I made parts of them up or had a twisted mind. It was very freeing when I finally let E’s words sink in, that clearly something was wrong, and so I deserved to heal from that. Because after all, you don’t heal from the specific physical/sexual wound. You heal from the wound to your psyche, and regardless of if you were hurt this way or that way, you know the psychic wound that you have carried going forward. For me that was years of an abusive marriage, before I got divorced, enormous problems with boundaries, a lot of suppression of feelings, an underlying sense of not deserving love and attention, things like that. I wouldn’t be surprised that some of these resonate with you as well.

    Are you going to look for a therapist? I hope you can find one experienced with healing from incest and trauma. Be picky. I’ve had good ones and bad ones (E is the best). A bad one is any that make you feel unseen or that seems uncomfortable with any part of your story or wants to plug you into a formulaic approach to getting better.

    I am glad you are listening to the girl’s experience. She’s so important, and her needs that were unmet at the time matter a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Q. When I let myself say and think those words, remember those feelings, some tension in my body dropped. It was almost immediately replaced with guilt, which tightened everything up again, but there WAS that moment of release.

      I don’t know about a therapist. I’m so on edge with the whole idea, so raw from what I’m feeling that I’m really scared to try to find someone. Not after that blow off I got from the last shrink, who literally waved off my statement about an abusive ex and the time I was raped. I don’t think I can take hearing something like that again. I got so angry! I’m still angry. It took a lot to not draw that into myself; I sank down into hell for a couple of days then pulled myself out. But don’t mistake the brevity of it for anything light; I was as close to jumping off a building or onto the train tracks as I’ve been.

      I recognize that right now I need to nurture myself. Be kind and loving to me, to my little girl (to use your wording; it works for me, so thanks). I want to grow a bit stronger in myself before I seek anyone else out.

      There’s still questions to be answered as to whether or not I have bipolar and/or ADHD in the mix. I’ve done a bit of reading and realize long term trauma can cause very similar symptoms as either of these conditions. So I REALLY don’t know if my sleep problems, my frustration/anger problems, my recurring depressive and ‘manic’ episodes are all because of my upbringing/trauma or (and) anything else. I’d like a bit of time with these new ideas before coming to any conclusions.

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      1. I like that. I’m used to doing the opposite; going as fast as the fastest part of me wants to go and just dragging the rest of me behind. It’s hard, though. Hard to not beat myself up. Hard to LOVE myself. I keep catching myself thinking that when I’m thin or ‘cured’ or whatever that I’ll find it easier to be happy and love myself. Trying to break that down, to tell myself that I deserve love right now, even with my fat belly and wrinkles around my eyes. Not the easiest thing to do.

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      2. You do deserve love right now! Think about people you love or have loved in your life. Would you have loved them more if they were thinner? If they had nicer clothes? If they ran faster? If they didn’t have grey hairs? It helps me to think about this when a pair of my pants are too tight. Thin is not an indicator of worth. xo

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      3. In theory, I readily agree. In personal practice, I continually fall down. AND…I keep telling myself that kind of thing. When I think of someone I care(d) about, it’s not their body I think of. Trying to transfer that feeling into the ‘mirror’ and see it in myself. Feel it in myself. KNOW it in myself. Hard stuff. xo

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  2. When I was raped at 11 I kept it in till about 16, made up a story about the broken arm and everything. In that time I wrote a lot and read a lot, I probably wasn’t ok but I was dealing. The moment I told someone it was just all about the therapy and I had to tell my story probably to 12 different people all up.

    What I’m trying to say is whatever you try to do to heal, writing helps a lot. And although there were maybe one or two therapists that were pretty alright, didn’t change any emotion in me. I just had to learn to live with the knowledge of what happened having being repressed for so long, it took time. Do what you need to do to get through. If you feel crazy then let loose a bit and shake it out of your system. Just be. Time is the best healer. You’re in a better place then what you were back then, you have all the knowledge about it all, your best arsenal. Just do what you think you need to do to live. Connect with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh goddess…that’s probably the last thing I wanted to hear. Gimme a pill, a shot, a lobotomy. ANYthing but handling it alone. No wonder I smoke.

      It’s only you and people like you that are keeping me going right now, Kim. I couldn’t do this without you guys telling me I’ll be okay, that what I’m feeling is okay, that I didn’t deserve any of it in the first place. Thank you. So very much. ❤

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  3. The main thing that has given me peace was accepting myself and enjoying my own company. We all have to handle life alone at the end of the day, the people you choose to keep in your life are supports.

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    1. I like myself like I like children: in small bursts. An hour here, an hour there. More and I grow frustrated and irritable.

      So right now, that’s how I’m gonna handle it. Small bursts. I won’t force myself to confront my past too much. It scares the shit out of me.

      Liked by 1 person

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