Being A Survivor

Taboo Word – Day 2

What is it that you can find, deep within the mind of a survivor? Being a survivor myself, I’d have to say that the answer is not that simple. Some things that remain, are often things that you don’t want to remember, ever. I believe that I have some of these myself.

I have been going to therapy for a good 30 years or more, and I am still working on getting past thoughts and patterns that affect my behavior on a daily basis. Some of the memories that I have recovered, have helped me to understand why I’m the way that I am.

These memories are ones that explain why I have the diagnoses that I have. Some of these memories explain the poor self-image, poor self-worth, or inappropriate emotional responses, causing poor reasoning, avoidance of people or places and exaggerated emotional responses.

They can also cause the impulsiveness that leads me to spending in excess, emotional outbursts, and relationships that are short, and often over emotional. My long-term relationships have lasted for five years each, and I’ve been through and used up three of them.

Now I live alone, and everything that I act on, is still based on exaggerated emotional responses to the stimuli around me. This has been my life for the past 16 years. I take part in outside activities, like Bible studies and wheelchair sporting events, but everything is done (hah!) in a way that protects me from experiencing those emotions that are almost always inappropriate to the situation.

So I spend most of my time alone in my apartment, with only my cat, all the things I take part in on the Internet, and Netflix and my big screen TV. One person that lives in this building, understands a lot of my interactions with others, and the thoughts behind my actions.

But now, my therapist wants me to start relying more on my peers, and less on professionals for support. This is very difficult for me to carry out, but I make it seem to her, that I am changing this behavior. This is not easy for me.  Not at all.

You can see today’s taboo word below. Visit Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog and creator of the challenge, for details on participating.

 

Click the blue frog to read others taking part in this fun challenge

Family – Real Or Not?

I have a small family. I have a large extended family. I have a spiritual family. I have an online family.  🙂

I am not currently engaging with anyone in my family(ies), except I am always engaging with my online family, both here and on Facebook. My small family consists of myself and two brothers. One has distanced himself so far away that I never hear or see him (except for my mother’s funeral). He does not call or send greeting cards for any occasion. My other brother lives far away and I don’t get to see him often. He is the youngest and, like myself, has many talents. If I would have to name my closest family, it’s the family I have with him and his wife.

I have no sisters, and I am the oldest in the family. All of us scattered far away from the place we called home, but was just a house with five people living inside. ‘Home’ was a tiny town in Upstate New York. Now the oldest brother lives in Sanders KY, the youngest in Whitesboro TX, and I reside in Racine, WI. We all are spread far from home, and each other.

If I were to ask myself why this might have happened, the answers are difficult to actually form as words on the computer screen. All three of us were emotionally and physically abused by my mother, and I also lived with sexual abuse from my father. Maybe if we lived closer together, it would trigger some of those old memories that are buried deep inside each of us. I’m sure that our perspectives were all different, as we all remember things in different ways. But I know that we all have some memories that will always haunt us, whether we are able to voice them or not. Don’t get me wrong, I love my brothers and sister-in-law very much and that will never change.

There is one other person that I would have to add as family. He was my mother’s boyfriend after my father died, and before she died of cancer. He is like a dad to me, a real dad who loves me, cares about what and how I’m doing, and shows this often. The only problem is that he lives back in New York, and I don’t see him very often, and his phone calls are sporadic, as he is always busy traveling around the country, or bowling, or any of a number of things. He is my ‘Dad’.

So, I live a solitary life, occasionally interacting with some of my neighbors, but not often. It’s just myself and my cat. She is good company but doesn’t compare to live human beings. I do not feel loved, or needed, or even cared about, at times.

I continue on, often in the throes of depression, but I kicked the alcohol 17 years ago. I kicked the cigarettes almost nine years ago. But I still do not take care of myself. They ask me every time they see me if I have eaten, how often do I eat, and what do I eat when I do eat. I do not exercise, except when I’m competing in sports that are adapted for wheelchair users. I forget to take medications all the time. They don’t work well if I don’t take them.

Sometimes I just want to give up. Being alone is a hard, but a safe way for me to live. I have at times given up and the results were never good. So I keep on going, family or no family.

Why Can’t I Stop?

First it was people,
Never enough,
No one understood,
Living was tough.

Needing this and needing that,
What did I really need?
I tried everything I could get,
But nothing would soothe that need.

A drink here,
A smoke over there,
The more that I got,
I had no cares.

A life like mine may never see,
The end of the driving need,
I stopped the drink, and the smoke,
I planted a very small seed.

But as this seed continued to grow,
Along with it did the need,
How was I ever to know,
There was no end to this greed.

I Don’t Think About Them

 

There are several people in these pictures, I probably have more, but then I would have to think about them. Childhood abuse, especially sexual abuse, harms a child for life and creates patterns that repeat this abuse.

The growing child first seeks to find love and attention from other people. What little they might get only creates the desire for more. When they don’t feel satisfied, that’s when other behaviors start to emerge. The child will do anything to attain the craved love and affection. They start fighting with others, they start fires, they start harming themselves.

I did all of these things and more. When I started college, I started drinking a little. A little became a lot before I knew it. My grades dropped, and I dropped out of school. I went in the Navy to avoid these people.

But while I was still in college, and then again after, I started seeking people that perpetuated the abuse. Sexually. I put myself in situations that made me vulnerable – just like the child that was s vulnerable.

It took a long time to start putting up defenses, and stopping this type of abuse. I stopped drinking. I stopped letting men abuse me. But the abuse was continued by me, and I sunk into the depths of mental illness, severe enough that I was put on disability, as I was unable to hold a job any longer, and support myself.

But I climbed out of that abyss with a lot of help from therapy and medication. I got better. But I still crave that attention, and I’m afraid of abandonment by those who truly do care about me, and are helping me.

I’m still on medications, but the frequency of therapy appointments has decreased to twice a month or so. Now, most of the time, I think before I act. But I don’t want to think about those people from the past.