MMP: Thrown Up Against the Past

by Rebecca A. Watson on July 7, 2014

in Recovery

This weekend I had the house to myself, and I decided to do some mind-body healing around the shame and guilt I carry around with me. This burden has decreased significantly since I stopped consuming alcohol like it was my job, but there’s definitely still a lot of residual stuff coming up.

I read somewhere that human beings are the only species who pay for their mistakes more than once. Guilt and shame don’t seem to have an equivalent in the animal kingdom, although I did hear on a podcast that rats feel regret.

I'm apparently not a rat, because I have no regrets about this outfit. And the company I keep.

Not me though; I have no regrets about this outfit. Or the company I keep.

So as I started doing my intense, two-day healing work, I kept getting flashes of me writing about some of the abuse I’ve suffered. I saw snippets of text, heard words in my head (which is often how my writing starts) and even got a whiff of an entire book about it.

But afterward, I wrote and it didn’t come out. It was still sitting in my head and wasn’t quite ready to make its way onto the page. Fast forward to today when I was reading through my old journals from this time, and there was already plenty that came out. Weirdly, I forget about these things until I read them again.

So I’m going to post what I wrote here, but I will warn you that there is some violence mentioned, so if you’re not down with that, maybe just skip this post. Read this instead.

From 2012:

It’s June-gloom outside but I almost like it. The oppressive cloudiness feels more like a blanket covering me and protecting me.

I used to think that if a blanket covered me I’d be protected but I know now that wasn’t the case because you can’t protect yourself from psychological abuse. Physical abuse. I have to say that that is a hard thing to keep in my mind. [adult male] was a physical abuser.

He really put it into our minds that he could do no wrong and honestly, because he did those things to me when I was so young, I thought they were my fault. Remembering how he threw a dog down the stairs helped me conjure up the memory of him throwing me against a wall.

What an idiot he is for telling me. He needed to unburden his conscience and hurt me again with it. Well, I’ve got the part that’s hardest and most rewarding. Dealing with it and healing from it.

I can choose to be mad and never let go, or I can work through it and forgive and move on. Already I feel that happening. I’m not afraid to get up at night. I’m exploring why I feel scared at certain times instead of giving into it.

And then from 2013:

As I was laying in bed last night it occurred to me that I could’ve been having a flashback. It did seem so real, but as soon as I woke up I knew it was a dream. I dunno. Do I think [adult female] strangled me?

Yes. I can see it. Mostly because of what I did to [another child], almost stabbing her to scare her. That look still haunts me. But I never considered why I did that. Like I’d seen it done or it’s been done to me before.

Of course. I used to think I was just a sociopath and that I was bad. But it’s just dawning on me that no, I wasn’t bad. I’m not bad. I was just a small child and I was told and shown that I was bad.

God when you take some time away from drinking, suddenly things start to clear up. I mean, all of this stuff I knew before but this is the first time I’ve understood it.

After more than a year of living without alcohol, more and more has started to clear up for me. But something that is just happening now is that I’m feeling, really feeling, for the first time, how sad all of this is.

Of course, I know that no one’s childhood was perfect, but mine wasn’t your garden-variety messed up. It was truly effed, and I missed out on some really great things. Like learning how to set appropriate boundaries and feeling safe with adults around. Suddenly I see how tragic that is and how it’s affected me up until this moment.

Before I could talk to many people with a detached view on the abuse I’ve gone through and the struggles I’ve had. But in the past month or so, it’s like my shield went down. I am feeling everything and it isn’t easy.

But I know it’s good. It’s a step in the direction of healing. And so is writing this out on my blog. I’ll probably be writing some more poetry in the weeks ahead as this is my way of dealing with stuff that is too ugly for me to put into prose. I’ll post it over on the other blog I keep with my friend Iain  if you want to check it out.

I know I’m not the only one who’s dealt with abuse like this in their past. If you’re struggling with intrusive memories and images, if you’re wondering if things really happened the way you remember them, know that you’re not alone.

path

 

And although it’s a long road, I encourage you to take it toward your memories. It’s the road to healing.

Wondering what this Monday Morning Pages thing is all about? Read how it started. Or check out all the archives.

Photo Credit: taufuuu

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Maryn July 8, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Rebecca, this post gave me goosebumps in every paragraph. You have such a strong voice and clear heart and I just know you will help others who have gone through such trauma in their lives. I think you are right, part of letting go and moving on is to feel your way out. If you push everything down, it will just grow bigger. I am really excited to read the poetry that will come out of this experience. It has made you who you are and even though it was terrible, it still made you who you are.

Sending love and strength to you!

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Rebecca A. Watson July 9, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Hey Maryn, Thanks for your kind words, love and strength. They really mean a lot 🙂 I agree, this stuff is awful but it’s part of me and I love who I am, so I guess I gotta embrace it all!

Reply

Olivia July 9, 2014 at 3:20 am

Wow… this took my breath away.

I’d hug you if I could, because I’ve been there. I’ve sat across from a counselor and asked him totally unrelated to the reason I was there… “If you had a memory as a child, and you think it might have happened, but you’re not sure if it was a dream…”

And he said, “Children don’t dream those things. I can’t tell you it did or didn’t happen, but if you have several memories you are questioning, chances are- they happened.”

All those fucked up memories I told myself weren’t real, I finally told myself the truth. I finally faced them, accepted my memories. And he warned me before I left that day of the sadness that would follow if I realized it was true (because he knew). And damn did it hit me like a truck.

I remember getting into the shower with all my clothes on crying…

The lies we tell ourselves as a child to keep ourselves from hurting. I know someone else who said it was like a dream and she finally had to accept it.

And you know what? My abuser, after I accepted it… actually owned up to it totally out of the blue. And if he would have mentioned it 2 weeks prior, I would have acted like I didn’t know what he was talking about and probably would have started a shit storm. Instead I said, “yea I remember.”

Those memories that come back are rough. I still get them occasionally, something will trigger another memory and it hurts.

But talking about it… and accepting it, I think I was finally able to heal as much as someone can. It took me awhile to be able to talk about it without my hands sweating.

Take care of yourself. You are not alone. ((hugs))

Reply

Rebecca A. Watson July 9, 2014 at 6:25 pm

Olivia, thank you thank you thank you for writing this comment. I must have re-read it about a half a dozen times. Your description of how you felt and the memories coming back to you and talking about it all really resonated with me. Although I am SO sorry that you had to go through similar experiences, it brings me such relief to read what you wrote.

It’s funny that I wrote this post so others wouldn’t feel alone but you really helped me to feel not alone. I guess it works both ways. Thanks again for writing. HUGS!

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