Trying to Understand

I don’t know how I got there. How I managed to exist in fear so pervasive I mistook it for background noise. How I managed to raise children in poverty so extreme that I learned how to cook with flour and oil and salt and had no clothing of my own. What happened to me, that I, once successful, became satisfied with not being hit during the span of a week?

What set me up for this.

Daily beatings from my brother as a child? His scorn for my existence?

The lack of acceptance from my father? His lack of support? My mother’s disinterest? My first husband, who was much the same?

Doesn’t everyone have some sort of history like this? Surely a person with a happy childhood and accepting parents is a rarity, and not the norm. It is an ideal we strive for, right? Not how most people have actually lived?

Was the abuser so intelligent that he managed to dupe me, on a daily basis, for a decade?

Surely it was my own eagerness to please, to hold onto someone in my life. Perhaps my own fear of abandonment, of proving to myself that I was worth keeping, after two divorces, had the most to do with it?

It seems that, in therapy, a person is supposed to go back into childhood to find their inner child or something, and use that as the basis of reason for all of life that comes after. In order not to blindly recreate the same patterns, one must be aware of them. I was a very assertive child. I was not well behaved. I said what I thought and I defended my right to do so. But I am timid, now. I have few vices and cannot be described in any way as irresponsible.

I don’t understand.

I go over it until I am sick of thinking about myself, until I feel dangerously close to being at my own pity party, and I don’t understand.

I am working on self acceptance, instead. I don’t want to feel sorry for myself. I am not a victim. I am sometimes canny. I might be odd, but I am not repulsive. I need to see myself as accurately as possible, and not through my father’s or my abuser’s eyes.

I never talk about what has happened. Lately I have been thinking about a lot of stressful situations that I have been in. I don’t want to live in danger any longer, I am choosing to be alone. I don’t want to go back to childhood and feel sorry for myself and be vulnerable. I know this is how you get PTSD, I know that. This is how I am. I don’t want to bleed all over. Every conversation I have gets replayed in my head, sometimes over and over, and I criticize myself for what I say, what I reveal. I don’t know if I have always been this way, or if it is instead the voices of others in my past, still criticizing me in my mind.

I worry that I am not utilizing my therapy wisely. That continuing with an easy going therapist is denying me a healing process. I have been through therapy with a psychoanalyst, as a teen, and that was tough work. Deciding what to work on, when, and being in control of the process is odd to me. I always shy away when I get emotional. How am I supposed to heal if I never show a wound?

Stockholm Syndrome or Narcissistic Victim Syndrome or Battered Person Syndrome or whatever.  Can one rebuild themselves after living in such a state, a state of being at the mercy of another?

I feel shattered, I am afraid of people. I know I don’t look it. I don’t want to feel it, either.


2 thoughts on “Trying to Understand

  1. I understand your questions. I SO understand your questions. I wish I had answers to offer you, but I suspect — as with the current therapy you describe — that for each of us, being in charge of our own process is itself an essential part of that process. Learning to trust myself, to trust my own way towards healing, has been frustratingly slow — and absolutely critical.

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