Trauma is weird. Repressed memories are even weirder. Nothing makes sense when you live in that world. And when you are attempting to move on with life and forget anything and everything and just try for the love of God to be normal, (or maybe sometimes, like me, stoop to convincing yourself nothing you think, feel, dream, or see is real and you are just drama obsessed and overreactive) it just gets weirder. Your body is in control at this point. You have no control. You can’t deny what’s happening to you, but you can’t seem to understand it either. And when you have been through abuse and trauma, you NEED to feel like and have some sort of control. This is where safety lies for you. Am I right? Somebody please tell me I’m right.

For months, maybe for over a year now, I don’t know, I’ve been seeing myself as a young girl of varying ages in horrible, horrific, abusive situations. It’s a blip here and a glimpse there. I have no complete story to any of it yet but the physical effects I feel with these visions are incredibly intense. Did you notice what I did there? I said visions instead of memories. I have no desire to claim any of this as real. But I think I’m to a point that if I don’t I might be stuck in this place of horror forever. I’m not there though. I can’t claim or accept this as my life so I waver back and forth between two realities. One that I used to have (bad), and one that seems to be (even worse).

I’ve researched my brains out about trauma and the effects of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. I try to find anything that goes against what I’m experiencing to prove to myself and my therapist that I’m just a bat-shit crazy, mentally ill, hopeless attention seeker, and liar. After all, that’s what I was always told I was growing up. I’m trying relentlessly to live by this identity. If this were all my fault, I could handle it. I would be responsible. As always, there is just something wrong with me. This is familiar and very weirdly safe. I can handle this. Breathe, fix it, stop it, whatever…and move on.

What I can’t seem to get a grip on or handle is the idea that there might actually be something really wrong with me. So wrong that it causes others to hurt me, punish me, exploit me, and degrade me because I’m so awful and unworthy of anything better. This is a different type of “there’s something wrong with me.” What I described above is self defined. What is happening here with abuse is validating that definition into reality. What I don’t understand is how another human being can be so cruel and heartless. I don’t understand how God could be so cruel and heartless that He would allow one of His own created beings to behave in such a way. If God is love and humans were created in His image, then logically, this becomes my view of God, and love, if I’ve never experienced anything differently. But instinctively, I know this doesn’t fit either. Because I am not those things. I want to believe I was created in the image of love. But why couldn’t everyone have been?? Or were they, and I wasn’t? Everything feels so twisted and confusing and incomprehensible. I can’t reconcile any of it. So I twist it more and make it my own fault and failure to be whatever I was supposed to be, because that, I can swallow and make sense of because it’s what I’ve always known.

With regards to trauma and repressed memories, I have read often that there can be an unrelated traumatic event that happens in the victim’s current place in life that triggers or awakens the brain to other traumas hidden inside of them. I guess this could be the case for me. My husband has been chronically unfaithful to me, our marriage, and our children. It is something I have always accepted and hoped, after the last discovery and round of counseling, was over with and behind us. I fell into a deep state of trust, safety, and naivety and was blind to what was really going on. This is another effect of trauma. When you deal with traumatic events, you can dissociate to cope with them. When you dissociate when triggered, or chronically, to cope with pain and emotions, you become vulnerable to further abuse in the future because you are living in a different state of mind and different world. I can look at my life and it makes sense to me that this was me if I accept what I am experiencing. When I discovered again to a much deeper and twisted and offensive level the activity my husband was up to, I crumbled. My world fell apart, and not long after, it fell apart even more with the emergence of these visions (memories?) of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that came at the hands of my father, mother, sister, a neighbor and others that I have not been able to identify yet…they are still shadows in my mind. If this is real, I’ve become incredibly desensitized to abuse. It’s normal. It’s my life. Even today. It’s all I’ve known. I don’t know what to do with this.

I have very few memories of my childhood (another effect of abuse). Entire chunks and ages gone. Nothing is there. And the things I do remember vividly with confidence often involve physical abuse, fights, weird drunken parties or sexual behavior my parents and other family members had and some family trips. I’m beginning to realize I was pretty isolated. I had very few friends. I was shy, quiet, and unsure. I asked some relatives for pictures of me when I was growing up. When they sent them to me I was shocked when I looked at them. I had no idea who that little girl was. None. I even questioned if it was really me. I didn’t recognize her. At all. My kids can look at pictures and see themselves instantly. I couldn’t do that in some that I received. It was by process of elimination that they were me. That bothers me so much. There is a little girl who lived some time ago who didn’t even know herself and still doesn’t.

It’s scary and disorienting to think this could be who I am and was. Everything I thought I knew about myself is turned upside down. I’m a stranger to myself. I question everything. I have so much fear now. I don’t trust my own judgement of people, their character, and if they are safe. I worry about my children. I’m very skeptical and am easily triggered into varying states of panic and anxiety for no apparent reason at all. I don’t want this life. It feels like a prison. I want to escape it but I don’t know how. And in a weird way I’m afraid to move forward into freedom from this because it is completely unknown to me. Unknown is a trigger and is incredibly stressful. It always has been for me, but now, I see scary things in the unknown parts of my mind. I don’t trust the unknown. It feels like a trap.

My health has significantly suffered this past year. I’ve discovered and had treatments for severe anemia. I’ve seen specialists at the Mayo Clinic and have had countless tests to try to figure out what’s wrong. I was finally stabilized about 4 months ago, only to find out yesterday that I’m right back in the “you could die if this doesn’t get under control” danger zone and severely anemic again. I feel like I’m constantly going through a cycle of putting fires out in my life. One thing happens, I stabilize it, something else happens, I stabilize it. Something else happens and I freak out from the pressure, and think only of the dark places I can go. Then I pull myself back out only to find myself back in that place of distress once again. I wonder if God will ever look at me in pity and say enough is enough and make everything stop, but He hasn’t and I begin to wonder again if it’s really all true…I’m damaged, unworthy, not even good enough for God to rescue and save and use in some way.  I feel so incredibly defeated.

I want to get out of this, though. I want a new reality so badly. One I’m in charge of for once. One that is filled with comfort, stability, safety, joy, sound sleep, health, kindness, love, and trust. I’m so desperate for peace. It feels impossible most days. It feels like a fantasy. I feel like I don’t deserve it. I feel like no one feels like I’m worth the effort to love me or help me get there. I’m determined. I fight. I like to prove everyone wrong, even myself sometimes. I’ve lost that part of me somewhere in this. I’m none of those things anymore. I feel like a failure, worthless, and weak because I can’t just “buck up” and move on. My husband even told me that if he had to pick something I was addicted to, it would be my past. But I’m not. I want nothing to do with it. I constantly try to walk away from it but at every turn I make in a different direction there it is waiting for me.

I feel very alone in this journey. Someone help me hang on, please. Someone tell me this gets better somewhere. Someone tell me they understand any of this and can relate. Someone tell me they’ve experienced anything like this. That they didn’t believe their “memories” either but accepted them and are still OK. Someone please tell me they created a new reality for themselves and they believe God really is good. I need hope. I need something, anything, to hang on to.

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44 thoughts on “Trying To Hang On…

  1. I understand every feeling you have described here. Running away was a favorite thought. Run anywhere. I couldn’t believe it was true at first either, but it was. I wrote my father a letter about what I was remembering and my mother wrote him too, after she left him. He didn’t deny anything I said, except to other family members.

    Now that your memories are surfacing, there is no turning back. They will not go away and stay hidden any longer. This is actually good news, although it doesn’t seem like it. What happened to you must be faced and dealt with.

    It does get easier. It does get better – way better. Honestly, I can talk about my father, what he did and how it has affected me and not feel sad or even upset. Like Joyce Meyer says, it almost feels like I’m talking about someone else.

    Now, some things haven’t left me, like automatic reactions to dangerous situations, or what I perceive as dangerous. Feeling afraid or panicked sometimes.

    But the real horror of first remembering is gone and has been gone for many years. This will happen for you also, but if you run from dealing with it you will suffer longer.

    You still are that strong woman. She is just stunned for awhile, but she will be back. The reason your memory came back when it did means you are strong enough to deal with it.

    As for God, I’ve made my peace with him. This is an ugly, evil world and I honestly believe God does the best he can, given humans have free will. He will make this up to you one day. He is with you now. Take advantage of that. Ask him for strength and wisdom to process and deal with all the horrible crap you are going through. He wants you to ask him. He can’t force himself on you. He needs your permission.

    I love you, dear sister.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so thankful for your comment and words here. They have brought a little bit of calm, exactly what I need, as you share your experience. Thank you for the bits of encouragement and words of wisdom that you have offered here from your own experience. I hate that you can even share about this, but I appreciate so much that you have been willing to. I especially connected with what you said about still being a strong woman and that I am “just stunned for awhile.” I really hope that’s true.

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      1. It is true. I was so shocked when my memories came back. I felt like I was in a dream. I remember going to a movie with my husband and not even looking at the screen. All I could think about was my memories.

        In the beginning, I quit therapy too soon I think. I would quit and then go to someone else a few years later. I don’t think the first therapists I went to understood how sick I was. But it may have been my fault for putting on a brave face. I didn’t cry and showed no emotion, they said.

        Well, the day came a few years ago at my last therapist’s office. I finally cried in front of her. But it wasn’t about the abuse, I was past that, It was more about feeling so lonely. We worked that out together and I started writing a journal which really helped.

        I’ve been praying hard for you. May God’s hand be on you, giving you comfort and peace of mind.

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  2. Who did you see at the mayo clinic for anemia? I saw dr. Rivera and had an iron infusion there. Did you get an infusion?
    It’s going to be ok. You’re going to be ok. God is listening. He hears you. The memories, the blocked out times, the past that stays in the present, is ok because that is where you are right now. The memories will be released and unleashed. Your brain is keeping you in this place. Hopefully God will make his reasons more powerful than what your brain is going through.
    I hear you.
    I feel what you are feeling
    I have been there and am there and I know that it will pass.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw a team of three physicians at the Mayo Clinic. I’ve had two infusions last May and have been on a supplement since. Were your physicians aware of your past trauma and was there a connection made with that for you? How are you managing your anemia now? (You can email me if you’d rather not respond here at secretdanceblog@gmail.com ) Thank you for your encouragement. I know you’ve really struggled as well and I’m so sorry for that. I appreciate your willingness to share your experience with me.

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      1. I had two infusions last december with the hematology/oncology group at mayo clinic in florida. My daughter had two infusions also. We were both very anemic. Her ferritin was 3 I believe and mine was 6 I believe. Plus all of our other red counts were off and low. After the infusion she was doing better. I just became much worse. Bone pain and spine pain. My ferritin went up too high. 1700 and 1300 were my last levels so I had to donate a pint of blood and now it is in the 500’s which is still too high but I am now anemic from donating the blood. So they have to wait unti l i am not anemic to take another pint to lower the ferritin. They have NO clue what caused this reaction, why it was low, why it went to high, why i have bone pain. No clue. They are really boggled by my case. I cannot take iron for the anemia bc my ferritin is too high. What. A mess right??!!!!
        My infusion was called injectafer which they chose because they said it had the least reaction.
        It is a balance for sure. We are still just doing a wait and see. Wait for my labs to come back at a level where i can donate another pint to get normal labs.

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      2. This is very interesting to me. My infusions were also injectafer, used for the same reasons, but I did have reactions to them. I was sick for about 5 days after each infusion and they were a week apart so it was a difficult few weeks. I had pain as well but it subsided after a couple weeks. I’m so sorry yours hasn’t. That must be very difficult for you. I just did a study of all my labs over the last year (four sets) and my ferritin was at 2 before my infusions last May and went up to 250 (also too high) after the infusions. It is now down that low again, as well as everything else (hemoglobin, % saturation, TIBC, MCV, etc.) I noticed that only three months after my infusions, my numbers were already dropping and have continued to do so. I was following up with my primary care and she didn’t notice the trend, I think because everything was still on the low end of normal, so she didn’t pay attention, I guess? I am also a mystery to the physicians at Mayo. I will be going back to them to do another round of tests to look for more answers/rule things out. I am so glad your daughter is better, though. Praise God for that. Thank you for sharing this. I really hope you level out soon and they are able to find the cause for your anemia. It is very difficult to function in this state. I will be in Atlantic Beach June 15-18 so if you take a trip to the ocean to watch for dolphins please let me know!

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      3. Wow! I was very ill after and they said it was rare. I had chills and a fever and pain for a week. Then it subsided. But after the second one it never subsided and that was back 6 months ago now. I was told if my numbers dropped again they would do another infusion every year until it was stable and they would also refer me to GI for studies to see where I was losing blood. Her level is 200 now a year after her 2 infusions so she is still ok. I’m glad you willl be going back. If you are low again I bet they will do more testing and another infusion.
        It is truly difficult to function in this state. You have got that right!!!! So so hard.
        Atlantic beach I think is 2 hours from me. I will let you know. I was thinking about jacksonville beach sometime in the next month or so just this week because the beach is very calming to my soul.

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  3. I understand all of this and I can relate. We all have different coping mechanisms. I used to turn to “God” but I tired of always being told “no.”
    I can only hope that things get better for you.
    I hear you.
    I feel what you are feeling.
    I have been there and am there…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry you can relate and understand. I really appreciate that you have shared your understanding, though. I guess it helps in a weird way to know that what I’m experiencing is not totally “out there.” I hope things get better for you as well.

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  4. When you said, “What I can’t seem to get a grip on or handle is the idea that there might actually be something really wrong with me. So wrong that it causes others to hurt me, punish me, exploit me, and degrade me because I’m so awful and unworthy of anything better.” I thought, “IKR!?, am I a glutton for punishment or what, am I too not allowed to be happy!?” so yeh I feel you girl. Just know that you are not alone in how you feel and are in what you’re experiencing…ok?

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    1. Yes, it definitely gets frustrating when you realize that this is a repeated pattern in your life. It’s hard not to look at the evidence and think it isn’t your fault when all you can see is yourself as the common denominator in each circumstance. It’s an awful feeling. I hate that you can relate.

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  5. This is overwhelmingly sad and frightening. I really hope you start to feel better physically and emotionally. This is more than a lot to deal with.

    “And when you have been through abuse and trauma, you NEED to feel like and have some sort of control. This is where safety lies for you. Am I right? Somebody please tell me I’m right.” YES, you are right!!! Safety is the one thing I have longed for in my life, to be safe and to feel safe. Not feeling safe is at the core of a lot of my triggers. Therapy, at the beginning and still at times makes me feel out of control and vulnerable. I understand this very much. And it is an acceptable thing to need and want.

    I am learning a lot through you. I fear regaining my memories. From a few experiences in therapy, I do know that this must be excruciatingly overwhelming for you. My therapist told me that this may very well happen. I would like to think, as BelleUnruh said above, that they won’t return until we are ready to face them and to deal with them. I am sure it brings no comfort when the fear is gripping you.

    Please know that there is NOTHING wrong with you. Everything you are experiencing is normal and understandable because of what happened to you. There Is something terribly wrong with all the people who harmed you! Lots of hugs!!!

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    1. Thank you for your encouragement and understanding. I will say this. After I have looked at what is surfacing a few times and processed it, the pain dulls. There are a handful of experiences that were very traumatic at the onset that I can now see without physically reacting to them. I can revisit them most times without feeling the intense overwhelm physically. It still hurts, but not as intensely, so in that sense, I guess it does get better. But with each new memory that surfaces, I still react very somatically. Everything is very incomplete and the re-experiencing is very disorienting. My therapist told me I’m reacting through my “child state” and need to learn how to look at things as I am as an adult now so I can help the younger me get out and feel safe. I don’t know how that works though if I don’t feel safe in my adult state. It’s confusing to me, but I’m trying to learn more. I know I have to go through this though, like Belleunruh said. I’ve tried to go backwards and push this away but it doesn’t go away. I have read this too in my research that it has to be faced, processed, and I have to walk back through the pain to be able to move forward. I wish I didn’t have to though, as I’m sure you do too. I hope as well that this is happening because I am strong enough to handle it. I sure don’t feel strong, though. I feel crazy and out of control and I’m still denying it as real, but I’ll cling to her experience for now.

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  6. I’ve been where you are right now, and I can promise you it does get better. For my healing though, it was with an experienced Trauma Therapist. I thought my only issues were the sexual abuse and overcoming the guilt, shame and all of the things that went along with that took years to sort out, but when talked it through (it was a bumpy ride which took about 2 years, many sessions I bawled my eyes out, so many nights I had nightmares), but my therapist and I moved slowly and I began to feel my soul again and feel me for once without guilt and recognize that it wasn’t my fault. I knew I was well enough when I was able to talk about the sexual abuse and not completely crumble into tears.

    But, what I really found out, and this has taken years, is that the entire abuse was essentially started by my narcissistic mother. I never realized that I was such an emotionally abused kid, but during therapy, I realized how this woman destroyed my life. I won’t go into details (it’s in many articles on my blog), but discovering that made sense, and the impact of emotional abuse is tremendous on a child, resulting in a nightmare in her/his adult life. That’s why I’ve had so many problems with friendships, trust, self-confidence/esteem, thinking I was worthless, stupid, ugly etc. Years of telling me these cruel words do great damage, and for me it practically destroyed me.

    I am still in therapy (I’m 60 years old) recovering from my mother’s abuse. And as far as forgiving her. NOPE. Hope this helps, it wasn’t intended as a lecture. Stay strong. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. Emotional abuse is very difficult to come to terms with I am learning as well. Now that I realize it’s present and past existence with the physical abuse, a lot of things about myself make much more sense to me. I don’t think I’ve fully found my emotions around all of this or have truly connected with myself yet. I do get streams of tears here and there in therapy but I mostly shift to feeling numb. I am so thankful for how patient my therapist is with me, though. I don’t understand or trust it sometimes, but I’m trying to. I think I’m still waiting for the day he gets fed up, frustrated, or annoyed at my “drama” and walks away from me. I’m trying to not fear that though. I am thankful you had an experienced therapist to work with and you are in a better place now. That is encouraging to me.

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  7. I understand so much of this. The greatest thing I did was counselling and talking about it to my goldfish. sounds weird but just to say it out loud helped even if it was to Dory. Writing it down in a diary worked for a little while, certain things triggered me off to think about the past things still does now. But I say to myself This isn’t happening it is in the past and I am stronger and free. I hope this helped or you understood it. Keep being a Bee x

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    1. Yes, it was helpful that you can understand, thank you. I have also journaled, in the form of prayers to God, but that has become much more difficult for me to do lately. I’m not sure why. I can’t seem to find any words.

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  8. It’s too bad I don’t see a “Reblog” button; I’d use it. Some time ago my then-therapist asked me what I got from my first therapist, and without hesitation I said “Love,” and I meant the total unconditional kind. She told me I had good protoplasm. I wrote a book on incest and in the process read all the literature I could find. You say you have read but I’m curious what books you’ve read and what if any help you got from each one of them. That info might help other survivors. I myself was overwhelmed by the great wisdom and sharings in books I found at the university library. Most are probably on Amazon’s inexpensive “used” list. I don’t know where you live or if there are any survivor groups in your area. I found Survivors of Incest Anonymous and found it incredibly stabalizing. It’s fashioned after AA groups, confidential, with no leader but an outline (I hate to say “rules.”) I would have driven a long way to be able to attend a regular survivors of incest therapy group, if I knew of one. I guess one thing that saved me (assuming I have been saved) was keeping a journal in which I wrote, drew, wrote poems, etc. My case was horribly confusing and it was not until I was researching my book that I realized who I am today is largely the result of my abuse. Many survivors deny or disregard or downplay the importance of their abuse. Most all of us mourn the thought of what we might have been without it. I have a number of borderline traits and have much difficulty with perspective. I often can’t see things from a single perspective. Again, my case is a comparatively mild one. You write so well and expressively. One of the cautions I read in a book on getting better is to check and see if you are now safe. One of the things to be safe from is from an abusive relationship. There are escape routes as you know, and your children are living in an unhealthy home, as you have described. I’ve written enough of a comment for now. I’m going to add a post on my site. Now thatI think of it, writing on a bblog might be as healing as in a journal.

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    1. I have read many books about trauma, incest, repressed memories, and healing from all…maybe I should post about what I have read so far and have learned from each one. The most valuable thing I gain is understanding of myself. Even though I feel insanely crazy, it seems I likely am not. I mostly started reading to prove myself wrong about what I was experiencing. What I have found though is validation and exact descriptions of what I am experiencing, but when you are trying to deny it, it becomes more confusing and painful, I guess. I feel in my core I have a lot to uncover/remember still. I don’t know how to describe that, I just sense it. What has emerged is very intense and involved and I can’t comprehend how it is even real or how I have zero memories carried with me about it. I am getting no validation from my family…anywhere…of any of the details. But I have received denial of even the most “mild” things I have always remembered and carried with me, rejection and isolation and refusal to even discuss it from everyone…maybe that’s the validation? I try to also deny my children are living in an unhealthy environment since his actions are solely against me (intuitively, I know they are against them too indirectly) but I know deep down this is not a stable home because we/I are not stable, no matter how much I try to pretend and protect them them from the discomfort I am in. I do not feel safe and I think this is hindering me in the moment, but there is too much fear in the thought of leaving right now. I can dream about it but can’t imagine actually doing it, if that makes sense. Thank you for sharing, the “reblog” button is next to the “Like” button you clicked at the bottom of the post if you still want to use it.

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  9. Hi my dear lady, I just wanted to share these 3 video posts. One of which you saw the word version. I personally found them to put into words what I have been feeling and thinking. Hope it helps you too.

    Louise

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, these were very good, and I also could connect with them. It’s so helpful to have these resources to help us put words to what’s happening in our heads when we can’t find the words to articulate things. Thank you very much for sharing them.

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      1. I am so glad they have helped you and they did me. I am not good at expressing my pain because it has taken a life time to even allow myself to accept what has happened to me. Someone else giving me the words, as you and so many bloggers do also helps me put cubic dimension to this pain that wont go away. Take care my dear.

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  10. Do you follow La Quemada’s blog? She has had some similar experiences. She writes a lot about “believing the girl” and the memories that have come up for her.
    https://laquemada.org
    You deserve good things, Secret Keeper. The way other people have treated you is really shitty, but what’s even more shitty is the way that their treatment of you has made you feel. You are NOT inherently bad, even though it feels that way. And as far as God? I don’t have any answers. I used to have a strong faith, but I’m not sure that I even believe in God anymore.
    I don’t really have any words of wisdom, but I’m sending you all my love, and you do have my email, bloominglilyblog@gmail.com, in case you ever need and ear to listen, love to be sent, and a voice to validate (because THAT is what you’ve deserved your whole life). xoxo

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    1. I do follow La Quemada’s blog, thank you for mentioning it. I have just recently found it so I still have some catching up to do in reading it. Thank you so much for your kind words. I appreciate them very much.

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  11. I cannot believe you wrote this. I cannnot believe you feel this way. I wish I could have written this as well. I have tried. I think I just tried to do the same thing but didn’t convey it like you did. Perfectly. I feel EXACTLY the same way as you do. Infact in the blog post I wrote earlier I wanted to say so much of what you said. Is someone out there who understands this??!!! Well I do. I understand everything you have said. In its entirety

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  12. Thank you for saying that you also understand, and I’m thankful for you that I understand you and that this was helpful in finding some words for your feelings…we need understanding! We shall cling to each other, then, right? I’m so sorry you can relate. This is such a hard place to be. I think it’s hard sometimes to look forward and think it’s worth the effort to get through it all. Some days I just want to quit, it’s so overwhelming. I need to hold my head up…and not let then win at tearing me down.

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  13. Visions, because I don’t want them to be memories… and the research to prove to myself that it isn’t what is really happening… this is where I am right now.

    I don’t feel that this is an appropriate place to be preachy, but I want you to feel like God has a purpose for us. It has been challenged by the Devil and many disobedient angels and abusive humans, but the purpose hasn’t changed. He just provided a different path to it through Christ’s ransom. He cares for you, you individually, and there will be a time when what we struggle with now “will no longer be brought to mind”. Until then he uses us to support each other, so know that you are cared for and others can relate to what you say here. And thank you so much for sharing.

    M.

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  14. I started reading your post and right from the get go I was reminded of two weeks ago when my husband came home to find me having a break down. Bits and pieces of memories were flying at me from every direction, and I felt like my life was breaking apart and that it was my fault, and I didn’t have any control over what was happening to me. I remember sobbing into his chest when he told me it wasn’t my fault and saying “I need this to be my fault! I need to be in control! I can’t be okay if I don’t have control!” So when you asked if you are right about safety being in control, I felt a resounding yes!
    The way you talk about your blips of memories, it’s all too familiar to me. I thought at first that it was proof that my memories weren’t real, that they came in such fragmented, confusing pieces. But when I spoke with my therapist she explained to me that trauma memory isn’t recorded the same way in the brain. Trauma memory hardly ever is chronological or complete. When she told me this (although she explained it better) it kind of shattered my world for a while. Because at first I was on a quest to prove myself crazy. A cycle I still find myself in at times. And here she was telling me that everything I was experiencing was “normal” for trauma. I kept telling her that I must be making this up to get attention; that I was really sick and crazy. She pointed out that if I was doing this to get attention, then why did I go to exhausting lengths to keep it a secret from everyone? At every turn, every time I bring her “evidence” that I am crazy, she tells me that whatever it is, it’s “normal” for trauma. And then she pulls out the evidence to back it up. When I read your post I didn’t realize there were other people working so hard to prove themselves crazy as well.

    There are some memories I’m at a point I can claim. Others, the more horrific and frightening ones, I have a hard time accepting as reality. I am also a survivor of ritualistic sexual abuse. (And that’s the first time I’ve actually admitted it to anyone but my husband.) It’s extremely hard to admit, because admitting that means that I have to admit there are people out there that do such things to another human being. And not just people, but people that should have been protecting me. And that’s almost too much for me to bear. And although I have felt before, as you have, that there must be something wrong with ME to cause others to hurt me, I’m finally starting to understand that isn’t true. I was an innocent child, as you were. You DESERVED protecting. And the only ones unworthy or wrong were the perpetrators. The only way we could survive though, was to take responsibility. As I mentioned above, if it was my fault, there was safety in that. Because if I caused it, perhaps I could fix that and find a way to be safe. (Of course I’m oversimplifying it. It’s far more complex than that.)
    In regards to God, I believe that God is love. I believe we all came to earth as beautiful, innocent beings. I also believe that God gave all people agency, the right to choose for themselves. Be it good, or evil. For reasons I find unfathomable, some choose to use that agency to inflict unparalleled horrors on others. There have been times when I have had the thought if God has stopped evil men before, why did he not save me? And I don’t think that’s an easy answer. I’ve come to my own conclusions, but it would be rather hard to explain here. What I do know is this: God loves me. And he loves you too. And he hates what has been done to us. I firmly believe that. I also believe that he won’t leave us with no way to heal from this. No matter how hopeless it feels at times.
    I heard something not too long ago that brought me some comfort when I felt particularly alone. I thought I might share a bit of it with you, if that’s alright. I was listening to one of my favorite artists speak to a group of women, and he was telling us about a talk his father gave a few years before he passed away. His father was given the assignment to speak on Easter Sunday, about the Easter story. And as his father stood to speak he started talking about how God is the greatest intelligence that has ever existed. He then went through scripture after scripture, recounting the greatness of God. His power, His wisdom, His infiniteness. And his son became nervous. He wanted his father to speak about Jesus. About Easter. But his father continued relaying thought after thought about the greatness of God. And then, when he had two minutes left, he finally said this: ” So isn’t it interesting brothers and sisters, that the greatest intelligence of all ABANDONS his son at the most crucial moment to fulfill his atoning sacrifice? Causing his PERFECT son, not to moan, but to cry out in agony, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?” I don’t believe that he ran to some corner of the universe because this was too painful for him. He chose to leave him alone. To abandon him. So that he felt completely alone. Could it be, brothers and sisters, at that precise moment, the greatest intelligence in the universe had witnessed to all, that He, God the Father, had put all of his faith in his son? And if the greatest intelligence that will ever be, put all of his faith in Jesus, shouldn’t we? And could it be at the moment YOU feel abandoned, and YOU feel forgotten, and YOU feel left alone, the greatest intelligence in the universe is bearing witness that he has faith in you? Sisters, John the Baptist in prison… and Jesus Christ on the cross, [crying] “My God why have you forsaken me?” If you have felt forsaken, if you have doubted, if you have feared– you’re in good company.”

    I’m so sorry for everything you have been through and are going through. I wish I could explain why our memories start resurfacing when they do, or how to navigate through them without feeling like we’re falling apart. I so relate to the fear and anxiety and panic that grips at your heart and threatens to destroy everything. And I long for all the same things, safety and joy and sleep and trust.

    What your husband said about you being addicted to your past reminded me of a quote I read the other day that said, “You can’t get to the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” And it made me SO ANGRY. Because I have complex PTSD. I don’t choose to re-read the last chapter. I relive it. Over and over again against my will. It’s not a choice. And the whole time I was in that chapter I couldn’t understand it. I numbed it. I did whatever it took to survive it. And now that I’m in the next chapter I have to try and figure out what the hell happened in the last one. And it sucks. And I hate it. But my therapist says I have to feel it to heal it. That it won’t last forever. That eventually, it WILL be ok. Eventually, it will be better than it has EVER been. And I have to hold on to that. And I’m learning to have joy in little moments now. Especially with my children.

    I know you feel so absolutely alone. And I am so sorry you feel that way. Trauma has a way of isolating us so completely. But please know, that you are not alone. As unfortunate as it is, there are people out there who understand exactly what you are going through. And it is my belief that we can help each other hold on. We are far stronger than we believe we are. We have survived a hell that most cannot even imagine. Which means you are stronger than you can comprehend. One of the lies we are told is that we are weak. But if you look at what you went through as a child, how many adults do you know that could survive that, as adults?

    You are going to survive this. You already have. And I know that processing through it, and remembering it are the most PAINFUL, EXCRUCIATING things. And I HATE that you are going through this too. But please, please know that it is going to be okay. I can’t promise you that there will come a time when things won’t be hard. But I can promise that there is JOY to be found ahead. I’ve felt it. And I find more as time goes on. And you will too. One thing that helps me is my children. As awful as I feel sometimes and as imperfect as I am, they want me. Because when I look at me as their mom I see a failure, so many times. But do you know what they see? They see the mom that loves them. That takes care of them. That does her best to protect them. To give them a life nothing like the one I had. And that’s all they want. They don’t want the mom across the street that can give her kids everything they want, or keep the house perfectly clean. They want me. Brokenness, and imperfections included. Because they love me. As I am. And despite everything else going wrong, that gives me hope.

    Sorry for the novel. I just resonated so much with what you had to say. You are not alone.
    Hang in there. You are doing far better than you believe you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been thinking about this comment from you for days. I think I was in shock a little bit because there was so much to process that was relatable! And in an unintentional way, you struck a chord in me that made me really look at what was happening in my life. Honestly, how can two (and more…) people have these exact feelings and reactions and have complete understanding of each other if they are making it up?!? THAT doesn’t make sense. people who lie don’t lie or feel the exact same way. There’s no protocol for that. It’s random. Nothing about this, I’m finding, is random. The patterns are the same for everyone I have encountered who was willing to share their experience with me. And that scares me and takes me to what you said about needing it to be your fault so you were in control. YES! I need that too! I too have been on a quest to prove myself crazy. I am falling away from that a little bit, as things like this conversation happen over and over, but it’s so hard to accept, so I fall back into the cycle as you have described. Being crazy feels so much more comfortable to me sometimes. I’ve said all the same things to my therapist and he has said all the same things back to me that yours said. I keep this from everyone. My husband doesn’t even know most of it. I want to tell him sometimes but it doesn’t feel safe and my words get stuck. I also loved the story about the Easter message. Such an interesting perspective to think about. Thank you for the encouragement about being a good mother. I feel like a failure every day, but you are right. They don’t see that. I just have to look at me the same way they do. That was such a good reminder. Thank you so much for telling me everything that you have here. I appreciate it so much and am honored that you shared what you did with me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s kind of incredible to me, because reading your blog has brought me to the same conclusion. That there’s no way two (or more) people could be going through the same things and feeling the same way if they were making it up. And that’s a pretty heavy thing that is taking quite a bit for me to process. At the same time, it’s extremely validating. I didn’t realize how deeply it would impact me to feel like there is someone else out there who understands. I’m extremely grateful for your bravery in sharing your experiences and your healing process. You’ve certainly helped me feel a little less isolated in this chaos. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for sharing this with me. I am very thankful my writing has helped you in this way. I also didn’t realize how much it would impact me to hear someone else understands and mirrors my experience as well. I spoke to my therapist about our conversation so far last night and I told him it has taken me some time to absorb everything. It is very hard to process for me as well. There’s a level of acceptance that needs to take place I think still, which is hard. He said he had chills when I read him some of what you wrote to me and said he thought this was God using you to validate me. I hadn’t even thought about it from that perspective!

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      3. You know, I think sometimes things are too coincidental to be coincidence. I’d like to believe what your therapist said. I believe God does work through us, and I would dare say he’s been working through you too. You’ve certainly been validating me as well!

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  15. My heart goes out to you. As an incest survivor, myself, I understand exactly what you are going through. You are by no means alone. There are quite literally millions of us.

    Your pain and despair are the NORMAL reaction to child abuse. You did not bring this upon yourself. No child (not even a supposed “liar” and “hopeless attention seeker”) deserves abuse. And abuse — whatever form it takes — is bound to leave scars, whether we recognize and acknowledge them or not.

    One of those scars is boundary violation. Ask your psychologist about this. We have been so often violated that we’ve lost much of the ability to protect ourselves. That makes us extremely vulnerable to further abuse.

    We have, in effect, been taught to ignore our own instincts. We do not recognize danger signals, and tolerate pain that would cause those unfamiliar with abuse to run for their lives. We settle for abusive partners, never realizing we deserve better.

    But we can relearn these skills.

    I know that you feel out of control. Memory gaps are often associated with abuse. As a child, dissociation may be our only defense. Your memories may, however, be resurfacing because you are strong enough now to deal with them.

    As for God, when any of his children are grieved, He is grieved. But He allows them to reject Him as your abuser did. That is a consequence of freedom of choice. Take your confusion, grief, anger, and pain to God. In the end, you will find He is a source of comfort and healing.

    I wish you health and happiness. It sounds to me, as if you are on your way.

    A. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your understanding with me and I am so sorry you too can relate to this. I appreciate your encouragement. I have been very honest with God about my feelings and questions and thoughts recently and am counting on the Holy Spirit to intercede for me when I can’t pray anymore. Thank you for everything in this comment. It was all so meaningful to me.

      Liked by 1 person

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