Monday, November 9, 2009

Picture this

Blue sky - I mean deep blue sky
Warm air - around 70

Outside raking leaves, pulling weeds and spent tomato vines.

With hubby, 10 year old son and dog.

Taking breaks to swing.

What a lovely weekend.

Hope others had some beauty this weekend. :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Buried memories - Warning - may trigger some

I've debated about sharing some of the details about my abuse. Particularly those recently revealed by my mother. I still have this fear that someone in my everyday life will discover this blog and realize that I am the author. I've decided to go ahead and take that chance.

So - I've always known I was sexually abused as a child by my stepfather - the father of my younger brother. My memories are vague - but I can date them from about age 8 to age 11. Most of what I remember occured in the night - but those memories are more about things I did to avoid the abuse - like stay up late with my older brother watching TV (I specifically remember my abuser coming to check multiple times to see if I was in bed yet). Another avoidance was carrying my younger brother into my mother's room to put him bed with her - this was after I chose to sleep in his bed - thinking it might protect me from abuse that night. Of course, that woke my mother up, which did protect me that night. I remember the next morning, my abuser cornering me in the kitchen to tell me that "if I did something like that again, he would kill my mother." This seemed plausible as we three children witnessed their fights on multiple occasions and called the police a couple of times. Although she wasn't saving me from the abuse, the alternative of being without my mother must have been very frightening. The only phyisical things I remember was one specific time when he kept me home from school in the morning - I'm suspecting the reason I remember was because that was daytime and I could *see* him. Again, I don't remember pain at that time - I remember saliva and fingers. And being dropped late at school. And wishing that I could tell someone why.

These memories have always been there, although I have been able to put them aside and move on with life. I've escaped from my life of poverty. I'm the only one in my family to graduate from high school, much less college and medical school. I think one thing that helped me through adolescence is my involvement in church at the time. Although my beliefs are nearly 180 degrees different now, the church youth group provided a social outlet for me.

Fast forward to now - my memories have become more intrusive as my children get older. I think having a teenage daughter and going through menopause pushed me to the point of needing to *deal* with my issues. For those who have read my (short) blog, you know that since I started therapy almost a year and a half ago, I have disclosed my abuse history to my therapist, a close college friend and my husband. And last week, I asked my mother about my childhood.

After a brief avoidance ("what about your childhood?"), when I asked about my abuser, she said "Oh he molested you". I asked how she found out about it - she said I was "having a problem pooping" so she took me to the doctor who discovered I had been abused. He referred me to the emergency room (I do have a memory of that visit and hearing the word hymen as an 11 year old) where they confirmed that I had been sodomized and raped (my words - I don't think my mother knows those words). My mother told me that I told her at that time that he took me to his room at night after she went to work. She worked nights for 6 years, from age 5 to 11 for me.

This is what is hard for me now. The abuse is validated (I had no doubt), but it is worse than my memories. There must have been a lot of pain. I have absolutely no memory of pain. So - I wonder if these memories will ever surface. I don't think I want them to or need them to at this point. But I worry about what I will do if they come back.

So that's at least most of my story. So much of what I'm experiencing and feeling right now ties in with posts on multiple blogs. Avoidance of touch, needing hugs, trigger warnings, religion. It is good to think about all of these things.

My T is gone for a week so it will a two week hiatus before I see her again. I will be interested to see where we go from here. (Although I know I will have to take us there :)

Amazingly, I am doing well. I think the anxiety that built up over not talking with my mother is now released. So - in the moment - I am good.


Follow up on Anger

So after a few back and forths with my therapist, I finally met with her last night. I printed out my private journals related to the phone call with my mother. I also journalled what I wanted to cover in this session including my anger at her for seeming dismissive about things. I printed that out and took it in.

It was a good session. We stayed on task. We got through a lot of material. Albeit, somewhat superficially due to time constraints. I felt like she listened and cared. She commented that she was worried that I would view her voicemail as "dismissive". We talked about the phone calls with my mother. She validated my belief that it is "all about my mother". She has continued to call me every day, but not once has she asked how I am doing. My T made a leap of faith - she said she didn't think my mother would injure herself (obviously she is basing this only on what I have told her), but even if she did, it would not be my fault. There is an ugly part of me that really doesn't care at this point.

The only downside to the session was that since I was so focused on what I had written and wanted to get through, I probably listened less than usual. My memory of what SHE said is not great. But I do know it felt right at the time.

One of the things I addressed with her was my concern that her experience with CSA survivors is not broad (by her own admission). We talked about the fact that she might consult with someone who works more frequently in the area. At one point, I would have thought that to be awful. Now, I welcome it.