(the first post in this series is here: On Being A Social Outcast )
(the previous post that relates to this one is here:
And This is the Way He Would Beat Her )
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When present-day pain gets enmeshed with horrific pain from the past, it can really be mind-skewing. My way of coping with this sort of experience has always been to run desperately into any addictive substance or obsessive behavior I could get my hands on. Because I didn’t do that this time, the memory of the violence came bubbling up to the surface of my consciousness in crystal clear form. I haven’t touched this memory, with this amount of vivid detail, since I endured it as a small child.
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Since I had this crystal clear memory of the terror and violence behind the beatings, I’ve been in a sort of emotional and mental limbo state. I’m in shock. I don’t know what to do with myself or how to handle myself right now. I’m not cogitating very clearly. I can’t read, follow crochet instructions, or do anything. I can’t concentrate on anything. I just don’t know what to do with myself right now.
I haven’t been able to include my husband in any of this. I have a gut sense that he would never be able to handle it without freaking out in some way or other, himself. I e-mailed the memory to three other people I felt could handle it; my sister, my therapist, and a Christian counselor friend. My therapist has been getting back to me as I e-mail my progress processing it to her. My sister called me to ask if I was ok. I haven’t heard anything from my counselor friend. Maybe he hasn’t read it yet.
After realizing what I’ve experienced over and over again as a child, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be ‘normal’ like I’ve tried so hard to be all my life. I don’t know. My hope though is that by having this memory brought to present-day adult consciousness, this might allow me to experience present-day stressors without having them become so thoroughly and unconsciously entwined with these horrific experiences from my past. Mixing them up the way I do, has been causing emotional ‘freak outs’ from which I run, for all I’m worth, to addictive substances or behaviors in order to cope.
Today’s stressors are not anywhere near as insane as what I endured as a child, and I have to make this dis-connect consciously in my brain. I have to have a conscious awareness of the separation… past from present. Today, as an adult, I have many rights at my disposal. I have the right to simply say “No” to anyone who tries to abuse me. Back then, when I was a child, I didn’t have this right. Today, as an adult, I have many choices available to help me cope with stressful things. As a child there were no choices available to me to help me cope…. just addictions and obsessions.
I have to be able to consciously distinguish the difference between the ‘me’ that was a child with no options or rights, and the ‘me’ that is an adult who has many options and rights. Somehow I have a sense that re-living this memory from my past, while being a conscious adult, might help me better be able to make this distinction.
The next post in this series is here: Putting Down the Knife