Monday, March 29, 2010

Freedom and my dragon



Please be aware that this text may contain triggers

 Every night I dreamt of escaping...of getting away from my self-made prison.
  It wasn't always the same however, I always made it out. It was... so sweet, that false freedom. It was easy to be lulled into a sense of contentment, trading a wakeful freedom for a slumbering artificial substitute. That was my own double life. It was how I coped with the reality I had chosen.

  I came from an abusive home and as an adult, I chose partners who would continue that sense of sameness.  The abuse was not the same, the pain was and the tears plentiful.


 As a child, I wasn't allowed to cry. This was the 1st rule in our home. Oh, wait, make that the 2nd rule, the 1st was "Say Nothing". Sorry, these things were never written down-that would defeat the purpose really.

 I read somewhere recently tears are toxins leaving your body. So, it's actually good to cry.  Someone should have told my father that little factoid. Though he would haven't have given a damn about toxins. He had a very rigid, narrow view of children and their place in life. It is painful to admit that I married someone who is a lot like my father. It's tragically predictable, really.  I read a long time ago that an abused person will find a way to abuse themselves long after their abuser is gone. That's the STONE COLD TRUTH.

   This was difficult for me to write, it was excruciating to live.
I found my freedom though. I had it the whole time. I just didn't know I had the power to change my life. I thought I had to be rescued. Well, in the end, I suppose I was. I did it myself.  

  I never caught the cues. The little red flags, I was oblivious to them, the ones that said, " This person is trying to control you" or "this man doesn't love you". To be honest I never thought I could be loved. I had no tools to discern what a good or bad relationship was. I grew up with no relationships to speak of. They weren't allowed.

 Alone was all I knew. Saying "I do" was just a way of not being lonely anymore. I didn't realize how much more there was to it. Life has a way of teaching the things I need to know most. Its made me wise in so many ways and yet there's so much I still need to learn. To trust, to let people in.
  It's hard, but   I will show up every day,  I will be friendly, OPEN.
 I will be open, I will be friendly... I will not push people away... I will I will I will! That is my mantra.
  Which sure beats the hell out of the ones I was raised on.


    As children, we were raised in isolation. Our family slogan was "nobody in, nobody out" and "you're not a person, you're property."  My father wanted no one to know what went on in our home. He created an insular existence for us. As a result, aside from the emotional damage of his actions caused, came the collateral damage, the mistrust, the inability to let others in. This is the dragon I  battle now, TODAY. I must be brave and try. As a side note, I envy people who know everyone and make friends like dogs get fleas. I loathe them and am in awe all at once. How the hell do they do that?
It is beyond me.

 
 Anyone who grows up in an abusive family knows the counting game. You count down the days until you can get out. Not unlike a jailbird doing a stint upstate. You mark it in your inner calendar: three years,  42 days and I am outta here! Those sad, painful days were the beginning of my dreams. But what I didn't know, what I might not have been able to cope with then, was the reality that I was never out. I carry my past with me like some ugly scar. Every time I think I have finally healed it, it gets torn wide open. And I realize how far I have yet to go. Every time I push people away and hide I am reminded. I have done more years in counseling then I care to think of and still I go. I believe in it. I have done the work and put the time in, I have come to realize how much our childhoods mark us. It's a battle. I fight mine on the daily. Sometimes I win, sometimes not. Usually the day ends in a draw. It used to put me in a tailspin when a well-meaning trying to get to know me better by asking nosey questions that they don't want the answers to anyway. They really don't.  Now I say the truth. I say it gently, try to remember that they're just making small talk, an attempt to find a common ground on which to build a relationship. They have no idea the pain their casual inquirers can cause. The way it makes that puckered skin itch and burn. I. Some people sense it and move on to other topics. There are others who seem to get a perverse pleasure out of trying to pull the details from me. As if I am a puzzle set down in front of them to solve. A game. I don't like those people. The ones who don't acknowledge boundaries. Who think that their desire to know trumps my pain. I am just out here trying to survive, to fit in, and most of all I am trying to make peace. Peace with memories, with myself. To accept that I am damaged, that we all are. To live in this moment- this life. To enjoy my existence, instead of mourning what was, what wasn't.
These are my goals.... I will show up, I will be open, I WILL TRY.

31 comments:

  1. I can sense your struggles to speak with this post. After such a long time, it will be a rewarding and necessary thing for the healing process. In time, as you continue to find your voice, you will inspire others to do the same. Welcome to blogging. Welcome to freedom.

    Sing, mama, sing. Jxox

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  2. Oh, thank you Jen. This is not what I planned on blogging, but obviously what I needed to. I will try, I will be open, I will

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  3. I'm so proud of you Chele!!! You have said a lot of things that I feel too!! I wonder why?!?!?! Love you forever Sis!!<3

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    1. Oh Doll, you know I love your too! I am so proud of you! Hugs Mama

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  4. This is a very powerful message and I cannot imagine the strength and courage it has taken you to write this. Keep going baby ... keep going.

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    1. Thank you. I was so nervous to put it out there. I hope it helps someone else. Cause, I am not the only one. I appreciate your feedback!

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  5. Bravo! I can only imagine how hard that was to write, certainly harder to live through. Baby steps, and take care of YOU first then you can manage the damage within.
    Writing down thoughts is a good release, I know when I can't afford therapy my trusty journal stuffed in my bedside table gets plenty of pen time. <3

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    1. Thank you Jennifer! Sometimes when you write things down you can let things go and sometimes you just see things clearer. It is all baby steps!

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  6. Chele, first off I have to say this is such a well written piece!! What a great writer you are. Second, thank you for sharing yourself with me. It sounds like that is very difficult for you. And last I think you are such an awesome, warm and caring person. Thanks for letting me in!

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  7. OMG Vickie, that means the world to me! (I don't usually use OMG, so yeah...this is MAJOR). I am trying, to grow, to allow others in and to let me OUT. Thank You and I appreciate you bunches!

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  8. That really spoke to me. I've tried many times to change me. I'm not even sure entirely of the reasons. Maybe there was so much rejection that I finally rejected myself. The problem with dramatic life makeovers is they tend to be like layers of paint and one begins to loose track of what the real colour of the wood was.
    I suppose no two situations are exactly alike. I'm not sure what all the drivers were. I don't make friends easily. And I tend to purposefully make myself unapproachable to people I'm not interested in. They think I'm stuck up. I don't want to let them see behind the mask I have on. But the mask is also a prison. I also tend to put a mask on to hide the past I'm ashamed of. This is to impress people that I might be someone cool to know. They tend to think I'm full of myself.
    Thanks Chele

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  9. Nemo,
    you are not alone. There are many of us. We all have our masks made of stone. We do not have to don them. We do not have to hide. Our monsters can not get us. We are beyond them now. I understand your words and I am honored you chose to share them. I also have been mistaken for reserved, unreachable. I try now, to remain present. Life is more fun if you engage it.

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  10. I too have had and seen abuse in my family. My father and alcoholic they soon divoriced and my mom went from one abusive boyfriend to another. Punishments like pulling ones pants down and whipping them with bailing wire to being on a chain all day and night like a dog. All never forget how the Catholic church endorsed Roger. At age 11, he tried to have sex with me. When he got shot best time in my life. I got away from my family for 12 years then moved back here I thought my problems were behind me but my half brother Rogers son is behaving just like him and my mom endorses it all! I feel God is male chauvenistic and I want my own revenge. I should of never moved back here.

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  11. John Doe,
    I can sense your pain. I hope that you are seeking help in dealing with your feelings and thoughts. Have you turned in your half brother? You really should report him. Nothing changes if we stay silent. You need to let go of the pain and the hate. Those were planted in you by another. They are not your's to carry. You cannot have peace as long as you are holding on to them. They are not badges of honor. Let it go. Move past that place in the shadow. Keep reading. It gets better. I promise as long as we keep trying, it will get better

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  12. Wow... I can so relate to your story in so many ways Chele! Thank you so much for putting yourself out there, it takes a lot of courage to do that. I grew up with an alcoholic, verbally abusive, emotionally unavailable mother, then had 4 of her husbands where the same exact way, & sexually abusive family members. :'( I have carried soo much baggage all of my life & started to pass on the same crap (alcoholic dysfunction) to my 2 precious boys God blessed me with. It wasn't until 10 months ago, I finally hit my bottom. I had no where or anyone to turn to so, I typed in the google search bar christian recovery program. All kinds of things came up. All my life I have been let down by so many people. I knew that my only hope would be something where God was the nucleus of it all. Surely, He wouldn't let me down. So, I emailed a church that had a program called Celebrate Recovery. I read what it was all about & it was EXACTLY what I needed. I started attending faithfully once a week & ever since then I have started peeling back the layers of this dried up onion. I have had so many victories, found healing, & I am starting to know what it feels like to be healthy & whole. I never knew what that was. I am so grateful for it & I HIGHLY recommend you & anyone else on here that has no hope to check it out. They also have The Landing (for teenagers) & Celebration Station (for kids). :) Type www.celebraterecovery.com
    It will have a place where you can search for local groups. It is for ANYONE with hurts, habits, or hang ups. Covers all bases. God Bless you & anyone else that may read this!! :) In HIS grip <3

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  13. Angela,
    thank you for sharing. It is a journey that we must all take. We either crash up on the rocky shores or we set sail and ride out the storms that come our way. We all have them and they do pass. I wish you peace and happiness <3 Chele

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  14. How do you find inner peace? That is something I struggle with every second of every day. I feel hopeless and near the end of my journey I call this rotten life. I am not alone, but I am......

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  15. Dear searcher,
    you can find it. I have set it all down here, if you are in too hard a place, skip ahead. This is the beginning of me finding that peace. I understand your pain. Please if it becomes too much, if breathing leaves you overwhelmed, seek medical help. It is not your fault and there is nothing wrong with you. These are natural emotions and please believe me that it does get better. I have no idea where you are so it is difficult for me to point you in the best direction. Every area has a hotline for depression or suicidal thoughts. Please contact them. Again this does not make you crazy or less than. You simply have pain. Please stay in touch. I would love to know how you are doing. It does get better.

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  16. I see by the dates on the comments that this is an older post. I trust you have found the freedom you were searching for.

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  17. Someone who knows my family & the abuse stayed with me this past week and I got to thinking about all this, haven't in a long time. I realized that I never did let the abuse define me. But I think it's just the way I came into the world.

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  18. I applaud you for the strength you show in this post and have shown in your life.

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  19. You are incredibly brave.
    What struck me is that line about us constantly finding abusers. It gave me an insight into some of my own behaviour. Thank you.

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  20. Sending much support; not sure what has transpired in the ensuing years but this is very raw and powerful.

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  21. Wow, this definitely hit me with a trigger when you wrote about counting the days. I hung bobby pins that counted the time before I would be free. I hadn't thought of that for decades.

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  22. Wow! Your emotions shine through your writing. Although I'm not in an abusive relationship, I'm so grateful to you for having posted this because I KNOW it will help someone to know that they're not alone. Thanks for sharing. Hugs :-)

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  23. I am sorry for your pain and I am glad you are finding your way out. I never understood it was such a waiting game. My heart breaks for each child and person in an abusive relationship.

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  24. I'm sorry for what you've endured in your life. Please continue to reach toward light and love and walk the other direction from those people and situations that don't value and appreciate you. If you can't find your way out of the dark, ask for help. I can tell how strong you are because you're still here, still fighting. Wishing you God's love.

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  25. This post could have been my story. Fast forward a decade and I am happily married to my best friend. Keep being brave and expect miracles every day.

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  26. The longer I live the more I realize how much family discord we all live through. I, too, have been in abusive relationships. But, like you, I accept that I'm damaged, I've learned to be strong and I TRY.

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  27. What a brave step you have taken. You own the future.

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