The Road to Healing Begins with Hurting. Session 5

NoMeansNo2

My last session was so very intense and difficult.  If you remember my homework was to write a detailed description of the rape and the feelings that I had then when it was happening along with the feelings I was feeling while writing it.  Then I had to re-read the paper every day (which I didn’t.  I couldn’t).  Let me start off by saying that this was like ripping the top layers of skin off exposing the putrid infected sore beneath.  I know, that’s gross sounding but it does describe it perfectly because honestly that is what is below the surface.  An infected putrid sore that I never tended too, never put anything on it to heal up before I closed it up over the top.

Like I said last week I would not be posting this story as I have my previous homework assignments.  It’s to graphic and I just don’t feel like I need to share the details with the world in order to heal.

While reading it out loud I found myself wanting to hide.  When I had really long hair and had the urge to hide I would pull my hair down in front of my face.  It was my escape, my coping mechanism if you will.  Well I don’t have the hair to do that anymore so while I was sitting there reading this I felt just as exposed and vulnerable as I did that night.  I had to stop several times and gather my composure, get a good deep breath in, wipe away the tears and force the rest of the tears back down. I tried very very hard to separate myself from the story I was telling but I couldn’t.  I was there.  I felt the first punch to my face, the second and the third and so on.  I was back on the bed being forced out of my clothes, I could hear his voice, smell the Jack Daniels on his breath and feel the terror rising in me.  I wanted to run out of the room as fast as I can, just like I wanted to run out of that room when it happened, but just like then I couldn’t.  This time though I forced myself to stay.

Being older now I can see all the tell tale signs of him being an abuser all the way back to when we first started dating.  I was so desperate to just be loved by anyone I ignored them, tolerated them, allowed them to continue.  It started with small things, a push here, a shove there.  Him becoming angry at something I did or said and then storming off, cheating on me and leaving me to wonder where he went and if he’d ever be back only to have him come back and manage to make me believe it was all my fault that he did cheat.  That somehow because I was overweight and trusting I deserved to be cheated on, pushed around.

I remember the day I married him.  My brother and I were standing in the foray of the church waiting for the music to start down the isle.  I was holding his arm and we were looking out the doors that were in front of us where my car was parked.  My brother told me “Baby, we don’t have to do this.  Your car is right there, we can get out of here right now”.  I should have listened, but hind sight is 20/20 isn’t it?  I remember thinking to myself “if it doesn’t work out I can just get a divorce”.  What kind of screwed up person goes into a marriage thinking that?  Obviously there were problems before him, I just hadn’t figured that out yet.  That night, our wedding night was the last time he was nice to me.  From the second day on it just got worse and worse.  The name calling, the cheating, the hitting, the STD’s then the abandonment but with being controlled.  What i mean by that is he disappeared, he’d stay gone for days on end but he expected me to just work and go home and have no life.  He didn’t want me but he didn’t want me to have a life either.  Just stay locked up for his use and abuse when he felt the need. The night the attack happened he had been gone for several days, almost 2 weeks.  This was the longest he had stayed gone and I felt like he wasn’t coming back.  I knew our marriage was over, it had been for a long time but I just didn’t admit it to myself fully yet. I had been out with friends doing my own thing, I was slowly venturing out finding my footing.  I got off work that night at 10 but didn’t get home until almost 2 am.  I was completely caught off guard when I walked in and found him sitting on the couch in the dark smoking a cigarette.   It only took 11 words to ignite such anger, 11 little words.

“The same thing you go out and do all the time”

    Twenty plus years later those 11 little words still haunt my memory.  They ignite such a barrage of what if’s in my mind that it drives me insane.  What if I hadn’t said that?  What if I had said something different?  What if I would have ran out the back door instead of fighting back?  What if, what if what if?  It’s easy to tell someone that what if’s don’t change anything so don’t drive yourself crazy thinking that.  It’s not easy however when your the one reliving it over and over again.  What if I would have left him while he was gone?  Packed my stuff up and left and he’d never know where I went.  I didn’t though.  I said those words, I fought back with every ounce of energy I had, I didn’t leave him before it was too late.  Now I have to learn to look back at all those choices differently.  I have to train my brain that even though I’ve told myself all this time it was my fault, I deserved it… I was WRONG!  I did NOTHING to deserve such anger, such hatred.  I didn’t deserve the name calling, the punching, the lying too, the STD’s, the cheating…. I didn’t deserve to be raped.  All I did was love him.  All I asked of him was to love me back, and even though he didn’t do that it doesn’t mean I didn’t deserve to be loved.

    When I walked out of the office this past Monday my body ached.  I could feel every place I was bruised that night.  I felt drained of all my energy and I just wanted to curl up and become invisible.  It’s been several days and I still feel the effects of it all, like my body is healing all over again.  When it happened I went to stay at a friends house after that for a few days.  He let me cry, held me when I shook and rubbed my back when the vomiting would start in.   He tended to my wounds and wouldn’t let me just go away.  I remember asking him, well begging him to let me take a bottle of pills and just go to sleep.  I didn’t want to live anymore, I couldn’t tell my family what had happened, couldn’t face all of them and tell them I let them down by having this happen to me.  We are all fighters, raised strong so how could I tell them I was too weak?  I couldn’t break my mothers heart.  She’d been through so much in her life and I didn’t want to add to her troubles.  I wanted to die.  My friend wouldn’t let me.  He helped me hide it all shove it down and not let the world see the scars.

    At the time I thought I did a very good job of hiding it all from everyone, but looking back I was screaming a very silent scream for the world to see.  I invited trouble into my life, I was careless and reckless.  I put my room mate in danger on a very regular basis bringing anyone home that I could get to come with me.  I spent a year trying to fill up that enormous hole he slammed into me that night.  Nothing worked and sadly I ended up marrying another abuser.  This time bringing two innocent babies into the picture.  I can tell you all that I am now out of that abusive relationship, in therapy and doing everything I can to help my kids be a better stronger person than I was.  My son treats women with respect and my daughter has had 3 yrs of Tae Kwon Do training to know how to protect herself.

    I know that I still have a very long ways to go.  I have to erase the negative thoughts of myself that are etched into my minds eye.  I have to remind myself on a daily basis that I’m worth so much more in this world.  I have to show the world as well as myself that I am what I’ve said I was for years.. a survivor!

National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1.800.656.HOPE

If you have been sexually assaulted, even if your not sure because you might have started it, or your married to your attacker and by being married you think it’s not rape.. please call them.  There is help.. and even if you are married… NO MEANS NO!

National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1.800.656.HOPE

If you have been sexually assaulted, even if your not sure because you might have started it, or your married to your attacker and by being married you think it’s not rape.. please call them.  There is help.. and even if you are married… NO MEANS NO!

The Road to Healing begins with Hurting.. Session 4

Date_Rape_Project1___Approach3_by_c_ko

Last weeks session was pretty intense.  We discussed my homework assignments for the week.  The worksheet was to write about something that had happened, my thoughts about it and how it made me feel.  This was the assignment..

My homework for this past 2 weeks is an ABC worksheet.  A is to write about something that happened.  B. is “tell myself something.  C. is “I feel something”  The example given is A. I build a porch and the railing comes loose.  B. “I can never do anything right”. C. “I get angry and kick the railing.  I also feel down and sad because I can’t do anything right”

Are my thoughts above in “B” realistic?  “No.  It wouldn’t hold up in a court of law, because I do SOME things right”.

What can you tell yourself on such occasions in the future? “There are some things that I do all right.  It is not true that I “never” do anything right”

One of the things I wrote about was something someone said to me about my outfit.  My first thought was “It doesn’t matter what I wear I’m never going to look good in anything.. I’m never going to be accepted”.  My C answer was I had felt angry to the point I wanted to inflict physical pain on this person.  Then I felt fat and still out of that “circle” that I can never quite get into.   As we discussed this she started asking me how it was my fault on how this other person thinks or feels.  She reminded me that this particular person is always criticizing me, no matter how hard I try or what I do so why would I ever think that anything I wore would be good enough for him?  Pointing out the obvious is something that I truly need to either learn to do on my own or have people close to me do this for me.  Help me to retrain my brains way of thinking things through.  To try to stop blaming myself for every thing that has gone wrong for me.

The next thing we discussed was a problem that always comes up in my life, money.  Being financially strapped and in turmoil it makes it very hard to not stress and to not argue with my husband on a constant basis.  I do not believe “Love is all you need” crap.  You need money.  The lack of money makes it difficult to pay your bills, celebrate anniversaries and birthdays, take family vacations.  People will tell you that “You can do free things together, take a picnic or a walk together.  Make something new for dinner together, write a poem or watch a movie together as a family with popcorn.  Those are all great things, but year after year of doing those things, they get old.  Sometimes you want to go out to a restaurant that doesn’t have a value menu, or stay over night in a hotel on a beach just to watch the sunrise in the morning from your balcony.  Anything other then the free stuff.  Anyways, that’s kinda off the topic but a little bit but it will explain it.  Because of life our bank account was less then it should have been and I lost it.  My first thoughts were “here we are again.. I’m not one of those girls, I’ll never be one of them.  I’ll never be able to buy what I want or need, go on family vacations, do what I want for my kids.”   My C part of this was at first to feel defeated.  I’ve worked so hard for so many years and I’m getting further and further in debt.  I went to college and put myself $24,000 + in debt w/ student loans I’ll never be able to pay back.  I screamed and yelled at my husband how I’m sick to death of it all.. then I felt like a failure all over again.

As we discussed this she started asking me more and more questions about why I feel certain ways and the water works started.  The more I talked the more upset I got and the more I had to fight to hold the tears back.  I blurted out that I don’t feel like I’m important.. important enough for anyone to listen to, to love. My boss treats me like I’m the dumbest most horrible person he’s ever employed.  My first husband didn’t think I was important, my second either.  My current husband loves me and I know this but most of the times I feel like he’s not hearing me.  He listens but doesn’t hear.  I feel like no one has really heard me in years.  She started asking me if I truly felt this way, that I knew my kids couldn’t survive without me and they thought I was very important and that even though my husband may make mistakes, he thinks I’m important too.  But I don’t feel it and I haven’t in forever and until I learn that I am important to myself I won’t feel important to anyone else.

My next assignment, that’s due today has been the hardest yet.  I had to write a detailed paper on the rape sparing no details.  I had to write about what I was feeling then and what I was feeling while I was writing it.  It was truly hard to do, it left me feeling dirty and disgusting and the worst, vulnerable. If you know me at all you know that vulnerable is truly one of the worst things I can feel because for me it equals being weak, being a victim and I can’t do that.  I will write about the session later this week but I will not be posting the paper.  There are some things that I can’t share and this is one of them.

National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1.800.656.HOPE

If you have been sexually assaulted, even if your not sure because you might have started it, or your married to your attacker and by being married you think it’s not rape.. please call them.  There is help.. and even if you are married… NO MEANS NO!