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This area is reserved for the tidbits I know hope will be of interest to my readers. Check back often for regular updates. 

 

Check out this article about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, including a list of organizations which strongly oppose this sick trend, and have implemented various means of helping women who have been sexually victimized.

 

Were you raised by a narcissist? Chances are you were if you suffered any form of childhood abuse. The Little Red Survivor website is filled with excellent articles examining the many faces of narcissism.

 

It's been a long time coming---7 years to be exact---but finally email notifications for new BD posts is available. Sign up today and never again miss another post. You know you want to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kate Is Rising has an excellent Survivors Resources page which directs you to numerous websites dealing with issues of abuse, healing and recovery. Please bear in mind that the information on these pages may be triggering.

 

 

There's lots of good stuff at the Dissociation Blog Showcase, including a list of 180 blogs dealing with some aspect of this disorder. 

 

 

On the Overcoming Sexual Abuse site there's an article entitled, "It's Not About You Mom" which I could have written myself. I bet many of my readers could say the same!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Entries in Family (67)

Wednesday
Jul022014

And Everything in Between

Yesterday I recovered a ton of photos I'd had on my old computer. While going through them I came across ones taken of my old apartment.

Oh, what squalor that place was in when I moved in! I wonder how many hours I spent scrubbing, painting and washing walls and windows. How determined I was to make the place not just habitable, but cozy as well. A labor of love, then, well worth every ache and pain.

As I pored over the old photos, my heart yearned to be back in that coziness. I'd forgotten certain details, such as how I'd loved my kitchen curtains against the newly painted walls, or the cabinet Sissyface gave me for the living room and which I left behind when I moved because I didn't think there'd be room for it.

There, in that small one bedroom, is where I colored with Maddy and Anna, or built things with them out of Legos. Maddy was forever leaving little surprises for me in my mail slot next to the front door: a rock she'd found on her way in, a half eaten cookie, or a grape.

How many meals we ate together there as a family: the girls and their parents, and Sissyface, and sometimes my granddaughter, Izzy, and her family too. Though this memory brings no comfort, it was there in my little home that I hid away whenever my mother came to town, and stayed with Sissyface. How well I remember hiding inside during a snowfall, all too aware that most of my family was one row over, enjoying Christmas dinner with my mother, my abuser.

It's true that I've lamented not being able to get cozy here in my current home. I suppose all along I've known, on some level, that a big part of it is simply that I'm cut off from most of my family, having moved farther away. There are no more family dinners or get-togethers, and now that school is out for the summer I don't see Maddy and Anna. Often during the day I must rouse myself from the lethargy that overtakes me as I sit by the hour, mostly doing things online.

Earlier tonight their daddy sent me a message on Facebook. The gist of it was telling me how much he appreciates all I've done for him and the girls, and to let me know that I'm the bomb.

That's it, that's what I needed right about now. Everyone likes their efforts to be appreciated but, beyond that, I just needed that  personal connection. My life is different now, that's all. Not better or worse, just different. To some degree it's what I wanted: a cessation from the necessity of picking the girls up from school every day. I can't help but smile at my awkward attempts to transition from yesterday to today. What a klutz I am! I bet I think that if I completely let go of that little era of my life, it would be the same as saying it didn't matter.

The time will come when memories of my old apartment will be just that, memories. Not yearnings to revert back to those days, but gratitude for having lived through them. And they weren't all so great; let me remember that when it hurts my heart to think of those days: they weren't all so great.

Today my heart was so touched by the unexpected gift of my son's appreciation. Let me keep in mind as I stumble along that this is what life is about, unexpected bits of joy intermingled with lethargy and homesickness, and everything in between.

Wednesday
Mar122014

Not So Unbroken

D. was the infant sister two years before Sissyface came along. She was the newborn, and I the 10 year old who cringed everytime my mother pushed her basinet all the way through the house, to shut her in the second bathroom, in the dark, to cry her little heart out.

Hearing just a couple days ago that she was coming to town, I realized with surprise that we hadn't seen one another in nearly 25 years. How was that possible?

Possible, I had to admit to myself, because this is not someone I've ever been close to, nor felt comfortable with. In fact, the lack of connection is due to that sense of discomfort in her company. When I was in my early 30's we hung out together infrequently, and D. never failed to ridicule me in front of whoever else was around.

Not unlike her father, my abuser.

Tonight after spending time with this sister I barely know, I feel like there's something I should do, some act of contrition like repentance. One look at her told me more than I wanted to know. This was someone broken and sad, someone who--from what Sissyface has told me--has never wanted to deal with her childhood.

And look at her, I kept thinking. Look at how subdued she is compared to her former outgoing self. She gave me a huge hug, a hug when years ago she would never have touched me or shown the least affection.

We sat down on the couch together and she immediately asked if I was still writing. When I said yes, she wanted to know what kinds of things I write, but we got interrupted and I didn't have a chance to answer. She wanted to know how I spent my time; she seemed capable now of seeing me. Perhaps for the first time since we both left childhood behind us, she could see a person when she looked my way rather than just an opportunity to make others laugh at my expense.

It's an odd thing to see a sister after so much time. She's lost too much weight; she's fought certain battles, her voice doesn't even seem to belong to her. I see in her mannerisms bits and pieces of the mother I try constantly to forget about.

I fussed and fretted about this visit, so afraid she would find something in my appearance to scoff at. I'm older and heavier, there's no denying it. I determined to expect the worst, to take it with good grace and then never see her again.

I used to beg my mother to let me hold D. so she would stop screaming, but she wouldn't let me. Now she seems like a frail shell of her former self. I could scoop her up and carry her around with me, tuck her into my bed beneath my electric blanket, and serve her bowls of chicken soup made by hand, and with love.

I could brush the hair out of her eyes, bring her tissues for random tears, and read to her from a worn copy of The Velveteen Rabbit.

What did it cost me in that old House of Incest to hear my new sister screaming for hours, and to see no compassionate adult come to her rescue? Did I have to harden my heart a little towards her, so I could bear it?

Illinois, 24 years ago. We were living within about half an hour of one another. She invited me out to lunch one day and asked me, abruptly, as I took a bite of my sandwich, "When you left home when you were 15, why did you leave the rest of us kids there? Why didn't you rescue us from the abuse?"

Stalling, I chewed slowly on my sandwich. My thoughts were all over the place; I felt mostly confusion. Did I know they were being abused? How could I know that and do nothing?

Relief flooded me when I realized I hadn't known, nor even so much as suspected that my stepdad was also abusing them. I clearly recalled feeling that the reason he singled me out for abuse was because I wasn't his own flesh and blood. I began to tell this to D., but she'd already lost interest in my answer. One look at the closed expression on her face told me that we would probably never ever have even that much of a conversation about our childhoods again.

I wonder now, has it all caught up with her? Have the nightmares started? Does she suffer from abreactions, from PTSD?

I think everyone lives better than I ever do. I mean that in the sense of, I think everyone else has life all figured out, and they're on top of things. As I fumble along, they stride confidently without missing a step. If they ever had childhood issues to deal with, they've long since dealt with them and resolved them. This is how I imagine others live, especially those I'm related to. I thought I would have to sit through a painful few hours with an arrogant, snide sister, then go home to lick my wounds. I thought I'd take one look at her and hate her for being so together, so sophisticated, so unbroken.

She's not unbroken, she's hurting. Her eyes are haunted and I detected a nervousness about her. I've never known her before to come across as nervous and unsure of herself. Was she afraid of how I would respond to her? It seems laughable to me that she would care what I think of her, that I would have any kind of power over her.

No, she's not unbroken. She's lost, she's frail, she needs something. She's a stumble-bum, just like me.

 

 

 

Friday
May102013

My Delicious Respite

The grandkids have just been spirited away to their mother's for the weekend, leaving me with nothing I have to do. No demands on my time and energy. I can spend the next 48 hours in whatever fashion I choose.

What shall I do? It would be a great time to do some more sorting, and packing. But someone stole our air conditioner and this house is like an oven. I can't see myself doing anything requiring physical exertion. What then?

Perhaps a movie is in order. Maybe tomorrow when Tim comes for his weekly visit I'll see if he'd like to go with me. He's not good at sitting still for the length of a movie though, so a better idea might be to go on Sunday after he's left.

I've a blank journal just waiting for my 7 year old insider, Jenny, to break in with her earnest thoughts. She must be anxious about the upcoming move, so allowing her an outlet for her feelings would be a positive use of some of my time.

Yesterday Maddy, my 6 year old granddaughter, and I made cinnamon rolls from scratch. What fun we had making a big old mess. I got out the rolling pins and we rolled and rolled the dough, attempting to make it measure 30" x 10." The rolls turned out as delish as I'd hoped, and there's still another batch waiting to be baked. I could bake those, it would be something to do--but nah, there's that whole house-feeling-like-an-oven thing; imagine if I really did use the oven!

I should be getting a box of yarn today which I ordered online to make my new grand baby a blankie. I can't think of anything I'd rather do less than knit. No, that will keep. I must think sensibly and not let this heat cloud my thinking. No knitting, no sorting, no packing, no baking. What does that leave? Simply being.

I'm going to simply be, I like the sound of that. I'm going to piddle around doing next to nothing. I'll doubtless watch parts of TV shows and movies which I've recorded, changing to something else once I grow restless. I'll probably take a shower at some point, not having to hurry as I would if the girls were here.

I'll scribble a few notes for the writing I'll be getting back to once I settle in to the next step of my journey. I may clean out my purse, something I can easily do while watching TV.

I'll consider washing my bedding, but think better of it. Running the dryer? Uh uh.

My thoughts will scraggle to my childhood, pondering this and that memory or season. I'll wonder how I got to be nearly 60, marveling at the wonder of managing to survive this long.

Izzy, a bit lost without her cousins, will at some point make an appearance in my room, asking for my help with something. I'll spend time with her, both of us glad to have someone to keep us company.

I may change the litter box, but don't count on it.

I'll pray from time to time, silently, prayers that flitter from one topic to another in no particular order, like birds who can't settle on one particular branch.

When bedtime rolls around, if I can't quite relax enough for sleep, I'll put on Hitchcock's Rear Window, turn my back to the TV (so I'm not sleeping on my bad hip), and let its comforting murmur lull me into la-la land. I don't know why this movie does that to me, I'm just grateful it does. There's no sense in questioning something that works.

Thus my weekend will pass slowly, deliciously. Whether or not I accomplish anything can't matter for the next 2 days, can't matter a bit. Easing out of my tight, strident routine of meeting the needs of others, I'll fall into a state of constant sleepiness, for I can let down my guard. Relax.

I already miss the girls but oh, I was so ready for this respite!

 

 

 

Sunday
Apr212013

New Life

Looks like I'll be moving sooner than August, which is when my new granddaughter, Lily, will be born. I had thought I was moving in August, but it makes sense that my son would want his baby's mama all settled in before her arrival.

In contemplating yet another move, I'm trying to come up with what I can do to make the transition easier for my selves. Moving is always so traumatic for me. What can I do to comfort myself during this time as Moving Day looms closer and closer?

I think for one thing I can begin early to sort through all my stuff so I'm not experiencing the stress of trying to do so at the last minute. Fortunately I never had time after we moved into this house to unpack all my things. My closet is full of packed boxes, which is a bit of a headstart. Well then, I can organize what isn't already packed and have one of my sons round up boxes for all the rest.

What else? I'm thinking journaling through this transitional time would be a good idea. Instead of brooding on my obsessive thoughts of feeling once more displaced, disoriented and discombobulated, I can write it all out so I have at least one outlet for my turbulent emotions.

As always when I'm getting ready to move, I feel stupid to be so deeply affected by something I've done a kazillion times. When will moving not have this affect on me? I'm beginning to suspect that I have to accept this is how I am. Perhaps fighting my fears about relocating just makes it that much harder. Can I give myself permission to simply be who and what I am? I've had to accept that I have absolutely no sense of direction. I've come to terms with it because I see I have no choice in the matter. Why not, I wonder, have the same attitude toward my moving distress?

Despite my fears and deep anxiety, there is always a teeny bit of excitement at the thought of setting up house in a new place. The deliciousness of finding just the right spot for everything is something to look forward to.

I have to decide if I'm going to have my youngest son live with me this time. He really has nowhere else to go, but maybe he needs this push to get him in gear. Would I be able to live alone? When I moved into my last apartment it was with the idea of living alone. I was terrified to do so. When he ended up needing a place to stay I was quite relieved. Knowing there is someone else in my home at night really helps tremendously. I think how great it would be (or at least I think it would) to have all that time, day after day, to myself. But the nights are what trouble me. So this is something I must decide, and time is running out.

What I try not to focus on too much is, will the girls miss me too much? With all the excitement and chaos of a new baby, as well as the blending of two families, will they even have time to wish I were here? Oh, I've a hunch the separation will be harder on my end than on theirs. After all, they'll have their daddy, a loving step mom, a new baby and a 10 year step-brother who is very good to them, and whom they adore. When exactly would they find time to miss me?

I have to be careful of falling into the trap of self-pity. Isn't it true, I ask myself, that you are much more emotionally attached to others than they are to you? Don't you think the world would still go on turning if you weren't around? I'm probably transferring my sad fears onto others, thinking they will be as deeply affected as I at the necessity for my moving out.

Well then, I will begin to pack early . I'll journal my feelings so they don't become too overwhelming. I'll remind myself as many times a day as needed that I am not a little girl any longer who is moving away from a beloved father and brothers. I must stay present and focused in the here and now so that the past doesn't swallow me up whole. This doesn't have to be traumatic, it can be nothing more than the closing of one door so that I may walk through another.

Another chapter behind me, that's all.

One season ending, another beginning.

I want to begin my new life with all the enthusiasm that I feel for the new little life which is soon to grace our family.

A blessing, a reason not for mourning but for celebrating.

Monday
Apr152013

When I Was Little

Sometimes when I watch my granddaughters swing in the backyard I feel like my little girl self, bare knees graced by the sun, my beloved cotton dress fluttering from the force of my enthusiastic swinging. My body, as much as my mind, remembers the deliciousness of pumping my strong little legs to go higher and higher.

While playing Sonic with my youngest granddaughter, she informs me that only kids can play the game. I tell her I'm not a kid, so why does she allow me to play?

"You're a kid, Nans," she tells me.

"I am?"

"Yes. You are. But the other grown ups here aren't kids, so they can't play Sonic."

She obviously senses a difference about me; I don't know whether to feel embarrassed or secretly relieved that someone has zoomed in on my reality, a reality I expend a lot of effort to hide.

I like the moments, precious because of their rarity, when I experience my little girl self. There is something comforting about it. Comforting, perhaps, because I'm getting in touch with who I used to be without the taintedness of all things perverted.

I don't know why these body memories don't affect me in the manner of the mental memories of which I recently blogged. When I feel once more the knobbiness of those knees, I'm transported back in time, but in such a way that there is nothing negative or evil attached to the experience. Here I am, 7 years old, lazing away long summer days with games of hopscotch or bike rides up and down our dead-end street. Reading is another activity I can waste an entire day on, devouring books whole as if I've been word starved. My life has by this point been touched by great evil, but these memories don't evoke that bad stuff. I'm little and funny and in love with sunny days. I have great energy, and a huge curiosity about the world.

When I was little I loved my body, for it took me on all sorts of expeditions throughout our yard and neighborhood, broadening my knowledge of life with each new discovery.

When I was little I loved basking in the friendly sun warming me as I went about my innocent play.

When I was little every day was a new adventure. I didn't fear what the next 24 hours would hold, for I had yet to experience the heavy blows of abuse.

When I was little everything seemed at once both sacred and funny. The fat caterpillar inching its way along the sidewalk entranced me, endearing me with its fuzziness. I loved potato bugs; they seemed so ridiculous to me. I would hold one in the palm of my hand and gaze at it with something akin to love.

My little girl self coming to life again at unexpected times pleases me, frees me, gratifies some need in me to connect with who I was when life was more than mere survival.