Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Really Lousy Day

What a lousy day. Awful.

I could list the obvious for having a bad day- the day to day struggle with a preteen was wearing hard on me, the people buying my mother’s condo have ‘issues’ that came up during inspection and my car doesn’t work.

The truth is, I’ve been triggered again by a piece I’m writing. “Triggered” for those of you who don’t know, is when something comes up in day to day life, could be fairly benign to everyone else, that sets off the abuse memories again. For me, it makes it hard to breathe, I feel pressure on my back, and I feel pain in my hip.

Nothing to be done about it, but see it for what it is, go through it, and get to the other side. It is less painful now than it was a year ago. It takes a while for me to realize what is happening, but once I get the pain in my hip I know.

I forget what I went through, on a daily basis. Not entirely, but it doesn’t consume me like it did. I feel as though I am done.

I’m not. I will always hold pieces of the abuse. I will always be triggered by different things. There is the smell of wet canvas, or the sound my father made, and before I understand what has happened, a series of memories and images have begun to unfold.

It leaves me unfocused and I blur the lines between today and long ago. I get edgy, very negative, and afraid. Hopeless. Cramped into a small tent, a tiny apartment and I am caged again today.

I’m not.

I start crying over anything that comes up, like a car not starting. Or the prospect of having to fix a water stain on a wood floor in Florida. Or my son’s anguish spilling out all over the rest of the family in painful waves.

His struggle with his own demons leaves him angry and mean. He shouted at Jake yesterday that Jake sucked at art. That he would always suck at it and he was stupid for trying.

Jake came running in, crying, I’m going to throw everything away…

Oh, I get it. Ben’s jealous of Jake, Jake’s getting Ben in trouble. I know. I see the weave, I understand the pattern. I simply feel helpless to change it.

Today. I need to remember it’s today. The nightmares for the last few nights, the tears, the hopelessness, will fade. It’s not forever. The piece I’m writing is worth it. I have to get through to the other side.

If I throw my hands up and say I can’t, then I am the one who loses. No one else.


The condo will sell. The car will start, eventually. Ben is going to be okay. Jake will never give up art; it’s in his blood, just as is tattling on his older brother. I might suck as a parent some days, but not every day, and I try to learn from my mistakes.

I will never be in a canvas tent again. No one is pushing me down, holding my face to the ground. I can breathe. The pain is from years and years ago.

I will not let the trigger rule my life.

AND… it was a really lousy day today.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Ms. Moon said...

This is what I say being a survivor of that sort of childhood abuse is like:
It's like being a survivor of childhood polio which twisted and crippled the limbs.
No matter how much therapy the survivor of either one receives and undergoes, there is always going to be some residual damage.
Can't escape that.
You can function, be happy, have an incredible and meaningful life BUT some days there will be pain and awkwardness and there will be anguish.
Some days.
Not all.
Be kind to yourself while you (for whatever reason) have to work through this bit of it again.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

McLuhan was full of shit a lot of the time, but he caught on to one good thing: uttering equals outering. When you say it, it's out there, not in here.

When you talk about the things that happened to you, I want to hit him and hit him and never stop. So much for my coping skills: when in doubt, I want to smack somebody. But the thing I so admire about you is that you're fighting those intrusions and you realize that they don't belong to you, they're just stuff that happened or stuff that happens. So you carry those things around, but they're just stuff you carry around. You've got people who care about you who can carry those things for a while. And sometimes you can just put them down for a while. It isn't like somebody's going to run off with them.

You look like you're starting to realize that you can fail without being a failure, that bad things can happen and it isn't because you deserve bad things to happen forerver and ever. And sometimes loving your kids and your friends is all you can do, and it turns out that's enough.

Most of your readers (especially me) are waiting for you to tell us how we can do that.

You'll do it. If it turns out you don't, a lot of folks care about you a lot anyway.

1:54 AM  
Anonymous donald said...

all i can say is hang in there. you know we all love and care for you very deeply and are ready to help at any time and in any way!

3:40 PM  

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