Unstable Home(s) part 2

Warning, this post contains violence against children and should not be read by those who are extra sensitive to child abuse.

This is part 2 of 2, so if you have not read part one, please do so.

I was 12, going to miss 7th grade, lose all my friends, again. Isolation and being stuck with a psychopath for a year was very damaging. I was only aloud out of the house once in a while. “What makes you think you can go out every weekend?” My dad yelled at me once. Uh, because I sit at home and do nothing ALL day. My dad convinced my mom we needed a computer for schooling. This was 1997, the internet was new and still jacked into the phone line.

Here is how homeschooling that whole year went; my mom would go to school in the morning and as soon as she left we were sent to our rooms while he did nothing but look at porn and smoke weed. Fuck him. Even typing this makes me feel sick. I remember sitting in my room, knowing what he was doing and feeling revolted.

I was tested by the state to see how dumb I was. Fuck you again. Scored 12 grade graduate level on reading comprehension and science….. but 3rd grad level in math and punctuation. I got to go back to school the next year. But if you think sitting around doing nothing for a year is super great to prepare you for 8th grade, you are WRONG. It’s already awkward, but I was isolated, poor and was NOT popular or pretty. I was a target. I loved school because it wasnt home. But I never did a damn thing. It was all to fast and confusing for me. I looked at boys, I made good friends and had normal drama for an 8th grader. But going home was always the worst. My parents snooped in my room all the time. I came home to all of my Marilyn Manson CDs spread out. My dad screamed about what a sick fuck he was and took them to the garage and broke them with a hammer. I re-bought them all. Friends burned me copies.

And then after a very awkward year of trying to find my tribe, I made a group of best friends. We were all going to highschool together, we were going to have the greatest time!

And then my mom got the call that her father had been diagnosed with cancer. My aunt called my mom, my dad was already pissed. He hated my aunt, how long my mom would talk to her and how loud she would laugh. We only had one corded phone. When my aunt called my mom was silent and then burst into tears. “God-fucking-damnit, now what?” I vividly remember my dad saying. My poor mom.

After she got off the phone, she said the worst 5 things I could have heard. “We are moving to redacted.”

From the PNW to the deep fucking south. At least I whould get one more summer with my friends. Or so I Thought.

That summer, I decided I would lose my virginity to my boyfriend. We had dated the summer between 6th and 7th grade before his mom got transfer to another state. We talked on the phone for the whole year I was “homeschooled” and 8th grade. He was coming home to visit his grandma for the summer. I was dating someone else at the time. . But told him as soon as my real boyfriend is in town, you are out. He took it very well and we stayed friends for a long time.

We had it all planned out. We whould meet at the skating rink and then sneak out the back to fool around. Then I would ask him to take my virginity. But it didnt work that way… my ride for the skating rink was 2 hours late. We didnt have cell phones then. He thought I wasnt coming so by the time I got there he had left. Then a girl I’ll call Sarah, who I went to school with told me she had to tell me something. That my bestfriend, I will call her Beth, slept with him.. 2 days ago. I was devastated. I knew she had no rules at her house and people spent the night all the time, smoking week and drinking. I wasn’t aloud to spend the night, every time I came home I smelled like smoke and my parents hated it. He had even called me that day to let me know he went to her house to party and ended up sleeping over, but NOTHING happened. I was so in love with him and trusting of her, I literally didbt think ANYTHING about this. When Sarah told me this, I died in side. I called Beth, she admitted everything. I never spoke to her again.

I confronted him, he blamed it on the alcohol and weed, I myself had never done either yet, so I believed him when he told me he loved me so much and she meant nothing. A week later an opportunity to escape my home and meet up with him arose. I lost my virginity and it want anything magical. It hurt, I knew he was not a virgin and it kinda was the end of us. I never saw him again. We talked on the phone for years after, and wrote letters, but that magic of “first love” was gone.

I stupidly wrote this in my diary, which unannounced to me, my mom had been reading. I guess if you just pull hard enough, the lock pops open.

My mom was picking me up from the boys and girls club, on our bikes as usual. She was seething. I knew I was fucked. She told me she red my diary and I was grounded for a year. A YEAR!!!!! My whole last summer with my friends GONE! Now I was trapped at home, subject to outbursts from my extreamly stressed out mother (I didn’t consider her struggle of her father’s cancer, us moving, my psycho dad, and her out of control daughter)

My dad, surprisingly, had nothing to say about it. He did not ask a single question, or ever mention it to me.

Everywhere we went for the next few months, before moving to hell, I had to be right next to my mom. Even when we were at an event and i saw my friends. I couldn’t talk to them.

We packed and shipped all of our things to my aunt who put it in storage for us… the storage unit was not temp controlled and the south is hot, so a ton of things got ruined. Had I known this I would have saved my parents the money and thrown the stuff away.

Finally, the week before we moved my mom let a small group of friends come over to say good buy.

The night before we moved I considered running away, fucking up the whole moving plan. But I chickened out.

So we moved. Again. This time 3000 miles away from our Blue libral state, to a Red Conservative, bible belt state. The heat and culture shock were immediate.

We stayed in a tent by the week motel until our apartment was ready. It was one room and had a partition separating the queen bed room the rest of the place. Zero privacy. I cried for that whole week.

Then we moved…again… to our appartment. It was the 1st 3 bedroom we ever lived in. It was fancy to us. My mom had graduated college and was making decent money. We could shop at the regular department store, instead of the thrift shop, the only place I got clothes from for 14 years. We could ask for outlandish food, like hot pockets and toaster strudels, because we were no longer on food stamps, and we has some extra cash.

We were in a gigantic apartment complex, with 2 pools and a work out center. Something I has never seen in my hometown. I was new, I was immediately a target. I was also still grounded for a year, so I couldn’t make friends anyway. And to make matters worse, I failed 8th grade and had to repeat it instead of starting high school.

Things at home were a little different. My mom told my dad no drugs. She made him get a job and give all of his money to her. She socked that money away, and secretly bought a house with it.

She sat my brother and I down at the table and told us she bought a house, did we want our dad to come with us? Or were we ready to leave him. I had been ready from day one. My dad had a different relationship with my dad, because he was a boy. But even then we were all done. We told her everything he had ever done to us that she didnt know about. The things he lied about and how much we loved him, but couldn’t live with him any more. And that was that. We moved again. We pack our belongings while he sobbed that no one loved him, he couldn’t believe we chose this. Really dude? You are a monster.

The first night in our new home, with all of my moms friends from work helping her move, felt magical. Like a blackness had been removed. It felt right.

*After note. I left out one move in the 1st post. It was only for 2 months while we lived in extream poverty and my mom had to borrow food stamps from a friend at work. It was just terrible. If you were keeping count I was moved 13 times by age 14. This created a terrible sence of impermanence, and instability. I didnt know the background damage it was doing and how it would affect me as an adult. Moving causes extream anxiety and panic for me. I what my kids to have stability and feel secure. I will probably elaborate on this more in another post. But I’m honestly emotionally spent after these two posts. I feel like sobbing and taking a nap, but I have to Mom Up and take care of my kids.

Thank you for reading, please like, or comment with feed back so I know this isnt just going into the void ♡

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Touch

I have a bit of a control problem. More like a self control problem. Because I had zero control growing up, about anything, I’m over controlling now. Especially about my body.

As far as I know I was never sexually abused as a child. But I was beaten constantly, for very small infractions. Like waking my drug passed out dad up, while trying to get food from the kitchen for my brother and I.

Being yanked, hit, held upside down, held by my hair, being forced over something to be hit, pushed to the ground. All while being screamed at for what a worthless piece of shit I was. I had no control.

Being touched is a vital thing for some people, I feel instantly trapped. Overwhelmed. My partner is a foot taller and much larger than me. He loves being touched and held. But I do not. It causes my chest to tighten and my heart to race, I feel panic rise and yell “I’m not in the mood for this!” His feelings are hurt alot and I honestly have no idea how he deals with it. When I asked him recently, he said he was used to my rejection by now. Trying to explain to some one with no childhood or any truama at all, that it’s me not you… sounds bad. And he dosen’t understand.

The biggest issue surround this is I did not always feel this way. Only since my truamas have started resurfacing, the last year or so. We used to be VERY snuggly and affectionate.

Another thing that changed it was having kids… I’m touched out. They need me to hold them and snuggle them, to grow. I feel unthreatened by them, and its esier for me to deal with. To be clear I DO NOT feel threatened by my husband at all. Hes just a big guy, a man.. and a man is the one who hurt me so much as a child that my body reacts with out my consent to get away.

This is painful for our marriage, as you can imagine sex is especially difficult. I often disassociate and feel numb. I can not control this and it just makes me want to avoid it all together. But being in a sexless marrage is torture to the one who wants to bond. So I really have to prepare myself. It sounds ridiculous, but if you have ever been abused, I’m sure some of you know what I mean.

Really, I wish I was just normal. Regular household and financial stress like everyone else. But I have a dark cloud over me that is constantly raining down shit.

8 Months Ago

Every year around June and July I have a mini mental break down. It usally starts with an argument with my partner, something so dumb it’s not even worth fighting about. But it’s the miscommunication that breaks me. Hes not understanding what I’m saying, I cant process what he is saying. We get stuck in a loop and my brain shuts down all rational thinking. The fight we had this time triggered something so Furious in me. I broke. I ended up screaming at him that we need tharapy and I was not setting it up! I take meds, I have been to therapists, I read books to help me cope. He needs to do something!

I started sobbing, shut my self in my daughters room with her. I hid between her bed and bookshelf in the same position for or over an hour. Every bit of me hurt as I sobbed silently so she wouldn’t hear me over the show she was watching.

When I finally calmed down enough to extract myself from between the furniture, I hurt all over. I felt numb. As I passed my partner on the way to the livingroom, he said ” hey, I found a counselor.” I ignored him to go crawl in my bed.

I was messing around on the internet that night and ran into something called the ACE score. Advers Childhood Events, scored from 1 to 10. 1 being the lowest score and least likelyhood of childhood Truama. 10.. how are you even alive and functioning, you are fucked.

The correlation of numbers higher than 4 and depression, suiside, mental illness, homelessness, drug addiction, incarsaration and a whole host of physical ailments are astonishing! The way the ACE score was discovered and developed is amazing and I encourage you to read about it. I will post a link.

I’m getting ahead of myself here. I scored an 8. Anything over a 4 is the danger zone. I researched what this meant for me, and if I didnt have the love of my mother and a supportive, non traumatized partner, I would be fucked. It led me down the internet rabbit whole and I found a diagnosis for people like me. Complex PTSD or C-PTSD. Its is a result of long term abuse and neglect. Children from violent, unstable homes like mine & sex trafficking victims are the most likely to have it. It has been submitted to the DSM multiple times and rejected for various reasons. It has a separate ICD-9 code from PTSD for insurance billing but gets rejected a lot. It’s not taken seriously in the US, other countries recognize it as a disorder and treat people for it.

I immediately bought and read

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk.

It changed my life. I felt like I was reading ME. Why I react to things the way I do, why I think the way I do, why my brain cant process information like other, because the abuse and neglect rewired my developing brain in to survival mode, instead of learning to be a kid.

I sobbed through the whole book. Infact I have read it again with a clear mind. My take away from this book was, I’m not fucked up or alone, im Trumatized. And if you are not you have a very hard time understanding those who are.I bought another book “Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A Guide and Map for Recovering from Childhood Trauma” by Pete Walker. He states in the intro to look at the table of contents and flip to the section you need most. He himself is a survivor of child abuse and neglect. He, like myself, is breaking the chain of abuse by being gentle with our own children. Again, I cried reading this book. It states your truama types and I fit the flight description to a T.I bought another book “The Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach to Regaining Emotional Control and Becoming Wholeby Arielle Scwartz, PhD. This one has taken me the longest to start… its grueling to dig into yourself and try to figure things out. They wouldn’t hand a book to someone suffering from a conventional disease and tell them to read it and try to heal them selves.Reading Body Keeps the the score made me realize most of my psychological disorders were preventable. The abuse and neglect rewired my brain, as I mentioned above, in to survival. It was preventable…this made me so sad that I cried for days. I felt detached,disconnected, floating almost. I went to work and cried during my lunch break. My parents came over every night with dinner. I couldn’t move, I was locked into some sort of self relization/pity I couldn’t get out of. This is not my fault, but I have to deal with it. I cant be a psycho around my kids. I dont want them in therapy because of me. For the most part they are totally normal and very well taken care of.

I went into a slight catatonia… I just could respond, connect or react to anything. I could go to work and fake it, but as soon as I got in my car I shut down, tears streaming down my face, as memories flooded me and I felt 3 again, 5 again, 8 again. And no way to stop it.

My partner booked us an appointment for couples counseling. She asked us each to explain why we were there. My partner went first, explaining the difficulty he was having with me and my basically shut down functioning. I started talking, 5 min in she held up her hand and said, “Whoa there, have you ever been to a psychiatrist?” I said no. She said “Something is going on and in order to treat you correctly I need you to get a doagnosis.” She referred me to two highly recommended psychiatrists. When I called to make an appointment, neither took insurance and the initial intake was $300, the $170 per visit after that…. no wonder people dont get the good kind of care they need.

I ended up going to one on my insurance plan. I read the reviews on line and almost cancelled immediately. But then I read the reviews about the psychiatrist I whould be seeing and I felt better.

The office was horrible. Red carpet, very calming…. damp smelling. Full of people muttering to them selves.

I finally went back and had some small talk, told her I was in mental anguish. She asked me a series of questions and took notes, I was terrified. She told me I had PTSD and the knot in my chest faded. I have been diagnosed with Panic Disorder, depression, anxiety, adhd, bipolar and OCD. But I didnt have enough symptoms to actually fit most of those diagnoses. Nothing is wrong with these diagnoses, they just aren’t mine. I do have depression and anxiety and a panic attack once in a while. And PTSD. But I will always refer to is as C-PTSD.

Now that I know my diagnosis and have an answer I can work on it. But my condition creates a lot of barriers to help. I have anxiety around setting up appointments. I worry I will waste time and money looking for the right therapist. So I just suffer.

Every day I feel like I’m stuck in a loop. I wake up, get ready for work, get my son ready for day care. Drop him off, go to work, pick him up, go home and sit on the couch. My partner works until 11pm, so I’m solo parenting most of the time. I feed my kids total garbage because I cant cook a meal right now. We lay in my bed watching cartoons until we all pass out and my partner puts them in their beds. My kids sleep pretty bad so I’m always getting up with one of them. I feel trapped. I feel like I cant be touched. My marriage is suffering, my kids are not being cared for the way I wish I could. I want to take them to the beach or park. But I just cant right now. And I’m still stuck wondering when this will end.

Got Your ACE Score?

Fear

For as far back as I can remember, I have been afraid. My earliest memories, I’m still wearing diapers. I remember sitting in my highchair as my dad (which I usally just refer to him as his first name now) slammed a bowl of oatmeal in front of me. I told him I pooped and he said I could sit in it. Something as basic as a diaper change was a thing to be in trouble for.

My parents lived in poverty, as my dad refused to work and my poor mother, pregnant with my brother, was forced to work minimum wage jobs to try to make ends meet. We did not have a car and I whould refer to our living conditions as squalor.

They also didnt have a bed. They slept on the floor in the living room of our shack and I slept on the couch. Once I peeked over the couch and saw my dads eyes were open, I was happy and rolled off the couch to cuddle him. I guess I landed on him wrong, he sprung from the floor, picking me up by my feet and beat me for waking him up. Then the endless tirade of him yelling at my mother and I all day began. I snuggled up close to my mother. She was crying and telling me she was sorry. She held my little feet in one hand and her her other arm drew me close.

I didnt know yet that my life would be a nightmare, that my mother was terrified but trapped. These are just my earliest memories, confirmed by her when I recounted them. I was 2. People say you cant remember that far back, but I think when bad thing happened, they get cemented in the brain.

Lessons learned as a child, dont tell your dad you need a diaper change, just sit in it. Never expect a snuggle when you see him awake. I learned fear as my 1st lifes lesson.