Archive for August, 2012

Sick today

Hi, everyone.

My son brought home a cold from school and took down the whole house. :0( I am pushing through what I need to get done for work and will otherwise sleep today.

My sister, Lydia, let me know there are a bunch of comments posted about the drama with momster from right before I took an end-of-summer break. I do want to catch up on them — I just need to kick the cold first. Please hang with me. ~ Faith

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I have shared that I struggled with an eating disorder (binge & compulsive overeating) for most of my life. My weight used to yo-yo by 20-30 lbs. each year. I have been on a bunch of different diets, but nothing ever worked permanently because emotional distress caused me to feel hungry, and eating calmed my emotional distress.

When I was in regular therapy, I was surprised that my therapist was not bothered by the eating disorder. He said it was a symptom of the childhood trauma and that as I healed the trauma, I would let go of the need to binge eat. I found it hard to believe at the time, but he was right. Over the years, I have gradually let go of my need to binge eat to manage my emotions as I developed other, more positive coping strategies.

Despite working out regularly, I still carried ~ 25 extra lbs. I had accepted that this is what my body would always look like. That turned out not to be the case.

As my regular readers know, I have struggled with acid reflux all year. The reflux was so severe that I was unable to eat much for weeks at a time. I felt like an old woman living off of vanilla Ensures and melons because that was about all my stomach could handle. As a result of all of this, I dropped the extra 25 lbs. and have been a “normal” weight for the past couple of months.

I could enumerate the many negative aspects of acid reflux, but one positive aspect has been my inability to turn to food to manage my emotions. The last time I consciously chose to compulsively overeat because I was upset was in June, and I paid dearly for two weeks with painful reflux. Because of the reflux, I have been forced to disconnect managing my emotions from eating over the past eight months. As a result, I have severed the connection, which is something I honestly did not think could happen.

Additionally, my stomach cannot process eating a bunch of junk, so my eating habits have changed. Half of each meal must be something alkaline (a fruit or vegetable), which has forced me eat healthier. Also, overeating kicks off the reflux, so I eat five small snacks/meals a day rather than big meals.

It has taken me a while to mentally process that I am no longer fat. I was the fat girl in middle school and have pretty much worn that hat for most of my life. My life is not magically changed, but it is definitely an adjustment (in a good way).

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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SunsetTaking a week off was just what I needed. I went to the beach with a friend and our two children. She had to leave after two days, which gave me lots of time for reflection as I sat on the beach while the children played in the waves.

I had some epiphanies during this trip, some of which involved myself and some that involved others. I slowly progressed back to a place of mindfulness – of feeling present in my own body at this point of time in my life. I had been in such a state of dissociation for most of the year that I had “forgotten” what it felt like to live in my body in the present moment.

I am at peace with my decision to cut off all contact with momster. My sister has been great about talking about other topics. We both have a lot going on in our day-to-day lives that don’t involve momster, and we focus on those topics when we chat. I am also at peace with another decision I made involving my ex-friend. I had the opportunity to open that door back up, but I decided to keep it shut. I need to move forward with my life, not backward, and I need to stay in relationships with people who are supportive of growth.

Throughout the year of mind f#$%’s from momster, my eyes were opened to some realities in my life that were bothersome. While I have remained aware of those realities, I am in a place of seeing them against the backdrop of the full picture rather than in a vacuum, which was how I was seeing them when I was wigging out last month. I recognize that some of these unpleasant realities are things I can live with at this time in my life. That doesn’t mean I have to live with them forever, but I also don’t have to react to every area in my life that isn’t exactly where I want it to be right now.

I also have a vision of who I am becoming and who I want to be. The theme of 2012 for me (outside of the mind f#$%’s from momster) has been the year of letting go. I am ready to let go of the anchor that keeps me bound to my childhood traumas. Of course, my childhood experiences are always going to influence my life, but they don’t need to be my focal point. I am ready to move forward into the next phase of my life, which does not revolve around the abuse I suffered as a child.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Hi, all.

I am going to take the next week off of blogging to wrap up the summer. I’ll be traveling to the beach and then getting my son settled in to school. I’ll start back blogging on Monday, 8/27.

~ Faith

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Yesterday, I shared that I had recovered a flashback of my aunt (mother’s twin sister) sexually abusing me as well ritually abusing me. Today I am going to write about why I think this is information I needed to process.

I was little in the flashback based upon how large the garage appears. It feels like I was around four years old, which would make my sister two. This would have been roughly three to six months after my mother first sexually abused my sister in my presence. It makes sense that the threat that I am processing today (that I reacted to in momster’s letter) would have happened soon after my mother made me aware that she had started sexually abusing my sister. My aunt lives across the country, so we did not visit that often. When I was in my teens, the trip was every summer, but this incident would have taken place before I was in school, so travel would have been easily facilitated at any time of year.

Up until this point, my memory has been that my mother started sexually abusing me as a toddler and then started sexually abusing my sister as a toddler. My father walked in on momster abusing me when I was ~ six, and he made her stop (although he did not talk with me about it or get me counseling). My parents hooked up with S&L, my most sadistic abusers, when I was ~ six. They “coincidentally” met S&L, our next-door-neighbors who never interacted with us until they were moving, and became fast friends. My sister and I were constantly over at S’s house after they moved (which happened right after the friendship started), so S’s abuse started pretty much right after momster’s abuse stopped.

I have always seen this as an unfortunate coincidence, but what if it was not? Momster is of low intelligence, and her sister was clearly the brains of that twosome. Momster started her abuse when I was little, and her sister stepped in to make sure I did not tell about my baby sister being abused. As soon as momster was “busted,” S took over the abuse. S brought my sister and me into the child porn and prostitution ring, which disguised itself as a cult.

My parents never interacted with any neighbors, so S&L might never have lived next door. That might have just been the cover story as my abuse was transitioned over from momster to S, and the timing was specifically to protect momster while the delivery of two children for a child porn and prostitution ring would have been profitable.

It all makes a warped kind of sense – actually more sense than just being unlucky enough to happen to live next door to RA abusers who just happened to ignore the little girls next door until they were moving away.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I have been working on healing the traumatized part of myself that was triggered by momster’s letter. That part was too terrified at first to reveal anything specific that I could use to heal it, so I focused on loving and accepting that part back into my core. I have been listening to the same song over and over again: “Undo” by Rush of Fools, which is a contemporary Christian band:

Turn me around, pick me up

Undo what I’ve become

Bring me back to the place

Of forgiveness and grace

I need You, I need Your help

I can’t do this myself

You’re the only one

Who can undo what I’ve become

I have also been meditating on the following Bible verse:

No weapon forged against you will prevail. ~ Isaiah 54:17

The first information I recovered was flashes of women’s breasts, which I could not make heads or tails of. The second piece of information to reveal itself was that the threat was to my baby sister – I had to comply to save her. I have already put in a lot of work processing threats to my sister, so I did not think this was the piece of unprocessed trauma that I needed to focus on.

I now recovered the missing piece that I need to process. Thankfully, while this is technically “new information,” I already had the sickening awareness piece for years, so this wasn’t shocking information to process.

I had a flashback of being very little in a very big, dark room with sunlight coming through the second floor level of a small window. Once I took a step back, I recognized the place – it’s my aunt’s garage. This is my mother’s twin sister. That’s the only piece I needed to recover because I have already processed the types of abuse as well as threats to my sister’s life.

This is validated by a recurring nightmare I had early in therapy when I was processing the mother-daughter sexual abuse. My aunt would be sexually abusing me while my mother stood by watching with a blank stare on her face. At the time, I was only aware of the mother-daughter sexual abuse and believed she was my only abuser, so I interpreted this dream as a metaphor – that I was too frightened to face that my mother was my abuser, so I dreamed her staring vacantly as her sister harmed me. However, I now believe this recurring dream was a flashback rather than a metaphor.

This adds another piece to the puzzle of my life that fits, which I will go into tomorrow.

Photo credit: Microsoft

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I only trust two people on this planet enough to let them read momster’s last letter to me – my best friend and my therapist. I trust them both with my life and know that neither would use anything in momster’s letter to try to influence or hurt me. After I realized that my intense triggering came from that letter, I sealed it in an envelope and gave it to my best friend to read. She is going to hand-deliver the letter to my therapist since she will see him before I will. That way, my therapist and I can hit the ground running talking through it when I see him.

I handed her the sealed envelope at a park, and I ran an errand with my kid before meeting up with her at her house, which gave her time to skim through the letter quickly. The look on her face when she opened the door was scary – she looked like her mind had just been blown. She said we needed to talk privately away from the kids.

She talked me through what was in the letter (parts of which I did not remember – presumably from being so triggered when I read it), being very careful to speak in generalities and spoon feed me with enough information to validate that this letter was EXTREMELY triggering. Knowing my history, she would have expected me to be very triggered and VERY ANGRY at so many words (well over 30) that directly reference triggers from childhood, such as “kill,” “dog,” “pants,” and “chain,” and she noted that some of the words (such as dog) did not fit within the context of the paragraph. She said that the absolute last reaction she would expect from me – or anyone – reading the letter would be “peace” and a desire to connect with the author because it was “f#$%ed up” (she rarely uses profanity) and the most disturbing letter she has ever read.

*** possible ritual abuse triggers ***

She said there was a recurring theme throughout it of mothers and children returning to each other, but it also had a story about different types of cows and how the mother cow will kill her calf if the calf is not removed, so the calf is placed with a herd of a different type of cow to raise. It also had lines from an inappropriate skit involving a man taking the pants off a woman and being the “boss” of the “little girl.” This was right before the directive for me to email her, which I felt a strong compulsion to do after reading the letter.

*** end possible ritual abuse triggers ***

The most disturbing thing is that these are the only parts she felt were safe enough to talk with me about. She wants my therapist to read the letter and offer his own thoughts. She could tell how triggered I got about the cow part and said no more, which I think was the right call. She wanted to walk the fine line between validating that my getting triggered by the letter was completely understandable and that my feeling peaceful after reading it was not “normal” while also being careful not to tell me enough to trigger me again.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I talked to my sister about momster’s letter and made her promise to talk with her therapist about it. Her reaction (and she says her therapist’s reaction) is that I am overreacting to the contact because I am fighting processing momster’s mortality. Momster has had three surgeries in the last couple of months, and they believe that I am fighting facing the reality that momster could die before I work through my issues with her.

My reaction is that this is complete BS and so far off the mark that I couldn’t see it with a telescope. I do not have unresolved feelings toward momster. She “died” to me in 2003 when I recovered the memories of the mother-daughter sexual abuse, and the only reason there is any sliver of connection between momster and me is because we are both still in my sister’s life. The only information I receive about momster’s health, etc., is through my sister, and I endured three months of internal emotional hell before and after seeing momster at my sister’s graduation in 2009, not because of unresolved feelings toward momster but because my love for my sister was stronger than my very strong repulsion at the thought of seeing momster.

I spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars in therapy working through my feelings toward momster in 2003-2006. I recognized that while I grieved the loss of having a mother, I was not grieving the loss of HER as a mother because she did not offer motherhood to me. She was something I endured and survived by the skin of my teeth. I have no unresolved issues with her because I resolved them quite well through years of therapy. If my sister was not in my life, all connection with momster would be 100% severed, which would be a relief. I endure the limited information about momster because of my love for my sister—I do not keep a relationship with my sister for the purpose of maintaining a connection with momster. I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree on this topic.

My sister and her therapist strongly encouraged me to talk with my therapist about all of this, which I have already done through an email. He has not been able to see me yet because of family medical health issues, but he is aware of all that is going on and wants to meet when he can focus on my stuff so we can process everything.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Believe it or not, I wrote all of the blog entries over the last two weeks in one long sitting. This is part of my process of addressing priority #1 – dismantling the programming. My head is killing me, my reflux is acting up, and I feel anxiety running through my thighs (where I “hold” my terror). Despite all of this, I have already written and pre-published nine blog entries to roll out over the next two weeks shouting my story from the rooftops. I will NOT be held hostage to cult programming.

I wrote all of these blog entries (including this one) on Saturday, 7/28, which means I have only been aware of the programming for fewer than 72 hours. I am not yet ready to address priority #3, which is talking with my sister about all of this, but I know that has to be on the to-do list. I am hoping to talk with her before all of this publishes. However, if I can’t, then I guess I run the risk of her reading about it first. If that happens, I will deal with it. I need to put on my own oxygen mask before I can deal with someone else’s.

I do not believe my sister is complicit in any of my mother’s programming efforts. She has been too faithful in too many ways for me to question her loyalty to me. Nevertheless, if I am vulnerable to such an “attack,” then my sister likely is as well, so I do believe I need to let her know what is going on with me so she can have a “heads up” to protect herself, doubly so since both she and her children continue to remain in contact with momster.

Making my sister aware of what has been going on with me has the potential of rocking her world, and the timing isn’t great in light of what is going on in her life right now. She reacts to things differently than I do, though, so it might just be a blip for her. Who knows?

Regardless of her reaction, I need to let her know that momster is dead to me – as well as her family – and why. I don’t want any messages passed through my sister from momster: I want all connections between momster and me severed. My sister will need to know this. She has always been respectful of my boundaries re: momster, and I do not expect anything different in this situation. I just cannot focus on this aspect right now because I am so overwhelmed in dealing with the other two areas of healing, which need to come first.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I really wanted to take Thursday off, but I had to work to make up for the sick day on Tuesday, so I toughed it out. I work from home and by the job, not the hour, so I was able to work in a 90-minute nap. I slept like the dead. I continued the inner dialogue of being loved and safe.

I was calmer on Thursday since I understood what was going on. I went back and forth slightly about whether my theory was right or not, but I chose not to question it for the following reasons:

  1. This answer came to me immediately after prayer, and I trust my faith. I had not remotely considered this possibility before that light bulb moment.
  2. This piece of the puzzle makes sense out of the last seven months of my life. Before that puzzle piece, nothing was making sense.
  3. After this realization, a large, wounded alter part emerged. I don’t think that is coincidence.
  4. The steps I am taking in reaction to this theory are resulting in healing, not further emotional damage.

Since there wasn’t much more I could do about priority #1 (that is going to take time and lots of self-love and acceptance), I moved on to priority #2 – accepting the reality that momster continues to be a threat. She is both mentally ill and of below average intelligence, so I have underestimated her – a mistake I will not make again.

The bottom line is that she knew the combination to the safe in my head to unleash the programming in this alter part. I can only see two explanations for this: either she was in on the programming when it was done to me as a child, or she is in current contact with ritual abusers who gave her the combination. (It is also possible that both are true.)

I am angry that momster is still trying to f@#$ with my head, and I will give her no further opportunity to do so. I will throw away any further letters that she sends me and tell a safe local friend about it. I am also cutting all contact with her and well as members of her side of the family. (I currently exchange Christmas cards with her sister and a couple of cousins on that side of the family.)

The good news is that this attack has removed the conflict that I have wrestled with for so long. Momster is not some innocent child abuse victim who is so broken she does not remember what she has done. She is not some wounded person that I am hurting by staying out of her life. She was a co-conspirator in trying to break me as a child, and she continues to use their tools to try to break me as an adult. I am 100% DONE with her, and it feels good to have the internal conflict resolved.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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