Archive for the ‘My Story’ Category

It was like a light bulb went off in my head, and all the puzzle pieces fell into place. My mother’s letters triggered this reaction in me. She had activated programming to return to her (and presumably the cult), but the healthy part of myself was resisting the pull, putting me into internal conflict that had been battling it out for months. That’s why I haven’t been able to sleep, why I overreacted and felt out of control, why I had reflux all year (I booked the flight to my sister’s graduation, where I thought I would see my mother, on January 6 and was incapacitated by reflux within two weeks.)

For the first time in a while, I felt sane. All of my actions and reactions had seemed so illogical all year, and THIS made sense. I was having a very logical reaction to defying the programming. My subconscious viewed the broken foot as punishment for my defiance as well as “breaking” the child, and the timing of my mother’s card arriving the day before receiving this news sealed the connection in my head. (Yes, I know logically that the broken foot has no connection to the letters, but the traumatized alter part believed this to be true.)

I immediately called my friend, and she said it all makes sense. She said that X, Y, and Z had seemed “weird” to her but that this explanation addressed all of what she had seen as “off.” She also said that even though she has never met my mother, she really hates her for doing this to me.

I did not have alone time to begin processing all of this until Wednesday evening. I identified three areas I need to address in priority order:

  1. Dismantle the programming by healing the wounded/traumatized part of myself that was programmed.
  2. Process the reality that my mother continues to be a threat.
  3. Address what is going on with my sister.

I only had the energy to begin focusing on the first priority as I laid down to sleep. I have always processed healing alter parts as I lay in my bed at night. I invited that part to come out and took the same steps that I also do to heal alter parts, only I was much more thorough since this part is so much more wounded.

I repeated ~ 100 times, “I love you. You are safe. I am sorry they hurt you.” I did deep breathing as I did this. I told this part that I WILL NOT OBEY the programming but that the part did not have to be afraid – I will keep her safe. Obedience to the programming will not keep her safe, but being loved and accepted by me will. I could feel the alter part tentatively trying to integrate.

More tomorrow….

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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My friend was worried about me because I sounded so “off” on the phone that she came by unannounced, and I almost didn’t let her in. She has only done that once before, and that was when an alter part had been triggered, and my son called my friend because he didn’t know what to do about his mother shaking and crying asking him not to hurt her.

She came over on Tuesday with her 11-year-old son, and both of them were shocked by my appearance. They said I was not myself. My friend said that I even “looked different” – it was like I was not there. My body was, but I was not. I thought she stayed for about 10 minutes, but she says she was there an hour and that I talked the whole time. She said I looked better when she left – not good, but better.

When I picked up my son from tutoring, I told the tutor that I was upset about my son’s foot, and she said, “I can tell because you don’t look like yourself.” Again, not I did not SOUND like myself or ACT like myself but LOOK like myself.

I was “off” and “not me” all day. I felt defeated and anxious. I could not handle my life, and everything was out of control. I had reached a breaking point.

However, something snapped back into place that evening after dinner, and I felt better – not good, but better. I thought about the day and decided to celebrate the victories – I did not consider suicide. I had a fleeting thought of self-injury but quickly dismissed it. I did not binge eat. I did choose to eat a snack as a tool to help calm me down but not in a “stuff it down” kind of way. I had not been triggered that badly in a very long time, and I got through it without being self-destructive. In fact, I had taken steps of self-care, such as calling a friend and taking a day off work to get my head together.

The next day (Wednesday), I awoke tired from insomnia but otherwise in an OK place. I got through my work and was holding my own until my best friend called to check on me. That was when she told me about the day before (not looking like myself, etc.), and she made a well-meaning comment about overreaction to the foot being broken (she was very diplomatic). This triggered a less intense emotional reaction that I AM NOT OVERREACTING and that EVERYTHING IS OUT OF CONTROL.

As I drove to pick up my kid from camp, I decided to pray and ask what the f@#$ is going on with me. I said that I have no idea why I am this “crazy” right now, but G*d does know. Please reveal to me what’s going on with me so I can heal it.

Immediately, I “saw” my mother’s letter, and I had the sickening awareness in the pit of my stomach – she did this.

More tomorrow…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I stayed in this place of limbo over the summer. A horse stepped on my kid’s foot and broke it (at this point, I thought it was only sprained because the fracture did not show up on the initial X-ray), so I had bigger issues to deal with than writing momster back. I would occasionally think about the letter during the day but then decide I’ll deal with it later – I had too much else going on in my life to worry about writing momster back. I also lost the desire to send her my email address as the weeks passed.

My family went away for a week on the trip from h@#$ (another story for another time), and it took all of my endurance to survive the week emotionally. You also know from the topics I have been blogging about that I have been reevaluating many areas of my life, including my marriage … which just hit me – My husband was my safety net away from momster. I am not sure it is coincidence that I am reevaluating my marriage at a time that I was also feeling a pull to reconnect with momster. That’s not to say that the issues in my marriage are not valid, but the timing seems suspect.

I had to sort through a week’s worth of mail on Monday, 7/23. I saw the return address of a card from momster, and I wigged out. I thought that was a weird response because the last two letters were so peaceful. I was surprised that I would go back to my old reaction rather than a continued peacefulness from the contact. I wasn’t sure what that meant. The card was actually for another family member, not me, so I set it aside.

The next morning, I took my son to the orthopedist and learned that his foot was, in fact, broken. After I got him to camp, I came COMPLETELY UNGLUED. I have not been that out of control emotionally in a long time. I called my closest friend to tell her about the foot, and she thought I was just majorly overreacting to the news. I kept thinking that I am NOT OVERREACTING and that she doesn’t get it. I knew I could not handle my life any longer and shut down. I called in sick to work and just laid down. I felt like I had fought the good fight but that it was hopeless (even though I did not know what “it” was).

More tomorrow…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Soon after this trip, I received a letter from momster. My reaction to seeing the envelope in the mailbox was very different from any reaction I have ever had – I was not bothered by it at all. I remembered my positive experience in reading the last letter and thought that I don’t need anyone else to screen it for me this time. I must be healing enough that momster no longer has the power to trigger me. It’s OK that she wrote me. I’ll just read it.

This letter was again very different from prior letters, and I felt so peaceful reading it. I noted where she referred to herself as an elderly woman who needs to keep her mind active. I thought that if she was smart enough and a manipulative person, that comment would have been the perfect thing to say because I saw that she is no longer a threat. I could see her as this safe, old woman who could no longer hurt me. She is no longer a threat. I don’t need to stay away from her.

I wasn’t even bothered by her asking me for my email address so we could stay in touch through email. I thought, “I could do that,” and wanted to email her immediately as well as write her back. However, I did not. I thought that this was such a 180 in my reaction to momster – there is no rush in taking action. Let me sit on it. If I still want to send her my email address or a letter, I can do it in a week or two. She has waited over nine years for a reconciliation. I don’t have to do it today.

I don’t have the dates written down, but the timing is consistent with when the insomnia started. Out of seemingly nowhere, I could not fall asleep. I would awaken in the middle of the night with my heart pounding, and I could not get back to sleep. I took various sleep aids that have always worked (at least some of the time) to no avail. I used my many tools for combatting insomnia, but nothing has worked. This has been a sleepless summer for me.

Another very important point – this letter was my secret. I felt very strongly that I wanted to reconnect with momster and did not want anyone else talking me out of it because they would not understand. So, I told NO ONE. I did not blog about it, and I did not tell my closest friends. I did not mention the letter to ANYONE until I told a friend while we were across the country, and it was a “by the way” light mention along with me believing my different reaction was a sign of healing. I was in tears when I got back to my hometown. I thought it was for a different reason. Now I wonder if it was because I “told” about the letter.

More next week…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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In early June, my sister and I took our kids to the beach for a long weekend. While we were together, we talked about momster. My sister has chosen to maintain contact with momster. She says this is how she stays true to herself – she does not believe that a mother should EVER be shut out by her child no matter what she has done. My sister also sees staying in contact as being compassionate – that nobody deserves to be alone.

My sister says she respects and understands my position with momster, and she does not ever pressure me to change my position. She also takes on a lot of responsibility with momster that could cause her to resent me (by my choice not to do it), but she does not seem to hold this against me. As an example, momster has had two surgeries in the past month with a third on the way, and my sister, as next of kin, keeps driving five hours each way to be at the hospital during the surgeries.

My sister does not tell my mother when she and I are seeing each other. Her children love their grandmother (although they get that she is “crazy”) while their cousin (my son) does not know her, and my son has told them that I won’t let him see her because she is mentally ill. My sister’s life would be less complicated if I could tolerate being around momster.

In the course of our conversations, I told my sister I thought it was weird that momster did not seem to be triggering me much anymore. I had received a letter that was pleasant and did not trigger me, and I would have been OK if she had shown up at the graduation. My sister said that I need to remember that I have done a lot of healing work since I last saw momster and that I am not the same person now that I was then. I might not need to keep my distance any longer.

A part of myself has always been in conflict over the separation from momster. Momster is clearly mentally ill and of below average intelligence, and it hurts me to know that I hurt and embarrass her by refusing to have contact with her. If she truly does not know the reason I have cut off contact (at a conscious level – I know that she knows subconsciously), I hate that I am hurting her, but I have to protect myself first.

I have also had various people who I respect tell me that being able to heal myself enough to put this all behind me and then help heal my abuser is a higher calling. My abuser, just like me, was an abused child and knows similar pain. I thought that perhaps I was reaching this place of healing myself enough to then help heal her. Perhaps that was why I felt this pull to consider reconnecting with momster. For some reason, I did not want to discuss that I was mulling this over on the blog or with any of my friends.

More tomorrow…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I do not blame my friend for not knowing that the letter was encoded with programming. She has no history of ritual abuse, and the wording that was woven in seemed innocuous. I saw no red flags at the time. However, in retrospect, I recognize that programming was included in the letter based upon my reaction to it.

My first reaction was that the letter was different because it stayed within the boundaries I set, which rarely happens. I told momster that if she wanted to maintain contact with me, she must contact me no more frequently than once a month, must not address anything in the past, and may not talk about increasing contact. Her letter complied with all of the above.

That’s not the red flag, though. For 9-1/2 years, my reaction to reading a letter from momster is to get triggered. I feel dizzy and sick to my stomach and generally feel “off” for days. I blog about it to work through my triggers, and I talk about it with my friends to help me process the triggers, and they tell me AGAIN that I don’t have to read the letters.

My reaction to this letter was very different. I noticed that the letter was different from the others but could not pinpoint why (beyond staying within the boundaries). I felt peaceful and “good” about it. I did not get triggered by it, and I did not blog or tell anyone about it. Only the one friend who screened the letter even knew I had received it.

I noticed my different reaction but never suspected that programming was being uncorked. I thought this was a sign of my degree of healing. I thought about how I had been adamant that I would not see my mother again after what I went through when I saw her at my sister’s college graduation, but then I had an about-face in January, decided to attend my sister’s graduation for her master’s degree (even though my mother planned to attend), and thought I had just had this big leap in healing.

Now that I write this, I wonder if the programming activation started before January because I did not really think through seeing my mother at the graduation. I just decided impulsively that I was OK with it – and even hoped she would be there – and bought plane tickets after saying for 2-1/2 years that I would not put myself through that again. This would have been right after Christmas, and she did send me a letter at Christmas, so the process might have even started sooner. (Side note – My sister is earning two master’s degrees and wound up completing one before the other. So, I went to the first graduation and momster will go to the second – sister did not tell momster I was coming to the first graduation.) That could explain why I have been battling reflux all year – My first bout of reflux coincides with me buying the plane tickets to my sister’s graduation. Interesting…

More tomorrow…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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In early April, I became very triggered by a message over at isurvive (a message board for child abuse survivors) in which a member shared a story about someone with dissociative identity disorder (DID) who was manipulated and harmed when an abuser triggered a dormant programmed alter part. Also earlier this year (I think it was around the same time, but I do not remember which happened first), I received a letter from my mother/abuser (momster). My reaction to momster’s letter was different from my typical reaction to contact from her.

I can’t remember if I blogged about my reaction to the isurvive story or not, and I want to get this out now, so I am not going to take the time out to do the research. Short version – Someone wrote about a situation in which someone with DID was in a place that she thought was safe. An abuser took advantage of her guard being down and triggered dormant programming, causing the person with DID to enter into an abusive situation. Long story short, the re-abuse triggered this person so badly that she committed suicide. I was very shaken by reading this story.

I did not record the date that I received this first letter from momster, but it was around the same time. I can place the date of the isurvive triggering based upon something else that happened right before it, and that was around the first week of April. The letter from momster came in the March/April timeframe, so I do wonder if I received it before reading that post and if that was the cause of the triggering.

Regardless, my reaction to receiving a letter from momster was the same as always. I get triggered when I see her handwriting on the letter. I feel like I have to open and read it, but I also fear how I will react to it. While I logically know it is an option not to open the letter, in the moment of unexpected contact from her, I do not feel like I have a choice, so I have built in the safeguard of telling a friend first.

I used to tell my ex-friend about the letter and give it to her. She would tear it up in front of me and then take it home and burn it. She is no longer in my life, so when I received the letter, I asked a different friend to screen it for me. She read through it (about a one-page letter) and said there was nothing concerning in it to her – that it was positive and pleasant. So, I read the letter.

To be continued…

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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