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Posts Tagged ‘buried alive’

Victory (c) Microsoft

Victory (c) Microsoft

I recovered my Achilles’ heel – the final piece to the puzzle that explains my freak out whenever I see a splinter, my aversion to silence, and my need to use the bathroom immediately before bed, even if I just went five minutes before. With the recovery of this memory, I have fully reclaimed myself – Hallelujah!

***** trigger warning *****

I have already written about the first three parts of this memory. Part 1 is about being buried alive, and Part 2 is about being buried alive with my sister’s “corpse.” Part 3 was about being forced to “kill” my sister, which happened immediately before being put into the box. What I recovered this morning is Part 4.

To weave it all together, I was told that it was time for my sister to die and that I had to be the one to kill her. My entire life was about doing all sorts of vile things to keep her safe. Her death was not an option.

They put something (a rag??) in my hands and told me to smother her with it. I touched her face as lightly as I could, but she “died,” anyhow. My guess is that the rag had ether or equivalent on it to knock her out. They told me that she was dead.

Next I was brought to the “burial site” by the large box I have already described. They made a dramatic entrance with my sister’s limp body in someone’s arms. They placed her into the box and then said that because I was a “bad girl” and killed my sister, I would be buried with her. They made me get into the box and then buried us.

Whether or not I was ever actually buried is another story. That box was HUGE, and I seriously doubt they dug a hole that deep. However, I **believed** that we were buried, which is what is relevant to processing the trauma.

I was frightened but resigned to die. My reason for living was lying “dead” beside me, so I was ready to die as well. I shut down. Then, after a period of time, my sister “came back to life.” The air in the box was already warm, and I feared that my sister might suffocate, so I tried to break out of the box. I always obeyed the rule not to show emotion, but I gave it all I had. I screamed, hit, and clawed the box, desperately trying to get out. That’s how I got the splinters, which were a tangible reminder later that this event really happened, which is why they were always so triggering to me.

Once my sister was fully awake, she joined in trying to escape from the box. No matter how hard we tried or how loudly we screamed, we were trapped, and the more we screamed and moved around, the hotter it got in the box. This is why my sister freaks out unless she has air flowing onto her at all times. She keeps a fan everywhere she goes.

We eventually gave up after a long period of time, and then it was completely silent except for the sounds of our breathing. That’s why silence freaks me out – I always have to have white noise going in the background. We laid there a very long time, so long that I lost control of my bladder – hence the need to use the bathroom immediately before bed every night.

The wait went on and on and on and on and on. I have no concept of time in my memory, but it felt like hours. We were eventually released from the box into the cold night, and somebody gave me a blanket. The kindness of the blanket after the cruelty of the box messed with my head even more.

So, that’s the end of the “old me” story. I am relieved to have finally reclaimed this part of myself so I can heal it.

I sobbed heavily after “reliving” this memory this morning. I played Contemporary Christian music the entire time and couldn’t even get out a “help” in prayer because I was so distraught. I felt God all around me, telling me that this didn’t break me because He wouldn’t let it.

I have nothing left to fear. All of the traumatic memories have been recovered, and I survived! I survived the abuse, and I survived the memories. I know that I have a “fun” couple of weeks ahead of me as I process the emotions, but I WON! I won the war against my abusers and within myself. It might take me a while to recover from this last battle, but the war is won. I am a new creation, and my past no longer has power over me. Praise God!

Photo credit: Microsoft

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Dark Skies*** trigger warning ***

I wrote about the first part of the memory here . The next part of the story is truly ghastly.

The hooded figures placed my sister’s “dead” body into a large box. Both my sister and I have always remembered this box. S&L, my most sadistic abusers, gave my parents the box for us to use as a toy chest, and the box always freaked both of us out. (Now I know why.)

The box was HUGE! We could fit two chairs inside of it along with a ton of toys. It was made out of plywood, and it had a lid that was attached with hinges on the back. On the front was a latch screwed in tightly that my parents never thought to remove. They just told us not to climb into the box because, if the lid closed accidentally, we could be locked in if the latched caught.

The hooded figures placed my sister’s “dead” body into the box and then told me to climb inside with her. Obviously, since my sister is alive today, she was not “dead,” but I did not know this. I was just a little kid – younger than my son is now – and I was forced to get into a box with my dead sister that I had just been forced to kill.

The hooded figures closed the lid and latched it, leaving me in the dark. Then, they buried me alive with my dead sister.

From the adult perspective, I seriously doubt they buried us. This was a HUGE plywood box with two children inside, so it would have been heavy, and they would have had to dig a huge (and I mean HUGE) hole in order to bury it. This happened during the daytime, so they probably threw a tarp or blanket over it to make it dark inside and then scooped a few piles of dirt on it to make me think I was underground. I was an extremely traumatized little kid, so I wasn’t exactly thinking through the details.

They left me in the dark for a long time. There was no air circulation, although the plywood was not flush, so I wasn’t at risk for suffocating.

When you are enclosed in a tight place with no airflow for a while, it gets hot. You also hear every single noise – the sound of every breath and every movement. To this day, I must have some sort of background noise going – music, a white noise machine, a fan … SOMETHING!I get triggered by complete silence.

I shared a free-writing exercise I did several years ago. I think this memory is the “box” part, but I still don’t know what the “thrice” is unless it is the triple betrayal of daddy, bonfire, and box. LS = little sister. I have excerpted just the parts pertaining to the box:

*** trigger warning ***

Box. Thrice. Box. Thrice.

Box. Children in a box. Box locked up. Children suffocating. Children die. Children. Box. Box. Box.

Box dark cold scared

Fit in box children fit in box both fit in both latch lock latch lock locked in suffocating hot no air no air hot musty scared locked in box locked in box locked can’t get out with LS

Locked inside hurt scared want to die want to get away want to die die die die die die die die

Hate grownups hate all hate people hate life want to die die die die die die die

Kill me kill kill kill die die die die bang head bang head bang head stop stop stop stop stop want to die die die die die

Kill me die die die die die

Hate box hate daddy hate box hate bonfire hate hate hate hate hate

Hurt LS why hurt LS why why why why why

Why hurt LS why hurt in box why

Hurt me hurt me hurt me hurt me hurt me

Hurt hurt hurt hurt hate hate hate hate hate hate bang head bang head bang head want to die die die die die die

Kill die kill die die kill die die die die die

Why why why

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Girl behind bars (c) Lynda Bernhardt+++ trigger warning – I discuss specific forms of severe emotional abuse +++

In my last post, Child Abuse: Severe Emotional Abuses I Suffered, I shared my two most painful memories of trauma, both of which involved severe emotional abuse. Now, I would like to discuss other forms of severe emotional abuse.

The reason I have chosen this topic is to help people who have suffered from severe emotional abuse put a label on what they suffered. When a person suffers from severe emotional abuse, he might have trouble validating that the abuse was that bad because there was no physical or sexual abuse involved. As I shared in my last post, my most traumatic memory had no physical or sexual abuse involved, but it still managed to scar me deeply.

Some child abusers traumatize children in ways that do not leave any marks on their bodies or even involve touching the child. For example, a child abuser might lock a child in a wooden box. The child might lie in the dark for hours with no access to fresh air. The child might need to use the bathroom but have no way to do so without making his situation even worse. This form of abuse does not involve touching the child physically or sexually, but it definitely inflicts deep emotional wounds.

Another method a child abuser might use is burying a child alive. He does this by forcing the child to lie in the ground with a straw in his mouth. The child abuser covers the child with dirt, and the child lies under the ground, petrified about what will happen if the child abuser removes or blocks the straw. Enduring this kind of abuse is clearly emotionally damaging.

In Martha Stout’s book, The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness, she shares the story of a man who, as a child, watched his abuser kill his brother. If one of the boys did something “wrong,” the abuser would punish the brother for the transgression. One time, after the boy had supposedly done something “wrong,” the abuser went too far and kicked the brother until the child died. Obviously, this was extremely traumatizing to the boy who watched his brother die. The abuser never laid a hand on the child, but the emotional damage was severe. If I remember correctly, this man struggled with dissociative identity disorder.

If you suffered from a severely traumatizing experience that involved no physical or sexual touching, you were still abused. You do not have to be touched for the abuse to “count.” Severe emotional abuse can be the most difficult form of abuse from which to recover. The good news is that you can heal from all forms of abuse, even severe emotional abuse. Just receiving validation that the abuse was that bad can go a long way toward helping you heal.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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