I had a really great session with my therapist this week. H is a truly down to earth, realistic and caring person. She’s also fantastic at zeroing in on anything I’m stumbling over.
So just after I’d confessed on this blog how much trouble I’m having writing about the actual assault, she helped break down a few more of my blind spots.
I know some of the lovely people reading and commenting on my posts haven’t necessarily agreed that I should feel the need to write about this topic. But H thinks its good for me. She’s seen the benefits I’ve achieved from what I’ve written so far and she’s supportive.
There’s definitely a massive sense of panic and distress still associated with these memories. Whether I like it or not, if I start talking about it, its instant tears, raised heart rate and body temperature. Sometimes its easier to control than others, but the point is that I have to try to control it or I go to pieces. Not ideal.
H said, “I think for you to be able to get a handle on what happened, you need to face the fear and the panic. If you don’t, it won’t be possible for you to take the emotion out of that experience”.
Hmmm… good point. I know this of course. But it helped to have her re-state it anyway. So we talked.
It seems there’s a few key pillars.
The trauma associated with the assault has dulled my memories. To the point that the event often feels like a bad dream. Which was convenient when I was just trying to survive. But now, its a pain in my ass.
H also suggested that at some point, its possible I thought I would die. That he would kill me. He certainly seemed crazed enough. I think that on some level, she’s right.
There’s also the shock and the total loss of control I experienced. My gentle friend turning into a monster? Completely unexpected and outrageous things going on? Freaky shit, I’m telling you!
And of course, my internal Supreme Judge. If I could visualise him, I think he’s about 80 with grey hair, bushy eyebrows and both nose and ear hair. He’s all bent over, his skin is flecked and craggy. He has a comb over with what’s left of his thin whispy hair. He wears a dark grey suit and he walks with a limp. He has seen the worst of humanity and its left a deep imprint. He is narrow minded and he’s intolerant of weakness. He’s friggin’ scary!
I’ve written posts about this already, but I know the Supreme Judge seriously judged me as having failed. I failed to control the situation. I failed by having it end the way it did.
Crucially, in talking to my therapist, I remembered a teeny tiny detail – it was when I noticed Andre’s demeanour change. Not overtly. It was more like an internal… ‘click’. Something went ‘click’ and I felt it.
What happened just before the ‘click’ is that I started moving his belongings out onto the porch, trying to encourage him to leave. He hadn’t hit me yet.
And for this one action… I’ve been holding myself accountable. There’s been a game of ‘what if’ going on deep within. What if… I never touched his stuff. What if… I’d stopped trying to handle the situation myself and just called the police? What if… would things be different now? Is it possible he might not have assaulted me?
The catch-cry of those comforting people who’ve been assaulted or abused is ‘its not your fault’. I know. Its logical, and its true. I can use logic and reason til the cows come home. Intellectually I can explain an awful lot about what happened, why I think it happened etc. But the Judge still gives me a hard time.
And whilst I allow those memories to remain hazy and scary, the Judge remains. But I think I can change the paradigm if I confront the lurking ‘boogie men’.
What I really need right now is a good dose of courage. You know, just stating that fact… helps bring my courage into being. And now its slowly building.
I’m calling on all benevolent beings who hear this call for assistance to send me love and support. Ganesha, Yeshe Tysogel, Dattatreya, Siva, Sarasvati – and all mahasiddhas and enlightened beings! Please help me!!
I do promise, I’m not teasing any of the readers of this blog. I’m not being coy on purpose. Its just really f*cking hard to get it out.
BUT – I have started. I’m currently writing ‘stream of conciousness’ style which will need some re-shaping. And shortening!
And so, in the words of the Cowardly Lion:
Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?
Writing about my abuser has been some of the hardest yet most necessary work of my life. I, too, have forgotten things – often a friend will make a comment about some event and reveal things that were going on that I know I *should* have seen, but my mind blocked from me… I suppose so that I could survive with less mental damage?
I’m glad you have a therapist to help you through this! Having that encouragement is a great thing.
I’ll be reading and cheering for you from my corner.
I am glad that you like your therapist and trust her. That is so important. Don’t pressure yourself. You will know when you are ready, then press forward. Trust yourself on this, really. For me, and what I have disclosed has been extremely helpful, but what I don’t like is that anxiety and the feeling that follow which you described so well. The biggest hurdle for me is that it makes it more real and makes me feel a little bit more which are two things I avoid like the plague. A part of me would rather think about dying and self-injury than to disclose something so awful and painful. I’ll be here for you when you are ready…make sure it is in your time. Again, not when others say including yourself say you should.
As an assault survivor and psychotherapist I honor your work and your courage and encourage you to continue with your writing. It is obviously helping you and I have found that going public with such a personal and frightening experience can empower others!! Blessings to you. I know you will make the journey through recovery and come out stronger.