Andre, Anxiety, Avoidance, Denial, EMDR, Grief, His name, House of cards, Loss, Therapy, Trauma, Trust
I need to come clean about something.
Actually, I don’t. I could ‘not’ write this, and not publish it either.
There’s a lot of ways I could keep this to myself.
But it would be against the spirit of my blog, in which I’ve truthfully (and often painfully) divulged much of my inner world goop. Always, always with the intent of de-clogging myself, and seeing more clearly what’s going on.
And so, I feel if I don’t get this out there, I’m lying. Mostly to myself, but sorta to those who bother to come here regularly, too. ‘Cept, if I didn’t, you’d never know. But I’d know that you don’t know. And that sucks.
So, yeah. I said it.
It wasn’t easy.
Going back a few weeks, this is my second last session in recent times. AN (my therapist) didn’t even know it was gonna be that sort of session.
Til I start talking…
You know, the reason I ended up coming to see you for EMDR therapy, was when H (my other therapist) uncovered my secret. That I never speak his name to anyone. H said she wasn’t sure how important it was for me to actually ever do it, and neither do I…
So what’s his name? AN butts in briskly.
Could a red flag be waved more obviously?
AN says Okay. It’s time.
Nooooooooooooooooooo… I don’t think I can…
We start another EMDR pen-waving session. Me, stubbornly incapable of turning air into sound and forming that word. His name.
His fucking name. That stupid, meaningless word I’d allowed to assume such power. To mean other things. Become a symbol of terror.
Not saying his name it seems, became equivalent to wearing garlic, hopelessly attempting to ward off those vampirical horrors and fears, preying on my heart and mind.
Here on this blog, I’ve labelled him Andre. Where most other people I talk about have been given an initial only. Why? Well, he’s the main character of my story, right?
Right. Or is that denial? Avoidance? Being exceptionally cagey? Lying to myself?
It’s become so impossible to enunciate that I have violent psycho-somatic reactions. Coughing. Choking. Feeling like I’m about to die. An incredible sense of doom.
All of that, rather than speak that word.
Just a house of cards trying to cover for myself, willing to appear helpless rather than face it all squarely.
He was my friend.
He didn’t just take my safety. He took away my friend and replaced him with a monster. One of the few people I’d met down here that I could resonate with on some level. He was my friend, and he screwed it all up!!
I hate you I hate you I hate you I hate you I HATE YOU I HATE YOU!!
Swift-moving bile erupts from my mouth and body, scaldingly hot.
Can’t get that word out, not with all the grief and pain there. Sitting on the trigger like a trap.
AN asks me again, as we work through various emotions.
Mentally, I say it. Urge myself onwards. But no… nothing, again.
It’s dangerous. It’s scary. It means something… it means he wins. If I say it, I’m somehow bringing him to life again. And I’ve tried so hard to bury him, bury that night.
I’m powerless to command myself. Powerless. But it’s just a stupid name. Two syllables. Three letters. For fuck’s sake!
I can talk about anything else. Everything else. Just not this. Not this. Not…
Quiet now. I’ve sobbed til my heart is empty of tears. Raw raw, and fragile, and yet… false starts. Many of them.
His name is…
I can mouth the letters silently. Only.
AN asks Does it start with a B?
No, it starts with an A.
That’s one letter. Only two to go.
But no. Locked into my seat in a small room with a kind but firm therapist, trying to shake me from my precarious perch. Gently, ever so gently.
My world right then, small and sharp. Pointed and painful. Dangerous, dark and terrifying.
It was coming. I wanted it to, but oh my god… the heartache, painfully beating like a foot trying to stamp its way out of my chest.
Like I’m talking to a child I say, It’s okay. Okay…
It’s okay… it’s only letters… its okay…
Why don’t I believe myself?
Just sitting and breathing now. And I can see, it’s just about courage now. That’s all that’s left. Finding a way to be unafraid long enough to squeeze it out. A little breath. A little sound.
His name. Its… its… okay, its… FUCK! Its… (wish my heart would stop aching), damn it, its….
And now it’s dead quiet in our room.
AN repeats it a few times, loudly, so I can hear it, while I cry like a child. A child in shock, crying because the expression is entirely appropriate. Suitable to work through the pain. It’s shocking to say it. And hear someone say it. But somehow, its better. Already.
We finished things up, AN making sure I’m okay. And I left and went to a movie.
Then later, I wrote this…
And now you know. And I know you know. And again. It feels a little less covert. More real.
Still tender though, weeks later. Still hard to admit I’m okay with it. Even though its out there. And I’ve said it more than once now.
But guess what? I no longer choke (literally) when faced with those three letters. Not any more.
I hope this was the ‘top of the mountain’ for you. I know you still have work to do, but perhaps this was the worst of it, and from her on it will be easier. You did a masterful job of writing your experience.
Michele Rosenthal said:
Whoo-hoo! Congratulations — this is a BIG step. And probably one of the hardest. It’s so much easier to deal with things when we think we have the power by not speaking.
And then we realize those awful things gain power when we don’t speak — and leave us so powerless.
I admire your courage and hope this bit of progress leads to new and better levels of healing. 🙂
I was just thinking of the tagline of your blog: A Journey from Assault to Wholeness. This seems like a huge step along the journey (well, that and everything else you’ve been doing, of course, but not saying his name had huge symbolic power).
It’s a wonderful thing.
Hi, it has been a while since I was last over….I can see the therapists reasoning about the power and am glad you managed to finally say it, even though my first thought was that he actually doesn’t deserve a name.
“A$$hole” is good enough.
Which people who know me would find that statement rather surprising and unforgiving…
Anyway enough of that, I am glad that “you” feel a bit better.
Thank you Svasti, for entrusting us, opening yourself, and hopefully lightening your load a little bit more. We are here to shift the:
Uncomfortable feelings within to
Power within, &
unconditional love for self.
@tricia – I don’t know, actually. Maybe. I think, the more I learn about myself, the less I actually know. But then, that could be coloured by my current circumstances, too. There’s a lot of stuff that feels… kind of gone. But then, I also don’t actually know if that’s true. Given my ability it seems, to segregate and shelve triggers.
@Michele Rosenthal – I’m sure some people might read this and think… what’s the big deal? But, as you so rightly said – those awful things gain power when we don’t speak – and leave us so powerless. And it can become so impacted, that yes, it becomes immovable. Trapping you in your place. Strange how that works.
@Jennifer – A huge step, yes. One that’s left something of a vacuum, of sorts. Its freeing to be able to let these things go, but, umm, it did leave me on some uneven ground.
@Chrissy – Thanks for coming by. I read your blog in my RSS (like many others). I’ve come to a place where I only sometimes think of him as an “A$$hole” (LOL!). But mostly, I just think of him as a very wounded person, who’s method of coping is to be violent.
Its actually much healthier for me to let all of that anger go!
@Karin – To be honest, part of me feels very exhibitionist-like, in sharing what I do here. It makes me very glad I write under a nom de plume! In fact, its the nom de plume that makes it possible.
In my “real life”, I’m a very gregarious and outgoing person. But most people in my social sphere never ever get to know even half this stuff.
I appreciate your support, but I do feel kind of strange blurting out all of this stuff sometimes!
Conversely, I do think the more I write, the more I free myself… who knows?
Hi again, I think it is really good that you have come to the place where you let the anger go.
I didn’t experience anything like the horrific experience that you did.
But, when my ex and I were spliting up, he bounced me down the drive during an argument after consuming large amounts of alcohol. I can clearly recall the shock and the fear. I ran and was not quick enough either…………
We subsequently divorced but we have a son so I was still in contact, not so much lately but he is 22 now. We met up many times afterwards, I have been for a drink with him or a meal on many occasions to discuss parenting issues….
But, there is a tiny corner of my mind that ten years on still sometimes thinks A$$hole!
You are doing great and are very courageous 🙂
@Chrissy – I am so sorry to hear that you had such a horrible time when your relationship ended.
I’ve learned not to judge my experience as “less extreme” or “worse” than anyone else’s.
Whatever we go through, if we are traumatised by that experience, that’s valid and scary. And its something we then need to work through.
I’m glad you’ve been able to move on, and its unfortunate that you have to see him every now and then. I can understand how you still feel anger towards him if you’ve never been able to deal with that situation with him. Its possible he doesn’t remember it at all the same way you do either, which can make getting any sort of closure a little challenging!
Thanks again for your lovely comments. 🙂
Good for you for moving forward in therapy! I’m still too chicken to try EMDR therapy but your accounts and success are encouraging to read. This is my first time reading your blog and I have been encouraged reading here today.
@shattered – thank you for coming by my blog and commenting. I’ve been reading yours, and it sounds very much like you are just starting to come to terms with the darker times of your life.
Not that I can give advice (since I’m not a therapist), but my therapist did say to me that EMDR works best at a certain period in a person’s recovery. So, perhaps its not that you’re too chicken to try EMDR, but that you’re not ready?
It can be very confronting to face up to traumatic experiences, and I do think you need to be prepared to do that. I found that once I had genuinely grown sick and tired of my past experiences ruling my life, that’s when I was ready. And not before.
So, don’t give yourself a hard time. Just get the help/therapy that’s appropriate for you right now.
And know you can recover if you are committed to doing so. 🙂
Alexandra Cohen said:
I know from my own experience: the more you deny or hide something from yourself the more fear and pain there is.
Yet if you find strength to tell it to yourself the better you feel right after that. Because you’ve proved yourself you’re not afraid, that you can say whatever ugly truth to yourself.
Then it is better to say it to someone. No matter whom actually. This means you can tell about some bad thing to someone else which is a great step.
So.. my congratulations to you. Despite the painful experience you move forward and become stronger!
@Alu – Thank you. Yes, it was a big thing to do. Although afterwards, it doesn’t feel that way. Strange, eh?
I have been away traveling for a while and was so excited to read this!
This is a big step and I am happy for you. You are well on your way to leaving this behind you making all that lies ahead all that much more beautiful.
Keep it up!
John Folk-Williams said:
Congratulations of making this breakthrough. I’m sure a lot more can follow as a result.
I hope that writing down this experience – as bravely and powerfully as you have done – also helped a bit in turning that name from a powerful symbol into a few letters. I can really feel for you, as one who has bottled up far too much for far too long. Whatever I keep unspoken and hidden only gets more intense and hurtful inside me – I feel twisted around and around like a rubber band being stretched to its limit.
It’s so great to have these moments. I can’t thank you enough for putting such a struggle out here for all of us to relive with you.
All my best to you — John
@Roger – Why thank you! I hope your travels were enjoyable? I appreciate your comment 🙂
@John – Thanks, it was a biiiig day! Its funny how we know that bottling things up really doesn’t help, and yet to stop doing so can seem insurmountably scary. I hope you find the way through to release some of your own inner torment soon.
Catatonic Kid said:
Speechless. In that way that only seeing the processes of your mind reflected can make you. So familiar, so real I just want to hold your hand for a while and make sure we’re both still breathing.
I think about this sometimes. What’s in a name? I do believe there’s power. But maybe not over us as I used to tell myself. Or when it is like that then we can change its form, with patience and great care.
Sometimes I think perhaps a good antidote to this one might be to know our own names better… to see that there is just as much power, if not more, there than in the unfathomable pain of recalling the names of our nightmares.
@CK – Oh! Wow, that’s amazing to know you can relate so much. Checking I was still breathing, that was something I did at the time. And, like a child who’s been bawling, held tissues up to my eyes way past when I’d stopped.
The power in a name is only ever what we give it. The meaning we imbue it with.
I like what you say about knowing our own names better, but I’d extend that to add, knowing our own power better. Who we are. Our strengths. Generally, most people are their own harshest critic and we’ll pull ourselves down faster than anyone else can.
It’s good that your therapist nudged you onward to finally say his name. As painful as it was you should now be able to do some healing, albeit a little. So, the sessions are coming along okay? It must be awful for you having to deal with this sort of thing…I can’t imagine and consider myself luck that I haven’t had to deal with such a thing.
Hang in there as you will make your way back.
@earthtoholly – Yes it is a good thing! It sure didn’t feel like it at the time, but it was a dam-buster, that’s for sure. I’ve been having a break from therapy, but am due to see my therapist again very soon.
To be honest, I’m doing soooo much better than I was. There’s a lot of work to do, especially relating to depression which follows me constantly… its easy to fall back into its arms at a moment’s notice.
Yes, you’re fortunate to not have to deal with such things. But if you can ever provide support for someone you know who has been through something like this… then just be there and give them all the love you can muster. 🙂
Svasti, I jumped into your story starting from the last one instead of the 1st, and I rarely do so, but time restrictions play part in here. Congrats for the breakthrough, and I am sure that you have the power in you to break through and leave the past behind, and you’ll be able to get ahead with plenty of self-respect and self-love, and gain a new found trust in yourself and others. Good luck, and I wish you strength and courage always…