I talked about how much control my abusers have had over me all my life and how much I have suffered because of it..I talked about how unfair it is that I can’t completely go no contact with my mother due to my brother and his disabilities/vulnerabilities..I also talked about how unfair it is that my ACE’S (adverse childhood experiences) score is so high and my resilience score is so low..
I had nobody stable growing up to draw strength from, to look to for validation, for acceptance, for comfort or for praise. No other family members, no teachers or other adults.. I had my art, my poetry, smoking cigarettes, escapism through tv shows and spending as much time away from home as possible (in my teens).
A lot of people go through horrific traumas in their childhood, however have a high resilience score and manage to lead relatively normal lives. They had at least one adult in their life to model ‘healthy behaviour’ and to provide comfort.
My first adult to provide this was my 1st counselor at the age of 16, when it was already too late..I was already suffering from depression & anxiety and begged my parents to let me speak to someone so I could understand what was so wrong with me. That was the first time I felt ‘heard’! It felt incredible..it felt like I wasn’t crazy after all..I learnt that my primary caregivers were the ‘sick’ ones..
Despite this first experience of feeling ‘heard’, I have battled on for 17 years through various therapists, situations and tragedies..
Little by little, progress was made..Small steps were made and each step, no matter how insignificant it seemed at the time, was the reason I survived..
I am definetely not cured.. As most of you other ‘survivors’ know there is NO quick fix to years of abuse..Society wants us to be fixed quickly..People can’t tolerate problems..My parents couldn’t tolerate the fact that I was human…This isn’t right however..
I was always impatient with myself and demanded that I had to feel better sooner……I was being as horrible and as mean to myself, as my abusers were to me..I kept hearing the words ‘pathetic’, ‘ too sensitive’, ‘needy child’, ‘bad girl’ , ‘dirty slut’ over and over again in my head, and treated myself in that way..Not anymore..
This nasty critic (my parent’s critical voices) is slowly diminishing..My therapist told me today that I need to be proud of myself for surviving as much as I did..She said I have done incredibly well and am stronger than my parents ever were..The more I remind myself of this, the better I feel..and my parents don’t matter anymore..They are disordered, abusive people..
A big stepping stone in my recovery was the fact that I had a dream 2 nights ago and this wasn’t just any dream..It was a new dream, a cathartic dream, it was my unconscious trying to tell me something important..
There was a fire or some major disaster in this dream and I had my husband and friends around me, a few rescue workers and I was hugging my brother in comfort, saying ‘it’s over now, everything will be ok from now on’. The reason I was saying this, was because I had just been told that both our parents were pronounced dead.. Usually this sort of dream, would be deeply upsetting but in this case I felt a sense of relief…YES, RELIEF that my parents were dead.. .My brother was crying in the dream, just as he would be in reality, because he will never understand the complexity of my parents’ disorder…I however felt relieved that they could no longer hurt me, make me feel small, make me feel insignificant..
My therapist said that this dream signifies that I am coming near the end of my grieving, as I have finally accepted that my parents will never change..The relief was the fact that I no longer feel ‘enmeshed’, dependent or controlled by them..
This dream signified the ‘death of hope’ for them becoming the caring parents I so desperately wished I had..
The pain doesn’t ever go away, but ‘grieving the parents I never had’ has been the most significant milestone in my recovery..
I felt good about this today..Through all the pain and sadness, I felt good that I have made such progress..