Friday, April 27, 2012

Say The Words.

Say, "I love you." every chance you get because you never know when one of the times you say it,  it will heal something broken in the one you love.

You never know when those words will hit a deep part of the heart never touched before.
Seize each chance you get to say these words because, it solidifies a deeper truth than the half truth or out and out lie that tried to cover it.

Say "I love you" any moment you can in every way you can unashamedly.
Because you don't know when it could be your last.
 No one ever gets to the end of life regretting having said or expressed these simple yet powerful words.

Love, conquers all and love NEVER fails.
True and perfect love casts out fear and tonight for the first time in my life this truth has hit home with me.

I love and have continually grown in my love for my husband.
I know in my head and heart he loves me but before tonight I don't believe I really understood with my heart the depth of that love.
I knew it in my head all along but, tonight, something about the way he said to me hit my heart.
It felt as if something broken or dead within me was suddenly made whole.
I heard his words with my heart, like I've heard the unmistakable whisper of the Holy Spirit before.
I heard his words and felt them in a whole new way.

There was nothing spectacular about how he said them, there was not particularly romantic reason for it. He was just simply saying he loved me after dinner tonight.
He does this every night and tonight was no exception. Except, that it was exceptionally real and deep for me.
I responded with "I love you too, Poppa" but, I did so with a heavy mind swirling and reeling over the truth of these words.

I am loved.

For so many the previous sentence is an easy truth to swallow and believe. This has never been the case for me until my husband.
I could write a chapter on what happened when he said those words tonight.
Suffice to say, I get it my heart not just my head.

I will continue to let these words do the work they have started tonight and hold on to them.
I will also never feel silly or ashamed for saying them to those whom I do love.
I vow to make sure my family knows everyday that I love them.

Say the words, seize the opportunity, and never give up.

You the survivor, or the loved one of the survivor are healing and even without your healing you are good and you are loved.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

So Hate-able

Text message to my husband:

"I feel good about today's session but, momentarily I am very angry.
I think back to all the times in my childhood when I fought or worked hard like I did with those kittens and he killed them... and laughed about it.

What's more sad and anger provoking is that these memories are my most predominant childhood memories. They affirm in me and that he hates me.
It's okay now because I hate him back. As a kid though I felt continually devastated that my efforts and attempts to gain approval were still not enough. I was hate-able even in my best condition."

This is a message I sent to my husband after a brief phone conversation following my morning therapy session.
This particular session I spoke about recurring dreams and nightmares that have slowly infiltrated their way back into my sleep.
Nightmares of beloved pets dieing and rescuing animals from the people who raised me.

I told my therapist the following account of a childhood memory that will better explain the above text message.

When I was around 7-8 years old. I had this big black cat who had kittens.
She was a young momma and I brought her inside in my bedroom so she could raise her kittens without the dogs interfering. She did well the first day or two but one evening my father let her outside (more like kicked her out) and I never saw her again.
Her kittens were hungry and had gone a whole night without milk so I started feeding them.
Every two hours I got up and mixed powder and water to make  milk  and with an eye dropper. I tediously fed each kitten until he had his fill and put them back to bed in their box. This went on for several days. My little 7-8 year old life was consumed by feeding and caring for my kittens.
I don't remember what set my father off but one evening he had melt down. He was sick of kittens in the house and kicked them out.
I screamed, begged, pleaded and cried but it was to no avail. The kittens were removed from me and put in the shed with a pan of milk.
It was a cold night and the kittens did not have their eyes open yet. I cried myself to sleep and awoke the next morning to a milk pan full of drowned baby kitties.
My little heart was shattered and I tried to swallow back my tears but it was no use.
When I told my father they were dead he stood there and watched tears stream down my face and then laughed.

Mom always said he didn't know how to cope with other peoples sadness and it made him uncomfortable so he gave an awkward laugh. I however felt a cold sting of hatred pierce my heart each time.

This is NOT the only story I have like this in my childhood.
I have raised all kinds of animals and most of them yes, in the house (including a horse).
They were house pets until my father got fed up and kicked them out and something killed them.
It was not uncommon to wake up to blood bathes in the yard.  My beloved pets body parts would be all over the place after he evicted them the night before. I felt my pets deaths all could have been avoided but, I had no means to win any fights with my father.
Life happens, things die. I knew that, but I was slowly murdered each time he would respond to such situations by laughing or making an excuse.

I hate him for hating me.

My husband asked me if mattered anymore that he hated me and, it doesn't.
I don't care anymore that he hated me but, I do wish I knew why.

I try to tell myself, "It's not about you." This is a truth that will take some time before I can swallow.
Most of my life I have believed it was about me and that I was hate-able even in my best condition I wasn't good enough to be more than hate-able.

As a rape and abuse survivor I have struggled with getting in touch with my feelings.
It's only recently I have started to allow myself to feel the anger and find productive ways to transfer that energy to something productive and healthy. I am learning how to not repress my true feelings and instead allow them be what they are and embrace that.
This is a struggle for me. I have to give myself permission to be happy, sad or angry.
I've been so controlled in my life that I have to give myself permission to even take a drink of water at times, in my own house no less.

There is much work to be done within me to feel my emotions freely and let them go.
There is also much work to be done to forgive and let go so I can have the power to heal and not allow my past to ruin my future. It is a step by step process.
For now, feeling anger and hate and allowing myself to process it in a healthy way is all I can manage.
I pray for God to guide me through this process and I know He will see me through to the other side.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Dirty Tissue Is You.

I hadn't exactly slaved over dinner but, I had made a valiant effort to prepare a decent warm meal for my husband after a hard day of work.
He enjoyed it and even thanked me afterwards. We both sat on our old borrowed couch watching something left over in our Hulu que and just relaxed together.
The baby was asleep and after a bit it was time for us to turn in as well.
I picked up the dishes and took them to the sink while my husband finished using a toothpick just before he went to brush his teeth.
He got up and left the room while I finished rinsing the dishes and straightening up the kitchen before washing up for bed.
I turned around and suddenly felt my face get flush and warm at the sight of this disgusting thing on my coffee table.
I try not to be picky but the sight of a used dirty napkin, tissues and toothpicks left behind on the table bother me to no end.

I got so angry over this stupid little piece of trash my husband left behind.
I was a little surprised by the depth of my anger about it and just took a deep breath and cleaned off my coffee table.
I went to bed but, I was not able to shake my feeling of anger with my husband. You would have thought he had committed treason or something.
I sent him a text later explaining that when he left such things on the table it bothered me and I did not want to have to have a conversation about it but, I preferred he just not let it happen again.
He looked me a little confused and then looked back at his phone.
He replied "I'm sorry baby, I will work on it."
I was satisfied with his response and let it go.

A few days later I was walking through the house and saw this same situation on my coffee table again!
I took a deep breath and decided to give him some time to pick up on it and fix the problem himself.
However, by not communicating immediately with him about it, the inevitable happened.
I became more angry each time I walked by it and finally snapped at him "Honey! we talked about this! I didn't want to have this conversation but, really?!"

He looked at me confused and a little shocked about my reaction to his forgetfulness.
He quickly remedied the issue and peace was restored to the household. Or was it?

I was now bothered by my response to this silly, seemingly meaningless issue.
To me though, it wasn't silly or meaningless. To me it was a personal passive aggressive attack and I was now on a mission to find out why.

I brought it up at my next therapy session and the following is what I discovered.

My therapist probed me about my childhood and who had been passive aggressive towards me.
My sister, father, rapist brother and adult rapist all had been passive aggressive in one form or another towards me.

My sister knew I liked a clean room and I remember one time in particular after I had worked so hard to clean our shared bedroom she came in and left a sock on the floor. I remember yelling "What did I do wrong? why are you mad at me?!"
My sister looked at me and laughed. "How did you know?"
 I don't remember much about why she was mad at me, I do remember it got resolved and we both had a good laugh about it later but I never forgot it.

My father was never one for words of affirmation and it was nothing to always have to walk around him if he was walking or standing in the middle of a walk way. I always took this as his passive aggressive reminder that he was "KING and Head of the household." He was notorious for leaving filthy used napkins and tooth picks either on his plate or at his eating area. He would hold his plate out and instead of asking for us to take it to the kitchen this gesture was simply a silent command to do so.
When he got home from work it did not matter who was watching TV and what was on it the living room and TV were his to watch the news and unwind. He would watch TV, eat dinner and zone out.
Present physically but elsewhere mentally.

My rapist as an adult was also passive aggressive. He had a very similar routine to my fathers.
He expected dinner when he got home, and for everything to be cleaned up for him afterwards.
He also left nasty used toothpicks and napkins on the table.

My therapist suggested human filth bothered me more than even animal filth.
This was true on many points. I have never been bothered to clean up animal body fluids when I worked at the veterinary clinic.
I struggled with it more when I became a nurse aide and cleaned up human body fluids daily.
I wanted to understand why this was though. I was not satisfied with "Most rape survivors feel this way."
Why do rape survivors feel that way?

Because, we feel like human waste.

Awe yes! Why wouldn't we? We are taken, brutally victimized and then thrown away like garbage and often times more than once. Even worse this is done to us by those to whom we belonged or were enslaved too. Like human waste that belongs to someone but is thrown away...that is how I was feeling.

I felt like my husbands used napkins and toothpicks were a picture of ME.
A perfectly good thing, used and then tossed aside...only I was now cleaning up the mess.
I hated it, I didn't want to clean up this mess.

I would like to point out that I have NEVER been made to feel like I was waste tossed by my husband.
However his act, a simple, meaningless act was a painful reminder of my life long self image.

Now that I understand it I can let it go.