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.