Filed under: fear, survivor | Tags: hyper-startle response, hypervigilance, PTSD, survivor of child sexual abuse, survivor of incest
Yesterday I came home from work and I was already hypervigilant because I knew I was coming home to an empty house. My ex wasn’t home yet, and my son was still at school, so I was scared. But I tried to remain calm.
I walked in the house and closed the door. I heard a noise behind me. I let out a blood-curdling scream. He’s here, I thought. He’s here and he’s going to hurt me.
It turns out that the noise was the sound of my dog yawning.
After I realized the source of the sound and calmed down, I looked out the window. Did the neighbors just hear me scream like that? They already think we are nuts, this will just confirm it for them, I thought.
This is why you shouldn’t fuck kids. We acquire post-traumatic stress disorder as a means of surviving such an aberrant set of actions in our childhood. But it makes us scream when our dogs yawn.
Filed under: babysitter, brother, trust | Tags: cognitive distortion, distorted worldview, survivor of child sexual abuse, survivor of incest, trust vs. mistrust
So I had that meeting with the boy that I have a crush on. I am fairly certain he doesn’t like me back, but it just feels so good to like someone, to have good feelings in my head, to have someone to think about so that I don’t think about my own weird life, that I don’t care. Plus, even if he did like me, I think he wouldn’t act on it. He mentioned in our meeting that I was the ‘rockstar’ of our department and that they all looked up to me. I was of course flattered, but it also gave me the impression that he wasn’t going to fuck around with me. Once you put someone on a pedestal, you don’t really want to fuck them.
I told my ex that I think that the boy at work doesn’t like me. She said that it’s impossible to tell about something like that in a work situation. She said that it is difficult for people to act on stuff like that because they get scared in a ‘don’t shit where you eat’ kind of way. I agree with that truth.
But there’s also this truth: If a boy wants you, he wants you. He will do things to be near you, to spend time with you, to talk to you, to breathe the air you breathe, etc. My mantra has always been that you should never have to chase a boy, and if you do have to chase a boy, he doesn’t want you. The most I ever get from him are fairly terse e-mails that get right down to business.
Of course, I’ve spent most of my life running away from every boy that has ever shown me the least bit of attention, so what the fuck do I know. I finally married my husband when I was 31 because he was the first one willing to wait through my long-ass timeline for having sex (which ended up happening after 2 years of dating and many false starts along the way). That right there is why you shouldn’t fuck kids. I was almost 31 when I lost my fucking virginity. I tried so many times to let down my guard and have sex, and I just never could until my husband and I tried for like the tenth time during our courtship. Now I know that probably the reason he was so patient is because he wasn’t all that keen on fucking me in his male body, since he felt like a she inside. Now she is a she on the inside and the outside, and honestly, I think she wants to fuck boys now, not girls anymore. So there’s that.
I suppose the pathetic truth is that if this boy – the one I like at work – did show me attention, I would run away. Once he tried to hug me at a work party we both were at, and I stiffened and only half hugged him. It was weird between us and I just wasn’t expecting him to hug me, but he probably saw me hugging all my girl friends, so he figured I would be cool with hugging him too. I was of course thrilled inside to be near him and hugging him, and thrilled he wanted to hug me, but I was so unsure how to be near a boy or hug a boy that I fucked the whole thing up and now I am sure he thinks I am that weird girl who got weirded out when he tried to hug me.
I asked my therapist if him hugging me meant that he is a rapist. I had already asked my ex if that is what it meant as well. Every time I ask that question, I can feel the energy shift around me. I can feel her feeling bad for me. I can feel them thinking: ‘Poor sick butterfly thinks every man is a rapist because of the males that have already used her body against her will.’ And even though I understand intellectually that every man is not a rapist, and that this new boy hugging me may not mean he is a rapist, it’s not enough to stop me from playing out the scenario in my head constantly. In my head, he is hugging me to gauge my reaction. He wants to see how much he can get away with in public so he can know how much he can get away with in private.
This kind of thought process – where a person believes that because one person hurt her then that means that all people will hurt her – this is called ‘distorted world view’. That is what I have now, distorted world view. Because three people molested me when I was a kid, I am now mistrustful of the entire world, as if everyone is out to hurt me. The therapist keeps trying to counteract this thought process with me by having me think about some men I know that are good men (read: men that won’t rape anyone).
I want to like a boy and have that be all there is. No sex abuse past, no rape future, no constant worrying about letting someone in only to hurt me or my kid. But no matter how hard I try, my relationship with males will always be fraught with the possibility of danger. My introduction to sexual stuff was traumatic and against my will, so as much as I want to just like a boy and have that be all there is, that just isn’t my life right now. But maybe it can be my world in the future. Maybe with this therapist I will be able to get to place of healing where my future won’t have to look like my past.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: dating, fat, survivor of child sexual abuse, survivor of incest, transgender husband
My ex-wife had genital reassignment surgery a few weeks ago. She told me she was a woman 2 1/2 years ago, and has been living as a woman on the outside for a year and a half, and she felt it was time to go ahead and get the surgery. What a fucking ordeal that kind of surgery is, holy shit. The recovery takes forever!! We knew that going into it, but still, holy shit. She is in a lot of pain but she is doing okay.
I am in a lot of pain too, but I’m doing okay too I guess. I suppose the truth is that no matter how much you anticipate a punch, it still hurts when it comes. This surgery was like a punch for me.
She has a look of freedom in her eyes that was never there before. It is almost painful to witness it. It’s kind of like looking at a butterfly who has been caged and is now free. The problem is that her freedom has now put me in a cage, kind of, and I am not ready to leave yet. I wish I was. The thing is, the safety of living with her is still better than the alternative for me right now, which would be not living with her.
I wish I could learn from her courage. Against all odds, she did this enormous thing. She risked losing everything – her family, her friends, her job, her home – everything – just to be who she really was inside. Now that she has a vagina, she feels complete and whole. I wish I could learn from her courage and risk safety and leave her and fall in love again. We formally ended the marriage about a month after she told me she is a transgendered female, but I was still in love with her. Grieving over the loss of her is over its roughest point, but there are still little nicks and cuts. Losing your husband in this unique way is really a death by a thousand cuts, and there are still cuts. Like for instance our roofer stopped by unexpectedly and asked how my husband was. Great, I thought, another person I have to come out to. And how much do I tell these people? We still live together. No, the marriage is over. Yes, we probably will get divorced eventually. Right now we are still living together, raising our son. And up until a few weeks ago, the inevitable ‘yes, she will probably get the surgery’.
A few days ago, I cried at my therapist’s office about all of this, about losing my husband all over again. It’s not the same kind of grief as when I first lost him, but it definitely feels like a loss all over again. I guess somewhere in the back of my head, I kept thinking ‘When is he going to stop this craziness already?’ But the truth is, he was never going to stop that craziness because he is a she on the inside, and now on the outside too.
So my therapist asked me if perhaps this finality, this ‘nail in the coffin’ made me ready to have a funeral for my husband. We had touched on it before in the last two years since ‘he’ came out as a ‘she’ to me. But I had never been ready before. I feel ready now. I guess that is the nice thing about the surgery — it set her free. Maybe now it will set me free too. So I am preparing a eulogy about all the wonderful things that I miss about the only man I was ever able to trust enough to have sex with him.
Get this though…
There’s a guy at my job that I – I don’t know – that I think about. Okay, I guess I “like” him. He started there last year, and since then we have seen each other around the office sometimes. We have both been to some office functions, and sometimes we talk to each other when we see each other. I told my therapist “I think maybe I like a boy.” That’s how I said it because that’s how I feel. My sexuality is still stuck in fucking teenage and childhood years. They say that when you go through abuse as a kid (or when your parent is an alcoholic, or any other kind of traumatic shit we force kids to live through), that your emotional age kind of ‘arrests’ at the age you were when all your shit started. I had three abusers – the first (the babysitter) when I was 5, the second (my brother) when I was 8, the third (my dad) when I was 15. When I talk about liking a boy, I feel 15, the real age I was when I started actually liking boys. It’s just that my shit never progressed beyond that age. You’d think that since I was married and had a child, that somehow I would stop being afraid of men and sex and all that, but no.
I wonder if he sees me as the fat office girl he has to say hi to sometimes.
So anyway, I told the therapist I like a boy. She smiled and asked me about him. I told her what I knew, which really isn’t much. He’s a tall guy, kind of a bigger guy, and he has longer hair. I told her he seems nice and that everyone only has good things to say about him. Then I told her that I basically contrived a meeting with him for tomorrow under the pretenses of working together on some project when really I just want to see what he’s about. Honestly, this whole thing is so stupid. He never talks about having a significant other, but I could have sworn that someone told me that he used to be in an 11 year relationship. I don’t even know if he is still in that relationship or not? If he is, then this is the safest crush in the world, since I refuse to mess around with that sort of thing. (I have a mantra that I will not screw over other women just for a man. And messing around with a married man screws over another woman. That’s my own personal mantra; no judgment for anyone else doing that. Everyone has their own moral codes.)
The therapist told me that setting the meeting with him is a good thing. She said that even if nothing else comes of it, it is good that I am socializing and not taking to my normal hermit instincts. She said that this is probably a safe way for me to dip my toe in the water, by liking a guy who is probably in a relationship because nothing can come of it (which makes it safe).
Sometimes I wonder if my child sex abuse stuff shows on me. Does he know? Does everyone at the office know who I really am?
This, of course, is why you shouldn’t fuck kids. Our thought processes around dating are completely different than normal people. When a non-abused person likes someone, they wonder ‘does he/she like me?’ You know what I wonder about? ‘Will he rape me?” “When is it safe to be alone with him? Is it after 6 months of dating?” “If I bring him to my home, will he force himself on me?” And of course, my most popular thought process revolves around him gaining my trust only for the purposes of abusing my child. All this, and I don’t even know him, and he’s probably in a relationship so all of this is moot anyway.
I will be glad when this stupid meeting is over tomorrow so I can stop worrying already.
Filed under: fear, night, survivor, Uncategorized | Tags: anxiety, fear, phobia, PTSD, survivor of child sexual abuse
Last week I did something incredibly courageous. I took a shower when no one else was home. I really wanted to take a shower, and gosh darn it, I took one! It was WONDERFUL. Generally, since the shower is such an issue for me (see this and this post), I have to wait until someone is home so that I can feel safe enough to shower. But not last week! I fucking showered! And it was fucking great!
With every step forward, there is a step back. Sometimes the steps forward are like giant steps, and sometimes they are more like baby steps. Last week’s shower was a fucking giant step. But progress is never linear. It doesn’t follow a straight line up. It’s just not how progress works. Not with surviving child sexual abuse, and honestly, not with anything else either. So this week there was a minor setback.
Last night when it was time to go to bed, my ex checked under the bed and in the closet for me. She turned on the house alarm, and checked all the doors in our home to make sure they were securely locked. Then she said goodnight, and went to her room, and I stayed alone in my bedroom. This is our usual routine. Even though I saw her check in my closet, I still couldn’t shake the fear that someone was in my closet. I knew it was my own fear, and I knew no one could possibly be in the closet, but I was still so afraid! I kept reminding myself “She checked the closet. I saw her check the closet.” I reminded myself that when I was in the bathroom, I had my bedroom door closed. I would have seen someone go into the bedroom. Or I would have heard them open the door and walk in. No one could possibly be in the closet.
Then I thought about how someone could break into my home and take my son. Or rape us both. G-d forbid, G-d forbid. I am afraid right now even typing these words.
But you see what my mind did there, right? Once I couldn’t be reasonably afraid of the closet anymore, my anxiety went to the next logical place of fear.
My therapist says that if you have done everything you possibly can to keep safe, like have a house alarm, lock your doors, and own a dog, then that is all you can do. At that point, since you have done everything possible that you need to feel safe, you can rest assured in your own safety.
But last night it wasn’t enough. No amount of calming self-talk was enough. I was too scared, and logic couldn’t fix my fears last night. It was probably about 3AM when I finally fell asleep, after four hours of trying to calm myself enough to be able to go to sleep.
And that is the rub of being a child sexual abuse survivor. No one sees this part, the part where we are forever scared of night and darkness and sleeping and showering because those are all things that make us vulnerable, and we understand all too well what happens to us when we are vulnerable. No one but those who live with us or those we let in to our little worlds get to see this part of us. For instance, I am meeting a friend for lunch today. She might think I look tired, and she will assume it is because I have been working so hard at work. I have been working hard at work, but you and I both know that I have also put a lot of hard work just into surviving every day and night.
Being too afraid to sleep, to the point where I only got 4 good hours of sleep last night. This is yet another effect of surviving the incest and child sexual abuse that is hidden from the world. This is why you shouldn’t fuck kids.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: bugs, fear, phobia, PTSD, spiders, survivor of child sexual abuse, survivor of incest
So you know how last week I was so courageous and I did things that scared me? Apparently I got too cocky because G-d said “No, no, butterfly, how about fuck you instead.”
So I was feeling all good about myself because I drove myself to hard places, went to social gatherings, and didn’t let scary parking lots stop me, right? I put up that blog post and as I was sitting there that night in my room patting myself on the back for being THAT fucking great, a spider crawls up my fucking wall.
As my long-time readers know, bugs fuck me up to no end. It all has to do with the fact that I don’t like being touched without my permission, and bugs – those fuckers – could give a shit that I am a survivor. They don’t care that I am afraid of them, that I don’t want them crawling on me, that I will lose sleep over them, etc. They feel they have the right to exist, and apparently they feel they have the right to exist in my room.
Remember the motherfucking shithead of an ant that fell on my face when I was still married? That miserable piece of shit left me with survivor sleep for a year. A year. Last night, I was sitting up in bed frantically checking the ceilings and walls for signs of more spiders. I thought about how nice it would be to have a man beside me right now, and about how much it sucks being afraid of a spider all by yourself.
You know how you meet some women and you think to yourself “I don’t know how she does it!” They seem to have so much on their plate, things that seem like they should break her, and yet she seems so together? I was thinking about those women last night, and I said to G-d “I don’t think I can do this.” Last night everything seemed so hopeless. Being afraid of night and the spider seemed so overwhelming, and there didn’t appear to be an end in sight. I kept thinking about how this was going to be the rest of my life, spent anxious and afraid and hypervigilant in the middle of the night.
Eventually I put earplugs in my ears (so that spiders wouldn’t crawl into my ears) and after staying up way too late out of fear, I fell asleep. I woke up two hours later afraid of spiders. I checked the ceiling, watched some tv with the earplugs still in, and fell asleep again. I woke up two hours later. I did the same thing again, check ceiling, tv, then sleep.
I woke up two hours after that and met my ex in the hallway, and she said “How did you sleep?” I had to swallow back tears and couldn’t answer her.
This is how surviving child sexual abuse in my childhood is fucking me up again as an adult. This is one of those hidden ways, the kind that almost no one would ever know about unless they lived with me in my room. I can’t tell anyone about this sort of thing because I seem crazy. But I am not crazy. I am having a reaction to terrible things that happened to me, and my fear of bugs is one of those reactions. I want to co-exist peacefully with all of G-d’s creatures, including bugs, but unfortunately I am unable to do that at this time. This is why you shouldn’t fuck kids.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: bravery, courage, fear, survivor of child sexual abuse, survivor of incest
Last week, I had two social events scheduled that I couldn’t get out of because both were work related. I have always had social anxiety, and social events (like parties and gatherings) scare the shit out of me.
I was really proud of myself though because I knew I was afraid and I did it anyway. In the past, I have made many excuses to my co-workers as to why I didn’t or couldn’t show up to their events. This time was different.
I took stock of the situation. I thought about how in the last two years I lost my marriage and almost my life in a hospital. I got through that. And as I told my ex (who I am still living with), “They already know me. They know I am fat. They seem to love me and they don’t think that what I look like is not a reason to love me. They seem to like who I am.” She said “Yes, that’s right. And eventually you will realize that this applies to EVERYONE ELSE as well.” That made me laugh, because she is of course right. But I have such a negative self-talk going on in my head that it makes it hard to hear anyone else.
It is me who thinks I am some sort of fat bumbling idiot. The fat part is correct, but the truth is that being fat is not a bad thing about me nor does it make me a bad person. In my estimation, it makes me someone who has cleverly figured out that I feel safer in a fat body because three people used my body against my will when I was a child. Likewise, surviving the abuse didn’t make me a bad person either, nor does it mean I have anything to be ashamed of. I didn’t do anything wrong by being a victim of child sexual abuse, and I also didn’t do anything wrong by putting extra weight onto my body in a bid for self-protection. If people judge me for being fat, it is like judging water for turning into ice when it gets cold. I am not a bad person for being fat or for being a survivor. I am a good person who survived something terrible and also carries extra weight on her body.
I have been reading this blog called “Dances with Fat“, and it’s about this professional athlete who is fat. She is a trained dancer, as well as a fat activist. I really like what she has to say. She feels that people have the right to take up as much space as they need to take up in the world. Literally, my body takes up a lot more space than my thinner counterparts, and I am learning through Ragen’s activism that being fat is okay and being thin is okay, and everything in between is also okay.
Anyway, so back to my bravery. Courage comes when you do things that scare you. Thus, courage is not the absence of fear. I mean, it’s not brave of someone to do something if it doesn’t scare them in the first place. Since almost all of life scares the shit out of me, I am already brave. But as my long-time readers know, this is my year of empowerment. This is my year to find my inner butterfly, and to empower myself to become the kind of butterfly I really want to be. I am trying to “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
So I drove myself somewhere hard, twice, and I patted myself on the back when I got there, twice. I went into a social gathering, twice, and I am just so fucking proud of myself. For the second social gathering, I had to park in a parking lot by an apartment building, and as my longtime readers know – parking lots are enough to stop me cold in my tracks. So I did these really hard things, and they both made my stomach hurt pretty badly, but I did it anyway. Whenever I scared myself silly with negative self-talk, I made myself feel better with positive self-talk. When I told myself “They will all figure out I am a fat bumbling idiot”, I stopped that thought and replaced it with “These people already love me. And I know you can do this. You’ve done way tougher things than this.”
May we all have such courageous weeks, and may the next generation never have to exhibit such courage for such terrible reasons.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Pyrrhus, survivor of child sexual abuse, survivor of incest, transgender ex-husband, wedding
Last night, my ex’s little sister got married. My ex and I went to the wedding. I went because I love my sister-in-law, and I wanted to support her. At some point, everyone was called to the dance floor. I watched all the couples on the dance floor, slow dancing and enjoying themselves.
My ex and I had previously agreed that we would not dance together at the wedding. It would be too painful for me to dance with her at this point, as it would only be a reminder of what I used to have, what I’ve lost. We were seated with a gay male couple, and they were too self-conscious to dance. The member of the couple sitting next to me said “If you guys dance, we will too.” While I wanted them to dance, I said no.
We left the wedding early. We got home, and I began to cry. My ex held me as I cried. I said “I think it’s awesome that we’ve been able to weather all this, and still be such great friends, and go to these things together. But it’s just so painful! The whole thing is a reminder of what we’ve lost.”
She said “It’s true. It’s great that we’ve come this far, but it’s a Pyrrhic victory.”
I looked at her quizzically, and she said “Pyrrhus was a Commander in the Greek Army, and he fought a very hard battle against the Romans. While it was great that he was able to win such a hard battle, he lost nearly everything trying to win. So now when a battle like that is fought and won, it’s called a Pyrrhic victory.”
Interesting, because this is not the first time the Greeks/Romans thing has come up in this blog.
Surviving child sexual abuse can feel like a Pyrrhic victory sometimes. Of course it’s wonderful that we survived. Many times in this battle, we weren’t sure if we could survive it or if we would survive it. So every day that we are alive, it is of course a victory. But my G-d, when I think of all that has been lost in the name of this survival – it brings tears to my eyes.
It took me 30 years to trust a man, and 31 years to fuck one consensually. The sex abuse has determined almost every aspect of my life since the day I began surviving it. Am I glad I survived? Of course I am. But at what cost?
For example, from reason #206, where I discussed how my sex abuse was fucking up my husband’s choice of jobs: “I have already written before about how the abuse has fucked me, my mom, my job, my choice of life partners, and my partner himself. Now we know it fucks our partners’ jobs too.”
That’s why you shouldn’t fuck kids. For Pyrrhus.