Heart Hurts

My heart hurts today.  It aches…well, maybe this would be considered more than an ache.  It feels like there is something inside me clawing on my soul with it’s fingernails.  Clawing and ripping, trying to get out.  The emotional pain has become physical pain.  I want to cry, but I can’t.  I want to hide away, but I can’t do that either. I’m at work.  Work must go on, I must perform, I must not show weakness.  But it’s hard when my heart hurts so badly.  When the pain is so constant; so present.  I want to curl up in a little ball somewhere and become invisible.  Lick my wounds.  Just be.  Not do.

I feel so unwanted.  So worthless.  So lost.  So alone.  So empty.

I don’t know why I’m feeling the pain this persistently and prominently.  Most days, the ache is fairly dull; something I carry with me always, but that doesn’t butt in so rudely.  I think I have an ocean of pain in there and sometimes the tide is high…it pushes and surges and tries to come out.  Other days, the tide is low and the shoreline recedes to the point I can barely see the water, much less hear the crashing waves.  Today is a high tide day.  Today, the waves are crashing hard on the shore. Today, they threaten to wash me out to sea.

I long for some stability, some security, some hope.  Perhaps I long for things that don’t exist.  Perhaps that is one of my problems.

If my pain is the ocean, my problems are the sand upon the shore.

And my soul is but dust blown away on the stiff salty ocean breeze.

I know I need to go for a swim; own my pain.  But I am fearful of the things hiding in it’s depths.  And I’m not sure I can swim.  Drowning is unappealing.  I fight the tide that seeks to draw me further out, further in.  An ocean of pain is overwhelming when one doesn’t know how to survive in such treacherous waters.  I’m quite unsure of how much longer I can survive, even on the shore.

I think I’m going to drown no matter what I do.

Nobody

As I was driving in to work one morning last week, I was thinking back over an event that happened recently.  It was a difficult and rather painful event and I was treated disrespectfully; my overall contribution to the company overlooked and devalued because I made a mistake.  Yes, I admit I could have done a better job communicating.  I sent an e-mail without reading it through a second time because I was in a rush.  What I said was O.K., but not as smooth and careful as it should have been and the recipient decided to make it an issue…with my boss…rather than coming to me to work it out.  In spite of my less than stellar communication, I don’t think I had done something so horrid that I deserved to be screamed at; my boss was shaking with anger at my “poor choice” of words…something that he wouldn’t have even twinged over if it involved someone else.  My assistant, who sits at a desk outside my office, left because she couldn’t stand to listen to his yelling.  Just hearing his loud, raised voice was offensive to her.  And as I drove to work that morning, I thought to myself, “You’re going to have to be especially careful in everything you do and say because you are nobody.”

It’s the story of my life. I’m a nobody.  Therefore, I have to be extra-careful.  I have to do more.  I have to perform without flaw.

He assumed the worst of me.  That hurt.

You see, other people can make mistakes.  Even big ones…and they still have worth.  They can be imperfect.   Others can do their best and still be valued if they make a small error (or even a large one) or aren’t quiet able to get everything done.  But I can’t.  I have to perform perfectly (which I’ve yet to master).  I have to over-excel because I’m nobody and nothing and nothing I do is valued.  Getting it right, doing it perfectly, means I will be tolerated, though not appreciated.  It means I will be allowed to remain, though not valued. I will always be overlooked, under-rewarded and under-appreciated.  What I have to offer is better than nothing, but not much.

Why it always happens this way, I don’t understand.  I only know that it always happens this way.

Is it because I can’t find any value in myself?  Is it because I believe I’m worthless, therefore I’m treated that way?

I wish I had answers.  All I have is a deep hurt over never coming out on top.  At always having to work three times as hard for the little I receive while others often have so much handed to them.  At always having to grovel and smile and perform, perform, perform, while others can be flawed and still be highly esteemed.  But I never have any worth unless I perform and excel.  One small mistake and I’m nothing.  Everything good I’ve done prior to that mistake is wiped out.

I’m so tired of performing.  I’m running out of steam.  What happens when I can’t perform any longer?  When I lose all semblance of normalcy?  When I can no longer function at a level that justifies my existence?

I feel like I have an iceberg of terror in my chest.  It painfully freezes my soul.  I’m so afraid.  So weary.  So alone.  So tired of being nobody.

Tornado

Like most people in the US lately, I have been watching the news coverage of the massive wedge tornado that hit Joplin, MO, on May 22nd.  I couldn’t tear myself away, couldn’t make myself stop watching, even as my heart broke for the people who were so horribly affected.  Joplin is only about 80 miles from where I live.  I go through there when I travel back to Springfield to visit my brother and his wife.  It hit far too close to home.  Too many people I know are from there, have family there or live there.  I hurt for them.  No one should have to go through what they are going through right now.  No one should have to suffer that much.

The more I watched, the more I became aware of an eerie parallel between me, my life, and the utter destruction I watched unfolding before me on the live streaming video coverage presented by The Weather Channel.  Everything was in ruins.  Everything.  In every direction.  Everywhere you looked.  Every landmark had been wiped out or forever altered.  Destroyed.  There were massive piles of debris and stunned survivors walked aimlessly, disbelieving what they were seeing, unable to take it in.

My own life was forever altered by the tornado of sexual abuse that devastated me when I was a child.  It didn’t blow through quickly.  I suffered through years and years and years of caustic abuse at the hands of my father, the man who, I’m told,  should have loved and protected me.  My home environment was, frankly, filled with pretty awful and destructive weather even without the sexual abuse, but that swirling turn of events totally wiped me out.  I was a timid child, one who adored her daddy.  His abuse of me cut a deep, devastating path through my heart, soul, mind and being.  It wiped out everything that was in its wake, left the landscape  completely obliterated,  massively distorted, twisted, ruined.  I was broken, badly injured, irreparably damaged.  Altered beyond repair.

There were no rescue workers.  No one to pull me from the rubble, give me the emergency care I desperately needed.  I had to care for myself as best I could and find some way to live in what was left of what used to be me.  No one rushed to my aid.  No one cried for me the way Mike Betts wept in compassion on The Weather Channel as he reported on what he saw.  No one gave me shelter.  There was no clean-up or rebuilding effort.  No one even noticed how horribly damaged was the landscape of my heart.

I stumbled in and over and through the massive debris left of my soul, trying desperately to put the pieces back together again, trying to rebuild, trying to reconstruct as best I could so things would be the way they were before the storm.  It was a futile effort.  Insane to even try.  But what else was I to do, faced with such a wasteland, with such massive destruction, with near total annihilation?  I would find some little piece of something and carry it with me for a time, hoping to find something else that would fit with it, trying to make sense of what had happened.  But there was no sense to the wreckage and disintegration. Craziness reigned.  Everything had been ripped away, right down to the foundation.  The ground was stripped and gouged.  There was nothing but twisted, broken fragments of what used to be a little girl.

I used to have horrible nightmares about tornadoes when I was a child.  I still have an unhealthy fear of them.  To say that they terrify me is to terribly understate my anxiety.  But in reflecting about the tornado of abuse that destroyed me so completely many, many years ago, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps the worst has already happened.  I’m still trying to clean up the incredible mess.  Still trying to salvage something from the unending piles of debris.  I’ve grown old but the destroyed landscape hasn’t changed much since childhood.  And that is the most tragic thing of  all.  I fear I will go to my grave still wandering through the horribly damaged rubble that is all that remains of what used to be me.  Still trying to pick up the pieces.

It

“It doesn’t matter,” was my mantra.  I said it over and over and over and over and over again when I was a child, especially when I was laying in bed at night, trying to go to sleep.  But I have repeated that little phrase a million, trillion, zillion times during my lifetime, over and over throughout the day, when hurtful things happened, when I’m going to sleep at night.  And as I repeat it, I push down the pain.  It has become an automatic response to disappointment, loss, hurtful situations, emptiness…you name it.  If it’s bad and it’s happening to me, my instant mental response is, “It doesn’t matter.”

Using this phrase has helped me to numb out the pain.  It worked as a child and it works to this day.  Now, that is not especially a good thing, frankly.  I push all the hurt down, mentally forcing it down my throat into my stomach.  Then I put the lid on and walk away, leaving the pain behind.  It was grueling when I was a kid.  I had to push hard, persistently, forcefully, because it was pushing just as hard to come out.  But these days, just saying those three powerful words pretty much does the job.  Pain gone just like magic!

For some reason, I was thinking about this last night, maybe because my counselor keeps telling me that it DOES matter and that my coping mechanism is outdated and harmful at this point in my life.  I have been trying to do better in the self-talk department…a monumental task.  But it’s very tempting to whip out the old mantra.  Or maybe I would be more accurate to say, it’s tempting to let the old mantra play, because now, it pretty much whips itself out without any need for me to activate it.  But as I was thinking about this old friend, I was suddenly struck by the thought:  what is “it?”  The instant the question formed, the answer was there. And the realization of what “it” is sucked the air out of my lungs.

It…is…me.

If I had completed the sentence, it would have gone something like this:

  • It doesn’t matter that my parents don’t love me.
  • It doesn’t matter that my parents neglect me.
  • It doesn’t matter that they show me daily how unacceptable I am.
  • It doesn’t matter that I’m worthless.
  • It doesn’t matter that my parents are abusing me.
  • It doesn’t matter that I’m so alone.
  • It doesn’t matter that I’m empty.
  • It doesn’t matter that I have nowhere to turn for help.
  • It doesn’t matter that my parents don’t take care of me.
  • It doesn’t matter that I’m a constant disappointment.
  • It doesn’t matter that I hurt so badly, it’s ripping me apart.
  • It doesn’t matter that my father ignores my cries and pleas and sexually abuses me, playing out his sexual fantasies with me, forcing me to do things I detest and despise and that rip out my soul.
  • It doesn’t matter that my mother lets this go on right under her nose.
  • It doesn’t matter that my grandparents won’t let me come to their house because I “stir things up” and make my grandfather go crazy.
  • It doesn’t matter that my parents hit me.
  • It doesn’t matter that I’m never good enough.
  • It doesn’t matter that they’re so unpredictable, I never know what they’re going to do to me next.  That I can’t depend on them.
  • It doesn’t matter that they broke their promise to me.
  • It doesn’t matter that no one sees me; that no one cares what is happening to me.
  • It doesn’t matter that I’m living in a dark, painful, frightening nightmare.
  • It doesn’t matter that I’m terrified.
  • It doesn’t matter that I can’t escape.
  • It doesn’t matter because it’s all my fault.
  • My feelings don’t matter.
  • My pain doesn’t matter
  • My needs don’t matter.
  • My wants don’t matter.
  • My hopes and dreams don’t matter.
  • I’m not a real person.
  • I don’t matter.

The list goes on and on and on.

I have always wanted to matter, but I never really have.  I have always hoped someone could love me, but no one ever has.  Does it matter that I’ve never been loved, cherished, adored, nurtured, cared for?  Does it matter that I’m broken.  That my heart is so decimated, it has been ground into dust?  That I’m a mess because of the damage and destruction?  That the clean-up effort is horrid and crushing?  Does it matter that the pain is unbearable, completely overwhelming and all consuming?  That I’m so alone, it pierces my heart?  That I’m terrified of life because I have never known safety or security?

Do any of these things matter?  Do I…matter?

I honestly don’t know.  And that hurts.

Breathe

I didn’t realize it for quite some time, but I didn’t breathe for years.  I didn’t understand this until the day I finally took a breath.  It was the first breath I had taken in such a long time, I was amazed at how it felt.  It was an awakening.  A strange sensation.  Air.

I walked into the entry hall of my parents house when I was about 15 years old and stopped for a moment to watch the sunbeams coming through the window  in the door.  There was a lot of dust in the air and I could see hundreds of particles floating lazily in the bright, warm beams.  I paused by the old pump organ that sat beside the entry hall closet watching the dust rising and falling when suddenly, I breathed.  It was amazing to breathe.  Just a tiny breath. And as I breathed, I thought, “It’s over…”

My father had been sexually abusing me for years.  I think it started some time around age 4 or 5…certainly well before I was 7.  It’s hard to pinpoint because there is so much darkness surrounding all of the events of my childhood.  Memories are fragmented.  Bits and pieces of them flicker in and out of the dark, then quickly fade away again.  There is no way to create a time-line and neatly pin events to dates.  Too many fragments.  They’re all mixed together and everything surrounding them is very, very dark.  Like words appear in the window of a Magic 8 Ball and then fade back into the blackness, so do my memories come to the surface for a fleeting moment, only to fade quickly away.  There is no connectedness.  They are shattered.  Scattered.  Broken into millions of pieces that no longer fit together, no matter how hard I try to put the pieces back together again.

Humpty Dumpty and I have a lot in common.

When I breathed, I suddenly realized something had changed.  I somehow knew the sexual abuse had finally ended.  I’m not sure how long before that time it had ended because, again, those darned fragmented memories make it extremely difficult.  But I think it stopped when I was 14.  And though I didn’t allow myself much, I did begin to take shallow, silent breaths.

I still sought to be invisible.  I still tried to move without making sound or disturbing air.  But breathing was incredible.  Delicious.

I don’t breathe much.    I try to take the smallest amount of air possible.  Often, this translates to my physically forgetting to breathe.  Many, many times I find myself suddenly taking a quick, small gulp of air, having stopped breathing for some time as my body becomes desperate with need.   I have also recently developed asthma.  My airway literally closes down and I have to use an inhaler to try to keep the passageway open.  And I have a perpetual lump in my throat that often makes it feel difficult to swallow and breathe.  Additionally, I won’t wear a turtleneck because I can’t stand the restriction around my throat.  I don’t like blouses that button up high or that have a neckline that is somewhat tight or restrictive.  I’ve had this phobia since I was a kid, but only recently connected the dots between my inability to breathe and the panic I feel when there is something tight around my neck.  All of this, I suspect, is related to the sexual abuse.  Oral sex can be frightening to a child.  You can’t get air and, as was my case, my father was so focused on his own needs, wants, desires, fantasies, he didn’t know or care that he was literally and emotionally choking the life out of me.  Not being able to breathe panics me beyond any other panic I have ever experienced.  I suspect it isn’t pleasant for anyone.  For me, it is torture.

When I was 15, I learned it was possible to take in air again, if only the smallest amount necessary to survive. I think I need to learn to breathe more freely.  I think I need to learn to take in huge gulps of air.  To breathe recklessly.  I think I need to learn to really, truly, deeply breathe before I die.

Alone

I have been alone a lot in my life.  A lot.  I was so completely alone as a child living in a total nightmare of abuse that was physical, emotional and sexual in nature, there was not one single person to reach out to.  Not one single person noticed.  It was so overwhelmingly painful, I literally felt like I was drowning in the pain.  I had few friends because I was different in all the wrong ways.  I became a loner.  And when you live in a family that is riddled with abuse, the abusers tend to keep you isolated when possible.  It cuts down on exposure opportunities.  So growing up, I lived in a vacuum.  I developed as best I could in utter darkness, in a place void of love, nurturing, security or safety.  I was hopelessly alone.  It broke me in ways I am still trying to uncover.

It hasn’t gotten any better as I’ve grown older.

I married the first time when I was 17.  After two weeks of wedded bliss, during which my new husband ran around the small town we lived in chasing girls and cruising the strip at night, he asked me for a divorce.  We were together for 3-1/2 years total.  I asked him for some time to prepare and he graciously stayed with me for that period of time while I adjusted to the fact that I wasn’t loved, wasn’t wanted and was going to have to go out on my own and survive somehow.  I was divorced before I was 21.

The second time I married, I was 25.  I hadn’t been looking for a relationship.  After the first marriage and the hurtful reality I eventually escaped, I wasn’t keen on opening my heart up again.  Turns out I shouldn’t have.  He didn’t love me either, a fact he didn’t share with me until several months AFTER we were married.  We were together for 22 years.  I’m not sure why I stayed other than I had come to the conclusion that no one could ever love me and the best I could ever hope for was to be tolerated.  Don’t know why he stayed either, other than we were Christians who believed marriage was to last a lifetime.  Those 22 years were very lonely.  It was better than being totally alone, from my perspective anyway.  I was glad for the companionship and being tolerated when you think you’re totally unacceptable is better than nothing.  But I was again painfully alone.

Since the second divorce, I have been more alone than ever and it’s beginning to take a major toll.  I can barely handle it.  Sometimes, it’s so crushing, I don’t even know if I can live through the pain of being this alone.  I can’t get out of it, can’t relieve it, can’t overcome it and can’t do anything that makes it better.  It is terrifying.  It’s too much.  It’s excruciating.

To be honest with you, I’m really scared.  No, it’s way beyond scared.  I don’t even think there’s a word for how frightening it is.  I don’t know how I’m going to get through this.  I don’t know if I can.  My friends are too busy.  They don’t want to hear this garbage.  How does one bear unbearable pain?  How does one cope with loneliness that is so palpable it chokes you?  So cutting, it slices through the deepest and most tender places in your soul?  So all pervasive, there is no escape.  I don’t know if I can survive this.  Being this alone is more than I can manage.  My defense mechanisms aren’t working.  All my strength is inadequate.  I’m not making it.  And I don’t know what to do about it.

Scariest part…I don’t think anyone can hear me.  There’s no one there.  No one notices me.  There’s no one to reach out to.  No one at all.

Sad

I am so sad.  Crushingly sad.  Overwhelmingly sad.  Broken, hurting, wounded, writhing…the sadness permeates and cuts and slices.  It makes me feel like I’m drowning.  I’m completely immersed in an ocean of sadness and unable to breathe.  And that causes terror and panic.

I’m sad because I’ve lost so much…and I continue to lose more every day because I fritter away the little time I have remaining.  I have no joy.  I’ve experienced happiness so few times in my life, I have to think hard to remember a time when I felt the fleeting emotion.  I lost my innocence so long ago, I’m not sure I ever knew innocence.  I was never really young.  Never carefree.  I have always had burdens and loads to bear, even when I was a small child.  I’ve rarely awakened to a new day and felt optimism.  Only fear.  Trepidation.  Dread.  But optimism, excitement about being alive?  No.  The years have passed so quickly, my youth has been left far behind.  I’m…old.  Not many years left.  Not much (if anything…please tell me there is SOMETHING) to look forward to.  And though I’m old, I’ve never truly gotten to live.  That’s extremely hurtful.

It’s always been a struggle.  A painful, bone-crushing, soul destroying struggle. I struggle to get up, to get dressed, to take care of the daily chores that are required of me.  I struggle to face the day, to make the commute to work, to meet the challenges there.  I struggle to perform at an adequate level. Never mind excelling…I used to try hard to excel and did a fair job of it, kind of, but I’ve grown too tired and am far too burned out to achieve that level of achievement at this point in life.  I used to be so much stronger; so much more capable.  But even then, it was hard to do the things most people find easy and natural and normal.  I struggle to keep up.  Cleaning my house is a major undertaking.  Bathrooms are particularly hard.  Dusting?  Doesn’t happen. Mostly, it stays dirty and I’m ashamed at how dirty it stays.  I don’t cook.  I microwave (gotta love Steamfresh).  I try to play with my dog enough to give her a good life.  I fear I even fail at that…I fear she is far too lonely.  I want to be a good mom to her, but I’m not, even though I love her with all of my heart.  She doesn’t get brushed or bathed often enough. Grooming is a chore.  My fault.  All my fault. Running errands totally zaps me and makes me crazy. I can’t even keep up with my mail!  I’m afraid I’ll forget to pay bills; I’m almost panicked about it!  Everything about life is far too difficult.  It’s incredibly HARD.  It shouldn’t be this HARD.  I’m embarrassed at how inadequate I am and how difficult everything is for me when it’s not difficult for others.  Shame weighs me down.  I’m horrified at my complete inadequacy.

I feel like a quadriplegic.  Allegorically speaking, walking is, of course, out of the question.  But I’m horribly ashamed that I can’t walk; I try to hide my inadequacy and fake it, pressing through.  Going up stairs…simply not gonna happen.  I don’t have what it takes.  The things that should work just don’t. Getting in and out of the car…hideously difficult.  Requires a lot of assistance.  But I don’t have assistance.  I have to do it alone. I keep pushing and struggling and fighting and trying, trying, trying, failing, failing, failing.  The shame is overwhelming.  I want to be normal, but if I can’t BE normal, I want to at least not appear to be quite so ABNORMAL.  I am terribly sad that I’m abnormal. So sad and ashamed of myself.

The loss crushes me.  My shame dismantles me.  The sadness washes all the meaning and desire out of my life.  I am a broken person.  I hate being broken.  But I am unable to fix myself.  And that is the thing that makes me the most sad.  I’m broken and I greatly fear there is no cure.  I fear things will never change. What a waste of life.

What I Want

I had dinner with friends last night.  These friends are pretty special…the kind of friends you can be fairly honest with.  The rare kind; they’re real and genuine people.

After we had eaten the meal my friend prepared (which was healthy and delicious, by the way), we went to the living room to talk.  They have some big changes coming up in their lives because of some hurtful events.  But they are fairly optimistic about the future, considering, which totally amazes me.  As we were talking about what they are facing and how they feel about it, the conversation drifted to me and what’s going on in my life (hate that). Out of the blue, my friend’s husband asked me, “What do you want in your life that you don’t have?”

I pretended to think for a moment, but truthfully, the answer came to me instantly.  It pierced me to my core.  Because the one thing I want in my life that I don’t have, the thing I want more than anything else I can think of is simply…love.

I’ve never been loved.  My parents didn’t love me.  My husband didn’t love me.  I’ve never been wanted, cherished, protected, cared for, delighted over or loved.  I would like to get out of debt.  I would like to not have to work so hard for everything.  I would like to experience peace and security.  I would like to find an end to the struggle.  I would like to be healed.  But the first thing that jumped from the depth of my heart to my head when my friend asked me that stirring question was the word “love.”  I was overwhelmed with how badly I want to be loved.

I want to love someone too.  I want it to be a two-way street, a deep connection, where we lean on each other, support each other, adore each other.  I’ve been around long enough to know it won’t always be wonderful.  In fact, I’ve had a whole lot of life not being wonderful.  I’m good at it.  Hate it, but I’m equipped to deal with pain, hurt and rejection.  Is it too much to want to have love?

That’s what I want.  Foolish heart.  Silly woman.  Always asking for too much…

Panic Room

I have recently started experiencing panic attacks.  It’s a horrible experience and I’m not sure what to do about them or how to deal with them.  But  I have figured out one thing, and that’s what causes them: thinking about my life.  Contemplating all the horrible things that have happened.  Thinking about how broken I am.  Thinking about how messed up being broken has made me.  How it has destroyed my life.  Thinking about the obstacles I have to overcome if I’m ever going to experience anything other than depression, struggles, and pain in life.  Thinking about how alone I am and how alone I’m likely to always be.  Because I’m such a mess.  Thinking about how different I am.  How deficient.  Thinking about how big of a financial hole I’m in and how my binging and purging is only causing the hole to get deeper (groceries are expensive…I’m basically just throwing them in the toilet).  Thinking about how badly I’m performing at work because of depression and medical challenges related to anorexia, depression and stress.  Thinking about how bleak the future looks.  I can’t see anything changing, except, of course, changing for the worse.  I could go on and on, but you probably get the idea.  Thinking about all of this hurtful, frightening, overwhelming, nightmarish STUFF becomes suffocating.  I become so thoroughly terrified, it paralyzes me.  I panic.  I spin into this deep, dark, scary place that is bottomless…and there’s nothing to grab on to as I fall endlessly deeper into the pit.

This challenge was totally unexpected.  I’ve spent most of my life not feeling much of anything at all, well, other than depression.  To have emotions that are this overwhelming is completely petrifying.  I don’t know how to deal with them.  I can’t process them or contain them.  They just…ARE.  And they are…HUGE.  Frightening giants.  They dwarf my defenses.  They lay me to waste.  They terrify me.

I need to be able to feel, but it seems I don’t have a working regulator or insulator.  At this point, it would seem I’m either not going to feel anything other than depression or I’m going to be completely and totally overwhelmed by pain, hopelessness, despair and terror.  My natural tendency is to shut everything down quickly.  Pull the plug!  I’m trying to fight that defense mechanism, but it’s extremely difficult when my circuits are overloaded and being fried by an emotional surge.  And forget about sorting anything out!  I can’t even being to grasp a single thought or emotion from the midst of the fireball of emotions that are flooding my senses.

This is one of the most painful experiences I have ever had.  Maybe I’m finally beginning to feel a little piece of the ocean of pain that has been buried inside of me since I was abused as a child.  Whoopee, right? A little late.  Kind of far down the road.  But I have always said I’m a late bloomer.  This isn’t exactly what I had in mind when it comes to “blooming,” but maybe it’s a critical step.  I hope there’s something worthwhile on the other side of all of this.  I hope there is something out there -PERIOD- on the other side of all of this.  That there really IS another side. Something worthwhile would be incredible.  I could sure use a glimpse of the future because getting through the pain and the terror is going to be a tough, rough, disorienting ride.  Assuming there is a bottom to this pit.  Assuming there is an end to the pain.  Assuming there is something to hope for.  Barely able to hope.

Mother’s Day

I pretty much hated my mother.  Never really understood why, but I did.  It baffled me every time I contemplated it throughout the years.  But I could never figure it out, so I always ended up having to shrug it off as just one of those weird things I might never understand.  I have a lot of those weird  kinds of things.  That I don’t think I’ll ever understand. They haunt me constantly.

Today, Mother’s Day, it hit me.  The reason I hated her.  She was the reason I had to keep the secret.

My dad used her weakness, her sickness, her emotional frailty, to hold me prisoner.  He always told me not to tell because if I did, my mother would kill herself and it would be entirely my fault.  All I had to do was keep the secret and she would be fine…well, she would at least live.  But if I told anyone, she would die and I would be to blame.  So I suffered through the years of sexual abuse and shielded her and everyone else from the sick nightmare I had to live through so they wouldn’t have to endure the consequences.  Of what was happening to me.

If she had been less self-focused, stronger, less depressed, less manipulative, more nurturing, more of a presence, I would have had someone to go to with all of the pain and confusion and terror and destruction.  There would have been arms to encircle me.  There would have been a place of shelter.  But there was none.  No one.  Nowhere to go, no one to turn to.  And the secret remained hidden.  Untold.  The massive damage was kept inside.  The shell walked on.  All because my mother was too weak to hear the truth of what was happening to her daughter.

I have doubts about whether or not she knew.  It happened right under her nose at times, but I certainly never told her and she never once said anything about her despondent, broken daughter.  She never seemed to wonder what had happened to destroy me.

I hated her for not being there.  I hated her because I couldn’t tell her the truth.  I hated her because she didn’t want to know the truth.  I hated her for being so weak.  And for loving herself so much that she sacrificed me so she wouldn’t have to deal with the pain.  I hated her because my dad was right; if she couldn’t ignore it any longer, she wouldn’t have been able to handle that she was married to a pervert.  If she couldn’t pretend that reality was really unreality, she would have probably snapped.  Don’t know that she would have killed herself.  I think she was too important to herself to do that; everything was about her, after all.  Truth be told, she pretty much hated me too.  So she might have killed me.  Which might not have been a bad thing, all things considered.

She’s been dead since the fall of 2002.  It was a relief when she died.  But at least the mystery has finally been solved.  Happy Mother’s Day, mom.  I finally understand why I disliked you so intensely.  Turns out, it makes sense after all.

The World Through My Eyes