Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Memory of feeling powerful

I remember getting caught smoking a cigarette on school property the night of a football game.

Come monday Homeroom, I got a slip to go to the office.

I had never been called to the principals office before so I had no idea what to expect.  

I started to sit in one of the chairs by the desk and he cleared his throat and asked me to stand in front of his desk.  I gave him a weird look and did as I was told.  Never ask questions of authority was something ingrained into me from an early early age.

Mr. Principal then asked me to spin in a circle.  As I did he asked if I were a ballerina.  I said no.  He told me all about how I look like a dancer and how my long thin legs would be wonderful in ballet. He had me bend down and pick something up too.  Directing my moves to be more ballerina like.  I was a tomboy.  It took multiple tries for me to perfect the look he was going for.

But I didn't get in trouble.  No detention.  No letter home.  No phone calls to the parents. Ok, so he's a little weird but I didn't get in trouble so who cared?  Not me.  It wasn't like I had to sleep with him.

A few weeks later I got called to the office during homeroom.  I KNEW I had not gotten into any trouble!  I stormed down the hall, went into the office and waited.  I was trying to figure out who was blaming me for what.  Finally I got called back.  

Mr. Principal asked me to close the door again.  This time he was interested in my legs and backside but also wanted to see my abs.  

This became a weekly routine for us.  Some people would say I was a victim in this scenario.  But I felt empowered by it.  It shaped my life in ways I don't think anything else could have with the same results.  I had the power.  And that felt good.

As long as I didn't do anything too too crazy, I pretty much had run of the school.  It was the first time I figured out that I could use sex and my body to gain power.

I practiced feeling powerful with lots of boys and men after that.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cycles and Patterns

I've been seeing my new therapist, who shall be named thenewguy from here on out, for a month now.  He's not fired me yet.  I've not scared him away yet.  He hasn't committed me to the insane asylum for life... yet.  So all in all, I think the outcome has been favorable.  So far.  But it's only been 4 sessions. I'm still feeling him out.  Trust has not been earned.  Yet.

It is nearly impossible for me to trust people, even when they have done nothing to earn that distrust.  This past week I had a spat with my partner due to my inability to trust.

The details aren't important and there isn't sense in rehashing the details on here anyway.  What is important is that I recognized a pattern... a theme with most of these disagreements I tend to have. The theme is that I get triggered when words and actions don't align.  It sets off alarms in my head that: we are in danger, that we will be hurt, that people are generally bad.  Those triggered parts of me get swallowed up by trauma time and can no longer hear the voice of reason saying that he's never hurt us, he is trustworthy, he loves us the way people should love each other, there is no danger now, we are big and we are safe.

 Instead I freak out, I go into self protection mode.  I lash out and become a really not so nice person. Then I get scared that i've crossed the line and surely after the millionth time of screwing up, my partner will declare his intent to leave and we will be broken and alone forever.  (In my head it feels that dramatic) Then we feel completely alone and that feeling triggers memories and flashbacks and body pains.  That's usually the point where the panic attack comes on full force.  And then I sleep.  And I feel drained and horrible and guilty and full of shame for awhile afterwards.  I apologize not for my actions, but for existing and that he has to put up with me.  That shame... it runs deep through my veins.  And then comes the affection seeking make-up stage.  Since affection equals love, we can't  believe that he loves us until the actions match the words.

And that brings it full circle.  Interesting, huh?

So back to thenewguy.  It would be nice if I could just trust people at face value.  It would probably make life a lot easier.  But that's not where I am at right now.  Right now, I need to test.  I need to feel it out.  I need to take things at my own pace.

If were as easy as just deciding to trust someone, I think I would have already fixed the problem and would't need therapy in the first place.

So I'll keep moving forward, inch by inch if I have to.  It's still moving in the right direction.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Changing rules

Change is hard.  I think it might be especially hard for those of us with dissociative identity disorder.  I personally find safety and comfort in routine.  I want to know that every Friday I have therapy.  That every Saturday I sleep in until 8:30am.  I want my partner to come home from work at the same time every night.  I want to eat my meals at the same time every day.  I want to know that the same people will be in my life day after day with no changes. New is scary.  New is triggering.  New means danger.  Well, it used to...

Life just doesn't work that way, does it?

I have had so many major changes happen lately.  I had to stop seeing my old therapist.  I had to find a new therapist.  I have to try and figure out thenewguy and try to trust him even though I don't really feel like trusting anyone anymore.  I started drinking again.  And now I have to (or should anyway) stop doing that.  I used to go into the city twice a week for therapy.  Now I just go down the road a few minutes once a week, and not always the same day or time.  All my kids are asserting their independence in age appropriate ways and don't need me as much or in the same way as before.

I feel like everything is in the process of changing right now.  I don't like it one bit.

When I was growing up things changed a lot too.  I never knew from day to day if it was going to be a good daddy day or bad daddy day.  I didn't know if the rules I tried to commit to memory yesterday would apply to today.  I didn't know if I would come home from school to hugs or to hits.  I didn't know if meeting new people would be fun or if they would just bring more hurt, pain and abuse.

Everything was always changing.  The only safety I had was in my own mind.  And so I started creating structure and ritual and routine.  I made my own rules that would never ever change.  I learned to escape.  When I was young we had no TV so I escaped through books.  As an adult I still read a lot, but TV also became a great escape.  When things feel out of control, I binge watch drama TV shows.  I especially like the crime shows.  The bad guy always gets caught.  Always.  It's a rule. I like that rule.  It never changes. I like the predictability.  It is safe.

The escape through books or TV doesn't always work so well.  Sometimes the anxiety is so great that I dissociate completely and lose time for hours or sometimes days at a time.  Or I learned early in life that numbing out kept me present yet numb.  Functional.  Cutting and burning did that when I was a child.  By my teen years I found drugs and alcohol worked really well.  That's a ritual I still haven't figured out how to give up.  I don't want to drink, but I find myself doing it a lot lately.  it numbs me enough to stay present.  To appear normal.  I don't black out when I am drunk - I don't ever really feel drunk.  I just feel normal.  That might be a problem, huh?

I quit drinking a couple years ago after my drinking ritual of a night cap turned into an all day cap.  But recently all these changes have thrown me for a loop and I've picked up some old rituals again.  I'm only drinking at night, but it's a lot.  Enough to stay numb.  When the feelings start creeping in I just start drinking again.  It's almost like clockwork - by 6 each night I am pouring a drink.

I'm tired of this ritual.  I'm tired of feeling badly.  But there is safety in the rules.  And the rules say do not feel.  So feel I won't.  Keep pushing things down as far as they will go until there is nowhere else to go.