Over-thinking Art Therapy

So we’ve been working on my anger issues in therapy and last week my T had me do this Crayon drawing, because I couldn’t talk.  I tried to talk but nothing would come out. It was really frustrating and so my T brought out the Crayons.  I sat looking at this box trying to figure out which color I wanted to use. Too IMG_0175many choices, plus I felt like I was being judge by which color I did choose.  I’m sitting there and going through my head is if I pick reds then T will think I’m angry or violent, if I pick blues T will think I’m icy/cold – unfeeling, if I pick yellow I’m trying to be something I’m not cheerful. After going through every color this way in my head and still not being able to pick a color, what do I do? I pulled out the black because it is what I always go for and that is what this whole exercise has made me feel – no matter what I pick it is all doom, gloom and darkness .

I have a crayon, now what? What am I suppose to draw?  I finally turn to T and ask. And T gives me an answer that makes me want to punch her in the face – “whatever you feel”. (WTF that suppose to mean?) If I knew that then I draw it.  Then T says “just start and it will come”, at which point Rose is screaming in my head ” this is so not logical, we neead a plan before you draw or you’re wasting paper.” Fighting to drown out that I just draw lines on top of lines. It all felt stupid.

I  left with therapy with this feeling I can’t even do that right. The next day I was still felling bummed out by the whole thing so I thought I’d try it again without anyone watching, so I didn’t have to feel like I was being judged.  I use my tablet so I wasn’t wasting paper and again it came out all lines. Getting frustrated I turned on the eraser and started erasing. And that’s when the calm came. I realized art therapy – as in drawing some didn’t help anything, but erasing it was great. It was like erasing everything that was wrong in my life and giving myself a new slate to work with. After that I let all my anger out on my tablet in a multitude of colors and shapes, then I erased like I wished I could erase all that anger from my life.  Finally art therapy that was logical.

 

 

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All I Feel Is ANGER!

Yesterday my therapist and I got to talking about all the anger that seems to be over-flowing from me, and

The title of this artwork is "Tranquility" by John William Godward
The title of this artwork is “Tranquility” by John William Godward

she said something that made me stop and think. She said “I don’t think of you as an angry person, or someone who is angry because they like to be. I think you’re angry because it is the strongest emotion and because you don’t feel safe enough or variable enough to feel anything else.”

It’s true I don’t like being angry just for the sake of it. The issue is that I can’t be anything else in a family that doesn’t SEE. We talked a lot about how my family is effecting me and my progress. I know that they are a chain around my neck pulling me down. I hate it, I hate thinking of them that way and I wish for change, but right now I am stuck being dependent on them.

The last two weeks of dog-sitting/being gone have been good because I got time to stand back and figure out what I want and need. Peace – not just quiet, which I can get in the middle of the night – but peace – a state of tranquility, serenity. A time to feel some beside anger, like dare we wish it, maybe even happy.

 

Juggling – More Not Here, Then Here

Lately I have been feeling this not so here feeling. It’s like watching everything going on around but being in a protective bubble where none of it touches you. I realized that I don’t want any of it to touch me, because that would mean having to DO something. I’d have to feel something, or react in some way, or admit to things that I don’t want to, so I let them bounce off the bubble. The bubble is made up of all these compulsive things that I am doing to avoid the things I want to avoid – food, sleep and marathon TV watching and reading.juggling These things are not really making my issues go away; they are just keeping them at bay. Right now I’m avoiding so many things and triggers it feels like a juggling act and I keep dropping the balls and they keep getting inside the bubble which is making me want to retreat even more. Time to look at the balls that I’m juggling and see what I’m feeling.

  1. I’ve lost two people in death in the last month, three if you count Babylon (grandmother) though she wasn’t really a loss.  Babylon was the first to go and when she died, I felt like I was sucked back to where I was 2 1/2 years ago when Satan (grandfather) died. I’ve been having major flashbacks again, the dreams are back, along with the uncontrolled anger, and I can barely go in public without having a panic attack even though I’m on medication. I even had one in my doctor’s office which I haven’t had since I went on medication. I don’t want to leave the house; I barely want to leave my room. I found myself wanting to hide in my closet again which is something I haven’t felt is over 2 years. Babylon’s death was followed closely by two people who I’ve known most of my life and that I actually liked and respect, which made losing them even harder. Especially the second one (we’ll call him Jay), who other than my grandpa, Abraham (father’s father), was the only man (in that age range) that I have every had a relationship with that felt completely safe to me. Losing Jay was a huge blow for me. He knew a lot of my background, was supportive and understanding when it came to my problems with my family and the church, and he never made me feel bad about myself. His funeral was attended by almost 400 people, who made it very hard for me to be there but it was something that I wanted more than anything, to show my love and respect one last time for a great man who really cared.  It was one of the most beautiful services I have ever been to. It still makes me cry just thinking about it and the person I lost. So enough on the subject of death.
  2. The second ball I’m juggling is my mother – and she has all these little balls spinning around her which makes juggling her ball a freaking nightmare.  
  • Spinning ball number one with her is Reuben – She wants him here because she misses him, but once he’s here she can’t deal with him. She loses time more frequently. She no longer has the energy to keep up with a child, which she takes out on everyone around her because she still thinks she’s 25 or something. Her patience level is getting smaller and smaller by the day, which means she is scream more and more. All of this is triggering to me and makes me want to recluse and protect all at the same time. Except I have learned that trying to protect Reuben just makes everything worse so recluse; it is.
  • Spinning ball number two – Amos and Azariah (my cousins). For some reason my mother treats her brother’s children more like her own then she does her own. This pisses me off. They have parents of their own, yes one of them has been totally absent for most of their lives and the other LETS my mother do everything that needs to be done for them, but this is only because my mother will not step back and say she can’t help. It’s like she has this compulsion that makes her have to help her brother, and thus his kids, even when doing so leaves her kids, basically … motherless. Yes, I know that Amos is a paranoid schizophrenic and needs help with getting meds, SSI and so on, but she’s done this more than once already. As for Azariah, he’s moving tomorrow, and my mom is going to watch his kids and make sure they have lunch and dinner.  It’s not a big deal, but neither is a drop of water. That is until that drop of water becomes millions of drops that wear away at a stone till they form a hole. I know that this sounds b*&^%y but she my mother and I need her to be helping me. I want to tell them to go the f*&k away and get their own parents and to leave mine alone. I don’t think it’s so much that she is helping them, as its, she is not helping me.
  • Spinning ball number three – mom has decided she wants to finally help me, except it’s that she wants to do, not what I need her to do. She’s on this new thing with her Chiropractor, where they draw blood and do a complete scan of the blood, to see what is wrong with you, what you may not be getting in the way of vitamin, etc. It’s probably a good thing for me, except I’ve been down this path before, with my epilepsy. I’m not really sure I want to go the alternative route again, but I’m getting desperate, and I don’t want to deal with my mom if I say no. When she gets something like this in her mind, she is like a dog with a bone; she won’t let it go till I let her at least try it. So I’m going to let someone stick a needle in my arm and draw a bunch of blood (oh yeah, oh joy – sarcastic for you that can’t tell) just so that my mother can feel like she is doing something to help me, even if it isn’t what I need, just so I don’t have to also deal with the guilt. My mom is excellent at making you feel guilty.
  • Spinning ball number four – Moving. I don’t know if I am dealing with a case of her personalities all wanting different things or what, but I am getting a bunch of mixed messages. With Babylon’s death, my father wants to move to the middle of freaking nowhere. My mom says she doesn’t want to live there, but sometimes I feel like she is only telling me what she thinks I want to hear. She knows I want to stay here, not this house but this area. To me, it is home and the thought of starting over – new doctors, friends, places, etc. – scares the H@!! out of me. Sometimes I feel likes she feels the same way and sometime I feel like if it was for me, my father and her would already be living on his property, because for one thing it puts her closer to Dinah (sister), which is where she really wants to be. She keeps telling me to look for apartments here, but I don’t feel like she really means it; because she keeps putting off the ones I find.

My brain feels fried right now, so I will have to finish this at another time.

He’s Back!?!

For the last two years, my cousin, Amos has been living with his mom and sister across the country, and it has been relatively peaceful on that front. I guess I should really start at the beginning when it comes to Amos and all the messed up emotions he invokes.
When his parents went through their divorce it was like I gained three older brothers and I really didn’t get a say in the matter. A part of me is still VERY resentful of this because they took the little attention that my mother was able to give me and made it vanish into thin air. The thing with Amos, though is that I got a kind of gift. We are only five dayknife blogs apart in age and it was like having a twin. We were inseparable as children, we were each other’s shadow. That changed when Amos, was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic. The person I loved and was like a twin to me disappeared and a stranger was left in his place. He still looked the same, his voice was the same, but the part of him that made him, him was gone. It was like he died, and his Amos body was inhabited by someone else. Medications help and you’d get to see glimpses of the old Amos, but there was also this new Amos to deal with. The one that won’t stay on his meds because nothing is wrong with him, the one that takes a machete to furniture, the one that will kill you in your sleep, the one I am afraid to be alone with. While he was gone, I didn’t have to face the fact that the Amos of my childhood is never really coming back. That the person that he was is now gone for good.
On Tuesday we got a call from, Amos that he was is Tennessee and his car broke down on his way home. To make a long story short I just spent the last 2 1/2 days driving with my uncle back and forth to Tennessee to pick up Amos, his things and get his car sent to a scrap yard.
Now I know most of you are wondering why in the h(!! I would go on such a trip and it comes down to the worst of two evils – a 2 1/2 day trip into the country to pick up Amos or staying home and dealing with the screaming banshee that is my nephew, Reuben. I chose the trip to the country. Not sure if it was the best choice but at least I got to go somewhere I’ve never been before and got to see the town that is considered “The nursery (tree) capital of the world”.
The return trip was horrible, and I really pushed for doing the drive in one day instead of two. My uncle Able has no clue about mental illnesses (although he should since our family is riddled with them) and he doesn’t know how to treat Amos. The last thing you want to do to a paranoid schizophrenic, who isn’t on his meds, is make him more paranoid. My uncle, Able love watching all these conspiracy programs and then going on and on about the end of the world; till even I was paranoid.
Now that Amos is back I feel like even the little hope I had of finally getting some of my mother’s attention is completely gone. I don’t know why I keep hoping for something that is never going to happen (my mother realizing that I need her, and her being there for me), but I do! I’m sad, mad, angry and frustrated!

The Truth Can Leave You Broken and Bleeding

Last week I naively commented on someone else blog about the truth setting you free, boy did I get those words thrown back at me in a figurative sense this week. It all started with Sonja untitleddeciding she had, had enough of my parents and their bickering about the money my mother was soon to receive from the death of my grandmother and my father’s wish to retire and move us all to the middle of nowhere (aka his property). Both my mother and I don’t want to live on my father’s property, because it would mean leaving somewhere we have lived for 30 years, and starting all over. I don’t know if this is a problem for others but I have enough problems with being a recluse with friends I’ve had all my live, there is no way that I would ever want to leave the house in a place where I know no one, except my dad’s cousins, people I already have huge issues with (see here and here).

So Sonja decided to make an appearance and get some of her resentment off her chest. My father has been playing this game of “if you don’t want to do it my way, there’s the highway, get out!” Sonja didn’t like this one bit because the way she see it the only reason she and the rest of “A” were in a position to be abused in the first place is because good old dad didn’t have the balls to stand up to my mom and say “my kids are not going anywhere near your father.” For the first time every Sonja got past all of “A” defenses and actually voiced this option aloud to my father. Which lead to him crawling into his shell and clamming up!

The next day he decides he’s ready for a genuine talk about the past, but by this time Sonja gone and Edith has taken over. Fact-finding Edith wants the all powerful truth from him, so she asks him some questions that she realizes afterwards “A” may not have been really ready for.

Question 1: Due to receiving different answers, Edith wants to know when exactly he found out about my mother and my grandfather and the abuse?

Answer: A week before they got married. (Mind blowing!)

Question 2: When did he realize my mother had split personalities?

Answer: a year after they were married – she had what amounted to an emotional affair – no sex – with one of his friends.

Question 3: Why did he allow his child near his wife’s father when he knew what he was?

Answer: First of all, he believed my mother when she said the abuse was over (maybe hers was but there was not telling how many others there where). Also he and mother had made a deal that we – their children where never to be left alone with the man, that one or both of them would always be with us.

Question 4: If he knew mom had split personalities 7 years before I was born what made him think that she wouldn’t split when she was suppose to be watching us? We had this saying that for at least week after mom went to my grandparents she was a different person; it took her that long go get back to being mom. How much worse did he think she was when she was actually there with them?

Answer: I really didn’t get an answer to that one.

So here’s the truth – my father married a woman that he knew was abuse by her father, and within a year my father realized my mother had split personalities due to the fact that one of those personalities was having emotionally affairs with men that would end before they became sexually. She would always come back to my father and due to his own physical abuse and mental issues (savior complex) he’d take her back. When they had children, instead of keeping them away from a known pedophile, they instead made an agreement – their children would never be alone with him, that one or both of them would always be around. The problem with that is one of my mother’s splits is someone who doesn’t have children. If you don’t think/believe you have children, how are you supposed to watch out for them? My father was aware of my mother’s splits but still thought she was able to look out for her children, even though it was a joke in our house that when mom visited her parents she came back another person.

My mind has been going over and over this all week and here’s the problem – part of my feels sadness and pity for my father that he fell in love with such a damaged woman and part of me is just damn mad and angry that he didn’t do a better job protecting his children.

So whoever said the true will set you free forgot to add that it may also leave you broken and bleeding. I was going to say but at least you know the true, but now I’m beginning to wonder if the truth is all it’s cracked up to be.

 

The Legacy Of Child Abuse – ANGER

Like I said Anger seem to be my personal favorite in the list of aftereffects child abuse has left me with, or maybe to put it more accurately Anger is the one that sticks the closest, appears the most, and is seen by those around me. Anger is a very powerful emotion. It poisons our minds and makes rational thinking almost impossible.

My anger is out of my control, I have no idea what will set it off, how it will choose to display itself or where it goes when is suddenly disappears after putting me in the situations it does.

But first who am I angry at and why am I angry?

I’m angry at myself, my family, God and well, the world as a whole.

I am angry at my family because they didn’t stop the abuse. They knew what my grandfather was – a child molester – yet they gave him easy access to children. They didn’t keep me safe. I am angry that I had to be the one to stop the abuse because they were too blind to see what was going on right under their eyes. I am angry that it took me becoming deeply depressed and suicidal before they even notice there was anything wrong and got me help. I am angry that my family never talked about or will now talk about what my grandfather did to us. I am angry that they are still trying to keep it a secret. I am angry with my family for the way they handled the situation after the abuse became known. I am angry that I was treated like I had done something wrong, when I was in fact the victim, while my grandfather seems to get away with it. I am angry that my family dissuaded me from pressing charges against my grandfather, in an effort to keep their secret. I am angry that every bit of my therapy has been paid for by me, instead of by the person who caused me to need the therapy in the first place, even though I have no money and his estate is large. I am angry that my family thinks that it is time I get over this already and move on with my life. I am angry at my family for being able to have a life while I live in misery and pain. I AM ANGRY AT MY FAMILY.

I am angry at God for allowing this to happen to me. I am angry at God for giving this man a place of prominence in his place of worship. I am angry at God for allowing him to use that prominence and God’s word, the Bible to gain power over me so that he could abuse me. I am angry at God for allowing this to make me question my faith in him and have doubts. I AM ANGRY AT GOD.

I am angry at the world as a whole because they just don’t get what being sexual molested as a child does to you, how it effects every day after that. I am angry at everyone – teacher, doctors, etc. – who should have noticed, and didn’t. I am angry at the system that is now denying me the help and support I need to get better. I am angry at all those happy people out there with their happy lives, who never had to experience what I have; I am angry because I can’t be one of them.  I AM ANGRY AT THE WHOLE WORLD.

Yes, I left being angry at myself for last because I am the person I am most angry at and because this is the hardest one to admit to. As I said in the beginning of this post “anger poisons our minds and makes rational thinking almost impossible.” Logically I know that being angry at myself is foolish, because I did nothing wrong, my abuser did, but emotionally I am still angry at myself. I am angry because I allowed the abuse to happen, and I keep allowing it to happen even though I knew it was wrong. I am anger that I could have say “no” and made him stop, but I didn’t even try. I am angry that I wasn’t strong enough to make him stop. I am angry that I never told although he used threats to makes sure that I didn’t. I am angry that I can’t make this all go away like it never happened, like I use to be able to do. I am angry that I can’t put this behind me and get on with my life. I am angry that I have allowed this to make me feel ashamed, guilty, and worthless. I am angry that I have allowed this to make me feel dirty and undeserving of the love of others. I am angry that I can’t trust anyone because of my abuse and am therefore unable to get close to or allow others close to me. I am angry that I have allowed this to bottle up my emotions to the point where I am afraid to have or express any of them. I am angry that I was not able to handle the effects of my abuse so I now have to deal with at least 7 different personalities in my head all trying to tell me what to do. I am angry that I have allowed this to make me such an angry person. I am angry that it is hard for me to say these things, without being angry at myself for feeling them. I AM ANGRY AT ME.

Who Am I Kidding…

As much as I try to get myself to believe that tomorrow will be a better day, let’s face it; that’s bull. When you are an adult survivor of sexual child abuse, there is no mythical, sunshiny tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be pretty much like today and yesterday and all the days that have come before. Just because the abuse has stopped doesn’t mean the effects of it are going to stop, too.

Let’s look the legacy that child abuse leaves behind:

Anger (my personal favorite and the one that I feel ALL the time), Blame, Guilt, Avoidance, Control Issues, Depression, Denial, Doubt, Eat Disorders, Fear, Identity Issues, Isolation, Jealousy, Loneliness, Lying, Repressed Memories, Trust Issues, Being TOO Nice, Cutting, Sexual Issues – I am sure there are more but these are mine and I want to talk about each and every one of them.

For a while now I have been so wrapped up on what is going on around me that I have neglected what was going on in me. So my next posts are going to deal with The Legacy Child Abuse Has Left Me one at a time.