I sometimes think that I can not resolve some of my lack of deep conviction in the existence of God, not just because I’m too rational, but because I see people be hateful towards me all the time for being honest.
I haven’t liked to talk about my abusive past here…and I still don’t. But I want to talk about it, because I really painted myself into a corner over the past few days. I am such a social misfit that sometimes the more I try to explain myself, the more odd things come out of my mouth. It used to happen more often, which is why retreating from most people is usually the best bet for me. Most people don’t know what to make of me, and that’s all right. There’s a few people that do (if not locally to me). I do what I can, and when I fail to make the right impression, I slink away like a wounded tiger, and cry and lick my wounds in a dark corner of my soul. I come out when I feel stronger and ready to say, “fuck it”. I am who I am and if it’s one thing I learned, keeping to myself is more rewarding than trying to talk to some people.
I’ve been abused, physically, emotionally and psychologically, first from my family of origin, and later in my marriage, after my husband’s episodes of binge drinking over 15 years. I don’t talk usually about that trauma here, because this is not where I do my trauma recovery work. Here is where I recover my spirituality and my hope through my writing, my photography and my dreaming of the kind of friendships that are edifying…not soul-sucking.
I don’t expect any of my readers to ever understand the things I’ve come to know from my abused past. It’s not necessary to know what I’ve been through to get a taste of what I’m really like: loving, peaceful, hopeful…and I prefer to keep my wounds private, but not today.
I make no excuses for my mistakes. There are landmines in my psyche, as there are in all survivors of complex-PTSD. Get too close to one, you’ll likely get one to go off on you. Talk to me compassionately, you’ll get a pussycat. Treat me like you are better than me, that you know more than I do, or treat me condescendingly, I will put you in your place posthaste.
I have ugliness inside me. A mistrust of most people, especially stupid saccharine sweet women (and you know who you are), and not just because most are intolerably mundane. But because they are most often judgmental. And yes, it’s true, sometimes I do come across as harsh when I suspect people are being disingenuous, or superficial, or I detect a malicious intent (I’ll grant I might detect things other people might not agree are malicious…and that’s something I am working on).
And, as an aside, this is precisely the reason why I don’t do blog awards (I was ‘awarded’ one recently but I didn’t play along). I keep to myself and I don’t know who to bestow a superficial fake honor to. I don’t read many blogs. I’ve got too much writing of my own to do.
Abused people don’t see the world with Pollyanna vision. For us, optimism is hard to learn, and we see the seed of abuse in many situations that may not actually germinate. But, knowing what can go on behind closed doors, hidden from the neighbors and authority figures that might actually be able to save someone from abuse, we see red flags everywhere. Even when there is nothing to be alarmed about. But sometimes we just hear something…or read something…and that feeling of nausea rolls on in. It’s just best to heed the warning. Only I forget to keep it to myself. And piss people off in the process. And I don’t want to make enemies, I want to make friends. But…well…shit happens. I’m not able to shrug it off when I know I made an egregious error.
And, because I am who I am, and experienced what I have experienced, both in my personal life and in my work as a forensic scientist working on sexual assaults and homicides, I have trouble connecting to people who are superficial and who live in a world of fantasy where even if bad things happen, they learn to paste on a smile. I’m sorry, I can’t be fed bullshit and believe it’s chateubriand.
I am not pessimistic, but I do lose faith that people will ever be truly aware of the things I see. It’s a tragic gift of empathy. Sometimes I’m right and I get wounded people to open up to me, other times I’m either wrong or they are hiding something and just got found out and they get pissed. I can’t help calling things as I see them. I’ll grant you that I have skewed vision.
But, if one more person tells me to get a grip…I’ll smack them. I swear to baby Jesus I will.
The same sister who chased me around the house when I was 11 with a large kitchen knife with the intention of wounding me would tell me all the time when I was older, I needed to “get a grip”. I had a therapist one time try to tell me I must have done something to instigate her violent behavior. And then I fired him.
A complete stranger advised me to not pathologize my siblings…and some other things I don’t remember. This is for her: you don’t know me and you don’t know the kind of sociopathic behavior I had to endure from them.
Family fun that did not involve me? My younger sister was committed for a week at a psych ward because my mother couldn’t handle her ‘acting out’ as a teenager when she and my step-father were fighting. My mother was thrown in jail one day simply because she slapped my oldest sister on the face in front of her skeezy boyfriend a couple of years after her divorce and the boyfriend called 911. My mother would not stay out of my sister’s personal life, so my sister had her arrested for assault.
My mother was from an upstanding, ‘responsible’, well-off family. And my mother was acting most of her life as an entitled, narcissistic, psychologically sick person and my siblings caught some of her illness (and me to some extent). But no one outside the family home had any clue. No one could save us because they didn’t know.
Two things go hand in hand with abuse – psychological enmeshment and emotional incest. Children of dysfunctional parents often become punching bags, pawns in the marriage or emotionally bonded to the parent to fill their unmet emotional needs. Sometimes, a child is aware enough to recognize the toxic nature of the dysfunctional family dynamic and they do everything they can to 1) save the rest if possible or 2) get the hell out if they can’t. Both are nearly impossible, but some children will nearly die trying. In my family, that child was me. And I suffer short episodes of some pretty severe suicidal depression that I manage to ride out without medications or booze (though I came pretty damn close to cutting my life short a few times).
Last night, as I walked by myself in the dark at that war memorial…crying…wondering why am I here if I can’t make a decent friend and I can’t even shut up when I know I’m being seen as being a total ass (though I’m trying trying hard to be…I just don’t suffer fools gladly).
I might be a ‘class act’…an overblown windbag…an isolated, lonely, severely disconnected, mal-adjusted, fucked-up mother and abuse survivor, but, if you don’t like me, you can just stay away from me. I don’t need your advice (I did not ask for it). I don’t want your kind of friendship. You certainly aren’t beneficial to my spiritual growth.
So I apologize to those who I’ve mortally wounded with my words. Before you think I’m judging without getting to know you, please return the favor and stop judging before you get to know me. I know what my limitations are. I’ve spent 2o years trying to change them so people will stop telling me what’s wrong with me. It’s only dawning on me that the problem lies not with me.
I’ve been through hell and back. I’ve made mistakes and tried to apologize for them. I’ve loved and been loved by one or two tremendously amazing, spiritual people and some that were amazing yet not all that spiritual. And they’ve come and gone (some through death, some just moved on). And I need to find more of them. I hope I do soon, in my real life, so I can stop hanging around the internet, hoping to connect with my next spiritual friend.
When I take a long look at my life, as though from outside, it does not appear particularly happy. Yet I am even less justified in calling it unhappy, despite all its mistakes. After all, it is foolish to keep probing for happiness or unhappiness, for it seems to me it would be hard to exchange the unhappiest days of my life for all the happy ones. If what matters in a person’s existence is to accept the inevitable consciously, to taste the good and bad to the full and to make for oneself a more individual, unaccidental and inward destiny alongside one’s external fate, then my life has been neither empty nor worthless. Even if, as it is decreed by the gods, fate has inexorably trod over my external existence as it does with everyone, my inner life has been of my own making . I deserve its sweetness and bitterness and accept full responsibility for it.
~ Hermann Hesse, Gertrude
So, with that, go in peace and love the world.