“The way the woman is treated as a victim may also influence her ability to cope. This includes treatment by:
- The police. Of necessity the police are required to question the victim thoroughly. If this is not explained to her she may perceive that she is not believed and this can reinforce feelings of guilt and self blame. If she is unable to accurately describe her assailant or recall details of the attack, this may reinforce feelings of low self worth and inadequacy.
- Hospital service. If the victim is treated in an impersonal manner then the feelings of depersonalization are reinforced. If hospital staff offer judgement comments on her behaviour then feelings of guilt can be produced.
- The courts. The above comments apply here as well. The cross examination can seem like a repeat of the rape experience.
- The circumstances of the assault can affect the victim’s coping capacity.”
It is essential for them to understand that their symptoms come from somewhere, so they can have compassion for themselves …
Developmental Trauma Disorder, Frozen Trauma, Complex Trauma, Attachment Disorder — whatever it’s called, it’s been a long time coming for the weight and the cost of repeated childhood trauma to be given its proper weight.
How am I:
I’m either in crisis, incredibly scared and shaky and just barely staying out of the hospital right now OR I’m doing more wonderful than I’ve ever been. Coming to bloom in the garden of life. Experiencing enlightenment. A bright shining light of inspiration and wisdom. Enjoying summer and friends and my happy new home.
On Friday, I began the day by reaching out for help in the face of having been distracted by increasing thoughts of how to kill myself, feeling hopeless, that no one was ever going to get me. Coming up with a plan for how to stay alive over the weekend, alone in the house with my roommate gone. It was an accomplishment that this was taken seriously and I received the caring I needed in order to have a re-do.
That the doc was not treating me less seriously than the ones who act out instead of hold it all in. That I need to feel the depth of these feelings in someone else’s presence, and how hard that is. Finally, I felt got!
I went for a walk with a friend that afternoon, mentioned nothing to her of my morning or what was going on. Took her lead instead to speak about writing and indulge ourselves in simple time together in the sun by the river, feeling peaceful and content and having good conversation about creativity and healing. Feeding the creative muses in both of us.
I got home, thawed out some home-made chili from the freezer, ate it, and went to my ACA meeting.
As soon as I walked in the door, I was struck by the feeling of not knowing how I was – was I in crisis, or was I enjoying the fruits of my labour in life? I honestly did not know.
This confusion was (is) so terrifying for me that I went into shock. I felt the Dead Feeling in my body and face, barely able to rouse a facial expression, sitting slumped in my chair, unable to look at anyone. Managing to read aloud my part in the opening to the meeting, managing to function just barely enough to not disrupt the meeting or draw attention to myself, and meanwhile sliding further into shock and the Silent Panic.
By the end of the meeting, it was so intense that I reached out for help, and concluded with a close recovery friend that I should not spend the night alone, and should go to the hospital if I couldn’t get a hold of anyone else to stay with.
The recovery friend went back into the meeting room for the second part of the meeting, and I moved to my car with my cell phone to find a place to go that night. I finally cried and shook when she hugged me good night. I was really scared and not in control of myself – not myself, and feeling exposed in that state, unable to think clearly and make decisions.
I couldn’t get a hold of anyone on the phone, so I decided to show up at someone’s house. But it was near the hospital too, so maybe I should just go there. I turned around several times, driving back and forth between the person’s house and the hospital, eventually up to the hospital. But then I realized I was almost out of smokes, and didn’t want to spend the night in the emerg room without smokes. So I went home and continued my phone search. By this time, my abdomen was in pain, enough for me to be slightly doubled over and moving quite slowly. I equate this with emotional stress, as that is where it tends to be stored in my body. I spoke with a couple other recovery friends, telling them what was happening. But they were unable to put me up for the night. I had never reached out in this way before.
Finally found someone who could. As soon as I left the house, on my way to be with someone in my time of need, I felt calmer, and began to come out of the shock and panic.
By the next morning, I felt like myself again. I invited some people for a potluck, made soup, and went for a hike and a swim with the same friend as the previous day.
This friend had no idea that my visits with her had been sandwiched between near admission to the hospital.
Is this real yet? What will it take for my Child to believe that her pain is real, her feelings are real, her distress is valid. What has been happening to me?
Does this not sound insane?
It scares me that I have this range, and the capacity for such extremes.
Your leg’s not missing; you just need to think more positively.
Of course your leg is missing; everyone’s leg is missing, so buck up and suck it up, also like everyone else.
“I’m broken Dale” — that’s not a cry for pitty and love; it’s one of confusion.
It’s like having had a missing limb, and people continually telling you that it wasn’t missing. To a degree that created permanent confusion.
I’m constantly wanting to prove to you how broken I am, so that I can change my confusion around whether or not it is real. So you can say, “Yes! I see that!” Oh, what glorious words to me.
It’s soothing when circumstance brings the brokenness to show without my control, and in a way that is undeniable to others, in a way that confirms the missing limb, without any doubt or questioning.
There was a moment in our last session. I was telling you about the two ways I presented myself at the party, and when I spoke about the presentation of a successful career woman, you were saying that it’s not confusion, because I know that that presentation is not true – that I am not a successful career woman. You said that, looked at me, and added, “Right?”
I actually felt an enormous amount of relief when you said that. I was relieved that you weren’t saying “Yes you are; you will recover to being that. You will eventually be success that way. You are too talented not to eventually find your way back there. Don’t start selling yourself short in the world. Don’t underestimate yourself.”
I felt that you were admitting that aiming to be that may not be realistic with my injuries in this moment, but that I may get there in a much more unique and authentic way.
When I make the wound real, I can find the healthy loving response; if it’s not real, I can’t respond, and then that part of me is abandoned again. That part of me has had a lifetime of abandonment.
It’s not a sense of entitlement; it’s the need to make a living amends to the Child within. To do things differently than they have been done in the past — to replace the unworthiness and the unloveability, with worthiness and loveability, on the most basic of levels, which cannot be accessed or changed with words.
A living amends to me is expressing and validating all the unspoken things in a way that is un-deniably reflective of the past lack, aka abandonment. Saying to my Child, “That shouldn’t have happened; here’s what should have. Here is what a healthy response would have been.”
A new era has begun in my life, with a move from the place I moved into 2 months ago, to a place that is … well, it’s a little piece of heaven, with a fellow recovery woman.
It’s on a river. The sound of the river permeates the entire property and house. My room is on the 2nd floor, with my own private balcony. The house has several skylights, wood floors and trim throughout.
The property has several gardening areas for vegetables and flowers, grassy nooks with chairs, fruit trees, and a gazebo on the river. There is also a workshop and an art studio.
Both my roommate and I feel that this is a place that wants to be a vessel for healing. It wants to provide a safe, affordable and soul-nourishing haven for people who need it, in order to do our work, the work of the soul and spirit. The rent is super cheap, and the location is a few minutes walking to down town. We want to host healing circles and various healing modalities here.
My arrival here happened suddenly, removing me from the danger inherent in living alone. I had been isolating and not eating, in and out of various states of dissociation and paralyzation. A friend of mine asked me why i was remaining in this harmful situation. I realized I had not made it real in my mind that it was a harmful situation. I was still holding on, trying to convince myself that it wasn’t happening, that really, I was fine; I was just thinking I wasn’t. When the landlords there gave notice they were returning to the Valley, this new place emerged. After my friend asked me why I was staying, I checked out moving earlier, and was given the green light. I moved the next day.
The previous roommate here was a beautiful, bright, gay man who was the keeper of the space and property, loved gardening, home repairs and landscaping. He also lived with OCD and Bipolar Disorder. He chose to leave this world by suicide last month. As he had promised to his friends, he waited until he was happy for several months before leaving. He sorted his things and arranged for them to be dispersed, cleaned the house, made soup for the woman who is now my rooommate. Everyone knew that his leaving was imminent, and when he was all set up to facilitate his departure, he emailed my roommate, who was out of town at the time. It took him two consecutive attempts to leave.
His body was found in his room. He died a happy, loving and giving spirit; at peace in his surroundings and with his friends in this life. His passing has brought me here, and so I write this as an offering of gratitude and appreciation. I feel his presence, and that he is a kindred spirit. I regret that I did not get to know him while he was still here.
For Carl. For all your journeys, sorrows, joys, achievements, struggles, and losses. And for all the great love you gave to this world. May you be in peace in the afterlife. May your spirit soar on, always and forever free.