Inappropriate Adults and Inadequacy

a special kind of person.jpg

I dropped my grandma’s car off to be painted. Luckily, a few hours later, I got a call that my car was ready for pick up. I told my mom about the car. She wasn’t mad. In fact, she high-fived me when I said I didn’t hurt myself over it.

I’m a bit of a bad mood. Gage had a tough day, but that isn’t why I’m in a bad mood. I’m upset staff laughed when he tried to touch another student inappropriately. The other student backed away. Therefore, Gage did not make contact. So, theoretically, Gage might have been reaching for the edge of the other boy’s jacket, which ended at his crotch. However, I know he recently touched staff inappropriately. I don’t believe there is any malice in his actions, nor do I think he is being abused. I think staff inadvertently reinforced the behavior by laughing. For example, about a year ago, he touched Mark’s butt and everyone laughed. When my co-worker brought it up in our meeting last week, people laughed. I wanted to cut because the co-worker working with the other boy LAUGHED. NOT OKAY. Of course, Gage started laughing when my co-worker laughed. I guess some people aren’t made for this job.

Also, we got to leave early today because parent teacher conferences started this afternoon. However, we had to work until 1 pm (we usually have lunch at 12) and then leave early. The administration, therapists, classroom supervisors, and behaviorists left at 12 to eat and returned when we left. That meant I didn’t get to eat with Ginny, et al. As a result, I haven’t eaten today. There was no point anymore. I planned to eat today, until she told me the plan. Wednesday usually gives me a reason to eat because there is added social pressure when we’re at a restaurant. Without that social pressure, Wednesday is a good day to fast because I only have to worry about restraining kids in the morning. In addition, the separation is a stark reminder that I am not good enough and they all know it. Ashley was among the group eating at noon. That reminds me of my inferiority because she got the promotion to classroom supervisor and I did not. She will be there all evening and all day tomorrow and Friday with Ginny, my boss, and the therapists. Time off work is nice, but it just reminds me how I am never good enough. If I was good enough, I’d be involved in parent teacher conferences tonight.

During that hour where we cleaned the classrooms, while the others ate, Gage was outside by himself for over a half hour. I told Barb that he was outside without an adult when she got back to school and she went over to yell at the afterschool program people. Apparently, they didn’t even know he was missing!! Once we finished cleaning, we played with him, but he could be riding his bike down the highway and they’d have no clue!

 

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Law and Order SVU and Triggers

Without fail, Law and Order: SVU is triggering because every episode focuses either on rape or child abuse. Yet I continue to watch it. WHY?!?! I KNOW it will make me feel disgusting and wrong. I wish I knew why I watch it when I know it upsets me.

My first night was almost perfect. I overate, but it wasn’t a binge because I stopped before I felt sick. I wasn’t out of control. I wanted to purge, but resisted the urge despite no fear of discovery. I didn’t want to cut until I read about the new SVU season. I ended up going to sleep instead of cutting.

Also, I wonder what normal people talk about. Ginny talks to her other friends on the phone. Her other friends aren’t at our current workplace. Not all of her friends have kids or are married. So, they don’t all have that in common. This requires some thought.

So far, I’m winning the fight today. I woke up this morning in a good mood. Wow! I think sleeping in the same room as 2 adorable puppies helps. 🙂 I even felt proud because I advocated for myself yesterday when insurance blocked my refill and I got the pharmacist to override the block! Not only did I ask for what I needed (which is a big deal), but I also WANTED to do the right thing to take care of myself!

You'll Never Know the Truth: Childhood Abuse

On my way home from school, I was perilously close to tears the whole way. At some point, that thing I never ever talk about out loud popped into my mind. I tried talking about it out loud once. The conversations didn’t end well. My therapist at the time wanted me to talk about it and she’d encouraged me for months to open the topic. Once we did…Let’s just say I almost didn’t go away for college. My therapist told me I should work on the issue, but if I worked on it, I’d need to be inpatient because I was clearly a danger to myself.

It sounds so immaterial. On its own, I guess it is immaterial. That is reason #1 why this topic makes me hate myself. The memory itself is inconsequential. I have no right to be bothered by it, at least not compared to other people who experienced real trauma. Therefore, I am weak and pathetic for getting so emotional over nothing.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had one or two odd childhood memories floating in my head. In the first memory *hands pause above keyboard* …I still can’t even fucking type it! I’m continuing this post from yesterday and after a few hours I was okay again last night, but trying to explain this is putting me on the verge of tears. I have this maelstrom inside me tied to 2 short, old memories. The gist is potentially sexually abusive actions occurred, but the memories aren’t necessarily abusive. The first one involved foreign object insertion. The second involved touching. However, both have potentially benign explanation. For example, intramuscular injections of medication in the ventrogluteal and dorsogluteal muscles. As for the second memory, well…little kids have to learn about genital hygiene at some point.

Possibility 1: The memories have benign explanations.

For instance, the ones I proffered above. (Assuming this is the truth) Reason #2 to hate myself is that I’m a sick, twisted, weird, evil, dirty, bad freak for ever considering the idea that someone who cares about me would do that! Reason #3 is that I’ve dealt with all this fear and guilt for years over nothing. In fact, even now, I think part of my trouble relating to people romantically stems from this…nothing.

Possibility 2: These events never occurred in any form. At some point, I made them up.

On one hand, I have no doubt false memories are implantable through suggestion. Numerous psychological studies show it. On the other hand, these memories bothered me before age 12 (when I started therapy). So, no accidental therapeutic suggestion could cause them.

However, even without suggestion, false memories occur because our brains are just not perfect. When we remember an event, we change it. When we think about a memory, it isn’t as though we replay a video tape and when we’re done remembering we put the same video tape away. That is not how memory works. retrieving a memory can alter it and when we “save” the memory for later we save our most recent memory of the memory. So, the next time we retrieve that  memory, we are not watching an unadulterated movie of the event, our memory consists of what we recalled the last time we remembered the event.

It is kind of similar to these 2 examples: You are certain when you were 6 you had a black border collie named Keko. You ask your mom about the dog and she tells you there was a dog, but it was named Miko and it was a multicolored (including black) Lhasa Apso. Or you remember visiting a friend’s house when you were 4 (let’s say you know you were 4 because you moved neighborhood right before you’re 5th birthday and the friend didn’t move into your old neighborhood until after your 3rd birthday) and you remember the gigantic, scary, steep hill in her backyard. Then you watch old home movies and the camera shows her backyard in its entirety. You see the “big” hill, but as an adult you realize it was tiny. We see things through lenses clouded by our personal perception of the world (be that age, height, life experiences, anger, fear, etc)

Therefore, I can never know what is real and what is false without outside evidence because I cannot trust the reliability of my recollection of the events. I’ve had at least 18 years to “remember”, but with each thought, I could be altering the “memory”. At the same time, certain important events remain as clear as the day they happened in our mind. Also, evidence shows even pre-verbal children remember things and I was older than that.

(Assuming this possibility is true) Reasons #2 and #3 apply here, except it would be even worse! If this possibility is true, I made it all up! Everything! There wasn’t even a benign memory to misinterpret! What kind of freak am I?!?

Possibility 3: These events occurred and have sinister origins

There are unquestionable things (Here, meaning things that occurred in the recent past, as in I have no reason to question my recall) that support and oppose this possibility.

Support

  1. Some family members are odd about physical affection.
  2. Once I complained about the oddness using the word “touchy” and no other descriptors and my mom flipped out! Her demeanor immediately changed; she was horrified and scared. When I complained about the oddness I was not covertly referencing sexual abuse. Furthermore, she should have easily known what I meant. I brought it up at the time because she had recently complained about it!! Despite her own complaints, her immediate conclusion when I asked why someone was “touchy” was sexual abuse from a loving family member! I’m pretty sure that is an abnormal reaction. Most people deny a family member could possibly do that to a child. So, why the assumption on her part? My only answer is she heard, saw, or knew something.
  3. As a teenager or pre-teen I realized the possible implications of these memories. Since I have a lengthy complicated medical history, I asked my mom if I ever had intramuscular injections of medication in the ventrogluteal and dorsogluteal muscles. She said, No.
  4. Numerous therapists/doctors told me I “act like someone who was sexually abused” as a child and they won’t even believe me when I insist I was not abused!
  5. I brought up the false memory possibility that one time I tried to process all of this and my therapist did not agree that was likely because if it was fake, why did my mind keep returning to that point in time? She has a point. However, not the one she meant to make. I think it is possible it is a fake memory, but I’ve carried it around all these years almost as if it was a memory of abuse because I’ve gone over these arguments in my head a million times and I’m damned no matter what the truth is.
  6. Multiple times my mom has asked what bad thing happened to me as a child without me saying anything to instigate that conversation.

Opposition

  1. No one in my family is capable of incest.
  2. If something occurred, why only when I was 4 -6 years old? That doesn’t make sense!
  3. If my mom freaked out when I asked about “touchiness” because she knew something I do not know, then how could she leave me alone with any family member she could not prove was innocent?!?!?!?! She would not do that.
  4. I have no clear memories of abuse, no actual sex. Potential sex acts, but not sex.

And so (again, assuming the current possibility is true) Reason #4 to hate myself is I considered the fact that my mom knew something and did nothing or Reason #4a My mom knew and did nothing, so…what? I must be garbage. Reason #5 On the continuum of childhood sexual abuse, this is a .00000000001, if 10 was the worst nonfatal sexual abuse you can imagine and 0 is no abuse. People who endured much more are relatively well adjusted. Me? FUBAR.

Also, like WTF?! NO MATTER what the truth is…even if it is the worst possibility (3), the memories in my head don’t have to be bad. I am afraid it is…In a way, I made it bad. Like even if abuse occurred, the memory did not have to be interpreted that way. I could have forgotten or passed it off as nothing. BUT NO!!!! I had to think about it.

Lastly, thinking about all this right now and last night makes me want to flay myself because I feel like a bad, sick person regardless of the truth.

I Am Not a Victim

“And every time someone calls me a victim, I feel like I’m the biggest liar in the world.”  Echo in Dollhouse, “Briar Rose”, 1×11

“Do you think they sexually abused you?”

No, Trisha, stfu.

That is not actually what I said to the group therapist from inpatient (“IP”) after I shared my “Life Story”, but that is what I thought. Everyone interprets things in the worst light!

Another example from my personal therapist from IP, “Have you ever been abused?”

“No.”

“Are you sure? You said that too quickly and emphatically.”

Or my IOP therapist:

“You act like someone who was sexually abused as a child.”

*sigh* Looking back on instances from my youth I’ve concluded there are events that could be considered abusive, but my family was/is not abusive. I feel there is an important difference. Parents are fallible human beings, just like the rest of us.

I am not saying it is ever ok to hit a child, or call him/her a bitch, whore, slut, or a monster. However, parents are people and they have limits. I don’t think either of my parents have anger issues. On the contrary, I believe they were faced with an extraordinarily difficult child. As far as I know, they never hit or called my brother names. I remember a conversation with my IP therapist,

“…He called me an unfeeling monster and then he threatened to break my dog’s legs if I didn’t do what he wanted because he said I loved the dog more than I loved them.”

*therapist gives me a disapproving look*

“No, you don’t understand! I deserved it! I was a bad kid.”

My therapist answered, “What could an 11 year old possibly do to deserve that?”

“I was rude and refused to talk to them.”

I did not explain things adequately to her, that sounds like normal annoying kid behavior. Yet, she nor any one outside the 3 of us (except perhaps my brother), could understand what hell I put them through.

For example, the time my mom threw a pot at my head? I refused to eat and she was extremely stressed for other reasons. The time my dad called me a bitch, slapped my face hard enough to stun me, told me to leave and never come back for being surly when he asked me to empty the dishwasher? 13 year old me recently IM’ed a half dozen men explicit sexual content.

These memories make me feel sad, but I hate it when people suggest anyone in my life abused me! IT IS NOT TRUE! There is a vast difference between beating a child black and blue with a belt and slapping a stupid teenager in the face a few times.

I reiterate, I do not plan on physically disciplining my children or calling them names because I know even words said in understandable anger can leave a lasting mark on a child’s mind. However, I fricking brought it upon myself. Yes, even at 11 years old, my actions were beyond the pale.

How would you react to your 11 year old child cutting her arms so deeply she caused scars, throwing up her food, crying for no reason, refusing to eat, and refusing to talk about what is going on? I’m sure you would be afraid, even terrified. You probably wouldn’t have that reaction the first time, but what about the 10th incident?

They love me; they would do anything for me. I’ve put them through hell for 23 years and they still put up with my actions. I think they’re heroes. The fact that my brother never encountered the same treatment shows it was my actions that created their responses, not a lack of empathy or self-control on their part.

If I ever have a child like myself I have no doubt I will react better, but I’ve been there! I know what that child is feeling and thinking. They were lost in a new world of mental illness and confusing actions.

Hahaha, I can hear my IOP therapist  saying, “You can’t apply rules only
to yourself. If it is never okay to hit a child or call him/her names,
why is it okay to hit or call child-you names?” Maybe this entire post is a cop-out, but it is my story and I’m sticking to it!