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About Susanna

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  1. Sorry, I liked this and I'm not sure that was the right thing to do, but I'm thinking of you anyway. I like the sound of your kitty.
  2. Thanks everyone! Really appreciate the comments and I'll be back but did want to say, Shannon, yes please do go ahead and link however you'd like. Glad if it's at all helpful!
  3. Not your fault. Children need and deserve protection. Children are naturally curious about any number of things that could hurt them such as deep water, busy roads, hot ovens etc! He not only did not protect you but he manipulated you into a situation where he could hurt you and pretend it was your own fault/responsibility. Horrible man!
  4. So much here. I'm sorry Pandy's was down just when you needed a place to write this. I've found it tough too - realised how much I relied on it and how much I hate writing stuff down where it could be found at home - it feels safer, somehow, on Pandy's because the only people who could read it understand and won't be hurt by it. Hoping you're ok.
  5. Board changes

    The new upgrade is amazing! I know I'll get used to it and I can already see that it is a huge update with so much, much much better and more user friendly. Already I can see it will be easier to navigate and I'll be able to do the things I couldn't before but wanted to (plus loads I never thought of). It's been a huge mega effort and I'm so grateful to the mods for the work they've done - it must have been so stressful to deal with it all and I am in awe that everything has survived the transition - and it's nice to 'see' everyone again! The next bit is in small letters because I am aware that this is a temporary feeling - it will probably only last a day or so - but I am writing it because I know that all of these feelings are important, however long they last and even if they are all muddled between my cognitive understanding of it and the embodied understanding, which may be at odds. I'm feeling really really lost on here. It feels like a totally new place and it feels overwhelming and like I don't belong. And I realise when it came back on all I wanted was for me to be able to treat it exactly the same way as before and I can't because I don't know my way around so I feel as if this is a new board with new diffent people, even though I can see the same people on here. A teacher of mine always used to say that things had to change because even if you don't change, things don't stay the same. So if you try to stay the same you actually change because you are left behind. The board has changed and that is wonderful. I feel left behind - I have to change and adapt (and I will) to keep up with it. Right now, though, it feels like Pandy's has just vanished and there is some completely alien entity here instead. I have posted a couple of things and it feels like it's vanished into the ether, whereas before I felt part of a real community. I feel really small and lost (a sign of emotional flashback) and like everyone else knows and understands something (a sign of emotional flashback). Ah, I see. The changes on the board have triggered the dangerous feelings of 'not knowing' and 'being alone'. I've found a way of disconnecting mismatched feelings and reconnecting them with the right trigger so I'll try this with the board changes. It goes like this: 1. The changes in the board trigger feelings of 'not knowing' and 'being alone'. These are severely mismatched - ie I feel far stronger feelings of not knowing and being alone than is proportionate to the inevitable effect of a major (but routine) change to something familiar. 2. Those feelings are actually proportionate to abuse. The horror and anxiety about 'not knowing' what was going to happen until too late, and the sense of 'being alone' with the aftermath of abuse - big feelings are an appropriate response to all that. 3. The feelings, though, piggy-back onto the trigger situation and take it over. It's like someone hearing that you are going out to buy a pint of milk and suddenly asking you to buy 35 other things while you're out! 4. Last week I discovered a way of separating them off. So instead of saying 'no I'm not buying all your stuff as well because I'm only going out to buy a pint of milk!', it is as if I say 'I need to go out and get all of your things - they deserve a separate trip that might take an hour or so. My trip to buy a pint of milk can wait for a moment because I don't need to get hassled over that. I need to worry about your urgent 35 things and then I can pop out for the pint of milk separately.' If I can recognise that it's not about the pint of milk and just put that to one side until I've dealt with what it triggers, then, unexpectedly, it frees me up much quicker to get back to the pint of milk. So, I'm not worried about the board upgrade (which is wonderful and I'll find my way around it sooner or later), but it has set off feelings of anxiety about abuse and not knowing and feeling alone, and if I can only link those feelings with abuse (rather than confusing them with feelings about the board upgrade) then I'll be able to get on and deal with the board upgrade in a more measured way.
  6. I think more people always read than post - and it's for different reasons but I think rarely if ever because they think badly of the person writing. So I hope you don't feel that silence implies disapproval in any way. So, I write to say, keep writing - this place is for you! I find it helpful to write whether or not anyone posts - 'getting it out there' is important to me in my healing. Also, though, I thought I'd just ask, do you know what your privacy settings are on? If the blog is only visible to Pandy's members then you will get fewer views. I don't know if you know about this or not so hope you don't mind me mentioning. This may have changed in the recent board upgrade, but the default setting when you set up a blog used to be public, so anyone searching the Internet could find it, and you need to change that in the blog settings if you want it to be more private. Anyway, I don't know too much about it, but hope you don't mind me mentioning in case it's helpful.
  7. Hypervigilance and freezing TW CSA

    I am trying to process some stuff that comes from something someone said to me recently (thank you) on here about the abuse from my brother. It was about revenge. Abuse being something to do with my brother wanting to revenge himself on me for something. Almost instantly a few things fell into place. First, why he might want to revenge himself on me: at a time of major upheaval in his life, I was not having to go through any of what he had to, but was instead effectively protected from it by my parents. So (and this is pure speculation) because he was unable to express his frustration and unhappiness any other way he did it by revenging himself on the vulnerable person he was jealous of, who had what he considered his. This makes it very much a deliberate act - that shred of intent, the bit that's always bothered me about what it was that tipped him over the edge, that I've read about, that there has to be something that overcomes your natural inhibition to do something like what he did. (The irony is that if my parents knew more about this they would be even more on his side - would be able to express how awful it was for him at that time - it would make them even swifter to excuse him. This was what my mum was saying about him being in a difficult position. 'I can shed some more light on this,' was what she said after I disclosed abuse, and she told me about his medical issue (which I knew about). I remember feeling a faint, disappointed 'oh' when she said that. Somehow I wanted it to be about me, perhaps something she had noticed (no, I hid it too well, except asking for a key for my room (waste of time as she shouted at me when I locked the door overnight) and I insisted on having a separate room from my brother when we went on holiday a few years later) but no, it was all about what things excused his behaviour. No, they might have built up a picture but didn't excuse it, because they explained why he felt disaffected but then abuse was his choice of how to respond.) Second, that meant that the hypervigilance and freezing was very much a proportionate response to what he did. Third, that hypervigilance and freezing are not necessary around someone who is not abusive. After first confronting this 'revenge' issue, for the first time for a long time I found the hypervigilance around DH spontaneously lift - we had a drink in the garden and for about twenty minutes it felt 'easy', like there was just some kind of barrier not there any more. Then the anxiety built up again, lifted the barrier screens back into place. If I can do it once, though, I can do it again I hope. I talked things through with T before I came away on holiday. I explained the circumstances in the years leading up to abuse and she said it was very significant and that I hadn't mentioned it before. I know I had to oldT but probably felt I knew enough about it all to need to explain it as clearly to newT. I suppose I'd seen why brother might be unsettled but not appreciated that extra ingredient, of why he might react in the way I did. So. His life was entirely out of his control because of family circumstances (boarding school,house move, moving school) and approaching adolescence. There was even an issue with his body that was out of control, requiring surgery. It was established that strong emotions were unacceptable to my parents, so he had no way of expressing them, and there was no way to blame them for his feelings (although they were the ones who were responsible for dealing with the consequences of their choices). There was one person, however, whom he could feel angry towards - his little sister, who had not had to deal with any of this and who was sailing through her life with ease. So, he found revenge on her and on his parents and found a way at last to control something in his life, in a way that no one would ever find out about. Abuse is about control. He abused his little sister and there he had control back in his life. This is bringing up all sorts of feelings inside. There's something more. When I first confronted my brother and we talked, he said he was sorry to me and he also said something I didn't understand about how if we told our parents he wanted to be the one to do it, and he said he felt he had let them down because they trusted him to look after me. It's that bit I find a bit sickening. I think because it gives a window into this revenge issue, it's like it shines a spotlight onto it. Because, if he felt that need to say sorry to them, it makes it about him and them and not at all about me. He abused me to get back at them and to give himself some control. By looking for their forgiveness (freely given) and understanding it makes it clear that was where the dynamic was most important for him. I was an unfortunate casualty of something more important. I think that's how I've been treated. As if the important part is my brother and that my responsibility is not to make such a fuss but just do as I'm told and get better. The real tragedy is how my brother felt and if he's not making a fuss about it then I shouldn't. I first confronted all of this about ten days ago and I've thought a bit about what this meant to me but it's only writing it out like this that it's done something to me. I feel sort of sick to my core. It's like it's all joined up. I mean, the story, but also my head and body.
  8. :hug:
  9. This is all huge. Finishing your breakfast/lunch/dinner and locking the door really seems important. Good for you! And it models great behaviour for your children too. Well done on finding a better place for your mum and getting your home back! I was so thrilled to read all this
  10. Can I hold your hand while you find where you are with this? For as long as you want, or not if you don't want? I know that no matter what the decisions are that you have made that you feel were 'wrong', this does not make you wrong yourself. You are right within yourself - that little girl is right too. I really feel for you about feeling responsible for getting things right and being judged by everyone else. You are the only one with the right to judge yourself and I hope you can be kind to yourself.
  11. Just thinking of you and sending strength.
  12. Snowball effect

    Found something else today I did something I didn't particularly want to do, under pressure from DD. I'd wanted some quiet time with a book and a cup of tea while the children were swimming with DH, but DD wanted me there as she is often uncertain when it is some kind of new experience. I slightly grudgingly went along. I came back and found myself feeling sad, but didn't know what about, although I knew I'd wanted to stay behind and I'd missed my quiet time. I also started to feel resentful about something (can't even remember what now - I can't remember because I 'solved' the problem of why I was feeling like I was and realised it wasn't about this little thing) and started to feel irritation towards DH. I was projecting blame onto him for something. But what? I went back through the past little while and suddenly thought of the swimming thing - that I'd wanted to have my time alone and hadn't had it, but that also it was something I'd chosen - I'd chosen to sit in with the children to help out DD. I felt drawn to that explanation. It was something to do with that. All I can think is that it was something to do with it being a choice freely made and yet one that I felt pushed into that benefitted someone else, not me, and that in fact it was not good for me. And I suppose I thought of my reaction to abuse, my 'choice' to keep quiet, which was in fact Hobson's choice, no choice at all, and something that caused me problems and pain even while I felt good about making that choice, making it right for someone else. I thought it was heroic,a heroic choice, to remain silent until death. So. Now I can't remember why I was cross with DH, because of course whatever it was, it wasn't a big deal (and was certainly solvable), the big deal was having to keep quiet about abuse and it wasn't good for me and I didn't really have a choice and no one looked after me. Same incoherent feeling. I just feel sad for me now, but sad for me because I had to deal with all that, rather than sad for me that I let myself be pushed into watching DD swim rather than having my quiet time. Quiet and sad now but at least I am sad about the right thing. I talked about this in T last week, how it's like some kind of children's game of matching pairs, where I keep on getting them mismatched - the big emotions keep getting attached to the mundane instead of to abuse. And, I suspect that the irritation belongs to brother, not to DH.
  13. Escapism and reality

    We're on holiday. I've read 5 books in 3.5 days despite us also going out most days. And not having brought any books with me... I read quickly and only focus on certain things - the narrative drive and any 'truths' about life I come across. I could tell you very few of the characters' names afterwards. I suspect I'm looking for narratives where there is resolution, that I'm looking for an answer. I know that this is escapism - I know that I am using it to withdraw into a quiet space where I do not engage with anyone else. I know I've done that a lot in the past and I understand now why DH has got so cross with me about it at times - it's not the reading so much as the inability to engage at all when I am reading, to 'come out of it' for a while and then return. I know part of that is personality types - DS is v similar to me, whereas DH and DD are both able to put a book down easily, because for them many of the best things in life involve engagement with other people - but I know I go quite far. So, escapism. I know I need it, I know that in some ways my holiday is also a holiday from constantly trying to think why things aren't 'right' and how to improve. It's sort of a moment of pause, a moment of acceptance that this is where I am rather than constantly trying to move forward. The problem is that 'where I am' has with it the problems as well as the good things - the avoidance, the escapism inside. In many ways,then, reading books is just an outward expression of what I am doing anyway when I escape inside myself, when I 'run away'. No progress, or at least that I feel proud of/good about - foolishly, I suppose, as there is progress. Although I am still freezing when DH touches me in any way, there is less sense of anxiety and panic. I've also realised that my intimacy issues fall into a number of different areas (ie each can be dealt with separately). I've forgotten what they are just now, but I have written them down. It's one of those 'the improvement in Susanna's writing this term has revealed what a poor speller she is' moments... The improvement in my awareness of intimacy problems has revealed how many different problems there are. There is progress on non-intimacy-related flashbacks. I'm spotting them earlier. This morning was madness. I got out of the shower to find I'd forgotten to move the bath mat in front of the shower (so it was at the other side of the room and the floor was getting wet). I walked over and got it and that should have been the end of the story. Instead I felt something different kicking in. It went into 'I should have thought about moving it over before my shower' and I could feel the first moment of the flashback spiral, the moment that I realise is totally familiar to me because I've been living with it for decades. Instead I was able to extract that from the situation and recognise it was an abuse echo 'I got it wrong, I should have known, it was my fault'. I was able to separate that from the mundane error of today and carry on with my life. Otherwise I would have reacted about the bath mat in the way I reacted about abuse. Ouch. So, as someone kind pointed out recently, this is becoming more 'automatic' or if not more automatic, at least the warning signs are easier to spot before it gets too bad to be able to control. Intimacy? No, that doesn't seem to be getting any better, except even there there are signs that one day I might be able to control it. Those different areas I mentioned - and moments where they have been less of a problem, which suggests that one day, like the flashbacks, I might be able to control them. Still can't remember (and am obstinately refusing to look them up), which is a sign of my escapist mood. Anyway, reality. Reality is a bit tricky because all sorts of worlds and thoughts collide on this so it is a dangerous one for me. Above all, what I am about to say crashes into what my mum would say about it all - it is similar and yet so so different... Reality is not just 'what I am waiting for when I am healed', it is 'what is happening right now'. This includes the trips out as a family (the moments of uncertainty, argument and irritation as well as the ones that are happy and laughter filled); parenting successes (and failures); moments where I understand DH (and moments where I mess up - and vice versa); moments where I assert myself and my wish to do something as well as moments where I want everyone to be happy so put my personal needs lower down than my need for family harmony and happy moments for each of the family (because that is also important to me). The difference between all of that and my mother's (and some other people's perhaps) version is the recognition that it is not just to do with the fact of what is happening, how I feel about it is part of the experience too. When the children were first born (and before) I tried so hard to 'do' all the things I should, irrespective of how I felt (normally not very happy). So I'm caught in a bit of an interim state where I am now starting to want/need/be able to do 'normal' things even if I am not fully healed, rather than having to focus on how I'm feeling rather than on whether I'm 'doing the right thing'. Oh yes! It's that philosopher who said that snow was black (he didn't say that, I don't think). The 'logic' goes - everything includes some of its opposite, or there would not be an opposite. We define wet as the opposite of dry, good as the opposite of bad, hot and cold, happy and sad. Therefore, snow (which we think of as pure and white) must have some degree of black in it no matter how small. I'm not a philosopher so I'm probably not explaining it right - don't argue with me because I'll collapse in a heap and say, yes of course, you're right, I hadn't thought of it like that. [i was thinking of Anaxagorus and it's not as I remembered - he was suggesting 'everything is in everything'. Never mind, it made sense to me. And he did say snow is black.] But I'm a big believer in continuums (continua?). Extremes, but a big spectrum in the middle. Where I started, I didn't care at all about my feelings, it was all about the activities - do this, do that, be happy. In order to get myself more balanced I had to focus entirely on my feelings. Now that I'm further along again, I can afford for the focus to be on activities again, but in a new way. I can afford to say - lets go out here for the day, and then see how my feelings are as I do that (before, I thought the activity would/should automatically make me happy) My mum would say, there you are, doing all of these things is so important, it's what life is all about after all, and in my jumbled up way I've been trying to say that no, inside me is what life is all about and then how I connect with others and if those are right then all of those little things do suddenly seem like the stuff of life after all, but it only works if you're right inside and if you're not right inside, like I wasn't, then actually you have to behave as if all life is just about all those churning thoughts and feelings until it all starts to settle out and then, just look, it turns out when I'm all settled inside again, life is about all of those simple pleasures that you are going on about but you have no idea the journey it's taken to get here and - Anyway. That's where I am. Actually I'm quite pleased with that insight. _____________________ I read another book. Turned out to be about CSA only I didn't realise it (or perhaps only subconsciously when I picked it up in the charity shop yesterday). Two thirds of the book describes normal only slightly unhappy lives, much of which I looked at and thought 'that feels like me, that ambivalence, so why am I making a fuss?'. Then the CSA from decades before, and I suddenly realised it was all about me, the big moment in life where someone finally has to confront what happened and what it meant to them and others. And she was about my age, in the book, where I confronted it, and it turns out the whole book is the lead-up to confronting it all. And when I'd finished I cried for the person in the book who died, and for myself, and for the narrator because she doesn't realise this is just the beginning of it all. She talks about being in the air at the end, and that now she will finally come down to settle in her life, perhaps. The unbearable lightness of being again. Anyway, reality. I am now starting to feel regret at not having time with my mum, at not sharing things with her, at not visiting her more in the house they have now left (we are on holiday not far from where they lived). All that sadness of the things not done, but perhaps more at all those terrible feelings inside, the ones that prevented me from living my life, even while I thought I was living my life. I know I was in an impossible situation. I went to see my mum and how she was sent me into flashback, because she affirmed the silence that I lived with for years. I remember a feeling I had with lots of people I cared about, when I was with them, a feeling of waiting for them to say something. I think I was waiting for someone to see me, to see that something was wrong, to make it all right. Only it turned out that they didn't want to, they wouldn't see. Except my lovely aunt, not the one who died. She asks me how I am, and means it. And accepts what I say, accepts that if that's what I say, then that's how it is. And she doesn't have an opinion, it just is what it is. And my mum wants only the daughter she believes in, not the one who is actually here. And my oldest friend, she too wants only the friend she knew from years ago, the one with the lovely family and the nice brother, because my family was always reliable, whereas hers was full of dramas. She doesn't really want that illusion lost, I suspect, because perhaps it means it all is an illusion, that there are messes everywhere. When she asked how I was, really asked, a few months ago, having told me all about how busy and successful she is in what she's doing, as well as all of the burdens she faces and difficulties she has to deal with, I felt lame, I felt as if I was still stagnating, still in limbo, and I said that I was still dealing with all my 'stuff' and wasn't really doing very much. And she paused, I think, and then said something about everyone having something in their lives that they had to deal with, and in that moment I think I realised that she thought I just needed to get on with it now, get on with my life, not moan, because everyone has something... It's just that... When that something is all about who you are it's not 'something you have to deal with' and I don't think she gets that... I used to want to stay in bed all day. I didn't, because I could make myself get up, but really I just wanted to sleep away my life, given a choice. This is not something I dealt with, it's just how I was. How I dealt with it was to force myself to get up, to write myself lists to help myself improve, as if the lists would give me motivation. But it didn't change, nothing changed, because it was not something I had to deal with, it's how I was. I don't want to do that any more. It's as if the life force, now not so buried, is pushing itself outwards, wanting to be, to do. It's not something I've 'dealt with', it's how I am. So, reality is both about how I am and what I do. For my mum (and some others), as how she is is secure to her, it is just about what she does. Now I am more secure in how I am, it is becoming more about what I do again, I feel motivation and focus, I get things done when I want to, and fail to at other times. If I've managed all this, surely I can get further on intimacy too. I looked up my 'different areas' in intimacy: Hyper vigilance. Freezing. Not knowing 'what to do'. No wonder it's tricky, they take over from each other so it's all a muddle, like with the emotional flashbacks. As soon as I think I've got a way to tackle one, another comes up that doesn't respond to what I was doing so I give up and think there was no point anyway. I need to develop a 'list' of how to deal with intimacy problems, like my list of how to deal with flashbacks.