Jump to content


Day 30: Abuse History Outline & The "Breakthrough Hangover" - MCook

Posted by intrepidshe , in Healing Work 09 January 2014 · 1,117 views

Jan. 9, 2014 (Countdown: 21 days to gynecologist consultation):
Today I am experiencing something MCook termed as a, "breakthrough-hangover." What a great term to describe the feelings we go through in the day or days following a breakthrough. Even as we feel triumphant from an important realization, accepting of a new memory, or resolute regarding a healthy but difficult change - we can experience fogginess, physical pain, nausea, a sense of loss and hesitance about who we were and who were are becoming, respectively.
Survival meant closing off feelings of fear, of anger, of sadness.
Healing can mean experiencing feelings of fear, of anger, of sadness.
As we process those feelings and the associated events that engendered them, we face a change that can be scary. The change involves setting down a shield that served us well and possibly facing the world without that defense constantly at the ready. I imagine a scene in a movie when a mother defends her children and kills someone who was intending to do them harm. Afterward, when the bad guy has been taken away, the police officers struggle to convince the mother to let go of the gun.
Even though she saw the man taken away, she cannot easily let go of the weapon that served as protection. This is not only an emotional response, but a physical one. Literally, the muscles in her shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand freeze up and she, herself, for a short time cannot open her fingers. Her brain has sent chemicals to those muscles to tell them, hold on for dear life. Don't let go.
It makes perfect sense to me when I think of it this way. I have read several postings this week on this general topic of grappling with how we feel as we work through our healing process. We experience feelings very much like that mother with the gun. But, we are critical of ourselves about it. I want to imagine that police officer who completely understands why the mother can't let go and who is patient with her about it. I want to be that police officer for myself.
I have not yet been able to open the fingers that grip my sword and shield. I need a little more patience. But, I am at least aware that the immediate hazard has been removed. That doesn't mean when I do let go, when I set down my weapons, I will leave them far from my reach. Sadly, one truth I accept, is that I could have need of them again at any time. My hope is to put them into a beautiful display case in a renown museum where they can be honored for the story they represent.
I envision a display akin to a wall with Joan of Arc's armor. There upon the wall is my armor, rich with history, valiant tales floating in the air of the room. The armor remains there for me to retrieve should the need arise, but it is proudly displayed for the edification of all.
That's what I imagine. But today, I had a breakthrough hangover. I accomplished two steps last night: I posted a written-out chapter of my story and I wrote a full outline of my story. I ended up sleeping deeply last night, having a great sense when I went to bed of setting down a heavy weight. When I woke this morning by brain amped right up into full furious jumping bean mode. I did sleep deeply, but not for enough hours. Once my brain switched on I was compelled to get out of bed in order to ward off the inevitable anxiety attack. I needed to get busy with work in order to keep my mind out of the fight/flight/freeze mode. I went through the day with a headache, which pulses now with each keyboard strike.
Nonetheless, I feel a little proud, a little excited, a little further along the path for having taken those steps yesterday.
I will take another step today and post my history outline. I think I will feel like I stood up in court, pointed at the perpetrators and declared the accusation of their crimes.
I was very hesitant about posting this outline, in part because, as I said yesterday, "It feels cold, like the response Joe Friday would want, 'Just the facts, ma'am.'"
FinallyHere responded to this concern by saying, "I wonder if the coolness is a strategy for being able to write it out at all. Forgive our mind's efforts to make things possible for us."
Her idea made me visualize this courtroom and how we lay out the crimes in stark terms. My brain, or perhaps my heart, needs the simplicity of the list, the unflinching, unadorned declaration.
Ironically, I post the list after a sonorous rant such as this. Posted Image
There are details in the list that represent important turning points, and "good" stress. I included such detail because it helps me understand my history. I cannot remember when things happened and this outline is a step in the direction of sense-making for me.
Birth to Age 6:

- Physical and Emotional Neglect

- Short Bout of Homelessness

- International Move

Age 6:

- Digital Rape by Male Baby Sitter

- Ongoing Neglect

Age 7:

- Digital Rape by a Female, Same-age Friend,

- COC Molestation by an Older Female Neighbor (brothers friend),

- Ongoing Neglect


Age 7/8:

- Parents Divorce,

- Splitting up of Siblings,

- Mothers Remarriage,

- Merging of Two Families,

- Move to New City,

- Summer Visit to Father in His New City

- Physical Abuse, Possible SA by Step-father

Age 9/12:

- Move to a New City (Age 9)

- SA Programming/abuse by Step-father

- Physical Abuse by Step-father

- Molestation by Bum in Park

- Three Sexual Encounters (by my choice) with Males my Age

- Started Abusing Alcohol

- Violent Fights at School

- Cut My Own Hair Off

- Began Self-injury

- Mental Health Diagnosis of Failure to Thrive

- Ongoing Neglect, Added Abandonment

Age 13/17:

- Moved to New City

- SA by Step-father

- Physical Abuse by Step-Father

- Mothers Alcoholism

- My Abuse of Alcohol

- Neglect, Abandonment, Parenting of Younger Siblings

- Saw schoolmates mother killed in horrible, freak accident

Age 17:

- Threatened Rape by Step-Father

- Physical Fight with Step-Father

- My Abuse of Alcohol

- Neglect, Abandonment, Parenting of Younger Siblings

- Caught with Alcohol at School

Age 18:

- Moved Away for College

- Moved Back from College

- Moved in With Friends

- My Abuse of Alcohol

Age 19:

- Informed Mother of Step-father SA (admitted it to her when she asked - it wasn't my idea to tell her)

- Police Investigation (insufficient evidence for charges)

- Confronted Step-father

Age 20/22:

- Digital Rape by Gynecologist

- Intensifying Abuse of Alcohol

- Several Sexual Encounters (by my choice) with Different Men (not quite sure how many there were)

- Initial off/on Attempts at Counseling

- Saw sibling's friend nearly cut in half after roll-over accident

Age 22/27:

- Sustained Counseling All Five Years

- Attained First College Degree

- Got First Professional Job, Began Building Career

- Got Married and Divorced

- Quit Drinking Alcohol at Age 27

Age 28:

- Got Pregnant

- Got Married

- Had First Child

Age 29/46:

- Had Second Child

- Moved to New City

- Attained Two More College Degrees

- Advanced Professionally

- Went Through Three Abusive Work Environments

- Multiple Surgeries and Health Problems

- Briefly Lost Driving Privileges Due to Health Problems

- Diagnosed with Chronic Condition Requiring Annual Blood Testing and Prescription Adjustment (at a minimum)

- Attained Financial Survivability at Age 46

- Developed Increasing Fear of Health Care Providers and Panic Attacks Associated with Health Care

Age 46/47:

- Moved to New City

- Started New Job in Healthy Work Environment

- Faced Necessity to Establish with New Physician

- Started Counseling for Gynecologist Rape in Order to Learn to Engage in Health Care without Panic Attacks


Jan 09 2014 10:59 PM

This is a perfect expression. I am speechless!

It sounds like you are finding it a little easier to identify the steps of your healing cycle, putting the pieces together bit by bit. This is awesome! I'm celebrating for you! You will find you are able to anticipate what is coming next and build constructive associations.


I feel withdrawn and hypersensitive when in a "hangover". So I  go for a run. Exercising is a great way to encourage the body to consume those flight/flight hormones (I swear sometimes I can literally feel the stress get burned up).

Jan 10 2014 08:56 PM

mcook. I appreciate the encouragement. I have a dog who will greatly appreciate a long walk and some time at the dog park tomorrow.

Jan 15 2014 04:40 PM

Wow.  I am so amazed at your courage.  Thank you for posting this.  It resonates with my experience strongly, and your writing is so wonderfully articulate.  Thank you.

Jan 15 2014 07:55 PM

yarnfoolishness, you're always so kind with your encouraging words. Thank you!

brain amped right up into full furious jumping bean mode


That is what I call a way with words. Know exactly what you mean.

Apr 09 2014 01:18 PM

Thanks Mac. I'm so touched by your feedback. Sounds like your brain is also one of those 1,000-mile-per-hour models.

Yes, high-revving engine, just trouble with the stick shift and finding the right gear! (or even off neutral!)


Just read the rest of this stuff.


Question and I hope it doesn't trigger.


How sure are you of this timeframe?

Age 7/8

- Physical Abuse by Step-father


Age 9-11 

- SA Programming by Step-father

- Physical Abuse by Step-father


Age 13-17

- SA by Step-father

- Physical Abuse by Step-Father



The reason I ask is because I am wondering if the SA by him could have started earlier and been blocked out. Is that possible?


The memories I have are early, 4-6 kind of stuff, or even earlier, so I find it hard to identify with the experiences of those who were older when abused.


I wonder if, like me, you have blocked out memories of earlier experiences - or if instead you have a clear sense of when things began.


Even recognising the other earlier incidents, the aged 9-12 "Three Sexual Encounters (by my choice) with Males my Age" seems not to fit the rest of the pattern - but then again, the neglect and physical abuse alone would have created a powerful hunger for touch.


Again, hope this is not too hard for you to think about. I am really struggling with identifying and processing my own memories, so I guess iooking for case studies to help me understand.


Take care, Mac

Apr 10 2014 06:07 AM
Mac, Like you I am not clear in my memory. I do clearly remember the sexual encounters I chose, although I am not sure how old I was when the first one happened. It could have been age 11. I remember what we did, where we were. The other two were at age 12 for sure because they happened on a summer trip about a week apart from one another. It is entirely possible I have blocked out earlier memories of SA by my step father. I do have memories of him taking pictures as young as age 9. But it is possible things started earlier. I don't remember how old I was when they got married. I think it was around age 8/9. I was probably in 2nd grade. That was the year he pulled me out of private school. So, I think it was when he married my mom. I have often wondered if I was abused even prior to the r* by the baby sitter. I have many blank places in my memory. It is a challenge to piece together a personal history when you only have snippets of memory. I get bits and pieces as I continue to heal. My sibling sometimes helps me construct my timeline. Anyway, I am not at all sure when I was first abused or by whom. By the way, this was ok to discuss. Not triggering for me. I appreciate you asking. It helps my healing to discuss.


Intrepid I am so in awe or your ability, courage, bravery in writing this all down. I don't think I could do this at all- and I am not sure I could be honest about it. Safe hugs.
May 26 2014 03:35 PM

Intrepid I am so in awe or your ability, courage, bravery in writing this all down. I don't think I could do this at all- and I am not sure I could be honest about it.

Safe hugs.

Thank Nebulas, it feels desperate to me, like that last stage of labor. It helped me a lot to write this.

I wish I could be that organized period.. I like how you have in simple 123 format basically. Its hard for me to follow things and this is a lot but I get it and feel every step your taking. I have a basic age to go by also. Truthfully time, age, years, names, people, situations, were not permitted and memories were only unspoken nightmares you don't voice or its deadly.I look at my girls and cannot believe they are grown women now.Their childhood years were amazing and the greatest gift I was ever given. I cant imagine them ever being me thank God! I cant imagine me as a kid ever and now I get that glimpse of a toddler and its sad... I hear people who validate things they saw or experienced with my family but I have to listen silently when they find or contact us.I lived my life being the delusional sister who wanted what she got or was a liar sick.ect...I think whats so hard is separating what I see, verses what I hear, and know inside. It gets mixed up and their lies don't go with the flash backs or reality,memories that strangers could not possibly know if it was a delusion! Sorry forgot why.. Any ways good job!!

Jun 02 2015 12:24 AM
Kell, It really can be very disconcerting, can't it. We lived through distorted versions of reality. I'm so sad such things have happened to you as well. I wish for you to find what you need through your healing journey. Intrepid

About Intrepid She

This is a moderated PUBLIC blog. This blog is a therapeutic tool I am using to help me get over my fear of doctors (which is made difficult by a history of abuse by them) to learn to grieve, and ultimately to integrate my dis-integrated heart.


View postings specific to health care.

View postings specific to touch.

View postings specific to crying.


The content of this blog is not appropriate for children or for anyone who might be triggered by reading about sexual abuse.


To the many others walking your own version of this path, I wish you well on your journey. -Intrepid


More Healing:


- Framed and Unashamed

- Yarnfoolishness' Journal

- Susanna's Blog

- What's Inside my Head?

- Healing Resources

Search My Blog

Contact Me Outside Pandys

I can be reached by email at a Gmail account based on my userid here in Pandys. I'm sure you can piece it together. I won't enter the address here because of bots that read email addresses from screens. I really don't want spam. But I wanted people outside of Pandys to be able to reach me.

July 2016

24 252627282930

Pandora's Aquarium, Inc. is not intended to be a substitute for professional assistance. All members and visitors are encouraged to establish a relationship with a trained counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist. Pandora's Aquarium, Inc. offers rape and sexual abuse survivor-to-survivor support only. Despite any qualifications staff or members possess, they are not engaged in a professional relationship with any other member. Survivors in crisis are urged to seek local help by contacting 911 or their local rape crisis center. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of the Terms of Service located here.