Sifting through

A few things have happened over the last few days to contribute to another downward spiral. I’m sorry this is so long – I’m trying to sift through.

1) I went to the gynaecologist on Friday, and had to endure the whole hideous gynae exam thing. As I’ve said before this is a tough thing for me; for all survivors (see these posts by Butterfly and Sword Dance Warrior). It was revolting. I flipped out. I was shaking like a leaf, and there were tears.

The gynaecologist was very good. He was gentle with me (although I don’t remember a heap about the actual exam) and he realised I was freaking out, so he sat with me and chatted to me for a while afterwards until I calmed down a bit. Very good of him.

I still spun out of control and ended up in what I can only describe as a dissociative state for hours afterwards. I don’t remember much about the rest of the afternoon (except I nearly had a car accident on the way home). I felt like I was on drugs, floating around, totally disconnected (although perhaps I should have taken my therapist’s advice and popped some valium before the appointment).

I was completely shattered – by the appointment itself and by my degree of flipping out. But, in a small twist, I somehow managed to be gentle with myself as I was coming back to reality (binge eating episode excluded). I lay on the floor by the heater, then went to bed early as I was so completely and utterly wrecked.

Ok, I know some of you will say that seeing a male gynaecologist is just plain dumb. Sure, I could see a female, but that’s just as bad. I still feel disgusting. And I still freak out (especially seeing as the last female gynae I had used to leave me lying legs akimbo in front of the window, with all my bits lit up for the world to see. She said no one could see in, but given I could see the patients through the windows across the courtyard, I wasn’t convinced).

2) Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. By that definition, I am very clearly and very definitely “insane”.

How come I keep thinking my mother can give me the support I need? Last night she said to me that my therapist has been putting ideas in my head; that I should stop wasting so much time and money on her, and should just “pull my finger out and get on with it.”

She also said she doesn’t think it’s helping, and doesn’t see any difference in me now compared to a few months ago. I know that’s not true. Since she came to my therapist with me I’ve been trying to open up to her more, so her comments were just a giant slap in the face.

Plus she said she thinks it’s her fault I fell apart in the first place. I said I don’t blame her (which I don’t), but she said she doesn’t believe me and now I feel guilty for that too.

Here I am doing something to help myself – not just that, but something that could be the most important thing I ever do (albeit the hardest), and she comes out with these comments? She’s kidding me. I thought she said she loves me and wants to support me? She’s seriously kidding me.

I am still so incredibly upset. Completely shattered. Part of me wonders if she’s feeling threatened by the changes in me, and by the miniature boundaries I’ve been establishing. I’m not sure… I think I’m still too upset to really think about it.

3) My bestest friend in the whole world said something that upset me the other day. We’ve been friends since we were 3 years old, which means we’ve been friends for 35+ years. She knows a little of my past, and has also been to therapy with me once. For the last few months she’s really been my rock, and I honestly don’t know where I’d be without her.

Anyway, we were out shopping, and lolling about on some couches in a furniture shop. There was one couch that was GINORMOUS and I made some flippant remark about there being enough room to have sex without rolling off.

She said, “You could, you know.”

I said, “Yes, I could go and root everything that moves. No thanks.”

She said, “No, I mean you could have a relationship if you wanted to.”

I was dumbstruck. I found her comment so unbelievably hard to swallow. Mostly because the concept of a meaningful and positive relationship is entirely alien to me and the way I see myself. Thoughts of relationships are just the fast road to self-loathing for me – why would anyone love me, for god’s sake?

I was hurt by her remark, although I know I shouldn’t have been. I guess it just brought home to me how much she really doesn’t get what I’ve been through or what I’m dealing with now.

Ugh. I can’t go there.

4) In my last post my friend Strangename said:

“Imagine your the little girl and listen to what you are saying! Kerro give yourself the comfort you wanted to give that little girl! Do a meditation, imagine the little girl sitting next to you, how she feels when you tell her all those nurturing things. Feel the intensity of how good it feels. Try and connect to the emotion, don’t bury it, just be with it. Allow yourself to feel good, this is a groundbreaking experience for you! I am in awe of some of the work you are doing…and I know its not easy, but push through it.”

I’m sorry, Strangename, I can’t. Just the image of me as a child, let alone the nurturing, is too damned hard. It hurts too much.


9 thoughts on “Sifting through

  1. Wow, that’s a lot.

    The exam: I am sorry this happened. Was the car accident bad? I think a female doctor may not be perfect, but it may be better?

    Einstein was wrong. It’s just human nature to repeat like that. It’s normal. Your mother’s reaction is, sadly, common. I used to get that reaction from my parents, but now I get that from my wife. I haven’t solved that yet. I think it’s their way of solving things. Blame someone else, it’s easier.

    I am sorry about your friend’s remark.

    About that comment about self-nurturing. I understand you cannot do that now. But maybe it’s a good idea to keep it in mind. Eventually, you will get there.


  2. Thanks Paul – I should clarify, there was no actual car accident. But very nearly. I started to turn out into traffic and heard a loud horn and some screeching (brakes) as another car nearly slammed into me. Oops. Thanks for your support on the other fronts.

  3. Hi Kerro,

    1) I am sorry about the difficulty of your exam. I have problems with them as well. I have never had a guy. I understand what yuu are saying about a woman might not be any better. I too had one who was very inapporporiate and caused me a lot of pain. I’m so sorry for what you went through.

    2) Einstein was wrong, yes I agree with Paul. He was brilliant in field. But he was not an expert in the field of psychology or psychiatry. Even so he was not alive to say this after the emergence of an understanding of trauma psychology or healing. Though I’m not sure that there is a complete understanding even amoung the experts in the field right now. No we are not insane, we are survivors.

    3) I’m glad that you have had a best friend through all that time. But still she does not get the abuse and aftereffects part. And so her answer is based on that. I’m sorry she can’t learn more. Those who love us in a limited way can hurt us so easily. I’m sorry. Been there many many times.

    4) If you can’t go there would it be okay for us to be feeling those thoughts and feelings to you and your little inner child? If so we will. We care.

    You are a lovely person and we wish that you could see all the wonderful things that others see in you.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


  4. #1-First of all I want to say how brave you are for even going, knowing how traumatic this is for survivors of sexual abuse! You choose to take care of yourself over the known trauma it will evoke. Maybe sedation and a good friend to go with would be an approach to consider in the future. Just know what you did is part of taking care of yourself and shows you care.
    #2 The Einstein comment (spoken as a true scientist) is based on the assumption that all things remain equal. Clearly that is not the case for you! You are changing…creating a variable in the process. So it is right to expect changes, as subtle as they may be, to come around.

    As for your mother…I’m so sorry she can’t be good enough. There is a book I read on boundaries. It talks about personality types and how to deal with them in the context of boundaries. From what you describe the controlling features of your mom are sending you reeling. I had huge issues with boundaries (a codependancy thing) and the book says if you have fragile boundaries with control freaks, your doomed….it goes on to say:

    1Control freaks are very adept at employing criticism (your not good enough)
    2Control freaks are absolutely convinced that their way of doing things is the only way (clothes line??)
    3Control freaks are not only domineering, they are tenacious in their control (in other words they must be right in order to control their underlying anxiety…her situation with your father maybe?)
    4Control freaks also expect allegiance (To not agree is to bruise their fragile ego, sending them into an emotional tailspin. Sensing this, you may tiptoe around them, making concessions you really don’t want to make…and your hooked….Staying longer than you really want too?

    The book may be of some help…Dealing with the Crazy Makers in Your Life. Dr David Hawkins…it helped me a great deal…

    #3 I think that your friends comment was heartfelt. I think she was trying to say that she didn’t see anything wrong with you in her loving eyes. That you could find someone to share your life with, and have intimacy, like you do with her. She see’s your inner child and what you need. You see your inner child and deprive it of what it needs. There is the conflict and why you took her comment to heart.

    #4 ((((Kerro)))) I got that meditation from a book by Siegel. Mindfulness and Psychotherapy. Its a difficult meditation. Visualization might also get you started. Imagine something intimate that touches your heart…I recently heard on a cd a scene where a mother cow gave birth, tongued her calf dry and then they both curled up together. It felt loving and intimate, and I just imagined being accepted with them, curled up and being loved. So you can do it in any context which you feel some heartfelt connection. Then over time, your mind does allow you to do different sequences (as a child for example), because they feel good. You will start to allow yourself that. It takes time…its not easy…but what your doing isn’t easy! Don’t go trying to take in all your pain…take in some of the pain, but also take in some of the love. You might want to listen to Tara Brach’s cd’s on Radical Self-Acceptance. I think you might get a lot out of them!

    Lastly….Kerro your a good person, with a lot of unfortunate baggage. The idea is to rid yourself of the crap, keep the good stuff, and save room for the new.
    Many hugs sent down under…sn

  5. The situation with your mother is so, so, so hard … and continuing to interact with her seems to damage you every time there’s a setback, which there is on such a regular basis. She’s obviously very threatened by the idea of losing the capacity to continue the complete mindf*ck she’s imposed upon you during your entire life. She wants you dependent and compliant, and will do anything she can to keep you that way.

    I realize that what I’m about to say may be completely unhelpful, but I’m going to throw it out there because it may make sense later, or may make sense to some part of your mind that will remember it later when it can be useful. One way to deal with this situation, if you’re not able to simply cut off all contact with your family, is to come at them from a completely different power base.

    You know my system, and you know Ian. One of the most valuable things he ever whispered in my ear is that my narcissist father is, at heart, terrified of what I could do to him. I know all his secrets. I know who he really is. The reason he wanted me compliant and dependent is because in the depths of his poisonous heart, he’s afraid of me. Narcissists and control freaks are very afraid of being abandoned, which is why they try so hard to control people. You hold the trump card, in many ways, without even knowing it. You’re right that your mother will never give you the support you need … and someday, telling her that her opinion is useless and worthless to you may have an interesting result for you internally. “I don’t want to hear it, I don’t care what you think,” can be amazing words to speak to the people who have refused to respect and support you. Sure, they might turn away and reject you … but that’s no different from what they’re doing now … except that now the rejection is highly manipulative, and engineered to keep you in your place, whereas rejection based on your proactive self-protection might feel a lot different.

    As I said … maybe not now. But maybe later. There’s no way to negotiate with people like your parents, I don’t think … if they were going to change and care and be decent and supportive, they sure as hell would have shown some sign of it by now. You deserve so much better.

  6. I second David and Kate, (((Kerro))
    I think your friend loves you and sees what a fabulous person you are, you should believe her even if you aren’t ready t make that step yet, please don’t let the misplaced hurt create space between.

    *imagining shaking your mother vigorously until her teeth click* pull your finger out and get on with it? 😦

  7. Sorry about your gyne triggering. Getting triggered and needing to dissociate is the worst. I haven’t had a pap test in 8 years. I recently talked to some friends about it and they suggested a clinic they go to that is compassionate, and I think I might try getting it done. I might bring my partner with me if I do do that. Your post reminded me how dangerous it can be to drive while dissociated, so thanks for that.

    What I notice is that family and long time friends aren’t usually the best at really getting my abuse stuff, since they have agendas of their own (like their own guilt, the need to have me not change, interpersonal gunk, whatever). “pull your finger out and get on with it” in my opinion is code for “shut up and suppress all this stuff, it makes me feel uncomfortable and guilty.”. I have no expectation that my family of origin will ever get anything to do with the abuse the way I want them to, it’s just too intense a thing for them too to be able to be at all objective. Other survivors are usually the only ones who really get it, even friends can only understand so much.

  8. Pingback: Sobbing. More wretched sobbing. « Kerro’s Korner

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