AS I sit down here and start writing, I have literally just walked in the door from a therapy session. I knew from the second I left J’s office, that I had to get home and try to process what went down, and for me the best way to do that is to write about it.
[Trigger Warning: mainly for later in the post in Part II where I will be covering some of my abuse, events that lead up to it and some specifics of places that it happened then. Some of this part may be triggering too, talking about flashbacks and abuse.]
On my way to the session I had this uneasy feeling, like something was just waiting to go completely sideways tonight. I couldn’t shake it no matter what I tried — just like that movie, The Perfect Storm, when Captain Billy and crew of the Andrea Gail were sitting out in the middle of the Flemish Cap, and they see a huge storm ahead, knowing full well they could turn back or just wait it out, they decided to chance it. This is what my feeling was like: I could just turn around and drive home, but that wouldn’t solve anything. I had to try!
Tonight, as usual, it started out going over my weekly Mood and Emotion Tracker. Much of what I recorded centered around the emotions of my mother, and how I can’t seem to get her out of my head.
That feeling of betrayal is growing by the day it seems, it causes me anxiety and so much frustration and anger. I’m suffering and she doesn’t even know it, she has no clue that what she did to me so long ago affects me today. She’s not going to change — she’s 81 years old now, telling her will do no good and only cause strife in the family, because I know full well she would go tell everyone else what went down. Even if she didn’t tell anyone, I’d feel so guilty. Why do I have that guilty feeling?
Anyway, throughout the course of the conversation it shifted into more of me questions: why would she let a 5-year-old go hang out with a 16-year-old boy for hours on end and not check on him? Why would she let me go in the first place? I mean, who does that?
Can you sense the resentment? This is a serious issue for me, also because I always thought the abuse happened when I was around 10 yrs old, and even then I have problems rationalizing why I was allowed to hang out with him. Now, that I find out I was 5, it adds to the anger, confusion, and overall frustration.
There’s no answer to those questions without asking her, and I don’t know that I would be able to hear her reasoning regardless of how valid she thinks it was, without literally losing my mind!
As we are sitting there, about half way through the session an event happened that has never happened to me during therapy before: I had a flashback, sitting right there on her couch (my flashbacks normally happen at home and usually when I’m in the shower).
She could tell something was going on, because I was literally staring at this wrought iron votive holder on the wall behind her. I was completely still except for tapping my fingers together, tracing the outlines. Apparently I was sitting there for a couple of minutes doing this until she said, “Matt, what do you think?”. I immediately snapped back and said, “whoa, I think I just had a flashback”. She nodded and agreed.
It was the weirdest feeling, never having had one in her office before I didn’t quite know how to react. She said, “what was your trigger?” I’m like, “hell I don’t know, you tell me!”. She responded (paraphrased), that “based on what we were talking about, you were trying to connect with your inner child and rationalize why your mom would let you go out with that kid, and your mind immediately went back to that time of your life and caused you to have a flashback and dissociate. That’s a trigger for you, and she sat back in her chair.”
Now that I’ve had time to process it a bit, I can see where that is applicable. Anytime there is talk about connecting with my inner child it causes my anxiety level to jump sky-high and makes me feel very uneasy, guilty, and angry at him.
By now I’m sure you’re wondering how the title of this article fits in with what I’ve written so far, hopefully I can start to pull it all together, so bear with me please. Read part 2 here – I do hope you will read the conclusion, it would mean a great deal to me.
Matt is a Blogger-Podcaster-Author-Advocate for mental health. He is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse & narcissistic abuse, living with dissociation, anxiety, & PTSD.