Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Effects of Abuse

I finally had the balls to say it.  That word. The A word.  Abuse. That is what I am dealing with.  The after effects of abuse.  Edmond's behavior during addiction was at times abusive.  There I said it. 

Edmond's addiction created trauma in my life, and the healing process just keeps going on.  Being honest about what our relationship was like during Edmond's addiction cycles has opened me up to a whole new, fun adventure.  New because I have never experienced anything like being honest about my feelings.  Fun because I am finally clearing out some of the trash that keeps spewing in my face, without me understanding why.  This is why:  I experienced trauma and the trauma was, well, traumatizing.  And while Edmond is in a healthy great place, that doesn't mean the abuse never happened.

I knew it hurt me.  Duh, but what did the addiction cycles do to me?  What could it do, I didn't even know what was going on.  I used to feel lucky I didn't know about the addiction until Edmond was really serious about coming clean.  You know, fewer disappointments, fewer broken boundaries, fewer lies.  No, no and no.  Fifteen years of lies; years of tearing myself inside out and back right again trying to make things ok when they weren't and not having a clue why- just wishing that if only I (fill in the blank) things will get better.  Years of being at odds with a monster in the room I never could see.

It took me a while to be willing to admit that I was traumatized.  But I see the same behaviors in the kids I work with-- kids who have endured trauma as infants/children and are trying to figure out how to survive in regular families.  I think some of these effects are par for the course.  Doesn't make it any easier though.

I learned:
1. I don't matter.  I don't count; my needs, my wishes, my opinions aren't important.  I am a tool used to care for and meet the needs of other people.  Never my needs/wants.  What do I want?  I have no clue what my preferences are; I am a reflection of what you want.  I am the ultimate object.  (Interesting that with a sex addiction, the objectification goes so much further than just sexual objectification, although that is/can be part of it)

2. I am not enough/ok/lovable. No matter what I do, there is always something I missed, something to improve upon, something I need to be better at.  I must always work harder/do more/be more to receive positive attention.  All this trying and doing more reinforces the concept that I am just an object- a tool.

3. I can only rely on me.  The mental and emotional withdrawals during Edmond's addiction cycles meant that I carried everything.  I owned it all- home, yard, finances, worries, relationships, parenting.  I learned that I could not trust anyone to be there to help me when I needed it most.  Even faith promoting phrases enforced that feeling: pray like it all depends on God and work like it all depends on you.  YUP it does all depend on me. Nobody is there to help me.

4. I am not safe-- I am not safe enough to say what I think, do what I want, parent as I see fit or even feel what I feel.  The consequences of being at odds with Edmond by saying/doing/being/thinking/feeling something that didn't fall into his narrative of the situation was emotional withdrawal, mean looks and criticism.  I only felt safe with my emotions/thoughts/preferences hidden, stuffed down deep where the real me was safe.  Emotions became something to fear, something to avoid, something to hide.  Besides I didn't really matter; I'm just an object, a tool.

Hard. painful feelings:  I am not safe; I can only rely on me; I am not lovable; but all those don't really matter because, I don't matter anyway.

And none of that is really true in the grand scheme of things.  But trauma, abuse, neglect, disregard SHOUT those messages loud and clear.  They scream and chant relentlessly until you give in to their siren song.  You hide, you change, you fear, you cope.  You survive.  Do what it takes to get through each day unscathed.  Pray for strength to do it again, because this is your life, and aren't you supposed to be happy and bloom where you are planted?  Of course.  Pretend to be happy or at least learn to be content.  This is your life.

*I hate ending posts on a sad note, hopeless-- but the trauma part of my life was like this and I want it to be an accurate reflection of that part of me.

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