Calluna V. (callunav) wrote in healingpartners,
Calluna V.
callunav
healingpartners

Post # 2: re-introduction

I find it hard to talk about myself and feel like I've said anything true. I get confused if I think about it too long.

So what this is, is a quickly written summary which seems true right now. I make no guarantees that I won't contradict myself in a month, week, day, or hour.



I go by Calluna. I don't link my real name to my LJ, because I like to post without locks, and talk about difficult things. I don't mind my close loved ones reading it, and I don't mind my on-line friends reading it, and I don't mind strangers reading it. But if it were possible for my family members to find my journal without a lot more work than I think they'll put in, then I would feel much more constrained in what I post.

I'm 37. I was 19 when it first occurred to me that there might be some sexual abuse of some kind in my background, and about 28 before I really believed it. I've been in therapy almost non-stop since I was 19 or so, because even the people who weren't all that good did something for me that bled off the internal pressure; when I was out of therapy for more than a few months, I started cutting, and having more and more intrusive mental images of self-directed violence. In therapy, that came down to a manageable level.

I'm not sure exactly when I believed that my mother might have had something to do with the fact that I showed pretty unmistakable signs of PTSD and a history of sexual abuse. I know I cut off contact with her when I turned 30, and I cut off contact with my father two years later. The past couple years have had a lot more family stuff for me, good and bad, but even the good stuff makes me feel very vulnerable. I've seen my mother, not at my own choosing. I've reconnected with my older brother, which is a difficult and attenuated process, but proving to be valuable. I've realized that I miss my father enough that sooner or later, I want to talk to him again. This is not true of my mother.

I didn't cut off contact with them out of anger, or because I had remembered things they'd done. I cut off contact because I came to realize that talking with them, or the idea of seeing them (let alone the reality) caused me acute, panicked fear. I concluded that this wasn't good. I didn't know what the fear was, but once I'd named it, with the help of my therapist at the time, I could act on it.

I believe that I experienced acute, chronic sexual and physical abuse as a very young child, instigated by my mother but possibly also involving other adults, and possibly also other children from our apartment complex. I think my mother may have used me as a transaction piece in affairs she had. I don't remember any of this.

It's a little hard for me to say I believe something to be true and then say I don't remember it. Why should I believe it? Some of it is having body-memories of constriction at my wrists and throat, of being tied. Some of it is having odd kinds of flashbacks which carry only the emotional content of something not happening in the here-and-now, without having the visual or narrative context.

A lot of it is that I am somewhere on the DID (dissociative identity disorder) spectrum; I don't lose time, but I do switch modes - 'modes' is the best word I have; 'identities' or 'personalities' feels wrong - and in some of those modes I have said or written or drawn explicit things. It's hard for me to own those as real and significant when I'm in other modes, but I don't think they can mean nothing at all.

Sometimes I write from those modes. I know it can be confusing, but sometimes I - we - just need to get these things out in words the way they are inside us. Me.

My old therapist once used the term 'ritual abuse' about what I'd experienced, and I went through the roof. I don't think it was like that. But I think it may have been repeated group abuse, which I suppose hits many of the same buttons. Sometimes I think it must have stopped when I was still very young. Sometimes I wonder if it continued until I reached puberty or beyond. Sometimes I find it impossible to believe that any of this has any truth to it at all, and I think I'm just an oversensitive screw-up looking for excuses. But I keep going back to therapy anyhow.

So. I think that's me, for now, in this snapshot. If anyone is reading this, and if anyone has questions or is confused by something, it's okay to ask. If I don't want to answer, I'll say so. I'll trust you not to be offended, if I do say so, and you can trust me to take care of myself and leave you free to ask what you want. This is a supportive space, not something so 'safe' it becomes stagnant; that means it's one in which we can discuss what's said, and take some risks. All we need is some trust, and some adaptability.
Tags: introductions
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