Sexuality

The Mask We Wear

All of us at times hide behind a mask to be able to keep our true feeling hidden because we will never feel comfortable with all our feelings and emotions out there for all to see, that part of us needs to be kept deeply within us so that ultimately we are still in over all control. Whether we are or not is a completely different scenario but it needs to be seen as such from the outside whilst what we are really feeling is a struggle deep within. When you have suffered from abuse you have already spent most of your life behind that mask, for us it’s far more than a prop that we are able to remove after every performance. It’s habitual and consistent and continuous as we portray to the world the face we want them to see, and this is true of all of us whether we have suffered abuse or not in whatever social situation we are in.

If we were to gather all of our friend’s family or acquaintances together every one of them whilst mingling will surely have their masks perfectly in place, but for those of us that have been abused then we need to add to the mix the vulnerability we are feeling. We are hiding and holding back so much more of who we are under that mask due the fear of being exposed seen as weak or judged, the feeling of not being able to stand up with any resistance to the elephant in the room that’s always with us. We feel sure that no one can lift that mask unless we let them so each time we are in a social situation out comes the super glue and that mask is going nowhere, but if we think that by doing so we also won’t be able to see ourselves beneath that mask that’s a complete misconception. What’s more during that said social event we find ourselves holding on tightly to that mask as if we are sure that it is somehow slipping, so now retreat is the only answer where we need to reapply that much needed and completely inscrutable glue.

I guess that in all truth we may never reach a place in which we feel that mask is no longer needed and shown to the outside world, but the only one that needs to see beneath that mask that really matters is ourselves. That sounds like a really easy concept but that’s not even close as to being the truth, because in all honesty the internal mask we wear is ever present the one in which we are the only ones that can find the strength to lift. It sits there like a kind of barrier between who we would like to be and who we really are, and if we were ever to try to peel away that mask well that’s a very daunting prospect. None of this struggle is even visible to the outside world, and for sure even if it were they would not have the skill set to be of any help this fight as always is down to us to make that forward progression. We can of course continue to project to the world that false image and even convince ourselves that’s who we really are, but there is a reason for that face makeup applied liberally that at times still allows us to see the tears of a clown. When you cry on the inside there is no body there to hear or dry your tears but that doesn’t mean that they will never dry.

We all have within us the strength to be that someone that we really want to be without fear or feeling any judgement, because as abuse survivors there is no judgement that even comes close to how we already judge ourselves. I guess what I am saying is that the mask we continue to wear was measured and manufactured by our abuser as children but if we really think about it have we now not outgrown it? It’s now way past time to be who you are without the need of that mask because that’s all that we need to be and to feel completely free where that inner mask no longer dictates who we have to be, that outer mask will always be around but we can choose to only take it out for that mingling we talked about above because lets be honest everyone enjoys the odd costume party.

Our lives will only ever alter for the better when we are prepared to take that chance……..

When We Don’t Have All The Answers Just Be

At times we truly don’t have all the answers when looking at it from the outside because the only way we will find them is by going within and this can be a very lonely place. We can’t answer others questions because we ourselves don’t know the answer if it eludes us how can we reply? During my own recovery I have gone through many stages and they have all been challenging, but what if the challenge never goes away no matter what you do on the outside? What if it seems that no one can help with this situation for an array of different reasons? Well we are then stuck in a place that seems impossible to escape from not only during the day light hours but also whilst we are sleeping. What if those questions still enter our minds in a way that we seem unable to be control? During the day we may find respite from these questions with an extensive effort which only seems possible in the worst gangster movies we ever seen or heard off, as we continually look for the answer to these questions finding no peace of mind whatsoever. But during the night that is a whole different ball game and we try so hard to control the melting pot of question marks as if it were even possible, the truth is the only way to avoid these questions is not to sleep at all but that’s impossible right?

l have spent many a night trying to do just that willing my eyes to stay open but ultimately it’s a fight that I will always lose. The dark is always a place that insights a little fear if we are within it alone and not knowing what may arrive, but to be in the dark knowing that the inevitable will always turn up it’s a place where we will never feel rested . So what can we do to change this situation? Well that’s an answer that seems to change on a nightly basis as the situation alters just as you seem to be up to speed with what you’re within right on cue the wind changes direction and you haven’t a clue. You become that leaf in autumn where you have no choice other than to fall from the tree going wherever the wind takes you, never knowing where you will land, and then once more being uplifted with another unexpected gust that can take you in any direction whatsoever. We all know that the elements at times are one of the most destructive ripping through anything that stands in its way so to be able to control the wind is not near impossible it’s completely impossible.

You toss and turn alone in the dark and then someone holds out a hand to you, but before you can grasp on to it the wind once more does its thing changing direction and you are blown along aimlessly. There you go without having any say in the matter only able to go where the wind decides is your next direction. Your feet never seem to touch the floor as you reach back desperately trying to clench on to that hand because you need to find some much needed grounding, but you are left watching sadly as it disappears out of sight and your continued journey rolls on. Only ever stopping when you awake in a ball of terror and a fear and confusion that we feel will never leave us or can be controlled.

So what if you’re days and nights suddenly become as one like you have never woken from your sleep and you are still within the night, through no fault of our own we start to live like these twenty four hours are one which then rolls into another twenty four hours never ending until the next. Where everything around you starts to act as if it were only possible within that film I talked about above, because this situation you find yourself in could only ever be in the realms of a book resembling the Kray twins. You start to live your life fending of those quick fire questions but you’ve never been equipped with the answers. Well it’s a very familiar feeling for me because as life continues I arrive at another set of these of quick fire questions sessions as though I am being tested, and as always I cannot ask the audience or phone a friend I am forced to rely only on my own grey matter for so very many reasons. The real complete craziness is that so many of the questions that are asked of me I find myself second guessing every answer that I arrive at. We will never be able to control what goes on around us but just maybe we can learn to control the within and our reaction even with everything around us still in turmoil, where we know with certainty that control will never be ours until the passing of time and a drop in the wind speed. We can never hope to control the wind so we must learn to feel it’s OK to be taken wherever it may blow us and to be that leaf that covers so such ground in so little time, to take each touchdown as it arrives as all the grounding that we need even though it may be fleeting.

The next time you observe that leaf take a minute to really see it because it’s not fighting the wind it’s just moving within it………

Our Subconscious Mind

Its always there hiding deep within us carrying all the bad memories that our conscious mind is unable to, it’s a place so deep within its only there that we are able to hold on to all those dark memories without the absence of light. We know it’s there but we can keep that door closed tight daily with our newly acquired strength that we have finally found during our journey to recovery. Our conscious mind really has that one covered and no longer do we feel its weight or its depth it seemed always, no longer do we find our minds drifting off quite so often as if we were within a day dream and within that place of pain. The lights are on the sun is shining and we are in full control within our daily life well as much as possible. We have days where it’s not all that good but we have learnt to process our thoughts whilst in a wakeful state.

Our subconscious mind is a million times more powerful than it’s predecessor our conscious mind, the activity of our subconscious mind never stops it just sits there in the dark waiting for night to fall. It holds on to our memories and experiences our beliefs habits and behaviour. Our subconscious mind acts like a compressor containing all our mental process that is inaccessible to our conscious mind through our choice, it can influence our judgement our feelings our emotions and our actions. It can also hold open the concert door for all those performing demons deep within, that during a subconscious state of mind we no longer have any control over. It’s where we store and hold on to everything and retrieve data from so like it or not it’s part of our being, because in so many aspects it’s who we are and where we’ve been in essence it’s the path we’ve walked so far. It’s where we subconsciously file all of the conscious happens during any given day that we have experienced, anything to heavy and we put it there immediately from learnt behaviour.

The time when our subconscious mind is mostly in control is during REM sleep which can happen many times nightly, and each time we enter REM sleep the period we stay within it lasts much longer as our sleep deepens. During this time our heart rate increases and our breath quickens whilst trying to process everything being directed our way, as we start to relive the day that we have just retreated from. The first time this happens we are still within that feeling of not quite asleep but not quite awake either, but it’s just the beginning where we then start the process of putting our rendition of the day where it belongs and in its proper place. It’s somewhat like we are a conductor making sure that everyone sits in the rights seats to aid the acoustics of the hall they are within, because sitting in the wrong seat can make quite a difference to the sound.

At that point we still have all control over the orchestra from the strings to the drums and everything in between; they join in with the onset of the music only when invited whilst looking at the musical notes in front of them- but then and only then. As the conductor we can ask them to stop, we can ask them to play just that little bit quieter, or to just fade away into the background because they are playing as directed and recognising our leadership. But as the night passes and our REM sleep becomes much longer in duration and so much deeper, it seems that no matter how hard we try or where we starting out from we are no longer the conductor. In fact we no longer play any part in that particular musical sheet whatsoever all directing has been taken from us.

That’s the time when the concert really starts and no matter how hard we try these musical demons awake and start to play unchecked with any instrument that they choose, and they continue on for however long this particular musical rendition lasts and all we can do is to sit and listen.

For such a long time sleep as I’ve said often in the past sleep was the real enemy for me and I’m sure that’s true for many others, I would fight it with all I had because of where I knew it was going to take me. To a place where without doubt I would no longer conduct anything, a place where the music became so very deafening and also without any rhythm or rhyme. Where the music played on with the instruments joining in or dropping out at their own choosing, never stopping it seemed to me not even to take a breath. All I would be able to do was to sit there with my fingers in my ears although metaphorically, as it seemed so clear that my past abuse had tethered itself to these musical instruments and had taken my place on the bandstand. They were now holding on to the baton tightly as they played the devils music with such deafening disarray.

We have all been there often so that we recognise that this rendition at their disposal could play on in theory as if endless but in truth the music has to end; even if we awake in a bath of sweat from what shall we call it a musical nightmare? So I guess what I am trying to say here is that it only takes an act or a reminder during our wakeful hours, or a jolt from the past surrounding our abuse for a rendition not of our making to lay low until we dare to close our eyes. But clearly close them we must at some point so we lay there in dread of the inevitable, because without doubt we can’t escape from where our subconscious may take us, we can only ever hope that as time passes we learn that music takes on many different lyrical sounds and as in life we don’t always like everything that we hear. We have to learn that we don’t always have a choice on the music being played, and just by doing so the transition from our conscious mind to our subconscious mind becomes less of a tuneless mess than before.

In truth I don’t have the answer to the length of the song sheet because I myself was recently reminded that there is some really crappy music out there.

But I continue to reach towards a place where I can once more remove my fingers from my ears; they are already not there quite so often. There is no set date or time when the music we may hear will only be sweet because we can’t predict that which is in front of us or where that may take us, there will still be times when our fingers can’t reach our ears quick enough. But we have to believe that there will come a time where we will accept all and every musical sheet presented to us, and reach a consciousness deep within that we no longer need to conduct that which is not within our control so to hell with them let them play on.

In time we will all reach a place where all we can hear is the idyllic rendition of a harp we just have to find the tuning fork……..

It’s Nearly Christmas

We are fast approaching Christmas and it seems that everyone is out there preparing for its arrival; there is a hint of excitement in the air and an infectious jolt of it coming ever closer. It’s a time that everyone seems to be looking forward to whilst imaging their own little piece of caring sharing and happiness within the company of family and friends. It’s a time of the year that it seems we are told brings peace to all men a time to remember all that we have been blessed with as we look back on our good fortune in the years that have past us by. There is a bustle and the crowds seem to grow bigger with every day that passes everyone trying to get the best deal or that promised present. Hopefully when the time arrives we have either acquired it or it no longer seems to matter anymore because it’s lost within the enjoyment of the day.

Children all over the world seem to be gathering in their excitement which rolls on endlessly until its fit to burst; desperately trying to control their emotions in fact as it draws closer sleeping is even difficult. Everyday asking the grownups “how long is it now” a day seems so long how can they hope to wait all that time? I am sure that everyone reading this piece can relate to all of the above, both as children and as an adult with children of their own. That’s how it’s meant to be right so why am I here stating the obvious? Simply because right now out there in the world some children never experience all that I have infused about in the above.

As an abused child the time of year never seems to matter our abuse never stopped just because it’s Christmas, we never look at the days passing us by as taking us one step closer to a happy event. On Christmas Eve whilst other children lay in their bed trying to sleep with shouts of “I can’t sleep I’m waiting for Santa” as abused children we in turn lay awake waiting so unsure if we will once more tonight hear the noises upon the stairs, that creaking bringing our abuse closer and closer until we see the crack of light as the door opens slowly towards us. Children trying to stay awake they want to see Santa willing their eyes to stay open as they become heaver and heaver, whilst others await a different fate that may visit them tonight and they for sure won’t be waiting for presents. The only thing they asked was another night without abuse because it never announced its coming, each night crawling into bed and trying not to wet it through pure fear of the oncoming horrific act or dream.

I remember thinking as a child at Christmas that I would be safe on Christmas Eve because my abuser couldn’t come; surly he would bump into Santa I had to be safe tonight right? How could he know when Santa was coming no one did or so I was told.

It’s so difficult to try to gain access into the mind of an abused child because through the circumstance of their lives they have built a brick wall around themselves and who can blame them? But when this wall is constructed unfortunately no one can go within that place not even Santa. They stay within themselves because as an abused child we have to create a safe place within our minds where we can go to hide even whilst our abuse is taking place, it’s somewhat like dissociation from our physical body as we create another being within that’s able to take it from us.

Christmas is just another day for an abused child no matter how many toys Santa has left under the tree, the night before brings them or could bring them something completely different and the sleeplessness is for a very different reason. Children waiting for that doll they hoped for or that car they just had to have, can’t release them from the dread of going to bed on Christmas Eve or indeed any proceeding night. They can only hope that one day the coming of a New Year and the promise of a new start in life will mean exactly that, but they have no way of knowing when their abuse will come to its end and when going to bed will not engulf them in fear no matter the time of year.

It’s nearly Christmas but sadly it won’t be a happy a one for everyone……….

Tough Love

Tough love is an expression used when someone treats another person harshly or sternly with the intent to help them in the long run, to use tough love you need to feel actual love for the person behind this action! If it sounds much like I have taken that sentence from the dictionary you would be right, because that’s exactly what I did trying to gain some insight as to what that really means. Much like I was looking for a way to understand the reason this has to happen, and the words on every page made complete sense sitting there in front of me in black and white. Advice is given freely where I could dot the i’s and cross the t’s Ok this should be a breeze if only I follow their direction what was I worried about? Here I sit with all that knowledge aware that this action is taken daily and needed by so many people on this journey of tough love. But in truth I am butting my head against a brick wall almost daily as I try to find my way through this emotional minefield.

As abused children it’s been a little like that for most of our lives or what we were told was love it was just so confusing, simply because we held on tight to any love shown in our direction even at the hands of our abuser. We never really had any understanding of what love was but we knew that however we felt this so called love in any direction, we had to hold on to it with a death grip because that person was showing us affection. However bizarre that sounds to us now as adults whilst no one else seemed to care about us at all how could they care? They never at any time came to our aid. Believe me love doesn’t come any tougher than being drawn towards someone for affection and not understanding desperately looking for some kind of affection, whilst all along feeling so alone that you could be on a dessert island looking for something at that time we didn’t even know we were missing.

The problem with this tough love is that unlike a flat piece of paper where those words could have been written across our consciousness, we are going to be effected emotional because of this action taken even when we try pushing our feelings and emotions into our subconscious. We are armed with the knowledge this tough love that’s needed would be aiming at those that are engraved in our hearts but that’s what this tough love is right? What is forgotten or explained is that you yourself will be affected greatly by this choice you may be forced to make.

I guess we only ever take this action as a last ditch chance to show the person involved that something has to change, because we can no longer accept the treatment coming our way it’s almost like it has become their pastime. We’ve tried everything else to no avail they just don’t seem to see the pain they are causing us; in truth do they even see what they are doing? A hard emotion felt so deeply so we question ourselves with do they even care? And in that instant there we are back sitting within our childhood. I felt my heart strings being pulled by that statement because no one is immune to this situation during our lifetime. So it seems that this tough love will always go both ways because within it we have nowhere to hide from the love felt towards that other person it’s no easy task!

We lose so much during this time whilst hoping greatly that in time they will have an infusion of understanding seeing what needs to be addressed, can they find their way back to the straight and narrow? Because all we can do is to sit aimlessly by. On every occasion when this direction of choice is needed it’s always felt by so many other people in all innocence, but still they are embroiled and a shadow is implemented on their own memory and their emotions felt within are it seems unavoidable. But how can that be right? Quite simply because our love radiates in so many directions causing upset by default it seems without intention to the innocent, wow those words are really hard to read never mind being within this situation where innocence is so easily taken away by the thoughtless actions of others.

Tough love is something at times all we have left open to us but it’s such a hard choice to make, armed with the knowledge of all the above felt deeply within but also knowing it’s no longer avoidable. I guess all we can take from its arrival is that you love that someone deeply enough to feel the pain of your own actions also, because in truth tough love would never be implemented unless we love that someone immensely. It’s not difficult to see why it’s simply because they matter if they didn’t why in all probability we would want to take that journey? Walking away without a second thought would be easier but that love you feel for another has your feet nailed to the floor, because loving and likening someone in the here and now when that choice is decided upon is such a different emotion. But there is no doubt that you need to walk in with your eyes wide open and excepting a hurricane of emotion that will floor you completely. Once initiated somehow those nails that were holding you firmly in place within their lives are extracted with such finesse and precision that you miss it completely. An action in which you will find yourself no longer in possession of that nail gun hell you can’t even find the box of nails! Your choice has initiated a reaction and you better hold on to your hat it’s going to be a white knuckle ride and one in which you no longer have any control.

In so many ways tough love by definition is showing us the depth of our own love for another in essence we are making a choice to put our own feelings aside, in the hope that this choice will help that another see just how their choices are affecting you and also those around them. Sometimes when a different guise of love arrives it can be from an unexpected direction, but that doesn’t mean anything other than we forgot to look in the right direction needed at that time. It seems at times for all concerned all we can do is to walk away in the other direction and it hurts like hell because this tough love is always felt both ways.

A change in their direction is needed and they are the only ones with access to that map……………

Control

Well, it’s been a while since my last piece I guess that’s because I found myself once more within just such a situation, it’s also the driving force for this piece and as it unfolds that will become obvious. The last few weeks this emotion for me has been really tested to almost breaking point, it was a real surprise for me as I thought that I had seen the last of that emotion and its effect on me to this degree, but it seems that there is always someone ready to shake your timbers from the rooftop for their own game or gain. As abused children, we are somehow compelled to keep an eye on our rear and our backs to the wall, looking back for us is a knee-jerk reaction because we know all too well the magnitude of the things that may creep up on you. It’s so hard not to look back there was a point in my life that it seemed my head was continuity on full rotate in an aim to catch whomever at the act. We spent many years trying to control this emotion and some of us never regain that control again even with the most trusted of friends. We feel controlled or manipulated even when there is no cause to do so it’s just so easy to let that emotion back into our lives, and for the most without any real cause or intent from others. But there is that pull on our invisible strings of power of which we are never going to let happen again right? Hey, it took us years to find any sort of control of ourselves or over ourselves so whoever is trying to pull our strings can go to hell!! Sound familiar? It sure does for me.

The problem is that over time we can go from feeling controlled to wanting to be in control of everything and everyone one around us, sadly this reaction sits inside of us watching our six for that inevitable battle just around the next corner. We really need to look at how we make that change of being controlled and knowing clearly that becoming the controller is just as destructive. As I write these words I feel every one of them like an old battle scar that for so long I kept picking at never allowing it to heal, I guess it’s a sharp reminder now that lingers deep within me that took a lot of inner work for me to see the difference of all that I have stated above. Because make no mistake there is a very big difference between taking back the control of ourselves and becoming the controller because that is also fundamentally wrong. Those words may leave a bad taste in many a mouth but this is a question we must ask ourselves if at times we are guilty of. But it’s just so damn hard to find that equilibrium between the two without questioning ourselves with are we being controlled or are we being controlling? So we just better head for that wall positioning ourselves well and protect our rear firmly against it.

But there is a different kind of control that we never really see coming from those that have walked beside us many times without incident, simply because they are someone that we trusted with our demons never knowing that they would use them against us. They have knowledge of our ups and downs watching us at our darkest point and the effect our past has inflicted upon us. They are family or someone that you never thought would use that knowledge for their own gain but in reality, they may not be all that they seem, and they know just where to push that dagger in your most painful of parts. Your vulnerabilities have always been on show to them and they know just how to tear you apart from the inside-out.

For myself, I recently found out just how painful having that knowledge can be, overly more I had to face the fact that this was something that I had allowed to continue for much too long. Overly more, through my uncontrollable fear of losing those that I love so deeply they knew just what to take from me, and they were happy to do just that if I did not capitulate. I however needed to push that emergency stop button because I recognised that to let it continue I would cease to be, as time passes (although painfully) I now feel that they can only ever take from me that which was never really mine to include my happiest memories, and I’m trusting that in time they will find a way back to me. I’m not talking here about a casual acquaintance a friend or even a partner but someone with a bond to me in a way I never thought or wanted to think them capable of, but maybe I just wanted to see it that way because the other option was unthinkably painful to me. To demand from another whilst armed with the tools to hurt deeply is something that takes me right back to that being controlled, faced with a choice that once again I would never be in the winners’ seat. Whichever decision I had to make it was not going to be an easy one and I would stand to lose whichever way I was to choose.

I knew that I would hit the ground hard I was never under any illusion that it was ever going to be a soft landing for sure on either decision, but it was one that I had to make it had gone on for so long that oddly I had not really noticed or maybe in truth I didn’t want to acknowledge it. But within that truth when I honestly pull back the veils of delusion I had been looking at it square in the face for so many years. I had to make a stance because I was left with no other choice I had to quite simply jump or continue to be pushed with full knowledge that there may not be a way back for me. I won’t bore you here with the details because it’s my own pain to work through myself and out of it to the other side, it may be that in time and trust in my decision something will alter with the passage of time but over that, I have no control. My aim here is to share my experience and I’m sure it is recognisable to many “so you don’t need to start pulling on your heart strings “ it just helps us all to understand that someone else out there has been going through or maybe even still be going through a controlling situation themselves. So it’s really a reminder that as with many things in life you have many a kindred soul freely giving you both empathy and understanding through their own story to tell.

Control enters our lives in so many situations and they can be quite diverse in structure, invading our lives at times that we are not aware of until the control erupts out of all control. There is the control that we were under as children through our abuse, controlling everything from and around a scared and unworldly child. It’s not only the abuse that we are receiving but also the control over not being able to tell your secret, control over every part of our lives always with the knowledge impregnated deep within that we have no control over the situation. There is control of our decisions as we are always second-guessed making us alter the things we would like to do for ourselves as we are told “it’s better if you do it this way” That the friends you choose to include in your life are not good for you or spending time with them upsets that person we love through their controlling instinct.

There is a deep-seated control that for me was so very difficult to deal with but it seems after many years I find myself there, the control of blackmail or the remove of those you love deeply if I did not comply. There is the control of your time your money your every choice as to what and whom you want to include in your life because you always thought that you needed to be available to those people at the drop of a hat. We are controlled this way as a residue of the control in our childhood where we were not allowed to make choices of our own at all. It’s like we are somehow expecting it never really paying it any attention or feeling that it’s wrong for us to be used this way, which in itself is imposed upon us through an open door that we have never really closed behind us. Words like domination, command, and regulation all spring to mind when we look at this situation clearly, but there comes a time when that is the only option “to close that door I mean” it becomes the only thing left open to us even with the threat of what our actions may ignite, just because we ourselves want a life that we envisage. At some point in our lives, we need to make a stand or we will always be that puppet on a string controlling everything we do, from the way we wish to live our lives to even controlling of the words that may come out of our mouths. I, of course, can’t speak for you but I’m finally done with this game of control and with the rest of my life however long that may be I will do be and see whomever I wish, the realisation was so difficult to deal with but I am now in a much stronger stance and situation simply by recognising me in my own right for the first time in so many years of being controlled. Through this situation, I found that even though I thought I had firmly closed that door many years back there was still the turning of the key in the lock that needed to happen.

So you see control wears many hats and does not mind digging about in the dirt seemly not minding the smell of the garbage, one can only hope that after a time others will recognise that dump site for themselves and recognise just how wrong they acted. There is nothing that we can do to influence the situation either way so we are faced with the choice of allowing them to control us once again by capitulating, or recognising that even for them this stance that you are taking is right one although it’s lost to them today. Life will always continue to throw up these types of situations where we may once more begin to feel controlled, but equally, we must see that not see that not everyone wants to control us and know the difference and recognise it. It’s a little like a juggling act which takes practise and perfects with time and it’s inevitable that you are going to drop a few balls, but unlike the juggler, we have to watch them roll away down the hill because they were always on the downward slope. They will never roll up the hill towards us until there is recognition, that holding control or demands over others is wrong however these situations manifest. But that’s their own growth and learning and we can’t do that for them and to be honest we shouldn’t.

Because a lesson learnt and imparted by others can’t and will never be a lesson learnt………

Connecting

There are so many ways for us to achieve a connection quite simply by just going through our daily routing when awakening each morning to enter the world. For most of us we feel refreshed once again as we rub the sleep from our eyes pulling ourselves away from that warm snug place. We make ourselves presentable and once we have eaten our breakfast we take that first footstep out of the door wondering what the day will bring. That connection is part of our world it happens naturally or we would never leave our four walls behind us, and in most situations we look forward to those connections that we make daily be it our work colleagues family or friends. These connections are received differently depending on who we are confectioning with, not discounting the causal fleeting connections that happen all the time whilst buying a newspaper that sandwich or the Costa coffee welcomingly received. There are so many other ways in which we connect but I’m going to stop here as I don’t wish to bore you to death with a list that sees no end to move on to why I’m here today.

Connecting whilst still within in the throes of our past abuse.

Connecting seems such an easy thing for us to do it should be enjoyable bringing with it a smile or a grimace if it’s a bollocking from the boss but nevertheless this is still a mutual connection just not a very welcome one. We connect by allowing someone else into our world and our personal space which for some like me for so many years found that so very hard to do, sadly some are still trapped within that space not feeling that they trust the world enough to assist them in their endeavours. Making a new connection is unknown territory for everyone but for abuse survivors it’s a complete walk of faith and more than a little unsettling. There is that question the one within us always there waiting in the wings should we can we trust a world that for so long was so very untrustworthy? Sadly we mostly convince ourselves that it’s a risk to far but not until we have tentatively walked a few yards down the line.

This may all seem a little deep and it is if we are talking about an everyday connection but what about a connection of the heart? I myself avoided this connection for so very long having such a deep seated connection makes us feel vulnerable, and that feeling makes us bolt out of the starting gate at a hundred miles an hour without the need for a starting pistol. We ponder what this connection wants from us because they always want something don’t they? We are overloaded with that doubt in our minds from a source that should never have had that type of connection with us EVER. But nevertheless this connection brought with it our first encounter with the word love, as we were told daily that we were loved and this connection was perfectly normal. Ok I will skip a few lines here as I feel the need to scream at the heavens in a less than a lady like manner.

How do we connect and allow someone to enter a place that we have guarded for so long and do we ever truly do so? In my own history if I were to pick at the bones of it I don’t think that I have ever truly done so completely. I have always kept that little bit back for me expecting to have to hang on to it when this connection once more goes tits up. It’s a little like I am expecting it to fail and by doing so I’m not surprised when it does! Having just relayed those thoughts to you I am reminded that I really need to address this long standing issue vigorously, because in truth it has cost me far too much to date. To really connect with our hearts we have to trust in that someone and that is something that makes our hearts pitter patter in such an unnerving way. A connection of the heart is something that we should enter in to openly but that takes hard work and a positive mindset, or on the other hand I guess we can always oddly convince ourselves that it’s easier not to have that connection. The inevitable outcome is that the other person with which the connection could be formed will never even leave the starting gate in the race of emotions that could be loving shared, making the Grand National for them look like the local donkey derby with no chance in hell up catching up to us. We are off down that race track facing each jump alone no matter how big the hurdle carrying that jockey of abuse that no horse has ever been asked to carry. Falling many times because the jump was just too high, stumbling down on the other side before heading for the next and it never enters our head that we could just walk around it. It seems that our past has made us feel that every hurdle has to be encountered jumped or pulled apart in to so many fragments that we will never find the whole again. Dissection beyond distraction is the only way forward not only in our own lives but the life’s of those that are trying to get to close to make that connection. Everything becomes a drama whilst we look for the things that could go wrong; we forget to see that our future could be so very different if we were to just walk out of the pathology laboratory.

Some things just are they don’t have a reason or a hidden agenda they are just opportunities in our life that we either stop to recognise as a connection of the heart that could be so very rewarding or ignore. If we would only put the scalpel down and not feel the need to continue to dig around surgically, expecting answers from ourselves to questions that as yet have not even arisen but we put everything under that microscope.

For me a connection that I have lost very recently was one that I shared with my dog and best friend Sparkle. She died so very unexpectedly that it has left a hole in my heart that I am still struggling to fill; she was my constant companion walking along side of me wanting nothing more from me than to be loved. I am sharing this with you because we also connect with animals as well as people, it’s said that here in the UK we are a nation of animal lovers which in truth at times I question. You see a connection with an animal does not need to be that complicated it’s a mutual exchange within a bubble of complete understanding, love without demands explanations and with complete commitment on this one way street that feels so very easy to walk down. She will always be in my heart and I know that losing her made me face some very difficult choices about where my life was leading me and the direction my life will take from here on in. I am so very aware that during that time I was more than a little difficult to deal with because she was the rudder that always kept me in the shipping lane. Time heals but at times like these we sometimes question where we are in life or should I say that I did? Yes without doubt.

We need to connect to life with full commitment to a connection without feeling that by doing so a vacuum will suck us up into something that we can’t control, because anything less we will see ourselves failing simply because the need for baby steps has long past gone. We are no longer that innocent child within a world of misconnection completely confused with the world around us, and not truly making any connection other than the one which had been imposed on us as children. I guess if we were to look at this from another angle at that time in our life connection brought us pain suffering and bewilderment without a safe pair of hands to hold us. So now we no longer look for that hand because we have learnt that its safer not to do so convinced that the only hand we need to hold on to is a part of us. In laymen’s terms if a connection is not made we can’t or won’t fail by detachment and default but if we continue to follow this road it takes away from us far more than it gives. We can take a few tumbles if the road becomes rocky because it’s far better than disconnection and self imposed imprisonment of our hearts.

The soul was never meant to travel alone so take that chance……………..

LOSS

Loss – it’s a very short word but it invokes in us such a magnitude of emotion.

We have all without doubt during our lifetime suffered a loss they are always painful and for many of us we feel that within that segment of time we will never recover. We experience it like our insides are being torn from us without pity tossed high into the storm that those emotions are creating. The sun can be shinning down on us the birds can be singing but as we look up at the sky whilst shading our eyes from the sun no answers or explanations are given. The excruciating knot within your stomach seems to be holding you to ransom and with every moment that passes becoming just that little bit tighter. Loss is so difficult for those left holding that emotion in their hands with nowhere to put it down or feel its release. There are so many ways that we experience a loss and I could only but try to examine a few here because I’m sure there are many that I haven’t experienced.

There comes a time in our lives where if the rule of thumb were to enact that we will feel the loss of our parents which is something however hard we try we can’t accept that they are really gone. If we were to turn this analogy on its head then we walk down a very dark and painful road because the loss of a child whilst we are still living has the ability to destroy us completely. If we were to take it down just a notch or two from the more extreme emotions invoked above we all feel loss in so many others ways. The loss of a wife or husband a breakdown of a relationship with the one person that we thought would be our forever life companion. There is the loss that beloved pet that also brings about a time of grief simply because they were a part of our family for some this is even more difficult if they find themselves alone when their only companion has been taken. The loss of that dream job that not in a million years had we seen that trunk coming as we sit there dazed in utter disbelief. A person we truly thought was our friend seemingly cutting us out of their lives without explanation as we sit there scratching our heads trying to unravel the mess and make sense of the situation.

Put it in a nutshell any loss we feel creates pain during that time that is so difficult to understand or deal with. Loss is always relative to us as individuals at that moment in time and felt differently by each of us there is no outright winning post around a loss. Each one sitting on high clutching a gold medal we will always feel the pain of its enactment.

But there is a loss that I would like to talk about here today felt so deeply in its magnitude that it is immense, it’s the loss of a segment of time that no matter how hard we try we can never ever recover. Those years that are lost to us forever within and surrounding abuse simply taken from us and even if our abuser were to try they could never give them back. For many this loss is something that they will never really come to terms with because we choose to ignore that passage of time it’s painful to even try to recover that which is lost to us. But in all truth if we ever in time arrive at that point in our lives where we feel we can try we see that in fact it’s a hurdle that we have already climbed over, We had just lacked the courage before today or stood close enough to see the other side. The truth is it’s just not possible to reclaim those years we mourn; it would be like finding a unicorn in our back garden or a pot of gold at the bottom of the rainbow. We would be chasing a dream that could never be realised; our abuse is part of what makes us who we are today. Once we can get our heads around that fact we can then start to live the life that we have left and move forward, not forever trying to reach back to a place of pain that we can choose to close the door on if we could only find the handle.

For all of us we have or had a mountain to climb and yes it’s so much harder to climb up then keeping looking at the downward slope below us, it’s the easier root by comparison and yes it takes less effort but for sure much less growth. If we continue on in the belief that we can’t accept our loss and that we are never able to make a stance then we will never know where that route may have taken us. When Dorothy started her journey along the yellow brick road she had no way of knowing its destination but she just kept walking, and as we are aware taking that first step on that winding yellow road allowed her to find all she needed to ultimately find her way home.

I would like to share with you a conversation I once had with a guest on a radio show that still stays with me daily; I may have even touched upon it many moons ago because it reached down in to my very core. It stays with me because of its complete sadness and the loss of so many years that could have been lived; this particular lady could not find a way to move forward no matter whatever she tried to do so, at the risk of repeating myself I could not think of a better illustration to be drawn upon. She had been abused as a child by her stepfather; for many years and her mother was also a victim of his abuse physically, she was in a helpless situation not able to defend herself or her mother. At the age of fourteen she ran away from home to live on the streets where she had to survive alone ducking and diving just getting by day by day as it arrived. She found herself within the world of drugs drinking and pulled into the world of prostitution and that’s how she lived her life for so many years. But she could never really forget or move past her abuse and the loss of her childhood years, it was eating her up day by day no matter how she tried she was not able to mourn the loss of those years. She felt their loss always within her grip held tightly within her so close to her that she was control when in truth however sad the situation she was in it was in fact the complete opposite.

At the age of twenty she could not longer live with the pain that she was carrying with her and so she made a life choice, she went and found herself a gun and returned home in an attempt to reclaim her life and the years she had lost. I don’t feel the need to elaborate on the outcome on her arrival but was that the right choice for her? Well she asked me that very question during a live radio show from where she was incarcerated and it caused me to take a step back in time to a place where I had often thought that would be my only way out of my own abuse. After a moment’s thought although for me it seemed like I had being sitting there with one finger in my ear without a reply seemingly coming to my aid, sputtering about trying to form the words to answer her heartfelt question. I then realised that it was not a question that I could be rushed into replying to this was her life now, and for the next fifteen years I needed to give it some serious thought. It then came to me in a flood of emotion that he had taken all those years from her during her childhood and here he was taking fifteen more albeit by her actions. She would never have recaptured or relived those years and the sadness of it was that there were more lost years in front of her. While my own thoughts were could I take another’s life whilst within rational thought? The answer was that she clearly wasn’t and I recognised that it could have so easily have been me. We must all have a breaking point that once reached we can’t find our way back from and I will openly admit to you here that I cried a few tears at the end of that particular show.

Yes any loss is immensely painful and for us none more so than the loss of the years at the hand of our abuser and the gigantic hole it has left within us. But the story I have shared with you above shows just how far we can be driven if we can’t find a way to come to terms with our loss of these childhood years. If we keep reaching back believing it’s possible to retrieve those years lost we will also lose those years out in front of us without the need of ever having seen the inside of a prison cell. Life by its very nature will continue to cause us pain through experiencing a loss but I personally see no need to drag it along by the hand indefinitely.

We will all mourn many a loss as we walk along the life path that is ours whilst sobering never needing the finality of death………

The Relationship Between Incest Survivors

incest-2The first thing that comes to mind is that it is a wounded attachment at first meeting, but it’s also a merging of empathy because you know for sure that the other person has walked in your shoes. You don’t need to explain how it feels to be abused; you’re never going to feel judged because words are not needed only the knowledge shared between two broken souls. But within that mix there is also a mirror image reflecting back to us the things that you have tried so hard to either forget ignore or hide from. This way of living has been perfected over many years you truly have it down to a true art form, and you may even of sorts have become a connoisseur at your selected choice. I’m aware that the word connoisseur is mainly associated with food but believe me abuse leaves behind a very bad taste in your mouth. So is this an unconscious way or choice of being attracted to or attached to someone that reminds us of our wound or trauma? At its very core maybe we even seek out this type of relationship as a way to reinforce the wounded aspect of ourselves.

As a depending chid we yearn for affection attention neutering love and trust in a way that any other child would.

As we grow we begin to believe that the only way it seems we can receive these surely needed emotions is through our abuser. So it’s hardly surprising that we take this distortive mixed up thought process or belief with us in to adulthood, even though our sexual abuse is no long a part of our lives the child remembers. As you continue to read thought this piece and I try to impart some insight to its regard, let’s think upon this scenario as it truly is by being timed two. It’s a scary thought for sure but having myself been thought the impact of the above, I also know that it does not have to be a situation in which we either self destruct, or impose the same reaction in another person. It can be a situation if used positively for the greater good in our own lives as well as in the life of that someone special. But it’s also a situation that brings forth a challenge without doubt and that challenge at times can feel unparalleled.

So how do we judge love? What does that word even mean to us? How do we separate the good from the bad the past from the present? How do we open up to someone without feeling that we are once more going to feel a loss of control and power? It’s a real twister that could emanate a tsunami. I guess it’s true to say that I still struggle a little with these emotions myself as I try to perfect the effect still felt at times on my inner child. I recently realised that this may be a life time of work and not an easy job. But over every hurdle that we are made to jump that’s one less out there in front of us. But this is only true if we learn from the mistakes we are making, and that we ascertain the part we play in this encounter, because this traffic is on both sides of the road bound for heaven or hell. For some this is a difficult task because any feeling of loss of control or power is a reminder of the past where we had no power or control at all. But that is such a dangerous place to frequent and sadly it lays foul to a very lonely existence.

If I were to try and explain the journey I took and continue to make to you here, then I truly feel that you are not yet in a place to make that journey. You will arrive there in time and at your own speed but there are so many other lessons to learn along the way that you are able to make a change. One of the biggest leanings for me is that I had to stop feeling that I was always right, and that I did not want to entertain another’s point of view that was different to my own why? Because for so very many years I was made to feel like I was always wrong. Everything was orchestrated for me I was told what to do how to do it and how to feel my thoughts were never my own. I would have made many mistakes on my life’s journey I am sure, wrongly arriving at a regretted impasse but I will never know because that courtesy was never given to me. In essence I’m saying that I was never allowed to make a mistake or one that I recognised, if someone else is controlling your life how can you ever think of your actions and mistakes as being your own? Whilst all along thinking that I was the mistake how mixed up is that? Sympathy has no place here only a feeling of growth I’m just stating a fact and the way I was made to feel. There is a very odd thought going through my head at this moment did that enforced situation make the decisions I had to make thought life as an adult far more difficult? I’m sure for many it does because how do you learn without feeling the mistake was your own? It’s an odd kind of control but we have to remember our abusers had full control. So at the time of our release from our enforced situation do we really have the grounding we need to go forth in life? I’m just looking at the other side of the coin here or as they say outside the box.

Ok I’m back to me arriving at that time and accepting that I was not the oracle and that I can be wrong as often as I’m right but that’s ok. It may not make a lot of sense but it’s all a part of regaining control over our lives by owning who we really are. In truth at that time where did that get me? What did I achieve? And overly more why at the time did it matter to me so much? Looking back I was up there on my soap box a very lonely person, and I’m sure from my own experience that’s a journey that nobody hopes to make.

So is it time to stop thinking? Well what I really mean is stop over thinking? I know but I’m not trying to confuse you. When we become all consumed within the struggle we were made to contend with at such an early age, how do we even know the right type of relationship we are looking for? I’m just going to put this out there in the universe that we don’t need to over think; we just need to live our lives as the rest of our life. Every relationship has to be worked on; some of the most rewarding work that I have been involved in, has been around and still is within relationships where both partners have been abused children. When they eventually get it right having fallen many times along the way it’s a joy to be seen.

So here we are at the bottom of this piece with the heading sitting up there in front of me (The Relationship between Incest Survivors)

Can it work? You are a person and not your abuse so firstly we need to stop looking at the label, and look for a kindred soul an abused soul or not. Once we realise this then we will see no reason for this relationship not to work and it can be the most rewarding. A common goal is already there we need to heal and so much is already shared within, but the kicker is that shared understanding of each other also includes our past abuse. But if we are ever going to make that stand if we are going to fight for the right to be happy I think two pairs of hands are always better than one.

Have you ever played chess? In this relationship you already know the opponents end game play……………