Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Buckle Up...

I'm getting in touch with my anger today.

A few things my counsellor said yesterday have been sitting with me, and I have been spending a great amount of time thinking. Today's trigger was helping a dear friend who was in a really bad place, and all of a sudden the anger just erupted from her while she was crying. I felt myself getting angry with her. I stayed with her while she vented and cried, letting her get it all out, telling her it's OK to feel everything she is feeling and that she's incredibly brave to let it out.

I am actually envious she was able to get it out, to be so real with me, yet I can't do that. Not yet.

I am very angry. I am angry at the world, at my father...

I was a little girl. When I look at other children around the same age as I was when it started I can see their vulnerability, their need for protection. Most importantly, their innocence and trust in the world.

I didn't have any of that. I had no one to protect me, no one to love me the way a child deserves to be loved.

I am fucking MAD!

My parents are to blame. My father is the sick bastard. He's the one who deserves to have all this anger, pain and sadness weighing him down, controlling every aspect of his fucking pathetic life.

The ex boyfriend who decided no really means yes and a big knee to the crotch means bring it on baby can go to fucking hell. He keeps popping up around my house, he keeps trying to hold some power or something over me. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. If he ever crosses the boundary of my personal space I'll lose it, all this pent up rage will be directed at him and god help me...

My ex husband who made me his punching bag, who treated me like garbage, who constantly told me I was ugly and worthless, who raped me... FUCK YOU

Congratulations DAD... you failed being a father, you failed being a human being. You're nothing but a monster. You've fucked me up beyond belief. The most simplest of things you stole from me. The basic things EVERY child has a right to, you TOOK from me, all for your own twisted fucking pleasure.

"Because of You" Kelly Clarkson
Because of you I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you I am afraid
I lose my way and it's not too long before you point it out
I cannot cry because I know that's weakness in your eyes
I'm forced to fake, a smile, a laugh every day of my life
My heart can't possibly break when it wasn't even whole to start with
I was so young
You should have known better than to lean on me
You never thought of anyone else
You just saw your pain
And now I cry In the middle of the night For the same damn thing
Because of you I tried my hardest just to forget everything
Because of you I don't know how to let anyone else in
Because of you I'm ashamed of my life because it's empty
Because of you I am afraid

Because of you I hurt myself, I burn myself, I cut myself, I can't look in the mirror, I HATE my life. I HATE being in this body, constantly reminded of the things you did to me, the things you forced me to do, the pain you inflicted, the memories that haunt me.

Be PROUD of your accomplishments DAD.

Be PROUD that you have wounded your "special little girl."

Be PROUD that you forced your "special little girl" to perform such degrading sexual acts...

Be PROUD that you have caused your "special little girl" a life of shame... a life of surviving...

Be PROUD that your "special little girl" carries such deep self hatred and disgust...


Monday, November 28, 2005


I had been doing really well for the past week. Got a big smile on my face and a bounce in my step.

I almost started crying at work today though, a friend sent me a song, Dear Mr Jesus. It is sung by a little girl and it's about child abuse. It just broke my heart listening to this pained little girl and connecting to her words on a very deep level. Left me feeling rather sad.

Ho hum....

Thursday, November 24, 2005


Some impacts of childhood sexual abuse on the life of adult survivors. By Juliet Summers B.A., B.S.W. (Survivor 1961 - 73)

Many people believe that, because the abuse happened as a child, as an adult the survivor should now just 'forget about it and get on with life'. If it were this simple, many survivors would do it! It is not this simple however. Survivors were not given the opportunity to experience a 'normal' childhood and they cannot go back and re-experience it. Childhood is where all humans learn the basics of adult behaviour. It is where they learn to talk, to walk, to feed themselves, dress themselves, to relate to others and how to decode all manner of verbal and non-verbal messages. When this learning process is distorted through abuse, it is impossible to change or erase the lessons learnt once adulthood has been reached. This is not to say that a survivor cannot lead a perfectly happy and fulfilling life, but they will never be the same as a non-survivor. The way a survivor is taught to think and act is forever different from a non-abused adult. This altered way of thinking affects relationships with their families, partners, close friends, their own children and with themselves.

If someone is skeptical about this statement, then ask them to try a simple experiment. Ask them to do two things in their life differently from the norm. Ask them to brush their teeth with their non-dominant hand and to brush their hair with their non-dominant hand. Once they have done this, ask them to imagine that, for the rest of their lives, brushing their teeth and hair will be that difficult. It won't feel 'right'. You look in the mirror and know that you can't quite do it. You can see others around you who seem to have no problems with it, but your own hands are clumsy. There are knots in your hair that you can't quite reach, or the part won't go straight. You resign yourself to the fact that you will never be able to make your hair look as good as everyone else's. Even if you get it done professionally, this is only a temporary solution. You know when brushing your teeth you've missed some of those back molars and scooping up the water was a nightmare so you used a little less than was needed. You know that eventually this type of tooth care will lead to decay but resign yourself to having to pay for the dentist bills and being admonished for your delinquency. You have learnt that others will attribute the reason for these behaviours to either a deliberate choice on your behalf or some undesirable personality defect such as laziness. But you endure, you get by.

Now tell the person to imagine that the reason they have to do this is merely to titillate and amuse some grown-up. Ask them to reflect on how they would think about life knowing that everyday was going to be a struggle and all because someone else selfishly used you for their own gratification when you were young. Now tell them to blame themselves for allowing it to happen and to feel the guilt that they are unable to tell anyone about it. This experiment may give a non-abused person a small insight into the life of a childhood sexual abuse survivor. Instead of teeth and hair brushing being 'different' for a survivor it is everything.

More information can be found here

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Cardiologist

When he walked in the room, he took one look at me and asked me whats up, said I don't look very well. I said I was just tired. He lifted up my sleeve to take my blood pressure and saw the burn marks on my arm, he put down my sleeve and said "no really, whats up?"

I just started bawling. He put his hand on my shoulder and said "it's OK, take all the time you need." After a few minutes I pulled myself together a little bit and he told me it was OK to talk to him, he then asked about my ex husband. I told him we were getting divorced. He asked me why, I told him I he wasn't a nice guy. "I gathered that from your past few visits" he said. He told me that he has been down that road, and it's very difficult, that the emotional part is the hardest. He kept talking while he finished the exam, I didn't really hear him. I was beyond embarrassed that I cried in front of someone, my cardiologist at that! Once he finished the exam, I snapped back to the present, he told me to take good care of myself and that if I needed to disappear from the world for a few days to do it because I deserve it.

Here is this doctor, someone I've seen 10 times in three years telling me to take good care of myself because I deserve it. Someone I've spent maybe 3 hours with in those 3 years gets to see me fall apart momentarily when I can't even do that with friends or my counsellor.

I don't get it.


I am incredibly anxious and scared.

I go see my cardiologist today for a check up per se. A check up entails an ECG and a very painful ultrasound of my heart. The ultrasound is painful, because one, I'm female and two, they press really hard to get images.

I don't much care for doctors and avoid seeing them at all costs. When my ex husband broke my elbow and gave me a grade 3 concussion, I didn't go to the doctor. I went to work instead. A co-worker/friend had to drag me to her car and drive me there, it didn't matter that I was in severe pain and incredibly dizzy, I wasn't going easily. And the fact that I had to lie to cover up what really happened, thankfully it was winter and I said I slipped on some ice.

Back on track here...

I'm terrified of going to see the cardiologist, every time I go, the results come back showing more problems and he tries to convince me to have the Radio-frequency catheter ablation procedure done which just terrifies me to my very core.

I have PSVT - Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia - the name is scary in and of itself. Basically, I get severe heart palpitations and a racing heart rate. It happens very often, usually I am able to control it with the Valsalva maneuver - basically holding my breath and bearing down. I refuse to go the hospital, even when the Valsalva maneuver doesn't work. The first time I went 3 years ago was the first attack that wouldn't stop, also the day I got diagnosed! It felt like my heart was going to explode. I walked into the ER, waited in line to see the triage nurse, told her my heart was beating really fast, they hooked me up to a monitor, the next thing I knew I was in a stretcher surrounded by nurses and a doctor. I had 3 IVs in me, a heart monitor and they were doing an ECG. And here I am, lying on this stretcher terrified thinking I am going to die. I asked a nurse "Am I going to die" her reply "Well we try to prevent that here, but it's a very real possibility." Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but kudos to her for being honest! The doctor tells me that he is going to press very hard on my carotid artery and if that fails, they will need to give me a drug that stops my heart and then zap me back to life. Not what I wanted to hear either! So he grabs my throat and presses incredibly hard, I thought my eyes were going to bug out of my head! Slowly, my heart starts to slow down. They wouldn't let me look at the heart monitor, but I did manage to get a peek at it, 338 beats per minute. One way to get an awesome cardio workout I guess!

I know I should probably have the procedure done as the PSVT is increasing in frequency, but a part of me (rather large part of me) would rather gamble and take my chances. The odds of dying from this are very marginal, whereas the odds for dying during the procedure are that much higher.

Funny... here I am, once a very suicidal person concerned about dying...

Breathe... just breathe...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I just talked to my sister. The second I heard her voice I could feel the anger rising inside me.

The last time I talked to my sister was a few months ago, she told me I was nothing but a piece of shit who deserved everything he (my ex husband) did to me and that I should go fuck myself.

My sister is my half sister. My mother had her before she met my father, and my father adopted her when my parents got married. My sister was also abused by my father. She once told me that he was her first orgasm and that she was in love with him. To me, that is REVOLTING!!

I cut my sister out of my life the day she said those very hurtful things to me. My ex husband had finally moved out, he lied and told me he was living with friends from work. I found out later that he was in fact living with my sister, so I confronted her about it. Asked her how she could choose him over her own sister, especially since she KNEW he used to beat the SHIT out of me on a regular basis. That's when she told me to go fuck myself and that I deserved it. Instantly, I started crying. For the first time I couldn't control it, the dam just burst open and out poured the tears. I actually cried in front of people for the first time since I was a little girl.

This phone call from her today caught me off guard. I had a terrible day at work, and talking to her was the icing on the cake. She called to tell me all about our wonderful father and how much she loves him, how he does things for her and takes care of her. She made him sound like a God instead of the sick bastard he really is. I half listened for about ten minutes and then hung up the phone. She doesn't know that I was also abused, and I really don't think it would matter if she did...

I am still so very angry. I'm guessing there is also a lot of pain around this as well, but the anger is what I am able to connect with, to recognize. It's more familiar, being angry.

I don't understand why she won't leave me alone. She sent me numerous emails apologizing for her actions and words, I didn't respond to a single one and deleted them all.

She only calls when she wants something, money for drugs usually, although she tries to disguise it by saying the kids need something. I want to cut her out completely, but the kids mean so much to me, I haven't seen or talked to them for the past few months which is killing me. I used to spend at least one day a week with them, take them out for ice cream, to the library, anything to get them away from their house and the constant fighting.

I am torn.

Monday, November 21, 2005


I put myself in a risky situation this weekend, and I am proud to say I didn't fall to temptation.

I went to a house party, there was a lot of drinking and drugs. I barely drank anything, was offered numerous times to join in on the smoke fest, and I declined each time, granted, there was probably enough by-product in the house to cause some ill effect. I was actually fairly uncomfortable with the amount of drugs that were being passed around, I left the area and congregated to another room in the house with some friends and we had our own party until everyone else was finished destroying their brain cells.

I had a great time all in all, made some new friends, laughed till I couldn't laugh anymore. Great break from reality.

However, I was triggered a few times. Once when a friend tackled me and gave me a zerbert on my tummy. It freaked me right out, and he's a rather large guy, but I managed to flip him over and get myself free. I knew he was just playing around, but it really scared me to have a man tackle me, overtake me and pin me. I had a very vivid flash. To cover it up, I just started laughing and joking that he got overpowered by a girl. Another trigger was when these two guys started talking about raping someone; they were joking around. I didn't even realize I was talking until I said what I said, but I told them something along the lines of it not being a joke, but that it is the worst thing to do someone and how would they feel if it was their sister that was raped. It stopped that conversation dead in its tracks and a couple people actually got after them for joking around with something so serious.

I'm shocked I said something. I usually don't stand up for myself, especially in a group setting. I guess that would be another marked change in me.

I've been avoiding doing my homework that was given to me by my counsellor. It's a very tough, touchy subject. But I promised no resistance, and the trust is not an issue anymore. Something happened that has built up the trust incredibly, there is not really a question about whether I can trust my counsellor. It's an odd feeling actually, no one has ever earned this much trust before. It is a little disconcerting... but all in all, it's a very positive thing the trust has been established more so than it ever has been.

I have been overcoming quite a few hurdles lately, here's to hoping the momentum keeps going...

Sunday, November 20, 2005


I have been incredibly busy since my last post, mostly by choice to avoid things! Bad decision on my part, but I needed a little break from "reality" and a break I did get!

I have actually been doing OK since Wednesday. My perspective on things has changed a little bit. I now understand it when I'm told that it's OK to feel a certain way - feelings are just feelings, they are neither bad or good; they just are! It only took seven months for that to sink in! I'm going to need that drilled in as well, constantly reminded until it really sticks.

I'm not really in the mood to write about anything right now, but there are some things on my mind I need wrestle with...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I am so frustrated.

Things in my personal life are going rather well, yet, I have been very down for over a week now, I don't understand why.

There have been some new memories, lots of nightmares and flashbacks as well, although these are normal occurrences and nothing earth shattering.

I have been taking sleeping pills at night to help me sleep and stay asleep. They're not really working. I think I need to go back to my doctor and ask for prescription sleeping pills, something that will allow me to get 8 solid hours of rest as opposed to a nap after work and a few hours scattered throughout the night.

Maybe it's the exhaustion I'm feeling that is also fueling the intense pain and sadness, add an extreme amount of work related stress and there I am; caught in the middle of the storm.

There is so much pain inside me. So much hurt, sadness. It just sits there, weighing me down, suffocating me. No matter how much I hurt, I still get up every morning, I still go to work, I put on my happy face to get me through 8 hours each day. Lately I have been wondering what the point is.

My last visit to my doctor, she wanted to take me off work. She said I need some time to help myself, to focus only on me and spend all my energy on working through this. I declined. I told her I needed to keep working as it is my outlet, it gives me something else to focus on during the day. I am now thinking it might not be a bad idea. It might help me to take some time off for myself and just focus on me and my pain and my healing. At the same time that idea scares me. I don't want to get trapped in a depressive cycle for months on end, I don't want to cut myself off from the outside world... I know that is what will happen if I do take time off work.

I just don't know what to do anymore... I'm at my wits end!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Revelations - My Feet

The only part of my body I like is my feet.

They have not been a source of pain or betrayal.

My feet allowed me to get away, to run when I needed to.

I actually pamper my feet, they are treated like royalty.

Feel free to laugh or giggle or think I'm insane, because honestly, it is insane to pamper my feet, but it makes complete sense in the scheme of things.

I am very embarrassed and ashamed to admit this, but I have been focusing on self-injury because I practice self-injury.

I down play it quite a bit in sessions with my counsellor. But it's time to be serious about it. It is not a joke; it is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. I understand this now from reading "Cutting" and am ready to address the issue full on because it will only get worse if I continue to ignore it.

I normally burn myself. I chose my upper and inner arm because it is an easy place to conceal and it is a rather sensitive area. The reasoning behind choosing burning as opposed to cutting is revolting to me, but it goes back to what I know. My father used to burn me with his cigarettes, his destination of choice was my inner thighs.

He said he was branding me.

Now, here I am, burning myself with cigarettes.

Except... it's reached a new level.

I cut my foot on Sunday. Really, seriously, cut my foot.

I was very sad, in a lot of pain and felt like I wasn't in my body. I'm not sure how to explain it, my body felt like dead weight. I don't think I was consciously aware of my surroundings, yet on some level I was aware of what I was doing, that is the only way I can grasp why I cut my foot. I tried burning myself to bring me back, to take away the hurt, I wasn't successful. That is the first time burning myself failed. This is the first time I resorted to cutting myself.

Cutting my foot at that.

I think deep inside there is a very real hatred for myself. Actually, I know there is.

Good riddance resistance... See ya later fear...

It's time.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Low Self-Esteem / How Shame Interferes with Attachment

Low Self-Esteem
Excerpt from "Cutting: Understanding & Overcoming Self-Mutilation" by Steven Levenkron

Low self-esteem has a direct impact on patterns of personal attachment. The individual with low self-esteem is prone to forming attachments with persons who are abusive to her or needier than she is. She believes that she deserves this behavior and unconsciously or unwittingly invites it. Another feature of the self-mutilator's personality, then, may be the tendency to establish abusive relationships that are reminiscent of "home," familiar, and in keeping with her childhood experiences. One component of this phenomenon is that security and pain have become fused.

This fusion of pain with security causes her to "treat" her feelings of insecurity, loneliness, and fear of abandonment with self-inflicted pain, which temporarily produces security and even tranquility. The self-mutilator, then, is someone who trusts only her pain because she connects it with "home." When she is in emotional trouble, she does not turn to another person to express her grief, but to the pain, because she can assure its presence. It is the most reliable relationship in her life, and the most familiar.

How Shame Interferes with Attachment

We have seen, in previous chapters, individuals who have committed acts against themselves which cause them pain and did physical damage to their bodies. In the cases of Jessica who was sexually abused, and Tracy, who was beaten with her father's belt, we saw how each individuals have explicitly used this physical pain and self destruction to make their psychological pain go away.

Any attempts these women made at self-disclosure were accompanied by shame. Both had difficulty describing their behavior, and in both cases they had never shared this information with anyone else. Each of them took approximately a year in therapy (following years with other therapists) to finally let out these secret behaviours they had been so ashamed of.
In Jessica's case, her behavior involved irritating her genitals with soap. This is not something that most people could readily discuss with a friend. Tracy's behavior of cutting herself with the buckle of the same belt her father had used to beat her with was equally difficult for her to reveal. Imagine the shame at having to discuss this information, and the fear of the listener's possible reaction to it. The gives us some idea of how a self-mutilator's isolation and lack of personal attachments become a self-perpetuating cycle.

Another factor that comes into play is the effect that the years of secrecy has on the developing personality. The sense of shame spreads from the specific act of cutting or burning to a general sense of shame about oneself. For Jessica, this constant state of being ashamed, coupled with the shame surrounding the original acts of childhood rape that she endured, combined to create a general sense of self-loathing. The conflict caused her continually to sabotage any chance of success that she might have at any job, or in any personal relationship. This ambivalence came out in her therapy when she became sulky and answered questions by equivocating, thus stalling the progress of the therapy. Unconsciously, she may have felt that she did not deserve success, even in overcoming her psychological problems.

This kind of patient poses special difficulties since she is both a danger to herself and a saboteur to those who wish to help her. She is constantly fighting the attachment she wishes for with her therapist. She knows, intellectually, that he or she is not a danger, but psychologically and emotionally he or she does represent a danger because trusting them would cause her to reorganize and possibly give up her defenses. This last danger can the most threatening of all.

In some cases, the fear is not that an attachment to the therapist would lead to an undeserved cure, or the dismantling of her coveted symptoms, but that the therapist would be rejecting. As we saw with Jessica and Tracy, one reason the self-mutilator lacks personal attachments is that she avoids even attempting them for fear that if someone got to know her, they might be shocked, repulsed, and rejecting of her. This fear extends to the therapist as well as friends.

I am learning an incredible amount about myself through reading this book. I am finding that not only have I adapted some of these maladaptive behaviors, but for the first time there is a great understanding of the reasons behind the behaviors.
I am a little put off by the "attachment to the therapist" as Dr. Levenkron does not elaborate on what level of attachment he is referring to. Personally, I don't believe that forming an attachment to a therapist would be healthy, perhaps instead, the therapist teaching you ways to form healthy attachments in your personal life, with family or friends. This of course, is dependant on the level of attachment. I believe some attachment is required to be successful in counselling, but where is the line drawn?
Boundaries... the ever plaguing wonder...

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Resistance: A process in which the ego opposes the conscious recall of anxiety-producing experiences.

Ego: the division of the psyche that is conscious, most immediately controls thought and behavior, and is most in touch with external reality.

I am and have been expending all of my energy into resistance. Acknowledging the resistance is a very important part of removing the resistance; I can now start to remove the resistance.

However, first I need to identify the reasons behind the resistance.

Vulnerability: I believe that being vulnerable is part of the cause of my pain. If I was not vulnerable as a child.... I won't finish that loaded sentence, instead lets focus on the fact that ALL children are vulnerable.

Trust: I trusted my father. I trusted my mother. Trusting people has failed me. It takes a very long time to earn my trust and almost nothing to lose it.

Safety: Very seldom have I felt safe. I have to work incredibly hard in creating safe spaces for myself, once a space has been tainted with even the remotest hint of "danger" it is no longer safe. There is no grey area.

Fear: Fear of rejection. Fear of being hurt. Fear of trusting. Fear of reaction. Fear of being vulnerable. There is a fear surrounding almost all aspects of the healing journey.

To keep processing this I also need to look at the fact that resistance once served me; it served me well. It allowed me to function, to wake up everyday, to breathe, to go about my life, to survive.

I need to understand that resistance no longer serves me. It is now time to move forward, to accept the things that have happened, to understand that I cannot change my past and that I absolutely cannot let it control my future. This is going to be incredibly challenging - I am up for the challenge.

I also need to remind myself that on this journey I will take a step or two backwards. I will retreat into myself, I will resist and fight the process. Doing all of those things is OK. It took years of trauma of get me where I am, and it's going to take a long time to get me to be where I want to be. To be a healthy, full functioning adult.

Understanding is one thing. Intellectually I know this, but on another level I don't trust it or truly believe it.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


I remember playing in the sandbox in my backyard, I was building a sand castle for My Little Pony! I remember my mother coming outside and leaving. She left me with him, alone for almost the entire day.

I remember that day as if it was yesterday. Some days, it feels as if it really was yesterday. Memories are starting to surface more and more now, memories that I had buried in my mind so I could wake up every day and survive.

It is going to be incredibly difficult to share these memories, to verbalize them, to make them real.

Ever since I shared my memory, I have been in a pattern of resistance. Fighting the process, fighting the trust in my counselor; not wanting to talk or share on any kind of level. I have been thinking about this a lot lately, the resistance. I am trying to understand the reason behind it, trying to remove the block that is causing it. I think it is because of the vulnerability I felt while sharing and then being left alone with the after effects, my inner critic kicking my proverbial ass.

I'm also very scared. The intimate conversation, the vulnerability, it is all so very scary. I need to reassure myself that it's OK to be vulnerable, it's OK to share, it's OK to be scared.

I need to convince myself that everything that has happened to me does not define me. It is not who I am.

I need to continue to get this poison out before it destroys me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

No Tears

I have been feeling incredibly sad for days on end. The sadness and despair keep growing, overtaking me. To deal with sadness, one normally cries as an outlet.

I have no tears.

The physical act of crying is beyond me. I can feel the tears welling up, I can feel the wave of wanting to release them, I can feel my lips begin to quiver and my voice start to shake with emotion. Still, no tears.

"Crying is for babies... you're not a baby are you?"
"Does that hurt? Are you going to cry? No... well lets see if we can make you cry"
"You were a mistake. Do you hear me? A mistake! I wish you had never been born."

Whenever I feel the tears start to come up, the above screams through my head like a locomotive. Faster than a speeding bullet!

It is my mothers words.

As I write this, I can feel the sadness and pain continuing to build. I can feel my chest grow heavy...

Solitude standing in the mirror
With a flower and a flame
Glaring in all her horrific glory
Find the things she's erased
Hit until you can't hit no more
Set fire with the flame
Capture it in time
Am I part of the disease?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Characteristics of the Self-Injurer

Excerpt from "Cutting: Understanding & Overcoming Self-Mutilation" by Steven Levenkron

The person who chooses this action is someone who experiences herself as powerless. She may not be docile, timid, or shy in public; she may even be quite outgoing. But no matter how outgoing or confident she seems, she feels alone wherever she is, different from everyone around her, an outsider. She is often plagued by a fear of punishment - usually from a parent - for being deficient, inadequate, a disappointment in a way that was either specifically defined for her, or one that is unspoken but understood.

Like the anorexic, she may feel that she has no one to depend upon or to trust with her emotions. That feeling alone will produce fearfulness most of the time, even when there is no immediate cause to fear. So, what we know about this person is that she is afraid, and she may hide behind obsessional thinking or eating disorders as well as self-mutilation to gain relief from her constant state of fear. She is seeking all the relief she can find from her fearfulness. Often, she is a high achiever is some area. At the same time, she may ignore (and usually does) subjects that don't interest her.

She is often apologetic even when she has done nothing to apologize for. She is fearful of what she sees as the imminent danger or resentment others will feel toward her. Sometimes, her frequent gratuitous apologies stemming from this fear will annoy and alienate those friends closest to her. She may interpret their withdrawal as an indication that she has been offensive or not apologetic enough and increase the very behavior that repels those around her. Still, she is a person generally well liked by her peer group who may identify on a very small scale with her vulnerability, a vulnerability that most of them are also experiencing to a lesser degree.

The self-mutilator is therefore a likeable, sometimes high achieving person with a myriad of problems.

The feelings of fear and loneliness from having no one to depend upon or trust are not formed in the imagination of the self-mutilator, but usually in actual childhood or early adolescent experience. They are realistic fears, based on real experiences and the severity of the resulting self-mutilating behavior. Some of the trauma is subtle and may include having a parent with a mental or physical illness; being overlooked and neglected; having the family broken up or separated for a period of time. Some of the trauma is very unsubtle: physical abuse, sexual molestation, and incest rape.

The above sums me up fairly well. It offers some comfort knowing that I am not alone.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


There I was, laughing and playing pool with friends when out of nowhere this intense wave of sadness rushes over me. I bottled the sadness until I could no longer keep on the face. Told them I wasn't feeling well and needed to leave. It wasn't a complete lie, but not completely the truth either. I just didn't want to be around anyone, wanted to isolate myself and try to honor the sadness instead of pushing it down.

I am trying to find the cause of the sadness, the trigger. Unfortunately I have not connected with it as of yet and I have a strong feeling I will not.

Spoke too soon!

Have you ever felt completely alone, yet you are surrounded by people? Surrounded by good friends?

That is exactly what I felt. What I still feel.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


What are memories?

Are they something that actually happened or something you cooked up in your mind?

Is every single detail of a memory true, or has it been embellished over the years?

How does the brain hold on to these memories?

How are memories sometimes projected as photographs in the mind?

And this memory isn't really anything I've forgotten, or anything related to the abuse. It's about my uncle.

I was 19. My uncle and I used to spend a lot of time together, he was 34. We had a lot in common and enjoyed watching hockey. Him cheering for the Vancouver Canucks and me, my hometown team of course.

I had last seen him a few weeks prior to the news. He stopped by to say hello. Our conversation was superficial, something that was not usual with us. He suddenly said he had to leave. That was the last time I saw him.

A few weeks later sometime in the evening my doorbell rang. I answered the door and was greeted by two police officers. They asked if they could come in, and verified who I was. I let them in. I remember my heart beating a million miles a minute, it felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. I asked them what they wanted and they told me I should sit down. I remember saying very loudly and firmly that I didn't want to sit down and for them to tell me why they were here.

They looked at each other with grim faces, and the younger male police officer said "I'm very sorry to inform you, but ***** has passed away"

I remember feeling like the walls and the floor just disappeared; like I was falling.

My mother was just arriving home, and at the sight of the police officers she started shouting what happened. I didn't have time to digest the news, I had to tell my mother that her younger brother passed away.

With the news, my mother collapsed on the floor. The officers tried to help her up, I told them I would take care of her and thanks for letting us know. They stayed in the doorway watching as I helped my mother up and sat her on the couch. She was hysterical. I didn't have time to be hysterical.

I asked the officers how he died. They told me I should sit down, again I refused.

"It is inconclusive to the cause of the death. It is estimated he passed away within 7 to 10 days ago. An autopsy will be performed."

I was spinning. I just saw him. How did this happen?

I had to remain strong. I had to notify other family members. I had to take care of my mother.

I had to notify my aunt.

My aunt was on vacation in the mountains for her husbands family reunion. I had an idea of where they were, but not an exact location. I had to track her down to let her know before she got calls from other family members once the news spread. I wanted her to find out from me.

I contacted the RCMP who were a tremendous help. I provided them the details of her possible whereabouts and that it was a family reunion. They said they would try to track her down after I explained the reason behind needing to contact her. Two hours later my phone rang. It was my aunt. The RCMP had found her and were allowing her to use their satellite phone so she could call me. I asked to speak with my uncle first, I told him what happened and that he needed to stay with her while I broke the news.

The police came back the next day. It was the same two officers. They had his wallet and keys to his condo. They asked if I knew why he didn't have a phone, I said he liked his privacy and had a pager instead. I asked why they wanted to know that. The older male officer told me that my uncle had a grow op in his basement, he had over 50 marijuana plants! I was stunned. I had no idea he was doing that. The officer said they had removed all the plants and the paraphernalia and it was OK to go to his condo now, however, the smell is very strong and advised I not go alone and wear a face mask. Now I'm thinking the smell of the marijuana is very strong, I didn't even think about what I was to encounter.

My mother, brother and I drove his condo. Walking up the sidewalk we saw bugs flying around inside. I later discovered they were once maggots. We could smell something very disgusting standing at the closed front door. Something similar to a backed up sewer is the best way to describe it.

I opened the door and stepped inside. I turned around and vomited on the steps. I have no words to describe the stench. It is something I wouldn't wish anyone to smell.

Heeding the advice of the officers, my brother brought along face masks. We each put one on, but it did relatively nothing to lessen the stench.

They said they found him upstairs, half lying in the hallway, half lying in his bedroom. I walked upstairs and stopped short. I took several deep breaths through my mouth to try to control the panic. I walked up the rest of the stairs and saw they had removed the carpet. I walked around the corner, and there staring at me was a perfect outline of my uncles body etched into the wood from his decomposing body. I froze and stared. I was transfixed by the sight. In the air there were hundreds of maggot flies, hundreds of dead maggots on the floor.

The police had removed his bed and all curtains in the condo. I later found out because the smell was embedded in them and they had to be destroyed.

We spent two days throwing out most of his possessions because the smell had attached itself to everything.

It had been a very long time since I "smelled" that smell, and lately I keep getting flashes of it. I could be at work and suddenly be overcome with the stench that I am sick to my stomach. I have also been dreaming of him a lot. Not of him alive, but how he died.

They weren't able to determine the cause of death with the autopsy. They said his body was far too decomposed to have an absolute. They did find high levels of acetaminophen in his liver and he had clogged arteries in his heart. To this day I still do not know how he died. I would like an answer.

The recurring dream I have been having is of him clutching his stomach, vomiting into a clothes hamper. Him stumbling and finally falling down where they found him. In my dream I am trying to help him, I am trying to get to him but there is an invisible force holding me back.

I now cheer for the Vancouver Canucks.