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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

There is no logical progression to this post, and yes, it's all about me.

I've always had a tradition of making time for people. Even when I had a pressing obligation--people came first. Therapist believes this was my way of compensating for not having something similar in my life. He believes many of my habits are in place to negate needs which weren't met or nurturing which was not received. He keeps pointing out that those habits won't solve any of my deep-seated issues, but rather, serve to build that delusion that I am not like my mother. So...I am protective of those I love, I try to help those who seem sad or lonely, I will often put another person's needs before my own, and I avoid sharing my problems...which all seem like very good qualities.

Therapist says they are, but I use them to avoid what I really need. When I immerse myself in those habits, I don't address the fact that I'm giving what I need to receive--thus the deficit inside me increases. I pointed out that if I choose wisely, what I give will be reciprocated and he conceded the fact. But, he said, even if that's so, I'm subconsciously aware of my ulterior motives and also understand that it's a trade-off, I'm simply maintaining the current imbalance, not feeding my needs.


I think they're stupid and I should not have them. They're inconvenient and painful and I don't like it when Therapist tells me the consequences of not addressing them.

When I was staying with Tolkien Boy, I told him I had not had any night terrors for a few days. He said, "That's wonderful! I think it needs to be celebrated with a hug!" (I'm not kidding--he really said that.) I remember feeling astonished and having this lightening-fast inner interrogation:
"Why would he want to hug me?"
"Wait--why does this make him happy?"
"Do people hug spontaneously like this?"
"Do I even know how to do this?"
"Someone cares that I don't have night terrors?"
"How can I make this make sense to me?"
Then I agreed, stood up and hugged him, hoping he didn't notice that something so NORMAL was causing me to have a tiny nervous breakdown. The experience has been been bothering me now for nearly three months.

I realized during my therapy session that it bothers me because it seemed completely foreign. It's not like I've never been hugged before, or shown affection. I have a couple of friends who often hug and kiss me unexpectedly. I think it was linked to the fact that my flashbacks/nightmares/night terrors belong exclusively to me and I have a firm belief that I am the only one who actually cares/obsesses about them and my loved ones tolerate me when I talk of those things, but they don't really understand why it's such a big deal to me.

I've tried to explain that when I have a flashback, it feels as though I'm actually experiencing whatever occurs in that moment. I feel that I've been raped once again. I feel the physical pain as if it actually happened, and the emotional trauma, and the horrible, aching loneliness...and my body still bleeds sympathetically for no explainable reason. I'm a medical mystery. Sometimes it takes me a few minutes to regroup, to not cry, to continue whatever it is I was doing before the flashback occurred. But even in the explanation, I feel that I'm imparting trivial information. I haven't been raped again--this is all in my crazy head, and I assume my listener is bored or even aggravated that I'm talking about the same thing again.

To have no night terrors for a few days, when I had been bothered by them for months, was a beautiful relief for me, because I alone know what they are--what they do to me. To have it seem joyful to another person was incomprehensible. I didn't know how to react. Part of me still does not.

The funny thing about all this: I've had no flashbacks now for two and a half months. None. And Darrin tells me I've had nightmares, because he's had to calm me or wake me up, but I don't remember this which means the dreams might be terrifying, but they lack the real-life quality which triggers pain and intense sadness. For me, this is a huge victory. And I've been marking the time, hoping this will last, but in the process I've been wishing for someone to say, "That's wonderful! I think it needs to be celebrated with a hug!"

Maybe this is me acknowledging one of my needs? I need to know this is important to someone besides me? I need to know people understand that the aftermath of rape is significant and painful? I need to know it's okay for me to grieve when I experience a flashback?

I don't know. Maybe I just need a hug.


  1. It is wonderful and I hope in the future the nightmares will end to. I will give you a cyber hug (hug). Lots of people love you and are glad when you are feeling better. hope you have a great day!-lots of hugs-A.J.

  2. :-)

    A.J.-- You're one of the few people who still talk on my blog and you always say lovely things. Thank you!