I started this blog a very long time ago. And before this blog, there was another one. And there were many in-between. Each blog served a purpose. I don't know exactly what that purpose was, but Therapist does.
Therapist believes that these blogs of mine served to assuage my need to fragment. Even though thinking of this makes me cringe and ache and want to scream, I know he's right.
I have spoken a few times about dissociation. I understand it's a necessary tool for many who experience extreme trauma. I have never viewed myself as one who experienced extreme trauma. I lived in a household where I often felt unwanted and where abuse happened, but I wasn't molested by my father, I don't carry physical scars, and who can say if emotional abuse is extreme trauma. I've never believed it was. It made me unhappy. There are worse things than unhappiness.
I was molested as a child by strangers. It happened twice, that I remember. The first time I was so young that I barely remember what happened and I don't attach any feelings to the incident. The second time I was almost 8. I remember it vividly. I acted appropriately. I screamed and kicked and ran. More traumatic than being molested by a stranger was the feeling of abandonment by my father as he ran to take his anger out on the man who touched me. So I wasn't held or comforted. None of this is extreme trauma.
I had a cousin who touched me inappropriately when I was nine, and later raped me when I was not quite twelve. I think that was traumatic. It caused me a great deal of distress over a long period of time. I became depressed. I had moments when I wished to die. But I lived and I grew up and I became Samantha--and in becoming Samantha, I left behind the person I had been. I became fragmented.
Time and therapy have shown me that this was not the first time I had allowed that to happen. I suppose that's where my confusion comes from, and perhaps my shame. I don't understand why the other times happened. They seem minor in comparison to the abuse experienced by so many other children. I wonder if I was born unbalanced and the slightest discomfort tilted the scale into insanity. I see the need for others to use the dissociation coping mechanism. I find no reason for me to do so.
When I research it I feel overwhelmed by shame and defiance. I don't understand where those come from. I want to feel happy that I was able to experience some success in integration. I want to look at what happened and say, "It's okay. Clearly I needed something to help me live, and this did the trick." But in the back of my mind there is a voice that says, "Hey, Sam, don't you think you're overreacting a bit? Isn't dissociation a little extreme? Maybe you're crazy and none of this is real, after all. Maybe one day you'll wake up and you won't remember anymore." It's a little upsetting. It's more upsetting when a second thought comes unbidden: "I wish I could forget."
I don't know what I want to forget.
I have spoken briefly of the mass exodus from my life by people who used to have interest in me. These include close friends and family members. I suppose I have only one thing to say about that: I don't blame them. I suppose that's what dissociation is all about, really. Leaving someone behind because they have become (or their lives have become) too difficult to cope with, and I completely understand why people leave. I wish I could leave me, too.
But Therapist says I need to remember that I have other ways to cope now. Healthy ones.
I remember. I don't want to, but I do. And I'm not having extreme trauma--perhaps I never have--so I don't need to leave Samantha behind. I need to be her even when it hurts.