19 comments on “My Mask, My Life Jacket

    • Persia, I don’t know how I missed this, because I obviously had to approve it 😦 *kicks wordpress*

      I both need and desperately want to rid myself of the stupid thing. But things are so strange now. People ask questions like they want to know about what I went through. When I answer them, even with a very watered down version (I think that what I went through was often far too violent to share among others who were abused. I don’t want to be a trigger for anyone, because I know how much I hate having my own triggers…), they do this thing where they wince and get quiet.. and then either act strangely around me all the time or just vanish.

      I don’t know what’s better. Complete honesty but feeling that guilt of not wanting to cause others more trauma or make them uncomfortable or to be feel like a tool for being completely honest and letting people see what’s really there.

      Why can I just not find a balance with the stinking mask getting pulled out when things get too rough?

      • Don’t be so hard on yourself. I’d be brutally honest if it were me. If people act funny or walk away, then I’d leave them to it. You have to do what helps to make you feel better. I’ve read so many ‘stories’ which feel like I’m reading a chapter from my own mess. They make me cry and relive the trauma I went through. However, I think the brutal truth needs to be put out there. How else are we going to help the next potential or current vitctim(s)? Just be yourself and do what you think is right. I’m there for you in spirit. I’m here for you as a shoulder to cry/lean on. I’m here for you as a friend. Lots of love. xx

        • As I read this, I thought to myself, “This sounds like something I would say to someone else.” And then I realized that it is! For some reason, I still can’t get myself to extend the courtesy and compassion to myself and see myself as human. Even if I repeat it so much out loud I still don’t really *know* it, and I think that is one of the reasons I do repeat it so much. Maybe one day I can trick myself into believing that I am worth as much as I know others are and as much as others know I am. I tell you, this cleaning up the damage is a load of work.

          Thank you for sharing the kindness with me, because I forgot how 🙂

          • It’s the way we are sometimes. We can help others, but we can, or even somewhat refuse to help ourselves because we find it difficult, or we believe we don’t deserve it.
            It is a long process, but you will get there in the end. Stay strong. And you don’t have to trick yourself… you are worth it. You’re a beautiful, bright lady who had a bad turn in life, but has been given an opportunity to shine once more! Take it. Use it. Love yourself.
            Have a blessed day.
            P.S. You didn’t forget how, it’s not in your nature. You just got a little lost along the way. We all do. 🙂

  1. This is beautifully written. I too wear my mask too often. It is almost too easy to go there. Always remember that the ones that truly love you (like me) want to see the beast. We want you to know that you are safe to show us the beast. We will not only deal with it but help you to defeat it in any and every way possible.

    • I am tired of the beasts showing. I feel like that at this point since I am now almost 15 month out I should have this on lock. Since I continue to struggle with this I feel like something must be wrong with not only what I’m doing in an attempt to deal with it but also myself in general. I don’t want anyone to see the Beast. I don’t want to feel like being the Beast. I am tired of him still being able to trigger me after so long. Kerwyn knows how difficult it can be to handle me in to interact with me in a normal capacity when I am being triggered so heavily. I don’t want any of you have to see it. I don’t want any of you to deal with it. All I know is that it needs to stop but I do not know how to make that happen.

      • I don’t know how to say this bit this is something that I believe stays with us forever. It’s not who we are but becomes part of us. I don’t know anyone in our position that is able to rid themselves of the beast in a year and a half. I’m going on 5 years and I still have those times where it’s fresh. It’s has moved away For the forefront of my mind but it’s still there. In my opinion I think that the beast keeps us safe. It reminds us of what can happen. I think that the important thing is that we have a strong support system that can be understanding of what the beast is and how we can tame him together.

  2. I agree with Abby. A year and a half is not very long. Healing doesn’t happen overnight. Your abuse didn’t happen in one day, and your healing won’t happen quickly either. Be patient with yourself. For myself, I realize my healing is a very up and down process. One day I feel great, as if my abuse never occurred, the next day I am in the pit. We are human.

    I have written a blog that might be helpful to you and others. Here is the link: http://www.carolineabbott.com/2012/11/how-can-a-formerly-abused-woman-heal/

    Please don’t think I believe I have all the answers! I am in the same boat as you, I’ve just been floating around a bit longer (nine years for me : ). Bless you!

    • Hi Caroline,

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving me the comment.

      I think the same way you do, that it takes time, that a year and a half isn’t so long….. just for everyone else but me. I have had countless conversations about this with others, both survivors and complete outsiders, that mirror what you said, and probably several of the survivors who follow my blog (or twitter) can tell you that I have tried to encourage them along these lines, because I know that frustration and hurt. I know how it is when you feel like it’s just you, that maybe if you did something a different way, you’d be okay, that if you really wanted it, it would be so. But I can never seem to get it into my own head and make it stick.

      I also by nature am not a very patient person when it comes to myself. I can give concession after concession to others, wait for them to take as much time as they need, but I cannot do this with myself. So when I read 9 nine years, don’t think I didn’t face palm. LOL On my schedule, I should be okay by now, and I have to say that 9 years doesn’t work for me! Although, I know this is just par for the course of being abused. I know it takes far more work to undo what has been done to us. I know that I have wounds I probably don’t even know are there yet, but I guess instead of focusing on where I am now, I should first take a look back at the broken shell I was when I first left and THEN look at where I am now. Because when I do it that way, I have made infinite amounts of progress, and I am grateful for that. Even with all the garbage, the fifteen months have been the best ever. Rocky? Yes. Trying? Yes. Hard, sometimes all but impossible? Yes. BUT I AM ALIVE. And he can’t take that from me.

      What triggered this cavernous sink hole of emotion has been not one or two but a HUGE series of triggers setting me off. I have found that people associated with him by far elicit the worst response. But what does one do when it happens in a store? They have just as much right to be there as I do. The problem is, the people I have been running into are drug contacts of his…. dealers, etc. And the are associated with some pretty traumatic things that happened, and for some reason the past few weeks they have been crawling out of the woodwork. And worse, when I tell them not to talk to me because I am not their friend and they think they can push me to talk like I want to see them. It’s been rough and I don’t know why they are all out suddenly.

      If any of us had all the answers, I am sure we would be walking around perfectly fine with no trauma to clean up… You are only trying to help others, and that is never a bad thing.

  3. New insight; more to process. I’m always learning something new about you. And no, I don’t think I know what you’re experiencing (and probably never will… at least not fully). But each time we interact, both online and off, it helps me see a little more into what you’ve experienced, and what you’re still enduring. Hopefully it will help me be a better support to you.

    • Despite my uncanny ability to have verbose outbursts the past six weeks or so, this is proving difficult to reply to, because you aren’t a survivor, a friend, or someone who knows of me from afar. There are emotional entanglements here that cause battles in my head in the (not so) simple act of choosing words I may use or emotions I may convey that maybe I don’t want to go so far into. Because of fear? Yeah, not on your life. Because of lack of trust? Please, with this mouth that never seems to stop?

      Because of love. How do you day after day, month after month, tell these hurtful things to the person you love? The one whom you know you can say whatever you need to, but on the other hand, do you really want to? The logical, normal side of me understands that having to tell what I have told you, which is so much more than anyone here will ever know, was a necessity, because you deserve to know the score. You deserve to know where my head is, but more importantly, since I obviously lack the objectivity for the overwhelming part of my life, you need to know why. Because I can’t trust myself to see the triggers and stupidity sneaking up on me. Because even though under normal circumstances when I wouldn’t even bat an eye at something that is normal, that normal thing when I am being triggered is suspect. And I need to trust you to be able and step back and keep your objectivity and try to remember what’s going on when the crazy comes out of the closet.

      I bear guilt for this. You read that correctly. No one wants to cause the person they love emotional distress, but here I am going all colors of crazy. Sometimes I can get it under wraps, but the past month and a half, for example, has been tough on me. Correction: it has been all but impossible. It’s annoying enough that the logical side of me is pretty much immobilized but still aware of what is going on, and I detest what the triggers do to me. This adds annoyance and frustration and sometimes sadness that I can’t fix this. I can fix anything. Anything but myself, it seems. And then I have had to deal with a lot of ignorance from others, both in their actions and their commentary. This makes me feel ashamed, and makes me want to hide from the world safely in the cocoon of my bed until it blows over. Add on top of that the lack of sleep and appetite that come with it, and I get a little cranky.

      And then there is the worry and fear about how what I am going through is affecting everyone else around me. Particularly the one (you) who is closest to me and knows me probably more intimately than I know myself. Did I say too much? Not enough? Did it hurt you having to hear it? Are you annoyed? Angry? Frustrated? And so on and so on….

      I carry the burden of the world on my shoulders lately, it seems.

      So the best way is just act like it isn’t there. And maybe it will go away. And this is just the triggers talking. Even over the weekend I was bumping into people I would rather have left in the past so they can fade away into obscurity even as they scurry on about their lives.

      Then there’s always the fear of how much do I reveal to you before you just decide you don’t want it anymore.

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