In my last post, I sound as if I had “dealt” with the visit to my hometown… I was wrong. What I’d done, is stuff it all in a rather large room in the back of my mind, and closed the door. My main thought was that I’d gotten through the past two weekends, and that was all that mattered. I had expected that once those weekends were over, then the anxiety and dissociation would magically disappear… because I wanted that so much, I started to live it. The trip became a “good, healing experience”, and I couldn’t even remember the weekend of the conference… they became like another couple of headlines in the newspaper, nothing more.
On Thursday, the little fantasy that I had created for myself, came crashing down. I saw Allison, and we talked about the trip. She didn’t force anything, but it ripped open the door that I had firmly shut. We talked about my family not recognising me as I got off the plane… my sister-in-law who talks about her abuse history as if it’s a badge that everyone has to see, and know about… the doubts created when places weren’t exactly as I remembered them… The session was “intense” according to Allison’s parting words. So intense, I had to sit in the car for over an hour, talking to a friend in order to ground myself and stop the shaking.
This was when the real fallout began… flashbacks; lost time; constant internal chatter about how bad I am; images of self-injury; and so on. Intellectually, I decided that the main issue was the denial created when details of the pub weren’t exactly as I remembered; so decided to do some research. The pub has a history page on their website. When looking for old photos of the building, I found a photo of my father. I also found out he’d been given awards for his input into the organisation. Again, denial slammed into me… was I falsely accusing this man, who was respected in his community, of horrors that had never happened? It didn’t matter that I wasn’t accusing him in court, or that I have no intention of doing so… all that mattered was whether it happened or not. I’m used to the dance of denial… it’s one I’ve experienced throughout my life. In some ways, it’s comforting to know that the denial and doubt touch every single aspect of my life… it’s not just the abuse that I doubt, but everything. At times my life just seems to be a big question mark.
I realise that I’ve already glossed over the impact of seeing the photo of my father. I remember seeing the photo as a child… one of my brothers is also in a photo nearby. It’s disconcerting to see those two, who look so similar, so close. To say that it’s disconcerting to see how much I look like my father, is an understatement. I hate genetics. I hate knowing how much I look like him. That’s part of the reason I can’t look in the mirror… I see his face and the cross that he wore around his neck during my teens. Yet another reason to hate how I look, and who I am. When I see him in my reflection, I become him, and part of the things that he did – not just to me, but to the family, and community. He is an alcoholic narcissist, and has left a trail of destruction behind him, fitting of such labels.
Sorry, I know this is becoming disjointed… I need to write it out. I need to try to make sense of it. But, I don’t know if that’s even possible anymore.
Thursday night, I decided to clean out my wardrobe. During the clean out, I found jewellery that my father had given me, as well as the lingerie purchased for my wedding night… I don’t know how these items had lasted so long. But there they were… a cruel reminder of my doubts, pain and confusion. If you’re wondering why I doubt the abuse from my father, yet still react to him… well, apparently I’ve always reacted to him. My mother once told me that one of the factors which caused her to separate from my father, was talking to me in the kitchen when he arrived home… she said that as soon as I heard his car, I looked to confirm it was him, then my face changed, and I walked away to my room without finishing the conversation.
While my reaction to finding those items didn’t help ease any denial, it added another layer of stress and provided more fodder for flashbacks…
What does all of this mean? Well, the short version is that I’m a mess… the long version is that I’m a total and utter mess. I’m reacting to the slightest of triggers… unable to concentrate on anything for even moderate timeframes… want to go out and get totally drunk… the list goes on. I’m trying to remember that the world keeps turning, and that means that this turmoil will pass… please, pass soon… please.