Discussion of verbal/emotional abuse, child sexual abuse and suicidal ideation
This is the message I have for myself tonight:
I have never stopped fighting for you.
I never will.
Self-love for the soul lesson #3 was called steppingstones. The idea was to list off several turning points in my life where, if they hadn’t happened I would be a different person. The only rule was that I had to start with the phrase “I was born. ”
I was born
Lived with my grandparents
Moved to NH
4th Grade Arbor day
Was molested and mother didn’t believe me
Became friends with Tammy
Went to Grace
The next step was supposed to be to circle 2 or 3 of these hand free write about each one for 10 to 15 minutes.
I actually feel like I talk about these things quite a bit, both in my blog and in my journaling, and I have no particular desire to free write about them again at this juncture. I feel like anything I could say I’ve already said.
You guys have heard all anyway. Mostly. There’s one part I don’t think you’ve heard.
I was born with cerebral palsy. I spent the first 3 months of my life in a neonatal ICU, fighting for my life.
I came home, lived with my grandparents until my mother married my stepfather, the man who I called my dad. My dad was an alcoholic, and he never really accepted me, though he pretends to in public situations. Everyone I know thinks he’s a hero for taking me in. There’s an essay on that topic brewing around in the back of my mind but I haven’t been able to write it yet because I’m too angry, or maybe not angry enough.
He molested me, and my mother didn’t believe me. She never much believed me anyway. Always took his side of any issue or my brother’s side. I’m sure that affected my self perception and my relationship with myself. I noticed that I spend a lot of time making sure my arguments are solid before I say anything, that I am always aware of how I’m presenting myself and if I choose to let my guard down, it’s work the whole time.
I tried to kill myself three times at the age of sixteen. Nobody noticed.
I moved out of my parents’ home when I was 19. Met my husband that same year. He was homeless. I invited him home for pizza because I felt bad. I had ordered a pizza the night before, and it was just sitting there in my refrigerator, and here was this homeless guy with probably nothing. I didn’t realize at the time that he was a con artist. There was a whirlwind romance, and everything he told me about himself was untrue or exaggerated. I didn’t realize that until I had married him and was neckdeep in shit.
He was abusive, but insecurely attached. He was paranoid and would cry and act fearful over everything. I stopped seeing my friends because I couldn’t go anywhere without him. If I left them alone, he would invariably get into a fight with a neighbor or do something destructive in my apartment building, the lease was in my name, so I would be responsible. If I tried to set boundaries with him or ask for space, he would cry and talk about his ex who had cheated. On him, and I didn’t have the experience to recognize this as passive aggression or a form of narcissism. After a while, he started to get violent. He would literally sit in front of the bedroom door for hours to keep me barricaded in there, force me to sleep trapped behind him with my back against the wall. I have a neurological disorder that made it impossible for me to get around or over him. I couldn’t go to the bathroom of the door shot or be away from him for more than 15 minutes without him insisting that I was having an affair. It would take HOURS of apologizing and trying to reason with/reassure him just to get to a point where I was confident that he wouldn’t punch holes in the bedroom walls. I lost a lot of my capacity for empathy during that marriage, and I’ve never really been the same since.
I tried to kill myself twice while married.
When I left him, I was homeless. Most of my friends abandoned me, though I will say that they had some justifiable reasons given the way I acted when married. One of the few people who didn’t abandon me at that time was an acquaintance named Tammy. We became best friends, and I helped to raise her children. I treated them as my own family.
A few years ago she got into a relationship with a convicted felon and went on the run with him. She never told me and actively lied to me about her whereabouts the whole time. When she came back, she said she “wasn’t going to apologize because she did what she had to do.” I tried to work things out with her, but she abandoned me again and stopped returning my phone calls. There was no fight or falling out. One day she just ghosted. Again.
I fought off suicide for over a year after that.
Tim is someone I met in my early 20s. Just after the homeless period, when I was living in transitional housing. He was a good friend for many years, and I considered him family. About 8 years ago, he started drinking heavily and abusing medications. One night, without any provocation, he called me in a drunken stupor and told me I was a “juvenile loser with no friends and needed to grow up.” When I confronted him about it later, he said he had no memory of it except for the sound of my voice as I broke into hysterical tears on the phone.
I almost killed myself that night. But that would have been letting him win.
Grace was the church I went to, beginning as a desperately wounded 22 year old. I stayed until I was 33. Ironic. I found friends and a mentor there, probably idolized said mentor too much, and then had my painstakingly rebuilt trust shattered again.
I was too numb to even care if I killed myself after that. Just coasted for a long time.
The typoteers were my closest friends in my 30s. They helped me out of the pit. There were a group of five or six of us that dwindled down to 3 over the course of a decade. Most just moved on, no hard feelings. One abandoned us in epic style.
Of the remaining two, there is one I trust implicitly. The other claimed to love me and then used me as an emotional punching bag for months until I finally reached the end of my tolerance.
I almost killed myself then too.
The rest of the things on this list–the stories–are my lifelines. They are the reason for my existence. The reason I’m still alive and haven’t finished the job of taking my life.
So, for those who criticize me over putting too much priority on my stories–fuck you. I’m fighting for my life.