I understood growing up that trusted people were not inadvertently driving me crazy but were instead devoted to the systematic destruction of my sanity. It wasn’t about their behaviors, though I’d make it a point to avoid a beating by wandering the neighborhood till the lights went out, go home and step over mom on the way to the kitchen, eat a tub of Cool Whip, fall asleep on the couch and wake up with a caregiver’s dick in my mouth. Go down to the basement and burn my cum-stained nightie in the laundrytub, thinking, then head off to school in rumpled overalls and mother’s torn nylons, sleep at my desk while intuitive classmates point and ridicule, gearing up for the beatdown I was hoping to dodge by the bullies on the playground. Welp, I told myself, sucks all right, but no one is going to touch my mind.
This is what they wanted, evident, by age eight, the people perpetrating on me attack my body and it hurts but I can ignore that since what they’re really after is my mind, my soul, my freedom, pleasure, my sense of ease and security, my pride, my delight. I’ll tell you how I knew this: My actions had no impact on them. Their treatment of me was inner directed, random, their demands of me non-specific or inconsistent, they didn’t want me to do anything better, didn’t want me to be good, to improve, to behave, and believe me I tried. It wasn’t about that. I’m still learning, it wasn’t about me. Their only goal was the complete breaking down of personality. They needed me to think and feel and become something else, something ugly, corrosive and corrupt, a mirror. They wanted to watch this version of me take form, they wanted to be the ones who caused the transformation and wanted to be known by me as the ones who caused it.
Trauma is not just talk about what the abuser did; welts and bruises fade. Psychic trauma is about who did it, and why they did it, and since going there is inconceivable to most people we talk about CSA, scars and whatnot and PTSD in order to avoid the unpleasant. PS: This too is traumatizing.
I understand dangerous, sadistic twisted fucks tune into my radar, even though I know all this — my caregivers wished to destroy my mind — or maybe it’s because I know all this, you avoid what I invite. There’s always a psychopath beckoning. Something is always tugging, it’s true for you and true for me, all of nature, organisms, living things incline toward particular experience, we do. There’s a hole in my heart where the wreckers crawl in, do I get what I deserve? It’s very screwed up and very understandable in light of the BPD, Borderline Personality Disorder. Which has been established, yes, it has.
I am truly fucking sorry.
Ignorant, judgmental scolds who don’t understand why anyone would want to self-destruct should begin asking why not self-destruct. Then try to spend a single day getting over your always redundant relief in the familiar.
Some excellent writing – as always.
We Love You.
Agree with both commenters.
Wiping away tears.
“all of nature, organisms, living things incline toward particular experience, we do.”
Yes. Yes, we do. Damn.
I put a writing award for you on my blog. You have no idea how moved I was by this piece.
That is so,so true. I would have no idea how to help but what little I have-it’s yours. Too many years have been spent giving to the wrong people for the wrong reasons.
Well, shit. My first thought was you crawled in my eyes and saw what happened but I know you would stay our of my head, respecting my privacy and all. Then my second thought was shit, I got in your eyes and saw what happened and then I remember you were, as I was reading, telling me what happened.
Why am I so tired when all I was doing was listening?
Hope you are doing better since you wrote that. I was already in the basement when I found you there again. Literally, once I saw a guy’s “dick, rod, johnson” (Maude Lebowski, of course) in the laundry room at the apartments. To this day a strong smell of washing powder can short circuit me for a few hours. He was trying to “show” it to me, but I thought he wanted to “give” it to me. I was very confused, very three years old.
I have been depressed. I owe you a note.
At least the assholes aren’t in session.
Ha no they’re not, but TX politics are as obsessive as heck during primary season. I am toying with crossing parties to vote for Kay, first time in my life I’da voted Rethug but I don’t know what else to do.
It’s always good to hear from you Jaye, depressed or not. One thing I am grateful for this season, having fallen into a lifestyle where I can crawl into my cocoon with a season of The Wire or MADMEN and turn off the inside and outside world for weeks if I have to. Cheers to whatever gets us through it.
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I have no words to express what reading this said to me. I have read it twice, thrice, and still can’t get enough. It’s eye opening and that cliche’ doesn’t even fit. It isn’t worthy. But I cannot find the words so it will have to do. All I can say right now is yes, yes, a resounding YES. I am not alone.
Oh, sweetie. Hug. I wish I had words that would matter, but all I can do is offer a cyber hug.
Your words are astoundingly powerful and clear, precision ripping the thin membrane of complacency.
Love your writings, sorry for your experiences!
I’m sorry it’s taken so long for me to get here. Just saying those words makes me sob. We share so much, and your comments on my last poem were so spot-on, so incredibly smart and insightful, I should have followed you home immediately.
These are a few of the things I hope for you: I hope you have very good therapists, psychiatrist and a friend or two in the real, human world who can fathom and love you without judgement or their own twisted need. I have chosen isolation now after three failed marriages and countless live-in lovers. I don’t trust anyone to have my well being and happiness as part of their agenda for me. I’ve never been happier. I feel safe and as if it’s ok for me to live life on my terms, my schedule. Say what I want and need to say, even if it’s just on the page, just on twitter, just to myself. There is no longer a man to tell me to “get over it,” or “your sadness is getting boring,” or “smile, you could be pretty for me…”
Trust in others may never be possible for me. Every friend has their agenda, their needs and this may not be my agenda or meet my needs. At 65 I’ve survived and I’m still putting myself back together. It takes a team of therapists and a boat load of drugs to keep me stable, but I’m here, I’m talking to you, I’m telling my truth and I’m hoping to find myself with a book deal and a future at last.
You sound very strong. You sound like there is a core you that survived. You sound like you know the dangers for you given your history and the way the abusive fucks can spot an injured creature to hurt a little or a lot more. I hope you can do all these things: Take care of yourself, know that your brilliance still shines and needs to be seen, read, rewarded, honored, keep the bastards at bay and keep moving forward.
Peggy my heart is so full right now. I have admired you for so long on Twitter and have been secretly reaching for your attention, but you’re not late at all. I’ve only commented on 2 of your blog posts in all these months, and didn’t really let my own guard down til yesterday. Though we have never talked til now your tweets build me up, how often can you say that about anyone, online or off, this person is good for my soul? I have seen you misunderstood by people who don’t know what a gift it is to need others to build us up, so the directive response by ff toward your poem yesterday put me over the top. I am very self-contained, any time I come out of that is a risk. But I know futureforeward is your friend and I can tell she’s tough enough to handle my hypersensitivity.
Man I’ve been exercised over this the last couple days, whether we’d make a connection and it seems we sure have. The mom thing, I’ve met like, 3 women in a lifetime of searching for others who get it, so I may be merging boundaries a bit right now, but hey, it’ll pass as I get to know *you* better.
Futureforward doesn’t get me at all. She wants to help write my query letter, but doesn’t understand my book (may not have read any excepts posted on one of my fiction blogs.) Her gushing sweetness nearly makes me gag, but it’s hard to say buzz off to a woman who most likely means well. You “get” me. I “get” you too.
Robin, you know I admire the hell out of you, don’t you? You’re kind of a real life hero. I’m not sure I ever told you that.
Rachel! (((mmm-hmmm))) Hows them mafia wars going? Thinking of you this morning I went to your facebook page. Looking good, everyone in the mob these days. Been there, done that, had my dad show me where the bodies are buried. Your new photo is stunning, and yes you affirm me on a regular basis my friend, and I thank you for it truly.
Meet Peggy, you will enjoy her.
A pox on those mafia wars! I spend far too much time with it. I only agreed to play to help out a friend and the damn thing suckered me in.
I neeeeed help!
Samantha left you a comment/question on She Roams again at my place.
Thanks for recommending me to your friend Rachel.
I’ll check it out. Thanks!
Thanks for reminding me. I just wrote a manifesto! For interested newcomers, we’re talking about my umbrage at an addled response to this poem about my MOTHER; She Roams.
I apologise if you have already mentioned your knowledge of her. i have just found your blog. But what you write and your approach to psychiatry because of it reminds me very much of Jacqui Dillon – The Chair of the Hearing Voices Network in the UK. Here is a recording I made of her speaking at the Leeds Mind Conference in the UK (the org where I am currently based)
[audio src="http://www.mentalhealthleeds.info/leeds_mind_conference_0508/Leeds_Mind_Conference_2008_Jacqui_Dillon.mp3" /]
nice to tweet you
I have left you a comment to your comment at my place today. I’d like to post your comment to me. It left me shaking and sobbing. You must know what it’s like when someone understands you and says so in such a powerful way that makes you feel loved in a way that really matters. That’s how I feel about the comment you left me. Thank you.
Please come back.
Hey Robin, long time. I don’t communicate in comments much anymore. No more news from nowhere. But among my imaginary friends from those days, you are my favorite. Feel free to drop me an email sometime.
Please come back. Seriously.
Have you ever heard of schema therapy?
I have. It blends cognitive therapy with humanistic techniques, no direct experience but is said to be the ticket for people diagnosed with BPD. You like it I presume?
I am so sorry for all your pain. The fact that you are still alive and sane is amazing. It’s wonderful that you are able and willing to write about such horrors to educate others is truly admirable.
It’s destructive envy you’re describing I think. The force they used to abuse you. I think of it as ‘darkness being attracted to the light’. But however you describe it, there are people who zoom in on those individuals who have the courage to show their light in an ever-darkening world. Our abusers (from the overt ones to the covert ones, the crude to the subtle) lost their light a long time ago, and go around attempting to devour the light in others. Children start off with a lot of light. Most have it diminished by the system that wants them to grow up to be good taxpayers, good conformists, well-behaved ‘successes’. Some grow up keeping their light burning somehow, and many of them are stigmatised, given psychiatric labels that implicitly suggest defect in the patient of some sort. The defect lies in those who wounded you, not in you. Don’t let psychiatry’s mainstream political, dark agenda make you believe you are defective. Let your light keep burning brightly in spite of the creeps who would seek to put it out.
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Brilliantly honest writing