But Petya is only the first reason I feel overwhelmed. I wrote about that, and it seemed bad enough and I stopped.

The other reason I am overwhelmed is that recently—and maybe it has something to do with Petya—I feel more and more just inadequate and guilty and ashamed. I cleaned the house yesterday. It was one of the more productive Sundays I’ve had in a long time. But as I was cleaning, I kept feeling ashamed that it was taking so long—because I needed to pause for blanket cuddling and for various other things that need to be done so that I can stay on an even keel as triggers come up and just to take time to process the previous week. And I also felt ashamed that it was the first time I had done some of the chores in a few weeks. I mean, cleaning the house is not really that hard.

Of course, it is hard if mopping the floor and dusting the furniture floods you with overwhelming memories of being sexually abused.

But that aside, I felt so inadequate I felt I had no right to even live. So I was doing the chores and feeling suicidal about it. Not because life is hopeless so much as because I am hopeless. As a project, I am hopeless and can’t be fixed and am not worth fixing anyway.

So, of course, that makes the chores really hard, and I kept having to do things to calm that down. And it took longer. I cleaned the house and at the end felt totally inadequate because it took all day just to do a few things, and I didn’t even do everything that might have been done.

I think all of this has something to do with denial and the clash of denial with acceptance. If I deny the extent of the abuse and the damage to me, then all of the traces left on my personality of it—all of the trauma work and the integration—is basically just because I’m a totally inadequate, flawed human being who can’t cope. And the fact that life takes so much effort for me is just because I’m a failed human being.

Which I haven’t exactly thought before, but I think I didn’t let myself think it. As memories came up, I just went along with it. I didn’t take in the horror entirely and I didn’t allow myself to react to the idea that I had never believed any of those things before. I didn’t engage with the denial and I didn’t engage with the acceptance either. I just tried to work with the trauma.

But a core part of the trauma is that I was supposed to be unaffected by what was happening to me. That was the expectation. I could do all those things and be fine, and of course I am not fine. I am far from fine.

I was supposed to be able to fulfill the sexual fantasies of adults without being damaged by it. What I have failed at is not doing the chores, but being durable: The abuse smashed me to pieces and it has taken me decades to even begin to figure out how to pick them up.

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