I have been thinking about my own stuff too lately, and I think a certain amount of processing might have really gone on. It’s kind of like a light flashing though. Blink, and it’s gone. I think things do settle in, but later I can’t exactly remember what happened.
I have an idea about a core feeling from the abuse though. It has to do with acceptance. Just that I need to understand that it happened, I remember it, and in remembering it I feel it again. I can’t get anywhere trying to purge the feelings from me—if I am sort of holding my breath trying to get the feeling over with, it’s never going to go anywhere. I need to have an attitude of acceptance and compassion for my feelings.
The feeling has to do with an urge to rip myself to shreds. It feels like a very little feeling, and I think the urge is the impulse that goes with the emotion. The emotion might just be overwhelm. It might be shame and rage and anger mixed together. I have almost the sense of a too-hotness about it, like my nervous system has become a razor blade and I cannot stand anything anymore.
The abuse I suffered was literally torture, and I think it felt unbearable to even be inside my own mind or inside my own body. I keep thinking the abuse did not end with the event of it. It continued on in flashbacks, because I could never make sense of what happened. I grew up with my mind just kind of throwing horrible, unbearable experiences at me all the time for reasons I could not understand. It didn’t seem to be happening to anyone else—just me.
So there was the feeling of existence being unbearable, but I think I also felt ashamed of having it. You are not supposed to hate being alive when you are five or six. It is not in any of the story books. Absolutely nothing reflects that experience or helps you understand it or makes you feel less alone with it. It involved shame and I think I felt ashamed of it. And I think that is one of the pieces of my core sense of shame.
I think as an adult, that never got modified in any way, because it was never validated or accepted. It was a feeling that was denied and minimized or presented as “the damage,” rather than merely an experience or a feeling that I had and might sometimes still have. I was told once when I told by my psychiatrist about regularly feeling suicidal that I might always feel that way, but that was hardly validation. That just seemed hopeless, like I am unfixably broken.
It is, sometimes, a flashback of what happened, but sometimes it is how I feel now, when things are too much, when I am overstimulated and have had too many triggers in too short a space of time. It just feels like it is unbearable to be alive. Like whistle sounding ceaselessly outside. It makes me want to break my own head open. It is just so painful to try to cope with the fear it automatically triggers.