Stuff sinking in

A lot is going on these days. It seems to be giving me a sneezy cold. One thing is that there is this little boy who won’t go home. He’s 12 and in my 4th grade class. He really just wants to move in here, quite suddenly. I gave him a pencil one day, and something clicked in for him. Anyway, I have to deal with that. He is beginning to act like C. I leave the room and he gets a worried look on his face.

Something else happened, which involved my calling C by mistake and my phone giving odd responses about things. It’s not important, but the main thing is that I thought for a bit it was possible she had blocked me. As I thought through the possibilities for why this might have happened, and kind of tested it out to see what the possibilities were, I realized I was having fairly normal emotions about it. Not the particular emotions necessarily, but the process of having them and thinking about having them.

There was something smooth about the process of thinking and feeling that was the opposite of being in parts. I felt very hurt, and I realized I felt hurt about it, and I also thought it’s my job to stay kind of stationary in her life, just be a constant. I don’t really know what the difference is, but normally there is a kind of jaggedness to that process of looking at an issue from multiple perspectives. I might think, “I need to stay stationary in her life,” and the feeling of hurt would get abruptly shut down, rather than having the feeling of hurt continue while I also take in what seems to me to be the realism of knowing she will do things that hurts sometimes and I just have to cope with it rather than reacting to it.

So there was that too. It turned out I don’t think she did set her phone to reject my calls or anything. It is just switched off, but that isn’t the point. The point was that I had this more normal experience of having feelings.

The other thing is that, although I have a long way to go with this, I am taking it in more and more that this isn’t my fault. My trauma issues aren’t my fault. It’s true that people don’t understand them and they do judge me for them, and it’s also true that at times trauma stuff has not made me the nicest or most considerate person, but it still doesn’t brand me as someone devoid of worth or ruined utterly. I have the ingredients for being a good person. It takes time and has taken time to become that person, because actually you don’t behave as nicely when your experience of life is fragmented. The fragmentation inside makes it hard to integrate things you might consider all at the same time, like other people’s needs or your own needs or the perspectives of everyone. Sometimes this makes you very not nice. It’s quite possible it has made me very not nice in the past and it still might not make me very nice in the present.

But my trauma issues aren’t the result of my being valueless. The lack of understanding or accommodation for my issues doesn’t mean that it’s my fault. It just means understanding them is hard, and most people don’t understand them.

I also can’t get a do-over for all the relationships I didn’t get to have because of my past. I am never going to have a mother who took care of me. I am never going to be that child she would have taken care of. This is a really, really sad thing. It is absolutely, unspeakably sad, and I cannot explain to anyone who doesn’t share that experience what exactly is sad about it or why it hurts so much. But there it is. Regardless of the possibilities the future might hold, the past retains its pain. The converse is also true. The pain of the past does not erase the possibilities the future holds. Things are still possible for me. I don’t really know what, but things are. I don’t need to have the things I don’t have and can’t have in order to have a fulfilling life, and I also don’t need to deny or minimize the pain that I feel in not having had the things I missed out on. I have been confused about that for a long time.

People say there is the family you are born to and the family you choose, and that’s true, but regardless of who you choose to have in your life in the present, it doesn’t take away the pain of not having had that family of origin, nor does it take away the pain of the relationships I have missed out on because of my problems in having relationships as an adult. This boy has been hanging around, and I realized after I sent him away today that I miss him. I like having him in my house. He’s nice company.

I like kids. I would have liked to have had my own kids, and it’s now quite a bit too late for that. I am not going to have that, and the reason I am not going to have that is that ten years ago, when having children might have been a good idea, I would have made a shitty mother. I had the ingredients of being a good mother, but it wasn’t pulled together yet.

And that isn’t my fault.

I wasn’t abused because there was anything wrong with me. The trauma symptoms I struggled with later were effects, not causes. No matter what anyone said to me, I did not get abused because of some failing in my character. I have many, but they aren’t the reason.

Lots of things. Lots of stuff sinking in today.


7 thoughts on “Stuff sinking in

  1. desilef August 23, 2016 / 8:51 pm

    I wish there were a button for extra like LIKE LIKE LIKE.

  2. Rachel August 26, 2016 / 11:21 am

    Wow, a lot is sinking in. This is actually incredible. Your insight and the “smoothening” of your experience so not as much in parts and shutting down feelings. I’m really in awe. And also there is no do-over and my heart hurts right now for that reality. It is so painful to really accept the deep and irrevocable loss of not having a loving and attuned parent. I don’t think that particular hole can be filled, entirely. So the gaps will hurt even as life continues to improve and feel better. The hole may get poked and it will hurt.

    • Ashana M August 26, 2016 / 12:31 pm

      No, it won’t be filled. It absolutely will no ever be filled by anything. I am really sure of that now. I think you are right. The hole will get poked, and it will hurt. The change that is coming is that the poking will be something that feels survivable. The hole will get poked, and we will be able to go on with life.

      I also have a much clearer idea of what has been happening my entire life, which I have misunderstood until this point. It really is that. Every time the emotions get shut down because they are too intense, I basically stop playing with a full deck in terms of decision-making. Stuff gets forgotten or not considered. I don’t necessarily end up doing what Freud would think of as my unconscious desire. I just do whatever makes sense to do given the information I am able to keep in mind at that particular moment when a decision needs to be made. Which might or might not lead to a result I am happy about or that I foresaw coming.

      • Rachel August 26, 2016 / 9:41 pm

        Figuring out what has been happening. I am right there, too. My therapist gave this analogy on Wednesday, a Buddhist analogy. That when you become aware, it is like having a hair in your eye, compared to lying in your hand. You don’t feel it in your hand as much, but in your eye, you feel it. Realizing what the brain has been doing to survive and adapt, seeing that the mind shuts down, etc. It is quite incredible to finally see it for what it is, and realize “this isn’t and was never me.”
        I am convinced of that too, and I actually feel better being able to acknowledge the hole will always be there, with me. My therapist has told me that at some point, I might even befriend the hole. That feels like a stretch, but maybe some day.

      • Ashana M August 27, 2016 / 9:42 am

        I think the big realization for me is this is me feeling it. I am behind you in a lot of ways–you are starting from a place of more awareness than me. I am realizing they are me, but not like that sounds. They are my feelings. You are, I think, realizing they are not your personality. There is someone there when the trauma is not activated and it isn’t this jagged reactivity going on. Maybe. It’s difficult to articulate.

      • Rachel August 27, 2016 / 11:10 am

        I think you are articulating it, and I don’t know about being ahead or behind, rather different places of learning and growing. There are things you talk about doing that I sometimes think “wow, I am so not there.”

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