Friday, October 23, 2009

What would you do if it happened to you?

I was reading this post by Ivory:  Shades of Ivory

Why did you seek therapy? I left a comment on Ivory's blog and then I thought about what I had written and it made me feel vulnerable (yes, even in blogland ~ behind the safety of a computer screen) though I had said something that would allow others to judge me. But then I thought, hell, people are always judging other people anyway, so who cares. And so I've decided to write here what lead me to seek the help of DT, initially...the 'moment' that lead up to the phone call for that initial appointment.
I had always thought that I could *outgrow* the abuse, just as a child outgrows a pair of jeans. I was convinced I could *outrun* my past if I stayed busy enough, if I could become everything the host body and the man-whore were not...then I could (at least in my mind) make it 'not happen'. I made a mental checklist when I was 5 years old, a child's list for her future, and  in my mind if I accomplished everything on that list it would allow me to finally be free from them, disconnected from the SF and the HB and everything they did to me, everything they represented.
And so the journey began…and I used the host body as a reference for what I would NEVER become. I wanted to be everything she was not. And I spent the next 25 years staying busy and checking off the goals on my list. That’s not to say that there were not times during those years when I would become depressed or anxious, just that I rarely addressed the depression and anxiety, choosing instead to scoot it under the rug, not realizing that someday the rug would become so lumpy that I would trip and fall over it.

In early 2006, I had a career opportunity which would take 1200 miles away from all of my friends and everything I had known, my ‘busy comfort zone’. I have always been career driven so I took the job and I moved across the country with only DH, DS, and DD.

The quiet began…
Four months after the move, I walked in on my husband having sex with a woman I had thought was my friend.  It was one of those moments that maybe you read about, or see on TV - and maybe even thought, "I wonder what I would do in that situation."  But you never think it will happen.  My 'real' reaction' to the situation was not what I imagined.  I stood there...I just stood there, in disbelief, watching my drunk husband fuck this woman who was supposed to be my friend.  Watching.  I was frozen, unable to move, unable to speak and what's worse, I was unable to close my eyes.  It is one thing to "hear" about your spouse, significant other, or BF screwing someone else, but seeing it, witnessing it, while it is happening, takes it to a whole new level. 

After that night, the nightmares started.  I went to my GP and started taking an anti-depressant, but it didn't help.  I started waking up in a panic, unable to breathe.  I was so depressed I could barely function.  A friend that I had known since college suggested I contact a therapist.  And not just because of the incident above...
So I did...
I remember a friend of mine coining the phrase, "What's done in the dark will come to the light."
Yes, I believe that to be true. 
I pushed it all away.  I swept it under the rug.  I hung a picture over the stain and pretended the stain wasn't there.  But then I tripped over the rug and I knocked the picture off the wall...and here it all is.  This is why I strongly oppose DBT and found it to be more harmful than helpful.  I can push it away all day long.  I can keep myself busy with work and play...I can run, write, talk, laugh, put it in buckets and boxes delicately crafted by hand...I can half-smile all day long...but at the end of the day, when I finally sit's all still here.
I ran for 20+ years!  I stopped it doesn't go away now.  It won't fit back into the box!
But I cannot seem to get the therapist to understand that.  I cannot ignore it or make it go away.  It does not matter if I feel "emotionally" prepared to deal with it.  I was not emotionally prepared to see what I saw that night in my house, I was not emotionally, or physically, prepared for what happened to me as a child...but it all happened regardless of my ability to 'accept' it.  It happened!

DBT does not work!  Teach me some skills that WILL!   But no one hears me ~ so I suppose now I am left to do what I did as a child.  "Deal with it"...but not speak of it.  Pretend it doesn't exist to the outside world ~ keep it hidden because it is unspeakable. 
That night, when I stood in the doorway of my own house, watching my husband fuck my "friend" on the was not him, it was my SF I saw, it was not her, it was me on the floor...and I pictured my mother standing in the doorway, frozen and watching the SF fuck me, doing nothing...and that vision, those feelings, they do not just get 'pushed away' or thrown into a bucket to stay. 
I cannot just sweep it all under the rug. Believe me, I have tried.  And it trips me up every night.


  1. Grace,
    I am deeply touched by this sharing of your experience. Thank you for referencing me here, as well.

    You are so genuine in your feelings that it shames me for all the times I didn't want to admit something about my past. I believe that hiding something cannot promote healing. My T told me not long after my diagnosis of DID that he wasn't sure how to direct my sessions, so he discussed my case with his therapist. Together, they came to the decision that I needed to talk and I needed someone to hear. So he has listened for nearly 5 years. There has been some Neurotherapy, some coping skills, some imaging therapy, but he has never pushed me to hide anything, ever. After reading your post now, I am very thankful to him for that.

    Society makes us hide who we are and how we are, but that doesn't make them right. Thank you so much for your courage in sharing all this, I have a new respect for who you have become.

  2. "It does not matter if I feel "emotionally" prepared to deal with it. I was not emotionally prepared to see what I saw that night in my house, I was not emotionally, or physically, prepared for what happened to me as a child...but it all happened regardless of my ability to 'accept' it. It happened!"

    This is what some therapists will never truly understand. And what really gets me is that when 'people like us' talk about things in a manner that proves we are 'emotionally prepared' -- IT'S BECAUSE THEY HAVE TAUGHT US HOW TO RELY ON DISSOCIATION ALL OVER AGAIN. When I think about all the buckets that have been shoved in my face over the years, it makes me violent and hateful. I want to grab a bucket and start slamming really stupid therapists in the head with it. Repressive therapies breed hatred.

  3. I think your welcome is your answer: You are good enough. I got past it all, but I did have to face it, had to accept that it happened, had to realize that it formed part of my personality that was not really going to be unformed because I could not undo what was done. I had to learn to like me just the way I am -- after all, if God loves me this way, I can love me, too. It helped a lot to talk about it because it *is* part of me. If people cannot accept that, then they do not need to be part of my world. I can let them go. I don't need their approval. I need my approval and God's approval. Who else truly matters in the approval department? Talking about it, though, helps in a very important way: you find out you are not alone. Many, many others have gone through the same thing, and learning from them how they cope and sharing how you cope can be very helpful. I never felt the need to try therapy. I was blessed with friends with similar experiences, a supportive husband, and kids who were bonded to each and to me and their father, so the support system was strong. I hope you will be able to find a support system because I think that makes a difference. God bless you, and good luck to you with your therapy and everything else.