Thursday, December 3, 2009

Past

My past is my present. Or more accurately; their past is my present. D.I.D. is a complex coping mechanism where the file cabinets of my past contain dusty files that are old by years but new to me. These files are pulled out and opened in a number of ways.

I have a flashback. Something triggers a file cabinet to open; a smell, a touch, a glance, a sound. A drawer flies open, a dusty file is shoved in my face, and I am in the exact moment. I can feel him grabbing me, I can smell his aftershave, I can see the hate in his eyes, and I can hear the sound of his footsteps. I am there. Yes, this is just a memory but it feels all too real and many times it is new to me. This can happen anywhere and anytime; at home, at work, in a car.

I have a nightmare while sleeping. It seems that these occur more frequently when I neglect the other "parts" of me. It's the same as a flashback; the sensations are real and in the present. It unnerves my husband when I wake up screaming, punching, kicking, terrified and it takes a moment to return to the present.

An alter and I have a conversation. We discuss, matter of fact, their past and it infringes on my present. Suppose you learn that an old friend passed away a few years back. Are you less sad to hear of their death just because time has passed? Probably not. Perhaps you even have a greater sadness because you missed hearing the news and grieving when it happened. So despite the time that has passed, many files are new to me and the feelings, the abuse, and the grief are lived in real time.

I spent years pretending that nothing happened. I thought it normal that I could remember few events of my childhood. I thought it normal to have voices in my mind and an unbelievably poor memory because I missed hours, even days because I was dissociated and someone else was running the show. I ignored the physical scars that covered my body. It wasn't until I was forced to have a c-section because physically I could not give birth to my daughter naturally because of such extensive scar tissue that I began to unravel and participate in my past.

So here I dissect their past and merge it with my own present. In therapy I talk, re-live, feel, and give credit to their work of protecting me. It is a bitch of a process. I get frustrated because I don't feel that I am making any progress. I feel stuck. In the past. However, in my frustration I am learning to see that re-living, acknowledging, and embracing the past is the quickest route to the present.

And even the future.

19 comments:

Ruth said...

The layers of grief compound and complicate it. I wonder if one lifetime is even enough to understand the half of it. But it's what you have, and you're taking each day as you can. I am utterly amazed at the brain's maneuvers and abilities. And your will to push through this is a miracle, if you ask me.

Blessings, my friend, nothing but blessings now.

Andrea said...

I agree with you, Ruth...I am not sure if a life time is enough time to fully digest it all. One step at a time is all I can take.
Blessings and prayers, andrea

Cassandra Frear said...

I am so sorry for your painful past. But I know that God can redeem it -- rescue both you and your fractured childhood and make something breathtakingly beautiful. He's that great. With men this would be impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Peace to you.

English Rider said...

This post is written with clarity and insight and much strength. You have obviously worked hard to get to this point and foresee more work ahead. Hats off to you. I am happy to know you.

Shattered said...

Ruth, grief is probably one of the strangest emotions I have experienced. Just when I think I'm OK... I'm not. Most days, I am thankful that a lifetime does not last long enough to fully process grief. One day and then another is truly best.

Shattered said...

Andrea, one step and then another is our best. I don't fully know the journey you are on but blessings to you as well. :)

Shattered said...

ER, thank you. You are so very kind. It is hard work but I am continually told that it will be worth it. :)

Shattered said...

Cassandra, thank you for stopping by. I have a very fragile relationship with God but I sincerely want to believe that you are right. Thank you for the encouragement. :)

Shattered said...

Sree, your comment here disappeared but I did want you to know that I saw it. :) I am so glad that you have found some inspiration here. Thank you for reading!

svasti said...

It is totally a bitch of a process! ;)

Healing is so much harder than living with whatever we've got going on. It really is layers and layers of story, hurt, pain and grief. It can take such a long time to be ready, to be strong enough to confront what has been. So its okay that you're where you're at. Absolutely.

You are doing everything you can do to work it out. And if you keep at it, I believe you will get there eventually. I know, that sounds a little trite, but I've seen the truth of that in my own experiences.

Blessings and well wishes to you!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Bravo!

Annie Coe said...

This is something my mom goes through too. I remembered all of my abuse, so I don't have to go through that process. I feel for you and send you love and hugs.xoxo

Deborah said...

You have found an excellent way to explain what happens to you - not an easy task to help others understand the incomprehensible, but you did it well.

It must be horrendous to experience flashbacks like yours. May you continue to find strength and love all around you, Jennifer. Yours is the first blog I look for every morning - I think of you so often.

Shattered said...

Svasti, it is good to hear that you have gotten somewhere with all your work. Not trite at all coming from someone like yourself. Thank you.

Shattered said...

Bonnie, thank you!

Shattered said...

Annie, I'm sorry that your mom goes through this too... it's definitely not easy. But neither is remembering abuse like you do. Hugs to you and your mom. :)

Shattered said...

Deborah, I am glad I made some sense! The flashbacks are difficult but their power is lessening as I talk more about them. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement; it means so much.

Saranne said...

It is such a difficult process to go through, and it takes strength and courage to continue when it gets tough. For me, the more secrets I discovered that I had kept from myself, the more appeared. It seemed to be a never-ending process....but, letting out the secrets into the light of day diminished their power. Healing begins on the inside and works its way out. It's worth it, and I am standing on the sidelines, sending you love and hugs, and cheering you on, you strong and courageous woman! ox

Shattered said...

Saranne, thank you so much for the encouragement. It is a very difficult process but it helps to hear from people like you who have walked through this process. Thank you :)