Not to mention I’m over this fucking bullshit.
And also everyone can just get fucked.
Should I even blog when I’m this fed up? Probably not. But here I go anyway.
This is a rant.
Does anyone actually enjoy reading a rant? Maybe if it gives them an epiphany moment like OH MY GOD YESSSSSSS, THAT’S WHAT I’VE BEEN FEELING AND TRYING TO SAY. I don’t think this is one of those rants. This is more of an internal tantrum that won’t go away until I blog it out. Ooooh, did I just invent a new catch phrase? “Blog it out”.
“Are you angry at your boss and you can’t say it to her face? Blog it out, sister! Is your girlfriend getting on your nerves? Blog it out, man. Are you over Covid? Dude, blog it OUT!”
I digress…I didn’t write about Thursday’s session because 3/4 of it was about how to deal with incidents I don’t want to share in a public forum and the rest I can’t remember *glances at phone* Oh hang on…I made notes. How thoughtful of me. EYEROLL. I suppose I could write more.
Psychologist J spent some time making sure where he sat felt right for me. He looked at me as said he could see I looked scared and looked unsettled. He was right. I immediately did this:
And said I was overwhelmed because I had 3 urgent matters to discuss and I also wanted to try the experiments about moving my body. We tried an experiment but it was right at the end of the session.
I said I wanted to move my legs up onto the couch and sit cross-legged. He told me to imagine doing it. I did. I thought about how safe he seemed and I thought about how he said he wouldn’t let me do anything out of control. And then I did it. And for one millisecond it felt right. Theeeeeeeennnnnnnn all the bad feelings rolled in and the session ended with him saying. “I want you to try to hold an internal conference and ask all the parts how they feel about what you just did.”
“I can already feel the critic hates it.” And so I left and tried to sense what the rest of me felt but all I could feel was dirty and filthy. I felt like I had just had sex with a stranger (I’ve never had sex with a stranger so maybe that actually wouldn’t feel this bad). No, I felt like I had just done what I did with my father. Yuck. So I went into the weekend feeling kind of like I needed to disconnect from Psychologist J. I couldn’t shake the filthy feeling I felt for having given into an urge for comfort in the presence of a man.
But here in lies the beginning of the rantus maximus.
The other day someone I know made the comment that they’re freaked out by what I’m going through, as in how psychologists can pull recovered memories out of a client and this person is freaked out because they “don’t know the science of it”. Instantly I felt faintly irked. Not by that person nor in a big way, but someone in the back of my mind was irked by the fact that that’s where we are as a society at this point in time. The Science of Trauma is newish thus most of society doesn’t know it let alone accept it. There are so many misconceptions about what trauma feels like and how it is “remembered” thanks mostly to the media and the film industry.
I mentioned to this person that maybe I should write a blog post explaining the science behind Complex PTSD and Dissociation – how it is well proven to be what it is and initially I was pumped to do so because I find reading the research interesting. But the more I thought about doing that, the more I felt defensive.
It’s frustrating that trauma based mental illnesses are terrifying medical conditions to go through no less awful than cancer or say finding out you have permanent serious health concern like Alzheimers. But unlike cancer or Alzheimers people aren’t going to say “but is cancer/Alzheimers actually real? Can you explain to me how the doctor could be sure it wasn’t something else?” It’s just accepted that Alzheimers and cancer exist and that doctors can competently diagnose them but psychiatrists with medical degrees and psychologists with PhDs are not afforded the same respect.
I’ve moved onto the stigma of mental illness though haven’t I. Do you tell people you have it or do you suffer it alone? I’m not religious at all anymore but sometimes I so relate to the story of Jesus and the lepers.
So I know this person didn’t accuse me of lying nor did they say they didn’t believe me, they just hit a nerve for me. Explaining the science of how people recall childhood trauma – how it is real and awful and scary and hard but definitely real – makes me feel defensive and also feels too much like the script of my childhood.
When I stopped talking to my parents, without telling anyone why, one sister outright disowned me, emailed me to say I was a disgrace for not inviting them to my wedding and hasn’t spoken to me since. A few uncles and aunts contacted me to say whatever my parents had done, surely I could forgive them. Another family member even contacted my husband and pleaded with him to convince me to stop hurting my parents because “everyone needs their parents.” Not one single family member asked me why I had stopped talking to my parents. NOT ONE. I was guilty until proven innocent. And so as yet, I haven’t bothered to tell any of them why. And that’s because I was cast in the role of the black sheep, the hysterical child, years ago by my parents. I’m the bad one and the burden is on me to prove otherwise.
I’ve been diagnosed with “Complex-PTSD and a Dissociative Disorder as a direct consequence of significant childhood trauma in an attachment setting” by not one but FOUR medical professionals, this wouldn’t be enough to convince my extended family or my sisters that my parents ACTUALLY abused me. The burden would still be on me to prove that my medical condition is real.
And the thought of blogging in defence of trauma and recovered memories hits a nerve about gaslighting. Gaslighting is a constant and necessary weapon of the predator to ensure the victim never gains the confidence to speak up. Years of gaslighting has left me expecting people to disagree with almost anything I say that I believe to be factual. I would find it hard to blog about the science of trauma without imagining it being read by a fierce sceptic ready to argue back.
This week I noticed this guilty until proven innocent theme runs throughout my life and as soon as I realised this I just felt angry and exhausted. I’m totally 100% over having to defend myself. So yes, fuck this shit.
Here are the other ways in which I’m guilty until proven innocent:
For example, this week I had a bizarre Facebook messenger exchange between myself and someone from my past (a story for another time). At one point I told her I was no longer a Catholic. Then she messaged “is it ok if I say something about the Church?” Here we go, I thought. Before I replied she sent me a message about why I shouldn’t give up on religion all together and gave her reasons.
I REALLY don’t like people trying to convince me that I should return to Catholicism. I really don’t. And yet the anger that rises up in me feels just the same as the anger about child abuse. There is not point explaining or defending my agnosticism. There’s no point because I was once religious so I understand why she and so many others feel they MUST give me their two cents. I also recall how important religion was to me at the time so I’m not about to stomp all over something that is important to someone else. But there it is, that same predicament…me alone in my viewpoint knowing there is no way to convince the other person to see things my way. They’re innocent and right, I’m the guilty sinner who refuses God’s love. Just as I am the guilty child refusing my “God fearing” parents’ love.
Every person who isn’t a therapist or someone with some understanding of Autism who encounters me and my son.
These people, Childcare staff included, always perceive my son to be a naughty undisciplined boy who just needs someone to yell louder at him to stop doing whatever socially unacceptable thing he is doing. For example, on the weekend we had our son’s 5th birthday and I was greatly irked that one of the guests who is a mother, 3 times disciplined my son. The same thing happens at childcare when I pick up my son. The common denominator is that whoever shadows me always has ZERO understanding of Autism. Should I defend myself? Should I tell them I’ve taken a parenting course, read parenting books given to me by Psychologist J and Dr K, have fortnightly appointments with my son’s psychologist, and am using the exact same techniques to ‘discipline’ him as used by his OT, his psychologist and several staff at an Institute he attends that specialises in Autistic children? Will I always have to prove to people that I’m a good mother?
This is fair enough though. You can’t expect to get financial assistance without proving you have a disability that requires assistance. It just happens to be bad timing that the NDIS is requesting proof of the severity of my disability at the same time I feel exhausted by having to prove myself in other ways.
Yep sometimes I have to convince myself of stuff. This goes back to the years of gaslighting. I emailed my mother and father after my son’s birthday to say that they had clearly abandoned their grandchild because they hadn’t sent an email or anything and this doesn’t align with what I keep hearing from the rest of the family about how “VERY MUCH YOUR PARENTS STILL LOVE YOU despite the estrangement.” I could write about his reply and the replies I sent in return but that’s really for another post. The point is, when ever he replies and tries to charm me back into the fold, I always have a moment of doubt about my past. I see myself as the bad unreasonable child and him the good parent. Then I have to reread the email slowly to notice how offensive and manipulative the language is and then spend some time reminding myself of all the things I KNOW he did to me. So powerful is Stockholm Syndrome…I still fall prey to it’s blinding lights but less and less so each time.
I went to my appointment today, and after Thursday’s appointment ending with that weird foul memory inducing experiment, and after the email from my dad, I wasn’t in the mood to be in a confined space with a male. Much to my disappointment, Psychologist J was wearing the unthinkable – beige pants (what happened to his jeans?!?!?) and a short sleeved buttoned shirt – THE HORROR! He knows that short sleeved buttoned shirts remind me of my father. So when I saw him my brain was like Ok who is this stranger? Then he said he would be just a moment because he had to go to the bathroom. OH MY FUCKING GOD J WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SAY THAT? Now I’m reminded he has a penis. Ugh. I MUCH prefer to think of him, if my mind ever goes there, as like a Ken doll or like maybe an intersex person. Basically I do my best to forget he has male parts. So the session began and overall it was so unsatisfactory I can hardly be bothered to document it. I’m just such a cranky pants. I’m so annoyed I feel like going out to my local shopping centre and doing something really Karen-like. Like, I just want to be a Karen, ok?
Actually what happened was something that hasn’t happened in some time in session with him. The critic kind of took over but did so kind of acting like me.
I don’t think J sensed at all that I wasn’t just my regular self feeling annoyed with life. But I wasn’t really there at all. Aside from telling him to move a bit to the side when he first sat down directing his beige-panted penis directly at me, I or rather the critic, ignored everything that was coming from inside and outside. The lighting was bothering me, the critic said nothing. His clothes annoyed me. The critic said nothing. I didn’t really even recognise him. The critic said nothing. I couldn’t feel my body at all. The critic said nothing. And so the session was wasted with me saying “ok I have an NDIS planning meeting today, lets spend as little time as possible planning the goals I’m going to tell them.” Whenever he said something like “Maybe we should think some more about that” or “what do you think, does that sound right?” I said “I don’t really care. I just want you to tell me what to write so we can move on.” And then I proceeded to rant about all the things I have mentioned above specifically the way my family sees me as the awful cruel person who has abandoned loving parents for no reason at all and how powerless I am to convince them I’m innocent and how unlikely they are to believe its impossible to fake a trauma diagnosis.
Midway through my rant he said to me “Just shut the fuck up for a minute. Can you stop ranting like a lunatic? You’re going to regret this.” Ok no, he didn’t say that. He said, “I just want to stop you to see how you are feeling right now because whenever you start talking this way, you often leave the appointment disappointed.” He’s right. I didn’t really pay attention to how I was feeling and I did regret ranting afterwards. But it’s a coping technique. It’s what the critic does when it perceives a situation isn’t safe: turn up, appear normal, do what is expected, feel nothing, don’t get attached, leave, fall apart later. And I did. I had a good cry and sent him an email of regret.
So I decided not to write a blog post about the science that explains what recovered memories are or the science that backs up C-PTSD and Dissociate Disorders as being caused by very specific circumstances because this week I just can’t be fucked.
What I DID do was rage text my father instead. I told him that I had a diagnosis, a proven, valid, real one that has only one cause and they are the cause of it. I told him to look it up for himself. Prove to ME that I’m wrong. Do something to prove to me that you love me because I’m sick of hearing it from the family and I’m sick of hearing it from him in the odd email from time to time. Do something to prove to me that you aren’t she same cunning, sly, grooming person I’ve always known you to be. And what do you suppose I got in reply to that?