Flashback with Trigger Warning

As some of you know, I suffer from PTSD. I grew up in a home environment that was religiously, emotionally, physically and verbally abusive. I’m going to repost below a post from Xanga. It’s not clean, or pretty; unedited for grammatical errors. Consider this your trigger warning.

For several weeks in a row now, in my quiet time (hence I don’t spend much time in silence or reflection) all I hear/think is the repetitive statements my mother made on Saturday, September 12, 2009:

There is never a spiritually dull moment in my parent’s house.

Saturday I went out with my friends to Source and Summit, a young adult event in Alhambra CA.  They offer praise and worship, food and social mingling, a speaker, Adoration, Rosary, and Divine Mercy.  I love going, and always learn something with Christ Jesus.  I opened up to Him, admitted what He already knows about me: that I can’t fathom unconditional love; that He and Mary will never scrunch up their noses at me in spiritual disgust.  There is nothing I can ever do that would remove their love for me.  And then I renewed my personal promise-vow to God and Christ.
My parents went out to a Lobester Festival in a nearby port city and apparently had a blast.
Sunday, as I had gotten home late as did my parents, they debated whether they were going to attend Mass with me.  Dad and I went to Mass, mom went to garage sales.  She came home after we did from Mass, around 1pm.  She wasn’t in the best mood, but it wasn’t also the worst.  She cried a lot and ranted a bit.  Then somehow it escalated.  I don’t remember why or what she was going on about, but it just erupted all of a sudden.  She raved  about me being Catholic, about liking Mass, about the books I have, about dressing conservatively; about my sister and her boyfriend, insulting him saying that he’s retarded (he’s not) and that my sister’s a whore (at least they’re monogamous); that my parents need to divorce, and dad’s dad doesn’t care about him because grampa has a ‘girlfriend’.   How she wants us both dead, how we don’t do anything right.  I don’t do religion right, and my sister isn’t doing the right major in college.  That I need to be told not to attend church as much and that my sister needs to be told that she will be a certain profession and marry a certain someone (i.e., an arranged marriage).
Oh, it didn’t stop there.
She came into my room and demanded to know why I wear a chapel veil all the time; I don’t do it when she’s present.  Why I feel compelled to “carry on a relationship with a nun” and she said it in such a tone to insinuate a lesbinate quality to it.  I denied that as well.  She asked if I was still having an affair with a priest over the internet, which I just flat out denied because its ridiculous.  She got in my face and I thought she was going to pick up my thankfully-empty coffee mug and lug it at me, so I yelled at her to get out.  Then she screamed at me that I had no right to tell her to “get out of my own house.”  Just get the frig out of my room was my intention.  Eventually it moved into their bedroom where dad had to restrain her, and dad and I debated above her yelling (all the windows are open as its 75+ degrees) whether to call paramedics or just Gramma.  Meanwhile, she’s spitting on me and dad and calling me a bitch with absolute hatred and fanaticism on her face.  I’m looking down on her, and it’s feeling odd because I’m scared, hesitating, and suddenly thinking of whether this is how Christ would handle the situation.  Anyway, she’s screaming how she wants me gone, out of the house.  That she doesn’t want to look at me.  That she won’t take anything I give her, even if its her meds.  Eventually, she bargains that she’ll calm down and take her meds if I get out of the room (dad called me in there) and don’t call 911.
She took 2 valium, and that calmed her down, but she was still irate.  Then Gramma came over and we attempted to have a family discussion, but it’s hard when one person in the room is nearly psychotic and demands trust from you, but denies the worth of your word.  Many things were discussed, but she wanted me to denouce “relations” with nuns and priests; its a falsehood, so all I did was deny her lies about me.  She wanted me to denouce the chapel veil; I sorta did, but I’m still wearing it to daily Mass, and I make sure no one there knows me.  I might have to start switching churches again.  And she wanted me to denouce thinking about religious life.  I said that I was no longer thinking about it; an outright lie on my behalf.  But I’m not considering it, I’m accepted and working towards it.  She said that it was okay for me to be a religious person, but listed all these constraints.  And as the conversation moved on she insinuated that she was the one who was wrongfully on Ativan, Xanax, Clonapem, and Wellbutrin, and pointedly looked at me and asked “Who do you think is psychologically disturbed?  who should be on medications?”  Then she tried to attack my sister who wasn’t even there to defend herself!
It goes on a bit, but Monday morning she was embarassed at the memory of her actions and supposedly wanted to apologise; but only if I apologised for asking her to get out of my room.  I declined.  She is concerned about how she appeared, not the things she said, not the insults, not the distrust, etc.  I’m not apologizing, I did no wrong.
I cannot get the “You bitch. You bitch. You bitch.” out of my head.
originally posted on Xanga.com Friday Sept 18, 2009 at 12:38am

Silence

I’m thinking about silence itself as an object/presence recently. Immediately in my reaction field is a post I was reading from another blogger here on WP.

In my work as a child and adolescent therapist to some of the poorer children (the poorest live on skid row and I don’t have the stomach to work with that population) of Los Angeles; specifically called SPA 8 (Service Provider Area 8). I’ve had the special privilege of working with different young women, all under the age of 15 years of age who have been raped, sexually assaulted, attempted sexual assault/molestation, and/or sexual harassment. Each one has told me that they considered themselves to be the only one until they confided in a friend, cousin, or aunt near to their age (under 20 years of age); then they tell me, “I told her to tell someone about what she was going through”. Can we just get this over and done with?

Ladies/Girls/Women, let’s just admit that the men in our lives want us to feel alone. They want us to be frightened and feel alone! Yet, the reality is that more women and girls are assaulted, harrassed, abused by people they know than absolute strangers.

And abuse, physical abuse is the same story and I totally want to jump in there with the kid and be like “Yeah, I know!” but I can’t. The therapy hour is totally about them, and I pull myself back inside and be all like “Yeah? Can you tell me about what makes you scared?” or “What’s that like?” I stay on the back-burner and may save my urge to blurt out for my own therapy sessions where I get triggered/reminded of getting hit on the back my head or back with shoes or slippers (and you wonder why the F I hate the color pink or her perfume or being touched at all, least of all being touched or hugged or anything by her); that evening I watched the filled Mayo jar fly by me, missing me by golly-knows-what; choosing dissociation in the closet instead of listening to the litany of Megan’s-fucked-up-as-a-daughter-because.

You know what’s also the same fucking story? (I know, a wanna-be-nun just said the F word. Pick your jaw off the floor, ‘cuz she’s heard and said so much more worse in the past). Getting harassed and bullied at work by your supervisor. I’m taking the fall because I told my supervisor’s boss that she made comments which I considered to be inappropriate. About the 3rd week of September I received information from a client’s caregiver about A/V hallucinations, and my supervisor in the course of consulting with another supervisor, stated “Oh, is this your wife?” My roommate (a co-worker) and her supervisor were in the room. As it was out of context, inappropriate, and I’m generally reserved, I didn’t say a damn thing at the moment.  However I did email my supervisor’s supervisor about her statements, explaining that I felt they were:

Hi [Supervisor’s Supervisor],

I want to make a complaint about a statement [Name redacted to protect the not-so-innocent] made to me yesterday in front of another employee & supervisor. We had gone to the back of the [Location] office to consult with [Roommate’s supervisor] about a cx [client] of mine. To this other employee (who is my roommate, [name removed]) and in front of her supervisor, [my supervisor] said, “Oh, is this your wife?”  I corrected it immediately as “No, she’s my roommate.”
Myself and my roommate felt it was inappropriate; I’m embarrassed.
I’m making a complaint as this is not the first time [the not-so-innocent] has made inappropriate comments about faith/personal issues to me; I’ve addressed them with her in the past and thought it was taken care of. I can talk more about those  with you’d like.
I write that I’m taking the fall because I’m the one getting pegged for distinct deadlines prior to the company’s established deadlines for monthly paperwork; my supervision time is being double-booked two weeks in a row and my supervisor says “oh, I messed up…no I didn’t”; she hangs up on me, she conveniently “never” receives my text messages (I can prove this via phone company) ; she gives me the clients that she’s having assigned to her (I can also prove this), which she needs to be credentialed in an evidence-based practice (one of our primary sources of funding); she does not listen to me pertaining to being able to either submit notes on-time, or completing paperwork to her superficial deadlines but not both (I have multiple witnesses). I’ll be harassed, picked on and bullied until my body collapses or she finds someone else to bully.
Yet, there’s another side to silence, where I can find peace instead of noise, calm instead of jarring harassment; can breathe without needing to calm my pinched and firing nerve[s]. For me this kind of silence is filled with incense, Gregorian Chant and sunlight filtered through stained-glass windows. Usually, I’ve just beginning to grasp this kind of silence at the end of the Mass of the Catechumens. Currently, I take a single line from the Anima Christi “Hide me in Your wounds” because it’s the only place that has been once-struck and never struck again. That blow is finished for all time, and He is righteous and reigns again. I can hide wherever I want to, but I crawl into the lance-blow, and imagine Momma Mary holds the body of her Son one last moment as in the Pieta and clasps her hand over me, not only keeping me hidden but I cannot fall out either. I sleep with a Crucifix clutched in my hands because it’s the only way I can sleep through the night without waking up every 2 hours. One of these days I’ll walk behind the closed doors of a monastery which St. Therese of the Child Jesus frequently called a prisoner; however it’s the first time I won’t be imprisoned. I’ll be able to openly declare/be myself without fear of reprimand. Nothing should slow my mother down on reprimanding me about how I’ll cause the doom-and-gloom on her marriage and am an utter disgrace more than a 7 hour drive to San Francisco. I hope I laugh when I should be silent.

Flickering shadows

image

Some weeks I drag my feet toward my late afternoon/early evening clients for several reasons (i.e. diagnosis, family negating course of treatment, complexity), and yesterday I was actually looking forward to my afternoon cases for these same reasons. I can understand trauma, depression and anxiety. I’ve got cool things to do with kids in session to help them express fears and emotions; provide information that they aren’t alone. Something sticks with each session and they slowly grow, slowly improve.

I entered a school campus today, signed in at the front desk, and the principal addressed me about “our little friend” who has gotten into trouble yet again (at least 3x/week) for disrupting other classes by playing “ding-dong ditch”. If this little guy isn’t pranking, he’s tripping, pushing, or shoving others; he’s got some fire-setting incidents under his belt, too; violating physical boundaries (examples omitted) of classmates, legal guardians, and family members. This morning was the whipped cream and cherry. It was only 10:20am.

Let’s back up to yesterday (Monday) afternoon I listen as the child’s legal guardians recount how the kid grabbed one of them by their wrists and shoved into him/her; tore at his/her clothes. All because they were out in the community and the child would have to wait until they returned home to have access to a new toy. He would have to wait at least 30 minutes, and that is what makes him angry, and dangerous.

Thank goodness we have upcoming auxiliary services being implemented because impulsivity on this level makes for more shadows and worry than I’d like. And the sprinkles on top of it all was a comment from a higher-up in management told me to consider why the child does this, when I need to address the emergent issues of caregiver safety.

Revisiting my Illustrious Religious Past

Saturday a girl friend told me about the Bible Study session that she had been asked to teach: a review of the major world religions, and cults. She wanted my input on the cults, and having spent this entire day reflecting and praying about it, I have decided to not co-teach with her on Tuesday evening.

Why would I pass up a moment to teach something that I know like the back of my hand?

Male chauvinist attitudes, emotional immaturity, a perpetuation of stereotypes among some of the most educated people I know, etc.

(a) The man who is in charge of the Bible study is not keen on women teaching, and when we have spoken up at Bible study, we have been talked over, or what we have said has been disregarded (even if we speak from professional authority). When we were discussing the rape of Dinah in Genesis last year, all the women were silent, as it’s a serious matter that may have happened to someone in the group. Several of the men laughed at it, and only a few men (one of them a very good friend of mine) said that he was furious for the behavior of the other ‘men’ in the group who laugh at rape. I have not been raped, but I have been sexually harassed (at school, at internships, and on dates) [once I felt in danger on a date, and if we had not been in a public place I think he would have attempted it].

(b) Stereotypes are perpetuated despite evidence to the contrary. There have been several statements of “Oh, Protestants are ….” when these people in the study are clearly educated and well-aware of what different denominations teach or how they differ from Catholic teachings. Yet, they remain pig-headed. Other times there have been statements about people in cults, and other easily targeted groups.

For this, I drew a conclusion that I did not want to subject myself to such bigotry when I would be a woman speaking on authority from a psychological background and personal experience; nor would I want t garner further stigma from people who claim to be open minded, but are not. I am aware that by withholding information and experience as I do allows the group to stagnate. But who is allowing who to stagnate? Am I at fault, or is it their facade of openness? I’ll probably write up some information for those interested, along with links and resources. But I can only speak to those truly interested in learning, in gaining new ground, and in change.

I have 3 tests this week, I’ll post it in the coming week.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For a quick read on the cult I left in 2004: here.