Triggers

Sorry I’ve been absent.  I have been/still am really triggered, and I haven’t been able to read–blogs or anything else longer than a few sentences.  Still really struggling and not sure I’ll be able to write coherently.

See, Thursday we went to Boston for a post-election party.  I thought it was just going to be the party, an overnight at someone’s place in Boston, and then home.  Instead it turned into bar-hopping with the campaign staff.  If you’re thinking that sounds like fun, you’re wrong.  See, alcohol is a trigger for me because my father was often drunk when he abused me.  Between the UC and the meds, I can’t drink.  Well, everybody else is getting fucking wasted, and they just leave me sitting in a corner by myself for hours, not even talking to me.  I told my RFD that I’m not physically capable of running all around Boston, and it was raining to boot.  Usually he’s really considerate about my limitations, but that night, he really didn’t seem to give a shit.  Maybe it was the alcohol, or maybe it was just that it was his last night with the rest of the campaign staff.  Whatever it was, he basically treated me like I didn’t matter–I got dragged to four different bars, and predictably, I eventually fell on a slick sidewalk at 1:30 in the morning and couldn’t get up for several minutes.  Oh, and for most of the time we were bar-hopping, our 20-year-old intern was just left sitting in his car because she couldn’t get into the bars.  I wanted to go sit with her instead, but my RFD made me stay because his phone was dead, and he needed my GPS to find our way back to where the car was parked.

In the second bar, while I was sitting alone in the corner, the only sober person, this drunk businessman in a nice suit comes over and starts hitting on me.  Then he grabbed my breast, and I just froze.  I just sat there and let him.  I have extensive martial arts experience, and even though I’m not physically capable of as much as I used to be, I could’ve gotten away from him.  If nothing else, I could’ve hit him with my cane.  But I didn’t do any of that.  I didn’t say no, I didn’t say stop.  I just sat there and let him do it.

Now I really hate myself.  It’s just like with my father.  I mean, okay, when I was a kid, there wasn’t really anything I could do about it.  Even as I got a little older, he had me believing that he’d kill me if I fought or if I told anyone, and I didn’t have the reasoning skills to realize he wouldn’t have gotten away with that–he’s really just not smart enough.  So back then, I had an excuse.  But I let it go on when I was old enough that I knew he wouldn’t kill me and I really could’ve stopped him.  I mean, I was 19 the last time he raped me.  There’s no excuse for that.  I just let him.  If I’d fought or said no, he probably would’ve stopped, but I never did.  So that’s on me.

Now I just want to tear myself to shreds.  I want to cut my breasts off–I never wanted them anyway, and if I did that, no one would want to touch me.  I’m also really struggling with sexual self-harm urges.  It’s something I used to do but haven’t in a long time.  But I can’t stop the flashbacks and the body memories, and it would put me back in control.  I know how fucked-up that is, but sometimes it’s the only thing that works.  If I do something worse that any of them ever did to me, then what they did can’t hurt me anymore.

And on top of everything else, my roommate is being horrible.  I came home to a gross apartment–mold in my microwave, a half-empty beer on the kitchen counter, an unflushed toilet, and sopping wet washcloths and a giant hairball in the bathtub.  I just pulled the washcloths and hairball out of the tub and dumped them on the bathroom floor, and this morning, she pitched a hissy fit over it, stomping around and slamming doors and shit.  (Another big trigger, on top of all the other triggers.)  I’m sorry, but you’re fucking 29 years old, and I’m not your goddamned maid.  I pay rent too.  I don’t mind messiness–books and papers and stuff sitting around is not a big deal, but I don’t want fucking mildew growing in my bathroom or mold growing in my kitchen.  In general, I don’t want things growing in my living space.  (Although right now growing some pot for myself sounds pretty ideal.)  How fucking hard is it to dump out the rest of your beer or to hang up your fucking washcloths?  But EVERY FUCKING DAY when I go to take a shower, there they are.  I don’t leave my shit for you to clean up, and you have the goddamn nerve to pitch a fit when I move your messes somewhere obvious as a reminder that maybe you should, you know, be a fucking adult and clean them the fuck up?  Bitch, get on the NOPE train to Fuckthatville.

My landlady is away for the weekend, but I’m thinking about talking to her about this when she gets back.  I’m hesitant to do that on the one hand, because I feel like we’re both adults and should handle our own problems.  But on the other hand, I’m so triggered by her screaming and slamming doors and stomping around that I literally CAN’T deal with it like an adult because I dissociate and switch, either to a terrified child or a really aggressive teenager (hence all the swearing in the last few paragraphs), neither of which is good for dealing with a tense situation.  Plus, if I do want to kick her out, I’m going to have to go through my landlady because Roommate is on the lease now.  I’m not even sure I legally CAN kick her out.  I just know I can’t deal with much more of this.  I’ve been taking photos of the grossness when it happens as documentation, but I’m not sure what the laws are.  I just know I can’t live like this.  I spend a lot of my time afraid to come out of my room when she’s home because I will snap if she starts yelling or bitching at me.  I just have so much other shit to deal with that I really cannot deal with hers on top of everything else.

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19 Comments

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19 responses to “Triggers

  1. happilydpressed

    None of what happened to you when you were younger was your fault. You can’t blame yourself…there’s a certain limit to what people can handle before shutting down.

    I’m sorry for what is going on with everything. I wish things would get easier…

    xxxx

    • I can and do blame myself. I don’t know how not to.

      • happilydpressed

        Im sure you do, because its easier to believe that we deserve the bad that happens to us rather than to believe that it happened for no reason. When I was younger, I believed that everything happened because it was meant to be that way. Hell, I even got it tattooed on me. And now, the more I look at the world, I realize that bad shit just happens. We dont ask for it. We dont deserve it. Its just the crappy way which is life.

        You couldnt have stopped what happened when you were a child. You didnt know differently. And when you got older, you saw that it was wrong, but why would you stop it? You blamed yourself. It was something that happened out of your control. And you may have had the power to stop it, but sometimes we just cant. Youre only human.

        I dont know how to help you. I really wish I did. But what I do know is none of that was your fault. Bad things happen and we cant change them, we just have to have enough strength to move past them. And I hope one day you do ❤️

  2. I don’t know where you are in your recovery or healing process, but it might be a good idea to discuss the way you’re feeling with a counselor or therapist, or even a 1-800 help line. My point of view is that it is inappropriate for you to take responsibility for your abuse at any age, because the nature of an abusive relationship is that trust is broken, boundaries are violated, and control is exerted. Then, over the course of an extended amount of time (in the cases of ongoing abuse), the abuser continues to exert their control by reinforcing that they will harm you / someone you care about until you finally reach a point where you just quit resisting altogether. When you reach that point, it doesn’t become your fault any more than it was the first time they ever violated your trust. By then, your own self image has been distorted, and you believe you are not worth saving, or that you are equally responsible. That’s just the abuser’s echo in your head, and not the reality, but by then, you have become convinced that their version of the truth is your only option.

    Someone recently mentioned to me that the election outcome may have ended up triggering a lot more than I was acknowledging, in that it can lead to a feeling of hopelessness or impending doom. For me personally, I’ve been inexplicably having horrible nightmares, and intense cravings for illegal substances (after being clean for more than 20 years). At first, I didn’t really buy that my current state of being off-balance could have anything at all to do with the election outcome, but after giving it a bit more time to percolate, I’ve decided it might be more true than I realized.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re having ongoing issues with your roommate, and can’t even begin to imagine how frustrating that might be, and that unexpected incident with the stranger in the bar that night surely acted as a trigger point, and left you reeling a bit. You already know that dissociating is usually our preferred reaction to any stressors that make us uncomfortable, so I would hope you’ll be kind to yourself in the next few days while things settle back down again. For me, writing about it usually helps start bringing things back into alignment, and although it can’t erase those pesky triggers, it can help focus my attention on moving in the direction of where I want to be, rather than staying stuck in instability. Yes, it can be exhausting to have to navigate those triggers and memories, but the good news is that when the air clears, we usually have an improved perspective, as well as an appreciation for our incredible ability to be resilient. We are, after all, survivors. In every sense of the word.

    • I don’t have a therapist. There’s little to no chance that I’ll be able to access a therapist any time in the foreseeable future. Hotlines are totally useless. I tried three of them when I was suicidal a few weeks ago, and not one of them could be bothered to actually pick up and talk to me. Besides, most of them trace their calls, and they can send the cops after you.

      By the time I was 19, I was smart enough to know that my father wouldn’t have hurt or killed anyone to keep me quiet. I mean, the man was a cop, and he would know that wouldn’t work. He had a lot of character flaws, but rashness and stupidity weren’t among them. I knew he couldn’t really do anything to me (beyond raping me), but I still didn’t tell anyone or fight or even say no. I was not a sympathetic child victim anymore. I was just pathetic.

  3. God this sounds like a really horrible few days, and what the hell was wrong with your RFD? He should have listened to you, isn’t that is job?! Look don’t beat yourself up about the guy in the bar, anyone would have froze with the shock of being in that situation- especially in a crowded bar where you have the anxiety of other peoples reactions to deal with too. And as for your Dad, you know that wasn’t your fault, you know this.Somewhere inside. You just have to let yourself believe it. And I know how hard that is, trust me, but hopefully it’ll come.

    I hope the week brightens up a bit for you soon. x

    • That’s the thing, it wasn’t his job anymore, since the campaign was over. It was all a lie, pretending like I mattered so he could get what he needed from me, but once it was all over, well, back to not mattering anymore. You’d think I would’ve learned by now that that’s just how it goes.

      If it weren’t my fault, then shit like this wouldn’t keep happening. It only keeps happening because I let it.

      • Shit keeps happening, I get that. I really really do. But what you’re referring to, with any kind of logic, could never ever have been your fault. You can’t control the behaviour of another person. And when we’re dealing with the shit we do, it’s hard even to control our own emotions.

  4. wow hon, your really in a rough place. I’m so sorry. sending you loads of hugs, the roommate needs to go. she’s seriously hampering your recovery. I do like alcohol myself, somewhat, but bar hopping doesn’t sound like fun, and certainly sitting by yourself doesn’t sound like much fun at all. I think it was pretty selfish of the other people to do that to you. xoxo

  5. wow. I am so sorry that happened. I can understand your self-anger at freezing when the man touched you, but please don’t beat yourself up about it. It was a fight/flight/FREEZE reaction that could (most likely) hardly be controlled, **especially** when you were so exhausted and already emotionally vulnerable!

    I’m also so sorry that your colleagues were so inconsiderate of you and the other woman that couldn’t come in the bars. I know how much these people mean to you, and I wish their actions would be more indicative of how much you mean to them as well.

    • I don’t know how not to beat myself up. I mean, it’s one of those things that people say like I should know how to do it, and clearly I missed out somewhere in my emotional development because I’m the idiot who doesn’t know how not to think or feel certain ways about myself, as much as I’d like to be able to change those views. I wish somebody could just tell me how, but the people who know how seem to do it like swallowing–you’ve just always known how to do it, and you don’t have the language to tell anyone else how to do it because how can you explain it any more simply than just, “You swallow”?

  6. Hey, sorry things are real sucky after some sexual redealing of my own I had self harm issues with that too; probably nothing like what you are going through but just trying to relate on some level. I would have an issue with bar hopping too, and it seems so unprofessional but that’s just me. And I’m a non-drinker too. I hope things get better and I think talking to your landlord is a good idea, at least it will give you an idea of what you can and can’t do and maybe how to go about it.

    • Well, professional didn’t matter anymore because the campaign is over and they’re all off to do other things. Apparently I didn’t matter anymore either. I don’t know why I ever think it’s going to be different.

  7. Well I don’t blame you for feeling triggered right now. That is a LOT of stuff to happen all in such a short period of time! Your RFD was pretty inconsiderate, I’m sorry you weren’t given much choice here. That alone could be a big trigger.
    As for the piece of shit who grabbed you, and your father- I’m a freezer too. And I felt the same way about my assault, that I should have fought or said no, but I just froze. People who’ve never had that experience don’t get it and unfortunately they contribute to that idea that it is somehow our fault, but it’s not. You don’t need an excuse here. Freezing and disassociating are real responses to assault. I know I’m kind of the pot talking to the kettle here, I have those thoughts myself sometimes, but the real truth is that we were not to blame, regardless of age, etc. Those guys clearly knew what they were doing.
    I’m sorry you have so much on your plate right now. I’m thinking of you- it was good to hear your voice!

    • My voice…my voice is useless. It’s only around when I don’t really need it and never when I actually do. I hate my voice.

      I don’t believe it wasn’t my fault. I don’t think I really even want to anymore. I hate myself too much. I deserved all of it.

  8. I wanted to share something with you from this week.
    There has been a lot of talk about suicide in the chronic pain community this week as the RSD/CRPS community memorialized our lost warriors on the 8th. Not all the deaths are suicides of course, others are complications from the neurological domino effect, but many deaths are suicides.
    So on a discussion about this, a doctor got on claiming that as long as people did treatments like acupuncture, nerve blocks, trigger point injections, epidurals, etc., they would have pain relief and wouldn’t be at the point of wanting to take their lives.
    I thought of some of the things you had posted lately on finances, insurance, and your commute. And I shared that with him. That only those with access to the best healthcare, additional funds, and transportation can receive ongoing treatments that would benefit their pain.
    I also HAD to include that needles can spread RSD/CRPS pain and make the disease so much worse (like it has in my case).
    He came back saying I didn’t know what I was talking about and was spreading lies… blah blah. He was the one being inappropriate by advertising his business on a suicide forum- not me. I was only sharing real people’s experiences.
    I just wanted you to know that your words have influenced me and it helps me understand many others I talk to better.

    • Wow…thank you. I’m not really sure how to respond–not so good with words right now, but that means a lot to me.

      Sorry you had to deal with an ignorant asshole. That’s wicked frustrating.

  9. No doubt.
    No need to say anything. Just wanted you to be aware that I’ve been impacted by your posts. I hope you get rest. Soft hugs.

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