one hundred & thirty two: pessimism

there are words that we use that have judgements inherent in them, and this is one of them, i think.

to be a pessimist is to have a shortage of hope or confidence that things will work out. to see the ‘worst’ in things, to focus on the negative. it’s seen as an ‘attitude’ (which is also a judgy sort of word, if you ask me) that things are not going to be all right. i’ve met very few people who would say, oh yeah, i’m a total pessimist except, you know what, you’re going to, right now. coz unfortunately, i am a pessimist.

i say unfortunately because you know what, it fucking sucks to feel like this. to not trust that things are going to be fine. to catastrophize, to have those niggly annoying convictions that the other shoe is going to drop and it’s all going to hell. to wait for people to leave you. to find it nearly impossible to imagine that people might like you, for real.

i feel like the judgements about pessimism is from people who don’t have a trauma history. and while i am so glad there are people out there who don’t, who were born into families who harvested hope, security and trust, who grew up with confidence and pride, i also feel a bit resentful about the discrimination. i would LOVE to know what unadulterated hope feels like, without the panic alongside. i would have loved to have been a child whose autonomy and growth was fostered and encouraged, instead of squelched. while we’re at it, i would truly have loved to have been spared my dad and uncle’s nocturnal visits, and if they really had to happen? i would have loved someone to have noticed, and to have intervened, rather than turning the other way.

coz it seems to me that the ideas of pessimism and optimism suggest we all start off on equal footing in life, and somewhere along the way, we make a choice to see the glass as half empty or half full. and that, friends, reeks of bullshit to me, and is an incredibly simplistic, reductionist way to classify people into who’s good, and who’s less good. and crappily, some of us start off with less of a chance of a sunny outlook than others.

among the things that make me tired, taking full ownership for my lack of hope is yet another one.

Written Feb 12/19 but backposted to Feb 3/19

 

 

Forgiveness (121)

I think I actually made an ‘ugh’ sound and scrunched up my nose when I read this word out today. Lost in my own world despite being in a busy classroom. Because, well, fuck this word.

I don’t agree with any bullshit notion that somebody will never move on from the things that happened to them until they forgive the perpetrator. Really, come on, that’s so fucking minimising and arseholeish to suggest. It’s not that I am vehemently against the notion of forgiveness, (and I’m most definitely not vehemently for it), it’s that I just don’t agree that I need to rise above all of it and ‘forgive in order to find peace’….don’t mind me, I’ll just be over in the corner puking.

And, maybe I would forgive them, except one thing I am extremely set on is that I will not ever forgive them, unless they actually come up to me and ask to talk about it. To face it, stop pretending, apologise, and are actually meaningfully regretful, and also, seem to actually understand the fucking colossal effects of what they did. Until then…fuck forgiveness. No fucking way.

*****

The one and only person that I do want to forgive (and maybe forgiveness actually isn’t even the right word), is myself back then. For doing what she did, for surviving how she did, for not choosing to do the things that adult me wishes she had. Maybe that’s not really about forgiveness, but about accepting the situation…but from where I stand today, feeling so hateful towards a younger me, forgiveness maybe does feel like the right word. Maybe? I don’t know.

 

Gratitude (113)

This ones a bit sticky for me. In our house gratitude was horribly interlinked with not complaining, keeping your mouth firmly shut.

“Shut up and be grateful for what you’ve got”.

And yes, we should all be grateful for the things in life that we have, nothing is a given, not a home, or a job, or safe people or loved ones. Some people currently have none of those things. And yet, as I’ve grown up, I don’t for one minute agree with this notion that talking about things we wish were different, “complaining”, expressing negative sentiments towards things, makes us ungrateful people, or ungrateful for those things that we do have.

I was extremely grateful to go to a private school (although to begin with I begged to go to the local school with all my friends, and would have done perfectly well there), and yet in our house we were continually reminded of how much sending each of us to a private school had cost them, (quite literally, we were given the figures), and everything they had missed out on in order to do so. And I am grateful, truly, for my school was in fact a bit of a safe haven for me for a few years, and yet it does not make right the pressure placed to do well and “make all the money worth it”. It also doesn’t make right the rest of the shitshow of a childhood we had at times. In order to be grateful for the sacrifices they made (and they did do it with the best of intentions), I do not need to be grateful for the rest of my childhood, or pass it off as being ‘made up for by’ that one thing, or ‘well, think about everything we gave up for to send you to that school, how much it cost’.

One right (and actually, a questionably necessary right) does not make okay other wrongs. Being grateful for one thing doesn’t automatically mean you should forget other wrongs.

I am not grateful for the sexual, physical and emotional abuse I endured growing up. Nor the neglect. I will not ignore or forgive those things simply because I “ought to be grateful” for the house we had, the food and clothes, the gifts my father bought us in the airport each week, the schools we went to, the opportunities we had, the birthday and christmas presents. I won’t allow the violation of my body to be made right by the fact that my dad bought me back a big bar of milka chocolate from Schippol Airport most weeks, and “dads home and he’s bought you a present so you have to be on your best behaviour”.

I’m absolutely positive that in my parents opinion, the rapes at the hand of a member of my own family are made okay by the fact that I never went without food or clothes, things I needed, and very often things I didn’t need. I am to keep quiet, keep the secret, no make a fuss, be grateful for all those things that I did get, not be selfish and focus on the negative, make out that it was all awful, and make life difficult for them.

And I still cannot comprehend this response of theirs. I don’t believe I am being ungrateful at all, I am grateful for the things I got.

Their disregard for all of my hurt however, has me floored.

Boundaries (97)

First thing this made me think of was a blog called Tales of a Boundary Ninja that pocketcanadian told me about a couple of years ago now. The blog doesn’t seem to be active anymore, but I know I found it helpful and pc even more so. Definitely so worth a read to anyone who hasn’t heard of it.

And as does that blog talk about boundaries in relation to the authors therapist, this word makes me think of mine.

My t has very strict boundaries, and I completely hate them. I have been so jealous of other peoples relationships with their therapists. When my friend talks about their t checking in, texts that tell her she loves her or is thinking about her, when I hear about contact during the Christmas break, I am so full of ugly jealousy. Even worse, when I read about and hear about people having their therapist come over to sit next to them during a tough session, when they rest their head on their therapists lap or against their chest, when a therapist will read children’s books or stroke their hair…. All I can think is what is wrong with me? Why won’t my t ever do that? And ugh, the jealousy, the anger, the self hated. All because of boundaries.

And her reasons are the same bullshit thats always given… Its so important to have boundaries to keep it safe, that it’s a total lack of boundaries that has hurt me so much in my life, and it’s essential that she models good boundaries.

But fuck that. It isn’t boundaries that hurt me back then, it was violent, abusive arseholes. And how can it be safe for some therapists to do these things and not her? And I bet she does it with other clients. I bet she just doesn’t want my crazy rubbing off on her. Well fuck her.

And, where did these bullshit boundaries come into play when her husband came into my place of work on Christmas eve? Yes we are a business open to the general public, but he knew who I was, I could tell, and that’s fine, I go to his house every week and sometimes we see each other, but he shouldn’t fucking come to my place of work. That sounds like bullshit boundaries that are there how and when she wants them.

Progress (93)

366 days ago I was spending Christmas with my parents, my brother and his fiancé, and a couple family friends, at my parents house (the one where a lot of the abuse from my brother took place) . My therapist last session said something about how terrible last Christmas was for me and I did a huge double take, (was it? Fuck I don’t remember that), because it all kind of blurs in I think. You do what you can to get through it, and the immediate aftermath is normally pretty bloody bad, but then you get by and you just sort of erase the details from your memory.

In these last 365 days, progress has been, well, non-e-fucking-xistant.

Let’s see, after that terrible Christmas, my therapist and I talked a lot about all the reasons it wasn’t really safe to tell my parents, to do the one thing that was on my mind all the time. Pocketcanadian would tell me that it wasnt safe for me to tell my parents like she had, that it was different circumstances, I am younger and I’m not independent from them. So a measly 6 weeks later, like the Guinness Book of World Records holder for the biggest idiot that I am, I fucking tell them.

And you’d think, 10.5 months on, that a lot would’ve happened, progress would be made, but that’s the biggest fucking laughable joke going.

I didn’t even have to say it, my mother asked the question, because she already knew the answer… What did he do to you? I know he tried it on with you once. Yes mum, he fucking raped me and attempted it a couple of times when you walked in and basically did sweet fuck all. Everything took place under your roof where you turned a fucking blind eye and allowed your daughter to be abused. Amazing.

And their responses… They don’t want to lose him. They don’t want to risk his career. They don’t want to risk him never coming back. They want me to keep my fat gob shut, and to play their little game of happy families. I’m to attend family events, I’m to act the part of loving daughter and sister, I’m to let no one know. I have to be so grateful for my darling brother. Told that I have to open presents from him that I really really don’t want to. Told to not be selfish. Told that isn’t that lovely of him /them.

Summer birthdays were the first time I actually was made to be there all together again, I had successfully managed to avoid being there when he was up until that point. And guess how it went? Dinner parties where my mother gushed over her amazing son, and slighted me every way she could, in front of everyone. I actually couldn’t believe it.

And now I’m back here again, a year later, a full circle. Thankfully no brother as he is away, but that doesn’t mean a lack of all the other stuff. Dinner table talk of how amazing he is, how wonderful his fiancé (their perfect vision of a daughter – if only they could’ve got one like her, not me). Video calls with both of them. All the lovey bullshit about how wonderful he is, what a shame he can’t be here, how missed he is. All for the audience of a family friend and grandparents. Meanwhile I’m barely at the table. I’m the waitress, that’s what I’m there for. To help cook, to carry plates, to fetch and carry and pour wine. To wash up everything from cooking a massive meal and serving a four course meal for 6 people (shit ton of washing up). And I’m not missed. I’m told what to do, not wanted to sit down with everyone else. And I sit back and do nothing (because there is no point), when my mum goes on about what a great mother she is. How she’s thinking of my other brother (who only wants anything to do with them when he needs money), how poor him, and poor her, and shes such a great mum, and when you have kids you’ll understand how mothers just want to protect their kids and have them close. Protect them? Lol!!!

I realised at some point yesterday, when my dad got angry and arseholeish with me because i hadn’t immediately gone and got something he wanted me to (because I was washing up a stack of plates resembling everest), that that was all I was there for. They had all the family they wanted when they could phone call my eldest brother and his fiance. They are their darlings, all they need in life. And I will never never never live up to them. And immediately I was so full of shame. I was being yelled at, I wasn’t good enough, yet again, and worse still, I was actually not really wanted. And that was it, I was 4 years old, crying without being able to stop the tears falling, escaping to cuddle my cat and try to find just someone that loved me and wanted me. My little one is still noisy, still sad, still ashamed for always being wrong.

Yesterday I texted pc, whilst I was so mad and losing it, and I said this: Here’s a resolution for 2019. Fucking kill myself so that I don’t have to see another year through. That’s how I feel about all of it, that’s really how I’m still feeling, how I can’t bear another year like this one.

So that’s my full circle of this past year. So much has happened, so much that a year ago I would have bet all my money on not happening… if someone had said I would tell my parents, face this stuff, I would have told you that’s incredible progress. But I guess that’s the amazing thing now about hindsight, because progress? What fucking progress? I’ve told them and *nothing* has changed. And that fills me with so much shame that I really do wish I was 10ft under.

Merry Christmas, folks.

Relief (87)

I think of the relief I feel when I’ve lost my shit, gotten angry thrown a total temper tantrum… How releasing that anger suddenly feels like relief.

I think of how people say that crying when you’re so so sad offers relief and how actually, it really fucking doesn’t. How you feel like you’re drowning in it, it’s not getting any less, how actually letting it or doesn’t seem to help… Until suddenly you feel empty and full all at the same time. How that actually doesn’t feel like relief, it just feels exhausting.

I think of how I truly truly believed that if I could just tell my parents, I’d feel relief. I’d feel freer. How that is laughable to me now (omg I was naive). I think of how I guess it did offer a small amount of relief, I no longer have to constantly ruminate over how I would tell and what would happen if I told, and that’s amazing, but also, I’ve just substituted ruminating over that for ruminating over the fact that they couldn’t have given a rats arse about it. How dumb and naive I was, how shameful it feels, why? What did I do? Is it me? What do other people think? Well anyone care? Am I being an idiot?

I think of the sweet relief of cutting, how it releases everything inside of me and just quietens it all down for a bit.

I think of the relief of telling somebody, and not being alone. I think of pc and how talking on the phone to her and laughing and joking or just being heard and loved can bring sweet relief.

I think of how I had no relief back then. Except to dissociate, to split off and to ignore it all.

Sharing

I’ve found sharing here really hard lately. Which is why I’m now catching up on five posts all in one day (or trying to at least…if my laptop wouldn’t keep crashing and deleting everything I’ve written). But I think the reason I’m finding sharing here hard is that I’ve been sharing so much in my personal life. Only really with pc and with my therapist, but it feels like such a lot. It’s tough and it takes your energy, and I’m more of the closed-off/keep-it-to-yourself kind of person. So I’m learning, or rather unlearning, that lesson that it’s bad to share.

The other thing that this makes me think of is of my mum. Ugh. She has always told me and everyone else about how secretive I am. How I never tell her anything, how everything always has to be a secret with me. For obvious reasons, I really truly hate her saying this. Because I mean if it isn’t enough that I’ve obviously had to hold so many secrets; of a family where so much abuse is taking place behind closed doors; emotional, physical, and lucky me, sexual (and let’s be completely clear, she’d have gone mental had I not kept those secrets), then how about all those other times the lesson of ‘keep yourself to yourself, don’t share’ was instilled… How about the time she told me that if I didn’t help her keep a secret from my dad they would get a divorce and it would be my fault? And how about being a little girl and sharing something only to be met with judgement, or anger, or annoyance, or laughter, or a very matter of fact “i don’t care”? How about her telling me how she just tunes herself out and nods along pretending she is listening because she really doesn’t want to listen? So fuck her and her sudden decision that actually, she would now like me to share everything with her. Fuck her.

Jealousy

This one isn’t pretty. I wish I didn’t, but I absolutely do get jealous. Regularly. And I bloody hate it. Like I said, it’s never pretty. Anyone who has (and really, isn’t that everyone?) will know the horrible, stomach clenching, seething anger and jealousy that starts in your belly and just gets noisier and noisier until it’s completely unbearable roaring for attention. I hate the fact that even when you know its illogical, when your brain knows you aren’t being fair, or that its dumb, you can’t align thoughts and feelings…you can’t just switch it off with understanding that there is no need to be jealous.

What I’ve really been thinking about is the things I get jealous of… I’ve been thinking about how I used to get so, so mad and jealous when pocketcanadian and I would be talking and then she would have to leave because her family needed her. Or how I would sometimes hate hearing about her having a good time with her friends. I would go crazy, and it has been the cause of an argument multiple times. I would tell her I didn’t matter, I could never actually matter, because I was over here, in the UK and she was in Canada, and I’m not actually in her real life. Oh god I would tell her that all the time. That she doesn’t actually care, that I don’t count, that she tells me that stuff to pacify me but doesn’t actually mean it. That she wouldn’t want to ever meet me in real life. And even though she told me I mattered so much and that she cared and loved me, I would still get so jealous of the people that got to physically see her all the time. I would try hard not to lose my shit a lot of the time, but I couldn’t always help it. I’m better about this stuff these days, because I’m more secure in knowing that I actually am important to her, I really am. But still, it crops up, and when it does, just ugh, so so much ugh.

The other people I get jealous of frequently, and they aren’t even specific people, is anyone with a loving family. It makes me enraged, to see loving parents and kids, and to not have that myself. Sometimes it makes me smile to see, sometimes (most of the time) it hurts my heart, and sometimes I’m really just jealous. How dare they get that? What was wrong with me, what did they do that I didn’t, for them to be loved and supported like that, and for me not to? How is that fair? And, I hate them, just because they got what I want and never got. (I don’t actually, that’s just the jealousy talking.) How come my therapists son got to have her for a mum? How come he gets someone that will give him freedom, but love him no matter what, and support him (in a career in art – something that would never have been allowed for me)? How come he gets a mum that will be attuned, that will care and be gentle, and be present? I hate it. I hate the jealousy, and I hate the anger. Because it’s not rational, and yet it’s still totally there. And, even though I have no real clue about her other clients, I’m jealous of them too… I bet she prefers them, I bet they get more of her time and more of her care. I bet shes really gentle with some of them. I wonder if she ever sits next to them on the sofa, or hugs them, or holds their hand? She would never do any of those things with me. And, following on from that, I’m jealous of other people’s therapists. I hear about pc’s therapist and I get so fucking jealous. I read about peoples on here, and I think, fuck, I can’t even pay someone to want to do any of those things for/with me. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Finally, the last thing I’ve been thinking of is how people judge other people for being jealous. How they’re seen as bad, (and they can be if they act it out badly), but normally really are just hurting people. People wishing for something they don’t have, which hurts them. Normally jealousy isn’t really acted out, or the person tries so hard not to. It’s kept in, not given space unless it pummels its way through, and the part that annoys me is that people seem to be so quick to forget that it feels fucking awful to be jealous. Nobody wants to feel like that. It’s not an emotion that you choose…”oh hey, you know what I feel like feeling today…that bottomless, constricting, raging, jealousy. That sounds like fun”. I wish jealousy could be met with a little more gentleness. But also I know that’s so hard; the very last thing I feel like being with myself when I’m like that is gentle.

Freedom

Ugh.

*****

Ugh some more. I don’t feel free, that’s why this word is crap. To any onlooker, I absolutely am. And fuck, get over yourself pocketbrit, first world problems right here…compared to so many people out there you are so damned free and should be grateful, not here, moaning, yet again.

*****

But actually, screw that too, I’m reflecting on a word, that’s all, and like I said, I don’t feel free. I feel trapped in a life that I don’t seem to be able to have control over; I know, logically, that I do make many minor decisions all the time which place me in control of my life (which therefore should infer freedom, and yet, it really doesn’t feel that way). I don’t feel like I am able to know what to do with my life, I don’t feel like I am capable of risking things and giving things a go if there’s a potential for failure. I don’t feel like I can escape my current reality of remaining in the town where my parents live, working in their business and seeing them regularly. Isn’t that so weak? Seriously pb, grow up…if you want to do differently, do it. Nobody else can do it for you and you can’t blame anybody else for not doing it yourself.

But its not really about that…I absolutely am a coward in ways, but this is trauma, this is attachment, and screwed up family dynamics, and the recent aftermath of telling my family (sort of…all they’ve made me do is keep it a secret from other family members that they consider more important…my abuser being one of them). This is the fact that the family I belong to, the only family I have, and perhaps the only family I will ever have, want to keep me quiet, want to ignore my pain, push it aside, tell me its no big deal, that he matters more. And I feel trapped. My emotional freedom perhaps, (at some point in the future, and likely not ever fully emotionally free), lies in leaving them and living a life where I am not forced to keep the most vile family secrets. And yet, that’s a life without a family…maybe that’s freedom, but what does that involve giving up? Won’t I feel so alone? Won’t I miss all the good times? Won’t I think of them all the time? Won’t I wish I hadn’t given them up? Won’t I wish I could take it all back, just for one moment of feeling like I belong somewhere, even if I’m only allowed to belong if I keep my mouth firmly shut? But also, do I even really have those things by staying?

*****

I also don’t feel free in my body. Especially lately. My one body feels like it’s containing several people. Several people that I’ve on and off acknowledged are there for a couple of years, but that’s 98% off and only 2% on until recently. Now it’s about 85% on and all I want to do is revert it back to that comfortable 2%. I have an image in my head of an old wooden trunk in a loft….i’ve picked up my wee one and put her in there, upset though she always fucking is. I’ve told my young one to get in, she doesn’t talk much, and she’s just gone in, eyes watching me. My sullen, ‘told-you-so’, sarcastic, detached, scary one gets in on her own accord, like she expects it and is rolling her eyes and shaking her head, and seething at me, for never stepping up and helping, for always being a disappointment. And finally I scream and shout at my teen, who argues back and rages. She won’t get in, not without me physically forcing her. And that’s exactly what I want to do. I want to get her in there and push her back, and put my foot on her and hold her down if I have to and put all my weight on the lid of the trunk to try to close it fucking shut, even though it can’t really fit all these stupid people to begin with. I want to scream back at them, to tell them to get lost. That I want nothing at all to do with them. I want them gone. I want them dead. And I’m meant to be the one in control, the one that gets by and lives our life, and is functioning. Not so functioning, is it, to be scared and spinning because I can’t shut my brain up?

So, this doesn’t feel like freedom. This feels like being locked in a cage with people I really don’t like and don’t want to have to interact with, yet are coming right up to me and crying/raging/talking incessantly in my ear. I want quiet, but I can’t have it.

Hate

A couple of nights ago, I wanted to destroy everyone and everything near me. I was so so full of hate, I just wanted it out of my body. I was imagining hurting my poor little kitten that I love (I didn’t); I wanted to really really hurt him, release all of my anger and hate, and kill him, this little, adorable, sweet and oh so naughty kitten. My thoughts were violent and uncontrollable and just so so not okay. There was no interacting with other parts of myself, there was only this unbearable hatred eating me up. I wanted to rage, I wanted to scream and hit things, and hurt people. I really, really wanted to hurt people. I wanted to hurt myself most of all. I wanted to hurt every single good person in my life, I wanted to scare them all away, and then I wanted to punish myself. The feeling that I always have is that of taking a knife and slicing it, right down my body…of taking my hands and removing all of the soft squishy guts, everything that makes me feel weak. I wanted to remove every single soft bit on my body, and I didn’t want to do it painlessly, I wanted to feel the sharp tang of the knife, I wanted to feel the sweet release of all of this weakness being removed from me. I wanted to feel relieved and like I could breathe again afterwards, hardened and strong.

I hate myself when I’m like this. Its a terrible circle…because when I am hating, I hurt people, and shout or want to hurt innocent animals. That then makes me hate myself the moment the rage begins to subside, and I think about how awful a person I am. That then in turn tends to turn me back to rage and hating myself, and you’re stuck in this cyclical pleasure ride.

Something pc said to me, (after sticking with me through that night, no matter how awful I was), was that she wants to know this part most of all, that she was the biggest protector… And I guess she was. Because all of the hate, all of the anger, became contained. It was separated, and it was felt when it was generally safe, and it was almost all directed inwards. She kept me safe, by making me angry at myself and nobody else. She kept me small, and feeling strong, and blaming myself. And that, in its own very screwed up way, kept me safe. It kept me from acting out and being on the receiving end of retaliation. And it kept me from the unbearable grief of placing that anger where it belongs and realising that no one would listen or help.

I  really want to end this with some lovely sentence or two to summarise, but I can’t, because really it just feels like one bloody big mess in my head.