two hundred & seven: blame

i actually don’t quite know why i’m attempting this one in my current state of mind, but there you have it. coz it’s a hard word, a word laden with some pretty intense, pretty triggery associations. a word that gets tossed around a lot in terms of sexual abuse.

in short, the person i blame for most things is myself. i may respond in anger or frustration with other people, i may even sometimes be upset at someone, but deep deep down, i’m holding myself responsible for whatever happened. with myself, with others, about stuff that isn’t even mine to own.

it’s one of the things that has hurt me so much over the years, and it’s something that i hear hurting pocketbrit repeatedly, too. the conviction that we were responsible, at fault, to blame, is central to how we coped with what happened.

i don’t blame myself for being abused as much as i used to, but i absolutely do for how i’ve come to know it, for how it affects my life. lately, i’ve been finding all sorts of reasons to discredit myself, coming up with all sorts of evidence for why it couldn’t have happened, for how i am wrong, how i have imagined it, how i don’t really have any true proof. i am deep down the rabbithole of disbelief.

i hate myself for it. it just makes everything harder. but i can’t help it. all i keep thinking is, i have no way to prove it happened. and people don’t believe me. i’m pretty sure my brother doesn’t, my friends who live in my hometown won’t (they don’t know, and just keep pressing me and pressing me about why i’m not talking to my parents) and maybe even the people closest to me don’t, but they can’t really say that to me, can they?

i also hate myself for how this is still so much an issue for me. how it bothers me, pokes under my skin, steals my sleep, makes me miserable. the cost of living my ‘truth’ is my family, my childhood friends, and isolation from my extended family. it’s not like we were super close-knit or anything (my mom’s sisters are fucking nuts, and the one i actually loved has died, but her daughters, my two closest cousins, have been estranged from all of us for years, and i don’t really have a relationship outside of my parents with many people on my dad’s side, beyond a couple cousins)…but i don’t have anyone on team pocketcanadian. one of my friends said, so what, how does that matter if they’re a bunch of arseholes anyway but somehow it does matter, because i’m essentially alone.

and lately it’s been torturing me. i don’t have anyone who has known me since i was little. or even a young adult. it’s like my entire childhood has been erased. the only people i talk to have known me for 17 years at the most, since i moved away from my hometown, and the majority of them much less than that. it’s like i didn’t exist before i moved away. and i don’t know why it’s hurting me, but it is.

partially coz i blame myself – i did this, right? i’ve placed this elephant in the room. i’ve made this decision. i’ve facilitated this isolation.

but i still feel like i can’t bear not being believed…i can’t risk telling people and having them not believe me, having them question me and believe the story my parents tell (that i am deeply deeply disturbed and crazy)…and so, i drift away from my history, my past. i become more and more unmoored. an island.

i’ve chosen it though, right? so it’s my fault. my responsibility. no one to blame but the person i see in the mirror.

written april 23/19, backdated

eighty-eight: fault

i feel entirely battered by this past week’s words.

to be fair, i am likely just feeling battered by december: a month of rampant over-consumption, of consumerism, of pressure to be happy and to get the right gifts and to send cards (i never do), a month where i have to hear about people’s family gatherings and traditions, where there is such emphasis on togetherness and peace and FUCK OFF ALREADY, a month to overeat everything in sight, and the month, nearly to the day, that three years ago, i first remembered the incest. while doing something innocuous and festive with my daughter, on a sunny afternoon.

kiddo and i did that same festive activity tonight (for the first time in three years) and i was trying really, really hard to stay present. i think i succeeded. she had fun and went to bed on a huge sugar high. i didn’t crumple into a heap on the kitchen floor, or scream or weep. (well not tonight i didn’t. that was earlier today, on my own.)

one of the few friends who knows *all* of the shit about my dad said, the worst thing about all of this [pain and upset and hurt] is that none of it is your fault. you didn’t do anything wrong at all. and i’ve read those words a million times in a million places and my wife and therapist and pocketbrit have said that to me another trillion times yet it took this friend saying that, as simplistically as she did, for me to truly take it in. it wasn’t my fault. i was just a little girl.

i take ownership for so much else, but finally, finally, i know that bit to be true. it wasn’t my fault.

it wasn’t pocketbrit’s fault (no, my love. i promise. not ever.)

and for everyone else reading, if you were little, and someone hurt your body or your mind or your safety, it wasn’t your fault, and i’ll hold that for you until you can.

Fault (88)

This one’s hard. Like really really hard.

When I was a bit older I used to go to my brother and ask him for things. I did it knowing the things he would ask for/demand in exchange. I went knowingly and willingly and had I not, those instances would not have taken place.

I sold myself to him, basically.

I struggle with this, even now, a huge amount. What I’ve come to realise is that I went to him to gain some control. I went in a complete panic inside, and I detached myself and I did it. And then I felt lighter afterwards. The threat of what he could do that day was no longer a constant companion inside my head; it had already happened. I felt more relaxed and I felt safer and I was doing what I needed to do at the time to cope.

And yet… Am I not to blame? Is it not my fault? Those instances surely were… I mean had I not gone to him, there was no telling whether any abuse would have taken place those days. In law there are two types of causation, one of which is the ‘but for’ test. But for my going to my brother and asking for things, it would not have happened that day. And at least once, if not multiple times, that would be the case. In which case causation lies with me, and in which case the fault is mine.