Friday, 17 August 2012

Recognising the damage: Feelings

Write about the ways you are still affected by the abuse. 
Write about the strengths you've developed because of the abuse. Think of what it's taken for you to survive. 

I am going to use the sub-headings mentioned in the book. I hope they will cover everything. 


"the feelings you expressed may have been disregarded or mocked. You were ignored, told you had nothing to worry about, molested again."

Word for word, this is exactly how it was. I can't express how I feel even now for fear of being rejected, laughed at or called stupid. 

Answering specific questions:

Can you recognise your feelings? Tell the difference between them?

I recognise negative feelings. I recognise anger and how it is difficult for me to control it. I have outbursts because I try to smother how I feel quite a lot. Try to 'move on' and 'be patient'. Then, when there is seemingly no reason for it, I have a huge outburst and tend to totally lose control. I haven't been violent for a long time. Over 7 years I'd say. I don't feel violent. Just very angry sometimes. 

I recognise non-feeling. This profound state of not being able to feel. I don't know sadness or refuse to admit to it because it makes me feel indulgent. Like I'm being selfish by being sad. 

I've felt happy. When I first met Darren I was very happy. There are times now when I just feel happy being with him. But it is never pure happiness. I don't let myself be purely happy because I know it won't last. There is always an accompanied feeling of doom. 

I feel an overwhelming sense of love and affection for Veer. All the time. That is pure. I do get angry and frustrated when he's struggling with food and insisting on misbehaviour. He knows when he's doing something he shouldn't but is at the stage where he's constantly testing boundaries. I have had the urge to shake him or slap him. These urges are always quickly followed by shame, dejection and disgust at myself. That I should be capable of feeling like slapping my son after everything I've been through with my parents. I get angry with myself for not being able to control how I feel. 

Do you have trouble expressing your feelings?

Yes, although I seem to be doing a pretty good job here. 

I feel scared I will be rejected. Not with Darren, because I tell myself there's nothing he can do. He can't leave. He might if I keep pushing him too much and that thought stops me sometimes. If I disagree with something he's said or done, it makes me sulky but if he asks me whether I'm all right, I usually say yes.

When I had veer, I decided I would express my love for him, to him, every day. That although hugs make me uncomfortable, I would hug him often and tell him I love him every single day, many times a day. 

Do you value your feelings or see them as an indulgence?

Outright indulgence. The very fact that I'm sitting here writing about them is making me feel like I want this exercise to end. 

Are you comfortable with anger, sadness, happiness, calm?

I am comfortable with calm. I like calm. I aspire to be calm in everything I do. Anger makes me uncomfortable because it is the opposite of calm. Happiness and sadness both make me feel indulgent. 

Do you feel confused much of the time?

I don't feel anything much of the time. I don't feel confused. I feel torn but not confused. Often I feel like I'm struggling or juggling two or three different feelings but I don't feel the necessity to settle on any one. They are all equally unwelcome and uncomfortable. 

Do you experience a wide range of emotions or just a few?

I'd say a fair few. Mainly dejection and repulsion towards myself. And there are fleeting experiences of all sorts. Anger, sadness, happiness, envy, disgust, hate, longing, calm, love, affection, desire. Can't think of any more. 

Are you prone to depression? Nightmares? Panic attacks?

I don't like the sound of 'prone to'. I have spent a lifetime trying to avoid falling into a pattern so I don't like 'prone to'. Do I get depressed? Yes, of course. A lot. There isn't a specific pattern to it but it can be triggered by various things. 

I have nightmares about the abuse. It's usually set in public; a lot of the family are there; Amit bhaiya is there. There is usually a sort of chase, one that only him and I are aware of. It always ends in me waking up crying or sweaty because he has been smirking. He doesn't say anything but his grin has a voice which is saying, "I told you they wouldn't believe you. They're never going to believe you."

I never have panic attacks. Panic signifies weakness to me. I am not comfortable with panic. 

Have you ever worried about going crazy?

I worry about ceasing to see sense. I worry about reaching a point of no return from irrationality. Logically, I know somewhere that my insecurities are irrational and something that can be dealt with. I worry about losing the ability to see that. I worry about losing faith in the people who want to help and are trying to help. I worry about reaching a point where getting better doesn't matter any more. 

Are you afraid of your feelings? Do they ever seem out of control?

I am afraid of my feelings. I'm afraid of my anger because I have seen what it can do. I'm afraid of feeling happy because I'm afraid of losing it. I'm afraid of sadness because it makes me feel like I'm going back to the beginning and not getting better at all. 

More recently, my despair and sadness seem to be getting more and more intense. I do cry, which I suppose is expected when I am often unhappy. But things seem to be affecting me a lot more. I've ended up crying so hard on a couple of occassions recently that my brain, my logical brain, is telling me to quiet down. Not unkindly, just genuinely to calm down, but I am physically unable to stop. They are loud sobs. And I am not loud. Never have been. But these have been loud, controlled sobs. Not hysterical. Mournful, if I can say that. Yeah. Mournful. Like someone's died and there is no going back. Melodramatic. 

Have you ever been violent or abusively angry?

Yes, with my brother and sister. It was par for the course in our family to use violence for instilling discipline or expressing displeasure. I did what I saw. Obviously, it was an outlet for my anger at everything that had been going on with my life at the time. It has left me with a lot of shame and guilt. If I could go back and change it, I would. Then again it keeps me mindful of my anger with Veer. My need to smack him is counteracted with memories of being beaten senseless by my mother and visions of me beating my brother. I don't recognise the person in those visions. 

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