Can Change Happen?

‘The abuse you endured was very bad, nasty and severe’, she remarked.   It was?   ‘It was?’ was my reply. That is always my reply.

I kind of staggered into her office tonight. My t asked me jokingly at one point walking down the hall to her office if she needed to carry me.   I told her she might need to.  I had a very busy weekend with work and to top it all off, I had an interesting adventure in my kayak yesterday.   I got caught in a nasty storm on a large lake.  I thought at one point that maybe my life would end by drowning.  But after many harrowing minutes I was able to get to the shore until the thunder and lighting stopped and the wind calmed down so I could continue on my way.  I didn’t realize until today how much this weekend took out of me.  I wasn’t cancelling my appointment though, since I only have a couple of them left.

One of the things that has always haunted me and I may have mentioned this before, is why I didn’t tell my parents about a sexual abuse incident that happened to me when I was about five.  I haven’t been able to wrap my head around this fact.  My t asked me why I thought I didn’t go to them.  No clue, was my response.  She said that even at that age I knew my parents weren’t safe to go to.  I told her that I had no memories to confirm that statement.  She said that I might not have been aware cognitively but that I knew in other ways.  She then asked me how my parents reacted to me if I went to them when I was sick. ‘Oh’, I said, as the dim light in my head grew slightly brighter.  I find it strange that I can’t seem to make these connections myself.  I know by that age I was quite detached from my parents in some areas maybe in most.  I kept pretty much to myself.

I told her that I’ve been wondering lately if I am fixable.  I know there are areas that I have been able to change  but realistically, are there things that I will have to come to terms with and learn to work around rather than expecting  freedom from?

And that’s when she said those words.  This is not the first time she has said them.  She has not said them often because she always gets a strong reaction from me about them.  She told me that was my world from birth until I left home.  It was what I had developed in emotionally.  I asked her if it was possible to change what seemed to be hard-wired into my brain.  She said some things could be changed and some things have already been changed in me and maybe some things might not be changed.  My t said that I can’t predict into the future and say certain things can’t be changed.  I think deep down I won’t be able to change some parts of me that have been developed in a traumatic lifestyle.  It’s just stuff that I will have to learn to live with.  I’m not sure if any of this is true but it’s something I’ve wondered about lately.

I think the biggest and hardest thing that I need to learn is to have compassion on myself particularly in the areas I might be stuck living with.

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12 Responses to Can Change Happen?

  1. JBR says:

    Being gentle with oneself is one of the hardest. My t. has said to me time and time again that I am just too hard on my self. My bloggie friends as well said the same.

    I too wondered why I never went to my parents when my older brother was sexually abusing me. He used the lame excuse to me that he was doing this because he wanted to become a doctor. And for some reason, as a child of 8 or 9 I accepted that. And that was that. Weird I remember that. But, it was so tramatic because I must have been bothered by what he was doing. Wow— insight.

    ((((Hugs to you))))

    • lostinamaze says:

      That is great insight.

      I can be compassionate toward others in ways that I can’t be with myself. I also need to learn to give myself some space because I am realizing that this all takes some time.

      I never used to think that this particular incident was traumatic. I thought that I just excepted it and carried on with life.

  2. Lothlorien says:

    A lot of kids don’t tell because they feel they are somehow to blame. Or that thei “guilty by association” just by being there. Or they feel shame, dirty, bad, gross, (fill in the blank). Others are just so overwhelmed in the immediate and surrounding days, they just don’t know what to do. They can’t even think straight enough to tie their shoes in the morning. Some even begin wetting their pants. My daughter was molested by a peer in her class. I knew something was wrong with her because she was a wreck and having panic attacks. She was in therapy for three months (both her T and I not knowing what has caused this), when she came to me and told me. Point being, she had to get past the initial shock before she could tell me. Kids whose parents aren’t as observant and don’t inquire/get them some help may not get passed that shock, or may go from shock to burial of the abuse. Think of it this way too. If you didn’t tell for awhile for the same reasons as my daughter (shock), and it went on for an extended time, how do you then approach it? As a kid how to do you tell your parent this happened “x” months ago and then I can imagine the fear being will they get mad at me for NOT telling. Point it, it is a very complex thing to happen to such a little child. You cannot go back and guess what you were thinking. you had your reasons.

    The other thing I wanted to say was that when a caterpillar emerges as a butterfly, he still has remnants of his former self. Little tiny remnants. But he is a BEAUTIFUL butterfly, able to fly through the sky. When we complete our therapy, there will be some freedom, there will be a renewed self, but there will always be little remnants of the past. (little) Though we cannot always see it, there may even be subtle ways we are blessed. Like the butterfly who now has wings,we may have greater things. Try to focus on the pluses you will have. They will no doubt outweigh what you are left with.

    Hugs (if ok),

    • lostinamaze says:

      I have thought about this and you are right. Do I really know why I didn’t tell. Many factors were going on in my house and at that age do I know cognitively what was influencing me? I need to quit putting adult thoughts in the kid’s head. All I know for sure is that I was living in pretty much constant terror at ‘what was about to happen’.

      I think that it is awesome that you were sensitive towards your daughter and were able to get her the help she needed.

      Thank you for the butterfly. Hugs are always ok.

  3. Harriet says:

    Learning to live with something is change, isn’t it? It’s different than how you are now. I don’t think acceptance should place below change on the “being cured” continuum. Acceptance is equally as important.

    • lostinamaze says:

      That is true. I never thought of it in that way.

      Acceptance is a really hard thing for me. There seems to be very little that I accept about myself. That is something I can certainly try to change about myself. It’s either all or nothing for me.

  4. I think you had a genuinely difficult conversation about the truth. I think that for all of us, there is some part that will never change. Maybe it is a small part, but I think once you are scarred, that always remains. It does fade though, and I think something to work for is to help those dark places fade and let other parts of us shine more.

    That mind sound a bit geeky, but I think you will probably get what I mean.

    • lostinamaze says:

      I certainly get what you mean. I want to know that I can move forward but I also want to be realistic about it. I think as long as I have hope, which is really hard sometimes, there is always an opportunity for change. But can I know which parts are unchangeable? And that’s why I keep trying.

  5. I also did not tell my mother as I stopped going to her at a very young age. I know that by that time I had long discovered that she was not safe and going to my family members that were safe would end up in such turmoi and chaos with my family.

    I just really want to hug you. You are not broken, in the sense that you need fixing. However, you can get better with hard work…I promise…I used to ask my therapist a similar question all the time.

    What I am discovering is that some parts get healed and I’m free from it and others I am aware of and am learning to repond differently instead of reacting to my circumstances, thoughts and feelings.

    take care,

  6. lostinamaze says:

    Sometimes I just feel really broken but if I take time to think about there are areas that I have definitively improved in. I need to remember that. You’re right, it is hard work and I think that I need to be more patient with myself.

  7. Just Be Real says:

    Just came back to reads some comments. Safe hugs to you dear one.

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