Resurrection After Rape puts forward this explanation for how one will recognize “Recovery” when it happens:
- When you can face the thoughts of rape rather than having to avoid them;
- When you understand the connection between your current self-concept and your rape, so that when you feel down on yourself you won’t accept that as a “permanent truth” of who you are;
- When you no longer engage in self-harming behaviors (including substance abuse) to manage emotions and memories;
- When flashbacks have diminished to the point they either no longer happen, or no longer interfere with your life and emotions;
- When you can appropriately respond to people’s ignorant attitudes about rape, rather than withdrawing from them and wilting in lonely shame;
- When you have begun to offer support to other survivors;
- When you have begun to view your body as a valuable thing and not as a betrayer or curse, and you take care of its needs;
- When you learn to recognize the warning signs of dangerous men and avoid them, no matter how charming they appear to be;
- When men no longer have control over your opinions of yourself;
- When you are able to confront, challenge, and speak proudly to men;
- When you make your own choices whether to disclose your rape to someone because of something you need to say, not something you need to hear for you to make progress;
- When you no longer feel guilty for asking for help, or for having rough days, or for taking the length of time needed for growth.
This organization does not recognize the medical studies showing marijuana to be the most effective drug for PTSD apparently. They exist. If you can’t find them then you are too ignorant to be allowed on the internet.
I think I’m fairly solid on 1, 5 (I have some inappropriate mixed in with my appropriate responses but I think I’m in “recovery” territory on this one.), 6, 7 (I thank the marathon for this. I was not capable of properly taking care of my body when I was pregnant–I didn’t know how. I learned during the marathon. It was a weird change.), 8, 11.
I’m working on 2, 3 (I have prescriptions from doctors for all of my drugs. I do use as minimally as I can get away with but I absolutely need these meds at this point. Is that abuse?), 4 (I have the ability to not react to them in front of anyone else. I can’t make them stop. They increase my overall stress levels slowly. I have to periodically go allow myself to consciously think about them or I start having ranty inappropriate outbursts in random settings.), 9 (onman don’t get me started), 10 (Often I am shitty at talking to men.), 12.
Mixed bag as usual. I’m just like that. And this guy doesn’t have a monopoly on definitions.
I will say that I appreciate the section on managing panic attacks. Education + replacement of negative self-talk with positive self-talk has been my approach. Glad to get my little gold star there. I read everything looking for confirmation bias to prove I am “right” like every other human. I like to blame it on public education but that’s a straw man argument.
A question from the book. If rape is a form of theft, what did it steal?
I am afraid of men. I do still stand near them–but I do so uneasily and with great anger. I feel that rape stole my faith in men. People can rant at me all day and all night about how women rape too and that won’t change the fact that I was raped by twelve men not twelve women.
Are twelve men a representative sample of all men? Can I judge all men based on them? Of course not. I don’t actually judge all men. I just avoid the ones who are not already through the barriers of trust. They have to come in sideways. Usually they have to fit in a nice, neat little box so that I can trust how they will behave. I really like men who are emphatically not interested in me even though they like me. When they feel the need to mention that I am completely not their type I feel a little relaxation of tension.
I am not a nice person. I yell. I say mean things. I say hurtful things. I am a dick. I am an asshole. I am a bitch. Pick a word. White trash whore. Sure. I say mean, nasty things. Sometimes there is a very small grain of truth in what I say and I use that as justification for my hurtfulness.
I’m not a sociopath. I don’t deny my actions or the results of my actions. I don’t deny my blame. I just don’t seem to be able to adequately shut my mouth. I think it would take suturing. Luckily I have friends who are into that sort of thing because they agree with me that women should just shut the fuck up. I would be a much nicer person if I just shut the fuck up.
Today I yelled what my mother yelled at me. I feel pretty ashamed of myself.
I have no excuse. I do not get to deflect blame. I could give a laundry list of reasons why I was out of patience. Doesn’t matter. Being mean isn’t ok.
I will never be good enough. Ever. I’m literally not capable of it. Yeah, I probably shouldn’t have had kids. I don’t deserve them. I am not capable of being nice enough. I pray that the damage I cause is slight in the scope of their lives. I cross my fingers that I am a net positive for them. I’m scared.
I feel very ashamed of myself for not being good enough. I’m just not. Just work harder is the only message I have on this score. I weigh, eternally, in my mind if my children would be better off if I got a job and let them go to school. Would they be better off if they didn’t have to deal with me so much of the time?
I don’t know. Every decision is so layered, so complicated I’m not sure I can know what the right decision is. I know what I am doing. I know why. Today was a rocky day. I think I have been over extending myself and I ran out of spoons. I was mean and nasty.
It’s not ok. It’s not justified. I’m not claiming any expiation. My choices and my behavior are my god damn fault. I don’t get to say, “Well I was just acting like my mother” like that excuses anything.
It’s really stupid but I think my next therapy session will be a whole long conversation about hair. About my mother screaming at me and hitting me and cutting my hair into ugly hair cuts on purpose as punishment so people would mock me and the nasty shaming that happened for months when I shaved my bangs off in fourth grade. My mom was so fucking pissed when I shaved my head when I was seventeen. She liked my hair about an inch long so she didn’t have to take care of it. I wanted to be pretty. When my hair was long it wasn’t pretty it was matted.
My long hair was the long unkept hair of a neglected child. I can’t figure out how to care for my children’s hair. And I can’t keep everything in the house under lock and key. My kid has some interesting impulse issues.
And I have a bad temper.
I need to get my temper under control. I need to not say the things my mother said to me. It’s hard having to stop and think carefully about everything you say because what comes out of your mouth naturally is poison. I know how to say what I was taught to say. Do you know why I cuss so much? My entire childhood was full of being told what a fucking rude ass bitch I was.
I’m struggling with the me-not-me boundaries. I know what I was taught to say in these scripts. The scripts I have are bad. I am not ad-libbing well. I am not trying to excuse or justify myself. I certainly don’t think I can continue.
Feeling guilty isn’t good enough. Crying for hours after I am nasty really isn’t good enough. It isn’t even remotely helpful.
This is broken. I don’t know how to fix it. I feel really stupid and pathetic and useless and bad.
You can’t just stop being something. You have to pick what you want to be and move towards that. I don’t want to say what I said today again. I don’t know what I’m going to say instead. That will take thinking. I don’t know what to do.
I have been told that people pity my children for having to live with me. Why do I feel free to say whatever comes into my head? Because people tell me things like that. I feel like I have listened to enough diarrhea of the mouth that I get to have it too. No I’m not taking the fucking high road. Instead I am the crazy ass old lady with the big knife who makes the punks run away in fear.
When it comes right down to it… I don’t actually want to be a nice person. I’m a dick. But I don’t want to be one with my kids. I want to treat them like they have earned better treatment than that from me. They have. They have a variety of character flaws, most of them age related, which I can’t exactly hold against them. That’s the revenge of grandmothers every where. “Ha ha. You used to do that.” And now my daughters do to me what I did to my mother.
Of course my daughter pushes every boundary to the point of breaking at all times. She’s related to me. And I want her to be that kind of adult. Yup, she’ll be somewhat sociopathic. But I hope she understands that I have earned consideration other people haven’t earned and she will be nice to me.
I want to be nice to my kids because I am a selfish son of a bitch and I want to have good relationships with independent adults. I don’t want them to be like me and I don’t want to decide what they should be.
I can’t insult their choices even though I find them frustrating. But what does that mean?
I don’t know. I fucked up today. I’m reading a book on rape recovery that harps up one side and down the other how one must be completely sober forever and ever amen or you are not “healed” and it makes me want to drink a bottle of wine. I don’t actually drink much–alcohol gives me terrible stomach aches. But I was told not to. So I want to.
How in the fuck can I get mad at my kids for being exactly like me? Punishing them for being something I will encourage in adulthood is kind of ass backwards. I am not actually working towards my long-term goals.
I think I need to do some work on my attachment to how my kids look.
I didn’t yell “You are a reflection of me and I’m fucking tired of walking around with an ugly little brat.” I just said that it was ugly hair cut and she looked funny and people were going to laugh at her.
I got mad because we are going to be in a wedding in two weeks. I said, “Now you will look ugly in the pictures forever.” That was what my mother said to me when I gave myself a haircut two days before school picture day. You know what? I don’t look any worse than I do in any other awkward school photo. It really hasn’t wrecked my life.
I shouldn’t have said that to my daughter. I have already apologized. But you can’t actually take it back. You can’t unsay things.
I’m not a monster. I’m self aware enough to really understand that on a primal level. I have not done monstrous damage to my children. But sometimes I take a little spike and a mallet and I insert those mean things she will hear in the back of her head forever. I hate myself for that. I don’t want to be her mean inner voice. I want to be the voice inside her head that makes her feel good about being alive.
I don’t want my daughter to hear what I heard. I don’t want her to have these tapes. Mostly she won’t–I get that. I’m already through a lot of important hurdles and I understand it looks like relatively smooth sailing through the next few years of non-anniversaries.
I’m going to freak out. She is going to do things just like me and I will react blindly. I will play the tape that is instantly related to the behavior. I don’t know how to completely circumvent this. Do I just stop speaking at all?
I need more of a plan than I currently have. That’s kind of a horrifying and overwhelming thought.
I need to schedule less. I’ve gotten schedule-happy again. I schedule things because I feel guilty about isolating my children. I know a lot of home schoolers who are out all day every day. I feel kind of uncomfortable about how much socialization my kids get.
I feel like what I am doing is not good. I don’t know why. It’s kind of a creeping fungus feeling. I’m not giving my children what is “normal” for their peers.
I don’t want to in some strong idealogical ways. But I think I drank the Kool-Aid on “Home schoolers aren’t at home”. I feel like I should be more active in the communities that exist. I should present a large peer group to my kids and then consistently expose them many times a week.
I’m struggling. I feel existentially not-ok. I have a really high level of self-loathing. My self-talk is all mean and nasty. It’s been on an uptick for a bit.
I want relationships but I can’t handle them and I don’t deserve them. Life isn’t really about deserve though.
The future isn’t written yet. Maybe my children will remember me as an abusive bully. Maybe not. They are certainly clear on the point that Mommy is not always nice. Sometimes Mommy is mean.
If I ever get dragged in front of a judge in a CPS court all they will have to do is print my blog. I don’t want secrets. I didn’t hit. I didn’t go on an extended tirade. Noah did step into the room and signal me that it was time to stop. Good for him. I’m glad he was home.
It feels very bad sometimes knowing that I am simply not a nice person. I would have died if I had been “nice”. If I had been more passive my life would have been so much worse. Being defiant and nasty has truly been useful.
It is still useful sometimes. Not all the time. It’s a hard character trait to keep under control.
People alternate between telling me I’m a bitch/dick/asshole/whatever and telling me that they like that they always know where they stand with me.
When I get up from this keyboard I need to be mostly done processing this. I need to talk to my therapist about it but I can’t keep going on and on with my daughter. That would be dragging her into my emotional quagmire. She doesn’t have the attention span to still be upset about a random one off comment she will probably never hear again. If I don’t turn it into a thing.
If I drop it and never say it again then I will have succeeded in not passing this tape on. If she wants to cut her own fucking hair she can cut her own fucking hair. I do. I have since I was a very young child. For me to get angry about it is so over the top ridiculous that there aren’t words.
But my tape for mothers is rabid anger because now people will think my child is unsupervised and ugly. She is neither. She does have access to scissors. She is out of my line of sight during the day. We have a small house and they wander at will. I work wherever I am working. I don’t pen them right with me–it seems silly.
If I want children who are autonomous and independent in their actions I need to give them more direct supervision (which would drive me ape shit) or farm it out or be ok with what they do.
Those really are the only options. It is not ok to expect micromanaged results from a free range kid. I honestly don’t want kids who require direct supervision at all times. My kids entertain themselves while I work. I can clean/cook/garden and they run around and play.
Short of putting padlocks on everything in the house, which I am morally opposed to doing, there is no “putting things up” at this point. Kid is too big. Yes, there will be consequences and occasionally fury over her decisions.
You can’t learn without making mistakes.
I tell other people that the way to get good at something is to make as many mistakes as possible as fast as they can–they will learn the most the fastest that way. Somehow that approach doesn’t seem suitable in parenting.
I’m off to feel awkward and uncomfortable and like I’m the biggest asshole in the room. Cheers.