Tag Archives: PTSD

Abuse Survivors Need Empathy Not Sympathy

Abuse Survivors Need Empathy Not Sympathy.

[Extreme trigger warning, not for the link, but for the following text about my life.]

You’d probably [should be] be appalled at some of the ‘at least’s people come up with for rape survivors.

“My boyfriend keeps raping me and forcing me to do really disgusting things and sleep with other people when I don’t want to.”

“At least you have a boyfriend. Plus you’re getting laid!”

“He doesn’t allow me to leave the house unless I’m going to work, and then he has to drive me — I’m not allowed to learn how to drive.”

“At least you have such a nice house, I mean, not everyone gets to live in a huge house, you know! At least someone drives you to work, I mean, jeez, what a hassle, but he does that for you!”

“But I have to give him my entire paycheck. I’m not allowed to spend money on myself beyond $100/mo for food.”

“At least you have a job and food on the table!”

Can no one understand that I was paying $1200/mo for the privilege of being viciously raped every day and that he also literally tortured me and kept me locked in a room as ‘punishment’ when his best friend also raped me.

Even therapists have ‘at least’ed me and refused to discuss how bad any of it was.

I would never have gotten out if I had not become close friends with a coworker (whom I was constantly ‘jokingly’ accused of fucking and dealt with jealous rages over) who put my things in his truck and drove me very far away to live with someone who cared about me, but whom I couldn’t ultimately continue living with. But who did give me nine years to try to get my feet under myself and fed me when I couldn’t work because I got sick.

Even if they also turned abusive during the last four or five, until it was quite bad with the yelling and emotional blackmail and blame for everything they had to deal with, and I felt very unsafe and constantly attacked and on guard.

Leading to the recent housing crisis. I was slated to be on the street come January if I did not find a place.

Yet how can I not be grateful and more or less elevate them both to the collection of saints in my life.

I would otherwise still be in that house.

“Why didn’t you go to a shelter?” one therapist asked.

What shelters? How would I get there? Who would even let me in? There are some very good shelters and networks and evacuations conducted by women for women, but I have never heard of anything, anywhere, to help men get out. This was also ten years ago and in the south.

Maybe it’s occurred to someone, somewhere, because there are LGBT shelters in NYC, which end up taking in a lot of young people who are thrown out, and more people are talking about abuse inside of the LGBT community, and perhaps someone has realised that some of us desperately need help to get out, including concerted efforts to extract someone/more or less kidnap them with their permission, because they cannot leave the house unsupervised, and their partners read their email and go so far as to dig into the router and intercept any messages being sent on IRC or AIM, somehow. Why not just use a keylogger, like any other terrible person?

God.

God.

God.

I’m crying.

I can’t explain how helpless and trapped and scared I was, how alone, how desperate. And how everyone acted.

I think he’s a wonderful man and you’re extremely lucky to have him.

Stop exaggerating.

You’re lying to make him look bad.

You’re the one with the attitude problem and if you weren’t so selfish and ungrateful for everything he’s done for you, he wouldn’t get angry at you.

If you’d just behave.

Everything that ever comes out of your mouth is whining or complaining. I never hear you say anything good about anything, and the only thing ‘wrong’ with your life is that you hate it for no reason.

I stopped talking.

Since I got out, I’ve spoken increasingly less about anything I feel, any problems I’m having, anything I’m going through, because it is a universal statement/belief that I constantly whine, complain, exaggerate, and am in love with my own misery. That I cultivate it and refuse to be happy. I make everything, in every single conversation, completely about me.

And anyone who does care, I burn out in a very short period of time with all of my bullshit.

And, for reasons I truly cannot understand, and that no one else can figure out, I rub some people the wrong way so perfectly that any time I am around them, they end up infuriated and upset.

So I try not to be around.

I try to stop existing. I’ve already shut my mouth so no one has to hear anything. But existing in the same area as other people ends up upsetting them severely.

Sometimes I wonder if the ideal solution is to live totally alone and only leave my home for solitary errands that minimize necessary contact with other people.

I can summon the cheerful mask at will in public (I worked retail; I went to work after I was raped until I bled and had to be extremely functional and make $40+/hr in sales or risk being fired) and whatever interaction is necessary to make sure checkers and clerks have a slightly better day than they were having before comes easily to me. I have extreme empathy for anyone who has to deal with customers in any capacity.

I daydream about an unrealistic tiny house far away from anyone and anything. Books and shrines. How would I acquire food?

V. offered me the keys to his car last night so I could go to the store, but I still can’t drive, though I’m meant to take lessons some time in the next year.

I worry about it because I have a lot of PTSD problems that revolve around driving and cars in some fashion (his best friend drove me about forty or fifty miles from home when we were supposed to be coming home from a movie, and he and my mother had truly terrifying road rage that usually turned around onto me because I was there and convenient). But it has to be done.

I’ve lived in a lot of places famous around the country for how bad their traffic is, but Albany has the special position of actually frightening me with the highways. I don’t think anyone but V. drives fewer than 85mph. Rain and snow are meaningless and involve no adjustments to speed or swerving around people who are only going five over the speed limit.

At least I will mostly only be driving for errands, which are all fairly local.

I did start learning to drive when I was 16, without a permit, in the middle of the night. I could somewhat inexpertly drive a stick, even. I also made left turns in right turn only places and drove over a median.

I should study for the test to get a permit and resume driving in the middle of the night. The streets around here are mostly one-way and slightly labyrinthine, but they’re numbered and they’re never busy.

I think this is supposed to be empowering. A ‘fuck you’ of sorts to my ex. What if this is not a power I’m interested in, and is something that I see solely as a method of transportation when nothing else is possible? I was more empowered (much more, actually — it was like an epiphany) by my Metrocard in NYC.

And, I find, looking at the clock that I wish I’d asked V. to take me to a church not tremendously far away that has bus service for their healing service and communion, because he was going out anyway, and I could’ve taken the bus home.

No one knows me there. But I can’t explain how it feels to have someone put their hands on my head and beseech god(s) on my behalf to give me relief from my suffering, pain, nightmares.

When nearly no one has ever cared enough to ask me, with sincerity, wanting to hear the answer: “How are you?”

I’m bad.

I’m really bad.

 

Generally struggling.

Between extreme CFS problems and having so little money that not all of our bills could get paid on time last month, we’ve not done Anything since we moved for our gods and spirits beyond pushing some love in their direction when we’ve had a scrap of energy that wasn’t immediately consumed by stress, chronic pain, and trying to deal with all of the things that aren’t getting done like they should (laundry, dishes, food beyond a can of tuna and an apple, etc).

I have never had the feeling that they minded much (though some of the wights where we live are irritated that we haven’t formally introduced ourselves and established regular contact) and that they understood that on so many levels I just Can’t right now, but I’m very distressed (which, of course, cycles back around into feeding the cfs, pain, and stress) by my lack of doing anything.

But it has to change. Because even if they don’t mind, it’s creating a lot of distance, which hurts.

So I need to figure out a devotional structure that invites a lot of closeness, but doesn’t involve physically doing very much or buying things.

I don’t know if it’s a permanent loss or if we can get them reinstated, but we are currently trying to feed two people on only one person’s food stamp allotment, and cannot afford to spend any cash on food. The feds also decided that cutting the amount of benefits anyone receives was acceptable. So we have around $150 for a month of food. I’ve lived on $100/mo for myself before, but not $75, and, frankly, I’m worried, because our health visibly suffers when we aren’t eating a lot of vegetables and fresh mushrooms.

They do not make it easy to find food pantries here, but I feel like it’s something we need to do. Getting some of the dried or canned staples another way would free up some of the food stamps for vegetables, etc. 

We were given a crockpot, and maybe if I do soup in batches when I can stand up for more than a few minutes at a time, we will be somewhat more nourished. We don’t have a microwave, but soup is easy to reheat in a pot.

I’ve also been having nightmares and flashbacks for over two months more often than not. I woke up today actually confused because I’d had a normal dream.

Things during the internet blackout.

For reasons known only to Time Warner, we had to wait two weeks for someone to come attach a coaxial cable to our modem and then to the wall. That was finally done.

In the interim, we read, V. did a large amount of knitting, I did quite a lot of praying.

I intend to keep that up, ideally forming a strong devotional and meditative habit that will form the backbone of my work for the rest of my life.

I’ve had a lot of unrelenting horrors related to my ptsd happening lately. I’ve never had nightmares like this before — not so many, and not so many days in a row. I’ve been dreaming about being raped since we came up here to look for apartments, in the middle of October. I’ve been having those dreams for a month, many more times a week than not. And lately it’s been every single night, and sometimes more than once. I had to crawl (literally) out of bed and to the door to the living room yesterday, deep enough in the flashbacks that I couldn’t walk or communicate much, but it seems like I looked so bad that V. was up and coming to hold me before I think I’d managed to say anything about what was wrong.

I hope to upload some of the things I wrote (though there is not as much of it as I would have liked, likely due to all of that) tomorrow, and then possibly start picking at the 30 days devotional meme going around. I won’t put any pressure on myself to do the posts every day. I’m not in any psychological state to take on a responsibility. But I would like to do the writing, because I think it would be good for me and good for our relationship. It will also be helpful if I take any of this nudging about working on a book seriously, because they’re nearly all appropriate topics to include and expand upon.

I would like to curl up on R for a few days. He’s had a lot going on lately and we’ve only seen each other a little, though I don’t begrudge him it: he’s primarily busy in a good and happy way. I do miss him, though, particularly due to his having been one of the few things in my life I could depend on, and all of the ptsd being so much like drowning.

I’ve had the “Do I need to go to the hospital?” conversation, but I don’t know what they could do for me. I’m not a danger to myself. My memory is a danger to me.

Sexuality In Evolution: One Post of Many

Last night, I was looking at custom-made double-sided necklaces and going through their symbols. Idly. I had been thinking of getting a rune pendant from etsy and wearing that after we were married because we’re very short on money, and getting a ring later, or something else. But his attention leapt up and it was very obvious that This was the thing he wanted me to have. They had a boar with a celtic design around the outside, and he liked it, so I was looking for something for the reverse sign that would hopefully represent something along the lines of love or devotion.

He liked the flaming heart, which I kept trying to change his mind about, or choose the alternate interpretation.

It symbolizes burning passion, love, desire, ardent affection and burning love. In Christianity the flaming heart is a symbol of sacrifice, higher love, grace and mercy.

I was increasingly uncomfortable. The latter definition is lovely and something I can relate to entirely. But he meant the former, with the latter as part of it (those are traits I work on constantly both as a Buddhist and because it is who I want to be), but not the point, necessarily. Not what he wanted me to wear.

Finally he said, very clearly, “Why are you so afraid of your sexuality?”

It felt like being pinned through the chest like an insect, suffocating in chloroform.

TW: rape
Continue reading