Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hurtling along the emotional landscape

Hi all,

Thought I'd better check in, as I've been told many of you are worried about me.  (aww... stop makin' me teary!)

Sorry to leave you in the dark -- just been doing a lot (understatement alert!) of work behind the scenes, as well as enjoying a weekend escape with some dear friends (just what the doctor ordered!).

I'm doing alright -- it's been a struggle, most certainly, but between my immediate support team, my e-support team, workbooks and therapist, I'm muddling through.

The Gate-Keeper is still on a rampage, mind you... so I must admit, my shoulders are still around my ears, as I brace myself for the next attack (seriously, I had TWO massage appointments last week, and you'd never know it...).

Quick update:

Earlier last week, I received a giant package in the mail of letters and cards I'd sent said Gate-Keeper over the years, childhood concert programmes, stories and poems I wrote as a kid, and several file-folders of other "memories of Lyssy" artifacts (kind of surprised it wasn't sent C.O.D., but...)

Yeah, point taken.  Thank you very much.

And yes, it hurt like hell.  BUT (silver lining, Lyssy always has a frigging silver lining...) at least there was a RIDICULOUSLY CLEAR shift from passive-aggressive into the wide world of aggressive -- which, honestly, is much easier to deal with.  Kind of a relief, actually, when you get rid of all those extra layers of second-guessing.

Plus, being cut-off and non-existant saves a lot of tap-dancing energy, once you get over the giant cannonball that's just been lobbed into your gut.

[Of course, I mentioned this to my therapist, kind of non-chalantly, I guess, and her immediate reaction was "What kind of person actually DOES something like that?!?", so maybe I'm just in full-on denial.  But then I told her that this was actually pretty mild for folks in my family, and mentioned that one time when my grandmother was angry with my mother, she actually enlisted my father to disinter my dead (well, I guess the dead part was obvious with the disinterring, but...) grandfather and move him to a secret spot we'll never know about.  Said therapist was stunned into silence for a moment, and then started scribbling furiously before making sure I was fully aware that normal people don't do such things.  (Oh yes, I'm very aware... there's a good reason why I've been in various forms of therapy most of my adult life!)]

A few brief moments of silence, when suddenly:

Apparently I wasn't COMPLETELY non-existant to Ms. Gate-Keeper for long, as this you-no-longer-exist-for-me package was soon followed up with an e-mail missive (a word I chose because it's so close to the word "missile", which would also be quite accurate).  This contained a number of selected, selectIVE, and often ridiculously out-of-context quotes from blogs past, with some segments bolded (I assume to indicate her disapproval, although a legend was not included...).  These quotes were followed by a series of "footnotes" which were filled with so much denial, gaslighting, half-truths, some downright lies, and so many other forms of verbal and emotional abuse that I was triggered into a massive barfy braincloud on the spot.

[Interestingly, the points she decided to pick apart were mostly really minor, piddly details that really didn't change the bigger picture -- she totally ignored the whole family-led-me-into-it-on-a-silver-platter details -- but attacked this minor stuff with such ferocity and desperation that I imagine her Denial (with a capital "D") wouldn't allow those other major points to have actually registered in her mind.  Sigh... Yes, here I am again, trying to understand and forgive the folks who can't bring themselves to forgive me for having a memory or being me... But that's the only way I'm going to get out of this with some semblance of sanity, so I'll keep doing what I do.]

Back to the triggered massive barfy braincloud:  I have to tell you, it was REALLY DIFFICULT to keep my therapist's and support team's "breathe and don't engage, breathe and don't engage, breath and don't engage" present and face-forward -- but I succeeded (Don treated me to creamy mac & cheese and Rioja, which didn't hurt).  Yay me.

Of course, 5am rolled around, and I had already composed a 13-page essay in my head of how to explain myself better to her...  Until 7:30 rolled around, and I remembered that juggling chainsaws in my belly meant verbal abuse, and I should just breathe and not engage, breathe and not engage.  Hmm... guess those folks were right!  ;-)

[But... sorry folks, just have to rant for a moment:  She takes something I said about child abuse in general, a neurotic tendency I was worried about in myself, and a complaint I had against my paediatrician as being a personal insult ALL about her, and then takes offence at my saying narcissism runs in the family -- how, exactly, do you define "irony"?  AND, apparently my recurring nightmares shouldn't have the images they have -- seriously, subconscious, you should try a little harder to repress your memories so the Gate-Keepers don't get offended...  AND, in this shopping-list of ways she thinks I'm attacking the family, she obviously chose to totally ignore all the "I forgive - " "I can totally see where they came from with - " "I don't blame them - " and "It's not their fault - " prefaces to these points, and instead CHOSE TO BE MAD ABOUT THE THINGS I'VE FORGIVEN!!!  Oy, just the tip of the iceberg... Here endeth the rant.]

I did write the reply, for my own sanity, but have tucked it away in a place where I cannot impulsively press "send".  I'm still breathing, still not engaging, still bracing myself for the escalation when she realizes I'm not engaging, and needs to find other ways to ensure my silence...

In the meantime, I've been working my way through an AMAZING book, which I coincidentally had bought a few weeks before this brouhaha began, and had already promised myself to dive into once Don's CD release was over (last Sunday -- and the publicist in me is saying you should check out www.donbray.ca or iTunes to buy the new album "I Am Myself").

It deals with the enabling caregiver(s)'(s) role in incest and other child sexual abuse scenarios, and some of the oh-too-common dysfunctional patterns that occur.  THANK YOU, GOOD-TIMING-WITH-THE-BOOK-BUYING FAIRY!!!  It's filled with lots of case studies, assessment questionnaires and self-help exercises, which are pretty freakin' illuminating and liberating and just plain awesome.  (I'll share some of the info with you later, never fear.  But today's blog is all about me, because narcissism runs in the family. [insert grinny thing here])

Of particular assistance in the past couple of weeks have been the chapters on the enabler's attempts to control the survivor's feelings, the enabler's emotional alienation of the survivor, the enabler's need for the survivor (and others) to believe the family is and was perfect, etc.  Seriously, it's like every time I read a new chapter, the Gate-Keeper provides a real-life example for me.  It's really quite refreshing to be able to say "oh yeah, that's page 32, I won't take it on, buh-bye."

Hmmm... OK, I realize I said this was going to be quick, but...  You probably knew better already, right?  ;-)

Yesterday was Therapy Day (yay therapy day!!!), and our therapist gave me this WONDERFUL image that I think my fellow survivors will enjoy -- and maybe others too.

She said: "You know, Alyssa, as far as navigating the emotional landscape of life goes, you are Steve Podborski, and she's still stuck trying to figure out the bunny hill.  There's no way she will ever be able to do what you do -- if you go skiing together, it's going to have to be on the bunny hill."

As someone who totally sucks at skiing, it kind of makes me laugh to be compared to Steve Podborski.  :-)  But... yes, I'm definitely a Crazy Canuck when it comes to flinging myself onto those emotional mountains.  I've worked hard, I've been brave, I've pushed myself way past my comfort zone, and the results are pretty darned obvious.  And impressive.  (There, I just bragged a little -- pick your jaw up off the floor.)

To stick with that metaphor, though... I don't mind skiing on the bunny hill when I have to.  I understand the need to stick to the bunny hill, and don't really expect ANY of the Gate-Keepers to ever make it past the bunny hill (although it would be really awesome if some of them would even ATTEMPT the damned bunny hill some day...).

It's the land-mines they keep planting on the big-girl hills that are really starting to piss me off!!!

Sigh... well, that was a nice little vent.  :-)

To end on a high note, though, I must share some SUPER-EXCITING NEWS with you all.  A member of the extended family has come forward and offered to help with setting up the Katie Foundation!!!  (Insert cartwheels and streamers and balloons and dancing girls here.)

I'm so thrilled, because I was just at the point of "how the hell am I going to get this all figured out???"  I've got people on board who have lots of experience being on charitable boards and in organizations that deal with child and sexual abuse, but none of them have had experience in getting a charitable organization started from scratch -- and, as you may remember, the man who had been going to help me out with that died last year, 24 hours before it all became possible.  But this guy has tons of experience doing this for many organizations, and really wants to help.  I was also told that my Honourary Dad would be happy to do the legal stuff, as long as we get it together before he retires (I work well with deadlines).


Yes, it's been an icky couple of weeks, but I have received so much loving support from so many people, and sometimes from the most unexpected of places.  Thank you, everyone.  Yes, the Gate-Keepers may still be able to temporarily trigger me into oblivion, but you folks outshine them all.  It's folks like you who helped me become a survivor, and now you're helping me thrive.

So, I'm alright, I've got a great immediate support team.  I probably won't be writing on here for a while again, but don't let that worry you.  And if it does, just shoot a message to me directly, you won't disturb me.  (Although, knowing me, I'll get a little teary that you give a crap, but those are happy tears, so don't panic.)

I am so blessed.  I love you all!

In gratitude,
Alyssa, aka Steve Podborski  ;-)

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