A Collective of memoirs by J.S. about Trauma + Mental Health + Abuse + Healing.
I don't think you will receive this message but either way I just need to get it out.
I have been trying for so many years to heal myself because it's all I have.
You and my mother cannot fix the damage you both caused and don't take real responsibility for it. Even though you each did a lot of harm to me, you both see it as I failed or hurt you guys in some way. I am sure it's valid and honest of each of you but it is just incorrect.
I was a kid. A tiny kid. And then. A teenager. Who the fuck knows life at that age.
I've always had to examine life in a mature way and make excuses for people. Even for you.
I blame it on you being sick. Being addicted. Being sad by the loss of your father. Being schizophrenic. Being bipolar. Being fucked up. I blame it on your family. And really at the end of the day, it was you and your choices.
You, whether you could or could not help it mentally just chose wrong.
Chose to not raise me.
I'm so angry. I'm so annoyed. To the core.
Even though day to day I am fine and functioning, it's always some how creeping up how much you guys didn't do for me. And I always thought down on myself for feeling that way. Like I should be accepting and not angry. Or take responsibility for myself and get over it.
Part of me isn't fucking over it.
When it's a friend or a significant other then I one can say hey whatever I'll do better and I'll get over it.
But you gave me life. You chose my mother and then you chose to make me. Have me.
You gave me this kind of life.
And thank God I have given myself the life I have now. But it's no thanks to you.
You were supposed to teach me love. Acceptance. Hope. To dream. To work hard.
You were supposed to teach me how to love and who to love.
Who to date and who to marry.
Fuck. You were supposed to teach me who to trust with my heart. My body. My future.
You should have helped me with my homework. With sports. Dance. Art. Take me to classes.
Be there when I fuck up.
Be there when I have questions.
Be there when I achieve and when I fail.
You were supposed to screen my h.s. boyfriends, not be jealous of them.
You should have taught me how to parent.
I was supposed to be able to call you to babysit.
Call YOU for parenting advice.
But then I remember. I was supposed to be able to see and call your dad. Your mom.
Your parents fucked you up. Your dad for passing away and not being there. And your mom for not being able to hold you together when he did.
You have always been frozen in your own mind since losing him. You for sure were bipolar and had other deficits even as a kid. And then you got into drugs as a teen. You fucked yourself before ever ruining me. So then I feel bad.
I feel guilty for hating you.
I feel guilty for being hurt
I feel guilty for being broken
Because it's only my responsibility in the end to fix me.
Not a husband's job. Not your job.
No one's but mine.
Fuck you for leaving me.
And fuck you for not being your own hero when you had no other
My mother was a psycho. And you knew it since you dated her. But you didn't really do anything about it. Maybe you were scared or maybe you didn't know how
She was supposed to be there for me too.
Love me and teach me. Not taunt me and hurt me.
Not abuse me.
She was supposed to teach me how to love myself
How to be and feel beautiful inside and out
She was supposed to teach me how to be a mom
A girlfriend. A wife.
She should have helped me pick the right man.
The right men.
The right dress for prom.
For my wedding day.
Fuck both of you.
But thanks to me I will figure it out.
Thanks to me.
I have so much more to say but at the same time nothing I say will fix this.
It might Take the rest of my life to heal. But I will do it.
Both parents were abusive, neglectful, and severely mentally impaired because of their sicknesses. My father would end up in and out of my life growing up, until relapsing and and abandoning me at 15. I would see him one last time a year later, while pregnant with my first child at 16. He tried to kill me and told me to disappear out of his life. In the years to come, he would have several complications in his life, including becoming homeless and overdosing multiple times. These were my responses and engagement with him, in raw honesty and despair.
I now write about my accounts with multiple abusers to shed light on what experiences abuse victims go through. I hope that my choice to be transparent will inspire others to speak out about the abuse they have endured, sometimes right within their own home and earliest relationships.
Read more stories here on the blog or submit your own under the WRITE tab. You can also email me at email@example.com
I do not cry when people around me die or lose it when people leave me. For years I was scared of this non-expression and then realized it was disassociation.
I have been a chronic coping robot for so long, with a calm face and exterior, that it has become difficult to have the right reaction or let out my emotions during a safe time ( or while in a safe space).
I have pain in my body and aches that feel unexplainable since I am a young, limber adult with no physical ailments or broken bones/injuries to ever speak of.
I did not realize my body stored all the trauma and pain left from abuse within my back, neck, shoulders, and knees.
I was never taught how the body contains our emotional pains and insecurities, so I grew up thinking something was seriously wrong with me.
Every time I saw a doctor and complained about aches or irritations, I was told my numbers and tests were extremely average and "fine".
For X amount of years, every professional I have ever seen has convinced me that light exercise and a healthy diet will provide me with a healthy lifestyle.
Not one has looked me in the eyes and said, "You dear have stored trauma and need to heal".
How was I ever supposed to know I had problems after leaving my abusers when the only people who saw me all thought I passed as normal?
I have said these things as well as heard them over the years.
I had no idea I had PTSD until last year, at 28 years old, when a professional diagnosed me after examination and a session.
I knew depression was a thing and that anxiety was a way people "behaved".
I "expressed" anxiety characteristics.
I did not label myself as PTSD + DEPRESSION + ANXIETY until someone trained saw it all over me and said to me directly, "I can hear it in your voice."
And it was not a silly little comment.
It blew the lid right off my sealed tight suppression of trauma.
I fell headfirst into pulling apart my problems and had to dig deep into my experiences to figure out where it all started.
IT was not a difficult dig. The hard part was connecting my past to my present.
I had to BECOME aware of my current behaviors and emotions.
In the past, I had thought about my experiences as a child and adolescent. When I had "lived with the abuse".
I thought leaving at 16 meant I had left abuse.
Turns out I received abuse by many people after because I was unaware of the red flags or how susceptible I was to it.
NO ONE TELLS YOU THESE THINGS.
I passed as normal for everybody.
I was outspoken. Confident. Funny. Smiled often. Social.
I put myself out there and took chances as an independent young adult.
NOTHING pointed to me having problems with abuse.
Piled up laundry for days = most adults and almost all college kids, so not weird.
Idiot college boyfriend problems = well, every girl around me in a relationship with a peer seemed to have similar issues so that seemed normal too.
Struggle to keep up with ALL responsibilities = every college kid, everywhere.
Nights of insomnia or days of wanting to sleep mid-day = every college kid everywhere.
I totally PASSED AS FINE.
I did not know until last year because I had never been around a professional that was Trauma trained.
I had talked about my past abuse to other survivors, not on purpose but just in conversating with peers. And not many people could really imagine what it was like, but thought I had "turned out fine".
Others thought it was somewhat normal because they had grown up with abuse too.
But they did not call it abuse. Just "childhood".
These are the reasons now I am thankful for starting a healing journey through holistic and spiritual practices.
I am learning for the first time what trauma LOOKS, SOUNDS, and FEELS like.
Through this newfound awareness, I am building a new relationship with myself and understanding my personality in a whole new way.
It is like I am able to now dissect myself from the trauma.
Separate what is "me" from what is "unhealthy" and then DECIDE who I want to be as I heal.
That feeling of self-transformation is so powerful and I owe it all to education in trauma. But I also owe it to taking matters into my own hands after being diagnosed.
The best thing we can do for ourselves is to SEEK knowledge and then APPLY IT.
J.S. Jaded Savior
Some days I look in the mirror and as soon as I am about to say:
"I am a good person with a good heart"
, my mind imposter swoops in and says things like:
"No you're not. You manipulate. You pretend to be happy. You pretend to be good. You are the problem."
Growing up and living with my mother after the divorce, I was told almost daily how bad I was.
I "deserved" and I "earned" whatever I got.
I got sent to my room or punished for anything.
One time I could not find a dog spoon so I was grounded for 3 months to my room. Right before summer break. I watched everyone else run around outside on the block playing. I was 11. And my mother hid the spoon.
Growing up with a narcissist who had mental health issues and addictions made me think I was crazy for "imagining" abuse.
It took me years after moving out to justify it.
I remember as an adult with 2 kids, having her text me after years acting "calm and normal". She spelled correctly and she was asking me coherent questions like an old "friend" catching up. She even sent a picture to me of "us" from her "wallet" which was an awkward AF pic of me all skinny and pale, with the worst expression on my face.
The face of an abused kid. A broken kid.
And I remembered there how she would manipulate, taunt, and shove her fingers into my wounds.
She would yell to get me crying and then tell me all I do is cry. That babies cry.
I now know at 29 that, yes, it was abuse. Yes, she was and IS an addict. Actively still.
She was and IS mentally ill without medication or intervention.
She was and IS not in my life for those reasons.
I made it my boundary this past May to block her out of my life for good. 12 years post moving out. Which I still phrase it as such even though I was thrown out and she changed the locks within that week. I was 16 and pregnant. And "ruining her life".
It was ALWAYS my fault.
Projection. Gas lighting. Manipulation. Black outs. The rollercoaster of being in a relationship that is volatile and unstable for anyone, but especially a child.
I have had to reparent myself and educate my inner child as well as the adult I now am.
The adult body I feel trapped in when I stare into the mirror.
I cannot believe I am a good person.
Not because i think i am actually a liar.
But because her voice became louder than my own.
Her voice was built on irrationality, addictions, unhealthy expectations, violated boundaries, and chemical altering of each mood she slid smoothly into like a greased up mouse.
I have to teach myself the difference.
I do have rational thoughts.
I am powerful AF.
I have survived by making phone calls, doing research, making plans, executing them, creating solutions from nothing.
I have always grown on my own account. In my own way.
Every hardship ever has been tackled.
I have a strong spirit and I KNOW IT.
So did she.
I have realized over the years that I am hard to contain.
I have BIG ENERGY.
I love to play big when not held back.
But I've let abusive people sneak in and hold me back. "Because they needed me."
And every need, whether fulfilled or not, was ridiculed.
But that was all I knew about "love".
How to please and be hurt in return.
Now I have tools to accompany my strength.
And metaphorical scissors.
I am now a woman unbound.
No more being held back.
And self doubt also holds me back.
Irrational fears bind me from being more.
I will no longer entertain the notion that I am not good.
My truths are being told because so many of you have a voice inside telling you the bullshit that keeps you bound up by trauma.
Cut it loose now.
It is time.
Because now you have the ability to know better.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#selfproclamations #abuse #trauma #healing #childabuse #attack #PTSD
Curled up on the couch, a soft fur blanket drapped around my body, fingers laced with my husbands' --- feels like home.
We are watching a Netflix original, trying to keep our eyes open past 1am to enjoy our greatest version of a date. Alone time after the three kids go to sleep.
Hearts calm and bodies relaxed, enjoying the lack of awareness of day or time. It is winter and no responsibilities are calling our names here in the night.
He kisses my cheek and I smile, feeling warm and content as he admires the outline of my silhouette and runs his finger down my nose.
There is an intimacy between us that can forever be unmatched. A safety in his touch and the presence of the space he takes up next to me, legs intertwined and feet touching.
A feeling builds up in my chest, a quick pick up of breathing and lack of exhales causing me to raise my left hand to my chest, bare beneath the neckline of my shirt collar.
My ears are picking up something from the depth beyond the shut wooden door that keeps us time blocked in date night.
A thump. A creek.
And a sudden shriek of the door POPPING loose and dragging open in the dark.
Just as my body sensed its movement, my nerves LEAP with intensified fear.
Neck whipping, I turn to my husband and ask him to check if a child is out of bed or if something pushed the latch open.
It is silly, but I am frightened.
He gets up in serious fashion to explore what is most likely a toddler awaiting retrieval from the baby gated bedroom across from ours.
Instead, he meets gaze with a dark, empty hall and turns to me to smile gently for reassurance that everything is ok.
I am up behind him already. He shuts the door and tells me that it was nothing.
As his body passed mine to return to the couch, I turn back away from the door and it POPS open again.
This time, my shaking hand meeting the backside and shoving it shut. I am pale and I can feel the goosebumps rising over my back underneath my silky top.
Heart pounding and tears welling up along with the thump, thump, pause.
Thump, THUMP, PAUSE ---
I am met, chest to chest wit an understanding hug as he holds me. As he repeats,
"YOU'RE OK. YOU'RE OK."
Hand caressing my back.
--- Unmatched intimacy.
PTSD sometimes looks like knowing 5 seconds before it happens.
It's feeling the air change. Or an expression alter.
It's seeing something there that no one else sees because it happened, just a long time ago.
For me, PTSD looks like petite hands pressing a wooden door shut at 2am and making bruises on a strong, thin calf of someone prying the door open in order to reach me.
2am, hair grasped in fist and screams, inaudible, felt in vibrations down my spine. Goosebumps and chills.
Fear she will get in.
Fear of what happens if I am not strong enough to shut the door.
A final slam and standing fast on feet to hold the door shut from inside. Desperately looking around for something to hold it shut, absent of a lock on the cheap brass handle of the eggshell white portal I desperately beg to cease moving.
So I tug heavily at the vintage dresser and get the corner to pass the door. I keep pushing and manage to shove a heavy, 9 drawer natural wood IKEA vanity across the right corner of the room.
I melt down in front of it and press my body to the drawers. Knobs resting my head and spine between them.
PTSD is not remembering how many hours i slept on that hardwood floor that night or what got me into school the next morning.
Just knowing I reached an adult I trusted instead of taking my midterm, to shakily pass words I had been waiting to utter for years.
My PTSD shows up during normal hours.
It does not pencil in meetings with me or request a call.
It just comes, unannounced. Like a walk-in for an important meeting.
A meeting of timelines. A recollection of truths.
As I grow older, gaining understanding of what is happening and learning how to say PTSD in line with my name... I realize the foreign sound of this term only means I have not presently associated with my past.
February 2019 was my first real diagnosis with this term.
It was not until summer that the pronunciation felt right.
Past reminders in current situations.
Pre processing of past events.
So what does healing look like for someone with PTSD?
For me, it is the meeting between past and present in order to map out a healthy future.
It means using my senses and my present awareness to assist in honoring boundaries to make the flashes subside and the title "healing" feel attainable.
It means I will have the whole body experience of hitting "play" on my life.
J.S. Jaded Savior ♡
An excerpt from "STUCK ON PAUSE", an autobiography about living with PTSD, depression, anxiety, trauma, abuse etc. Coming in 2020 ☆
My truths look different than the truths other family members have in my family.
Everyone is affected differently by Trauma.
And not everyone in the family gets abused by the abuser.
In fact, it can be common for one person to be singled out while everyone else is unaware of it.
Narcissistic people often surround themselves by adoring fans in order to not raise suspicions and successfully gas light TF out of their victim.
I was in abusive, volatile situations my first 16 years of life.
It took me years after to ACTUALLY, cognitively, process what had happened.
To come to terms with definitions like addict, narcissist, schizophrenic etc. To gain validation from actual medical professionals once both parents of mine went into the hospital for near death experiences due to their addictions.
My father was found nearly dead from a heroin overdose. He was brought into the hospital and soon after admitted into a long term in-patient program.
My mother had seizures and passed out during Thanksgiving in front of her siblings and parents, having an ambulance take her out. She was admitted only a few days then sent home. Alcohol poisoning and problems with her body.
I had called the hospital when my mother went in. I let them know I was her only child and that she was an addict, so medications should be provided with caution.
They ignored it.
Both of my parents began drinking and doing drugs in their early teens.
I would figure out decades later that they both suffered from abuse since childhood and mental health issues, without any diagnosis or treatments until they began self medicating and got harmed by it.
Common for people struggling with mental health issues, such as bipolar and schizophrenia, each of them did not actually know what was wrong with themselves until they were very deep in dangerous symptoms of their conditions.
No one in my family ever talked to me about their conditions or their addictions.
In fact, my mother was often just eye rolled at when she peeled off the foil seal of a new bottle at a holiday dinner or even a get together.
"There goes Cathy, drinking again" was the closest I ever heard to anyone pointing out a bad behavior, though sharp tongued as to say it was as annoying and typical as nail biting. And soon after, discarded as a lost cause.
I remember how much anxiety I felt whenever my mother, who had residential custody of me, took me to family events.
My father on the other hand did not want to see his family as the years went on. He cut them all off. He even cut off his childhood best friend. His girlfriends. And then finally me.
I remember wishing other people could see what I saw.
I wanted someone to say something to both of them. To call them out on their problems. But when it did not happen, I felt crazy.
Had I imagined everything to be worse than it was?
After all, both of my parents were adults and bought their substances with their own money. They both held jobs. They both had relationships. And relatives who still wanted to invite them to things.
I often thought I earned it. That I must have been a bad kid. So bad my parents did not want any more. So bad, they divorced. So bad that I was punished often because I was not living up to their standards.
My mother would do this thing whenever we saw my cousins. Any cousins from any side of the family. She would let me play with them. Let me get messy. Let me run around laughing and having a good time.
Then the whole car ride home, she would talk about how messy I was. How loud I was.
How I was not "as smart as", "as pretty as", "as obedient as".
I was a bad girl. A fresh girl who liked to talk back. A girl who ripped her tights and wrinkled her dress because she did not care to be polite or neat.
When my father took me from my mother to go to an event or play date, he actually brought me rugged Jean's + t shirts. I dressed down and took my hair loose. I went out in the yard. I got dirty.
Then I would get dropped off home and face the ridicule of a lifetime for looking and smelling the way I did.
They knew each other like warning labels --- there was no way it was accidental, this exchange of a pawn. A checkmate between dirt and clorox.
When I reflect now, I have a whirlwind of emotions.
At 29, I still ask myself sometimes if I "imagine to be worse than it was".
I also have to sit with the fact that not everyone in my family experienced the same behaviors or abuse from my parents.
That to some, it looked like I had a normal childhood.
My parents were both high functioning. And their Jekyl/Hyde personalities fooled a lot of people.
There were other abusers in my families. All 3 families, since my mother was remarried by the time I was 6.
I knew narcissists, emotionally and physically abusive members, other addicts, and even a pedophile.
I was sure of it.
In my silence, I also grew up hyper vigilant.
I carry guilt for not being able to expose those truths.
And pain for all the enablers or people who just kept a blind eye for convenience.
But something very important I discovered this year changed my life.
MY TRUTHS ARE THE TRUTH.
For me, the experiences were REAL.
They happened to me.
It was not an illusion.
And I AM SURE of what is healthy v.s. not.
So what helps me through these struggles?
The FACT that I KNOW RIGHT V.S. WRONG.
I know what abuse looks like, from education and awareness.
Even though I no longer live in those toxic situations, I still relive the memories.
But this time, I am able to process the guilt and pain.
To justify how I felt and what it all did to me.
And I can release the thoughts I have about anyone else I grew up around.
I can tell myself that everyone has their own experience.
I have to accept that some people loved the abusers in my families'.
That some people loved and love my parents.
I have to detach from the notion that my family has to validate the abuse in order to validate that I experienced it.
It is not true or necessary.
So I release it all.
Anyone else's feelings or examination of my truths.
I also stay introspective because that is healthy.
I had to make that boundary myself.
To ONLY THINK ABOUT MY OWN EMOTIONS and not try to process or control anyone else's.
It is true that some people do not have the same truths or realizations I do.
But just because someone else was not abused like I was, by the same person, does not mean that person was not abusive.
A narcissist is still a narcissist and an abuser is still an abuser.
IF SOMEONE DOES SOMETHING UNHEALTHY AND IMMORAL TO SOMEONE ELSE, EVEN JUST ONE VICTIM, IT ABSOLUTELY MAKES THEM WRONG.
Toxic is toxic.
And no one else can speak for me to say I was not abused.
No one else was there, but even if they had been ------> someone else having a lack of capacity or awareness of what is right and wrong should not affect in any way what I know to be right or wrong.
And even if no one else is able to have the same realizations I have, it is my job alone to create my own boundaries.
To keep myself safe.
I have had to keep my safety and distance ---> not just for myself but for my children.
I have had to break the cycle of abuse by deeming it not okay to be around addicts or abusive people EVER.
I have to be able to live with my own decisions.
And I can, every single day that I choose HEALTHY in order to break the cycle.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#christmas #boundaries #holidays #trauma
This holiday season, you might be thinking:
"God. This year I need to set boundaries" as you catch your breathe and grip for another panic attack.
Maybe you just got off the phone with a parent or someone in the family. You have confirmed plans that make you feel uneasy.
That punch the wind out of you.
Maybe you will have to see an Aunt or Uncle who growing up always made you feel pathetic or like a problem.
Maybe there will be too many people drinking and being unfiltered or just one drunk relative who pushes everyones buttons but especially pushes yours.
Maybe you feel unwelcome and like a stranger even though it's a place you have known most of your life.
Or maybe it will all just be hard.
-----> The holiday season.
It brings anxiety and depression in my stocking.
Worried I wont be able to play santa because I dont have enough to give.
Worried I will disappoint people or my own kids.
Worried when I leave the house because god so much can go wrong.
My anxiety goes through the roof when we get in the car and travel through icy roads. As I clutch the passenger seat and close my eyes, I feel sick from the motions and the noises.
I feel anxious about being in other peoples houses.
I have panicky thoughts like:
■ Did I dress ok?
■ Will my kids behave?
■ Will anyone get drunk?
■ Do I pass as happy?
■ Will anyone notice we couldn't bring much?
■ Will we be able to sneak out early?
Of course I hide during the holiday season. I want nothing more than to be in my little room back home.
Because so many things trigger me.
The loud screams and laughter.
Loud bangs or noises from the busy road outside.
People swinging their hands around and animated as they speak.
Sharp carving knives at the table for the big turkey or brisket.
The big, heavy tree filled with glass keepsakes that the kids keep running right up against.
The cat that bites and is not afraid to beat someone up on christmas ;)
Should I wear shoes or take them off?
Will my kids break anything or make too much noise?
Will the families clash?
Will anyone ask me what I do for a living?
Worse...will no one ask me a gosh darn thing?
So many things will inevitably trigger me and I will need to visit the bathroom at least 4 times to calm down.
FACT: I wear outfits that are super easy/practical to maneuver and I bring an extra outfit in my purse.
I'm too afraid il spill something or need to use the bathroom or have a kid RIP my stockings.
I'm too afraid the outfit on my body will let me down in some way.
Anxiety wraps my body round like a warm, itchy sweater.
And I keep saying to myself, "gosh darn, M F boundaries. Make em. Keep em."
But then I don't.
I let my imploding party of 1 hang tight in my head.
I make sure I don't inconvenience anyone else.
I make sure I barely eat or touch anything of someone else's.
And I've wondered where all of this has come from.
Why I'm so "crazy" during this season especially.
To be honest, it took until recently to "remember", even though as a woman with PTSD from abuse ---> I'm a walking shutterfly album of my worst times in history.
I realized that every year as a CHILD since I could remember, I was made to be seen and not heard.
I was made to feel grateful someone even wanted to be around me. Welcome me.
My mother made sure I never felt welcome, but instead a burden.
If I took a full plate, she would say that could have fed someone else.
If I dressed any way, she would tell me things like "you gained a little weight, I see" or "I wish I was as full as you and not so skinny." [I was less than 100 lbs until age 16].
My father did not have much money or anything to give. He made sure to give me experience gifts.
Like hanging out late nights at Starbucks or 711 with HIS friends. Til one or two am.
Like going to get toys at the hobby store. "You don't mind picking things out now right?" And then pushing me to pick out what he desired to play with or show people he got for me "on Christmas".
When I became emancipated from my parents and was staying with family, I felt so out of place and not because of anything ANYONE else did.
Everyone was loving and happy to have myself and my daughter around.
As a single mom of 17, I felt awkward wherever I went.
I didnt want anyone to ask me anything.
Not where the dad was....
Not what my plans were...
Not what I "do now"...
Not any small talk about the weather because they don't actually care what I am up to or how I am getting by.
And then there was the year that no one invited me anywhere. At last, I was just on my own. So I took my 6 year old to NYC on Christmas Day but train and we spent the entire day walking in matching red peacoats and fuzzy hats.
Being alone for Christmas was the most simple and beautiful experience I ever had.
Even though I was in a giant city, in the cold, with little money and no one familiar around me ----> I had zero anxiety that day.
I felt in charge and in control. I felt safe while abandoned.
All this time, through rediscovering my insecurities and pain points..
I thought I needed to just set boundaries.
The real conversation that had to be had was with myself and all about self worth.
I never felt worthy enough to make demands.
I HAVE ALWAYS VIEWED ME HAVING PREFERENCES AS ME BEING DEMANDING.
What a sad thing, to blow out your own desires because you think needing something sets fire to the lessons you learned as a child.
That quiet means humble.
That subtle means poised.
That starving means manners.
That uncomfortable means polite.
I've had to REPARENT myself as the solution.
Boundaries are now looking like LOVING MYSELF.
Finding out what makes me feel GOOD and what makes me feel BAD.
Then copy and paste.
Copy and paste.
Copy and paste.
This holiday season, we ironically are not going anywhere.
Due to unexpected events [and nothing bad happened] our usual annual plans are canceled.
So this time I am going to be sitting with myself, doing some intentional journaling and processing.
Im going to flip through my memories and rewrite them.
I'm going to redefine myself, honoring my needs.
But I'm also going to do the harder thing.
I'm going to take anxiety off.
And examine what needs to be done by me in order to not wear it so willingly.
I'm going to set boundaries with myself and also have open conversations with my partner.
For the first time ever actually.
Because anxiety is anything but silent.
And I've sat quiet for far too long. ♡
J.S. Jaded Savior
#christmas #addictions #trauma #homeless #abuse #neglect #awareness
Today is my birth fathers birthday and I have no idea how old he is. Though I know his birthday, I don't care to do the math.
In many ways, it feels like his life ceased many years ago.
At least, for me.
As an only child, I grew up bouncing between divorced parents and had two entirely different relationships with them.
Cathy had full custody which meant she could dangle me over Charlie's head like a cat toy, while her hostile husband watched with scissors hanging low to his side.
Charlie did pills and heroine. On and off he tried to get clean throughout my childhood but it just never quite "stuck". No one in my family ever uttered the words mental illness.
It would take years and years after he abandoned me at 15 for him to overdose on heroine and be found unconscious only to be revived in the emergency room and sent to an 18 month program.
But rehab didn't stick either.
In my mid twenties, while raising my little girl as a single mom in college, I discovered he was in that program and finally diagnosed.
Schizophrenia, I was told. Mania. Depression.
Organ failures. Addictions. "Accidental overdose".
I was pretty sure it was very on purpose.
I cannot stomach the show "shameless".
My father is every bit of FRANK minus the hunger for cash.
He longs for appreciation and attention, apparently.
So Charlie kept himself constantly talking about anything to make himself sound good.
Charlie never got high in front of me.
Just like I never knew what high looked like, until I saw him at 16.
After Cathy and her husband told me to "go find my father" when I announced my pregnancy.
So I walked 3 towns in rubber flats and morning sickness in the summer heat to locate him.
All I knew at the time was his last job address, so I tried there.
The whole walk I stomped angrily and replayed the last voice mail I had sent him, about a year prior.
He had been jealous and angry that I was dating.
That his 15 year old CHILD had a boyfriend and that he was no longer getting "listened to" or "seen as much".
I remember screaming at him in the snow around 11 pm because Cathy had been black out drunk and done something horrible.
So I ran out and called him what felt like 100 times to pick me up because I was scared. And only in pajamas.
But he didn't -- No, he wouldn't, answer.
So I chewed him out in the allotted 4 minutes that answering machine allowed and I thanked him so very much for abandoning me when I needed him. And for not even having the decency to end our relationship with an apology.
Because he simply stopped showing up for weeks. And then months went by.
And every Saturday that i cried in his absence, Cathy made sure to rub the sand in my eyes.
Their entire relationship after the divorce had simply been a contest of who would build a better sandcastle.
Frank Gallagher reminds me of Charlie because he has only one commitment in this world. And that is to himself.
Though I am the only surviving child of his, I paid dearly for years as he lived in his own mind.
It did not matter finding out an actual diagnosis for Charlie.
I spent my childhood idolizing an addict who was childlike and had a broken personality.
Several of them actually.
When I arrived at his job the day I told him I was pregnant, I met one of them eye to bumper.
His problem solving method of discovering I was pregnant was to get in his big work truck and start the engine in my direction --- His eyes yellow and raging like a rattled snake.
He did not see me, but beyond me, that moment.
It did not give me relief to know he was also homeless.
For years actually.
The day after the episode at his job, the 4 brothers who owned the company and had daughters my age fired him.
They had been absolutely mortified at what Charlie did.
So he spent years after on the streets. Doing god knows what.
He then lived with a woman for a while and "helped" with her triplet teenagers.
One of them contacted me and we even met up at the mall.
As it turns out, we had something major in common.
We both hated Charlie.
After we met, I never heard from her again.
But I put to rest any ounce of sadness or curiosity I had of his existence. He was real shit to them. And did nothing to actually help provide or be a "dad".
But it was one of those things that just put the cherry on top.
He'd told them Cathy wouldn't let me talk with him.
He had made himself out to be a helpless hero who was stripped of his own child.
He had told them stories about me, ones he wouldn't have known ---> unless he made them up.
The breadcrumbs he had gotten out of my Nana that I was in college and a young parent, he used to his advantage.
Everything was always to make him look good.
To pass as sane.
He was back out on the streets not long after I met her.
Again on drugs. Homeless and jobless.
I found out last year he had been hospitalized for a heart attack. Twice. Also a stroke. Organ problems.
Still not wanting to seek help.
He had been brought in because someone called 911.
And like a FRANK, he made sure to take photos to soak up the "are you oks?"
He then reached out to me via social media.
He had a prepaid phone and would use Facebook to connect with old friends + distant relatives.
So he wanted to connect with me.
And when I WOULD NOT give him one -- yes, he meant me -- he got hostile.
But within a few weeks time and messages between us, I tried to be calm + patient.
It had been so many years and I was now married with 3 kids. In a safe space. Grown.
I thought I would handle it just fine.
Try my best to rationalize his mental illness. His addictions.
Not seek out a father. Or a friend.
Just accept this person and situation for what it was and trail away silently after.
But all the drama and stories came rolling back in.
The gas lighting.
The guilt games.
The clear delusions that I now knew were part of his sickness.
So I tried my best to do what I thought was "being a bigger person".
Over the years, on and off I'd wanted to reach out.
I can't tell you exactly what it was I wanted.
I did not "miss my daddy".
Growing up he had acted like a big child.
He would converse with me like so and want to hang out like we were friends catching up.
He was messy and dirty, often quick to snap or explode from confrontation of any kind.
He was poor but he made damn sure to let me know who made him that way.
What was everyone else's fault.
I'd heard years worth of why everyone abandoned him.
He would also ask me advice with women. He dated quite a few throughout my 15 yrs of him.
And each time they hated me + wanted him to move away with them. Then dropped him out on the street shortly after with nothing.
"Just like my mother did".
I learned from a young age that daughter meant "emotional consultant", "psychiatrist", "bullshit buyer", "punching bag".
He never hit me. In fact, he never hit anyone in his life besides the one hit that ended his marriage to Cathy, after he finally snapped at her for all she had done.
But I also learned young that words hurt much much more than hits. And so do "no show, no call" waits at the window.
I tried my best last year, before starting my blog or tackling my own emotional issues.
I hadn't thought into healing or facing my trauma yet.
I thought years passing meant healing.
That "time healed all wounds", because that's what trauma victims are told.
Go on. Laugh with me.
I was wrong.
It was painful to talk with him.
When he would be nice and friendly, I felt safe to keep talking.
When he would tell me the great details of his life, I felt pity. And sadness.
He was homeless, living for years on the streets in his favorite town.
A town his parents loved when he was little.
A town he had brought me to for years, when I was a kid.
So many fond memories had been since tainted by truth but were in that place.
Like a ghost, he wandered those streets and "built a life" as he puts it.
Playing his guitar on the streets.
He was doing something amazing, he said.
Charlie told me he was playing guitar for the youths of the town. And the great people at Starbucks.
He was talking with a youth leader at the local church theater program and would soon be teaching music.
A homeless man with addictions, health problems and no education or training what so ever.
He swore to this and said they all told him how amazing and talented he is. That he would be such a high value to the program.
And that this would be his big break.
So I said ok.
I kept the line open.
He soon asked how I was and how my kids were. Hesitant, I replied and told him my kids were well. That I was fine. And happy.
He said things like "you are so smart" and "you are so beautiful" to compliment where I was at in life.
He told me he was going to make slingshots for my sons.
And that one day we should plan to meet.
I knew I was brushing off something I should say NO to.
And I knew some children of addicts spent their whole life caring for their parent + not leaving them in spite of the abuse.
But I vowed to never live my life for my parents.
So when each let me go, it was just as necessary for me to let go of them.
To let adults live with the consequences of their own actions. To let sick people be sick if it was of their own choosing.
I was not aware of definitions like Trauma or Disassociation then.
I only knew the life of addicts and what mental illness looked like when it came knocking at my door for something.
Shortly after, Charlie announced via Facebook that he was in love and dating.
As a homeless addict, he was dating what Facebook checked out to be an 18 yr old high school senior.
He told me, searching for a congrats, and then told me she was a celebrities cousin. And she loved his music.
That she was in love with him too.
Days later he would message me again, this time asking for dating advice. Wanting to know my thoughts because as he put it "I was wise in this area".
Me, his child who dated way too young -- got pregnant and abandoned at 16 -- then dated an abusive sociopath for years mixed in with several NARCS in between.
His adult, legally emancipated and fed up daughter.
He wanted to know if they should have sex already or wait.
At that point, my head spun.
I was blinded by anger. We begun to argue via messages and I thought to myself "Why in the hell did I let myself even begin the contact with him?"
What I really needed to ask myself was why do I expect an unhealthy person to be healthy?
What would make me think that someone in his position could be any different without the help or the rehab? Without long term rehabilitation.
Longer than 18 months?
Longer than the few years he spent as a teen living at a facility after his father died...
He had been sick his whole life.
And I answered the door every single time chaos knocked.
And then scolded it for ruining the party.
I ended the connection that day. I blocked him and made sure to vent after about my feelings to my partner, whom I feel safe to confide in.
I felt shame, more than anything else.
Every year I had felt hurt. Not by the man who existed but for the man who never did.
I never had a real father figure.
I had something no one inherently wants.
Weeks later I would come to find out he was on the news and articles were published online.
He had robbed a car of Christmas gifts right in the driveway and the owner tackled him down til the cops came.
Today, one year ago, he thought it would be a brilliant idea -- while high -- to steal someone's gifts.
I don't know why but that article made me weep deeply.
Not for him.
Maybe for me.
Maybe just for the situation.
The idea that Charlie was and will always be a FRANK.
I decided to Google his name in May, when I was forming my blog and diving head first into what "trauma" actually looked like.
Charlie had been in the news twice.
Once as a criminal, once as a hero.
A duality shining light on his illness.
In the other article, he was interviewed about planned development of his beloved town.
"despite the project providing new income and growth for the small city, some residents are opposed to the project. [Name removed for privacy] is a street performer and aspiring actor in Glen Cove. For thirty years, he drove a tow truck until a heart attack forced him to retire. He feels that the redevelopment has some benefits but is more of a money grab."
I've wanted to talk about that article since discovering it.
To write about mental illness and its many faces.
I wanted to share with you how is got angry and commented on the news blog that they were incorrect and had quoted a homeless criminal. And actually got the comments shut off.
I was pissed. Again.
I realize only now that Charlie was a pain point in my life long after he left it because I lacked awareness and education of what he was and what I was for experiencing it all.
The flashbacks, the nightmares, the panic attacks.
The PTSD I did not know I had.
Outside of myself, the things wrong about his behaviors and the decisions he made...
He was not acting like a healthy adult because he isn't one.
He is likely going to leave this world in the same condition.
I've struggled with how to write about Charlie because I think people need to know what it feels like to be raised by addicts. To have a father that had an amazing father. Who then died suddenly. And left his family of 5 in poverty and extreme depression.
My father hovers around that beloved town like a ghost from haunted hill, repetitive in his steps and cyclical in his down fall.
It was his fathers favorite place.
In many ways, my father left this world when his father did. Emotional stability cracked.
He swears the day my grandpa passed he saw him in the mirror saying goodbye.
He knew before the telephone rang and my Nama dropped to her knees in grief that his father had left the world.
He said he told him.
Spiritual or practical, what I feel about that story is that my 14 year old father took the wheel.
And has been driving on autopilot ever since.
Drugs numbed and blurred the memories that haunted him but all he ranted about for years was the way everyone would abandon him.
How everyone always left.
14 year old Charlie was devastated.
And no one was equipped to notice.
I want to write about my experiences to raise awareness.
To invoke all different emotions.
There is no one and no right way to feel.
Not as the victim of someone else's abuse.
Not as the child who played psychiatrist to her parents.
Not as the grown woman who now has to get educated and understand what mental illness and addiction does to the brain, body, and soul.
All the while still feeling angry at the man who only ever let her down.
If everyone else idolizes their hero father but you loath him, does that make you wrong? Unaware? Apathetic?
When you are the abused person and you do not see the ailments, just the abuser --- should you have to stay quiet?
My journey now is towards education and awareness because I wish to be informed AND express my emotions even at the risk of feeling irrational.
Of feeling angry and sad and bitter and detached.
For weeping at the loss, no the absence of a healthy father.
Of a grandfather for my kids.
Of a parent to have given me off at my wedding.
As a father to have gotten out of bed at 11 pm to find me cold and shivering in the snow.
I expected more.
So I wont let anyone shame me for feeling like I got so much less.
Some of you may have a FRANK.
I had a FRANK AND MONICA.
"Shameless" [the series] gives me panic attacks and crying fits. But I can't look away.
I feel normal when I see or hear about situations like i had.
It was the loneliness that hurt me most growing up.
I don't feel good that more people struggle with abusive parents.
Or addict parents.
But if I don't speak out about it, or hear someone else's story ---> I will perpetuate my trauma and own struggles.
So I choose to process it all.
And to share it visibly.
Today is my father's birthday.
I don't know where he is or how old he is. I dont know much about him now that I created my boundary and honored it.
I would rather heal than extend a hand to an illusion.
I can't say if I will ever have closure. Or be able to breathe without holding my breathe all the time.
I don't know when my anxiety or depression will go away.
But I'm thankful for my life. For raising myself.
For learning what not to do and how to survive.
J.S. Jaded Savior
#selfproclamations #labels #trauma #anxiety #depression #ptsd #unworthy #useless #abortion #failure #abused #shame
These are my words.
The ones I see when I look at my reflection.
Whether I am glaring at my naked stare in the bathroom mirror or peering into my own eyes right before hitting that live button on a facebook video recording.
These are the things that terrorize me and keep me in a box, trapped like I am claustrophobic and have no way out.
These are the labels, the identities, the limitations I have put on myself.
These are the words that have brought me to my knees, screaming at the sky wondering "Why me?!"
Why was I born into a family of addicts, who's prerogative was a quick fix that only takes a lifetime to feel? To parents who chose a different dimension and disassociation from parenthood. A mental state that did not even include me in illusion.
Why was I loved by cold, callous men who could not sit with me, or sit with me in my feelings?
Why was I the odd one out at every table I ever tried to join, even when I arrived early to the party?
Why was I shunned from the ones I set my heart down with and believed were my "people"?
What was wrong with me every single time I set myself up in race for greatness but only after practicing cool knots on my laces, because creativity comes at the wrong times and running fast was never my thing....
These words have burdened me.
And the people who have wrote them, those people were ...well, me.
I was a different woman each time I took a sharpie to my skin. Chose to mark myself to remember the occasion, a tattoo to commemorate each failure for the books.
I was the one to write other peoples' false perceptions of me on my own body. To allow myself to pick labels that acted like hot acid on every single cut I tried to bandage.
Up until now, no matter what I did to cover up these words, wear enough so they would not show -----> every time I stayed in bed under the covers so no one could see me at all.
All I really did was avoid healing.
These words are very real to me but I now resonate with them in a completely different way.
As I uncover each one, as I invite you to see them all, i also invite myself to see what i look like wearing them.
I realized this week that I am finding acceptance with these marks ------> because I am finally understanding what each version of past me meant and felt when she wrote them.
How hard it was for her to etch each one into my skin, tear stricken and emotionally exhausted.
It was a message that I now get LOUD AND CLEAR.
Show them all.
Someone in the crowd sits still, yet so unsettled.
Someone out there just mustered up all the strength they could, to drag themselves out in the light of day -------> just to lead up to this moment.
Just to see your scars and your words.
And finally not feel alone at the table.
J.S. Jaded Savior .com
Content mention of Rape, Abuse, Neglect, Addictions, Mental Illness, Kidnap, Molestation, Child abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Abortion, birth, body image, gender/identity dysphoria, sexuality, personal trauma, domestic violence and other extremely personal stories. Please practice caution. I am not a licensed physician or mental health professional. No medical prescribing is provided on this site, Only personal insights, experience stories, and advice; All stories published have had prior authorization. Questions? Contact Jean at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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