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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
I have a confession.
I HATE the word queen.
I have never had a good relationship with my parents.
My mother was hardly ever sober and she was my residential parent after the divorce.
Sometimes, between blackouts and rage, would come out a fragile voice and tenderness that scared me more than the anger I knew her for.
When someone is constantly abusive, tenderness or kindness feels wrong. Unnatural.
She would call me Queen. And talk about how how I was her Queen.
And I grew up hating it. That fake kindness that would come out to play. It almost felt supernatural when that persona met with me.
And that word, it felt foreign.
What did it even mean to her?
Surely there was not a "human" part of her soul hiding beneath the illness, the anger, the alcohol.....
I grew up around girls who had moms that were their best friends.
Mine tried attacking me while drunk on the regular. Mine did not talk to me about life or boys or behaviors or habits. Mine did not warn me about the bad people.
People like her.
Unstable. But calculated.
She was not abusive or bullying towards me out of lack of willpower.
She knew what she was causing, she would see it in my eyes and my body language.
She would gas light and manipulate.
Guilt me. Gift me things I didn't want or need, that she charged and we could not afford. Then lay all the stress and problems on me.
Many episodes of alcohol and anger went forgotten because she maintained a buzz constantly and then would get so drunk I saw a void in her eyes.
This was my home life for years. 16.
Until I became pregnant with my h.s. bf and she kicked me out. Threw me out with nothing. And then changed the locks.
The only texts and calls I got thereafter have been incoherent or angry or illegible.
I'll never forget when she texted me 5 years later telling me she had a baby cradle and baby items in my bedroom. My childhood bedroom that she was still "cleaning" every season and keeping as is for me to return home.
With "baby queen".
The child she told me to abort.
The pregnancy she shamed me and abandoned me with, not minding that a family member on my birth fathers side had to take me in.
I never did return.
Or so I told myself.
For 12 years I disassociated with a memory that I unblocked this summer.
After I began my healing journey in May of this year, I began to practice shadow work and sit with myself to unlock deep seeded issues that were giving me nightmares.
Every dream was the same.
I was an adult, with my daughter being a toddler again, and I was TRAPPED in my childhood bedroom. Trying to figure out how to escape and get my baby girl who she had locked somewhere else in the house.
Nightmares of my mother trying to kill me slowly with torture and mental games.
Nightmares of trying to run and getting out the front door with such elation, only to turn back GREEN faced realizing my toddler was still prisoner inside and I could no longer see a front door.
So I dove into my memories right on my couch. And I journeyed through memories, going back to after the birth of my daughter.
I then remembered a day I went to visit with the baby. And ended up being coehersed into sleeping over with my month old child.
I remembered drunk fist fighting at 1 am.
I remembered bugs in my bed and dust on the furniture.
I remembered breastfeeding my newborn and crying on the floor. Sleeping with her in my arms on hard wood.
I remembered calling my aunt [who'd taken me in] the next day to come get me.
I remembered stealing my social security card and other documents from her bedroom closet in secret while my aunt distracted her in the living room.
These were vital documents so I could as a minor apply for financial aid, a bank account, school, medical insurance, and have proper I.D. for my new life without parents. And I achieved it.
I blocked out that memory of sleeping over, of my child crying hard when she held her, of the sleepless night when I heard China breaking and cursing until after 3am.
But the worst pain was the mistake I had made right before leaving those doors for good.
I had left baby clothing behind that had spit up on it.
8 months later my mother had that clothing in a bag and photographs of it sprawled out in my room along with other baby things I'd never seen before.
I had brought her and my birth father, who'd abandoned me at 15 to drugs, to court. At 17 years old with a 9 month old baby, I testified against all 3 guardians: my mother, her husband, and my father.
And though Ieft with freedom legally from them all, I had a heavy heart. No abuse charges were founded. No proof on my end was substantial enough to hold the case.
On their end my mother presented photographs of my room all clean and a full fridge of food [which was never the case], baby items in various places of the room and fresh laundry folded.
The pictures were dated and used as valid evidence to prove they supplied a loving, safe home that I was welcome back to with my child any time I wanted.
I declined and thankfully, lawfully was not able to be forced.
THIS IS NOT THE CASE IN EVERY STATE.
I realized I had blocked those memories because of how painful and shameful it was to have my own parent put me in such a bad position, this time affecting my own child.
And i rejected the memory of putting my own baby in danger because I was so upset about it.
Our brains are that powerful. We can rewrite, rewire or erase memories all together just to protect ourselves.
Until we unlock the memories and suddenly connections are made.
And Pandora's box is unleashed.
I remembered that my boyfriend during college called me his Queen during a vulnerable moment he had, promising to propose and get an apartment with me. Something I had wanted to have because we were dating for years and I had a child already + a future to plan out.
One that would not wait for him.
So he pulled out what cards he could to keep me.
For another year and a half I believe I stayed, until he left me finally via text announcing his affair with someone else.
I realized that QUEEN again meant prisoner.
It did not mean royal or special or strong.
And it was bestowed upon me by a person close to me who had no intention of keeping me.
Instead, I was cut loose and ghosted thereafter.
4 years just gone.
We are not supposed to view experiences as wasted or unwanted.
We learn best through struggles and overcoming challenges.
Overcoming abuse is not a life obstacle.
It is a deterrent from living life.
It is a prison cell.
A nightmare in which you feel trapped over and over again.
Even long after you are safe.
Starting Jaded Savior blog taught me so much about myself.
My spiritual healing journey has taught me, through light and shadow work, that my duality of good and bad qualities come from abuse.
That I am inauthentic.
Or rather, void of identity and self esteem.
How could this have happened?
When women call eachother queen on the internet, it is the absolute best compliment.
It is a symbol of sisterhood and support.
When I am called queen, I shrivel.
It does not empower me.
But that trigger comes from abusers programming me to lose my identity.
To create one for me.
As it turns out, I have not known myself.
The traits I thought were me were symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The good news is, I AM NOT MY ANXIETY OR DEPRESSION.
I AM NOT TRAUMA.
I am also not lost or lacking of identity.
Beneath the layers of experiences is who I AM TO BECOME.
I once was a JADED SAVIOR.
Someone chronically wanting to save everybody but myself.
It wasn't until I left abuse through awareness and action that I was able to become something new.
Not a Queen.
Not a Savior of the Narcissists and Sociopaths.
A path forger.
A dark sorter.
A light bringer.
J.S. Jaded Savior
art by lindsayrappgallery.com
#christmas #joy #purpose #rockbottom #depression #trauma #stars
Last New Years + Christmas was the absolute worst. My husband and I both felt so burnt out by life. We both said in unison "this does not feel like Christmas" and did not have a good holiday week at all.
We had just completely lost so much we had built during the 4 years of working together and were home for a few weeks scrambling before Xmas to get our kids a few things. We had no income that month coming in. We were super tight food shopping and in debt from our business. We had nothing to do but sit in our two tiny, side by side bedrooms we live in with our kids and DWELL on all we felt we had "fucked up".
Throughout our entire relationship, from the first few months until then, we had spent working together long hours in his family-owned business. He had chosen a partner with a child so we felt like a family instantly and then doubled in size by our first holiday. I was pregnant 4 months into dating him and gave birth just 2 weeks before Christmas in 2015.
The next two years after that we spent working constantly, as a family of 4 and then 5 when our second son joined the gang.
We got married quickly while pregnant with the second (while feeling in love but very overwhelmed by the lackluster celebration and fast milestones). Everything with us, though we wanted a family and to settle down so badly, felt rushed.
But we made everything work. Year after year we made big plans and did whatever we could to work them out. Both pregnancies, I went to work full time until I was due and then returned with an infant two or three weeks tops back to our office and factory.
By the end of year four, it felt like the roller coaster had finally made its' last, tallest DROP which drove us straight into the tracks.
Last New Years Eve I made a wish.
I wished, through tear-soaked eyes, to never have another holiday feeling the way I did.
I felt so broken and weak. So tired.
I felt like a failure.
6 years I had gone to college and then my plans did not pan out. 4 years I spent with a man I loved dearly, the only person to ever make me feel safe and loved ---> only to feel like I failed him and our vision of happiness.
I had pictured getting married and having babies to be these amazingly planned out events in my life. Void of parents to plan, support, or be there in love through those milestones ---> I OBSESSED over being able to do things "the right way" in order to have SOME control in my life.
In order to not feel like I am just meant for TRAUMA.
One year ago, I felt like such an utter disappointment.
Even though I had 3 healthy and beautiful children to be thankful for ---
Even though I had a loving and supportive husband by my side ---
Even though we had a roof over our heads thanks to his family---
I felt like nothing was enough or the way I had planned it.
The business was supposed to BOOM. We were supposed to BUILD a life. GET an apartment. or rent a HOUSE.
We were supposed to get a dog before babies. I was supposed to make a CAREER happen before multiplying my definition of MOTHERHOOD.
I never held out on the idea of a MAN swooping in to provide all. My girl had been raised to be happy in a one-parent home. To be happy and whole regardless of the size of our family.
But I did end up meeting a man while I was an independent and hard-working College Student.
So when I left school as my term was up, I did not FEEL like I was saved by a KNIGHT.
I actually carried around GUILT and SHAME for hanging up my single mom cape.
For getting pregnant fast. Even falling in love after previous people had just disappointed me.
Last year I cried because I had held onto years of guilt, shame, frustration, fears, and sadness.
I felt like I had let myself down.
But I was wrong.
All I was doing was releasing year's worth of Trauma, disassociation, and anxiety. Because sitting home with my husband last Christmas, though we had just lost everything, it was the calmest my life had ever been.
We had nowhere to "be"' anymore.
We had no clients to meet, no store to open, no people to call.
We had no appointments to drag our babies along to. No networking or events.
We could sleep in if we wanted to.
We could just relax if we wanted to. Not forever. But just for the holidays, before regrouping and figuring out our game plan for the New Year.
We could have used Christmas to just stay silently in the void, the quiet of snowfall and holiday vacation ---when the streets were deserted and the emails were scarce.
Instead, we cursed the days.
We said "I hate everything."
We said "This is the worst thing ever."
And so when the New Year came, I felt like I had to do something to FEEL relevant.
I started a mom blog to write about my experience as a stay at home mom.
Recipes. Toy recommendations. Cleaning without toxins.
And I EFFEN HATED IT.
That was the actual lowest point in our relationship, my parenting journey, and my time as a stay at home 28-year-old --- hiding away in our tiny little bedroom not even wanting to see the family we stay with.
I felt so worthless.
I could barely get myself to write content, and just obsessed with the graphic design + theme of my self hosted website for 4 months.
Self-loathing was gold and monochrome, with brush script font.
Because it was popular.
Because "likes" and "SEO". Because Aesthetic.
I can laugh now, but back then my days of designing were a sign.
I was spiraling.
As a child, I had used art + design for coping when my mom was super drunk and abusive. I hid in my room to draw and escape from the screaming + fighting that took place nightly in my home.
When I dove into art, it was a distraction from pain.
I wish now I had the power to visit my past selves, like the ghost of Christmas past.
To see the old me's and tell them the ways to get off their knees and wipe their tears.
I wish I could trauma train myself as a child to KNOW exactly why I did the things that I did. And rescue myself from all the pain.
It was not until I hit true Rock Bottom that I was able to SEE what I was doing.
What I was really feeling.
I hit a deep depression in May that made getting out of bed difficult. I was crying daily in the bathroom and my kids making any noise went through my head and right down my spine.
I finally decided to talk to my husband and explode all my thoughts + emotions.
All the pent up worries and pain.
My feelings of defeat and my struggle to feel OKAY each day.
I told him I felt guilty about having my blog because it was not what I really wanted.
I did not cook very well, I had no wisdom to impart on my readers about parenthood when my own kids made me cry, and I felt like a horrible wife.
I was having nightmares and insomnia back and forth which caused me to struggle during the day between exhaustion and body aches.
Christmas had sucked but my wish not coming true broke my heart.
I was getting worse, not better.
That month felt really hard. But being honest with him relieved me.
After releasing those emotions, 2 more events happened back to back that I was not prepared for. I cut out my birth parents from any form of contact after being randomly approached by each sending messages. And then a long-time friend did something that made me decide to cut off contact. I realized my boundaries with both situations and I HONORED THEM.
I sat with my feelings and realized that the release was exactly what I needed.
Release of expectations and guilt.
Release of shame and depreciation for the way my life went.
I also decided to stop viewing my struggles as an anchor that was sinking me.
I had the ability to be home with my kids for the first time ever. A supportive husband who was working on something new to help us get back up on our feet.
I was already blogging and had gained so many skills. I had already taken courses and learned how to build websites from our business plus had already invested in a site.
I made a conscious and split-second decision to get up off my @SS and change my life.
It took 2 days after that to build the entire site and write my first few published posts. I released something NEW on my social media feed. Jaded Savior <3
And it was all purple. All me. All "purposeful". Yet...
Unplanned. Unstrategized. Unexpectedly.
My life changed.
Within one month, I had visions of writing a book.
within 3 months I was planning a Podcast.
At the end of 6 months, I planned out a subscription plan for my site.
Just days away, Christmas 2019 is going to be a holiday for the books.
We did not know what the year would bring and were so focused on all that we lost ---- I am most excited to celebrate what we have now gained.
We have each found a career path that we really enjoy and are now following it -- all in.
Though we have to work apart, the distance is allowing us to each work on ourselves and our own health.
I am getting a grip on my mental health and showing gratitude for the amazing opportunities I have had in the last few months.
I would have never had them if I did not take a chance on myself.
It was not until I hit rock bottom that I had the opportunity to Rise.
My wish is different this year.
I now wish to keep focused on my personal growth.
I plan on taking on 365 days of sharing truths + tackling my healing by diving deep into who I am and what I am about.
I no longer want to feel paralyzed and heavy by what I have lost.
This year will be all about dropping the need to play connect the dots.
Having Trauma feels a lot like being in bed with chickenpox.
You FEEL IT all over (I mean everywhere) and you have this urge to take a sharpie and connect the dots.
You draw a line from one dot to another, to another...and soon your body looks like a sky of constellations, lighting up all the pain spots.
I am done with marking myself and feeling nothing but disappointment instead of being in awe of the art.
Of the number of times I have survived and then turned something ugly into something worth looking at.
Not just looking at ---> being absolutely crazy about.
That is how I feel now.
12 months later and I have found my "thing".
I also filled a jar this entire year with little notes marking the highlights that happened. <3 And the moments I felt grateful for.
I cannot wait to sit with my kids and husband in front of our tree on Christmas Day and read the notes out loud.
I am reclaiming my emotions and feelings about myself. "I love everything". I love the abundance that is coming into my life.
The amount of love and support I have now that I exist in my truths and my struggles.
The amount of help I am getting now that I have revealed my needs.
I did not realize this "too late" but right when I needed to.
But I want that to be different for you.
I hope you will hear this sooner, from me.
That you need to sit with yourself --- here in your rock bottom.
And you need to PAUSE to stop your doubts and guilt. I want you to listen not to your head or your emotions, but your heart.
Where does your heart gravitate towards?
What is that THING you do want in your life? That passion or idea that you can faintly hear beneath the cluster of F*cks you feel life has tossed on top of you.
Make today that "pick yourself up and try again" day but this time with something you find yourself in awe of.
Like a constellation of magic and light that calls on us to be MORE.
<3 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
#selfproclamations #thirdeye #spirituality #mentalhealth #trauma #healing #poverty
Reflecting on my trauma has made me realize that I am the entire "package".
I'm a freaking gift set.
Better yet, I'm the gift that keeps on giving.
My DNA is unique in that I have not one but 2 bipolar parents with drug addictions and alcoholism. A mom with Wenicke-Korsakoff syndrome. A dad with Schizophrenia.
Both dropouts from high school [9th and 10th grade].
Both dropouts from rehab.
Both dropouts from parenthood.
I was an only child, who got pregnant at 16 and became a single mother before even graduating senior year. 2008, walking in my white robe and tassel, my baby being held by my Aunt in the sea of proud parents on the football field.
Most of the mental health issues my parents had came to existence in their teens. But other demons came out to play in their late twenties and thirties. Coinciding parenthood to me and their inevitable divorce.
I'm a gift that keeps on giving because I did not give my husband a mother or father in law.
No one to badger or judge or overbear him.
No need to split holidays or do visits.
We don't have to send our kids off on trips or weekends or spoiled afternoons with junk food and total annihilation of moms' and dads' rules.
I don't even cry about their absence. I don't want them to be around my children or in my life. Not when I never really had parents at all.
I have also disassociated with the awareness of these things.
Quite often I am steel faced and stone cold.
An appealing trait for the suffering and needy is silent resilience.
I'm a gift that keeps on giving when I am quiet about my problems.
Because who wants to read about problems on the internet?
Who wants to learn about rape or abuse?
I have always known the answer to that.
-----> Other survivors do.
Those who have also scored the perfect DNA recipe for disaster.
Those who were born into domestic violence, like me.
Those who were born into poverty, like me.
Those who were born into drug addiction and alcoholism, like me.
Those who were born into broken families, like me.
It does not feel like a gift to be different.
To only have known trauma growing up.
To have compared yourself to "normal people" and wished for a fighting chance to get out of the $hit you had come into this world with.
But it is a blessing to know your truths.
To intuitively know "right from wrong".
To sense and feel and have "knowing" prematurely.
To have hypervigilance or what I like to phrase as "seeing the needle in the haystack".
You can sense a prick, always.
It is a big gift to know how to survive.
But it does not mean much if we do not speak it.
If we do not take our knowing and strengths into the light to help others through their own struggles.
So if you are gift set of mental health issues + toxic relationships + saturated struggles, then use it to better the world.
When you talk about it from the point of view of knowing you are a warrior and not a victim, when you gain control of your situation and use your weaknesses as strengths ----> everything changes.
This year, turn your pain into power by knowing exactly how you were made for this world.
Know yourself entirely.
And then expand those gifts out into the world.
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 #joy #trauma #anxiety #depression #cptsd #healing
12 years ago, I had a 3 week old baby sick with what I feared might be pneumonia. I was 17 years old and on holiday break after giving birth the weekend of Thanksgiving.
I lived with my Aunt and Uncle [plus their four little kids + my nana] after being thrown out by my mother at 3 months pregnant that May.
I started my whole life from scratch.
Changed towns, homes, schools, friends, became single from my 2+ yr h.s. relationship.
Left the parents who'd abused me and neglected me for 16 years.
In my new High School I was treated HUMANELY.
The kids were all nice to me.
The teachers were so helpful and accommodating.
People looked me in the face and conversed with me about my pregnancy. My own gym teacher asked me to keep a pregnancy diary and log my nutrition as credit.
Even though I had no belongings from my parents' house, I had grown out of my size 00 pants and xs tshirts. My body had changed and adapted to my pregnancy coming in at 118 lbs by birth. Which was the healthiest my body had ever been.
I was badly malnourished while living with my mother and i had a horrible binge habit + sugar addiction.
FUN FACT: The body converts alcohol to sugar, which causes a spike in blood sugar levels. When alcoholics quit drinking, their blood sugar levels drop, and they develop sugar cravings.
My mother was an addict and alcoholic since her teen years. By the time I was born, there was no chance of her getting clean safely on her own. She barely cooked but we always had sugary foods in the house as well as a fully stocked globe bar next to her seat in the living room.
I am 29 and still have a sugar addiction.
I feel sick when I eat sweets and even more sick when I don't.
I am majorly addicted to drinking milk every single day, especially late at night.
All milk has sugar in it.
It took me until this year, when awakening from major disassociation, to realize my sugar cravings were due to my childhood.
To realize addiction did pass on to me in an unexpected way.
After I had my daughter, holding her felt like my whole world paused every time she stared back up at me.
I had FOUGHT to keep her.
I had sought out a pregnancy confirmation at Planned Parenthood, via bus I took after school with quarters from my moms coin bucket in the hall closet.
I had walked to the hospital clinic in our town to see a doctor for the heartbeat and first sonogram visit. Spoke with a social worker and applied for Medicaid under the precursor that I was now a medically emancipated minor due to carrying a child. I took care of it all discretely and responsibly because that was what I had to do in order to act like an adult.
Like a mother.
I had worn over sized shirts and unbuttoned by shorts, dove into the bathroom to puke between classes and once during an auditorium presentation for drug safety. I kept that expanding belly and my aching breasts a secret because I was afraid, with good reason, that my child would be taken from me.
She was my entire world from the moment I got those pink lines. Because love overpowers fear like the brightest light in the darkest galaxy.
So seeing her frail little 6lb body struggling to breathe and coughing felt like a tractor trailer was parked on my chest.
We went into the hospital Christmas eve.
I watched as SIX NURSES had to hold her body down to get a catheter and IV into her tiny body. While she cried like a tiny little blinded kitten looking for it's mommy.
We spent her first Christmas in there, me watching her receive medications intravenous and get breathing treatments.
I slept on the chair next to her, which really meant I sat perched watching her chest move up and down all night long. Listening to the emergency room peeps and alerts, watching nurses scuffle around and nervous parents get escorted into little beds and curtain spaces like ours.
It turned out to be a bad cold and was treated early enough to not develop into something more serious. Her lungs were clear and the fluids helped her tremendously.
At about 5 am, a jingling of bells startled some of us parents and the sound of HO, HO, HO, echoed through the children's wing.
Suddenly Santa emerged with 2 elves, carrying a HUGE red sack of beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts.
EVERY SINGLE PARENT AND CHILD RECEIVED A WARM HUG OR PAT AND A GIFT.
While the older children giggled and squealed at their gifts, I knew my baby would not know anything different. So I asked Santa to take ours back for someone else in need.
But he still hugged me and insisted i keep the gifts.
☆ A hand made quilt with stars and a crescent moon that smiled.
☆ A hand knit baby hat and booties.
☆ A talking puppy toy.
☆ A musical baby toy.
I wept as I held her presents and watched the nurses care for her in ways I couldn't.
And I felt so guilty receiving anything while sitting alone there with my baby.
But it was so beautiful that someone had decided to walk around doing this for the parents.
It was for us just as much as the kids. Maybe more.
I felt like we hadn't deserved anything.
I thought things like "she wasn't that sick".
"It isn't that bad". "She is taking from others".
But what I now know I felt...
I felt small.
Smaller than her.
Too small for joy or tradition.
To small for recognition or appreciation.
To small for that hug or that giddy excitement to see Santa.
I felt like a bad mom because I'd taken her out twice that week and then she was sick.
I felt bad because my family I was staying with were a REAL family with a mom + dad and their kids.
All preparing for Christmas.
All being a normal, married traditional family.
While I was a 17 year old abandoned by everyone including the partner I'd made her with.
At that time, his mother was MIA and angry about it all. His father had come to see us Christmas eve unexpectedly and with a few gifts. But realizing the baby was sick, decided to drop us and leave us at the hospital children's emergency center. My ex decided to leave us completely.
He had shown up at her birth thanks to his father after none of them were involved the entire pregnancy. After no one had helped me with anything.
The two guys, father and son, had peaked at my brand new baby and then left.
I realize now I felt completely broken.
Who was I to be able to care for this baby?
To do it all alone?
To be an adult already when I was just a kid.
I'd been an adult since the first time my mother trashed the kitchen and left to ride some guys motorcycle. I was in second grade.
In fact, when I'd gotten beaten up in kindergarten by a boy and stood up for myself ---> I think that was the first time I crossed over the child border and into something else entirely.
For 17 years I had been beaten and bullied and abandoned.
I felt it was only fitting for me to have a sick baby in the hospital on Christmas. That I deserved it.
And she didn't.
That guilt did not really leave me for years.
My mind just filed the report into a metal cabinet, marked "unfit" in the category "medical".
I filled those cabinets in that office for years.
I've heard people talk about having a mind mansion.
I have a mind office.
I've written about it before.
And I picture it so vividly, as I now visit it to retrieve old cases and documents.
All the dark shadows of my past and the harbored guilt.
Those swarming shadows are the keepers of that office.
And the reason I feel in the dark often.
I feel still this immense "not enoughness".
But I'm learning it was just the mistake of a young girl who was not taught any better.
Trauma gave me a cool, dry place to store my problems in.
But I'm ready to clean house.
To clear out all those cabinets and shelves that clutter my mind, body and soul.
I have emotional and physical pain because of my experiences.
The holidays reveal major triggers for me because I never knew how to process those bad experiences so I just tucked them away.
Micromanaged the clean sweep and put myself on autopilot.
12 years I've raised my baby girl and I still struggle with feeling worthy of her.
She is my whole world.
And now my world has expanded.
I have three beautiful babies that daily I cannot believe are mine.
That I'm so lucky I have a little family of my own now.
And I get to be Santa for them, along with my husband.
I have a HUSBAND.
And what that means to me, in the person I chose, is I have a best friend to care for this beautiful nest of babies with.
Together we get to make NEW memories.
I am reminded now that I have always done the best I could.
And I was every bit a good mom.
Because I never treated my daughter like a biological burden like my mother treated me.
I am grateful now that I can wake up Christmas morning with my kids and my partner.
Yesterday I just leaped and hugged him really tight mid conversation.
He is an anchor to the present.
When I spiral with flashbacks or get stuck in a deep emotional gust of self loathing, I quickly reach my arms out for the reminders close to me.
I hug my kids or my husband. And I instantly feel my soul + body come back into place.
My whole world, centered.
I remember that I am HERE in the NOW.
And that my memories do not define me.
The love and effort I show now DOES.
2019 has made me remember I am a survivor.
I have endured so much and still kept getting up.
Now it's time for me to Rise.
♡ 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
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: email@example.com
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