Mom’s Sick. Dad’s Abusive. I Have Let Go.

Guest post by Jenni Z

My mother is very sick, and no one quite knows what’s wrong. She has flu-like paralytic episodes which leave her weak. Her voice becomes froggy and scratchy. She’s been tested for just about everything, but there has been no firm diagnosis yet.

The sicker she has become the more I have been able to clearly see the depths of my father’s abuse. His nonchalance regarding her medical care is really the tip of the iceberg in an ice-cold sea of psychological and emotional abuse. It has become the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I am the camel.

I couldn’t do it anymore. I could no longer act like everything was fine. That this is just the way he is and I needed to quit being dramatic. At least he’s not physically abusive, right?

Wrong.

So I began to pull back. I started to work on myself. Because I am the only person I can control.

I put boundaries between my parents and me. If you’ve ever dealt with a narcissist you know that isn’t easily done. Any boundary you put up they will barge right through with ‘how dare you do this to me’ entitlement.

The more I pulled back, unfortunately and unsurprisingly, the sicker my mother became. From the time I was a very young girl, she needed me to withstand my father’s abuse. I can see now how unfair it is to impose that responsibility on a child.

I ended up having to cut ties with my father completely. I feel like he left me no choice. I was falling apart. Anxious (still am, extremely so) and constantly afraid. What was I so afraid of? As I thought more about this I realized I couldn’t ever remember not being afraid to some degree.

I finally had an epiphany. A slow epiphany of sorts because it took me all of these years to get to this point. Here I was in my late 30’s, and I still worried about making my parents, especially my father, mad. Walking on eggshells. Trying to do what I could, only to be told it wasn’t good enough. That epiphany helped me realize something.

He can not hurt me if I do not allow him to hurt me.

So what if I make my dad mad? His opinions, actions, moods, and abuse do not have to dictate how I feel. In fact, they can have no bearing on me whatsoever, if I don’t allow them the power.

Though it was extremely hard, I put a shield up against him and his attacks. I blocked him on Facebook. I blocked his number on my phone. I no longer let him in my house. Not that he tried to contact me often. Most of the contact was usually done though my brother or my mother. My brother texted me often to tell me how bad of a daughter I was.

I imagine cutting off contact with him probably made him treat my mother worse. I’m sure he took his anger out on her. I feel tremendous guilt over this. I should be able to protect her. But it is not my duty.

Because I am not the one abusing her.

Though they would have me believe the opposite, I am not the one at fault, and I cannot be held responsible for fixing an non-fixable situation. I have no control over how my mother chooses to live her life. I have no control over how my father treats her. I can’t force her to leave him. Just as I can’t make my father see how abusive he is. I can only protect myself. If I did allow contact then that would, in a way, condone his behavior as I would be forced to I sit idly by and watch it happen. Not to mention he would think it’s okay to be abusive towards me again.

Going from doctor to doctor my mother ended up at the Cleveland Clinic. After going over her records and doing some tests, the doctor asked how her childhood was. It was probably no surprise to the doctor that her childhood was pretty rough. Of course, he wasn’t going to ask how her marriage was with my father sitting right there, though I suspect the doctor knew. He knew how years of abuse can affect the human body.

As it happens far too often, my mother went from an abusive childhood straight into an abusive marriage. She was barely 18 when she married my father. She’s now 65.

She doesn’t think that her illness is psychosomatic. And, who knows, it might not be, but she doesn’t think her emotional health has any bearing on her physical health.

Yet, it does. The body carries trauma. We find ways to cope, to excuse away the abuse. The brain may allow us to forget, tucking it safely away in the hippo campus, but our bodies don’t forget.

I imagine if you add up 65 years of abuse it can do a real number on your nervous system. The weakness she keeps having, the body aches, the scratchy voice; it all tells a story.

Her body is screaming loudly what her voice can’t actually say.

I still maintain a relationship with her, though it is quite different than it used to be. I am no longer the codependent daughter she was accustomed to having.

Letting go and coming to terms with the reality of my family dynamic has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. Knowing I can’t change my father, that I can’t make him see the error of his ways and accepting that I can’t fix or save my mother has been simultaneously heartbreaking and freeing.

Ultimately I had to step away from their dysfunction and relinquish their power over me so that I can heal.

Never Doubt Your Instincts


Enter the doorway into the mind of this incredible Survivor Voice

Jenni Z Official


Jenni Z aka artgirlcreations, is an artist and art journal creator who, through her multi-layered collage work and raw writing, explores ways to cope with her anxiety disorder, as well as the trauma she suffered as a child. Language, art and color lead the way through the muck of her past, as well as bridge the gap to a more mentally healthy future.

2.0.1.9 Outro

This year has been a slow churning process of self-examination. I have dissected new sections of pain which remain in the hidden spaces of my brain. I am making firmer promises to myself. My boundaries grow thicker, planted with prickly vines, should the uninvited attempt to sneak inside.

I will not stoop to low behaviors or project my pain on others. I own my actions and turn my back on ones who don’t own theirs. I stay rooted in understanding the intricate layers I am seeing. I continue gluing together the pieces.

My love is not to be taken for granted. I defend myself with mature valiance. I speak truth and gather proof. I face myself in the mirror and work on being better.

I am not who I used to be. I am not ashamed of the woman who was once self-abusive, running in circles with those who never cared for their own beings, just like me. That girl grew up and realized that facing herself was far more productive than hiding. Standing still was easier than running.

I walk forward slowly. I will not sink. I will not dance drama tangos with non-healing humans accepting lives of ruin as they reek havoc as a habit.

I let myself trace the footsteps of my past. There are seemingly endless tunnels to travel through. I have walked through fire, storms and attacks with no shields on my back.

Yet, here I stand.

So when you come to me, accept and see that I’m not at all who you assume me to be. I am inside of my own moving cells; listening to the stories they tell. Go forth into your next phase with grace, and be a soft wind, friends.

𝒱𝑒𝓃𝓃𝒾𝑒 𝒦𝑜𝒸𝓈𝒾𝓈

Gathering Pieces

Don’t let anyone make you cruel. No matter how badly you want to give the world a taste of its own bitter medicine, it is never worth losing yourself.

Victim To Survivor To Thriver: You Will Do It!

As I have lived my own survivorship and spent the last few years deeply connecting with trauma survivors, I see three distinct phases of the journey.

Victim

|

Survivor

|

Thriver (and for some, Advocacy/Warriorship)

I think one of the most difficult breaks in the healing process is moving from the victim to survivor state. The victim state of mind sees the downfall with everything in life. Solutions aren’t on their minds, they can only see everything bad in their world. Any solution offered, the victim stage will say they’ve already tried it or give a reason why it won’t work.

When I was in the victim stage, I recall having a fear that if I healed, I would have nothing to spawn my creativity. I was so incredibly wrong. As I have healed I have created so much more and so many amazing things. The fear was a farce.

The Survivor stage includes a mindset of knowing we have survived and believing we can still survive. Survivor stage is a small exhale and sometimes the longest stage as we are learning strengthening and practicing wellness and self love. In the survivor stage we face our anger, fear, hurt and deep pains. This stage is a boundary setting stage and a period of strengthening our minds. In the survivor stage we are starting to see the world around us as a place of possibility. We are embracing our ability to heal and determined to do so.

The step from survivor to Thriver is a smaller one. When we reach the state of thriving we have come into a place where we have embraced that our past is actually the past and we don’t have to live there now. In the Thriver stage we don’t see obstacles, but instead, opportunity. As Thrivers we take our horrible situations and tend to barrel through them because we realize that all things do pass. We tend to write out and create through our moments of pain instead of projecting them on others or drowning in them. We have no issues enacting our boundaries and don’t care who gets mad about it, as we understand our right to put ourselves first.

In Thriver stage we are empowered to know that healing doesn’t mean we don’t still have impairments from our abuse, but that we can absolutely get through it. We don’t have to stay in it. As Thrivers we embrace that our thoughts will set a course for our days and we learn that positive perspectives and energy will change and often make rectifying problems much easier when our thoughts are rooted in solutions, acceptance and great possibilities. We accept moments and people as they are. We aren’t as easily offended. We learn to be and let be. We fight for things that matter and let inconsequential situations fall by the wayside.

For those in differing stages of healing, please know that it can take years to get through these processes. Please be patient with yourself. When you take the step out of victimhood into survivorship, congratulate yourself!! That is a MASSIVE step!

I used the processes that I introduced in my interactive journal “Becoming Gratitude”, to move from feeling like a victim, to feeling the success of changing my world view and the perspective of my own existence and surroundings. It absolutely re-wired my brain for the better, in just a short five minutes a day.

You can check out the journal here:

https://amzn.to/2qhKfXu

Another amazing book that, if the writing processes in it are followed, will help a survivor really begin to embrace their emotion freedom is “PTSD: Time To Heal.” When I found this book I was ecstatic. It confirmed to me that all the handwriting processes I had done were absolutely on point. Handwriting our pain is not only crucial, but the absolute best process to follow, as the brain must slow down to process through our pen. This book gets into the physiology of why handwriting trauma is a crucial part of the healing journey. You do NOT have to be a prolific writer or speller to do this work. You just have to actually DO the tasks!

You can check out this book here:

https://amzn.to/2RbVvkK

Processing trauma isn’t easy. Neither is holding it inside. To be afraid of healing is akin to willingly drowning. Two major components exist in the survivor stage.

1. Being willing to do the work, WANTING to do it and reveling in moving towards being a Thriver.

2. Accepting and creating solutions and boundaries.

I believe every victim can become a Thriver. It is simply a matter of choosing to do the work that brings us there. I was sick of being in pain all of the time and tired of only seeing the negatives in my life. I grasped onto gratitude like a lifeline, and it absolutely changed my world view in just a few short weeks.

I hope you will give yourself the gift of healing. You deserve it. You CAN do the work, and you will be so much stronger for your fight and your life! Being a Thriver has empowered me in so many ways. I believe in you.

Becoming: A Minute Spoken

Alabaster Possibilities

I sit in the silence
of a million swirling thoughts.
I don’t accept this separation, and
I chew on the assumptions
like they are the last supper.

I see ghosts pass me,
they flatter me by choice;
their words swirling like
raindrops that make my hair moist.

I am alive with decisions
as the voices whisper,
calling me to stay on path,
don’t get side tracked.”,
and I listen intently.

I kneel beside a flower.
She is starting to die.
I hold her lovingly
as her petals cry.
I wish to breathe for
every fish that has expired;
wish to Love for
every soul weary and tired.

I open my arms to
receive the Moon.
I am spiraling sunlight
where my skin is anew.
I let Love become me.
I am one with the leaves.
I look into the Mirror
to see the divinity in me.

There is a world around us.
It breathes and weeps.
It is filled with open wounds
from the pain that seeps.
Unable to feel hate only
passing disappointments,
which give way to forgiveness;
as I step through the gate
where Love awaits.

I hold moments in my palms
like diamonds of time
that teach me to smile
so the rough waters will calm.

I wash tears with compassion,
sprinkle relief on lowered faces,
I am passing out rations,
a taste of a new day.
I am touching momentary madness,
turning it into sanity,
where the children skip,
and the sadness becomes happy.

You bathe me in acceptance,
and for the first time ever,
awakened to my worth,
where actions blend with words;
where beauty comes
in forms of laughter
like alabaster bath houses,
where the skin is released
into the steaming sea;
where we Love freely;
because time has gifted us
infinite possibilities.

walk with me beside the ocean.
it’s been a while since we’ve spoken,
and i was hoping we could remember,
the days when we danced together.

(written in 2011)

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and other publications. She is a also a poet and hostess of the podcast Survivor Voices Show.

A Different Kind Of Damaged

You are a different kind

Of damaged, chaotic mind

Confused you use words

As projection swords and

I see the hurt behind the eyes

The reflection as your soul dies

Lie by lie by lie; the ones you

Tell yourself are true so you

Have a good enough excuse

To dart the arrows with no regard

Of the blood flown from hearts

Torn apart by your anger and

My mind says danger. Danger.

There is pain too deep to touch,

A hole that one could fall through

To end up in a deep abyss

Of your untethered loneliness.

Such a sunflower shouldn’t die

Drowning inside an inability to cry,

You sip illusion, a savory wine;

Your mirror, a self-made design.

Everything that makes you wince

Tells you what needs love’s attention

As you ignore. Ignore. Ignore;

The parts of you so bruised and sore.

I can only sit and observe,

The winding streets of your hurt

Hovering above the purity

Stolen from your childhood

An inability to develop so you

Scrambled and scratched your

Way through life; numb the wounds

With bottles of booze, laugh away

The moments draining your happy,

Regret and listing what you’re lacking.

I feel slightly stoic and disinterested,

An odd reaction, to not feel sorry

For the churning of your own hurting.

When light floats inside your air

You call the darkness; safer there?

No more minutes can pass me by.

I’m swiftly running out of time; must

Focus forward; head held high

Silently take the podium and speak.

Empowered woman. Empowered me.

©️ VennieKocsis

Revealing is Healing

It is indeed a time of revealing. In an instant, the nastiest, most profane and viral parts of the human unearth themselves. Like blasts of mire sucked from the swamps of their dark hearts, humanoid mouths remove their masks as tongues are stripped of the ability of restraint. We send to you the strongest ones to break open their spells.

The battles become shorter and shorter; the wins quicker. The seeking ceases, as clearly, the screens play out truth in high definition. Complacent and fearful, the followers shiver, hoping to keep what small sliver of a controlled voice they believe themselves to have.

Oh, dear ones, you are free. No one owns your integrity or ethics. No one owns your creative well. You DO own the choice to be a warrior for what is right, or the sleeper who chooses not to fight. Whichever side in which you partake, the war is imminent.

The vanquishing sucked out air of the wicked screams as it fights to maintain breath. Death sits quietly awaiting to absorb the absence of their souls. Ash to ash. Dust to dust. When evil runs amuck, good must blend it into its boot heel with a powerful grind. The strong of mind survive.

Wounds are rabid. Humans in the habit of wishing and trying to become others, blend into the lashings of the warring Ones who have cloaked themselves in armor, thick and repelling of the stench of the dying.

Give way to the Rising.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show and her live Sunday broadcast Off the Cuff. She is an advocate, poet and artist.