Boundaries: Enacting Them With Empowerment

Boundaries

It’s no secret that I have a tumultuous past. From time in jail to extreme sexual misuse of my body to behavioral problems, I have run the course of self-destruction, projection, being attached to petty dramas and other avenues of self harming, trauma based personality traits.

I am purposefully open about my past.  I want people to know they are not alone. I want people to know they do not have to live in shame.  I want people to know they don’t have to let anyone reverse them to the skin they have shed through healing. So, there is nothing which can be hurled toward me in regard to my past, nothing rooted in truth anyway, which I will not acknowledge. Part of my healing journey has included learning to stand in my place, not with shame or regret, but with empowerment.

I get to choose what to discuss or not discuss. I get to choose what to accept or not accept. I get to choose, period, and that’s that.

I also used to have a deep need to defend myself, explain my side and try to make everyone see and understand ME. I have associates who could tell you story after story of the times I lamented and recycled the same situations until I crazy-made my own mind. I was often in a negative-based mental space.

I felt owed. I felt people should adjust to me. I sometimes felt discarded, shunned and unaccepted, even by my own friends. Until I realized it wasn’t true. I was literally creating a negative storyline in my head that wasn’t fully rooted in truth and acceptance but instead, in my own self-based perception. There was some behavior from people which made me back away but concerning me, in retrospect, I churned those situations far too long and too much.

When we are in that state of mind or have friends who are in that state of mind, where we are churning instead of growing and learning, we can hold space and listen. I don’t mind listening. If you, the reader, don’t want to listen to others situations or can’t hold space, you also have the right to say, “I don’t have that to give to you right now.”

Sometimes it’s difficult to be in the space holding position. I have had friends tell me how frustrating it was to watch me churn petty problems instead of figure out solutions. So, I get it now. I’m an experiencer of this negative thought patterning.

I have a major boundary when it comes to being in the listening position, and that boundary is enacted when someone’s struggles are thrown at me like darts, and I am suddenly in the scapegoat position.

Writing on this subject was inspired by waking up today to a very long message from a friend explaining a situation that we had already discussed just a day ago and seemed, to me at least, had been lain to rest. Okay. I accepted that some things might still be unresolved for them. So, when I began to read, I was open to listening until I arrived at this phrase:

you have written a book and working on another about your torment and pain that some may dismiss as drama.”

Ah. Now I see. Because this person is attached to adult drama, they had the audacity to compare it with my childhood trauma. What I was reading was a projector’s mindset. I was being crazy-made.

I even further realized I was a target when I continued reading and arrived at… “All the times you schemed, planned, and even asked me to be involved. Or carried on without me, I never said a thing. Yes I was angry.”

At that moment I became slightly alarmed.  My mistrust meter went up to level red.  I began to search my brain. When did I scheme with this person? When did I ask them to be involved with a scheme that made them angry? My brain could find nothing. I attempted to call them to openly discuss it so I could understand more clearly what they were even talking about. They didn’t answer.

Then it hit me. If they were actually really referring to every person who has schemed and planned with them, but they couldn’t aim their anger at the actual person, it was being aimed at me. I was dealing with a deep projection.

This is where I advise not to take everything someone says to us literally as if it refers directly TO us.  If we cannot connect it to a specific event, most likely it really is not rooted in us.  However, we should not allow anyone to speak to us in ways which disrespect our growth and the ethics we work to maintain.

By that time, I was angry. How dare they speak to me this way. How dare they imply such things to me, that I’d ever schemed or been a petty person with them. How dare fabrications be thrown my way. How dare they not have the respect to answer the phone and actually talk to me about it.

By that time, I knew that I was done. I knew that I needed to separate from the recurring theme of this person’s personal life and being in the projected position. I realized this person was just being plain malicious and mean to me. At least that is how it felt.

I realized how hurt I was in that moment. So many times, I’ve been the only one listening to them; the only one understanding; the only one protecting. I sat on my bed, looking at my phone and realizing this was the crossroad we are at, and I had to choose to turn. That doesn’t always feel good.

I sit back now, writing out this emotion and decision to cut ties. I am hurt, confused and irritated to even have pettiness infused into my day unexpectedly. I also understand this really doesn’t have anything to do with me personally. I am being scapegoated. When I am feeling like that, I take my leave for my own spiritual safety. I always wish well, even as I wield a verbal sword when I slam the gate shut, in my heart, I always hope for healing and eventual accountability.

These are the times it hurts to cut ties with people we have been there for and truly care about in regard to their well being. This decision, for me, is rooted in the fact that this person has no respect for my own mental health, in that they found it alright to disrespect me. This person has now chosen to impede on my peace and mental health. That is a strong boundary for me now.

I write about this to both expel the negative energy that it created in me and to really drive home that we get to choose. I used to HATE when people said that to me. It pissed me off because I wasn’t ready to change my self-defeating behaviors. I had excuse after excuse. Everyone else was the problem. While yes, others had issues too, I needed to learn how to just focus on my own and not allow them to project theirs onto me. I had to also learn how to not project mine onto others.

I could list out the various physical and mental impairments I generally positively live with on a daily basis. I could demand everyone comply to my needs in regard to them. What I’d rather do is tell you that instead, I made the choice to create an environment which is conducive to my own well-being. I created it by building boundaries and standing mostly quiet in them, only raising my voice when it needs to be heard very clearly. It changed my whole life for the better. Any situation or connection which is not contributing to my greater good can be released or even taken a break from.

Once, one of my sons and I took a break from communicating because things were tumultuous between us. As a mom, I felt crushed. I spent many a night crying and lamenting until I finally realized that I was part of the problem. I needed to learn some different parenting skills, became accountable, listen more and stay rooted in my own safety boundaries. I started focusing on how I could do better, and our dynamic grew into a better and more loving space. I needed to lead by example in that situation.

I don’t expect you to compare any situation you may be having to my own. I share these examples because when I chose to own my own life and stand in what felt safe and comfortable for me, it changed everything. When we choose to heal the triggers which once rocked us they aren’t as daunting anymore. We remove the trigger and live from a state of self-care.

Until we choose to put our own peace of mind first, which can also, unfortunately, include pissing people off to do so, we will always be in the negativity zone. Becoming an empowered person means putting our own well being first.

Release unneeded worries. Cease churning negative situations. Create safe boundaries for yourself and adhere to them without fear of backlash. Most of all, accept that we are the only ones who can choose to protect and put ourselves first in our own lives.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

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The Day I Disappeared

Life Behind the Veil

“Life Behind the Veil” by Vennie Kocsis. Click the photo to view more art.

Click to Listen to the Spoken Version:

https://anchor.fm/e/99f7a0?at=2202210

The day I disappeared and
Became invisible
Was the moment
I became invincible.

I got lost inside
The existence of my absence.
I lost my laughter,
Which had
Trickled in moments
Of hopelessness,
So I could feel and
Deal with the real.

I disappeared and
It brought me here.

Now I stand
Unexpected
Affected and feeling.

I am healing.

It is said the sum
Of the numb means
We have succumbed to
Acceptance.

I call that self-rejecting.

I want to be affected
By the dejected.
I want to hold their fears
In my palms, dip my
Fingers in the ocean to
Release the tears.

I let myself see.
It’s my freedom
To go nowhere
So that I’m always
Somewhere and

Even now as these words
Run through minds
Who question meanings
Of bending time

I fade into the distance.
I am no longer
Resisting the calls to
Explore caves lined with
Files of memories waiting
To fill the gaps and
Bring the rest of the
Memories back.

The day I disappeared,
The world was quiet.
My face never reached a screen
Nor an ear, my screams.
I became an echo of a dream,
A memory slowly fading
Into remnants of words
Melting into the earth.

Vennie Kocsis is the author of Cult Child and hostess of Survivor Voices Show.

Shunned

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“Unacknowledged” graphic art by Vennie Kocsis

Where is our place,
we ask each other?
They write books and tell
the stories of dozens,
except us, forgotten,
our grief shunned,
held silent and we
have no place to call home.

So we create our own shell.
We enter it and sometimes
our ethereal strings connect,
and just like children
we talk through invisible cans.

Left behind.
Standing to the side.
We are the shadow lurkers.
The odd ones out.

Look to the left and right.
Seeing our fellow
survivors cry and they
can’t speak yet
can’t talk about what
they hold inside.

We few who have found voices
left over from the dripping
anger of Sam Fife’s horror,
stand in our huddled group
so small, it becomes miniscual
buried inside of
the bigger picture
belonging to the ones
who have each other.

We look at one another
realization settles into our eyes.
It’s just us against
this waning world.
Others shouting they stand with us
from distances so far
we are left in the familiar
hole of knowing the words
won’t match the action and
there’s always a catch.

The cusp of the feel is real.
The truth of the eyes which
never look at you
are black, the skin sallow
and we follow our own souls
walking this path alone.

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.

One Badass Redhead

Click the graphic to visit Rachel’s website

In this journey of traveling the grid of the internet, I’ve been privileged to connect with a variety of individuals.  Through these connections, I have learned, found support, grown and joined the ranks of strong survivors who are shamelessly telling our child abuse stories with the intent of helping others.

When I met Rachel Thompson, owner of Bad Redhead Media, on Twitter, I resonated deeply with her writing.  In her books, Broken Pieces and Broken Places, she passionately pours out the rawness of her pain in a writing style akin to painted, language art.  I was immediately hooked.

Being an independent author, I equally latched on to her amazing marketing book, The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge, geared toward toward supporting the budding author in learning how to market on their own.  I took the challenge, and I learned!

I recently had the honor of talking with Rachel on my radio show, Survivor Voices Show.

Click below to listen as she shares her life, her story of child sex abuse, her triumphs and how she masters focusing on self care, writing and growing her brand.

Click to Stream Rachel’s Interview on Spreaker.

Click below to listen to Rachel’s Interview through Survivor Voices Show on YouTube:

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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.

Abuse Is Not Just “Being Harsh”

The Eyes Don’t Lie by Vennie Kocsis

“No, you don’t understand.” I explained through the phone. “I witnessed abuse; cruel, verbal abuse.”

Well, you know,” the lady on the other end replied, “some people can be a bit harsh.”

Harsh, that’s what my mother’s generation called verbal abuse. Harshness. Harsh meant you could be spoken to however an adult wished. Harsh meant you were a pain in the ass, always fucking up, couldn’t do anything right, controlled, sequestered, gossiped about, and all the while your abuser feigning to the outside world that they are a good person.

Too many times than I care to count, I have heard how wonderful and kind my mother was.  Yes, it was hard to watch my mother be nice to other people for the sake of appearances.  My mother’s abuse was subtle. She could pinch you on your upper arm to shut you the hell up while smiling at the stranger she was speaking with.

Harsh. This woman I was speaking with had just called blatant verbal abuse “a bit harsh.” I knew in that moment, that none of this was worth my energy.  It was futile to even try anymore, so I said, “Well, I love you.” Because I do. I have love for her existence and the gifts I’ve seen her display.

Then she laughed at me, as if the statement of “I love you” was ridiculous.  She actually outright laughed at me.  I was momentarily stunned.

“Well, I wouldn’t say THAT. That’s not something we just throw around.” She retorted.

I realized even more, that this is the problem. Lady, your generation didn’t tell us you loved us. You didn’t “throw around” love when we needed it, and you still don’t. You throw denial. You throw self service, because “who is going to do this and that for you because you didn’t keep up with age of technology?” You don’t throw out, “I’m sorry you had to witness that. This is not okay. I understand why you ethically wouldn’t want to be associated with that kind of behavior.”

Instead, I received defense statements which melded into victim blaming as if we are over-exaggerating; as if our feelings and observations and hurt don’t matter.  As if we don’t understand your blurred line between “Harshness”and blatant Abuse.

“Well, I say I love you to people I appreciate, so know you’re loved.” I reply. I realize it doesn’t matter. I can feel love for whomever I wish. If she chooses to mock it, that is for her to feel, not me.

I don’t have the where with all to associate myself with these kinds of apathetic mentalities. They are damning and counter-productive. They are petty and cruel. They are lacking depths of self-accountability, and there is not healing within those confounds.

There is a generational gap where the strong are over taking the weak. I feel a sense of empathy for the dying. A Generation of Sociopaths created a grave problem in our societal construct, spent the next fifty years studying these self-created problems, used their children as test subjects for their abuse and study and wrote mass books about it; books which contain no “on the ground” solutions. Regurgitation is not for our generation.

I feel empathy for the waning because they will never know how good it is to heal, to love, to stand in truth instead of denial, to call moments for what they are, to own their own behaviors and make a choice to change them; to speak truth no matter who throws stones, instead of running on passive aggression. They’ll never what it’s like not to care what others think of them or not base their worth on another’s opinion. That’s rather sad, yet that energy is a dense weight on this rising Earth, needing to be healed or dispelled.

When a person is hanging on the edge of a cliff, there comes a moment, their hands become weak.  They know that death is inevitable.  Yet still, they grasp onto that rock with all of their might. Finally, they take that last breath, and free fall into the inevitable destiny of change.  Welcome to a new era of letting go and flying.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of CULT CHILD, and hostess of Survivor Voices radio show every Sunday at Freedom Slips.

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VennieKocsis.com

 

50 Shades of Bible 

by Vennie Kocsis

Chapter One

The view from the second floor of the palace is clear, void of fog or dust. King David lounges on His fur covered, ornate chair, gazing through the stucco columns of His balcony. She is bathing again, the marble tub filled with milk. She is naked, voluptuous and unaware of the eyes that could be watching her. He will have her. After all, He IS the King. He has decided to wait no longer.

Many an evening He has spent observing her. One day there would be a word for this behavior. Stalker. Yet, it is a time of dust and candles, rulers, slaves, bathing beauties and Kings who do not accept no as an answer.

The King smiles to Himself. He has sent her husband, Uriah, one of His soldiers, off to war, with secret orders to His private lieutenant that Uriah must surely die in battle. Soon, word arrives that the deed is finished.

David sends for the milk bathed beauty. Up close she is more breathtaking than He has obsessed over from afar.

He has a room prepared especially for her. Roses line the bed, tucked into wooden vases, filling the room with a subtle, sweet scent. Soft fur blankets and pillows adorn the bed.

She pauses in the doorway, her head bent down in reverence as she curtsies slowly. He takes her in with his eyes, stirred by the simple, flowing gown covering her dark skin.

Come, dear one. Lift your head.” He directs her toward him.

Her dark hair is braided down her back; three plaits to signify her royal status. Gold bands wrap around the bottom of each braid. Her lips are full. Her face is bare and beautiful. She has an air of humble confidence as she glides towards Him, kneeling at His feet.

He lifts her chin.

Look to me. I must tell you something that will break your soft soul in half. Then I will heal you.”

Her eyes fill with tears. She knows what the King is about to tell her.

He is gone.” She whispers. “My love. My Uriah. The swords have taken him.”

Tears stream down her cheeks, and unexpectedly her chest explodes as she finds herself sobbing into the King’s lap.

There, now, My dear.” He soothes, gliding His fingers over her skin.

So soft.” He thinks. He is filled with the urge to bed her.

He will. After caring for her as she grieves the loss of her husband, grateful to the King for His loving care, He takes her into His arms. She complies, wishing simply to be held, to remember the touch of the one man she would truly ever love. Uriah.

The King smiles each time she sighs into His chest after their coupling. In times when one can command a murder to have the woman He wishes, it is good to be the King.

Chapter Two

When the Master first sees her, she is dancing beneath a tree. Enraptured, He holds His hand up, a signal for His twelve bodyguards to cease speaking or walking.

The group of men stand still as they watch Him. Their Master walks closer to the dancing woman.

She is a glowing movement of magical beauty. Her hair is flying in strands of long black curls. Occasionally she throws her head back, laughing and letting out the most beautiful warble, as if a bird is whistling music inside of her head.

She is free.” He thinks.

A crowd has gathered, watching her. They are yelling at her.

Whore!”

Slut!”

One man picks up a small stone, hurling it toward her, but he misses.

She continues dancing, completely oblivious of the swiftly turning crowd, which is forming a semi-circle around her.

She grabs the hem of her skirt, holding it up as her long legs brush the sand elegantly. The Master holds back an urge to laugh in delight. Her hips sway. She is bare stomached, with a soft cloth covering her breasts, her shoulders curved and flawless. Love shoots from His stomach like never before.

His attention turns to the crowd. He beckons His bodyguards to follow as they walk over. She has stopped dancing, now aware of her impending doom, fear settling into her deep, brown eyes. She huddles behind the tree.

The Master brushes His lips with His left fingers as He passes her.

Shhhh.” He orders, and their eyes lock for seconds, sealing a bond that will never be shattered.

The Master stands before the crowd, His teelve burly men flanking Him. The crowd falls silent.

You.” He points to the largest man with the heaviest rock, beckoning him to come forward. The man laughs, dropping his rock and walking over. He is confident that he will take this would be Commander down with one blow.

Why do you hate this woman?” The Master inquires, His voice welcoming and warm.

She is a harlot.” The man growls angrily. “Look at her. She shows her body. She dances alone. She has no respect for herself.”

I see.”

The Master contemplates for a moment, silently, as the man shifts uncomfortably in his dirty sandals.

May I wager a deal?” The Master asks. “If I prevail, you command the crowd to leave.”

Confident that he will win, the man heartily agrees.

The Master leans down and picks up a small piece of branch. He says nothing ad he writes in the sand.

You have been bedding your brother’s wife for many moon cycles now. If you do not leave this woman alone, my men and I will follow you into town and tell your whole family.”

As the Master gives the man time to read, He watches his face change to shock. How could this Master know such a thing?

Silence continues until the man looks up at the Master, who then uses his foot to wipe the words from the sand.

Without hesitation, the man orders the crowd to leave, leading them away from the woman who had been dancing beneath the tree.

She rushes toward the Master, falling to her knees, kissing His feet. She lifts her face, her eyes endless pools of tearful emotion as she whispers.

Thank you. Oh, thank you.”

The Master reaches down and takes her hand to help her stand. He pulls her close and whispers into her ear.

But will you serve Me?”

Her body falls slack against Him. He smells of desert dust and days of traveling with no baths. She will wash each inch of His skin tenderly, down to his calloused feet and gnarled toenails.

Yes.” She breathes. “I will serve you, my Lord.”

She will serve Him until His last days. He will reward her with camels and baby goats, fresh wheat and apricots. She will weep at His feet when His own people murder Him, hiding their children as not to have His heirs slaughtered as well.

Her name is Mary. She is a Sacred Whore. Her Master loves her, and even in His absence, her heart will belong to Him until her last breath.

A Story of Religious Abuse and Torture

Introduction:  This piece is a contribution from an abuse survivor.  It details extreme abuse and could be triggering to readers.  Please consider caution if you are a trauma survivor.  

By Lusciana Philomena

I was born in the US in the nineties. My sister was quite older than me. She had her own issues, but this is my story. What I will say, is that at one point, I discussed my childhood abuse with her. She believed me in our mutual conversation, then betrayed me and told one of my parents about it. The result was the family turning against me and calling me a liar. It created a new wound in me. Yet, I also saw that the Narcissistic triangulation that my parents created with my sibling never ended. It was hurtful to have a moment of validation taken from me by the betrayal of my sibling.

My parents were blue collar workers who both came from military families. We didn’t move around a lot, but we did move churches quite often. Yet, regardless of what denomination my mother and father were trying out at the time, we always reverted back to fundamentalist, Pentecostal Christianity. This was my life from birth into my twenties.

For those who don’t understand the Pentecostal religion, it is a belief system of rituals such as prayer through laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, frenzies, clapping and dancing as if filled with the “Holy Spirit”. I imagine Christianity is wide spread enough that most people have a grasp on this sect of the religion. We were taught about demons, ingrained with demonic threat and fear. We were often put through rituals where throngs of the congregation members would lay their hands on us children to fill us with the spirit of God so that the demons wouldn’t enter us. I was claustrophobic. I felt panicked when I was in these moments. They scared me, and the energy pressed down on me, as I felt small inside of these moments.

I began having nightmares as a child. I would lay in bed awake for hours at night praying and pleading with God to please not let Satan take me. Because of the extreme nature of the fear and torture I was experiencing, I became adept at dissociating away from my body. I was often threatened with eternal torment in a place called “Hell“. I was told that I could lose my salvation and be damned. Yet, in those same breaths, I was also told how much God loved me. I could not make sense of anything around me. Many days were filled with fear, uncertainty and there was no safe place for me. There was gossip, deceit, and trickery everywhere in my environment. I never knew who I could fully trust.

I also attended a private Christian school from kindergarten until I graduated high school. Private schools are not required to adhere to the same curriculum or child safety rules as public schools. In private school, abuse was constant. Since the religious belief systems were also the same as the church we attended, they used the same methodology of punishment. Teachers subjected me to solitary confinement in closets and rooms until I lost track of time. There was physical abuse, severe mental and emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, public shaming and humiliation, degrading remarks, inappropriate sexualization and touching, and isolation from other children and the outside world. I was kept inside of a bubble of fearful compliance.

There were layers upon layers of cover-ups at school, as the staff was always watching us and each other. I felt constantly surrounded by human predators waiting to pounce. My mind was terrorized. I was often the focus of being targeted. I thought I was just the worst child in the school. In the beginning, I was a well-behaved child who merely daydreamed. Looking back, I believe at that time I was actually beginning to dissociate from life as a whole. Soon, I decided that since I was going to be in trouble anyways, I might as well give them a reason to punish me, so I began to act out. This at least gave me a satisfactory feeling of justification versus being punished for nothing.

In my home life my father was a confusing man. He could be the most loving father and also the most brutal. Since this was all going on at the same time as the abuse at church and school, I tend to remember these time periods as one, long bundle of abuse. My father taught me “games” that I eventually was conditioned to ask for and even enjoy, which haunts me to this day. I believed that I was born to please my father and make him happy, protect him, and do his bidding at all costs. I also believed that once my father died I would have nothing left to live for therefore I would have to end my life after his. I was conditioned to be my father’s puppet by him directly as well as his immediate family, who told me that I must do what my father commanded.

Some of the “games” he played with me included nerve shock torture where he pressed his fingers deeply into trigger points in my body, pulling the tendons up and away from the bone, then twisting and grinding them. Places he targeted were behind my knees, my neck, and my pelvis area. He purposely created a mixture of pain and sexual pleasure in my body. Regardless of my age, my body scientifically responded, giving him the results that he wanted.

Other forms of torture included tickle torture where I was forced to stay still or else the game started over; he used light breath, fingers and whiskers to tickle my body. All of my father’s sadistic leanings were filled with sexual elements. My household was rife with sexual inappropriateness. My mother would also sometimes behave in inappropriate sexual ways, behaviors that I should not have been exposed to as a child. I soon believed that my mother knew what my father was doing and didn’t care. My father would freely smack me on the behind, as if I was his girlfriend, whenever he wanted. He pinched my skin in inappropriate places, tried to get me to kiss him and chased me around the house. My mother simply hollered at us to settle down.

My father contorted my limbs, bending them the incorrect way. This caused excruciating pain, and I would scream. He threw ice water on me randomly when I was showering. Sometimes he would just stand in the doorway and flick the light off and on, off and on, repeatedly. I could not say a word or ask for him to stop. I was in complete compliance. My mother sometimes participated, throwing water on my face in the morning until I woke up feeling like I was drowning. I was yelled at to get up for the day, again my lights being flicked on and off, on and off. It was all because I was a heavy sleeper, they would say, sometimes laughing at me at the same time.

The torture my father enacted on me seemed endless. He would press into my sternum until the pain was excruciating. He pulled my fingers apart so wide it felt the skin would rip. He’d instruct me to stick out my tongue, grab it with a towel and pull until I screamed from the intense pain. He would laugh when this was happening. He would laugh intensely, as if it was the most entertaining thing. Sometimes he would lead me around by my tongue as I was in pain. Yet he would be laughing, since to him, it was a game. My father allowed me to have pets. Not because he wanted me to be happy. No. It was so he could use them to abuse me further by abusing them. I had the belt used on me to the point that I dissociated from my own body in order to withstand the pain.

As I became older with my father grew more deeply confusing, because coupled with his “games” of inducing mind blowing pain on me; he also showered me with love. At times he whispered in my ear that he loved me and would whisper other loving sentiments. There were moments of doting on me. He had endearing pet names for me. He also treated my pets the same way, sometimes loving them, sometimes cruelly abusing them. These moments induced a great love and bond with my father which intersected itself into the fear state that I existed inside. His behavior created a duality through which I could not critically navigate emotionally.

This abuse was also coupled with ritualistic religion, such as my father quoting Bible verses in the middle of abusing me. I have many gaps for which I don’t have answers. My body and my intuition have an idea of what hides inside those gaps. I often don’t even want to think about the possibility of what more my father did to me, that my mind has chosen to suppress. My mother projected jealousy onto me and in doing so, also physically and mentally abused me. She made me shower with her. Both my father and mother bathed me far beyond the years that I should have been being taught to bathe myself.

My father was an alcoholic and pill user. One night when I was a young adult he physically and sexually assaulted me. I hit him multiple times to get him to stop. Years later, when I confronted him, he alleged not to remember those moments. Yet, with persistence, I finally got him to admit to abusing me, and he said he was sorry. Then he proceeded to use emotional blackmail on me, victim blaming me and trying to make me feel sorry for him, saying that I was “killing” him. My mother was no help when I called her, blaming me for the situation and saying that she didn’t have time to be bothered. I felt helpless and in shock. She further stated what a terrible person I was for hurting my father with such lies. I knew that when it came to accountability in my family, I may never have it.

Because of my childhood, I endure flashbacks, complex PTSD, an eating disorder and fibromyalgia. I have insomnia to avoid the night terrors. I am hyper-vigilant about being followed, and I am often in fight or flight mode, feeling trapped. My capacity to develop my own spirituality as an adult has been severely hindered due to having a constant, tangible fear which lingers inside of me. Being an abused child left me with mental health and physical disorders. I have severe body somatic pain which can’t be associated with any one specific physical injury, leading doctors to connect my body pain to the reality of body memories.

Body memories are caused by trauma settling into our cells. Therefore, the body manifests the abuse on a daily basis, causing severe genital pain, joint and tendon pain, neuropathy that shoots nerve pain through my whole system. The nerve pain mimics the tendon shock rituals performed on me as a child.

The most confusing part about my abuse is how my parents could be so loving at times and so sadistically brutal at others. I realize that my identity belongs to them and now, I am struggling to figure out who I am before I was born into a childhood of abuse and confusion. I am sifting through broken pieces to integrate them so I can get to know who I really am.

Because of my experiences I have a great capacity to understand others who have been tortured. I know that as I continue to work through the aftermath of my own abuse, I will continue to grow and be a strong support for my fellow survivors.

I don’t know if I’ll even understand why I was tortured, except to understand mind control on a level so deep, a parent believes a religion justifies the abuse of their child. I want to know who trained my father to utilize such specific torture methods on my muscles and limbs. There are so many questions that leave tangled pieces in my mind. As a child my mind fragmented into “pieces or aspects” in attempt to endure what I was being put through however they have more or less integrated now. I wish my parents knew how much accountability and truth would change the course of each of my days. I wonder if my paternal grandfather learned these torture methods while serving in the military, and in turn, used them on my father. Again, I may never have these answers.

And so, I must stand inside of radical acceptance and continue creating who I truly am.

ART

When art comes out of me, it can take on varying forms, depending on who is holding the pen or the paint, as you will see in the pieces below.

 

POETRY

                Another outlet for my pain is writing poetry.  This expression has been a crucial part of my healing journey.

Porcupine No Longer

Ashamed and frozen in fear, time stops.
Pretending to be asleep; staying very still…
Lying and waiting, pretending it’s all just a dream.
“NO! Get up! I have to do something!” SCREAM!
*Silence*… I don’t make a sound. No one can know. Ashamed!
Eyes now scrunched up tight and fists form into balls.
Go into my mind. Pretend I am a porcupine.
Can’t touch me! Can’t touch me! I am a porcupine!
Doesn’t work…
Porcupine’s quills have been plucked clean away! Exposed.
Body is a map whose lands have been plundered before.
Monster’s fingers are legs, walking the map, exploring it all.
Monster is greedy: taking what is not his to take.
Too scary. So scary. Can’t be happening.
Dumb, wretched girl.
Pretend. Pretend. Pretend. Smile. I’m alright.
Tomorrow I’ll pretend I don’t remember what happened at night.

Healing Under a Canopy

Stroll through the shaded wood I must;
Liniment for a marred soul.
In love with the seclusion it offers;
I yearn for the peace it brings.
Amble about in nature’s song
I stroll along to such sounds:
Singing birds, dinky feet on Forest’s floor, water-a-trickling.

Healing from a pain so deep
It threatens to crush my voice.
I rebel, fight back, scream, kick, cry.
I will not allow this.
You cannot have my soul.
My past will not destroy me!
Your ‘control’ is merely an illusion.
I am no longer a child.

For I see the light.
It’s above me,
Filtering through the leaves.
It streaks my face with gold.
I feel its warmth on my skin.
This is the color of confidence.
I give myself the permission.
I can heal.
No one else can have
Me.

I smile.
I laugh.
I cry.
I’m filled with joy.
I am at peace.

Up ahead, I see a bridge.
I will cross it.
I will burn it down.

My story is the story of countless children being raised just like I was. Please don’t forget them. I want other survivors to know that you are not alone. Time and self-work make days easier. Please know that healing to a level of thriving is absolutely possible. To kids everywhere being abused, you are so strong and brave. You have the right to speak up; to tell your story; to be believed, heard and protected. You have the right to be safe and loved. You are not alone, and there are many of us Advocates dedicated to rescuing you and helping you heal.