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.

The Eye Of the Mother

This past decade has been filled with many turns in the bumpy road I have traveled. I have pushed through deep depressions and sad realizations about this human existence. I have absorbed and grown my mindfulness and ability to receive and give love.

I have waded through dissociative disorder peaks, organizing the many compartments of my mind and doing the work to continue the integration of my brain. I have had situations which left me riddled with deep hurt. I spent time grieving, as twice I lost individuals who are extremely dear to me.

My heart has ached. I trudged through the self-accountability of learning how to re-parent adult children. I accepted and owned my own parental failures as lessons, not losses. I faced myself and my own behaviors, including how they affected those around me. I held all of my shame in my palms. I cried the guilt out of my soul, letting it release and evaporate into the soft air of Puget Sound.

My. Rainier, WA

I lamented lost loves. I clawed my way out of self-abusive behaviors and self-deprecating lifestyles. I ejected people from my life in order to preserve my own mental health and balance. I purged the pain of these difficult decisions. I endured the aftermath of their rage and blame. I stayed rooted within myself.

The decade came to an end with a bang. I realized how much I have risen, as I remained valiantly standing quietly in my truth. My defenses don’t matter anymore, only my boundaries. I have congratulated myself for making this much progress thus far.

There are many roads still left for me to travel. I am writing out the dusted shelves holding more memories behind closed doors in my brain. I am stepping through each door as they open, scribing out the facts and conversations holding answers to my existence and childhood experiences.

This life has been surreal. Being a cult child has been an experience which has let me feeling like I lived a life separate from my current existence. I am my own investigative journalist diving into my DNA as I retrieve the memories my trauma has hidden from me until I was ready to receive them. Unfolding into myself requires a specifically calm environment. I have learned to demand this space.

I had a plan to do an intentional painting on New Year’s Day. I wanted to move into this new decade setting more intentions of my body, mind and spirit continuing to heal.

Yet, when a baby is on its way in a family, they have a mind of their own when it comes to arrival. Hence, my fifth grandchild decided to enter the world on January 31st. I placed the painting plans aside to be with my family as new life arrived.

Zephyr; a gentle breeze

She is a peaceful, quiet little one. I am thankful that our forward generation grows and builds itself with love. Growing up without any family, I cherish these children, and the many ways they bring me moments of smiles and love, reminding me that good childhoods exist.

When mom arrived back home and settled in to rest, I returned to my original intention of creating my new decade painting.

I set up my camera on high speed mode to record the process so I could both share it and look back on what emerged. I also like to view through my phone as I’m creating art, as it gives me a different perspective and can inspire new ideas.

I sat down with a blank canvas, gathering old paints which were soon to expire, wanting to utilize them efficiently. I had no plan in my mind of what I would create. I closed my eyes, connected to my spirit, breathed deeply and began.

I first began to release a figure representing past pain, dark and brooding, filled with thick mire and a shrinking, red heart. Then I paused again and with another exhale I let my tools begin to cover the darkness, birthing new layers through space, dimension and color.

I built up the color, seeing the eye of my spiritual mother, hearing the soft whispering of her gentle words from within my own cells, leading me to the infinite parts of my existence and exploding above the path which is my way forward.

The Process Of Creating;

click to watch

Eye Of the Mother

It is unknown, what is to come. With a heart of hope, I stand inside my authenticity. I am formed from the gravel my spirit has pushed its way up through. I have swam inside of the depths of this human abyss with only my nose barely above death, to breathe and stand here in silence.

I have no resolutions going forward. My intention is softly rooted within my heart, my bones, my skin and my brain. May we all look toward ourselves with a love and patience blooming with self acceptance.

While the road is unclear in the distance, I move forward with persistence. I am protected by the gradients of my own inter-dimensional existence. This journey on earth, while often brutal, is filled with the wonder of infinite possibilities. I will not be broken.

Let go of that which no longer serves you. Accept the new without fear.

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.

Skeletons Remain

Skeletons remain in the spaces beneath the pain. My brain becomes a seismograph of moving timelines and opportunities to rewind.

I enter the dark caverns armed. This is no place for charm or niceties. This is a war to be fought by a single army. I am one with what was formed.

I go quiet into the dormant caverns. I chart the patterns. I connect dots and string, creating a weave of evidence and acceptance.

There is no vengeance in this excavation. Only explanations and lain out bones, examined fractures and a puzzle creating a visual of the whole.

I am in the solitary state of self reflection. I have entered the stargate, reading the files stored when I was a child, my own familiar, my brain an elemental releasing brand new truths to process through written language in scrolls that hold secrets.

With Un-Shattered Mind

“I Worry For Them” by Vennie Kocsis – available at: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/i-worry-for-them-vennie-kocsis.html
This life has taught me 
To tow the line quiet
Surrendering into time,
Because incidents rewind
With a mind of their own.

And so sturdy, we row the
Rapid patterns of the
Foreword movement.
We stay in tune with each
Separate quest. Observance.
Steady. Doing the work
That leans against the
Thick breath of the herd.

We are divergent, ominous,
Everything formed in us,
Powered by a self love so
Infinite that it becomes a
Hurricane of pounding rain.
Pay the penance. Confess
The wicked deeds, on your
Knees, in Biblical instruction.

Make a list, to remind you
Of your confession. This is
Your way. You must ask
For forgiveness. It is not
For us to be freely giving.

Reckoning has many faces,
Unexpected veils and illusions
That become intrusions
Appearing in most leaving
Unprepared affected, the
Egoist off kilter, inside the
Self righteous fodder of an
Imaginary, sadistic Father.

Fear the fray that is sewn
Back together, for it is able
To bear the weight of many
Lives. It turns swiftly, gaining
Strength and paving ways.

When this thing is unleashed
Like water slathered on polished
Floors it is impossible to cross,
Breaking bones in the falls, we
Will shatter lies like falling logs,
Because we are The Walk,
In our own Body, always on
The Move, distantly watching you.

With un-shattered minds
We will fully rewind time.

Vennie Kocsis

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.

We Are Your Resurrection

There are ghosts in my view. I am traveling hallways. We are coming back for you. Your breath quickens as you wait. Will your heart give in to the ache; the secrets you hold? They rot your insides, you know.

We are your shadow self.

Every deed, word, blow and theft of innocence lurks inside the remnants of your biological cells. You never considered that hell would come from those you desecrated.

When we come, we are a pack without a leader.

We have no need to follow, holding hands side by side, we yell, “Red Rover, Red Rover, come on over!”, and we smile. You taught us to rip at each other’s wrists, remember? Danger as an entertainer. That was your pleasure.

There were the games we played in secret, away from your judging eyes, sneaking moments with quiet giggles. We reserved our spirits from your shattering, scattering into life, struggling through its mores as we held ourselves in fetal positions to survive. Now, we rise.

We have gathered the ashes of our pasts, reconstructed our wings, and we are prepared to fly.

We are the children of your terror. We are the outcasts and sinners, scar bearers and wayward waifs. We are the tattooed tyrants, birthed from your horror, walking our own paths against your wrath. We color our hair bright. We carry ourselves Light. We know each step with precision as we enter this fight.

We are not mercy. We are strength. We are not bitterness. We are valiance.

We are turning your worlds inside out, releasing the doubt you preach from pulpits and podiums and classrooms to children and vulnerable humans. We are Dragons, gathering in the night.

We have been watching you a very long time. You see, you taught us well, but you failed to keep the tide from turning. Now we take everything you forced us to absorb, the intel and verbal hell, battered bones and dissociated minds, childhoods left behind, never to be relived, and create a mighty hurricane, gathering speed every time another survivor speaks their abuser’s name.

We release shame. It is not ours. It belongs to you. Your time to be burdened with your own deeds is long overdue.

I am a lurker in the darkness, mystic of the floated corners where the view is clear up here. I see the past and futures merging. I see the sadness and the pain purging. I feel every heart hurting, from the wicked to the wounded and my eyes can only focus on the cries of the affected, injected by decades of apathetic sociopathy using human flesh in the deadliest fashions.

For those who have a passion for hurting others, it is you I watch, even those who cloak themselves in the mask of mirrored goodness. We are keenly keeping our eyes focused. We are passed hoping. We are ready for war. Are you? How fast will your knees buckle when the first blows come? How long before your run?

No more will we be ruled, organized or contained. No more will we remain silent or compliant.

Associations and organizations meant to capitalize on those who’ve almost died inside and outside are crumbling at their feet. Too long you have preyed on the weak. Your time has come to an end, and no matter how much you pretend, keeping an illusion of control, you are quickly slipping into a sinkhole.

Even as your wrinkled fingers hold the purse strings, we sing.

Even as you watch us still, spinning tales of the ones who tell truths on you, we laugh as your ropes fray. It is your day. Your reckoning has arrived. We have been released from the hive, a swarm, marching with precision. Welcome to your new religion.

One must wonder about the abusive adult whose mind is so oblivious it cannot rationalize, that what you forced us to internalize would return to watch you burn. Yet, into the flames you will run, because the thought of combusting will feel less painful than the torture we will enact. Every item accounted for. Every brick will be removed. Each stone you drove home to build your wall will fall, and in the end what will be left, are more humans, free from your invisible chains, living in happiness.

For now, you shake beneath the hands of a mighty earthquake. In this surge, graves are unearthed and after years of holding still, we now run swiftly, legs strong, to destroy the villainous ones.

You will relax, forget to watch your back, and we will attack, because you deserve to be fought. You deserve to be tested with unrest.

Welcome to the Resurrection.