Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another Group of Questions - Part 2

part 1

When I challenged Kahless in the blog Triggers to come up with questions for me. I knew that she would keep me on my toes and I would have to give her questions some thought.

When the list of questions came from Kahless, they were broken up into segments. Each one probably represented one train of thought but sometimes had more than one question. The next three questions were one of those situations. Standing alone they can be interpreted differently than the way they were presented together.

I have seperated them to make them more manageable to answer. And I also have changed the order but will number the questions with the order in which they were originally asked.

Q: 2 Ie if I shrug my shoulders at some stuff from childhood that others see as awful but I see as just that was that, does that mean I am not in touch with my feelings?

A: As I mentioned in the post about group therapy, it's not uncommon for victims of child abuse to think abuses they have suffered are ordinary and no big deal. While I wouldn't say that of and by itself indicates someone isn't in touch with their feelings, I would say that it indicates unresolved issues.

That may seem like I'm just exchanging one word for another but a victim can have unresolved feelings that are related to issues surrounding their victimization. The two terms go hand in hand but do not necessarily mean the same thing.

The big issue that I see in this question is about perspective. As children growing up in abusive families, our perceptions of the world have been altered by our environment. Those skewed perceptions actually function as coping skills to help us get through with the least amount of trauma.

Imagine what would happen to a child trying to stand up for herself/himself in an abusive family. It wouldn't be pretty. So that child learns early that this is just the way life is. If anything the child takes on the responsibility for the abuse by assuming it is because she/he has caused it by not being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough, talented enough etc.

I think the process that brings about this change in perspective goes hand in hand with the child swallowing her/his feelings. The battered child has to convince herself/himself that this change in thought is right at the expense of what "feels" right. That means those instinctual feelings must not be listened to and stuffed away.

I think for a child to heal from abuse, those perceptions must be changed. Once that happens, it will help to open up the dam that holds back those repressed feelings as well.

I've seen lots of people in my time who have told themselves that they don't need to do this. They can put the past behind them and just go on and everything will be fine. I've not seen any of these people do this successfully. They live still caught up in the trap formed by those old rules and regulations. There is no way they can take good care of themselves and function as a co-dependent as well. The two do not mix.

Q:3 What is doing feelings?

A: I think this is relatively simple to answer but not so simple to accomplish. I think this speaks to allowing ourselves to "feel" our feelings whatever they might be. Instead of controlling them with what's in our head, we let them spill out without question. Accepting them as our own.

I believe this means allowing whatever "script" that needs to come out with these feelings needs to come as well. Only by allowing myself the feelings with their script did I get to the bottom of things and find out what the issue really was.

Q:1 How do you know that you have processed feelings?

A: For me, I know when I have no more "energy" about an issue. I can just talk about it without encountering any emotional connection. It still feels like it belongs to me but it doesn't really affect me anymore.

When I'm mad at my husband, I spew all kinds of stuff. If we talk about it and he takes responsibility for his part, I find that my feelings change and the anger goes away.

I think the unasked question here, is "Can I go on believing these things from my past just are what they are and leave it at that?"

My answer to that would be only if you are content to live life the way you are right now. To me that means still caught in the web that is child abuse.

That web so affects our lives I can't even begin to explain all of the ways. But suffice it to say, when we can get knocked off kilter just by the way someone enters a room, or clears their throat, or walks down a hall, or by their sex, authority, the list goes on into oblivion, we are caught in that trap. The only way out of that other than stupefying drugs* is dealing with this issues.

Part 3

*when I say stupefying drugs, I mean the kind they use in mental institutions to knock someone so out of it, they just don't care about anything anymore. This was not a statement I made lightly.


DJ Kirkby said...

Congratulations, you are a winner on this week's wordless Wednesday!

elizabeth said...

Thanks for all the insights you offer on your blog.

I always feel a little silly about my own problems with dealing with the past, because haven't experienced the kinds of abuses you and others have. I've experienced some things, some treatment that intellectually I don't think is okay, but I definitely do have a hard time feeling justified in having difficulties with it. I wonder if it's not really an issue of comparing my own childhood experiences with others so much as the kind of not knowing what's okay /not okay that you're talking about here--the way kids assume what happens to them is ordinary (no reference point and all). Your post got me thinking some more about this, so thanks.

David Crofts Munro said...

Many interesting points raised and dealt with here. It has been a pleasure visiting your blog. -It shall not, I dare say, be the last time.


Kahless said...

I just don't get the feeling one; I really don't. I’ll use the example I gave last post. I remember the being tied to a chair, blind folded and gagged. I could describe the chair and materials in detail. I remember my initial defiance then stress, panic, battle. But that is it. Now, I am just plan shrugging shoulders. And I can give the excuses and just say that is what kids do.

I could tell you about the nickname my family had for me. It does make me sick. The closest I have come to feeling anything other than fleeting disgust is when I wrote about it in the letter to my parents. This is the excerpt... ( ***= my brother)

Yet you went very silent recently when I reminded you of the nickname *** had for me, which kind of caught on by the lot of you. That nickname makes me feel sick. Makes me feel small. Makes me feel like I was the family joke. As I write this I feel really angry. Because I cannot speak the nickname and take away the meaning it held for me. Well I type it in this letter now and I hope you can remember it being said to me. I hope you can recall how funny it was to *** and to you. Then I hope you can imagine how a young child may have felt. Here goes... Buck Teeth, dandruff, hairy legs, dads feet, sausage legs, formulate, fatness, repeat. Remember the rhythm? I hated being laughed at. Why did you not stop that nickname being chanted at me? That name calling was bullying and wouldn’t be tolerated in the workplace.

I had a fleeting feeling of anger, it killed me to have to tell my therapist, but other than that how I felt lasted 10 minutes tops before I am back to consigning it to the past. I said it therefore it is done. It is fact so therefore it just is. So I am caught between having genuinely no lingering feelings and asking myself do I have to do so more than just say it. But what is more? I am not a crier or someone who screams out. So I just don’t get it! Hence the question :-) I get the logic that it is not dealt with and needs to be dealt with. But what does that mean? Seriously I still don’t get it? Next I’ll ask for the recipe and the answer is “there isn’t one” lol!
Please could you explain A3 a bit more. Maybe with an example!!! (I feel now I am being cheeky.)

Cheesemeister said...

I'm just saying hello. Hope you don't mind.