Tag Archives: survivior

dear facebook friends and family

 

Dear Friends and Family who Voted for Trump,

I’ve posted political articles on and off since the political season began (whenever that was…seems like it went on forever). I supported Bernie and then happily and with no reluctance moved my support to Hillary. I was open about that.

 
I got some comments on things I shared and some discussion but for the most part it was respectful. For the most part people left things I posted alone or agreed with them or maybe liked them.
 
I deleted someone because they kept posting the “haha” reaction to articles I shared about how Trump reminds me and other victims of their abusers but that was it.
 
Since Trump won it’s been different. I’ve posted articles, memes and graphics. None of it is in anyway more polarizing than things I posted before the election. However, some of you (some who I wasn’t aware were Trump supporters – the Bradley Effect is real) are now commenting, arguing and dismissing my opinions.
 
Why? Is it because your candidate won so now you have some sort of bravery you didn’t before? Is it because the things I post hit too close to home? Why do you feel so defensive and entitled to argue with me when you ignored my posts before the election? This puzzles me. It’s Facebook. I know there will be disagreements. I just wonder why after the election people suddenly feel the urge to comment and argue when before my posts were left alone before. That’s the part that confuses me. 
 
 I’m a survivor. I make no secret of that fact. Trump reminds me of my abusers just as he reminds thousands of other people in this country of their abusers. Trump makes me feel unsafe just as he makes thousands of other people in this country feel unsafe.  As a survivor I’ve learned that I can’t keep everyone in my life. Sometimes I have to let people go entirely – other times, I have to limit how much my life intersects with theirs.

The majority of my posts post-election day have not been about politics as normal. They have been about how this man makes people (me) feel. When you dismiss what I post or what I write with a “sorry you feel that way but it’s not true” or long explanations as to why what I just posted is plainly just wrong when it was an opinion piece that expresses hurt and sorrow, you aren’t saying my political views are wrong, you are saying that the way I feel and am choosing to heal is wrong. And that is far more damaging and hurtful than anything you could argue with me about.

I’m not going to stop posting articles to Facebook. I’m not going to stop talking about what I am doing to heal from my trauma – on a global scale and on a personal scale – but I am going to be limiting who can see what I post. It may be a relief to you too. You probably don’t enjoy seeing what I’m posting because you disagree with it so strongly anyways. Perhaps it offends you. I’m not going to apologize for that but I am going to make it easy on both of us and limit our contact. Because you must understand, when you argue with me over articles or memes or whether something is true or not; whether I have the right to feel this hurt.; whether I have the right to feel this way about Trump; I hear that you are telling me you don’t support me. You don’t support survivors. If you met my abuser’s and they told you their version of the story you would believe them over me. Or you just wouldn’t care. That is what I am hearing. More than likely I’m wrong. But I’m not claiming to be rational. I’m simply claiming to be doing what I have to do to survive.

And so you’ll still see me post on Facebook. I would’t want to keep everyone from seeing my dog pictures now would I (maybe those annoy you lol I don’t know)? I do wish you luck. But, I can’t wish for everyone to “just get along right now” because as the movie quote says “I’m mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”.  But I do wish you health and hope.

– Still very proud to be “With Her”, 

Kate

gus-and-i-for-hillary

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Filed under abuse, abuser, bullying, coping skills, culture, election 2016, family, feminism, friends, friendship, Gus, Identity, life events, PTSD, social change, society, survivor, the past, trauma, writing/poetry

survivor?

I was at a women’s health fair this past weekend and I stopped by the domestic violence/sexual assault prevention and support booth. I picked up little ribbons that signified support and somehow ended up telling the women there that I had PTSD from being abused. This was a big step for me. One to admit it out loud and two to tell someone else. What happened next though stunned me more and it’s something I have been left thinking about since then.

The woman who runs the center responded to my telling her of my history by saying – “oh you’re a survivor!”. This completely stopped me in my tracks. A survivor? Me. No certainly not. I don’t deserve to have that title. Plus to say you are a survivor means that you had to have survived something significant. Yes I was abused and yes I’m here but survived it…that makes it sound like it was important or something.

I have a hard time wrapping my head around these facts. Denial? Yes, most defiantly. I’ve been in enough therapy to know it when I see it. I don’t know if I’m ready to look at my past and see it for what it was. At times I am. I can sometimes say parts of it out loud like I did initially to the woman but then I balk and retreat away from my story.

I’m closer to accepting it and being able to process it in therapy than I ever have been before. Perhaps it’s time to start that work. I’ve done very little trauma work..  And so I leave for Wichita in a few hours (psychiatrist, dietitian and therapist) and perhaps today in my session I’ll start talking.  And if I go in with at least somewhat of the beginnings of the belief that I am a survivor it will go that much better.

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Filed under abuse, feminism, Hope, life events, Life Story, New Life, PTSD, Recovery, survivor, the past, trauma

dear unnamed abuser

Dear Unnamed Abuser,

I know you read my blog. I also know you read my tumblr so you are now reading this. Someday I will speak out about what you did to me. This is not a threat. It is a promise to myself and to all the other survivors of sexual abuse, assault and rape. I won’t mention you by name for many reasons one of which is that your name itself deserves no time on my lips.

I know you have not forgotten me. I don’t know if I haunt your nightmares or your dreams or am just a fleeting thought but your presence on my blog and tumblr proves that you have not let me go.  Good.

Think of me when you read about women raped, beaten and abused.

Think of me when you see women and men give impassioned speeches about how the young men in this country must change, must own up to their actions and above all must never hurt a woman.

Think of me when you visit my tumblr and see the quotes I post there about letting go of my past and know that it is you I am freeing myself from and I have never felt more empowered than I am right now as I go through this process.

Think of me as you go to church and present a sparkling clean image to everyone around you. Know that unless you tell the truth that image will forever be tarnished by acts you can never undo and only ask for forgiveness for.

Think of me when you return to where we spent the majority of our time. Look around and remember how that time is darkened by the acts you committed. Know that for you that place will never be the pure mecca you thought you created.

Think of me if you have a daughter. Look at her and wonder how you could have committed those acts against a woman. Look at that tiny beautiful face and pledge never to hurt another woman (or person) so long as you live.

Think of me when you read of  women who have moved mountains, and who have beaten unspeakable odds.

Think of me when you read of women of strength, of power, of influence.

Think of me when you hear the word survivor and especially when you hear the word warrior.

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Filed under Hope, Identity, life events, Life Story, New Life, PTSD, survivor, the past, trauma

i am NOT a victim – four years was long enough

I wrote a post the other day. If you read my blog regularly I’m sure you read it. I’m not going to link to it because quite honestly I don’t like the post. I talk about how I am a survivor but also a victim. I could take down the post but that would be dishonoring how I felt in that moment and still do at times. This blog chronicles my journey and I made a pledge this year to tell my life story and part of my life-story is very much wrapped up around what prompted me to write that blog the other night. So hear is the back story that I left out.

 

There are people in my life who I hope and pray I never see again. I’m sure there are those people in everyone’s life like that. The list I have includes the usual – the classmates who were there when I went through my most awkward stages of development, those that betrayed confidences, the kid who shoes I passed out on while waiting in line in the college cafeteria (ok maybe that one isn’t that normal) who also happened to be the radio DJ who then talked about it on the college radio station, the professor whose class I had to take an incomplete in and then turn in a horrible paper that my starved brain somehow managed to produce, the music judge where I horribly messed up my piece and on goes the list.

However, then there is this other list. The list that includes the people who hurt me. I don’t want to see people on this list because of so many reasons. The memories that the encounter would produce. The possible flashbacks. The danger (yes danger). The vivid reminders of those times of my life. The absolute fear that these people still produce in me and the horrible reversal from survivor to victim.

The other night when I wrote that post. I was in a more victim stance. And why was I that way? It was because I had seen one of those people who had hurt me. Not in person. No thank God. However, as I waited for the elevator in my apartment complex I happened to glance at a photograph that hung on the wall that had previously been covered up by holiday decorations. My apartment decorates with pictures from all over my city. I like it. It’s unique and special. However, something about this picture was wrong. Immediantly, those little things that go off in my brain when faced with trauma triggers erupted because in the middle of the picture of our local swimming pool stood one of my tormentors. He was lifeguarding.

It was just a picture. I know this. However, to my brain in that moment (and actually still to some extent) this person and everyone who I associate with had suddenly invaded my apartment. My safe space. The space that I have created. The place I call my own. The place where I try to live without fear. Suddenly, my apartment was dirty. Unsafe. Invaded.

It was a rough night and next day. And in that mindset I wrote that blog. This picture is still up. I’d like to rip it from the wall or scribble over his face or draw a pig over it or do any of the other things my recovery sisters have suggested however this would be a bad idea considering there are cameras and I’m pretty sure not only would I get kicked out of my apartment but also get arrested. So my focus is going to have to be on how I’m going to handle this. I’m not sure right now. Beth is going to have to help me with this one. She’s going to have to help me figure out a way to make my safe place safe again. And she’s going to have to help me move out of the victim role into the survivor role again. Because I don’t want to stay in this fearful, scary place.

I don’t want this person or any or the other people who are associated with him to have any control of my life. They did for four long years. I think that’s long enough don’t you?

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Filed under bullying, coping skills, eating disorder, eating disorders, Hope, Identity, Independence, life events, Life Story, New Life, Recovery, survivor, the past, trauma

look at your life and know what you already have – i don’t want your pity

Last night I was virtually up all night because I didn’t feel well. I passed the time by watching TED talks. I chose to watch one particular talk given by Brene Brown called “The Price of Invulnerability” (it’s a good talk – go watch it!). Now whether it was because it was 4 am and I was feeling pretty crummy physically and also emotionally after a hard day or if it was just because it is an amazing talk I spent part of the time watching it close to tears. And when she said one thing the tears erupted. She said something (roughly) like this:

People who are trauma survivors have told me ‘I don’t want your sympathy. I don’t want your pity. I want you to look at your life and know what you already have’.

For me this is it. I don’t want my friend’s pity or something for what I have had to endure, my diagnosis or my past. All I want is for them to have gratitude for what they already have. I have run into people in the treatment world who wish for trauma, who make it up or embellish it. I go through times when this makes me angry and times when it simply makes me sad and times when it makes me both. I suppose the wishing/embellishing/making up comes from a place of trying to relate to other or validate why they struggle with what they struggle with. That anyways is the nice answer I can pull out of the hat.

P and I were trying to put the exact concept of gratitude that Brene Brown does so succiently above into words the other day. We were talking of our treatment friends (and they are always there) who are like this. I think to a degree we can intellectually understand it like I described above but like me P, is also a trauma survivor and there is a deep seated pain and anguish that arises when people ‘wish’ for trauma or embellish their experiences. We also talked about how we would like others to relate to us and we tossed around words like we wished other knew how ‘lucky’ they were. How they by some shade of fate or whatever just happened to have all the right hands in the deck tossed at them so they avoided trauma. We talked that we don’t want the pity or sadness which we sometimes receive from people, we just want them to know damn lucky they are. ie – all we want from others is that they know what they already have.

It’s hard not to get mad at people when they show me pity or sympathy. In my mind these are very different emotions than empathy. Empathy to me is much more of an equalizer  It put both the empathizer and the one receiving the empathy on the same level. There is no ‘looking down upon’ or feeling sorry which pity and sympathy entails. Empathy is not static. It moves with a person and allows someone to heal. Pity keeps a person in a box. A box in which the peson who feels pity towards them sees that the situation that happened to them is ‘so sad’ and makes that individual a victim. There is no room to move away from that box. And I believe that there is no room to move in a relationship when one individual feels pity for another. I believe that the pittyier so to say naturally feels somewhat superior while the one who is pitied tends to feel demeaned.

And to those who do not have trauma nor can they understand my past? I don’t want that pity. I don’t want that sympathy. It doesn’t make me feel loved. It doesn’t make me feel understood. As Brene Brown reported I just want people to know what they already have. I want you or whoever is reading this to be able to feel grateful that you have been spared (if you have) by luck, fate, faith (whatever you believe in) the devastating effects of trauma. Not all are so lucky. I have not been so lucky. Be grateful for what you have and for what you have been spared. As Brene Brown says “look at your life and know what you already have’. That’s all I want or need from you as a survivor.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under coping skills, depression, eating disorder, eating disorders, faith, family, friends, Identity, life events, New Life, PTSD, Recovery, survivor, the past, trauma

that big white house

I have posted political posts on this blog before and got a lot of feedback. Some unnecessary and unkind, some agreeing with me, others disagreeing with me in a respectful and kind manner. And I learned from all of it (except for the attacks – that doesn’t work). What I learned the most though was from a friend, Laura, who told me that her dad taught her to trust God that no matter who wins the election, that our future is still in his hands. What an amazing way to look at the results. I struggle with my faith. I struggle trusting God and knowing that he was not the one who hurt me. But for some reason this really hit home for me and so I sit here on the couch with the television turned off. I do have a candidate that I would like to win. And yes, I would like him to win quite a bit. But am I confident that I will survive if he does not? Yes. Yes, I am. I am going to keep moving forward in my recovery. Keep healing and keep working as hard as I can. I will struggle. I will fall. I will make leaps and bounds forward. I will hope and look forward to waking up.

And while I experience this someone far away from me will be sitting in a big white house. They will be making decisions that yes will affect me but at this point I cannot dwell on that. Someday I want to be a political activist. I want to campaign for women’s rights. I want to support the women’s movement and do all sorts of things. But one thing I learned in my short time in school is that I am not ready. I have to become a woman who is a survivor and who while might not be healed is actively on that journey. I want to speak for women. I want to be their voice but first I must find my own. And I must trust that while I am doing this our country is being taken care of. I might not trust whoever is sitting in that white house but I do trust God. And I trust that while I am learning how to live my life he will be taking care of the rest of it.

Someday, I will have my chance to speak my mind. I will have an opportunity to make social changes. I will have a voice that I can use to say I was a woman who was in the depths of hell but am no longer there and I want to speak for those women. But right now I rely on those woman who are at their stage of their journey where they can do this.

My job is simple. Keep healing. Keep moving forward. And keep trusting. No matter who moves into the big white house come January.

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Filed under coping skills, Election 2012, faith, Hope, life events, New Life, PTSD, Recovery

it’s time for the past to be the past

I didn’t post last week because I didn’t really have anything to say. I am even more sure about my decision to stop school for the semester. I feel much, much less stressed. Also, it has become clear that my therapist and I need to begin working on some serious trauma stuff. We’ve been patching things over with band-aids and that’s not working anymore. Going to school while working on trauma would have been so hard especially because we are going to begin addressing what happened in school to me in earnest.

Trauma is an odd thing. It sneaks up on you when you think you are totally fine. You can have processed and processed and processed and still one day you wake up and it’s looming it’s head and you feel completely stuck in the past.  And that’s not to mention the memories, the flashbacks and the panic attacks. I’m dealing with all of this. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten used to it. CFC  taught me how to function when the past seems more present than the future. I owe that to the wonder therapist WJ. Coping skills truly are wondrous things.

But there comes a time when you have to decide if it’s time to dig underneath and really begin to process the memories. I did some of this surrounded by the four walls of CFC but haven’t since I left. When I was there I was forced to stay safe, sit with memories and ask for help. I used those coping skills they taught me and by the time I left I was ready to face the world head on. But I wasn’t ready to resume the heavy part of the trauma work.

Now it’s time.

Am I terrified? Yes. Do I know if I’m going to be able to stay safe all the time while working? No. Could it include some short term stays at ‘the resort’? Yes, possible. But am I going to do it? Yes.

It’s time for the past to stop haunting me. I probably face the biggest challenge of my recovery that I have yet encountered. But it is the next step. And I’m ready to move forward.

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Filed under bullying, coping skills, depression, eating disorder, eating disorders, Hope, Identity, New Life, PTSD, Recovery, survivor, the past