Backstory

I realize after writing this blog post yesterday, you can find it here, https://bethanykays.com/2017/05/19/but-mom/, that it was more of a stream of consciousness type of blog post with no explanation. I thought perhaps I would give some background. There is a trigger warning on all of my posts as my blog is about overcoming abuse…

The man who abused me when I was a child used to chew Big Red gum. He would often smack that gum in my face when I was forced to sit on his lap and have his hands all over me. I thought, naively, as a teenager, that smelling that gum were the only repercussions to his acts. I had forgotten about the gum but I shared it with my daughter years ago. I told her that she couldn’t buy that gum because it reminded me of a very bad time in my life. Last night she was looking through lip balm and I was going to choose this cinnamon flavored and she very perceptively said, mom, you may not want to get that, what if it smells like that gum. I had forgotten about the gum! That reminder made me realize why the cinnamon my husband bought last week made me feel like I was going to throw up. I threw it away not knowing exactly what it was about it that made me sick. It was too close to the gum smell. 

I layed in bed that night and thought about how a simple thing like the sell of gum can be such a triggering thing in trauma. It was the only trigger I knew that I had. And I had completely forgotten it. But my body remembered it. I thought that my PTSD symptoms did not start until a few years ago but just that gum reminded me that I have always had symptoms. I just didn’t know what they were. 

One man who abused me ate onions before he abused me, I hate the smell of raw onions on breath.  So my husband orders food with no onions. One man who abused me had on strong cologne. I try to keep men’s cologne away from me. It is almost impossible. Around every corner are triggers to memories that I want to forget but cannot. There are situations that trigger memories. I cannot control any of that as much as I would like to and try. If it is not an outward trigger then I fall asleep at night and have nightmares. Those nightmares bring back everything. I wake up with this haze over me. I cannot control what happens when I sleep. 

My back story was childhood abuse, date rape, other rape, abusive relationships, and 10 years ago, as an adult I had another sexual assault by my best friend’s husband. I know that sadly my story is not unique as I have listened, heard, shared stories with many who have had multiple abusers. 

Last night I read through my entire email list of blog followers.


I know many people must just click like, like, like.  I understand because over one thousand messages is a lot. And i can’t always read all of them. But i don’t ever click like unless I’ve read it. Because if you’ve taken the time to write it, I will honor that strength by reading it.  I read each and every word of these blogs. I couldn’t sleep. I was bothered and unsettled within myself so I read all day yesterday and all night last night. I read of the bravery, the honestly, the pain, the agony, the monsterous acts, and the victorious fighters. I read all of your blogs. I do all the time. I hear that the things that happened to me also happened to so many others. And I am just so sorry that those things happened to each of you. The bravery it takes to face, write about, is so admirable. And reading made me realize, that most of you all “get” me. You know the feelings that I battle with. 

I am currently living the perfect storm of events that would bring to the surface these past memories. I am facing them. I am going to trauma therapy. I know there is a LOT I have no control over. But I am working on releasing what I can. I am working on boundaries. I am working on my protective bubble and placing people who have hurt me outside of that, even if it can only be through imagery. I am also seeking joy wherever I can find it. Today I was feeling particularly melancholy. I HAD to find something!

This is what I found. 


Puffy pink flower, a beautiful sky, and a gorgeous horse. I also found a friend who prayed for me a deep and profound prayer that my daughter and I can have restored health.  I seek and I find moments. Good moments. I try to hold on to them as long as I can. Some days, those moments are only one moment. Then the bad floods back. 

My journey to healing did not start until 2 years ago. I wrote a letter to my father. You can find that on my blog here. https://bethanykays.com/2015/08/08/details-of-the-abuse/

Their denial led me to my own truth more than I ever thought possible. 

My family subsequently cut me off. They made it very clear their disdain for my truth and after many hurtful painful messages I have not heard from them since. Well until my brother recently tried to manipulate me and hurt me again. The blog post that I wrote a few days ago that has led me to this back story post comes from the pain that I still feel. I thought that getting past the smell of chewing gum an abuser chewed was my only battle. I had no idea what was in store for me yet to overcome. I have anger towards my family for hurting me and letting me down. A child abuser was not my only battle. The chewing gum blog was about how badly I hurt. So badly. 

I am battling lyme disease, a rare muscle disease, osteoporosis, and heavy metal overload of copper and ferritin. I am battling the past that keeps coming up in my brain. I am battling emotions I feel towards a family that hurt me. I have to let them go. I know this. It is something I am working on in therapy. There are some things that I know I have to let go. I’ve created a little ring of angels surrounding me and one by one I am putting the pain outside of it. But the weight is heavy. It will take time to  process, grieve, and let go. Some things I will never be able to consciously let go. That will be up to my brain. For some reason my brain has decided to remind me of things I wish I never had to remember again. 

The bubble gum post was my deep deep pain being put down on paper. It was a plea. “God, I thought this would be easier. I thought this was as simple as gum. But I need your help to heal. I need your help to release the hate I feel for those who have hurt me. I need to be healed.” I am in pain. Physically I am in pain. Emotionally I am in pain. Spiritually I am pleading for help. 

My blog is my life story. It continues. I will write it as it continues. Hopefully the backstory will help those who are new to my blog understand some of what I am going through, some of what I have gone through. My last few days have been filled with flashbacks and sleepless nights. My last few days have been filled with anger and grief over the choice my mom made to stop being my mom. In these few days I have still broken through the bad and found light in the darkness. As long as I can seek the light, then for me, there is hope. Thank you for reading my words, supporting and encouraging my truth and life. I truly appreciate all of the people who have chosen to follow my blog and taken time to read and comment. 

42 thoughts on “Backstory

  1. Thank you for sharing such a personal story. My step-daughter was raped when she was very young, by a man by knife-point. She can remember the sounds of wind chimes nearby. And of course to this day, we have no wind chimes on our property. Those triggers are strong, ugly reminders.

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    • I am so sorry I didn’t see this message, it was sent to my spam folder for some reason and I just saw it.
      I am so so sorry that your stepdaughter was raped. How absolutely horrific that she went through that. I can imagine she must have reminders and triggers and they are very hard to cope with. I’m glad you hear her and don’t put anything up that would be hard for her.
      Thinking of her and hoping she is recovering. It is so hard.

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  2. Your words have such truth to them, many are grateful to you for having the strength to talk about horrible events in your life. I understand what you wrote very well, and I regret that you experience this. I hope you someday find the peace you so deserve. Please remember you are a far better person than those that abandon you when you told them the truth. Best wishes. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    • I hope, and plan, to one day, look back on this time as just a stepping stone to better things. I really do. You know, I am just glad something good came of it all. I found kind people in this world such as you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are where I was 20 years ago when all the memories came flooding back. I know the pain can be overwhelming -so very terrible. And Im so sorry you are physically ill also! You will recover. You will feel happiness again. Your pain will lessen. It takes therapy, time and God. You are doing really well right now.

    When I read about what your brother said to you, I was so horrified I didnt know what to say. I’m just sorry he hurt you in that awful way. May God be your comfort.

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    • Thank you for sharing what you went through. It is all you say it is. Thank you for the comment about my brother. It was not something I needed during this time that is for sure. I am seeking God for comfort. Today I went to a friend of mine and she prayed for me and it made me feel so much better. I actually was very tired after. As if I had been carrying all of this and she lifted some of it and wow I didn’t know how tired I was from carrying it all. Thank you again

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I didn’t realise that it was only as recently as 2 years ago that you started having to deal with all of this. You’ve come an immensely long way in that time. I’m sorry that has involved your family cutting you off instead of making the choice to be there for you. I love your photographs – you have a real talent for seeing the beauty in the things around you, and that can only be helpful in your healing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. Two years. Before that I had no idea what PTSD even was or what flashbacks were. Maybe it was my health crashing, or my daughter’s or both and with that the stress of what my family did and then boom. I was hit with it all. And have had to face it. That’s when I started this blog. To document my recovery and the truth of it all from beginning to end. Thank you for the compliment about my photographs. I love finding something that makes me happy and being able to take a picture of it.

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  5. Bethany this is such a beautiful post. I love you and I’m so proud of you.
    I just have one thing to say to your family and those that hurt you: FUCK YOU ALL. You are missing out on a beautiful human being and IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT that she has suffered. You could have helped her and you left her to pick up the pieces and put them back together. Well she has put them back together and she has a lot of support and love around that she doesn’t need you bitches and sons of bitches. What comes around goes around and you’re going to get yours. Karma and God will see to that. She is the most powerful and strongest person I know. So fuck you all.
    I apologize for the cuss words I just thought that needed to be said on your behalf Bethany. I love you and I’m so proud you. Thank you for sharing your story because it has helped me on my journey to healing. Have a great day and have some fun today!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your words are so powerful. My scent trigger is dial soap. I can’t stand the smell of that stuff. Sometimes it’s those little things that can be the most damaging. Safe hugs to you.

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  7. More great photos. Taking them can be great therapy too. I used to do it all the time and have gotten away from it. I don’t have a phone capable of pics either and it’s cumbersome to use the camera I have at my disposal so I don’t really bother much anymore. I have so many though already I want to share though at some point.

    On “Liking” I’m with you on that. I have never just clicked that without reading. And even after reading I find it hard to click Like because some of the stories are horrendous. I guess it depends on the reason for liking. But just know this, I find you to be a really talented and articulate writer.

    I have always been able to get your point and story. I may not always understand completely but that’s also the nature of writing in itself as well sometimes. Especially this kind of writing.

    When I read the post where you introduced the gum I knew there was something behind it and figured you weren’t ready to say exactly what it was. I thought about asking but knowing your history I didn’t want to pry or nudge you to something you weren’t ready to write about.

    I was thinking about you earlier. I am reading a book called Healing the Child Within and I’m up to the part in the book about grieving and understanding it. The author (Dr. Whitfield) states that in telling our story that some of us will need to tell it over and over until it is processed. He is not only an author but a therapist, as well as having been abused as a child himself. I thought of you because of the recent crap with your brother and how he had said something to the effect of getting over it already.

    It also occurred to me that the shit that happened with your brother not only had a traumatic effect on you but also brought up other things you’ve been processing as well as things that hadn’t come up yet. My biggest ‘melt-downs’ or whatever you wanna call them always happen after hearing from one of my fam members.

    I also think that once we are in the processing/grieving/working out stage in our life of all this trauma that it comes up from the depths in layers.

    I’m glad that you were able to see a friend and that she is supportive and prayed over you. When you said how tired you felt it reminded me of how it feels after an energy healing session and that’s pretty much what I think prayer is too.

    Oh and one more thing: It really touched my heart to read that your daughter pointed out the possible trigger for you when you’d forgotten. That periodic amnesia can cause real set backs. (I think it has a name…when people with PTSD forget things like that…but I forget (lol) what it is.

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    • I’ve been bringing my ipad with me and using the camera on it. Since I have the wordpress app I can just upload them directly. I’d love to see the photos that you have. I hope you do share them.
      For the liking…..if I like it it just means I hear your words and read what you wrote. I totally agree it is hard to click like if you’ve just read about sorrow or something awful. For me it is just an acknowledgment that I read it.
      If you ever want to ask me anything, or to clarify anything, I would not mind at all.
      I have heard of the book healing the child within. I haven’t read it though. So thanks for sharing that part of it. I was once told in therapy that I should talk about one scenario over and over and over again until it wasn’t as painful. There are so many different ways and for ANYONE, especially my dick brother to tell me how I am supposed to heal in his way, just makes him a dick. He just wants me to shut up and to have never spoken.
      You are absolutely right too, what he said stirred the pot. Things that had settled became unsettled. I felt hurt all over again and tricked and that really got to me.
      You are very wise, you really are. There are so many layers.
      Thank you for thinking of me and remembering my story and bringing up parts of it that resonated with you or that you can relate to. And about how my daughter remembered. That was pretty precious of her.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I want an ipad so bad! For this reason. lol

        I picture myself walking around with my laptop sometimes taking pics just for a laugh.

        I am finally feeling like I want to put some time into this blog and have ideas of how I want to organize it.

        We’ll see whether I share the pics here or not. If not and they go on another blog I can always share the link with you. But I’m still working things out.

        In full agreement on telling people how they should heal. I like hearing ideas and looking into them and even getting book recommendations but even those suggestions can depend on the delivery. None of us has had identical experiences and we have different comfort levels. And even some different boundaries. And I believe in respecting that and never pushing anyone.

        I don’t quite get the mindset of these family members who intrude on our world and even use trickery to attempt at reeling us back in.

        They already know we don’t agree with what they think. They are angry at us for not doing it their way. For not seeing things the way they do.For not having been able to change our minds before.

        If we are so disagreeable and so difficult, why the fuck do they want us back in their lives anyway???

        They need to just go away!

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      • I agree with everything!!!!!
        The family stuff. Just everything.
        I’m excited to see what your blog will do. I wish I had the expertise to organize mine. I tried last week and it took me hours to fix it. I wanted to have subjects at the top like folders for parenting thoughts, poetry, daily walks, pictures, daily posts. But alas! I could not figure it out. Or like the book suggestions. If you have different topics people can choose whatever and if they like the idea then great. I ca’t organize my blog AT ALL. So I just jumble it all together. One day a little bit of my life is shit. Next day hey here is some poetry. Next day here look at these awesome horses. And just hope people stick around !
        I do love hauling my ipad around. I was using my cell phone but I know how to use that less than I do this wordpress app!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I notice you have your own domain name (sans wordpress (dot) com.)

        Is the dashboard the same as it is in the free version like I have?

        With the free version, any tab would just be a page. I could do post after post, it would just be the same post all the way down the page.

        But I can categorize each post and the category titles show up on the side.

        I can also set up a static page.

        Let me know if you want some help. I may or may not be able to fudge through it. But I can try.

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      • I THINK it is the same. I’m not sure why i got my own domain. I think I did that so I could customize the home page more but I cannot figure out how to do it. So yeah I paid 26 bucks for who knows what really. I made an , about, page last week to put at the top so people could see what my blog was about. That took me all afternoon because somehow my about page became my homepage. Really frustrating. I don’t even know what a static page is but i tried to mess with that and couldn’t undo it for awhile either!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I just read through a couple of the tabs. I was wondering if I’d missed them all this time.

        A static page is just a page that stays put. A welcome page is a good static page and some bloggers like to use them as the default home page so when new visitors visit they are automatically directed to that static/home page.

        Sorry my definitions are a bit awkward, lol.

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      • One day a little bit of my life is shit. “Next day hey here is some poetry. Next day here look at these awesome horses. And just hope people stick around !”

        Lol, I like this style though. I think a lot of people probably do. It’s actually what I’m trying to reconcile because it feels like each topic needs its own blog altogether. But then THAT feels overwhelming as hell.

        So there leads to my procrastination on this thing.

        Should I clump it all into one or should I spread the topics far and wide? Ugh…it’s exhausting just thinking about the latter choice.

        So I’m paralyzed. I was gonna say it’s rhetorical but I wouldn’t mind hearing your opinion if you have one.

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      • Mine is just thrown all together. I thought about having different categories for people that hated poetry so they can just skip that. But I guess they can just scroll through and go to the next one if they don’t like it. I see many people have multiple blogs and personally it confuses the hell out of me. I think I would only have multiple ones if I were an artist and had an artist page of paintings or something. Where you feel every topic needs its own blog I was feeling every topic needed to be put in a category. The more I think about it though it is all under me, about me, and so why not just throw it on there chronologically

        Liked by 1 person

  8. There’s so much strength in your words and choices. Always looking for something good and hopeful despite all the hurts. I appreciate what you share.

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  9. I love your honesty! I can relate to the shocking realization that there have always been triggers in your life… It was an amazing day for me as it made me search out a deeper level of professional help. Thank you for your honesty… it’s a relief realize that someone else understands and relates. Keep writing and sharing.

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  10. Firstly thank you for following my blog. Call by any time.
    Two years ago a friend published her memoir detailing her childhood abuse. It is a passionate and brave piece of writing and I see the same qualities in what you are doing. I think writing about it helps, doesn’t make it go away, but its your way of facing your abusers for as we know they operate in a cloud of secrecy. Like you her family disputed most of what she said with calls of she was making it up and couldn’t she just let it all go.
    I am pleased to have found your blog, or rarther that you have found me, as I’d like to encourage you in all you are doing. Take care.

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    • I really appreciate you sharing you friend’s story with me. It seems there are many out there like me who have been through abuse and not had the support we deserve. But then we run across people like you , and others here on wordpress that give unconditional support and kindness that is priceless. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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