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.