Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Lost Pieces And Abilities Cause By The Pain Of Incest

I am putting a Trigger Warning here because I don't want you to go on if you are already having a bad day with your own stuff if you are an incest survivor.  The following is a very important piece of my puzzle that has been missing since I was a little girl being raped first by my uncle and then for years by my dad.  I don't know how young I was when I made the decision to shut the visuals out of my mind.  Please proceed at your own risk.

I just had one of my biggest ah-ha moments of my entire journey through recovery from incest.  A big event that I had totally forgotten or just didn't get the significance of until now.  This came about because of a post that Darlene from the blog Emerging From Broken made on her Facebook page.  I am going to share part of that post here to set the scene for my ah-ha moment and then I will share my comment back to Darlene.  Here it is:

Emerging From Broken "She packed up her potential and all she had learned, grabbed a great pair of shoes and headed out to change a few things.". . . .

There was more to the quote from another person but this is the part of the quote is was the catalyst for my understanding.  Now here is the comment that I made to Darlene.

Darlene, rereading the above thought "She packed up her potential. . . " just gave me an ah-ha moment.  I am not a visual person.  I don't usually see images in my head.  I can imagine what the image looks like in my mind but the pictures don't form for me.  I just realized why.  I have always wondered why I don't get the visuals that everyone else does when I shut my eyes. It is because as a little girl, I shut my eyes to the abuse.  I literally closed my eyes so I couldn't see what was happening to me when I was being raped.  I not only shut my eyes but I went deep inside so that I couldn't "see" or feel it. I must have closed a door when I did that.  Someone told me to see a big movie screen in my mind with pictures flashing on it.  That doesn't work for me either.  I see nothing.  I can imagine in some far away place that it is there but I just don't see anything in my mind's eye.

Wow! is what I keep hearing over and over in my mind.  This is really big and is going to take me awhile to process.  Thank you.

Wow! When I recently said that I was starting a new chapter in my recovery, I had no idea (I still don't.) what that meant or what would be coming out when I opened the door to the abuse from my uncle.

When I was typing the above comment to Darlene and these thoughts were coming into my head almost faster than I could type, I could feel panic and a part of me quit breathing all together.  That part is still holding her breath.  It feels like a part of me died that first day of the abuse.  Before that I may have been a very visual person.  I have no way of knowing.  Tears are just out of reach, slipping in and out.  I know there is some crying and grieving to do with this new chapter and I am open to it.  I can't push the tears out of hiding and I will allow them their expression when that child feels safe and needs to let go and just howl out her pain.  As I am typing, I have to keep telling myself to breathe.  Some part of me is so afraid of this whole thing being exposed to ????  Exposed to the world? Exposed to me? Exposed to ????  I keep going blank.  That door isn't opening yet.  I know the little girl, the inner child has to feel safe for that to happen.  She gets frightened each time that we do something like this. 

Today I will stay as open as I can to these feelings that are trying to come out.  In order to do that, I have to let go of the tight, tight control that I held over my feelings as a child.  I could not feel these things as a child and survive.  It was just too much to feel.  The pain - both the physical and the emotional pain - was just too much for the little girl that I was to feel when it was happening.  I don't think that I formed different personalities as some survivors did.  I think that I just shut down certain parts of myself.  I let them die. 

This is still so hard.  I have the tools today to do this.  I will not go off and binge eat like I have done in the past.  I will face this head on.  I will call people.  I will email people and ask for support.  I will cry when needed which makes it very hard to type. I will not run from this.

I want to share this process here because, again, I hope that it will help some other survivor to open up and see maybe something similar in themselves.  I want to show you that this work can be done.  Also in sharing, it gives me the feeling that I am not alone in doing this myself.  Sharing my pain eases it for me.  It gives it and me value.  I will go back and put a Trigger Warning at the top of the page.  I don't want to set off anybody else with triggers.  If you are having a bad day, I don't want to add to it.

The tears are gone for now.  I think this is enough for now for you and for me.  I need to sit with this awhile and see what else comes.


Mystic_Mom said...

Your courage helps me keep my own courage, your words helps me find my own voice. Patricia each step you take on this journey know you are not alone, even in the lonely places, you are surrounded by love and care and's some candles and matches to light the dark places with warm, loving light.

Patricia Singleton said...

Mystic_Mom, thank you so much for your words of support. Thanks for the candles and matches. I am in a much better place to deal with whatever comes out of this than I have ever been before.

Darlene Ouimet said...

Hi Patricia,
I am hear for you. It is another layer of the onion, ready to come off to bring you deeper healing and deeper freedom in your life. Hang in there. As you know, the pain is always less than the joy that the fear of it is keeping us from.
Hugs, Darlene

Anonymous said...

Powerful words Patricia! I hear the overwhelming sense of what you're uncovering! I fully support you and honor you for not avoiding it through food, or other avoidances. You had said you felt a new chapter of your recovery was unfolding. It sounds like it is happening now, but only so much revelation as you can handle for right now.

Take heart! You will get through this, and it will go more quickly because you are confronting it rather than avoiding it!


Patricia Singleton said...

Dan, thank you. Yes, the offers of support from others has been amazing. I appreciate them all. I went to a 12-Step meeting tonight and was told to call people. I told a friend that I almost called her earlier today. She told me next time to call instead of almost. I realized on the way home that a small child in me is still afraid of calling others and being rejected. She still doesn't feel worthy of taking up someone else's time. Every time that I think I have mastered the self-worth thing, I find myself face-to-face with it again.

I also learned at the meeting tonight that I still have an issue with expectations. As a child, I learned to not have any expectations because nothing my parents ever planned happened. So many revelations hitting me today. I have the tools to handle all of this.

Patricia Singleton said...

Darlene, thank you. I am in a better spot than I was this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Patricia, I hear you on how hard it is to call people. After my Dad died, (during Freedom) when all the violence was trying to surface, someone suggested I call one person every day, and spend 5 minutes telling them how I was doing. Great input, tough to do! Easier to just wait and call "after the fact" instead of when I was in the middle of it!

I'm glad you're thinking about using that resource of phone talk. I remember my sponsor telling me that when you get into the feelings place and things are coming up, your body has a natural defense mechanism which will shut down if it gets to be too much. I saw it happen enough times to begin to trust it, and it allowed me to move along faster in the release process!

Yes, with the many revelations hitting, you have the tools to deal with them! Well said, and hang in there!

Patricia Singleton said...

Dan, thank you again. Yes, several times today, I cried for a short time and then the tears shut down until some other thought came along that brought them to the surface again.

In the 12-Step meeting that I went to tonight, the topic was expectations. I realized as a child that I learned to not have any expectations because my parents would often plan things and never carry through with their plans. I got disappointed so often that I just quite having expectations. That revelation brought tears to the surface also.

I can feel that I have some major grieving starting with all of these revelations. Haven't been here in a very long time. I have my grieving class tomorrow night so I will be talking about all of this tomorrow night. Thank you for all of your support.

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Patricia, to have lined up the grief class - perfect time for it. Yes, low expectations! I understand. If you don't have expectations, you can't be disappointed if they're not met! It sounds like you're taking really great care of yourself!

Call someone! :)

Patricia Singleton said...

Dan, the grief class is a regular class on Thursday nights that my friend and I have been going to for several months now. This is the first time that I will actually have some grief to work through. I will definitely call someone. Thanks.

Slade | Shift Your Spirits said...


That is huge! And it makes a lot of sense to me. I've always wondered about your Mind's Eye and the way you visualize, or don't, actually retreating to a different level of processing of images...

Indeed, you may have been a highly visual person before you had to turn that off to protect yourself. And you know, I don't feel it's gone forever, but may be "let out" again and available in the future. Be gentle with it, and passive, like you're coaxing a shy cat through a door, and let it find it's way when, if, and how it wants to.

Love to you!

Patricia Singleton said...

Slade, until I started learning to meditating and the teachers started doing guided imagery meditations, I never knew that I was different than everyone else in the class. I told one of my teachers who was also a very close friend about my lack of being able to see the pictures she was painting in the minds of the class. She didn't understand how I couldn't see. I never mentioned it again. Until yesterday, I just thought I was born that way.

After the ah-ha moment, I went into a tail spin of grieving the loss of that sight. At this point, I have no idea what the key to that door is. I am taking care of myself. Thank you for your love and support. I am in this until the end.

Hold Fast said...

"I am in this until the end." What a healthy statement.

Many times my little girl is so frightened when I am trying to heal and I too have to stop for a while. I have found out I can have a gentle conversation with my 5-year old self and I tell her she can stay back in a safe place while I journey ahead into the unknown. It took a bit but I have convinced her I am an adult and can't be hurt by the "evil" that was in her life. When the path is safe, I'll come back and get her. It took a while to convince her she would be safe and I would come back, but it is getting easier for her to trust me now that I have done this a few times. I feel so good that my little girl now has an adult she can now trust, even if it is just me.

Not sure this will work for you but wanted to help in some small way.

Patricia Singleton said...

Hold Fast, that is an excellent idea. Thank you so much for sharing it. It makes perfect sense to do that to make the inner child feel safe.

Anonymous said...

"I think that I just shut down certain parts of myself. I let them die."

Nope....Nope, Patricia, they are NOT dead. You put them away for safe keeping and now you are in a place where you can and will be bringing them back out, one-by-one, discovering them all as if for the first time in many cases, experiencing them, owning them, and learning about them. You are pretty darn smart and inventive for being able to shield these things away, using whatever you had at your disposal so that you could traverse the most difficult of journeys. Nope, these things are not dead...they are all there waiting for you to open to them, to embrace them once again.

It is awesome to get to witness you courageously blazing through all this stuff in your life...You help everyone else have the courage that they, too, might be able to do as you are doing.

Thank you, dear Teacher!

Love, Hugs & Blessings,
Barbara Manning

Patricia Singleton said...

Barbara, what is truly awesome to me is the people who have reached out to me to offer me love, comfort and healing words. I am in a good place today to receive all of this kindness. Thank you so much for your friendship. We are all each other's teacher.

Deb Estep said...


Just plain THANK YOU for your strength and courage. It takes both for someone to share openly in the way you do.

I can't presume to know for you, but the most difficult thing for me is REACHING out to someone and saying... I am having a bad moment, or I need help.

Due to my parents alcoholism there was no one to go to or to share with. I am learning how to do that.

Patricia, I might have shared this with your before, but here it is again. ~*~Breathe~*~

Print this out, and in the moments that you might lose your breath,
let this be a gentle reminder.

Not only for Patricia, anyone is welcome to print out this watercolor painting of mine. :)


me as i am said...

dear patricia~ my first thought is that perhaps no part of you is dead at all. but may have felt dead all this time. because it sounds like there are some parts of you awakening or starting back up again. the ways you shut down to protect yourself helped you, and in some ways your healing is like walking down a hallway in your mind opening doors that long ago were closed. finding aspects of yourself you'd forgotten or long ago thought you'd lost.

i was just thinking about you before i saw you'd made a new post. hoping that you're doing ok in the wake of the interview. sounds like you're moving right along processing your feelings and taking good care of yourself.

sending you safe hugs and peaceful wishes ~~~

me as i am said...

hi patricia, i have one more comment. i just read through the comments and i really appreciated reading the conversations about being able to reach out to people and dealing with our expectations. i too have a hard time reaching out at times.

i have a voice inside that tells me i'm being "selfish" or using up people's energy for my own needs. when the truth is, the best friends of mine don't feel that way at all when i share my troubles with them, because it becomes an opportunity for them to share with me too, for us to connect and be there for each other. and we both feel less alone and more understood.

i'm so glad you have that and that you have support in your life and meetings and classes to go to so that you have not only the support you give yourself. but support through others as well~ like on this blog too.

i'm glad you reach out. because in your reaching you reach others and our lives are enriched by knowing you~

warm wishes to you~~~

Patricia Singleton said...

Deb, thank you. You are one of the most compassionate people that I know.

Yes, even though I have worked on it myself, as an incest survivor, reaching out is still hard for me to do. Writing about my struggle here on my blog is easier for me than picking up the phone and calling for help.

I reach out online to somebody and asked for help also. The adult in me knew that person would offer me help. The wounded inner child expected her to refuse or just not email me back. The little girl in me learned to not have expectations because her needs were never met.

When she does have expectations, she expects to be disappointed. In addition to that ah-ha moment, I found myself dealing with this stuff from the inner child as well.

Patricia Singleton said...

Deb, thank you so much for the Breathe painting. It is already printed out. I will put it in a frame and put on the wall in a place to see it all the time.

Patricia Singleton said...

Katie, you are probably right about the little girl not being dead but just being in hiding behind a closed door. When I wrote this article, I was writing from what I was feeling at the time and not doing my usual thing of analyzing everything to pieces before posting it.

Someone suggested to me that all of this could be happening as a result of the interview or in the aftermath of the interview. That may be true. I know that when I did the interview, I definitely opened some new doors for myself. Apparently I also allowed for the opening of doors inside myself as well.

I know that the mind allows itself to "see" old hurts only when it knows that we are strong enough to deal with the hurt. The mind is concerned with its own survivor. That is why as children, the mind sometimes shuts itself down when it feels threatened by the amount of hurt that is happening to the body and/or the mind. Sometimes shutting down is the only way to survive an extremely hurtful event.

The mind is a wonderful, complicated, amazing creation. Thank you for caring.

Patricia Singleton said...

Katie, comments like yours and all the others that I have gotten during this difficult time shows me the true value of reaching out to others for help. You said it well. It is the connection between us all that is so important. I love that our sharing gives others the freedom to do so as well. That is true sharing-the interplay between us all. It is wonderful to see others feel safe enough to share as well.

Just Be Real said...

Pat wow! A lot to absorb. I appreciate you going on and sharing. You are truly a blessing to many and encouraging. When I come to read your posts I am very inspired and know what you share does not go to waste. I feel your pain and I am so very sorry that you had to endure such as a child. I can relate at times in sharing my posts, that I get very overwhelmed with memories. Just my recent one now, was extremely painful just to relive as I typed it.

Thank you for being real dear one. Blessings.

Patricia Singleton said...

JBR,yes, it is a lot to absorb. I can always count on your comments to raise my spirits. Thank you. I typed part of the above article through tears. I am in a much better place today. I have talked and shared this issue with so many friends over the past few days and the comments have been so positive and healing. Thank you all.

Just Be Real said...

Pat feel free to use whatever you need to share from my blog. Blessings dear.

Patricia Singleton said...

JBR, thank you.

Colleen said...

I really cannot add anything to the wonderful comments here. I just know you are very courageous to share your feelings as you go through them. And I thank you. And I offer you some hugs and prayers.

Patricia Singleton said...

Colleen, thank you so much. The outpouring of love and support that I have gotten over the past few days is amazing and has been so healing for me. I do have some wonderful friends.

Tracie Nall said...

I really relate to this. I haven't formed different personalities either, but like you I believe that i shut down parts of myself back when the abuse started, and I think as it continued I shut off more and more. I have found myself searching for those locked up parts of myself more and more recently. I feel great hope that once I am ready those doors will open.....I hope yours do too!

Thank you for sharing this!

Patricia Singleton said...

Tracie, thank you. I have this belief that things happen when they are supposed to. It cuts out a lot of unnecessary worrying for me. I know that those doors will open when they are supposed to and not a second before. Have a glorious evening.

Splinteredones said...

This is so how my process works hon. Startling to read about it honestly. Ah-ha epiphanies followed by the gunk created in their aftermath. Then on to the next. This is a
beautiful post, one that speaks to the head and the heart at the sw time which is a
tough thing to do. Enjoy your sitting wih it :). Don't overload watching the dominoes as
they fall ;?

Patricia Singleton said...

Splinterdones, Thank you. I think that many of us as survivors will probably be able to relate to how the process works.

Nicky said...

This is a very inspiring piece of writing, and has really encouraged me to move through pain from my own childhood. Thank you.

I have also recently discovered a writer, Alle C. Hall who writes a blog called About Childhood that explores childhood from her perspective as an abuse survivor. I think it might be interesting to you and any other survivors looking for support.

Patricia Singleton said...

Nicky, thank you. I am glad that this article is helping you. I just briefly checked out Alle's blog. Thank you for alerting me to its existence. I will go back and read more. Blessings to you as you do your own work on recovery.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that Im so sorry for what u as a child had to deal with as we r many. It is courage ,faith,hope to do this . GOD BLESS you.Have you ever heard of EFT-EmotionalFreedomTechnique? This is what Im using for ALL my issues. Its a great thing to have.Craig Gary is founder. Many others will help you.They are still helpin me.

Patricia Singleton said...

Anonymous, thank you. Yes, I have used EFT. I have even written articles about using EFT. I have used it on my own and also gone to a trained EFT person back in the early summer before I lost my transportation. I think it was beginning to help but wasn't able to continue going for the treatments. If you will do a search of this blog on EFT, you will find the blog posts that I wrote about EFT and its use.