From Victim to Survivor to Striver to Thriver.
Have I lived part of my life in a disassociated state? A form of mind that separates one from frank reality as a protective action? From what? Physical, emotional, psychological abuse. To dissociate is to live in a bubble which protects, the inside like a womb, surrounded by an unseen, not felt protective plasma, invisible, but there. Everything else is on the other side, the outside, it is blocked off from entering the little reality of the inner world. And it is everything, bad and good, between everyone and self. If one other individual is a perpertraitor of abuse, the shell protects from all others, and insulates one from all others from you. Emotions are repressed, concealed, unexposed, hidden, denied expression, until it becomes the norm. Stress is learned to be concealed. Heart races and pounds, breath is sharp and fast, skin prickles and hairs stand on end, stomach tightens with perhaps cramps, digestion and peristalsis slows, brain on high alert, fight or flight response activated. If you are an experienced stress hider, then yo can regulate breathe to slow and steady. This seems to effect heart rate and intensity to slower and steady, with less pounding. It still seems as if the heart noise can be heard across a room. Hands shake, that is learned to be controlled also. Everything becomes expertly internalized so that no one, hopefully, can see the terror inside of you. And you will protect your- self and not let yourself die or to be killed. You might be half beaten to death but you will not allow yourself to give your perpertraitor the satisfaction of you dying at his hands. You’d like to kill him. You really think about how it could be done. No way out. You’d have to do it in the middle of a beating as self defense. It wouldn’t work. He’s stronger than you, you’d be truly killed. Kids would wind up with no parents either way. Me dead, he’d be in prison. Him dead, I’d be in prison. Those days (1950’s, ’60’s, ’70’s and before) didn’t have Battered Woman Syndrome. Too bad. A wife wasn’t even treated as a separate individual by the law. Assault and battery? He could beat someone up on the street and be sent to jail. But a wife? Oh, no. A “family matter ” and women/wives were not protected by the law. That even if you did bring him to court, he’d get bailed out and come home and you’d be sleeping with him because he was there. You were wife, and this was his home, his bed, he had “rights”. No, a wife in this situation had no real recourse, nothing, and felt she was nothing. So she lived with, slept with, and bore children with, the enemy. Oh, yeah, he’d treat you fine some of the time. Perhaps even most of the time. But then, he’d snap–perhaps drinking, perhaps drugging, perhaps both, but later on cold psychotic sober, and that is the scariest of all. Before, you knew he was unstable because he was using/drinking, but now–he was cold, unemotional, unpredictable, calculating, and very, very, dangerous. He controlled and manipulated, and you allowed it because it kept you in seemingly good health–or at least, alive. Why not? It was protective. So you raised the plastic bubble around you and existed within it to the best of your ability, and became even more isolated in a world of disassociated emotions, feelings, and thinking. Eventually there might be a way out, but when, where, how it will happen is unknown, and perhaps even when it arises it is unknown–until the threat of his returning is upon you. It is then, and only then, that you are incited into action. To set up legal barriers between him and yourself. To set up protective barriers between him and your self. But–and you aren’t really aware of this–you are still in danger. In danger because you are so traumatically bonded to him, and so habitually (?) used to bending what he wants. You just can’t say “NO.” You have to learn to do that. And this, in itself is risky business, because it is just enough to set him off–either in other-or-self destructiveness (murder or suicide). and you’s rather not be the other. But the foot has to come down, hard, firm, and solid, and forever with “NO” imprinted on its sole. Oh, yes. He’ll cry, plead, whine, threaten, manipulate, want pity, insult, and what ever else he can think up, but the word is “NO!” Only then will growth start, strength begin to to be found, the bubble start to shrink. Only then. And it doesn’t come over night, it takes years, perhaps a life time, a forever. But as long as growth is occurring with in you, that is OK. It is not selfish to come first with your self.
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