Saturday, April 20, 2013


We were having a very difficult time with Fanny.  She has to be the most stubborn dog I have ever owned.  We sent her away to friends of ours who train dogs. I felt I really needed her to go away because she was having bad effects on Alexander.

It turns out that I did the right thing. She came back yesterday after 10 days away. Not only does she now sleep in her cage all night without  barking but she eats in her closed crate as well. Alexander, who has always slept well in his crate, is now eating well too. all this week he had not as he had started to do what Fanny had done; not eat in his crate. Now that they are both together again they are both eating normally and sleeping normally. The only challenge still left is to train Fanny for the lead which she is still refusing, or at least is not completely happy with it yet.

As for me I have still been having trouble with fear. I spoke to John about it yesterday. I told him how I'd been feeling a lot of fear recently. I also told him how this is usually the prelude to a dark and terrible time of flashbacks with me coming out the other side and more "enlightened". This has been the result the last three times.

However after the last time when I finally realised that I had not been abused because of who I was but because of who they were I really thought that was enough. To be quite frank, I have had enough of this. I really do not want to go through any of that shit again.  What can possibly be left that I have not felt or understood?

I think that this fear is more to do with the fact that my life is really good. As contrary as that seems, I have never been in this situation before. I do find it frightening. I am used to having to fight. I am used to having to swallow down fear. I'm used to the battle to survive. I have lived like that all of my life. It is now time to enjoy the fruits of my labour. I have earned this. I deserve this. And I am so very afraid that this will all be taken from me. Now I think that something terrible is going to happen to John or to myself.

I know that it is not logical. Yet the pattern of my life has always been one of loss. The constant moving. From one continent to the other, from one country to the other. Leaving behind a home that I knew, friends, pets.  I stopped getting attached. In my mind I knew that I would lose these friends, these pets, this home.  I remained detached.

I am no longer detached. Over the years that I have been with John, I occasionally had my love for him break through my barrier. I may have been putting food into the freezer, reading, bathing a dog, and all of a sudden I would feel this overwhelming love and it would terrify me. Well since my epiphany not only do I feel this all the time but I also feel it for my dogs, especially Whitney. 

I understand that loss comes to us all. I also understand that we all die. It is ironic that I spent my whole life surviving only to discover that I will die anyway. The terror I felt as a child of dying by the hands of my father, or the paedophiles of whom I was a victim, has not left me. I will die anyway.

I have to find some way of integrating this so that I can enjoy all that I have. Whilst I understand that most people deal with this with denial, it seems that I cannot. I don't know that it is possible to go back into denial. I also feel very strongly that I want very much longer left because otherwise I feel that I will have fought all of my life to just get a few years of benefit.

I know that I have no control over time. That death will come when death comes. Like many people, I need to stop seeing death as punishment. This is what I was taught when I was a child through religion. What an evil thing to teach anyone let alone children. Death is not punishment it is what happens to our bodies and we cannot do anything about it.

And we cannot do anything about it. For a control freak that is really a problem. I have pretty much dealt with my control issues with regard to other people. Some of it is necessary, like doing what I can to organise my day and our trips so that the requirements of my disease are met. In other words I control as much of those as I can whilst accepting that there will always be stuff beyond my control.

I have no control over death. Yes, I can hasten my end, which I am likely to do in the event of a drawn out painful end.  Other than that, just like everybody else, I have no control.

I therefore need to live my life joyously despite this knowledge. I don't know how to. The irony of all this, from what I understand of the literature on the effects of child abuse, is that had I had a secure upbringing I would be dealing with my own demise and that of my loved ones in a way that did not prevent me from enjoying my life. Instead, having been in constant fear throughout my childhood and witnessing the violent murder of my best friend,  has left me with  fear. About halfway through therapy it dawned on me that I would not survive, that no amount of coming to terms with my past, loving myself, was going to remove the fact that death would come.

I understand that death is something to be feared. Rather, the manner of death. And the uncertainty of it. What is not right is that my now is being so negatively affected by my fear of it.

Although it all boils down to this in the end it is also very much about my inability to enjoy the good life that I have claimed for myself. That I have fought so very long and hard for. It would be really sad if I did not find some way of truly enjoying all that I have now.

Perhaps, now that I have written, and through the course of writing come to understand what is behind the way I have been feeling recently, it will gradually begin to heal of its own accord. As always when I start to write I did not know what I was going to write about and so I am surprised as maybe you are.

I do want to make it clear though to my fellow survivors that regardless of where I am right now I have absolutely no regrets at all in going through the healing process that abuse survivors must go through. It is worth it. It is necessary. No matter how brief, feeling happiness and joy and peace is worth it. To have love and respect for oneself instead of loathing is worth it. No, I most certainly do not regret seeking healing in the way that I did. I do not regret being where I am right now. I also know that where I am right now is yet another effect that abuse has on people.

I think people in general, including we survivors, do not fully appreciate the enormity of the damage that child abuse inflicts upon the soul, or the psyche if you prefer, of the child.  It is far more enormous, far more deep, and far more destructive than we imagine it to be.

It is not insurmountable. Seeking recovery is worth it. We are worth so much better than a life without recovery affords us. No, the seeking of healing, whilst lifelong, is worth it.

1 comment:

midnightvelvet said...

As always, Colin, an interesting post. I too have felt fear when things are going well after struggling to get through life alone and with difficulty. Some years ago, I made a decision to cut myself off from everything and everybody that did or had caused me pain, which was basically my family. I haven't spoken to any of them in around 30yrs and don't regret a minute of it. I'm sure they felt the same way about me but hey, it's all good.
Interestingly, our mother (that doesn't easily roll off my tongue!)died on 2nd April, which I found very traumatic, not that she had died but because I thought she was going to hang on until the 6th or 7th April, which is my daughters anniversary. I actually made myself quite ill over it and my depression descended on me like a vat of thick treacle which not only was too difficult to escape from but I didn't even want to try, especially as our father died on her 16th birthday!! Anyway, she hung on until 2nd April and was cremated on Wednesday. Now nobody informed me of her demise nor of the funeral date, although I found out by other means, but today, I find out that the discussion in the 'first car' centered around where was I?? Apparently, they all expected me to turn up after everything...but I'm no hypocrite.
Anyway, I just thought I would share that with you because your post triggered those thoughts in me and somewhere in there, I was also remembering how scared I was of life and just about everything else. Parents dying is a natural process but when you lose a child, that process is suddenly changed and everything is in the wrong place. Forgive me if none of this makes sense to you, but somehow, your post made me relive my fear as well. xx