While the medicine is keeping my symptoms at bay, I’ve decided to write about my latest step toward empowerment. Settle in for a long one. I tried to shorten it as much as I could. 🙂
I saw my disability psychiatrist last week; we’ll call her “H” for being such a huge help my learning to cope with becoming disabled so young, just as my career was truly starting. During some of the sessions we’ve discussed how sometimes the symptoms from Fibro can trigger my PTSD from the abuse I suffered years ago. That’s when I realized that a lot of the things I did over the years was to empower myself, so that he couldn’t have control ever again, and why I’m such a control freak.
Although we don’t discuss my ex that often, I had to go over the main parts of the abuse, over and over again, as part of the adoption process. They want every little detail of your life, which I don’t begrudge them for, since they’re trying to find good homes for these children and to keep them safe. Plus, sometimes an adopting parent that has been abused is like a ticking time bomb for their PTSD to kick in while helping a child cope with their own trauma. Thankfully I’ve learned a lot and will be able to handle it, since I’ve been dealing with PTSD from several life events. I’ve worked hard to understand abuse, so I got my certification in Victim’s Advocacy, and then I worked to never be weak enough to be a victim again, mentally or physically.
At the previous appointment H and I discussed how I can’t allow my illness and disability to define me, and she blew my mind when she pointed out that I’ve been angry for so long. Anger at losing the life I was on track for before my relapse, anger at having physical weaknesses again, and anger that I had to lose my career that would have helped improve our financial situation, so I wouldn’t feel so guilty for L having such a burden on his shoulders. Although I felt it, I never was able to realize that it was anger at my disability that made me frustrated so often. And that I had never truly mourned the losses in order to move on. Losing that life and all of the dreams that went with it; they’ll never be my path and I will have different abilities, choices, and paths that I will take. With the mourning I also need to deal with the associated triggers and work on my PTSD before I can help Kiddo.
So I worked for months to let go and mourn each piece. I still have trouble sometimes with dealing with my inability to visit friends when I want to, or the independence of driving anywhere if I wanted to, not being able to access all of my knowledge at times, and most especially my physical weakness. Mourning my previous life and trying to embrace my new path became very empowering, and when we decided to adopt I decided that I wanted to be a good female role model for her – I want to show her that no matter what she went through, we can take back the control and stop being a survivor or victim. I hope my being empowered will help her to tap into her potential and find her happiness. I don’t want her past traumas to define her life, either, so if I can work through mine, I can help her through hers…I hope and pray.
During last week’s conversation H also asked how I will handle my PTSD being possibly triggered by Kiddo’s traumas, especially if I will have to help her work through the same traumas I suffered. Thankfully I have a great support system of loved ones that can step in, if needed, but I also truly believe a quote I was sent that basically said that I had survived because God had plans ahead where I would use that knowledge and compassion. However, I admit that there are a lot of unexpected triggers and I am slowly working through them. The waiting period triggered a lot of my fears and my greatest fear now is that my ex could come after Kiddo.
I know it will shatter me if he decided to punish me by hurting what I value; it’s the specialty of an abuser, and after seeing me mourn the loss of Sierra, our daughter, he will know that I’d rather die than lose Kiddo. With his twisted justifications, what if my traumatized Kiddo ever gets attacked or raped by him because of me? Until H and J talked about it I didn’t realize how much that fear had taken hold of me. It took a long time for him to stop stalking me; even L didn’t realize that we were stalked during outings in our first couple of years. I don’t know if any other girl ever managed to get away from him, if any other girl ever stood up to him like I did once I had given up…I don’t know if a switch can suddenly flip and make him decide to revisit that hatred and find me again. And now my info is out there after I hid it for so many years; social media has made it difficult to stay in the shadows.
“Know thine enemy”, so I know he moved back into the state and where he currently lives. He isn’t even an hour away. It would be easy to take up the stalking again, especially when I never understood what triggered him to become fixated the first or second time.
Without fully acknowledging where my risk analysis and PTSD trigger had taken me, I became terrified of being the cause for more trauma to Kiddo. When I finally realized it is when H leaned toward me and said I needed to stop giving him that power, if I want to teach Kiddo to learn from her trauma and to grow. I can’t actually teach that to her when I’m giving someone else the power to make me afraid again. And, when it comes down to it, my fear won’t protect Kiddo. I have to focus on letting go of fear and feel strong again, so I can be living proof for Kiddo that the trauma can teach us how to become even stronger. If we can both take away the power of victimizing us from everyone in our pasts, I’ll truly be able to help empower my daughter to mourn her losses and not let life’s challenges define her.
With that frighteningly vulnerable post I am going to turn on Fun’s “Carry On” and snuggle in my favorite blanket. Time to pamper myself a bit. 🙂
If you need help working through your abuse, please call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (if you live in USA). The Hotline and 911 can and will help you if you are currently being abused. It seems impossible now, but it gets better, I promise, and if you need help working through it, a nerdy stranger on the internet will be there for you if you reach out.