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New to PTSD - Adopted, Abusive Mother, Raped by Brother

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by kimG, Jul 22, 2006.

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  1. kimG

    kimG Well-Known Member

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    My name is Kim and I live in Pennsylvania (on the east coast of the US).

    I was diagnosed with PTSD due to severe childhood abuse, both physical and sexual.

    I was adopted when I was 2 1/2 years old. Prior to that I was in foster care for over 2 years, due to being born in a women's prison. Honestly, when I look back, I can't remember many good times in my life and the ones I can often ended up with terrible outcomes.

    I endured years of physical abuse at the hands of my mother first, and then my brother (who also sexually abused me). I have very vivid memories of running through the house, trying to get away from my mother who had something, anything in her hand that she could hit me with (it was usually the closest thing to her that I got hit with). Most often I ended up in my bedroom - because that was the only place that I felt any remote ownership to - on my bed, with my mother beating the hell out of me. My bed was in the corner of the room, against two walls, and I can remember being hit so many times that I fell between the bed and the wall. My mother always reached down and grabbed whatever she could of me to pull me back up so she could beat me more. More often than not my mother would do this several times before tiring of it and I would end up crying myself to sleep on the floor under the bed, right up against the wall. My father never came to my rescue, but I don't blame him because he had very severe health problems and most likely couldn't do anything about it.

    I remember once going to school, barely being able to walk because of a beating the night before. I was in 1st grade and my teacher asked me what happened. I don't remember what I said, but it must've made sense because there was never any other mention of it.

    Another time my mother grabbed a hard, plastic hairbrush of mine (made by the Fuller Brush Co. - remember those?) and swung at me; it hit the back of my hand and broke several bones. The next day, when she took me to the doctor, she threatened me against telling him what happened, instead choosing to relay her version of the story.

    My brother (who was not a blood relative, but was adopted also) began the physical abuse when I was about 7 and raped me when I was 13. When I told my mother about it, she at first denied that he did any such thing and then changed the story to "you must've asked for it." Of course, he was the Golden Child who never did anything wrong, although he was always getting in trouble at school, came home throwing-up-drunk at age 11, and by 13 was into drugs.

    When I was old enough to get a job, I spent as many hours working as I could, not only for the money but to have an excuse to stay away from the house. This allowed me to buy some things for myself but also opened the door for my brother to help himself to those things and for my mother to defend him. When he forged 3 of my checks and took $650 from my account, she begged me to not press charges (the only way I could get the money back). I relented because I still had to live in the house with her; it was easier to do that than to face her wrath. I did, however, install a key-lock on my bedroom door so he couldn't just walk right in (which she didn't like, but who cares?).

    The worst day of my life? When my father died; it was 6 months before my 1st marriage, I was 24, and all I could think about was how he wouldn't be there to walk me down the aisle.

    The best day of my life? When my mother died. I didn't talk to her at all during the last 5 months of her life; I had to completely cut her out of my life in order to emotionally survive. She had a massive stroke and I was faced with the decision to put her into a drug-induced coma or allow her to die (her stroke was so massive that even the coma wouldn't have helped much). At her viewing I couldn't even get close to her casket; I stayed all the way across the room from her. I wanted to cheer, wanted to play the "Ding, Dong, the Witch is Gone" song from the Wizard of Oz. Of course there are now days when I wish she was still here so I could confront her with all the things she did to me and allowed to be done to me.

    After my mother's funeral, I was at my aunt's house talking to her about my mom and dad. She made a statement that suddenly turned the lightbulb on for me in regards to my mom. She said, "You know why you were adopted, don't you?" When I questioned her as to what she meant, she proceeded to tell me how, when they adopted my brother, my mom went from being the "June Cleaver" housewife who had dinner on the table when my father got home from work and doted on his every need, to ignoring him and his existance; she told my father, in no uncertain terms, that the baby (my brother) was more important than him. My aunt then told me that I was adopted for my father, which made complete sense because I was a definite "daddy's girl". He never abused me and always made me feel good about myself, but he was often so sick that we couldn't do much together.

    My brother, the drug addict, became a dealer and criminal, and is currently locked up in the Florida State Penitentiary. It affirms my belief of "what goes around comes around".

    My first husband decided that it was better for him to tell women (or at least people who he thought were women) on the internet that he loved them instead of telling it to me. He was more interested in staying away from home as many hours of the day as he could instead of coming home to be with me and the kids, even though I quit my job to stay home full-time with the kids. He was surprised when I asked him to go to marriage counseling (which he refused) and was even more surprised when I wasn't interested in going when he was, 10 months after my first request and after him moving out.

    My current husband is a saint. He puts up with my stuff, PTSD and all. He tried to understand, although at times he suffers from testosterone overload that clouds his brain (but don't they all?). Although I still do have to hit him over the head (figuratively, not literally) with my needs due to PTSD, he is coming along and is very supportive of my healing.

    After lurking and reading the various posts here, it is nice to know that the things I do are completely in line with PTSD. It sucks that I have it, it sucks that anyone has it. It sucks for so many reasons, not the least of which is that none of us HAS to have it; it sucks that it is SO avoidable yet occurs so often. And that there is one of the biggest reasons I still go into rages. Not the only one, mind you, but one of the biggest.

    Ummm...I forgot what I was going to say. Gee, does that sound familiar? It happens so many times to me. I'm a teacher and sometimes I am in front of one of my classes and my mind goes blank. I end up feeling stupid about standing there with nothing to say so I say something totally off-base to make the students laugh.

    Am I the only one who has constantly been filled with dread? I am always thinking something bad is going to happen, especially when it's dark. I am constantly thinking that someone is going to break in and hurt me; it was especially bad when my husband was working an odd shift and had to leave in the middle of the night to get to work (fortunately he listened to me and was able to adjust his schedule).

    Also, I am so hyperaware of things that go on in my kids life, sometimes to a fault. I try not to tell my exhusband how to handle things with the kids but I catch myself doing it, trying to explain how I don't want them to grow up with the feelings I have.

    Many times it is so hard emotionally for me to cope and I end up feeling as if it would be better for all involved if I just wasn't around any more. I swallowed 30-40 Tylenol when I was 19; I ended up throwing them up and, fortunately, haven't suffered any residual effects as of yet.

    I suppose I suffer from flashbacks. I do it in the way I react to certain ways things are said or done, not the actual act or words that are done. Of course, I don't realize it at the time; it is only much later that I am able to link my reaction to something that happened to me in the past.

    To everyone here willing to listen and offer support and suggestions, thank you. I am filled with tremendous relief. I feel as if I have finally found a community of people who truly understand. I am NOT crazy!!! :smile:
     
    anthony likes this.
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  3. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Welcome Kim. I am totally with you about your feelings for your mother and brother. I often spent long nights torn between wanting to kill him out of sheer anger and wanting to kill him to stop him hurting anyone else any more. These days I just hope that he dies before I do (good strategy when the end of the world feeling appears), I then plan to dance on his grave. I also hope he has a long, slow, very painful death and that he is alone when it happens.


    an excellent strategy - one I use myself regularly! I also bounce their questions back at them to give me a minute while they think. Fortunately, kids are so much more accommodating than adults when it comes to dealing with the odd bit of weird behaviour. I often wonder why that is!

    I hope you stick around and give and receive some good support. I'm sure you will, because you sound like one hell of a survivor to me.
     
    kimG likes this.
  4. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Hi Kim, and a big welcome to the community.

    First of all, please don't apologise for making long posts, because a post can be however long it takes for you to say what you need to say. Nobody needs apologise for saying what they need too, regardless how long. I think we all like reading by now, especially posts that do contain a good outline of what a person is feeling, and has suffered, as it makes it much easier to understand, without the guessing games required. Great post.

    Its funny you know, in that I have always had people say to me, "regardless how bad someone has acted, they still deserve forgiveness." Well, me personally, I think that is a crock of shit. The reason I say that, is because from my beliefs, there is destructive, then BAD, and I emphasize the meaning and context of the word.

    I have nobody to blame for my PTSD, as it was attibuted to serving my country in war zones, peace keeping missions and humanitarian aid. I signed on the dotted line, I knew what I was signing up for when I joined the military, and I accepted all risks and consequences of such employment. Then there are people such as yourself, and the major percentage of sufferers here, which had there trauma inflicted upon them intentionally by another human being, without consent, without acknowledgement, without warning. Nobody signs up to be raped, abused as a child, beaten or punished when one is not even old enough to defend themselves. So do people really deserve to be forgiven? I think not, and I admire your willingness to direct your anger to those responsible for giving you this illness, as I think its warranted to a legal point, where you are not intentionally bring harm upon them, but you are also not condoning what they have done to you. I think your quite a strong person to uphold your stand on right and wrong, and who should be punished for doing such acts of cruelty to another human being, when no permission has been obtained to do such acts.

    I know how I feel about things, and I know I would hate any person who attempted to abuse me, especially if when I was a child. That is me, and I think you have every right to fight and hate those who imposed such punishement and trauma upon yourself.

    I really look forward to chatting with you Kim, and I think I have much to learn from your experience. I thank you for joining us all, and helping share your experience, helping yourself, and helping others, just by being here and posting your experience. You will be surprised how much you can help others just by sharing your experience and education with others.
     
    kimG likes this.
  5. kimG

    kimG Well-Known Member

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    Anythony and Piglet,

    Thanks so much!! What a sense of relief to finally find people who know exactly how I am feeling! I've felt so alone all of my life; even though I try to explain things to people close to me (there aren't many) they try to understand but don't really quite comprehend the magnitude of it all.

    Yes, I do turn my anger towards them - my mother and brother - although at times my anger gets misplaced, usually at my husband. I sometimes sit by myself and yell at them both, even though they are not here. Then I get mad again because I can't really tell either one. I get mad at my mother not only for the things she did to me as a kid but also because she died; she took yet another opportunity from me. I suppose I could contact my brother, but the last time I talked with him was two weeks after my mother passed and that was almost 15 years ago. I don't trust him (and probably never will) and really had to close that chapter to protect my own sanity and get on with life.

    Do any of you have close friends? I find that I don't have many, maybe 2 or 3 besides my husband, because I have such issues with trust. It's not that I don't trust people; I do initially, but then they do something that my "PTSD self" reacts to as untrustworthy and it takes me such a long time to begin trusting them again. My close friends know what I went through as a child and they don't judge me; they just listen and try to understand.

    I've also stopped having contact of any kind with any of my relatives. I tried to after my parents died, but they (the relatives) were more concerned about my brother and I just stopped the contact. I (rationally or irrationally) took it that they were more interested in him than in me and, with him being a bad guy in my eyes, I just got tired of telling them I didn't know where he was, what he was up to etc. and that I didn't want to talk about him.

    Because of all that, I am left feeling like an orphan. Besides my husband, I have no one to turn to when I am in trouble, no one to turn to when I need money, no one to turn to just to cry on their shoulders. Yes, my husband does a wonderful job, but I get very scared that he will tire of it and look elsewhere for love.

    And, for the life of me, I can't understand why I am not a self-medicator. Perhaps it had something to do with seeing my brother stoned out of his mind, day after day, looking like such an idiot (he didn't need drugs to look like that! ha ha ha). Perhaps it has something to do with not wanting my body or mind out of control more than it already is. I dunno. Perhaps I will never know. But I'll keep looking!

    I am trusting that it will/does get better. I am not a big meds person, although I find myself taking more and more each year. I have an autoimmune disease that scientists seem to think is stress-related, so I take medicine for that. I had high blood pressure and was on meds for that until I lost about 25 lbs (yeah!) and nearly passed out; my pressure then was 90/50 and I didn't need it again. I take Wellbutrin XL 300 mg for anxiety and that is greatly helping. But I don't want to get started on Effexor, lithium, or anything else. Perhaps I can do it? I dunno...only time will tell.

    Since there are so many stress-related illnesses out there, wouldn't it make sense to focus on the causes of the stress than just the illness itself? I wonder how many people in the world, diagnosed or undiagnosed, suffer from stress-related conditions due to PTSD?

    Take care, everyone.... I'm off to take my day one step at a time....

    Kim
     
  6. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    Welcome Kim, I'm axious to hear more from you. One of the things that I came at me from your posts is that you still have a sense of humor. That is awesome.
     
  7. kimG

    kimG Well-Known Member

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    Nam,

    Yes, I do have a sense of humor. In fact, it never really came out until high school and beyond, perhaps because I never felt secure enough to let others see it? I use humor in everything I do and I even laugh at myself! The way I see it, if I can't laugh at myself, what can I laugh at?

    Thanks for being there...it really helps!

    Kim
     
  8. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Exactly, hence why this community was born. I got the same response, the same feelings, and found an instant repore with others PTSD sufferers, beyond what any counsellor or physician could give me. Don't get me wrong though, physicians and counsellors certainly have their role in one's recovery during the worst of uncontrolled PTSD.

    Exactly the same here Kim. I test people, even though it may be morally wrong, I have learnt to test people with a snippet of information that could prove valuable to hurt me, though is often something that also isn't true, just to see if that information ever travels anywhere. I have done this with several people at once, all with different pieces of information, and those pieces that ever come back to me, I know that person can never be trusted, hence I face them, tell them I set them up, and forget about them in regard to ever being able to rely upon them for private confidential support. Wrong? Yes... but it is a coping mechanism I have adapted to myself to ensure anyone I get close too, I can trust. I trust my wife, my father, and one of my brothers, all of whom have not failed the test, and of possibly close to 100 people tested thus far, only these three have passed to be absolutely trustworthy in my books.

    I have friends, being those I trust, being those three I mentioned above, I have mates, being those that may be around to help out here and there, have a bbq with and drinks, but if told something sensitive enough, they couldn't help themselves to tell another in an effort to improve their own self reward. I then have associates, being the type of people I may say hello too, have a chat, but generally not have around my house for dinner or socialise for an evening with.

    Now Kim, this is where your going to meet my very straight to the point side. STOP directing your anger at your husband, because its not him your angry with. Anger is a consequence of emotions, so find what the real emotion is that your feeling, and discuss it, not allow it to boil and result in anger, especially being released at your spouse. I used to be very bad for this myself, and eventually realised what was causing my anger, and how to resolve it through indentification of the emotions I was ignoring, or suppressing as such. You said it yourself Kim, that he doesn't deserve it, so now you know it, what are you going to do about it? Fault identification within us is some of the toughest work, especially with ourselves. Its easy to pick others faults, and often we ignore our own. You have been brave enough to identify one of yours, which then leads you to another issue, that you think he could leave you because of the way you release your anger upon him, so how about you now fix this issue, which will then eliminate that thought of him leaving you because of your outbursts towards him...

    I won't lie, I call a spade a spade Kim, and call it how I see it. You know the problem, now you need to fix it. Do you want to fix it? If so, then lets start chatting about the emotions that are underpinning your anger. Two very easy images I have on this board to help with this, is the [DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread12.html"]iceberg of emotions[/DLMURL], which outlines what emotions underpin the release of anger as a consequence, and secondly the [DLMURL="http://www.ptsdforum.org/thread63.html"]PTSD cup[/DLMURL] explanation, as to why some of your outbursts seem uncontrollable. You think they are uncontrolled, and your right, they are, and the PTSD Cup explains why.

    This just means, that you need to chip away at PTSD, which means you need to chip away at your trauma, until such time as the thoughts, recollections and memories are no longer traumatic for you, and merely just a part of your past. This reduces anxiety, depression, stress, flashbacks, nightmares, etc etc... Trauma reduction has huge impacts on the majority of symptoms, which just leaves the little bits and pieces to work through after that, ie. social withdrawal, crowds, etc etc.

    Yes, it does get better, but it doesn't by itself. You must work on your trauma, release it from you, have nothing left to be scared off, nothing left suppressed, nothing left to be frightened from. Many people just think time fixes PTSD, and after 20 years, many here have discovered it doesn't. You can't suppress trauma, you must release it, embrace it, and accept it, and then it just become a memory of your past, instead of a trauma within your past.

    Medications... well, I don't take any anymore, as I no longer require them. Some people will get themselves off medication, some will always be on it, as it really is an individual thing. Coming of medications is a controlled aspect though, and must be done in conjunction with your doctor, as you will get major side effects and repercussions doing so, all of which are normal, and merely just a time based aspect until your body gets used to the withdrawal, as our bodies become addicted to them, and I do mean addicted.

    That is exactly correct, and as you I have begun to question you above, you need to chip away at the priority issues first, then trauma and so forth... as anger is generally the immediate priority to ensure physical and abusive actions cease, so support comes more functionally, from all aspects of your life, spouses, family, friends, whomever, but anger generally drives everyone away, so that is a must to get under control.

    Trauma therapy also helps to remove anger gradually, which is why I will push you for information, to get you to open up and get things off your chest, until such time as all these things no longer hurt you.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  9. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Oh, the really good thing now, is that its not just me that will push you to help yourself, but many who are comfortable here, and have / are learning for themselves, will most likely push you also, because they are seeing the benefits, however small, within their lives already, and things only get better as we rid ourselves of all our trauma. Possibly scary, but good, and we only have your best interests at heart Kim, we are not here to push you if you are not ready for it. We support, and push where appropriate. If you think I can be tough, go see a trauma therapist, as they don't beat around the bush with PTSD sufferers, as they too well know pussy footing around doesn't work with us. We need it straight between the looking gear, which we tend to accept better for some reason.
     
  10. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Now that depends on what you call "close". If close friend means someone who knows about your hisory of abuse and your ptsd, I have none (although i've talked to my dog about it - she's a very good listener and doesn't judge me). I have told 2 friends that I have ptsd, and given one of them some general info, because she asked - she's the friend I'm gong on holiday with. I guess I would count her as my closest friend. I do trust her to be honest with me, and I find that really important when I question myself so often. I also have some very good friends in the US. I met them at college. I go out to see them as often as I can afford to. They accept me as me, knowing that I have issues.

    I have always kept people at arms length - quite literally sometimes too, as I can't cope with people invading my personal space. I have had lots of friends, but have always been on the edge of the social group - invited to parties, but not at the top of the list etc.

    I am totally with you there! My mum knows that I have problems directly relating to my relationship with my brother and things that happened when we were living at home. I have even told her that I am not interested in him and don't care about him. She still insists on telling me what he's up to. I hate it. As a family, there are not many relatives, and those that exist live abroad anyway, so it's really only my mum who is the issue for me. My dad's not bothered about my brother enough to tell me what he's doing. He doesn't know about the abuse. I am afraid of him finding out as he can't control his temper either - at least he mostly shouts and bangs doors and then seeths in silence for ages and won't acknowledge anyone, he doesn't normally get violent with people.

    Me too. My psychologist says it's because I dissociate so much to stay in control, I then don't need drugs or alcohol to suppress the feelings etc - I have my own in-built strategy. Apparently it's something to do with being abused when you are young.

    Good for you for standing firm with the medication. I'm sticking to antidepressants and nothing else. I have been offered lots of different medication, but I want to be able to think well sometimes so that I can keep working. I also don't like the idea of using medication to control the symptoms - how do I know if I am getting better at handling them if I can't tell how bad they are? Doesn't seem logical to me. I think people should take the medications they feel they need to deal with things. I don't think medication should be forced on someone.

    Kim - you are an amazingly strong person. After all you've been through, you are still able to put your trust in someone enough to get married to them. That seems a lifetime away for me. I think this is partly because my brother beat or intimidated any boys who showed an interest in me during my teenage years. I still dread the day when he might meet any person who I trust enough to have a relationship with. Maybe I'll need to wait til he's not around any more.

    Stay strong!
     
  11. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Piglet, do you think that has something to do with control maybe? Maybe he wanted to ensure he had that lock of control upon you, and still has. Or do you think that maybe it is because he is so afraid that if you got close and within relationship, that that person would eventually be told by you what exactly happened, then beat him to a pulp because of it?
     
  12. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    Both options could be equally possible, but I think the control issue is most likely.
     
  13. kimG

    kimG Well-Known Member

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    Wow, Anthony. Thanks for hitting me over the head! :hit-boss: I mean that in a good way.

    Yes, I do need to identify the things that trigger my anger. I've spent a while trying to work on it and, from what I can tell, lack of control/power and sarcasm seems to trigger it the most. I've tried to explain this to my husband and he'll remember it for a while but then something will happen and he'll react sarcastically and there I am again, getting angry. He really is trying but, like all of us, sometimes he takes more steps backwards than forwards.

    My self-esteem is really beat down. When my husband tells me I'm beautiful and tells me that no matter what I do he'll always be there for me and that he's not going to leave me, I don't believe it. I really want to, honestly, but that voice in my head reminds me how I can't be worth anything to anyone or else what happened to me wouldn't have happened. He used to get really confused at my reaction, but I am more accepting of it now than I used to be - although that voice is still in my head. At work there's so much I want to do - head up this group or that group - but I don't dare; I'm so afraid of failing.

    I can remember as a kid just wanting the approval of my parents. I had it from my neighbors and teachers, but I just wanted it from my parents. And I never got it. I really tried to be a good kid - never got in trouble, always got really good grades in school (probably overcompensating), never talked back (too afraid). When I would bring my report card home, if it had all A's and 1 B, no one would ever say, "Hey great job!". Instead they always focused on the B, asking me why I didn't do better. After my mother's funeral, I was talking with one of her friends. She commented to me how proud of me both of my parents were. I can remember screaming at her, "Then why didn't they ever tell me that??!!!??!?!" I'm sure she thought the stress of the death and funeral had really gotten to me; if only she really knew...

    Today was a good day, smiling more than frowning. So good, in fact, that I was motivated to not only do the laundry, but also clean clothes out of the drawers and closets to be given away to Goodwill. :thumbs-up Talk about a big job! Tomorrow if I feel up to it I'm going to spray weedkiller, mow the small patch of lawn we have, and if time permits, stack some firewood. Well, maybe not the firewood. And maybe not the lawn. We'll see.

    Hugs to all PTSD'ers out there, whether you want them or not!:smile:

    Kim
     
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