One Trauma at a Time

WonderWriter

Confident
Summer 1977

My three-year-old self trembled like an earthquake. I felt as if my feet were encased in cement. I knew I was in trouble for disobeying, and I hated Daddy’s voice when he was mad. I kept trodding toward the house repeating my apology over and over in my head.

“This is dumb. Why am I scared? Daddy won’t hurt me. He loves me.” I thought.

As I approached the driveway, he stood at the gate. His eyes revealed to me a stranger, and my stomach burned.

“Didn’t your mother tell you, “not to get wet? Say?” He shouted.

I stood, frozen, like a garden gnome. I tried to speak, but it was as if something stole the air from my lungs.

“You better answer me or you’re gonna get more than what’s already comin’ to ya.” He yelled.

My tiny bones rattled, as I realized I was in danger.

“I didn’t mean it, Daddy. I just wanted to get my feet wet... I fell.” I screamed out.

“You’re a liar!” He roared.

Then he yanked me up off my feet and carried me to the backyard. There was a metal folding chair with its back legs dug in the dirt. With one arm, he jerked the chair upwards and replaced it as he squeezed my waist with the other. He set me down, and slid off his belt.

“You better not move. You so much as blink, you’re gonna get it worst.” He growled.

I was wide-eyed and paralyzed. My insides felt like they were on fire, and I thought my heart would leap from my mouth. He grabbed both of my arms and flung me over his lap.

His arm flailed the leather strap over every inch of my moist skin. I squirmed, screamed and protested; he just kept hitting me harder.

“You better be still. It’s only gonna make it worse!” He Yelled.

I couldn’t tell if the beating lasted 20 minutes or half an hour, but for me, it was an eternity. Time seemed to slow. It was like being in a nightmare and I couldn’t wake up.

When he finally stopped, I couldn’t move. He pushed me off his lap onto the ground and I ran inside to my room and curled up beneath my blanket sobbing, slobbering and hyperventilating. I heard his footsteps coming toward me, and I froze; yet, my body continued jerking and shaking from the torture I’d just endured.

“You gonna lie to me again? Say?” He yelled.

Still crying, I barely whispered, “No.”

“I cant hear you!” He screamed, and yanked the blanket off me.

“You better answer me when I’m talking to you! You gonna lie to me again? Say?” He shouted.

I shook my head. He threw the blanket at me and said, “You can stay in here ‘til your mother gets home. I’m sick of looking at you.” Then, he slammed the door.

Despite my pain, I fell asleep.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
Fall 1978

I just got a new bike for my birthday. It was red and peach and had strawberries painted on it. It was my first big-girl bike, and I couldn’t wait to ride it. I was already riding without training wheels, so it took only seconds for me to adjust to the bigger size.

As I rode up and down the block, the neighborhood bullies, Carl and Jacob took notice of my shiny new bike. They started yelling for me to cross the street, but I wasn’t allowed so I shouted, “No,” and sped off.

I heard the clomping of their sneakers as they came running after me. I still had trouble turning my big-girl bike and ended up riding into my next door neighbor’s backyard. Once I was on the grass, they grabbed the back of my seat and I fell to the ground.

“Hold her down, Jacob.” Carl barked.

“Leave me alone!” I shouted.

Carl’s sinister eyes smiled at me, and got on his knees. Despite my kicks and screams, Carl grabbed my pants and yanked them down along with my panties. I tried freeing my arms from Jacob, but he was bigger and stronger than I was.

“You boys better leave her alone before I call the cops!” My neighbor, Debbie yelled from her kitchen window.

Both boys took off, and Debbie came out and asked if I was okay. I told her I was, and picked up my bike and went home.

Inside the house, Mom was taking a nap on the sofa. So I went into my room, curled up in my blanket and cried until I fell asleep.

I never told my mom what happened, and neither did my neighbor.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
Summer 1981

Our neighborhood was small. An average city suburb where every house was similar in structure, and the trees shrouded the skeletons hidden beneath.

It was a warm, summer day and my brother and I were playing ball in the front yard. Mom was busy doing something I couldn’t figure out.

Mom was close friends with my Brownie troop leader and her husband. She and my troop leader bowled together on Monday mornings, and they spent a lot of time together. Mom had even volunteered to help with cookie sales that year. But this day was different. I sensed something wasn’t right, but I was too young at the time to comprehend.

My troop leader’s husband, Mark stopped by our house. He got out of his van to say hello, and then he and my mom left together. Then, a few minutes later they returned only to leave again. That happened several times, but I didn’t think anything of it.

My neighbor, Debbie decided that my brother’s ball going into her lawn was a capital offense and snatched it from my hands as I went to retrieve it. No amount of begging on my part could persuade her to give it back.

“You want it back, send your dad over here to get it.” She snapped.

My mom and my cousin, who was babysitting, tried talking - or rather arguing - with my neighbor to give the toy back, but she was stubborn.

When my dad got home that night, Debbie and her husband were waiting on the porch. It was well after Midnight, but I couldn’t sleep. I felt in my heart something bad was about to happen.

The screen door slammed open against the house, and I jumped.

“You Filthy Whore!” My dad roared.

His voice shook the corridor outside my room. The sound irritated my ears worse than feedback at an arena.

“I was just told you were out here in front of my house screwing some guy in a van. Is that true?” His voice boomed.

“No. Who gave you that idea? That crazy, old bat next door? C’mon, you don’t really believe that mess?” My mom harped back.

“You know something? You gotta alotta nerve! I go to work and provide for you and your kids, and this is the thanks I get? I took you out of the ghetto; I can put you back in it!” He shouted.

“So, you’re gonna take her word for it and not even hear what I have to say?” Mom screamed.

“No. Wanna know why?” He barked.

“Yeah, I do.” She shot back.

“Because you’re nothin’” but trash. You came from trash and you’ll always be trash!” He growled.

I heard him stomp toward the dining room then back to the living room.

“See this? This is something you’ll never have.” He boasted.

“Big deal. You got a diploma. It was by the skin of your ass. Your dad told me. Your grades were dees and dee minuses. And you’re proud of that? I’m done. I’m not taking your crap anymore.” She screeched.

I heard things being thrown, walls being hit and my dad’s overpowering voice behind it all. I was scared in a way I’d never experienced before. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no safe haven. My body ached and twitched, tears flowed like waterfalls. I was too young to know how to deal with an adult-sized situation.

I shot up out of bed, and ran into my parents room. I hid between the headboard and the mattress. I didn’t want to leave. I was terrified. I kept running from my parents room back to my room and finally out the back door. My dad continued screaming and yelling, and I just wanted to disappear. I hid behind the tall weeds on the west side of the house and prayed for God to make me disappear.

Mom eventually found me and said we had to leave. Within the sounds of an argument, I lost my friends; my home, my family and life was never again the same
 

WonderWriter

Confident
November 26, 2020

Writing for me has always been cathartic. As far back as I remember, I’ve written poetry sand short stories. Somehow, the writing always helps me see things I otherwise miss in memory alone. Combine that with educational articles and I suddenly have a well-rounded understanding. Yet, I self-sabotage. I ran my own business for three years - somewhat successfully - then noticed I became increasingly angry and despondent. I don’t know if it was due to not being successful enough or loss of faith in my abilities, but I started feeling depressed and finally gave up.

Throughout the course of getting the business off the ground, I was also dealing with constant rejection by my husband - especially when it came to sex. I pushed harder and harder for his affection, and he pulled further and further away. I hated myself and I feel guilty for our financial position because much of the debt is due to my business. Every so often, my husband reminds me of that.

Yesterday morning, I recognized he was gaslighting me. He woke up with a headache and made this comment, “It’s because you were out here (in our living room) smoking and on your phone.” When I confronted him about it, he said, “I was just messing with you.” I told him right then, “I will NOT tolerate gaslighting in my house, toward me or anyone else.” He didn’t know what gaslighting is; however, I’m sure he learned it from his abusive father. I didn’t know what it was myself until recently. I’m guessing this means I’m heading in the right direction.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
November 27, 2020

As I was writing about my second miscarriage, I found myself dissociating (and still am today off and on). I downloaded an EMDR app, I hope it helps.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
I feel extremely anxious right now; sometimes it’s the dumbest things that freak me out. I stupidly tried to tap out of something on my phone with my nose, and now I feel all weird. Can I electrocute myself that way or is it because I’m hungry?
 

RussellSue

Not Active
I feel extremely anxious right now; sometimes it’s the dumbest things that freak me out. I stupidly tried to tap out of something on my phone with my nose, and now I feel all weird. Can I electrocute myself that way or is it because I’m hungry?
I don't know. Hopefully, you are just hungry.

You really are an amazing writer. You are also covering a lot of very painful ground here. You mentioned an EMDR app and I cannot help but feel some fear for you. It seems like you are pushing hard to get through a whole lot of hell, very quickly. I've been there, myself, and I cannot blame you for wanting to work through it all as fast as you can but I found for myself that sometimes I have dragged myself backward through too much pain, too quickly, just to end up in a deep fog that I had a lot of trouble escaping.

I hope that you are finding ways to disconnect from all of this pain, as well. Drawing something you love, maybe? Going for walks?

I hope you were able to get some food and feel better by now.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
Thank you for the compliment, advice and support. I’ve always been impatient, so you’ve got me pegged on wanting to tackle it all - now, now, now! I’m sure my phone ordeal hasn’t done any damage 😊 Plus, I was already upset before I got home from work because I found out I’d be alone when I got there; and I’m sure I’m overthinking everything ‘cuz I always do; the very thing that brings trouble. I think I secretly wish I could write everything down and it would just float away, but if that happened I wouldn’t need therapy 😂 I’m also trying to learn my reactions to certain things, so I can better control my emotions and not lash out for silly reasons.
 

RussellSue

Not Active
I’ve always been impatient, so you’ve got me pegged on wanting to tackle it all - now, now, now!
No problem and what's that saying - it takes one to know one??? I get it. - been there, done that - still there, still doing that. But for some reason, seeing someone else do it is more likely to get my attention.

I’m sure I’m overthinking everything ‘cuz I always do; the very thing that brings trouble.
Well, it sounds like we have a lot in common, then. I am guilty of the above, as well. But don't knock it too much: being highly perceptive and analytical is part of what makes you a good writer.

I think I secretly wish I could write everything down and it would just float away
I think a lot of people feel that way.

Here is my favorite quote:

We are a narrative species. We exist by storytelling—by relating our situations—and the test of our evolution may lie in getting the story right. - Roger Rosenblatt

I really, really relate to that quote. I have often felt that if I got the story 100% right by digging through my soul and dumping a pure replica onto the table, it would lose its power over me and it could no longer hurt me. Maybe that's true and maybe a lot of writers have felt this way and maybe this has something to do with the high levels of mental illness among creative types.

Don't get me wrong, I think our narrative evolution is amazing, but worry about obsession in myself and others. I've made myself very sick by digging too deep, too often, for too long. I wouldn't have admitted it at the time, though. At the time, I was evolving. I believe both of these assessments were true.

I’m also trying to learn my reactions to certain things, so I can better control my emotions and not lash out for silly reasons.
EMDR is a very powerful tool that can help to curb lashing out by eliminating traumatic responses but it's also very hard to do alone. EMDR training that therapists get involves explaining that it should be done with a therapist (which admittedly might be at least somewhat connected to the fact that there is money to be made by keeping it within the professional mental health community). I do know that people here have really struggled with EMDR and when I asked about doing it solo, I was met with a lot of people advising against it - many who have been in therapy for several years. I can't tell you to do or not do it but I do hope that you seek support if you are doing EMDR and it gets to be too much.

There are a lot of people here with a lot of knowledge who are very supportive. If you have any concerns or questions, you are in a great place. I hope you reach out when you need to.

Sorry for taking up so much room in your diary.

Best of luck to you on this grueling journey.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
No problem and what's that saying - it takes one to know one??? I get it. - been there, done that - still there, still doing that. But for some reason, seeing someone else do it is more likely to get my attention.


Well, it sounds like we have a lot in common, then. I am guilty of the above, as well. But don't knock it too much: being highly perceptive and analytical is part of what makes you a good writer.


I think a lot of people feel that way.

Here is my favorite quote:

We are a narrative species. We exist by storytelling—by relating our situations—and the test of our evolution may lie in getting the story right. - Roger Rosenblatt

I really, really relate to that quote. I have often felt that if I got the story 100% right by digging through my soul and dumping a pure replica onto the table, it would lose its power over me and it could no longer hurt me. Maybe that's true and maybe a lot of writers have felt this way and maybe this has something to do with the high levels of mental illness among creative types.

Don't get me wrong, I think our narrative evolution is amazing, but worry about obsession in myself and others. I've made myself very sick by digging too deep, too often, for too long. I wouldn't have admitted it at the time, though. At the time, I was evolving. I believe both of these assessments were true.


EMDR is a very powerful tool that can help to curb lashing out by eliminating traumatic responses but it's also very hard to do alone. EMDR training that therapists get involves explaining that it should be done with a therapist (which admittedly might be at least somewhat connected to the fact that there is money to be made by keeping it within the professional mental health community). I do know that people here have really struggled with EMDR and when I asked about doing it solo, I was met with a lot of people advising against it - many who have been in therapy for several years. I can't tell you to do or not do it but I do hope that you seek support if you are doing EMDR and it gets to be too much.

There are a lot of people here with a lot of knowledge who are very supportive. If you have any concerns or questions, you are in a great place. I hope you reach out when you need to.

Sorry for taking up so much room in your diary.

Best of luck to you on this grueling journey.
Don’t apologize. I appreciate your insight and taking the time to share with me your struggles. I also appreciate the quote 😊 I’m glad you’ve been able to evolve; however, I’ve held on to this pain for so long I’m terrified that when I do start working with a therapist (which I fully intend to) and truly let go, I will lose myself. Eliminating the toxicity - my dad and his sister, gave some relief because they can’t hurt me anymore, but it does nothing to heal my inner child - she still needs lots of TLC. As far as the EMDR, I decided to try the app to get a visual. I’m not disciplined enough to ride solo; I’d much rather have a pro working with me on a plan. However, just sampling one session I feel as if it’s something that may work for me. Talk-therapy never worked because I can spew forever, but nothing gets released. I feel as if the torture and terror is Gorilla Glued to my soul, and until I drink some turpentine I’ll never be free.
 

WonderWriter

Confident
November 30, 2020

Betrayed
The child within
Lasting scars and burning skin
“I hate you!”
She screams inside her head
If uttered aloud
She’ll pray for her death
 

WonderWriter

Confident
November 30, 2020

MIRACLES

Body wretched, restless and weak
peering through hell by dangling feet.
Cursed for a lifetime, no fault to be known.

Sentencing caste by genetics alone.
Deeds done no matter, angelic or snake.
Love claimed to be, always a fake.

Childhood stolen, thoughts in poor taste.
Charred flesh in hatred, like steaks on a plate.
Pled on deaf ears, justice of spite.
Using, abusing sweet'ning the fight.

Existence abhorring, burden to own.
Savior gives judgement, stand and atone.
Undying tears, scars no mistake.
Beaten and kicked to shed useless weight.

Ne'er pale wrists, as death in disguise.
Look to the heavens through salt-laden eyes.
Beam shining down as dawn at first light.
My angel, my wonder, love of my life.
 
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