How Abuse Gifted Me Trust… In Myself: My PTSD Story

How Abuse Gifted Me Trust… In Myself: My PTSD Story

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“You say you’re too damaged, I still say you’ve got the goods.” – from a song I wrote many moons ago

Out of all the things that I have been through, one of the greatest complications to resolve has been the ramifications of abuse throughout my adolescence. I was physically abused and verbally assaulted by masculine rage on a concurrent and regular basis. My experience of the abuse at times felt like torture, was unrelenting, and my space never truly felt safe.

Trust has been profoundly challenging for me to invest in, that of which I have learned must first begin with myself.

Due to my crippled capacity to trust in others, and a sense of self oppressed by an abuser, over time my ability to develop trust in myself became stunted and plagued by static noise and doubt.

It is interesting though the complexities that have come about as a result, the product being the woman I am today. What I’ve become is a woman with a presence of impenetrable strength, which of course, in a society infiltrated by a masculinity crisis, hasn’t gone over so well.

I have attracted great opposition from those that struggle with their own masculinity, or another way of looking at it — one’s repressed/rejected, misunderstood, and/or unacknowledged femininity.

Throughout my twenties, I strived towards a path of healing. I was blessed enough by the grace of divine intervention and my own willingness to change that resources flowed regardless of my external means to begin this process.

Yoga and meditation were definite introductions that changed my life and in many ways saved my life. I discovered that I am not actually held hostage in my body, that I do have control and that my power is always there. I discovered that no one can take my power, but realized out of programmed habit I was throwing it out like expired produce.

It was through the crisis of many unhealthy relationships and my absolute plea to not suffer from the pain of power struggles that I began to see the signs. I didn’t want to hurt anymore so it became unavoidable that I had to dig in and do the work.

It was during a heartbreak from a very damaged Pisces lover, and coincidentally a potent Pisces full moon, that in my typical woo-woo fashion I sought out not a therapist, but my version of such — I wanted to see a healer that cleared chakras… yep. I was ready to wipe the slate clean, but unbeknownst to me, this man had a profound purpose. As agonizing as it was to dive in, he was a gift. He served as the beginning of an awakening. He was a Marine veteran struggling with PTSD; he was also my mirror.

The next day as I was walking down the street, there was a massive sign outside of a crystal shop nearby where I lived that was not usually there. In all its colorful glory stood the flag of chakras promoting sessions with a particular healer. I tend to be like The Fool of the Rider-Waite deck, springing forward, acting on leaps of faith when such moments present themselves. With a chart full of Aries, this generally rules in my favor.

My session with a self-proclaimed clairvoyant doused me in the cold hard reality that I had not so much been in denial about, but rather completely oblivious to. I knew I had been abused as I had shared it prior. I knew it was wrong and that I was in fact violated, but I had no idea the magnitude of wreckage it caused. As a little girl knowing nothing different, essentially it became the only normal I knew. And while living it, I was battered into believing I’d deserved it.

When I first entered into the backroom to proceed, a typical aroma of palo santo engulfed the space. The stillness of the room’s aura rested as rainbow lights (also known as color therapy) swirled above the bed, while a gorgeous array of gongs and singing bowls aligned it. I always look forward to these sessions. My total openness to them is how I’ve been fortunate enough to reap the wanders.

I have worked with countless western healers and now a couple of eastern ones; although, this was one of my earlier experiences. I was anticipating what she would pick up on. I felt sure the foremost would be mention of my brother’s death, or my absent father, or possibly the turbulent codependent relationship with my mother… never did I see coming the yet mentioned.

I will say that I am able and willing to share the account of my abuse; however, for deeply personal reasons I am not ready to share by whom.

“Did you have [****] that was very mean to you?” she delicately asked.

I sat there stunned. An instant surge of tears burst forth like an appropriate tidal wave. Out of all the shitty things in my still very privileged life, I couldn’t believe that’s what she pointed out. Her take on it was that we were bound together in this lifetime due to past life events, but I’ll spare you of that for now.

I went home feeling like the earth beneath me had been shaken. How could I not have seen this before? The light had not only gone off, but it was also about to blind my eyes. What ensued from there was an all-nighter of research on the unique relationship of abuse I experienced. Limited information was available on my specific circumstance, but nonetheless, a turning point of acknowledgment transpired — abuse is abuse. I was a ripe candidate to all the possibilities of aftermath as anyone else that’s survived it. Wait, so I am one of those people? It wasn’t until I accepted that I am that, a survivor of abuse, that I could begin to move towards a healthier future. It was through this discovery that I was able to understand I was also living with my own degree of PTSD. It had been the underlying factor to so many complications in my life. I didn’t know that my usual somatic experience was not normal. I thought the out of control sensations in my physical response to situations were my fault, that it was simply who I am and that I was doomed to be a prisoner to it.

For many years, I attracted lovers that did not physically abuse me, but I was in heavy, emotionally tormented relationships. The real moral is PTSD often controlled my life.

After the eventual breakdown of these relationships and my own chaos looming overhead, I strived to transcend my experiences. I couldn’t control what happened to me, but I could begin to heal the consequences. I chose to kill the script and say, fuck that. I chose to shift from victim to survivor. I began my transition from bondage and everything happening to me, to being wide awake staring into the mirror — recognizing the patterns and the common denominator. This was not an overnight fix, of course. It was an incredibly painful process that took years and years of resolving. Still, till this day there are remnants I have to work through. Scenes, lines, and characters from the old script all like to come out to play every now and again, and it is my work to not get disheartened by this reality. In the past, the discouragement of its existence would send me down a spiral of self-loathing.

I spent years unable to communicate how I actually felt. I had zero sophistication as far as emotional intimacy was concerned. I would panic, cognitively disassociate and shut down. And, I would hate myself for every bit of it.

Almost a decade later, it is bizarre to even recount those memories — from total physical overwhelm to perpetual fears of the rug always being pulled out from under me. By always assuming the worst, I attracted it only to prove itself true.

Now, it’s almost as if I don’t even know that girl anymore. Yet, again, there are still those tiny remainders of the script wanting to come to life on stage once more. But, I harnessed new tools and coping mechanisms that overtime have integrated.

Most of all, my journey was to silence the noise and experience a life of learning to trust myself. Despite being figuratively pummeled into believing all the things that had derailed me before, I began the journey of discovering my light, my power.

Of course, none of this would be possible without also learning to forgive my abuser, and to forgive the masculine rage that permeates throughout my culture and our world. I have had to send love and light to the beautiful, divine feminine energy yearning for reciprocation from us all.

I guess when you think about it, we can be so cruel to our dear Mother Earth. If we can’t respect our own mother, then I guess in a way that sums it up, doesn’t it?

It’s a shame, this reality. We have so far to go on a collective scale. I can only hope my story of forgiveness, resilience, and journey of self-love is emblematic of the new script we can write together.

 

 

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To Those I Have Judged, for This I Apologize

To Those I Have Judged, for This I Apologize
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Aaron

“Forgiveness inevitably leads to acceptance. It is a demonstration of your willingness to move on. Acceptance does not mean you agree with, condone, appreciate, or even like what has happened. Acceptance means that you know, regardless of what happened, that there is something bigger than you at work.” – Iyanla Vanzant

aug 2012
Patrick

I guess it may seem inevitable after this last year - enduring the death of my brother - the end of my romantic relationship amid my brother’s funeral - then to take on full-time Gringa life outside of the USA - I am very much on a spiritual journey. Life is always a spiritual journey whether we see it or not, I suppose. And, this time I choose to be the hero.


Holding my brother as he was left to lay brain dead humbled me to the core. The brother who once held me as we both cried and struggled to process what was our oldest brother’s funeral. We became bonded to a whole new level as siblings since that experience. So, to now lose him and hold his physical body that no longer had life left… it’s changed me forever.


My relationship to the man I was in love with crumbling at the most difficult time in my life added more confounding whip-lash. Yet, it set me on a path to uncover what was underneath the black molten rock that engulfed my heart - my strength.


The last two years have basically been the on-going funeral of my ego. Leaving Los Angeles and the world of music already humbled me as I walked away from the only identity I’ve known: my identity as a musician/performer. This departure exposed a masochistic nature to expectations and attachments to outcomes. By letting go of the way I insisted it ought to be, I began finding my way back home unto myself.


After my world ripped out from beneath me, pressure boiled to understand it, igniting yet another confrontation with God. The insistence of freedom from attachments I could not escape, as nothing is truly ours. God has reminded me many times of my lack of control, teaching me to trust that life is as it should be. And, to have faith that no matter what has happened to me, as messed up as it may seem, is somehow in my highest interest. It’s begged me to reckon with my capacity, that I am capable of facing it all. And, to realize that I have the strength to survive life as it unfolds, because we know, life is going to do just that.

“Regardless of how hard, challenging, frightening, or difficult an experience may seem, everything is just as it needs to be in order for us to heal, grow, and learn.” - Iyanla Vanzant

To do so, my spiritual journey of seeking peace commenced, as did my faith in the possibility of joy. I learned its roots begin with a life lived not from the ego, but instead the heart. My ego was annihilated the day my last brother died. A greater understanding of life summoned me to appreciate each moment with more profound meaning. For so many years, I was driven to prove my importance to others, to myself. I wanted to be something… you know, all the things. What’s proven itself now is that while staring death (or life) in the face, not once did those things matter. Accolades will never bring my brothers back or fill the volcanic crater of a void. The only way I accessed the strength buried somewhere within me is by embracing a life of higher vibration. I discovered this is possible through forgiveness and acceptance of what is. I can choose to deny or fight reality, or I can choose to trust.


I take responsibility for the people that have come into my life in which triggered me. I own projecting onto them the things I may not have seen or wanted to see within myself. I realize that every interaction and relationship is a reflection of the one I have with myself. I ask for forgiveness for times I held beliefs about others, when they may have been judgments I held against myself.


To open myself to the liberty of trust, I trust in a plan beyond me. I free myself from attachments to people, places, things, and from beliefs about these people, places, things. I stand in my power because of all the hard work I’ve put in to honor myself thus far. I strive to act with self-respect and therefore to respect others. I solidify a life lived trusting in myself and in God because, without this, it is a life of suffering. For I know that if I can be the last one standing amongst my siblings, then I will keep going. No matter what, I will be okay. With forgiveness, the actions and or beliefs I formed around others fade into the distance. I pick myself up off the ground to sit up in my seat once more. I put my hands on the wheel, and only for a moment, I glance back to remember how far I’ve come. But, that mirror is small. I choose to look out the big window ahead of me, because through forgiveness, I found the road to joy.

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Fré Sonneveld

 

*I would like to note that after all the chatter about Eat Pray Love, I finally read it about eight months after I returned from Bali when I moved to México. I happened to resonate and agree with Elizabeth Gilbert’s interpretation and analysis on her choice in the use of “God.” Whatever your God is is cool with me.✌️