Incest Survivors, Spirituality and Ceremonies of Justice – the story of a woman living a rich, fulfilling life while waiting to dance on her sociopath father's grave.
Yesterday in therapy we talked about me hiding. There is a sneaky part of me that is afraid of being seen, that shuts me down, but doesn’t tell me that it’s doing it, whenever it gets triggered.
It reminds me of when I was learning not to dissociate. At first I wouldn’t realize I’d dissociated for a long time, perhaps when my body got really cold, or I had to pee really bad, or I got clumsy and hurt myself or forgot something important.
Then, after trying for awhile, I’d notice I’d been dissociated but couldn’t figure out how or when it had started. Then I began to notice sooner after I ‘left my body’ and developed strategies for getting back in touch. Then I started to figure out what had triggered me to dissociate in the first place. Then I learned ways to comfort and ground myself when I got triggered, so I wouldn’t dissociate all the way. Then, finally, I was in my body most of the time and really noticed when I was not. Now I’m pretty much always in my body, unless something heavy is really up, or I’m having sex, of course, when being fully in my body for long periods is a blessed exception, rather than the rule. I’ve come a long way, but have a ways to go.
I’m hoping I can apply this method to my new challenge, learning not to hide my passion from myself. I ‘lose interest’ in things that are important to me far too easily, and although I know intellectually I want to do something, I can’t muster up any desire or motivation to follow through. It usually happens when I’m noticed or recieve recognition, or when the thing I’m doing is intimate, personal, from my soul, like singing, sex, making art or expressing my deepest values in action. Since I love to be recognized and am essentially an extravert, this constant hiding feels like the actions of a completely other person. And no, I’m not a multiple personality, thank Goddess.
So here’s where things get heavy.
How did I learn to hide?
I am pulled into myself. I am utterly still. I am barely breathing. I have no thoughts, I have no feelings, I am empty. I am blessedly not anxious, not afraid. I am nothing.
This is how I waited, how I survived. I am hiding in the closet, I am laying utterly still on the bed. He can’t see me. He’ll never find me. I could lay motionless for hours in the formal living room of our house, where no-one ever went, and if I lay silently enough, perhaps my mother would forget to send me to bed, perhaps I could survive here for the night.
I am waiting, motionless. I have no desires. This is not Buddhist nirvana, this is exhaustion from terror. This is hiding anything from him that he can use to get into me. If I don’t admit anything is important to me, it can’t be used to manipulate me. It can’t be taken away.
So how do I notice I’m doing it, and more importantly, stop it in progress?
I’ve made an appointment to do some singing with a guitarist, and maybe do some performing. This is something I’m both good at and have been stalled in for years. I can’t get it together to practice with any consistency, even though I know it makes me happy and I could be very good if I practice. I don’t know if forcing myself to ‘do it anyway’ is the way to go yet or not, or even that I can do it.