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domestic abuse

Recovery

it's time to start over, but not fresh, since the effect of kipple is permanent. over time newer kipple will cover older kipple and a landfill, or a desk, will evolve.

last week I experienced the feeling that my life was going to slip away, after my appendix ruptured. for several days I didn't know that's what happened. I'm used to being in pain, so the degree of pain I felt was not such a degree greater that I knew I was going to die or that anything really bad had happened. I wrote it off to the flu, and subsequently developed an infection that, had I laid down to nap instead of going to the hospital, likely would have killed me.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Session 8

although it's been nearly a month since I recorded this session, I want to finish the series of blog posts because I won't feel like I'm done processing the Prolonged Exposure Therapy experience until I've written about it. I'm going to cover session 8 in two sections: the first half during which I finished processing my relationship with Scott, my ex; the second half, which I'll write later, starts the process of dealing with the damage done by my mother. I blogged a little about her in doors without doorknobs.

after listening to session 7 in the days preceding this session, I was left feeling a deep sadness. sadness over lost opportunities for myself and for my children. I also recognized deep feelings of self-doubt, of feeling afraid to start homework projects for the class I enrolled in because I feel sure I'm doing it wrong and that I don't understand what I'm supposed to do.

I was also dragging the ball and chain of feeling discouraged because the legal battle I thought had been resolved in court was still ongoing. six weeks past the hearing date and the judgment hasn't been submitted to the judge for signature and legal fees are mounting. therapy bills have taken a huge bite out of my limited resources, and buying groceries and gas the same day overdrew my bank account. everything added up felt overwhelming and I wondered (for about a minute) if taking the plunge into Prolonged Exposure Therapy had been a bad idea. I chose this time to do the Prolonged Exposure Therapy because my next chance would be this fall. I want to be able to do other things this fall, like take more classes at the local college, work toward a new career, and live my life as a free person. I took the risk of signing up the extra therapy sessions and I'm not sorry I did it. still, finding myself flat broke, with maxed out credit cards and huge legal expenses, is depressing.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Session 7

the heart-racing stress reaction I had when listening to the recording of session six marked out what is called a "hot spot". as I listened to it every day, I realized that I was really angry that Scott had made me responsible for meeting his every emotional need.

after the event where he threw books at me and at our petite two-year-old daughter, Scott took out the trash. then for weeks he asked me every day what he ought to do. then every day he showed me what he did, whether it was putting dishes away or wiping off the table, apparently to gauge my approval rating of his efforts.

it was so exhausting. why did he need my feedback so badly? when I cleaned the toilet, I didn't ask anyone to look at it and praise me for the job. I'd probably cleaned toilets a thousand times during our marriage, all without a scrap of fanfare. fanfare would have seemed very strange for something as mundane as cleaning a toilet.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Session 6

for session six of Prolonged Exposure Therapy, I chose to focus on the final act of domestic violence by Scott (the man I was then married to) against me.

it was both more and less damaging than the previous event I'd focused on, the gas-lighting session by cult leaders that destroyed my ability to trust others and to make decisions on my own. it was more damaging because it brought me closer to accepting death as a solution to my pain than anything I'd previously encountered, even the verbal and physical abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother.

it was less damaging only because my psyche was already so damaged that it couldn't have created in my heart any more of a sense of worthlessness than I already harbored against myself. it is possible that if Scott, along with the cult leaders, had not destroyed my soul so completely in that closed-door session a few years before, I would have found the strength to gather up my children and walk out the door after he attacked me.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Session 5

I think I'm learning to step out of numbness. I mentioned in my last post that I was angry. I explored that feeling in session five of my Prolonged Exposure Therapy, as I had thought about it quite a bit between sessions. I broke it down, distilled the cause of my anger to the least common denominator, and when everything else was gone the cult leaders stood alone in my mind's eye with one outstanding quality: greed.

I was angry. so, so angry.

I was so isolated, so alone. complete immersion in cultish culture was required. fear was cultivated by leaders, members were shamed into cult-approved behavior. interactions were controlled, friendships discouraged. we all lived in a group, emotionally isolated. we spoke in code; ex-members call it "wayspeak". it served to keep us culturally separate from our communities.

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