Today was a double whammy. I went to therapy with Mrs. A as well as trauma massage/touch therapy with DD. I’m so very blessed to have a very strong team to guide me thru this path of rediscovery and healing. I’m also very proud that they are strong women helping other women be their best. I also have a life coach, TS, and a strong Pastor friend, PG, who have supported me in ways that I never thought I needed. Let me also mention that it is very hard for me to trust a man but PG has made that very easy. One of these team members has always made their selves available to me when I was struggling and didn’t know how to move forward.
A couple of weeks ago, Mrs. A and I were discussing the trauma of being held by the head many times during this abuse and how this has affected my relationships in negative ways. She suggested that I see DD for a scalp massage so that I could experience positive touch on my head. I reluctantly agreed and made the appointment.
My therapy with Mrs. A was also this morning. Thankfully, it was a relatively light session in which we discussed very little actual trauma but more about how the trauma has affected every relationship in my life. Including with friendships, relatives, co-workers, etc. I try to avoid this subject at all costs because Mrs. A is so pro-relationship. It’s almost annoying how much she feels we all need love, touch, etc. I keep telling her that it’s really fine if I’m alone for the rest of forever. Especially when my choice of partners for relationships is disastrous.
After leaving Mrs. A’s office, I went directly to DD’s office and was in a pretty good mood. I was nervous but not nearly as I was the first couple of times that I had massage sessions. As the session began, I was just making small talk. Trying my best to not get to into the emotions or thoughts of the abuse. But what happened was that I became acutely aware of sounds. I didn’t remember that the majority of the time that I was being sexually abused was in complete silence. I didn’t remember the sounds of everything going on in those moments. As she is massaging my scalp, I can hear the sound of her fingers and my scalp making contact. I can hear my hair moving. I can hear the sheets. I can literally hear the air moving. Other sounds were coming back to my memory. I was momentarily flooded with sounds of abuse. Sounds including body noises, breathing, etc.
During the actual abuse, you don’t think about these noises. You don’t even hear them. For the most part you are not actually mentally present, but just in attendance. You don’t have to process what the sounds mean or how they affect you. You have no idea that 40 years later you will hear them so profoundly as if it was happening at that moment.
This is PTSD. This is trauma recovery. There is no way to avoid those sounds. You hear them. They are so familiar. I felt an overwhelming sense of temporary confusion. Part of the confusion was knowing that my mother was not affectionate and didn’t provide those positive, loving touches. I felt so sad. Tears were falling, but I fought them back. What I really wanted to do was scream. What I really wanted was to be held and feel loved. But I could never ever admit that to anyone. That would be admitting that I am weak and can’t survive this pain on my own.
After the session, DD asked me what my thoughts were and what caused the sudden shift in my mood. I told her that I felt really sad. We discussed some techniques for self massage to promote more positive touch.
I left, got in my car, and felt so tired. It was very much grief. Like when my brother died. Except this was never final. This was just put on hold and I never talked about it. I never revisited it. I never repeated those sounds in my head.
Next time you are laying in bed, turn everything off. Listen to nothing. Touch your hair and hear how loud it is in your own head. Swallow, blink, and take deep breathes. Hear the sounds the sheets make as you move a leg or an arm. Hear the sounds of the air conditioner, or the outside sounds. The sounds of being abused are all of this and so much more. Even after 40 years, I can hear the sounds of him breathing or pulling my hair and the sound of my heart trying to explode as I try to process the emotions.
Until next time, I am being MJ every day!