What’s Left of Me?

It’s ironic that I have a Master’s degree in Psychology but had no real idea what the buzzwords actually meant.  Words like emotional abuse, projection, dissociation, and denial, all so relevant to the therapeutic process, were only concepts; ideas I could define but not really relate to.  It’s a good thing I decided not to use my degree.  Imagine the number of people I might have hurt because of my own unexamined self.  Or I suppose, lack of a self.

What happens when I take it all away?

I’ve let go of the emotional abuse.  I recognize it (mostly) and walk away from it.  I’ve dismissed those people from my life.  In doing so, I have a big gaping hole of loneliness.  I have friends and family, but without those who tapped into my comfort zone, I feel alone.  I’m on edge, wondering when I’ll feel at ease again, thinking perhaps I never will.

I now understand which of my character traits were projections from others,and I find that most of who I think I am is nothing but a projection of others.  I am what others have told me I am.  Who am I now that those people are no longer creating me?  Who’s voices should I believe?  I know I can’t beleive my abusers, but I’m not sure I can beleive others, so how do I create myself?

I am slowly starting to understand how often I disassociate.  I don’t have numerous personalities, but I put on a show, all the time, rather than let my authentic self come out. Which makes perfect sense, since I have no idea who my real, authentic self is.

Denial.  I’ve spent 40 years in a state of denial regarding the true impact of my teenage years on who I am, how I present myself, what I hide, what I accept as truth, what I accept as how I should be treated.  I’m headed back into EMDR to start working on these years and the issues they created; the issues that created those years.  I have no idea how to actually do this though.  I can tell the stories of those years, years on the streets, in institutions, in terrible living situations.  I can describe in great detail what happened during almost every moment of those 4 years.  What I can’t do is feel it.  I can put on my mask of denial, I can disassociate myself from the actual events of those years and I can project how I should be feeling, maybe even convincing a therapist of my authenticity.  When I leave the session though, I know that it’s lie.  I know that all I’ve done is tell story, which isn’t enough.  I have to live the story to get through the story.  It’s the conundrum of feeling feelings you don’t know how to feel.  I have no idea how to relive these stories, but that’s what I must do to get past them.

For now, I’m like a comic book.  I’m a caricature, pretending to be real but not able to make it off the page.



4 thoughts on “What’s Left of Me?

  1. thank you for writing this. im struggling daily with the long-buried effects of ptsd, out to show their bright and shiny colors in full effect. although our situations are different, i recognize and relate to what you are saying. i am happy to hear you’re going to start EMDR, i am hoping to get that chance sometime too. the point is: it helps to read women struggling with similar issues (even though it’s sad); i also feel ‘stuck’ – not knowing how to wade through this to get better. like i am a puppet at the whims of a hand who no longer even touches my life. reliving past in my present and often not knowing what the trigger even was/is. anyway- keep with the struggle, girl! us wowen, we ARE the stronger ones. much Love on your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sure my experiences haven’t been as abusive as yours but I have found that by repeatedly narrating the stories with an empathic counsellor, I’ve gradually attached the emotions to them. Also found Pete Walker’s CPTSD; Surving to Thriving book very helpful. I wish you well x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I believe that we turn into shells of our former selves. Emtpy…void of every emotion we used to call something close to happiness. Some of us will recover…some of us won’t.
    Losing the people who defined us is not always a bad thing. Sure, it leaves you lonely…but as Robin Williams said…..I would rather be alone than in a room full of people who make me feel alone.
    Reliving the story while telling it can be freeing or as devastating as the actual events. I wrote about my life. I am far from even thinking I can ever recover…but it helped, I think, to write it down. I NEVER revisit my old posts….to “see how far I’ve come” because I know I haven’t “come very far.”

    Liked by 3 people

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