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My Healing Journal


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I'm creating this journal for my personal growth and development. I think I need a resource like this to capture the experience of coming out of the fog after being abused in childhood and in early adulthood.


Sept. 1


I'm realizing that lost years and lost families are much harder to come to terms with that I expected. I never wanted to know who I really was, because my experiences really mark me as quite alien from the ideal human experience. Until this point, I have known very little about what love is, or what human interactions are supposed to be like, what it feels like to be connected to things larger than yourself. I never knew how to express love, with words, planned surprises and special occasions, or by being healthy and dependable. I never knew how to do things with other people, how to share feelings and experiences, and invite them along to be part of your life.


I'm so thankful to have an idea about how some of this works now. I also am learning how to seek out mentors, how to have a healthy relationship with a superior without feeling victimized, and how to fail more gracefully.


I'm afraid of a lot of things, like the constant change in the world since I was born with this environmental disability. I'm afraid of being the victim of random violence, whether it's in my home, in frienships, or at work.


I never used to be able to argue effectively because I didn't a single value. I never knew what it was like to have values, to use abstract concepts in this way. I used to think feelings like this were sort of a joke, like a rhetorical device used for jumping through hoops. I didn't know most of our actions rest on these slippery and sort of magical concepts.


I really feel like I have to learn how to be human. It sucks because I don't feel like anyone understands...I don't blame them, how could they? I feel like Frankenstein. I don't know how to get better. I don't know to feel safe.


More than anything, I'd like to find a place where I safe even though I know terrible things happen in the world. I want to have someone to confide in that I know I can trust. But I don't know of anyone who would be capable of being that brave when they don't have to be. Pain is bad.


Today, my goal is to practice feeling safe. I'd also like to make a list of my values, and do something productive and good for my future. I also want to work on actually relaxing a bit, I know getting a bit of exercise will help my nerves a bit. Maybe each day I'll have an abstract goal, and incorporate a few tasks I can complete to reach the goal. Today I'm going to try to feel safe and relaxed.

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Day 1 complete...I do feel more relaxed today than I did yesterday. A year ago today I was so angry I felt like I was going to burst. I wanted everyone to know what I had been through, because I was so angry I had to carry this burden alone since childhood and I have always been expected to take care of myself. Now things are so different.


I'm still very angry, I think about how I wish I could kill my mother but the anger isn't so physical--my head doesn't pulse anymore and I don't feel like jumping out of my own skin. I don't know, I wouldn't never say I accept my situation but I guess the thought of a better future is more important to me than playing the victim.


I also now know that there really are bad people out there in the world. I can't believe how long it took me to figure that out. I used to cry all the time when I'd repeat my mantra, "No one can ever hurt you again." Now it's a truism. It's really empowering.

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Day 2


I struggle not to slip into thinking of ways to fix my family, or to win the approval of people who try to hurt me. It's also a daily struggle not to give up on the dreams I never developed because of how I would be punished for expressing them. I always thought my abuse wasn't severe, but now I'm aware of what a classic case of child abuse I am. It's exactly like those cartoonish portrayals of abuse you see in movies. In some ways I really screwed up by trying to live by my values that all people deserve my compassion and respect. I don't even know where I got that idea from.


I also wish more than anything that people would realize that some parents do not know best. Even a child knows better than a monster.


Today I want to feel more removed from the past. I have spent my entire life worrying about my parents. Worrying about their well being, about their mental problems, taking care of their tantrums and messy homes and relationships. I have spent the years finally away from home having nightmares about them, being crippled by all the distorted thinking they passed on to me, and all the anger I carry from the memories is too much.


So my goal today is to clear my head. I want my head to be clear of nightmares. I'd like to go to bed and not have a nightmare for once. I don't wake up with clenched fists anymore and my back has healed but I want to actually wake up refreshed. I want to think about real subjects--not just my relationship to my parents-I want to have enough space cleared in my head that I can spend my life being a person instead of a prisoner and servant.


I'd like to spend an entire day with piece of mind. Even if it doesn't last, I'd like to overcome being constantly plagued by intrusive thoughts about the abuse. I'd like to go outside and take a walk in the morning, sit and read somewhere peaceful and just be normal.

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Day 2


I have to admit today is kind of a bad day. I don't know how to lift the inertia, and I had a nightmare last night too. I'm not sure how to overcome having a lifetime of bad role models and lack of access to a good education. This isn't exactly a unique problem but I never really realized how powerless I am until about 2 years ago. I think of how different my life would have been if I would have gone to a private high school and middle school. Until about age 10, I was in a wonderful school that really compensated for my lack of support at home and it has been the foundation of who I am today. I wish I never would have forgotten that, although I know that it would have taken more than that to compensate for the * * * * ty life I've had. It's a pretty steep climb no matter how I slice it. I see so many people with much better opportunities than me, coming from stable homes and schools that cultivate ambition and intellect. My experiences made me realize how much people really do buy their way in, since I've seen it from both sides and it's crazy what a difference it makes in your decision making. I don't really have a problem with that since it's beyond my control, I just to want to participate. Of course, I also see many others who are in a far worse position than me and I'm thankful that at least I have opportunity to do some window shopping even if I can't 'buy.' I get so frustrated with people who think they have privileges they don't, especially ones that think consumption is power. ugh it's a little pathetic, but I can understand. No one wants to think they are subordinate. I just feel really guilty that some of people I knew growing up can't overcome their ignorance. It has set me back in a lot ways, because I know at least some of them want more from life but are too afraid to put themselves out there, and partly don't even realize their plight.


I was really afraid the first time I was in an environment where people were as smart and curious as I wished they would have been when I was growing up. I was used to my motives being invisible to others, and for the first time I felt so vulnerable. I had to be accountable for everything I said, and have something to contribute. This was devastating, as well as all the bad advice I took up to that point. I need to get past the regret and actually get moving.


I lack the tools to create anything of value right now. It would have been really nice to have the resources I have at this point 10 years ago, or more. I don't know what I'm supposed to do...should I just give up and know my place? Have children, raise them to live the life I always wanted to lead? That would make me very unhappy. I just don't see the point in trying when I know everything I do is going to be mediocre. Furthermore, I feel like I really missed the boat on all this. I lost almost 10 years of productivity. Well, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration. If I wanted to, I could say it was only about 3 or 4 years in terms of a real income. I'm being too hard on myself.


I know this is all very negative and not good for me. I think about the man I met in ______, and how he was much older than me when he saw success for the first time. I'd never want his life, but it gives me hope that I don't have to give up just because I was unlucky. Now I'm just getting mad, thinking about what a joke my ex is. He is so removed from the struggles that many people have to face. And I aspire to surround myself with a bunch of brats just like him? The alternative is far worse. I need stop feeling like an outsider and just do what I want to do...


Am I being too hard on myself? I don't think so. It really is almost 8 lost years, and before that, an unstimulating and violent childhood. That's almost all of my life. It sucks!! I feel so much better after writing this, I think I will be able to move on. I know where I've come from, and I don't need to minimize my losses. I can't give up, I have way too long to live. I have to push through this, even though I'm alone and people in my immediate environment don't understand me.

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Day 3


I'm so glad I found this forum. Leaving my experience out there on a public forum makes me feel much more accountable for my actions. I just hope not too many people actually read this journal since it is very personal. I didn't have a nightmare last night, which is good. I didn't wake up missing my ex, which is also good. However, I'm realizing more and more that we were, at one point, really compatible, it was almost a perfect match in terms of interests, the way we express love and affection, values and taste. How could I have not seen the value in this? Is it possible that I had some part in turning him into the semi-abusive psycho he seems like to me now? I've been looking for new partners, and I guess have high expectations and very specific interests. I don't want to give up, obviously, but I'm sort of freaking out. I mean, he has a girlfriend...but she can't possibly measure up right? I'm paranoid that I could be wrong about this, or that he has her wrapped around his little finger so she'll basically do anything for him. She initially seemed so tasteless and boring, like a vessel waiting to be filled. And I really don't think she's that pretty. That's also driving me nuts. It's really none of my business. There has to be someone better out there for me if this is happening right now. I never want him to know how badly he broke my heart, it is so embarrassing.


Clearly, I am not working toward inner peace. Although I have become much less paranoid about my safety. That is progress! Today is Day 3 and I'd like to work on being productive. This is really important a huge roadblock I have not been able to get around.


I started looking for more dates which is amazing. It's been fun looking around and feeling like I have leverage. So I'm hoping I'll enjoy this at least somewhat. Soon I'll be home and it will be so much easier to find a real guy that I really like. I'm going to be the best girlfriend ever, something I never was before. I sound so young, I guess I am but I should have learned this lesson 5 years ago. Oh my god, I just feel so heartbroken today. I miss him so much.


I have conflicting feelings. I love my ex with all my heart, and it's true that our relationship wasn't working because I was traumatized and not taking care of myself. But in the end he wasn't there for me...and he wasn't very careful about building trust in our relationship, he wanted it all to be perfect right away. I guess he got that in his current relationship, now they have been together for quite a while. I'm trying not to feel ridiculous for thinking about him when I know he is in love with someone else. This is what happened, I was really distant for our whole relationship, so then he got fed up with me, and broke up with me. Then, I realized that maybe what we had was actually really special and we tried to give it another shot, but I still didn't get it, and I was acting kind of weird. So was he. And then he cheated on me a bunch of times in our now LDR and each time I never found out unless I conducted an investigation into his actions. So I was even more traumatized, on top of already having PTSD from the abuse from my parents. I then found out even more terrible information about a crime my father committed and didn't help either. I always had one foot out of the relationship because I assumed he would leave me eventually, so I didn't want to fully invest in our reconciliation. Presumably, he felt the same way.


The last few months of the break up were the worst. I was really angry with him but sometimes I'd still reach out and he would respond. The last time we spoke he said he loved me and asked me to be you know, intimate on the phone. I didn't want to, because I knew had totally pulled away from me but of course eventually I gave in. Then in a few weeks, he had a girlfriend. I didn't find out until way after the fact, because I stopped speaking to him and went away on a trip. Once I knew he slept with someone, that was it for me.


We haven't spoken since then. I called him once, for like 30 seconds to ask him to send me my things--my photos and childhood mementos. He didn't send them. That was pretty heartbreaking. Before I called him I sent him a bunch of angry emails--and called him once or twice but hung up when he answered. I left like two messages on his phone about how he peed on me and threw me away, because that's what he did. He'd get me try new sexual things with him and then he just threw me away like some prostitute. Obviously, in retrospect, I shouldn't have sent those emails out or left those messages. It did make it harder for him, but it wasn't worth losing my dignity over and he didn't deserve to know how I was feeling. I was so desperate at point, it was like living in a real nightmare. I often wondered if I was really dead. I had never experienced that before, not knowing if I was dead or alive.


Being alone though, forced me to confront the abuse I endured as a child. That was an even more surreal experience. I don't even know if I can write it down because it will seem like I'm nuts! Basically my way of healing from this was going back in time and tried to figure out what my needs were at the time when I was being abuse and find a way to meet those needs. So I took that abused child away from her abusive home and sent her to like a group home/orphanage where she could find some peace before finding a new family. She wasn't ready for normal human interactions and needed time to just relax. There was an older woman who ran the home and she was very kind. And then she eventually met her new family, a French woman and Mexican man with a young son who came to visit and slowly they built a relationship. They went to therapy together and the girl asked them many questions about love and family, why some men want to have romantic relationships with little girls, and if all men are really like that. Her new father had some really thoughtful answers and he came from a very stable home. Her mother had experienced abuse in childhood so she was very empathetic and understanding. You could see she just wanted to find a way to help a child in the position she had once been in. The girl wasn't ready to move in right away, but eventually she came to understand why living in the group home wasn't enough and was ready to be part of a family. One day she had a gift for them, and her father said, you know, you don't always have to be giving us gifts. And then she came to understand something new about families, and the way families express love not just through gifts but through words and thoughtful gestures. This was an amazing discovery, because it filled a need in her that she could never quite place. She also realized she could act like a kid sometimes and finally, she didn't need to be so grown up all the time.


So that's my third person account of my very complicated healing. I had a bunch of nightmares about my dad and mom fighting, in the way they did when I was young. And another dream about my dad chasing me around the house like he used to, and me ending up in the bathroom where there was a lock on the door, the only safe place in the house. Unfortunately a panel was missing from the top part of door and I could see my fathers bulging eyes popping out his head like they do when he is mad. He asked me why I had blocked up all the pipes in the toilet again, and that he had to hire 50K worth of plumbers just to fix the damage I'd done. (I don't know what that was about, obviously). So together we went into my parent's bedroom, where two men in stained white tee shirts were working on the plumbing. They looked like smokers, the kind that to their best to keep fit and healthy and clean, but still have this sort of dried out, sunken look to their cheeks, almost mummified, smoked. One of the men with short grey and black hair looked at me, as I pleaded with them to hear my case. I was an abused child, and the reason I never helped myself get out of this situation was that I never knew I was being abused. He looked at me sympathetically but since he was working for my parents, he couldn't really pass on any judgment and with his eyes he comforted me. He said, "I don't know about all that, but all I know, is that winter is coming." hahaha that is actually a line from those George RR Martin fantasy books, I haven't even read one in SO long but it popped up in my dream. But it was a very appropriate line given what I am about to go through now.


I don't know why this journal is turning into a dream journal but I'm enjoying writing down my strange and crazy dreams since embarking on this healing process. (It was months ago.) I still can't believe what I went through, I feel at peace with having this crazy secret. I think I can tell my spouse/SO/boyfriend whatever at some point but I no longer feel like I'm bursting at the seams with these horrible poisons I need to expel in every direction.


For me, healing is about joining the rest (or the part) of humanity that doesn't know this kind of pain. I feel like, at some points, I have more in common with torture victims than the average person. That's not really true though. For me, I think health is the point at which I create a beautiful reminder of this painful experience that I can bring out and look at every once in a while, but it has to be something I can contain and control. Sometimes I feel like someone else is in control of my body and it's forcing me to do things I don't want to do. I don't know why 'she' does this. When I think back to my childhood, I'm astonished by how much I was actually just like my parents. I wasn't abusive of course, but, their ideology had me totally controlled. It scares the crap out of me. Sometimes that is what love is to me, a group people sharing pain and isolation. I never ever want to know what that is like ever again. I feel so bad for my parents because they are so ill and I don't think anything but a major hospitalization and proper care could even get through to them. I've met so many people like this because I was a mess. I just don't want anything to do with that anymore.

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More thoughts on Day 3, not really related to child abuse directly but it kind of ties into me being incredibly naive: When I had to come down from the nervous high of not dealing with any of my emotions, one of the hardest things was realizing that there are so many ways in which people can be bad. For some reason women that get pregnant because they're lonely or want to keep a man immediately comes to mind. What a horrible thing to do a child or to a partner. People who hate ugly, or conversely, beautiful people. I wonder if there are people who find my indifference to the suffering of those with less than me appalling. I'm sure there are. Anyway, this post doesn't have any point to it.


Actually maybe it does, I think the reason I wrote this is that I do feel lucky that I'm not like that. Even though I've suffered some pretty horrible things, I'm really not a bad person. I'd like to become a better person regardless. Partly because I believe there is truth in goodness, meaning I want to know reality or whatever this is deeply.


I should also work on enjoying myself again. I think I'm getting there. I'm really scared about my future since nothing is what I expected, my world is more unstable than I want it to be, and I'm not sure how to do the right thing. I really do want to get started on that project about my experience. I don't really want to make it public, but I really think something good could come of this.

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Now I'm making too many posts, but I forgot to mention I think this journal will really help me identify patterns in my thinking, what kind of cycles of depression I experience, as well as reoccurring ideas that I can't seem to get past.


For example, I noticed I've mentioned a few times that I've realized how terrible the world can be. I think it's time for me to stop focusing on that aspect of reality so much. I'm very glad to have come to terms with the fact that I'm going to have to deal with awful people for the rest of my life though. I don't know how far in life you can get if you cling to values you formulated in your early youth.


During the most intensive part of my therapy, I had to sort of grow myself into the adult I am today. This is called inner child work, and it is the most helpful thing I have ever done. I first heard about it when I very fortuitously found a free ride home (this was an multistate ride) from university on craigslist with a woman who was a therapist. She was a very interesting woman, although I don't know she really liked me that much in the end. That sounds weird but I wasn't very likable at that point in my life. Anyway she pointed me in that direction, even though I didn't pursue it at the time, I never forgot what she said to me.


It's incredible how effective this form of therapy is. At this point, I feel like I have healed a lot of my very young self. It's like I'm 10 years old or something right now. Things got really screwed up for me around this time in my life, when the sexual abuse ended and my father moved away with me so that he could receive child support from my mother. He didn't want to take care of me though, he just didn't want to work.


In this part of my chaotic but incredible healing journey I'd like to deal with the needs I had as emerging teenager. My responsibilities have always been skewed. I was expected to have the maturity of an adult at a very young age, expected to be a wife to my father, and in some respects, a husband to my mother--who would take everything out on me. This time in my life should have been about exploring my interests, growing the seeds of adulthood. I have to start from scratch but I really want that.


I've treated myself very tenderly these past few months and I think it's the right thing. I want to coax that terrified young woman into being full of life again. (Third person again.) I need you to know that it's okay. You can come out now. You can study all the things you always wanted to study. It's not too late. You can be excited about all the amazing things you can learn in the world. I know _____ made fun of you and told you that you weren't good enough and that it was too late and that you should just become a social worker or a teacher or something but I know that's not what you want. The world is yours again. Don't let all the hateful people change it. The good parts that you used to see never left. It's still the same world. I know you know that now. You have come a long way in shutting off all the toxic influences in your life. Now, what I would like you to do, is to be selfish.


Be selfish, think about yourself right now. At age 10, 11, 12, 13, it's really important that you have a sense of industry and independence. You've always been a very independent girl. I need you to be that girl for a while, be the young person you didn't really get to be. Without guilt. Don't feel guilty for only thinking about yourself. It's time.

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I wanted to post this from an online source, I think it will be good for me to reference this when I'm not sure how to find relief.

It seems corny but it honestly helps so much, I think many abused people can relate to these suggestions


What nurturing messages can you give your "inner child"?

You can tell your "inner child" that it is OK to:

* Have the freedom to make choices for itself.

* Be "selfish" and do the things you want to do.

* Take the time to do the things you want to do.

* Associate only with the people you want to associate with.

* Accept some people and to reject others.

* Give and accept love from others.

* Allow someone else to care for you.

* Enjoy the fruits of your labor with no guilt feelings.

* Take time to play and have fun each day.

* Not to be so serious, intense and inflexible about life.

* Set limits on how you are going to relate to others.

* Not always "serve" others.

* Accept others "serving" you.

* Be in charge of your life and not let others dictate to you.

* Be honest with others about your thoughts and feelings.

* Take risks and to suffer the positive or negative consequences of such risks.

* Make mistakes, laugh at them and carry on.

* Let your imagination and creativity be set free and to soar with the eagles.

* Cry, hurt and to be in pain as long as you share your feelings; do not repress or suppress them.

* Be angry, to express your anger and to bring your anger to some resolution.

* Make decisions for yourself.

* Be a problem solver and come up with solutions with which everyone may not agree.

* Feel happiness, joy, excitement, pleasure and excitement about living.

* Feel down, blue, sad, anxious, upset and worried, as long as you share your feelings.

* Love and be loved by someone whom you cherish.

* Be your "inner child" and to let it grow up, accept love, share feelings and enjoy pleasure and play.


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