I Have A New Respect For Feelings


I’ve been re-reading a fantasy series that I really enjoyed when I came across a passage that triggered me rather badly. The heroine of the series had been sexually assaulted (the series handles it in a unique way that made it readable for me). There comes a point when the anti-hero/kind of good guy is trying to get her to come back to herself as her memories of her entire life have been lost. He says ‘I’m here. It’s safe to remember….’ I read that sentence the first time I read these books and felt…something. This time it hit me harder. I felt tears coming so I went to my bathroom (again) and sat in the dark (again) and cried (again).

The pain seemed to come from the words: I’m here, it’s safe to remember. That hurt, a lot. I didn’t understand why it hurt though.

I was on my hands and knees in the dark crying, trying to figure it out and I saw my grandmother in my mind. At first I thought that my mind was going to bring up her death and that’s why I was crying but I don’t think that’s what it was.

I was looking at her from a shorter perspective. I could see her in her kitchen and it was a mixture of some very recent dreams I’ve had, and actual fact. She was in the kitchen a lot, making all kinds of things.

But when I saw her, it was like I was seeing her in the distant past when I was a child, not as I was when she died. The perspective stayed put and I stayed seeing her in the kitchen. The word safe was tied directly to her and it was NOT SAFE. But it’s like the thought was also from the past. And I just kept crying and crying but all I saw was her. All I could think of was that it wasn’t safe. I thought: she wasn’t there to protect us. And that hurt too. It really hurt. Those thoughts revolved in my head until I stopped crying. I don’t think it occurred to me until now that I could have been holding a secret that I didn’t feel like I could tell my grandmother. That threw my world off kilter because my grandmother was my everything and very definition of safety. But maybe she wasn’t…not in this case and that would have been absolutely terrible for a kid.

I’m sure that my therapist would call this a feeling memory. Previously I’ve kind of ignored these “memories” (in quotes to distinguish them from visual memory). I have a thing with feelings. I don’t like showing them and I mentally ridicule others who show what I consider weakness (not here, this is a different situation than real life).

I would demean myself for showing such a weakness as crying and the idea of feeling memories made me roll my eyes. I thought it was hippy-loving, zen crap and it didn’t fit with my regimen of strict logic and visual facts.

I don’t feel that way anymore. Tonight I felt something that was real and it came from somewhere real, even if I don’t understand all of it yet. I think that it was telling me how I felt back then. I need to acknowledge it. And let me tell you something: feelings are scary. I think that’s why those who have been abused tend to repress them.

Think about it. Feelings define whatever we are going through. It tells us if something is a happy occasion or a sad one. If you take an event that would normally be traumatic but you take all the emotion out of it, it’s just people doing things. But if you add in severe fright, overwhelming helplessness and deep, soul-rending sadness…well now you’ve got something traumatic.

I think that remembering the feelings may actually be the hardest part and the feelings the most difficult to bring up.

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About CimmarianInk

Abuse Survivor Diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) also known as Multiple Personalities
This entry was posted in Child Molestation, DID, dissociation, dissociative identity disorder, Family Relationships, Incest, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, Sexual Abuse, Trauma and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to I Have A New Respect For Feelings

  1. ~meredith says:

    The hard part ( for me ) is when meaning has already been assigned to feelings… and they’re not rightly aligned, and I don’t know quite understand that the alignment is skewed because I still believe I created the meaning, myself… and I think wtf?

  2. ~meredith says:

    Good post.

  3. ~meredith says:

    Thinking of you this winter day.
    My best… Meredith

  4. needtoknow says:

    I just started reading your blog today. I was doing a search on something I have been experiencing and came across some of your posts from a few years ago. Then I came across this one which is unrelated to my original search but really hit home for me. My reaction (or… some part’s… but that’s also mine) was stronger than I would have expected actually (hmmm… I should make a note of that somewhere. I am pretty good about completely detaching from those strong reactions later).
    I have been in therapy for a long time and am in a much better place in my life than I have ever been (maybe it’s not saying too much with that… I managed to completely waste a number of years!), and I have decided (with my awesome therapist) to undergo a more focused chunk of trauma work in therapy. We started prepping for it, and I have been anxious to start and even more anxious *about* starting. The safety thing is tough. My big-time destructive behaviors are all under control now; but while I may be remaining safe, the feeling of safety is another thing entirely. My grandmother was my closest friend and ally. Up until her death a little over four years ago, we stayed the best of friends. We related to each other and understood each other in ways neither of us did with my mother (her daughter) who is temperamentally VERY different from either of us. My image of my grandmother flipped in some ways when she died because it was such a rough experience for me due to the manner of her death and my being with her as she was dying. It is so hard to have the person you love most in the world become such a source of pain. So I think I understand where you are coming from with the image of your grandmother sometimes being a painful one.
    I have similar issues with putting the pieces of my possible? (Ugh… it is hard for me to not make disclaimers when talking about this) abuse history together… believing that the images are based in reality and not thinking that I am completely full of shit. But one of my biggest fears beyond those details is that, if this is indeed real, my grandmother might have been in a position to know or do something. I am afraid my feelings about her might change somewhat… and I don’t know if I could stand that.
    Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I think your blog is wonderful and that I greatly admire your honesty and willingness to explore the sometimes-scary places of your own mind. I hope to read more and to be around. Thank you for this.
    Best,
    T

    • CimmarianInk says:

      Hi needtoknow, I didn’t get notification of your comment until now so welcome to the blog. I’m glad that you had the experience of having a grandmother who was so important. It’s a good thing. My therapist has tried to explain how different things were in the past when it came to abuse and I’m trying to accept that. Not easy.

      I’m still lacking cohesive memories so I have no idea what she did or didn’t do. Hopefully I’ll remember and not lose her again in the process. I wish the same for you and I hope that your trauma work helps you to heal.

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