mckarlie

I have happiness in my heart and a thorn in my soul

Holy child abuse

So another “celebrity” has been found out as a child abuser. Recently there has been Rolf Harris, Jimmy Saville, a couple of actors off Coronation Street, the Dad from Hey Dad, and now the Pastor Dad Stephen Collins from 7th Heaven. Yes it’s a crap show, none of the aforementioned men have the most incredible body of work, but for some reason this last one has pissed me off. Yes, it’s because I was abused as a child, and because I have children no doubt.

It’s been somewhat of a joke for a long time now that there are high instances of child abuse amongst Priests but can we now add actors and entertainers to that list? Why is there an apparent flourishing of sex offenders emerging from the entertainment sector?

I watched Hey Dad and 7th Heaven when I was younger and felt some affection for these men. I grew up without a Dad and the men that stepped into the Fatherly role in my life were not good experiences, so i would watch these shows and see these “Dads” and I would feel genuine affection for these fictional characters that were these great loving Fathers.

So sure, these men have an illness right? And we have to be understanding of other people’s mental illness’ but when a person’s mental illness causes them to act out in a way that destroys the lives of children, is understanding really what we have to be? Yes, my mental illness causes me distress, it has caused distress to those closest to me, but when i have a bipolar spending spree or whatever else i may do because i’m bipolar, it doesn’t destroy another person’s life. I suppose at the end of the day i do have sympathy for anyone out there who has urges towards children and is fighting them, but for anyone who has actually acted upon said urges, cannon fodder as far as i’m concerned.

Yep, cannon fodder. I know i should have respect for all life but i don’t. If you choose to abuse a child you lose your rights as far as i’m concerned, and the fact that i feel so coldly towards these people does make me question my morality somewhat, but it is what it is. I have so much love and respect for humanity, and i also fear for it at times, but i just can’t feel bad for anyone who acts upon these urges, it just does SO much damage to the victims.

Peace xo

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Guilt

I was abused sexually/emotionally as a young child by my Mother’s first husband. As a teen I was abused physically/emotionally by my Mother’s second husband. For years I would find, whenever referencing any of the abuse, that I would always be sure to mention my part in it. For instance, I would say ‘yes my Stepfather physically abused me, but I was an incredibly difficult teenager’ or ‘he would beat me, but then I was such a nightmare when I was younger’, there was always the default reaction of mentioning how terrible I was. For most of my life I genuinely believed that I was an active contributor to my abuse, that essentially I deserved it. I have spent so many hours of my life reeling in guilt, guilt over shitty things I have done to people, guilt over shitty things people have done to me just bathing in it and letting it swallow me up. When I was younger I would go to bed and lay there in the dark for hours thinking about details of things I have done to people, like running out on ex boyfriends or being a dick to a friend or whatever, any mistakes I have made have been played out in my mind over and over and I have let it cause so much anxiety it’s incredible.

A few years ago I did therapy and actually made some progress, the therapist was talking to me about my children and asked me if there is anything my children could do that would warrant me hurting them physically as a response and I said no of course not, and through this I realized that I was a child when my abuse occurred, and badly behaved or not there is no way, as a child, I could have actually warranted my own abuse. I know it may sound simple to most but for me it was a revelation, I started to let go of so much guilt and anxiety and began seeing things perhaps a little closer to reality.

The fact of it is that all of us do shitty things sometimes, whether you’re bipolar or not, whether you’re depressed or schizophrenic or any number of things, every human being has done shitty things to another human being. It’s just life, we all screw up and make mistakes. What I tell my children about mistakes is that everybody makes them, it’s ok to makes mistakes so long as you learn from them and do your best not to repeat the same mistakes. I tell them this often, so why can’t I take my own advice eh? Why do some of us hold ourselves to this impossible standard of human behaviour where we feel like we’re letting the entire world down if we step out of line? The fact is, the entire world really doesn’t care about our trivial screw ups and we need to cut ourselves some slack.

So, I guess I just need to remind myself that it’s ok to make mistakes, I just need to make sure I learn from my errors wherever possible and try not to repeat poor behaviour. Beyond that I need to relax and focus on healing, when all your energy goes into feeling shitty about yourself you really can’t heal any of the past trauma that’s happened, but now, I can begin.

Peace xo

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Assigning blame

I’m not sure if it was growing up being told I was shit, growing up being treated like I was shit, the abuse, the bipolar, who knows…but every time something would go wrong with a friend I would always spiral a little. Firstly I would over-analyze the crap out of it all, mulling every details over in my head. It’s a given that I blamed myself entirely for every interaction I would have that was in any way negative. I was always sensitive to rejection in any form, in fact most of my twenties was spent obtaining and then evacuating affection before I could be rejected, convinced it was inevitable I always got in first.

Now, I’m slowly learning to see things in a more rational sense. When I can see full well that I have done absolutely nothing to warrant negative feelings towards me, I’m becoming more indifferent and accepting that everyone acts like a douche sometimes, and sometimes it has nothing to do with me. It’s always been hard to decide what is reasonable behavior and what is *my disease*, sometimes I feel like an alien trying to act like a human, not quite sure what is acceptable expectations and so on, and what are not.

I think a lot of us go directly to blaming ourselves, it’s how we’ve been conditioned either through abuse, PTSD, or whatever mental illness we may have. The older I get the more I’m learning to cut myself a break, I don’t expect my beautiful kids to be perfect I teach them to just try their best, so in teaching them that nobody is perfect, how could I possibly expect myself to be perfect?

We go through this cycle of blaming ourselves, feeling like shit, writhing in guilt, and over and over again. Let’s just chill out, if it’s our fault then say sorry or make a gesture to fix things, if it’s not our fault then accept that sometimes people act stupidly and sometimes it truly has nothing to do with us, it just is. Assign blame only where it should be assigned and even then, be careful, blame is a hazardous thing when dealt with too often, like most negative things.

So hopefully I will continue to relax and learn what is worth the worry and that most things truly aren’t worth the worry. Let’s cut ourselves a break hey people!

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My own little miracle has happened

I know some people know the story of this, but to give a brief run down: I haven’t seen my Mother in years, we had a falling out and I felt really disappointed by her because she let a lot of bad stuff happen to me when I was a kid and then alienated me from her ‘new’ family. She met my second stepfather when I was about 10, great things hadn’t happened with the first, she dated a fair bit between stepfathers but then she met Mark and within a few months we were spending every weekend with him as he lived a fair way away and didn’t drive, we would pick him up every friday and then drive him home sunday nights.

My stepfather has a bit of a jekyll/hyde situation happening. When he is sober he is a quiet man, quite respectful and would help anyone with anything, when he’s drunk he’s a feral nightmare, and he drinks every day. He singled me out often and we would have violent fights, he would knock me around and verbally attack me. It wasn’t super fun.

I realized through therapy a couple of years ago that I didn’t deserve this treatment, for years I had made excuses for my abusers, saying I was a difficult teen and that I was a nightmare to deal with, but during therapy I realized that no child deserves abuse and I matter, that even if  I was difficult it didn’t make the abuse ok. After this, I got pretty pissed off at my Mum. I didn’t really blame my Stepfather, he has a disease and will never stop drinking, he has issues and I can’t hate him for having a disease, like I said it’s confusing but he’s a nice guy when he’s sober so it makes things with him complicated. However, I felt my Mother had a duty of care and she had failed me terribly, so I got mad at her.

Fast forward to a few months ago, I had heard bits and bob through mutual friend and the like and basically my family were claiming that I was crazy for just cutting them all off and they were all innocent bystanders while I cut them out of my life. So I wrote my Mother a letter, the first one I wrote I sat on for a few weeks not sending it, then my therapist helped me realize I hadn’t sent it because it was too angry, and I realized I didn’t need to be angry at her I just needed to ask why, and how she could let her child be abused and then force me out of her family. I felt abandoned by her and then as an adult, I felt that I could never do anything good enough. (fot perspective she visited us in england 3 weeks after my daughter was born by c section and then came home telling people my toilet wasn’t clean enough and i didn’t sweet the kitchen floors enough, i mean shit i could barely walk after complications from the csection but by all means bitch about my floors lol)

So I wrote this letter saying how sad it made me and how all I ever wanted was a mum who loved me and had my back. How disappointed that I was that she let me get abused and instead of standing up for me she edged me out of my family because she chose my abusive stepfather over me.

Fast forward to this week. Part of my bipolar is that I can spend without thinking sometimes, and with christmas coming I went and got presents when i really should have waited for our next pay and now i’ve left us quite short on funds for the next couple of weeks. My Mother called me at the start of the week to ask how I Was doing and i told her about how short i am and how it’s just annoying when the bipolar sets in and i bust my budget. so out of nowhere she turns up at my house with a bunch of groceries for my girls and she gave me a tearful, genuinely beautiful apology for the way she has treated me and the things he let happen. I think the groceries were a guise, an excuse to come, but i think the gesture was sweet. I still have money to get us food but i wont say no to a few snacky things for the kids.

So here we are, both of us in tears, her finally acknowledging how much she’d hurt me and APOLOGIZING! i couldn’t believe it. I’ve never actually wanted to bear a grudge I just couldn’t let go of the pain that was deep inside me. I was maddened by my family claiming i was the one in the wrong and not accepting any responsibility, but finally we are moving forward. I just needed her to say sorry and actually mean it, and she really does. We have spoken a few times this week and things are going well, we both realize that things aren’t going to instantly be just ok, that we need to talk things out and work on them before we can have a mother daugher relationship, but we are on our way and i’m both surprised and deeply deeply happy that things have turned around. She’s been really supportive and understanding of my bipolar and how it can cause me to act, she has after all suffered depression herself for most of her life, so we have been bonding over that.

She wants to bring more groceries which I have told her is unnecessary but I think the gesture is her trying to make amends and I can understand that, it’ coming from a good place so I’m going to let her feel like she’s helping because it will make her feel important like she’s helping me, and i can tell she’s truly sorry and ‘helping’ me in her mind makes her feel a bit better.

I didn’t think my Mother and I would be able to arrive on the same page but with complete honesty and a bit of time to heal old wounds, we are working on the future and how we can move forward. I feel like the hole inside me is slowly filling up with love and good things instead of despair and emptiness, it’s such a lovely feeling. We have a long way to go, but if we can do it then anyone can.W

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Do you feel like life owes you?

My upbringing was a bit of a clusterfuck. Not the worst of stories but not the best. Half of the time I was with my Mother, she had me when she was 20, my father ran off, apparently he was a drug addled sociopath. The other half of the time I was with my Grandparents, religious, consistent, steady folk who would do almost anything for me and loved me immensely. My Mother treated me more as a best friend, a handy accessory to keep her from being lonely. I was a glorified puppy, taught to do tricks in front of her friends, spell big words and cook my own breakfast at 7. Her first husband molested me when I was very young, her second husband beat on me and called me every name under the sun, she then abandoned me effectively, so I have my lion’s share of issues.

I know that the reason I have a mental illness is partly because I inherited it from my Mother and partly because when a child grows up without feeling safe, their brain doesn’t form as it should. When a child has to watch every word and every action with dire consequence, synapses don’t form as they should.

In my twenties I formed the opinion that I deserved what happened to me when I was younger, I made excuses for my abusers such as ‘i was a difficult teenager’ and ‘i was out of control’. In my late twenties I saw a therapist who really got me, and we made some great progress before I stopped seeing him randomly (as I tend to do with a lot of things). He got me to see that no matter how badly behaved a child may be, they NEVER deserve abuse, and the abuse was probably the reason I acted out in the first place. This lead me to a place of anger, I had had this anger throughout all of my twenties, but it had been directed at the general populous, but now, now it was directed specifically at my Mother. Why not her husband? Well, he’s an alcoholic, he has a rampant disease, and while his actions shouldn’t be excused, the duty of care was squarely on my Mother’s plate.

So throughout my twenties I was angry, and this made me act irrationally, with little thought of consequence. I felt like I’d been dealt a shit hand and everyone could go and fuck off. I was only concerned with kindness when it concerned my inner circle, which was ever changing (as so happens with us bipolar folk) but I was fiercely caring of those I chose to be my inner circle and felt great loss when either they moved on or I ran away, I often ran away from people in anticipation of my perceived rejection forthcoming.

Since my revelation that it wasn’t my fault I’ve started caring much more about people in general, but I still feel like I got a raw deal. I see families, hanging out together and looking after each other and my soul feels empty, I feel so cheated. I see people with loads of money and fancy things who seem together and beautiful and I feel envious, sure I have my own little family and boy are my kids amazing, my man is a good man and i’m not hideous looking or anything like that, but i see these beautiful fancy people and feel entitled to their life. On the odd occasion I buy a powerball ticket, part of me secretly believes I deserve to win more than some people because of the shitty life I had as a child, ha! I’m serious, this is what goes on inside my head.

I think some of us with PTSD, bipolar, trauma, whatever it may be, I think we can often get concerned with what we don’t have instead of focusing on what we DO. I have enough money to pay my bills and feed my family and even go on the occasional holiday, which is more than a lot of people can say. I have a steady relatively drama free relationship with a man i love, i have two amazing children who love me dearly and are amazing people, yet i still often get caught up in what i don’t have, what i deserve etc

Even if you don’t have the things I have, you have the things YOU have. Each person is different, but just the fact that we made it through these things is a beautiful thing, there are so many people out there who don’t make it through. There are kids who don’t get food every day, there are kids out there being beaten bloody right now and no one cares about them, there are so many shitty things happening in the world at any given moment that we have to take pause and put things into perspective, yes what i went through was bad but by no means do i have the monopoly on pain, by no means is my pain more important than anyone else’s and when I start feeling sorry for myself and feeling entitled, I need to remember those things.

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Standing Tall

I fall down over and over again

I may wither a little but I will not bend

Haunted by those who trespassed on me

Torn apart by their asserted depravity

I will not become a story of ill

They leave me my scars but also my will

Even when I am fallen and weak

Moments of pain and feelings so bleak

I hold on to know I will make it alright

I know I will again regain my true fight

And now the fight, it stirs in me

Declaring out loud, what i shall not be

Your victim yes, your trophy never

Healing is my passion’s endeavour

Round and round again I know

But one thing with certainty do I know

I may fall but I will always get up

I will decide when enough is enough

They things they took I now regain

As I wade my way through my past of pain

They chewed me up and spit me out

But here I stand, proud and stout

Together I will piece my puzzle again

They will be the ones to break and bend

 

 

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In the mud

Stick in the mud, don’t bend or you’ll break

Standing still, no steps can you make

Held by the past and all that it holds

Frozen by stories you’ve kept untold

You watch as the world passes you by

You accept failure before you try

So scared to bend in case you break

Not yet sure of what steps you would take

Standing still is fine for a while

It’s inch by inch not mile by mile

Take just one thing that’s caused you pain

One thing for which you’ve worn the blame

Let it go and watch it leave

And slowly you will feel some ease

Little by little, piece by piece

You will slowly feel some ease

Dig deep down, you’ll find in there

The strength to lay your demons bare

Face the past, bring on the rain

To wash away that muddy pain

And free yourself from standing by

Just begin and you’ve already tried

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Rebuilding

Piece by piece and bit by bit

I will dig myself out of this pit

When hope has gone and all is bleak

When I feel hollow, fragile and weak

I try to find the smallest spark

To guide me through the darkest dark

When every moment hurts to be

When you close your eyes you see depravity

You’re taken back again and again

To when you originally felt the pain

Search for the spark and hold onto light

It isn’t now but it will be alright

Sometimes all you can manage to do

Is tread water just to make it through

But once you’re through and find your fight

Hold on and make the wrong things right

I know I still have a long road ahead

But I am focused in my stead

I don’t want to be defined by the past

The scars of which will always last

But the wounds themselves with someday heal

I will learn how to live and how to deal

 

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Picking at repressed memories

I’ve found myself in a crisis this last week, and it’s mainly because i picked the proverbial scab of repressed memories and didn’t take the care necessary when doing such a thing.

One of the problems of being bipolar is you sometimes feel like you can take on the world, invincible. This is when you are ‘up’ of course, when you’re down it’s a whole different story.

For a very long time I knew that ‘bad things’ had happened when my Mother was married to her first husband, but that’s as far as I would let myself think about it. I wouldn’t identify with sexual assault victims, I didn’t class myself as a victim of sexual assault, I didn’t recall the details of what had happened, I just knew that something went on and that I didn’t want to know about it.

Recently when I started writing, a poem pretty much fell out of me, it was a detailed account of one of the visits my ex Stepfather paid to my room as a child. At first I felt strangely numb then empowered, I was slightly manic at the time I wrote it and decided to confront the whole thing head on, believing it would define me as strong.

I would urge anyone considering such things to do so with great caution, it’s true that we have to eventually deal with any repressed issues if we’re going to gain happiness but do so carefully. I decided I was super human and not only recalled all of the abuse but I wrote a letter to my Mother talking about it, wrote poems about it, thought about the details at great length, analyzed it all and then SNAP, it overwhelmed me and I spiraled out of control and wound up in the hospital on suicide watch.

I’m still feeling pretty weak, leaving the house is hard at the moment and I feel kind of empty and sad, but I’m piecing myself back together. The flashbacks are pretty intense and at the moment it’s just a matter of distracting myself when they happen, but with each day I get a little stronger than what I was a week ago and I feel a little more able to deal with what happened to me and the memories that are drowning my brain.

So for anyone dealing with similar issues, do tread carefully. Know your limits and be careful not to dig too far too fast, it’s a very brave thing to confront your issues so don’t get carried away like I did, thinking the more you do the faster you do it the better a person you are, it just doesn’t work like that and you will end up out of your depth and in trouble. The way I felt when I went to the hospital last week is something I wouldn’t wish upon any person, even those who have harmed me in the past, I was desperately and devastated and barely tethered to my sanity, each moment of being hurt, and it was through my own actions that it happened.

I’m not beating myself up for what I did, I’ve learned my lesson and am sharing it in hope that anyone else currently going through this kind of thing can learn from it too. Dealing with it at all makes you strong, don’t try to rush ahead of where you are, go slowly and remember that you are the victim, these things were done to you and you did nothing to deserve it.

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Stained Memories

I fell down and grazed my knee

Saw my beating heart in front of me

It was black in parts and broken

From holding onto pain unspoken

I took a shovel and started to dig

I couldn’t have known what I’d find be so big

And once I remembered just a little bit

Once I opened the door just a tiny slit

All the darkness came flooding through

All of my memories, painful and true

The things that man did to me

When I was a small human unable to see

The damage being done to me

Would later cause insanity

But I won’t let this be my plight

I may be down but I will fight

I still have much life left in me

I wont let him define what I am to be

The flashes haunt me every step

In healing I am not adept

But I will somehow find a way

And I will somehow reach the day

When the memories are faded and gone

And I don’t feel small and all alone

I will beat this pain in me

I will pass these memories

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