mckarlie

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

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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The Letter

Recently I wrote a blog entry about a letter to my Mother. I was uhmming and ahhing over whether to send it or not. I got so much great feedback from a lot of people and I’m thankful to all of you who contributed, it helped me decide that I was in fact going to send this letter. For anyone who hasn’t read the post, I cut off contact with my family about 3 1/2 years ago as it was extremely toxic. My Mother let a lot of abuse occur while I was growing up, and since I’ve cut off contact I’ve heard a lot of bitching get back to me, basically my Mother and cousin blame me for everything and think i cut them off because I’m essentially crazy and they had no part to play in it.

I sat on the letter (not literally) for a few weeks, not entirely sure why I wasn’t sending it. I knew that I needed to send it, I knew that for my own piece of mind I had to say all these things to my Mother. It basically outlined all the things that happened in the past and how I feel she abandoned me in favour of my abuser, that she chose him over me and edged me out. She had three children to him in three years and essentially started a new family in which I had no place.

I spoke to my therapist about the letter on Tuesday and we discussed why it was still unsent. I figured out it was that it was too angry, as I wrote it I got more and more angry and it was laced with hostility. I don’t want to be mean for the sake of being mean, my reason for writing this is not to make her feel bad but for her to see my side of things and understand some of the damage she has done. I have asked her to stop bitching about me and that we both need closure. So, I wrote another letter. I feel much better about this one and after I write this blog I am going straight to the post office to send it.

This letter still addresses the sexual abuse at the hands of her first husband when I was aged 7-9, the craziness that went on in the student house we lived in after she abruptly left her first husband and how we went from being ‘besties’ to me being insignificant after she met her second husband, Mark. It addresses how she let him repeatedly abuse me and instead of protecting me or giving him a choice between quitting the drink or leaving, she edged me out instead of him.

It addresses how she made me unwelcome in my grandparents home, how when I’ve been at every low point in my life she’s not only not supported me but made me feel isolated and alienated. Because of my Mother making me unwelcome in my home I started moving around all over the place the moment I turned 18, every time I would return to Melbourne she would be more and more hostile to my presence. Her husband would still abuse me and she would claim the next day that he would get help or things would change, but ultimately she decided I was the problem, not him.

So i’ve written this letter, outlining all these things but I’ve done it in a more positive constructive way. I’ve found my voice and said what I have to say to finally take steps I need to take to have closure on my Mother. For so long I have had this gaping hole in my heart where her love should have been, she has been this almost mythical figure in my mind, the source of so much pain and shame and regret for me. In this letter, I removed a lot of the emotion from the first letter and was more factual, outlined things and asked how she could do that to her own child, why she didn’t protect me and what I did to warrant her being so hostile towards me. An example is, my Grandmother paid for her and my three half siblings to come visit in England 3 wees after I’d had my first child. I was only 22 and had a c section with some complications and was extremely sore. She wanted us to travel to northern ireland to see an old family friend so I went with her, she didn’t help me much while we were there so when we flew back to england i told her I wanted to go home so my husband could help me with the baby instead of flying onto paris with her and the kids. She was angry that I didn’t go to paris. When she got home to Australia she bitched to the family that my house was a mess and my kitchen floor wasn’t clean enough. That really hurt, I was 22 and could barely walk and had a newborn baby, of course my house was a mess! I’ll admit it was a mess but not dirty, just messy. Clothes and what not, dishes that didn’t get done immediately, as for the kitchen floor I have no idea what she was talking about. It really hurt that instead of being supportive or understanding that I had post natal depression and other medical issues, she came home and made me seem like a bad mother.

Another example is when we moved back to Australia. We didn’t have much money at the time and she agreed to loan me my the money my nan had left me before it came through and she would keep the money. On top of that money she loaned me about $1000 for airfares for myself my husband and my two children. Now, when I got to Australia and was staying with her, I started working full time within a couple of weeks. I paid her $3oo a week for four weeks, I also paid $200 for my half brother’s camp and nearly $200 for some netball shoes my sister needed. I also found out from my cousin that the money from my Nan was in fact more than my Mother had told me and she had kept more than she was meant to. So in my mind, I had more than paid her back, but it got back to me through my Aunt that my Mother had been going around telling people that I still owed her money. WHY? why did she feel the need to fabricate things like this to make me look bad? All i wanted was a mother who loved me, I’m not saying I’ve never done anything wrong, I’ve never claimed to be perfect, but she was making shit up to make me look bad and make her look like this patient saint. It just hurts so much that according to her, I have to be the bad guy. And even if I have done nothing wrong she’s perfectly willing to make things up to make me look like an arsehole.

So i’ve written all these things to my Mother, I also wished her well. I said it’s clear that our versions of events are so different that we will never be able to have a healthy relationship, that every time I’ve tried to be open and honest with her she has shut me down, every time i’ve asked for details about my real father she has lied to me about him. It’s all in there, but it’s not attacking her, it’s just asking her why and pointing out that I’m not in fact this bad guy. I think because of all the abuse and trauma and shit that’s happened in our history there has to be a bad guy, and for my mother it can’t be her, she’d break into pieces if it was her, so she has to make it me. But I’m hoping that telling her the truth, putting the truth out there and being as positive about it as i can will afford me the healing i so desperately seek.

I know that I wont get instant closure once it’s sent, but i believe it’s a step along the way. An important step. For so long I’ve felt angry that they have been sitting around claiming me to be the bad guy, claiming to be perfectly innocent. But I told her she has to see how toxic the family is, I pointed out why it’s toxic and it’s all true, she will have to face a lot of truths and that makes me feel really good. My Mother lives deep in denial but when she reads this letter, that small part of her that knows what she’s done to me, I know there’s that small part in her i’ve seen it in her eyes now and again, that small part will know the truth.

Thanks to all who have been a part of this journey with me, this blog has meant so much to me and finding people who have been through similar things has made me feel so much more sane than i’ve ever felt. And there’s many people who haven’t been through similar things but still show they care and I’m so thankful for all of you, you truly make such a difference in my life and it’s the first time I’ve ever been strong enough to face all of this. To address the sexual abuse at all, to talk openly about the abuse and neglect and abandonment.

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Holding onto pain from the past

In a previous blog I speculated that I am holding onto the pain of my past because it is the last tie I have to my family, the last thing that I have that connects me to my Mother. Since starting my blog I have dug up repressed memories of sexual abuse that occurred when I was aged between 7-9, I have written about the physical mental and emotional abuse that went on from age 11-25, I have written about the feelings of betrayal and abandonment I have towards my Mother because not only did she let these things happen to me but she chose the abuser over me and edged me out of her family, she had three children with him within three years and effectively started a new family in which I had no place, I was too difficult and didn’t fit her picture perfect family unit anymore.

My Mother and I were very close before she met her two husbands, we lived on and off with my Grandparents but she treated me very much like a best friend. She married a man out of the blue when I was 7, it wasn’t a happy household and he took great advantage of me when my Mother was working long hours. Somehow she met a much younger man and we moved in with him, she didn’t explain anything to me, we just left one day after a ballet class. I’m still not sure what she knows of the abuse that happened in that house, but I’ve assumed she knows something…based on how she left, but it’s entirely possible she has no idea and she left because she was unhappy in the marriage and had found a new boyfriend.

After her boyfriend left for a job on an island off the north coast of australia, she and I became best friends again. There was a revolving door of men she would date but no one stuck around too long. It was she and I, she would often pull me out of school and we would go on little adventures, staying at beach side cabins mainly.

She left her well paying high stress job for a part time job at the local video store, I think her depression had gotten out of hand and she needed less responsibility. She met a tradesman who was working on the video store and within a few months they were practically living together. He had a penchant for excessive drinking, and she started to ignore me in favour of her new man.

Within six months of meeting she fell pregnant to this man, and he was actively abusing me. I was a chubby teen and he would call me a fat fuck and throw me around, then things got more intense and the verbal and physical abuse escalated. She would yell at him to stop and then tell me the next day things would change, but they never did, and I ended up moving in with my grandparents. They followed a little while after as he would piss all their money up a wall, he drank a great deal and they just didn’t have the money to pay for rent and expenses.

When I started writing my blog I started healing, facing these issues head on was incredibly liberating, but I fear I went too far too quickly, I think I delved too far down.

I cut my family off a few years ago, they are incredibly passive aggressive, always nasty behind each others backs and bitching about each other but then nice to each others faces, my Mother and I always had a strained relationship and my cousin who i grew up with more as a sister always turned our past pain into a competition, discounting my trauma as an exaggeration. I’ve heard through mutual friends and what not, that they all think I’m in the wrong and they did nothing wrong, that I simply went ‘off my head’ and stopped seeing them all. This has bothered me greatly for the few years it’s been since I have seen them. So I decided to write a letter to my Mother, outlining the facts of the past and what i felt actually happened, my mother is a perpetual victim, nothing that ever happens is her fault, it’s always someone or something happening TO her, she never accepts blame or fault. So i wrote this four page letter telling her how it harmed me that not only did she let me be abused for years but she let me down whenever i needed her. that every time in my life when i hit rock bottom and needed her, not only was she not there but she made me feel unwelcome and crazy. An example is when I was in an abusive relationship in new zealand and i managed to sell a painting and get my fare back to australia, i turned up on the doorstep of my grandparents home, my grandparents had always made me welcome there, but the look on her face when she saw me, oh my. She made it clear that i wasn’t welcome there, that i could only stay briefly and had to find somewhere else. I mean, it wasn’t even her house, I had just been through a really traumatic experience and instead of offering me any form of comfort, she made me feel like an absolute piece of shit. Due to this, I kept moving around, relationship after relationship, i would hang onto my partner and often live with them prematurely because i couldn’t live in the family home without causing my mother grief because she knew her husband would get drunk and abuse me, and she’d let it happen, instead of holding him accountable for this she forced me out.

I thought writing this letter would be cathartic, but it’s been over a week and it remains unsent. I want to send it, I want to send it and have her know what she’s done and move on. But after I wrote it i spiraled into a depression that caused me to not write or blog for a week. I’ve barely seen friends, i’ve just been ‘functioning’ not interacting or really living or creating, just being.

Now i wonder if the letter is a mistake, or if it was just traumatic to face and write down all the things she’d done and let happen to me. Will i find peace in sending it to her and closing the chapter? Will it in fact close the chapter? I’m so unsure.

I know that i will never have a relationship with this woman if she doesn’t change dramatically, and honestly i can’t see it happening. So it’s not like i’m holding out hope of a reconciliation. She contacted me just before christmas via facebook and told me she missed her family and wanted to put things back together, we sent a few messages back and forth, I said that i had made some mistakes and there were things i would do differently, and instead of saying sorry or admitting any fault of her own, she said ‘yes you have, i guess i could have been a better role model’. I told her it wasn’t the role model factor that was the issue, and that if we were to have a relationship it had to be positive, that i couldn’t handle the backstabbing and the toxicity of the way the family interacted. She ignored this, and on christmas day sent a message saying ‘merry christmas, your sister will drop some presents by for the girls’ – that was it. It broke my heart all over again.

So, if anyone has had a similar experience with moving past things then let me know. A lot of people say just let go, and believe me i’ve tried, but i need her to know my side of the story, i need her to feel some kind of responsibility, or at least read the letter and know that I think she should feel some kind of responsibility. I’m a grown woman who can barely function most of the time and it’s because of the broken way i grew up. I take responsibility for my mistakes, of which i’ve made many, but now i’m just trying to find some peace.

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Little Tree

I sway in the wind like a limp little tree

Watching as the world passes by me

I sink my roots deep down in the ground

Searching for things that cannot be found

Searching for something to heal my pained mind

But a limp little tree, such things cannot find

I wave around for someone to see me

I stretch out wide and high in futility

Silently screaming for someone to hear

And maybe plant a little tree somewhere near

It’s been winter for a thousand days

After a while you run out of ways

To find the things you need

To find the food to feed

But someone came and watered me

I burst with life and strength instantly

I’m still just a limp, little tree

But now I have some fight in me

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Burn it down

I am a puzzle with pieces askew

I am a knot that you cannot undo

I am the voice you hear in your bed

You are the void that creeps in my head

I was a child when you broke my bones

I was a child when you left me alone

I was a child when you threw me away

I was a child with no words I could say

Now I am grown I don’t fit your mold

Now I am grown I am strong I am bold

I will not wither and wilt under your will

You will not take from me your fill

You did your damage long ago

I’m full of secrets no one knows

Crimes that you have committed

Tales you’ve never ever admitted

But now I have my own loud voice

And with it I have found my choice

I will not hide and I will not be quiet

I will burn it all down, I will start a riot

Your house of lies you carefully build

Your dishonest palace you carefully filled

With perfect pictures and memories fair

You will not find me anywhere there

I live out here in light and truth

And while you may have taken my youth

You cannot touch me on this day

For I have found my own damn way

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Dear Mum, this one’s on you

A Mother is a lovely creature blessed with warmth and heart

A Mother is the person who loves you from the start

They’re there for you when you’re sick or down

And in your darkest moments can always be found

It’s an endless love that’s given, from a Mother to a child

From the moment she holds you in her arms a Mother is beguiled

True love emanates from a Mother’s every pore

Just seeing her baby happy, she couldn’t ask for more

So what happens when a Mother lets harm come to her child

What happens when a Mother finds her love grow colder, mild

What happens when a mother cares more for getting laid

Than if her child goes to school or if the bills are paid

What happens when a Mother lets her boyfriend beat you blue

And when a Mother stays silent and he puts his fingers inside of you

From what I understand, a hole forms deep inside

You try to fill it with boys and drugs but the hole keeps growing wide

You feel as though you’re broken, you’re damaged underneath

You think that you deserve it when he breaks your jaw and teeth

You accept that you are worthless, that you were born this way

And with that comes a pain that makes it hard to go on another day

But Mother I have realized that the fault does not lie with me

You knew everything that was happening but you chose not to see

So yes now I AM angry and I can’t look upon your face

For I am still trying to fill the hole your love left in it’s place

I’m not the one who fucked up Mum, I’m not the bad one here

So don’t pretend it’s my fault that I am nowhere near

 

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To make a place that’s home

It makes me sad to see others hurting and alone

I wish I could make you believe it’s ok, you don’t have to do it on your own

But we all build walls around us, we think it keeps us safe

But walls also keep things in and others out, it’s such a waste

We miss many opportunities to connect with one another

You don’t have to be born of blood to be a sister or a brother

If we share our stories unburden our pain

Each others trust and friendship we gain

But walls are all around us, keep us tightly locked away

We whittle away the years, avoiding what we dare not say

So maybe it’s something to consider, something of which to think

Next time you’re feeling all alone and desperate, on the brink

Pull down a few bricks and male a hole for others to peek through

Then we can really help each other, so let the world see you

I know it takes a little trust and sometimes trust is sparse

But we have more in common than you think, all you have to do is ask

There’s no point feeling isolated, feeling all alone

When we can help each other, to make a place that’s home

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The departure of romance

She watches him while he sleeps

My love is mine to keep

If he left I don’t know what I’d do

But it’s ok, my love is true

Months go by, she watches him less

I love my man, I try my best

There’s just the odd thing here ‘n there

But it’s ok it’s enough to bear

Months go by she doesn’t watch at all

But so deeply in love did both of them fall

He used to make her stomach jump

She’d see his face her heart would pump

Faster and faster just seeing him

But now those feelings are growing dim

He didn’t call me once today

I guess he just has nothing to say

She decides to just keep silent

No need for some big argument

Months go by now she can’t stand

The little details of this man

The noise he makes while he eats

Makes me want to tear and beat

I want to slap across his face

When did romance leave this place

They start to argue, constant fights

They’re happening now, every night

She’s had enough she screams and shouts

And of the house she throws her man out

Months go by, she starts to cry

She realizes she forgot to try

She was still in love, it just changed

Romance settled and she became enraged

She thought that less attention meant he didn’t really care

But love was still present just less time was there to spare

Now she’s filled with regret

Over lost love does she fret

She wishes she had let things go

Oh all the things she wishes she’d known

But these mistakes we all must make

True love is patience, give and take

 

 

 

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