The second thing has to do with anyone being behind me where I cannot see them, watch them, or where they have the ability to sneak up on me and Gods forbid whisper something in my ear. I somehow managed to refrain from laying out a co-worker back in September for doing that to me. That is progress, I guess. I feel safe with no-one being behind me for an extended period of time if I know them well nor for a short period of time (less than a minute) if I do not know them well. I feel unsafe and I get tense so hard and so quickly that I get pain from the tension. (Pain that I do not get to actually feel until hours later, sometimes days. But I've been working on that dissociation thing.) So, no-one can be behind me for more than a minute without me watching them or I am a wreck. Except for one person, that is. Yes. Again.
Somewhere near mid-February I wrote a post with the following as the first paragraph: "There are Two Things that are remnants from the childhood sexual abuse that are apparently never going to go away. Part of my current Work will be to find a way to accept them and live with them rather than be in constant battle with them that leaves me exhausted and unchanged. That will be a Good Thing one would suppose, though I have my doubts."
I would love to tell you I have done all of that, but what is the point of an obvious lie? "Find a way to accept them" was an interesting way for me to put it. I suppose I have done that in a sense. I have accepted that they will always be there. Instead of kicking and screaming at them I have resigned myself to their existence. Resignation is a form of acceptance and I hope that such leads to a freedom from the associated emotional upheaval.
Warning: details of particular incidents of abuse, not graphic, but not for those easily triggered.
The sneaking up behind or being behind me without my being able to watch your every move, eye blink, and intake of breath comes from more than one source (which may be why it holds such sway even today). Part was the threat/promise of being killed while I slept. I do not remember how long that went on, but I learned to sleep lightly I can assure you. I wasn't old/mature/knowledgeable enough to understand that it was the alcohol and bouts of mental illness that caused the threats over any actual chance of bodily harm to me. What I learned is that it was not safe to fall asleep in my own bed. I later learned to sleep more deeply as long as there was no noise around me and the door was open.
Marriage changed that. The mate changed that. For various reasons he cannot sleep without white noise and the door must be shut due to pets (and in earlier years the intrusion of children). We have argued about it. I have lost near every time. I can have the "no white noise" if I wish for my husband to sleep in a different room. I do not wish for that. The marginal safety of having him next to me is wiped away by the existence of that which prevents me from hearing someone sneaking up to kill me in my sleep. As illogical and insane as it feels to type out those words is as unsafe as I feel when I cannot hear someone behind me or cannot hear house noises as I drift off to sleep. I've rarely slept deeply or soundly for the 20 years of my marriage. My past explains the nightmares and it explains my reason for blocking my dreams. Every night I attempt to convince myself that it is safe to go to sleep. Every night I do sleep. Never do I feel safe doing so. While awake I am hyper aware of people behind me and because of this hyper awareness I can tell what people are doing without turning around even when "what they are doing" is small innocuous often subconscious movements. I've learned to rarely mention these observations to them because it freaks them out. A lot.
Another source of the "behind me thing" is tied to the family member abuse (which is also tied to the neck thing) with said family member approaching from behind in the bed and whispering in my ear. *shudders* Can't even say more about that one at the moment. The neck aspect of that series of abuses is that the vast majority of incidents involved me performing oral sex. On him. And then he brought his friends for the same. So. You can imagine the hands on neck aspects without my help. It was near the beginning of this abuse that I learn to dissociate. Supposedly dissociation is a "bad" thing. That would be a big lie. It is what saved me from insanity and allowed me to survive.
The bigger hands on neck thing has to do with a co-worker at my first non-babysitting job. The family member abuse had long ago stopped though the behaviour I acquired as a result was only just starting. As one might expect I felt relatively safe around strangers if not family. I went about most of my daily business believing that inside the four walls of my house was where the danger lived. I felt outside of there I could just be me, a teen, and live a "normal" young person's life. Then one day at work it rained. Really really hard. (I worked in a nursery with plants.) Workers scattered to the few tiny buildings for cover. One was about 4 x 8 feet in size and a male co-worker and I ducked in there. About a minute passed and we chatted. And then I saw for the first time in my life what true insanity can look like in someone'e eyes. "Crazy eyes" I call them. A particular kind of crazy that shows as a lack of sanity laced with malice against a backdrop of pure glee. It was the glee behind it all that was the most terrifying.
He pulled a knife, put it against my throat, and pushed me to my knees in front of him. I was instructed to perform or die. How I managed to not get cut is a mystery to this day. I can say that due to previous abuse I was "well-trained" in the art of pleasing men. I also had taught myself how to make it quick w/o sacrificing their pleasure so I used both of those techniques in this instance. In spite of that, with a knife at the front of my neck and a firm hand at the back of my neck it seemed to last forever. Something in me changed that day. There was a perceptible shift in my soul. The first solid wall built to keep others at an emotional arm's length from me appeared. All others, good or bad because who could tell the difference? Certainly not I! My first fortress. I smelled its fresh mortar slapped between gray stones as I repeated in my head, "Just finish this and you get to live. Finish and you not only live, but you get to live safety behind this wall, forever." And as I willed, it was so.
So you see .... I don't let people put hands on my neck. Ever.
And what prompted this to finally be written? The water man. The water company sent a man to check and change the meter because of an incorrect water bill. He was polite and professional. He came in, did his work and left. The water meter is in the basement. He knocked on the front door and asked if he could pull around to the back and meet me at the basement door. I unlocked the basement door, opened the inside door so he knew he could now open the storm door and backed up until my lower back was against the washing machine. I waited until he walked the length of the basement to the meter before I left the washer and went to the steps leading upstairs. I went up a few steps, sat down and turned toward him with my back facing the wall. Cold from cement wall behind me, wooden step under my feet, hands clasped between my knees with knuckles whitening and racing heart and I .... chatted, as I always do.
I remained tense while chatting nonchalantly about water meters, bad readings, etc. I appeared the polite homeowner making smalltalk to the serviceman while every cell in my body was on alert. Every muscle tight, ready to spring to action if need be. Since I am learning to stay present and not figure everything out hours/days afterward I was aware of my actions and emotions, tensions and fear as they occurred and rolled over me. Yuck. I prefer the illusion that dissociation brings.
When the water man was done I calmly closed and relocked the basement door (resisting the urge to slam it hard and fast) and came upstairs. My insides turned to jello and tears sprang to my eyes. And my thought was: "I miss ..... peace and safety ...." and aaaaahhhhhh .... this post was finally ready to be written.
I said I would explain the one who can touch my neck and be behind me, but this is long enough so that will have to wait for another time. This has taken a bit out of me and I need to regroup. ~sigh~ I do so miss ......
Blessings on you, my readers. May you be Wrapped in Love.
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