Accepting The Past’s Trauma for a Better Tomorrow

Yesterday I woke up knowing it would be a hard day. After work I found my strength wavering and tears falling as I rode the train home and texted a friend to ask for 45 undivided minutes because I felt a surge of things needing to be poured out. Immediately she called, she didn’t know I was crying or that I was feeling so low, but i’m thankful for friends that don’t need for me to be dying in order to be present. I sat in a park and poured my heart out, mostly in tears, explaining that I just don’t understand why a part of me can’t let go. I wake up every day and do what i’m suppose too, but I always feel like i’m just living to push through instead of actually living, which always leaves me questioning what’s the point.
At the end of our talk, I realized and decided that if I want to see even more improvement then I need to push myself to do even more than just the bare minimum. Living for the minimum is empty and I will always feel purposeless, so I need to push myself to do more, and I left the park determined to do so. 

Then just like that I stumbled upon a picture of the person i’ve been actively avoiding on my instagram explore page. A rush of pain just consumed me. My stomach went numb and I could feel the tingling. My legs began shaking uncontrollably. Alligator tears were just falling unprovoked. My mind felt like it was drowning and the only thoughts coming to the surface were, hurt yourself. Before, these thoughts were immediately acted upon before I even had time to register what was happening. However, I have grown better through continued therapy, so I texted my therapist and did the best thing I knew to calm me while I waited for her to call me, I rocked as I sung “Jesus be the center of my life.” As I waited, God was with me reminding me that we are a team, that I just have to ride it out, keep breathing, keep rocking, keep circling the scrunchie through my hands (repetitive motions are extremely comforting for me idk why). 

My therapist called and my main question was why does seeing her with people she loves instantaneously drive me to this point? And she eloquently and accurately explained to me that simply put it makes me feel rejected, abandoned, and betrayed. I see her with all this love that she can dole out to others and feel betrayed that none of that love can be doled out to me anymore. Then she continued to say that, “whether you agree or not, you were traumatized and you just never built any tolerance to handling abandonment, or rejection in that form. The tolerance is just not there sweetie, and wanting it to not be so won’t change it.”

I calmed and this got me thinking about trauma. Out of I guess pride and desire to always NOT be a statistic, I NEVER allowed myself to believe that my dad’s passing affected me. I thought it shameful and disgusting to call myself traumatized when people experience “real” traumas daily. But what if the shameful and disgusting thing is my pride that keeps me from accepting this reality as my own? That i’m not as resilient or strong or better than the “statistics.” 

In an effort to do things differently in order to begin to see different results, I am going to accept the reality that I experienced something that I never understood or learned to process, and that is why I can’t understand or process it now. If any of the nine year olds I work with experienced what I did, I would immediately feel heartbroken for them out of sheer intuitive understanding that a loss like that is devastating. I watch my kids, especially the girls, run to their fathers during dismissal. I listen as they recount stories of where their dad brought them for their birthday, or the gifts they bring back from traveling. Now that I think about it they don’t talk about their moms. I know the occupations of some of their fathers through the awe insipred retelling of a child. And when they run to their dad, I think, that was me. 

My memories are all but obliterated of me and my dad. Up until recently i thought i barely knew the man. But thats trauma. My sisters and mother tell me about how he was the only person I was close to. The only one I wanted to spend time with. The only one i’d eat dinner with, and sometimes I think I feel certain memories coming back. 

But they must be right because the memory that never goes away was how on August 17th we had a bbq and I was sitting at my dads feet waiting for him to give me the rest of his champagne cola. My mother was telling me to let him drink and get another one but I ignored her, patiently waiting for the drink that always came. Then on August 18th I stood and watched him struggle to breathe. Front row and center, everyone panicking too much to notice I was there and maybe remove me. He struggled and struggled as my mom tried to get the asthma machine down his throat. He was making noises and grabbing at his throat, he began to defecate himself, and I just stood there glued to the ground. Slowly his color changed, and then supported by my mom his lifeless body fell off the chair to the ground. He layed there until the morgue people came, zipped him in his black bag then took him away. I next saw him in the open casket in his suit and tie, then finally sealed away in his tomb. 

I can’t conjure up feelings where they don’t exist. I didn’t mourn then and i’m not mourning now. I simply exist with this as my reality. But it’s a reality that I have to give its credit for who I am now if I have any hope of a different future. Maybe just maybe my therapist is right, “My psyche finds strangers to turn into surrogate parents, knowing they will fail, to recreate the trauma and allow me to mourn safely.” I’m not a therapist, I don’t know why the heck a psyche would want to recreate trauma, but looking over the course of my life it looks like thats been my ONLY purpose in life, recreating trauma. Heaping impossible demands on people so they can fail and I can try to “fix it” so that they don’t fail and they don’t leave, because I couldn’t fix what happened when i was nine. But they always fail. 

I hope that by accepting this my psyche can start to heal. 

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