Saturday, April 05, 2008

False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)

Over the past month, at the advice and direction of my counselor, I have began undergoing EMDR therapy to help treat my PTSD. The most accurate way I've heard EMDR described thus far is "talk therapy on steroids." It is certainly stirring up the shit that has been eating me alive underneath for a long time. To say it is unsettling is an understatement. To know there are underlying feelings that I've been avoiding is one thing, to begin to feel them all at once is a whole other ballgame. But I'm not complaining -- I'm ready to begin to live with some level of freedom. I have struggled and fought against myself for so, so long. I'm willing to walk through whatever this therapy brings to the surface in order to feel it and recognize that past trauma is over with, so I can live fully present in today.

One of the most surprising realities that has surfaced as a result of the EMDR is the fact that I felt some sense of safety when I was being molested by my stepfather. In the "outside world," where we weren't hiding everything from the rest of the family, he was constantly yelling at me, telling me how I could do nothing right, hitting me, all causing me to feel afraid and so very small. But, during the acts of molestation, all I had to do was show up, endure, get it over with and I never had to face any of his chaotic berating or anger. From the time I was three until I was 13, that was the only time I felt safe around him, otherwise I felt worthless and like I was in the way. I carried that definition of safety with me into adulthood, and into the secrecy of my acting out in this addiction. While I might never feel I could do anything right in the eyes of the world, while I might not be good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough ... there was one thing I could do that was right ... do what Daddy taught me. I'm ready to put an end to this lie at all levels of my psyche. I have violated myself in ways my stepfather could never have thought of, and put myself in more dangerous situations than anyone ever would consider "safe." I am tired of being used by men who have a skewed view of acceptance and of using my sacred sexual self to gain a false sense of acceptance, safety and control. I am ready to accept myself as an imperfect human being, who doesn't have to control the world around her in order to live.

One day at a time, I am getting better. I could never have tackled it any other way. It was simply too much. It still is and always will be. I thank God for these 24 hours and the opportunities that lay within.


Kellee said...

I am about to undertake EMDR as well. I still have so much anger toward the ex that is nothing more than unresolved anger & hurt from my sex addict father. We (my therapist & I) believe there is some sexual abuse in my past as well. I'm ready to bring these skeletons out into the open & deal with them face to face. I'm so glad I know someone else on this journey.

Your take on the abuse is interesting. I can understand it completely. What I took from my childhood of living with a sex addict is that sex = beauty, love & acceptance. Therefore during my early 20's I tried my best to be the most beautiful, loved & accepted woman around. So sad for both of us.

By the way, the acronym for FEAR we use in my COSA group is Future Events Appearing Real.

Thanks for sharing, Rae.

The Traveler said...

The absolute "rightest" thing you could do, Rae, is have the courage to change. To do the things you must do, to undo, and re-do.

Best wishes on your progress. You are undertaking work, paying a debt, that you rightly did not incur but that was rather foisted upon you as a child.

But you will absolutely own the payoffs, all by yourself.

Kudos to you for your courage.


vicariousrising said...

This is huge. It takes a lot of courage to face your truth. You should be proud of yourself. Few people can do this.

Nichole said...

Isn't EMDR amazing? The memories that it pulls to the surface and the almost instant relief of the emotions and feelings attached to those memories makes it one of the most efficient forms of therapy I've benefited from.