Building bridges – Trigger warning…. Self harm and sexual abuse

The hardest time over the past three years was the rejection and complete abandonment by my mother when I had my breakdown.

Not only did she leave me to deal with things on my own but she also dismissed the reasons for my mental illness. She listened to my sister who was just a baby when it all started and wouldn’t have known anything about it.

It tore me apart. The pain was like nothing I had ever felt before and I didn’t and couldn’t understand how she could turn her back on her own daughter and grandchildren.

About 6 or so weeks ago things began to change. Not because I reached out to her or my sister. I didn’t….Instead I got a call from my sister to tell me she was pregnant. Although wonderful news and something I’ve waited for ages to happen, it was tinged with fear as my sister has an auto immune disorder which put her in danger of miscarriage. My heart went out to her despite the bad blood between us. I wish her nothing but happiness and the incredible joy being a mother brings with it.

She wasn’t just phoning about that but also to tell me that she knew I’d started at uni. Both my mum and sister had been told by my dad which was actually not something I was ready to divulge as there was still a lot of uncertainty around whether I would get my fees paid.

I found my hand was forced. I couldn’t just ignore them any longer and with my sister pregnant the silence had to be broken. So I called my mother.

Fuck me! My heart literally felt like it was going to jump out of my body and race away as fast as it could. It was a brief conversation and we agreed to talk another day.

We have talked a few times since then and I have also been to see her.

I was terrified about seeing her as it had been a long long time. I fought to keep my feelings in check but managed. Since seeing her we had a real heart to heart.

A scary, heart pounding, tear jerking conversation happened over the phone a few weeks later.

I was completely honest and told her how much she had hurt me by leaving me alone. We even talked about the sexual abuse that happened and other incidents that occurred….it was like the blindfold and ear plugs had been removed from her body and she was suddenly listening and seeing things for the first time.

We also talked about my attachment to her, or lack of. My insecurities and a whole host of other things. My mother admitted to me that she has always believed I had been lazy in school, it had never entered her mind that because I stayed in day nursery a year longer than was necessary I started school behind. My confidence was knocked from day one of my schooling and it simply never recovered.

My abusers took up more of her time than she was willing to give to me and no matter what I did to try and get her to help she wasn’t there. We talked about this and I was surprised when she acknowledged her part in my fucked up life.

It was a momentous conversation to have and one which I’m glad we have finally managed to have.

Whilst it was good to talk openly with her, obviously the past and all the shit that happened isn’t going to miraculously disappear and everything be rainbows etc.

Far from it.

I’m as fucked up as I was three years ago. The only difference is that I’m not numbing myself and hiding behind chemicals. I’m not clutching at every substance to make me some how feel better.

I have nightmares, anxiety attacks, thoughts of cutting and the odd thoughts of taking something.

I can remember more clearly than ever some of the things I’ve gone through during my 36 years. They start from when I was tiny, less than 2 years old and continue on….

I have an amazing psychotherapist who is patient and understanding. I’ve struggled to keep going every single week and whilst I was stopping meds and adjusting to subutex I couldn’t face going to see her.

I shut myself down from everything and pushed my emotions and memories as far away as I could so that i wouldn’t have to talk about anything that was painful or deeply personal.

I did what I’m good at….refused to deal with anything….

Starting uni has been incredibly hard going. My mental state has not been as strong as it perhaps needed to be and the stuff we have been covering has hit far too close to home and I’ve really struggled not to feel anything.

I feel an incredible amount of shame, guilt and embarrassment over what happened to me. I blame myself for it and some days it’s unbearable. I loathe myself more frequently than I let on and the desire to punish myself is an hourly battle.

I feel like I’m a freak show. How can so much shit have happened in one lifetime?

I’m deeply ashamed of some of the things I did when I was a teen. I’m horrified that I put myself in a position to be used over and over and over again.

I hate the 7 year old me and the things I did….I can’t even talk about them I feel so much disgust with myself.

I despise how insecure I am about everyone in my life. My fears seem to take on a life of their own sometimes and it is hard cycle to break.

Despite all this, one thing I am relieved about is that neither my brother or sister have had such a horrible time. It’s not been perfect for either of them, but the horrors that live inside of me from when I was little, that is something I know they don’t have to deal with and for that I’m grateful.

My siblings are scared by my parents failure of a marriage and incidents that have happened since they became adults. But their childhoods were fairly idyllic and had more good memories than bad….at least their earliest memories that is.

For years now I have sat on the outside watching the amazing relationship between my siblings and mother feeling jealous, rejected, not good enough etc. It’s been so hard to be left out it has almost killed me.

But my mum and I are going to work on building a bridge for us. It won’t ever undo all the pain of my life so far and it’s not going to cure me of bpd. What I do hope is that the rest of my life will be better than the first half of it. I hope that my mum and I will grow closer and that she will be my friend rather than a distant acquaintance whom I have little or nothing to say to.

I am finding it hard to believe it’s been 3 years since I began to fall apart. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of time and have many blank spaces. I certainly know how incredibly lucky I am to still be alive.

My addiction to co-codamol and zopiclone should have killed me. My best friend and I talked about this only a couple of weeks ago. It’s shocking to me how reckless I became.

My arms are covered in scars, some are still painful and healing from where I cut myself. In hindsight it might have been better to get stitches because the scars are an ugly and painful reminder of how unhinged I became.

I do have to fight the self harming urge though despite my disgusting scars. I don’t want to add to them but there are times when it feels like I need a release and hurting myself seems like a great idea. This urge has been with me for more than 30 years and it has never left me. Pinching, biting, headbanging, burning, stabbing, starving, addiction and cutting. Inexplicable things that I have done to myself which many people can’t and won’t ever understand.

My mother was shocked when she saw my arms, I could see her pain for me on her face. Her sorrow that I had become this person.

My husband and kids too have had to witness my self loathing.

I wish I could stop hating myself so much but I truly have no idea where to start.

The fact that there is finally some hope for a relationship with my mother makes me feel that one day I might be able to forgive myself. But that day still feels a life time away and meanwhile I have to keep pushing through the forest of emotions, thoughts and feelings that invade my mind everyday.

Not sure where this is meant to be going….my thoughts are somewhat jumbled right now and whatever this was meant to be I have lost the point of it…..

I’m stronger in some ways yes, things have improved too. I know I’ve made progress.

But im still in pain and still have so many other issues to overcome I think I’m wondering when it might become a little easier.


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