Archive for September, 2010

The honest deal

Frankly, you may not want to know the information that this holds. Then why publish it, you ask? Because I don’t mind you knowing, for one. For another, this blog is all about my recovery from a stroke (although, admittedly, it has surpassed that in some regards) and all that entails.

While Bob & I were driving, this weekend, we were talking about how one thing can lead to another and how the coping skills that you learn as a kid are forever a part of who you are. He then took a call and I was left to my thoughts on the subject. I had recently broken up with my therapist (we just had different approaches to therapy) and I thought about what she had to say on the subject. I have a strong reaction to unfairness and to the feeling of being tricked. We hadn’t had the time to delve into that so I tried to soul search on the subject a bit. I looked at it from different angles which resulted in something that was surprising and felt true.

I have written before about how I feel betrayed (or ‘tricked’) by my body for the stroke (especially considering that I was at my all-time healthiest) and that I beat myself up about most of the physical and emotional outcomes that resulted from the brain injury. So I wondered why I should feel so strongly about that.

A little background: When I was young (~4 years old), I was molested by my uncle for a couple of years. You could say that I was tricked by a trusted family member (ah, we are getting somewhere, aren’t we?). The majority of survivors of molestation tend to fall into 2 camps: 1) those who have difficulty dealing with it and feel very much like victims and 2) those who basically say to the world “You will never trick me again, I’m watching you.”

So, can you possibly guess which camp I fell into? Gee, I wonder why I hate feeling tricked (or ‘betrayed’, which is pretty much the worst kind of tricked that there is)? It probably didn’t help that a counselor once asked my why I didn’t say no or try to stop him. Yeah, at four freaking years old. Where the hell did she get her degree?

I have spent most of my life making sure I wasn’t going to be tricked again. I was the first to ditch a relationship if I thought it was going south. I tried to prepare for nearly every contingency possible for nearly every situation (to the extreme, when I would babysit for someone and one of the parents drove me home, I rode the entire time with my hand on the door handle so as to make a quick escape just in case. Sad, right?).

I had physically prepared myself. I was a runner. I was healthy. Then my body tricked me.

Here’s the kicker, I always took some level of responsibility for being molested. Yes, I realize now just how sick that is. The thing is, I also tried to take some responsibility for the stroke. I could list all of the things that I could have done to prevent either situation. I won’t, it makes me ill to think about it much less write it out. So, for your sanity and mine, that will remain unwritten.

I realized, on that drive, how I have an overinflated sense of responsibility. I will take responsibility for nearly anything. World hunger? Well, I shouldn’t eat so much. World peace? I could be nicer.

So. Now that I have revealed something that clearly is a part of my recovery, what is my next step? I think that self-reflection is absolutely important and will aid in self-awareness. Now that I am aware of this, it is time to absolve myself of responsibility for the molestation. It is time to absolve myself of responsibility for the stroke.

Once I learn to quit beating myself up for something that isn’t my fault, then maybe I can allow myself to recover emotionally, physically, mentally.

Phew. I really put myself out there. It is time to be honest with myself. I can do this.


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