Monday, February 14, 2005

Krystin and her Shadow Self

Heads and tails, night and day, black and white, positive and negative, Krystin and her Shadow Self.

I'm Krystin, and I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I generally do not broadcast that information, I got that out of my system long ago. The only reason I tell you that today is it is a key component to my Shadow Self.

I have begun this blog at the encouragement of loved ones. It serves as testament to my journey, where I can offer insight to myself that I would not offer in between "please pass the sugar". Sometimes, when standing in a place of perceived darkness, I find that writing can helps direct me to the Light.

It is my hope that I can be honest here, without the fear of judgement/criticism from loved ones. Although they may read it, they have the luxury of gnawing broken glass without me watching their reaction. I know I am not easy to love. But if I have to choose between love and respect, I'll choose respect.

Where shall I begin?

All I ever wanted was a son, because I was terrified of witnessing the Father Daughter dynamic, afraid I would be biased and unable to trust my husband. Today, I have two daughters, and am finished building my family. Yes, I get it- this is the work I need to do! This is the wound that needs to heal. Fortunately, I married a man of remarkable integrity, and I, as of yet, have had no reason to lose my faith in him.

My daughters currently fall in the age bracket when I experienced the most intense of the abuse. I say 'the abuse' instead of 'my abuse'. This is because it isn't "mine", I didn't do anything wrong.

I hadn't given any thought to the girls' current ages, but was beginning to feel triggered, although unsure why. There were little things my eldest will do, like schuck off all her clothes and run through out our apartment, that struck terror in my soul. After a while, and much observation, I realized that my response was completely out of context to the situation, it didn't have anything to do with her. It was about my personal history.

I was incredibly disappointed and frustrated. I've done years of therapy, I thought I had addressed these issues. I was fucking livid! Everyone else is moving forwards in their lives, pursuing new opportunities, and prospering. Here I am at the age of 31, still trying to recover from things that happened when I was less than five years old!

Today, I am working to accept these issues will likely never completely heal. It follows me, and will likely continue to, throughout my entire life. This damaged part of my soul, is in fact, my Shadow Self.

I cannot run from my Shadow Self, I cannot hide. She follows me everywhere, whether I want her to or not. For years I have tried to fight her of, or deny her existence, that only seems to feed her. She is in my marriage, and involved in the upbringing of my children. It seems I need to accept her presence,
and try to positively integrate her within my daily life.

She and I have to make peace with one another, and realize, that since the death of my biological father/perpetrator, we are safe for the first time in our thirty-one years. No longer do we have to watch over our shoulders, wondering when he'd make an appearance next. We are safe.... but we are confused.

Since my father's passing, my personal belief system has shifted radically. It is as if the pillar that held up all my beliefs has disentegrated, and my beliefs all crumbled to the floor along with him.

I have been sorting through the wreckage and examining my personal belief system, realizing that so much of it isn't mine! Challenging personal beliefs is no easy task. I have no idea how long it will take, likely, it too will be a life long pursuit. So far, I have identified three full pages of negative core beliefs. Currently, I am challenging the limiting belief, and presenting a positive alternative. When I am finished identifying positive alternatives, I plan to rewrite them all using my less dominant hand, in hopes of securing them deeply within my subconscious. I don't care if I have to rewrite each one out one hundred times, I will do what it takes.

Four weeks ago, I nearly drown myself. Litres and litres and litres of air poured from my lungs, I grew so tired and lightheaded. Suddenly, I thought of my youngest daughter, who is still nursing. I pulled myself out from the water because I didn't want her to have to wean in such a traumatic way. Strange the things that come to mind when contemplating taking ones own life.

Since then, I was speaking to my marriage counsellor, actually, I've been speaking to quite a few professionals these days. I was expressing my confusion because I really don't want to die. Yet I keep having intrusive thoughts "just step in front of that bus" and other suggestions. I wanted to know why I was having such disturbing and intrusive thoughts that completely go against what I want to achieve within my lifetime.

"Krystin, it is testament to the level of pain you are experiencing"


So in the past few weeks, my anti-depressant has been increased, I am receiving fantastic counselling from SAFER, am on the waiting list for VISAC, and am exploring absolutely every possibility to help relieve the hurt, such as gratitude journalling.

Gratitude journalling, as made famous by Oprah Winfrey, is identifying five things everyday that you are grateful for. I've been sending out daily e-mails to my "Team Gratitude" it is my hope that my continually redirecting my attention to the many blessings within my life, it will, in time, become my natural focus. It also seemed, at the beginning, to be a wonderful way of keeping my friends and family appraised of my progress, or relapses. Give them some insight as to what I'm struggling with. Except it backfired!

It backfired in the aspect that I fool everyone. One "advantage", if you will, of being abused during such an integral age, is that I am a chameleon. I tell people what they want to hear, put on the face they want to see, and I am damn good. Too good! Because when I am trying to become optimistic, I'm doing such a fine job, that everyone seems to assume that I'm doing well. Well, I'm not, I struggle daily! Ask my poor husband, because he's getting the brunt of it. I am having to learn how to "appropriately express emotion" and some days, I don't do so well.

Steve, thank you. Thank you for staying with me, even though it is so difficult. I'm amazed that you haven't left me yet, please don't!

I know I'm not the easiest person to deal with.... if you don't like dealing with me, try "being" me.

Signing off...