Break-ins and realisations.

Dad was standing at the door. I had a phone call from him, which was unusual, but now here he was…

I had a bad feeling as Mum and I got out of the car.

“We’ve had a break-in,” he said.

My first reaction was that it wasn’t true, it was some sort of misunderstanding. We accidentally left the patio doors open again? Oops, my bad. We left a window open and took something unusual with us to work? Sorry we panicked you, Mum and I are busy a lot.

This was different. He went on to say the patio door was smashed, the French window shattered into pieces. His and my mother’s room rummaged through. My room? Utterly turned over.

I didn’t want to see, but I had to check if something was missing, stolen. I heard Dad mentioning that the police thought it was for jewellery, and I realised I’d left a lot of mine out so I would wear it more…

I took the stairs two at a time, and then passed my room to see my parents’. Clothes lay all over the floor, my mother’s dressing table full of earrings, jewellery scattered and boxes overturned. I took a deep breath and headed back to my room.

The door was open. The light was on.

My citadel, my fortress, my safe place was sacked.

Papers lay all over the floor, boxes that housed my memories open and naked. Drawers were yanked open, clothes strewn everywhere, makeup on the floor but luckily not opened. Worst, my underwear drawer was wide open and every pair of knickers I own was flung across the bed.

I drew a sharp, jagged breath in and cried.

Adrenaline flooded my system. OhgodohgodohgodLOOK. Look at your room. Look how much has been moved, displaced by pawing hands. Look at the muddy footprint on the bed, look at the crumpled memories on the floor.

Mum was somehow there to cuddle me and let me know it was all right. She led me away from the room that was mine, downstairs, to where a terrified Juno puppy greeted me cautiously. Running my hands over her, checking for broken bones and bruises or cuts, I thanked the gods that she was safe and unhurt.

The evening was dire. I was still panicking, thinking of those perverted hands going through my underwear drawer. I felt sick. I felt violated all over again.

19 wanted to hunt the bastard down, cut off his fingers, pull out his eyes and drag him to the police. 14 was petrified, and fifteen was hidden so deep that I couldn’t even reach to ask her if she was ok. I could feel waves of terror from her, but nothing would get through.

I wasn’t doing great either.

I messaged the Dutchman immediately as I sat down with the sad little dog. She snuggled as close as she could withing a few minutes, reconnecting with me. She let me hug her close- she stayed perfectly still, and let me just tell her through touch how glad I was she was safe.

My phone buzzed.

“Oh my god, are you ok? Would you like me to call you?”

I did want him to call me. I set up my laptop and got Skype running, and he was there, all concern and love.

I started to cry again.

 

Over the next six hours, my PTSD worked itself out, I slowly calmed down, and ration and logic came back to assuage my fears. Dad told me it really wasn’t someone breaking in to scare us (I thought maybe my ex, or another creep I once knew), we found they really had been after jewellery (which is sad), the Dutchman helped me think of a safe space to imagine myself in when I needed to retreat from the world and then it was time for dinner. I had been talking to him for a while by this point, and that’s when it hit me- he was perfectly comfortable sitting there, helping me through my emotional turbulence, chilling out with me and also waiting for me to eat my tea whilst talking to both parents and my sister.

Whilst I know that J would have supported me, this is on a whole other level. Six hours later, as I signed out of Skype, I knew I had done something life-altering when we decided we had to be with the Dutchman- we’d chosen someone capable of handling our pain, or terror, or happiness- someone who matched us for the speed we love at, and the intensity of our emotions, but also who could help us control them.

 

Life is tough. I still flinch at noises in the house… but I know this will fade. I know that I have done something incredibly important by re-directing my life down this path- conversation is already going in important, even more life-changing places.

 

Coming to terms with us.

Us. It’s an innocuous little word, isn’t it? Meaning two, together, joined somehow, whether by friendship or work or family…

In my case, I never realised that there was an us. I thought it was me. Me and my voices that hurt, belittled, derided and abused.

I feel sorry that I didn’t understand earlier that I was in a collective, four wrapped into one. I wish I had learned that I was not alone, in the strangest of senses, far earlier.

I am, of course, referring to me, the younger ones (14 and 15) and nineteen.

It’s become very much apparent that in going to therapy, I have deprogrammed these so-called hostile voices into real, distinct personalities. I have learned that to shout at them provokes a hurt, terrified reaction- much like shouting at me does the same.

I don’t fight them now. We talk to each other, and we do sometimes still argue, but it’s the sort of arguing that takes place between families. I have asked them about things we want to do, choices we have made, and where to go next.

This is what changed when we made our joint decision about what to do, three weeks ago or a little more, when the Dutchman walked back into our lives and turned 14’s head. She was the first to fall, the first to point out to us how we really felt about things. Listening to her would have been wise then, but to start with I reacted as I would before realising that I was multiple, and tried to tell myself that I knew best.

Eventually, we had the conversation about J and the Dutchman. Endurance, distance, waiting… but such fun whilst there? Or the vlinders, the fire, the rush and openness of someone I was good friends with?

Sadly I had lost that spark with J this year. It had been present all last year, the year where I ran continually to him and he let me stay near. I wrote about him with such tenderness, because it was there. This year, I have had to run off memories and scrambled Skype calls and a week-long silence. The younger ones are so triggered by silence. 15 in particular can’t stand it, and she does go down really hard when these things happen.

Asking the younger ones what they really thought that evening on the couch was like fighting a war in my head. 19 was trying not to get involved, although secretly wanting me to just make up my mind already, as she didn’t want to be with J as much as she wanted to be with the Dutchman. 14 was, like I said, head over heels, and fifteen knew that she was confused. She’d sneaked her head out and talked to J a couple of times, and enjoyed herself, but she really enjoyed all the fun she’d had with the Dutchman. She didn’t like the time when J had got angry at the traffic when we were in the car with him that time, and she knew that I loved J too.

With all that in mind, I had to choose for myself. I really really didn’t want to hurt anyone. I wanted this to be a choice made with time and patience. However, the more time I spent with the Dutchman, the more I knew that the choice would have to be made soon. The spark was being kindled, and it was certainly a fire.

Choosing was all of us involved at once. I knew personally that I wanted something that had been in plain sight for two years, but never really realised what it truly meant.

All of us wanted this. All of us were united when we bridged that gap, and cast our lot in favour of a fire that was beginning to blaze.

 

We have never been so united before over anything else.

Gaslighting- an article I’ve found that all should read.

Gaslighting is what makes psychiatrists diagnose wrong, makes victims continue to believe that the abuse was caused by them, and that they are the evil ones. Society does a pretty twisted job of re-inforcing this, because the words, “There are two sides to every story,” are often used thoughtlessly and indiscriminately. I’ve been on the receiving end of disbelief over the gaslighting that happened to me, but this article explains what used to happen to me on a daily basis very well indeed.

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/08/gaslighting-the-mind-game-everyone-should-know-about/