No room to grieve and no room to breathe

An ode to facing hard truths unashamedly weeping and to those strong enough to be weak

This past month has been filled with the empty business that death brings to the mourning. Nothing made sense, everything tasted and sounded grey, nothing caught my eyes or ears for all my efforts to listen in his memory. I have enough practice in grieving to go through the motions mechanically. Stopping makes it all much more unbearable and even worse brings everything to a standstill.

I do cherish and adamantly defend downtimes as autistic people, introverts and highly sensitives are known to do but I cherish and adamantly look forward to the times I’m pretending to be a normal non grieving still human being. Neither is the truth anymore (have they ever been?). Truths seem to have stopped existing. Again. He seems to have taken them with him, along with colour, taste, cuddles, smiles, sense and a great deal of my personality.

 

I’m well and truly miserable but unlike most people I grew up like this so this is my home turf. It’s what I know, what feels comfy because I know every nook and cranny of it. There was a time my demons had tea in my mental living room and there was nothing I could do about it just as I couldn’t do anything about the demons claiming to be loving and supportive family members. So the sight of said demons taking away hard won victories against depression and cPTSD does not horrify me in the least.

I find many people are pathologically obsessed with feeling happy all the time and manically fleeing into escapistic escapade after escapistic escapade pretending everything is just fine. This does horrify me. We evolved with a full set of feelings, including sadness, frustration, anger, shock, fear and all the other distinctly uncomfortable feelings and they all serve a function. I find it truly sick how people seem to actively castrate their limbic systems and think this is a good idea.

If you run away from the skeletons in your closet said closets will become surprisingly mobile and versatile in finding ways to haunt you. Your life will be spent forever running and running and running all for the sake of some fleeting happiness. We do not even seek content, the more sedate and longer lasting positive feeling. Instead consumerism has indoctrinated us successfully. We think we can have the short enthusiastic sparks of happiness all the time. We can buy emotions and harness and control them according to what we like. It’s no wonder people become mentally injured living in such a world. As soon as you aren’t manically smiling you suddenly become defective rather than simply being a full human.

This obsession has gone so far that people simply can not stand someone being in touch with their harder to deal with feelings anymore. Being reminded of the castration we are demanded to collectively perform on our limbic system is uncomfortable and thus a part of what needs to be slaughtered away. So it isn’t enough that one does not allow themselves to have a full set of emotions, people also have to preemptively castrate the people around them as well.

This is such an accepted practice that it’s become the norm to tell other people with mental illnesses including ones about whose lives we know about three sentences of conversation all sorts of bullshit rather than just being real with them. As if it was the end of the world to simply say “I can see you are going through a hard time and I bet it’s teriyaki hard, heck it’s already very stressful for me to just witness it.” We have no room for humanity anymore because we have no room for the uncomfortability of the human condition. We think if we give the run down house that is our loneliness and isolation a fresh coat of paint everything is fixed and we actively harass people who acknowledge this house is pathetic and there needs to be something done about it.

To me grieving isn’t done for the dead, we mourn because we are still alive. We mourn because our lives have to change and we have not chosen this change. It’s frightening to face change in general, but changes we didn’t look for become the stuff cPTSD is made of. Especially if we systematically erode all versions of support systems that should help deal with the catastrophes we all inevitably face during our lives.

We need to have a right to be miserable again. We need to stop wishing everyone without fail a happy day and to sleep well. Some days there is no room for happiness and some nights are sleepless as a last expression of fondness for the ones taken away from us. To me this is sacred and I have a hard time understand why this wouldn’t be sacred to anyone who is mourning. I also have a hard time understanding why mourning as another castrating act needs to be limited to the physical death of blood relations or you who is already in a rather dire phase better be ready to justify yourself to the grave that may or may not exist and back.

 

I see us being so cruel to each other and I see this planet being made inhabitable as a result of us locking our empathy with ourselves and others away and some days I just wish the human species would just find its selfish end already. The skeletons in our closets will not stop haunting us unless we stop our frenetic flight in a hamsters wheel and turn around and face the ugly truths we will find. Personally I consider it an extreme failure of evolution that there is any species who attempts to forget that simple mechanism.

My abusers/neglectors perspective pt. I Mother

One of the overly frequently encountered “helpful advice” one get when being on the receiving end of systematic long term abuse and/or neglect is that we are supposed to see things from the POV of the person being so hurtful to us. I do think this is one of the most destructive pieces of advice you can give to a victim because it keeps them from becoming a survivor and keeps them in a state where they excuse their abuser/neglector.

Also by and large the people being hurt are trained to see things from the hurtful persons POV anyway to such an extent that they often do not even have an own perspective. It’s all about the person actively hurting others and never about the person being hurt. We call that victim blaming.

To put some words where my words are I’d like to present you with the perspective of my parents. Because you know it’s all about them and I’m not good enough if I don’t. this advice is filled with so much wisdom and why haven’t I thought of that myself yet?

“mothers” childhood as told by her

Mother had a hard childhood. Which she does not hesitate to remind everyone of frequently. She was the third child and third daughter to her parents who had severe relationship problems and somehow thought having another child would fix things. Mothers two older siblings are 8 and 10 years older respectively and Mother always was the little annoying tag alongs.

My grandfather was one of those sexist idiots who was obsessed with having a Y-chromosome carrying offspring. So my mothers gender is her first failure in life. There’s this story floating around in her family that her birth certificate states that she is male. Apparently everyone thinks this oh so funny. Her second fundamental flaw is that she did not keep my grandfather from cheating. Obviously this is the task of the youngest child.

Grandmother allegedly found him in flagranti when Mother was 7. Before then they lived together with my grandfathers parents. Divorce was heavily frowned upon by the state and the church. So logically grandmother was punished for standing up for herself and consequently instilled a sense of worthlessness of this idea in her daughters.

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confidence, self mothering and other potential healing tools

Over the last few months I have done a lot of reading about healing from being raised in a neglectful family. If we are going to assume that neglect is included under the umbrella term of abuse I found a meagre pile of resources, some of them moderately helpful. If we define neglect as a beast of its own as some people researching in the field do, I have found nothing I can recall from the top of the head that was even moderately helpful. Despite seemingly remembering that neglect is by far the most common way to acquire a mental injury no one seems to talk about it, no one has any healing to offer. The neglected, oh irony of ironies are still neglected.

From the aforementioned meagre pile of somewhat constructive advice I compiled this:

– being raised in any version of a non supportive household will cause your brain to develop differently
– among the dramatic difference in development is a loss of natural tendency to explore and learn, instead all energy is funneled towards mere survival (which is still not achieved by many nonsurvivors…)
– to date there is no known healing tool available that actually rewires the brains of those hurt by the people they are required to trust the most
– since the people you grow up with are usually your only possible way of acquiring food, shelter and mentoring you learn that whatever they do is safe and are conditioned to seek out similar people in later life
– any healing that can take place is essentially geared towards rewiring as in unlearning and relearning every experience you made in early life
– usually being raised in a non supportive household means that even finding ways of starting your journey to a healthier life is severely difficult because you were conditioned to fear, hate and run from supportive things

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my journey pt. VII meet the family

The term “Narcissist” and how it might be detrimental to healing past the anger stage

Recently I came across this page for . The dictionary was somewhat helpful in finally understanding the me.

However the site got me pondering the matter of narcissism again. I’m struggling with the term narcissist and have been for a while now. My main bone of contention is how it seems so loosely defined that apparently every abuser is a narcissist to the point that the two terms seem to be interchangeable, so why have both? The core of narcissism seems to be a fundamental lack of empathy which in turn informs their abusive and/or neglectful behaviour. Narcissism and abuse/neglect seem to be causally tied together. Also many people I am reading about seem to permanently use the narcissist label to throw blame, hate and vilification towards whoever hurt them.

I am also curious about male narcissism and how things affect sons. My one grandfather might be classifiable as an enabler, but I’m not so sure about the second grandfather and my father. It feels a bit like autism with gender reversal where you only describe half of the spectrum (the male symptoms in autism and the female symptoms in narcissism) and pass it of as the whole thing.

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the art of the walk

I have been recently asked how I learnt to go for a walk and the more I wrote about it the more I realised the therapeutic benefits of working on that particular issue of mine so I thought I might as well turn it into a blog post. Maybe some other hurt soul finds a way to lessen a bit of the pain. πŸ™‚

I had a flatmate who i was regularly walking with. Her routes tho and on her initiative. But through such things I was aware of the general idea of walking for the purpose of walking. She now moved away and my new flatmates and I do not get along. Through the walks with my exflatmate I had some idea of how my surroundings looked like. In the beginning I would walk our routes, uphill among houses and alleys. I also began to walk to the the city centre instead of taking the bus. Since my sleep rhythm is somewhat more normal I didn’t always need to hurry to barely arrive at the supermarket at closing hour. So I could take my time take in surroundings. When I have been in a hurry I wouldn’t really notice anything, now I’d maybe see that this way extends to some unknown over there asf.

I love dogs so I would sometimes see dogs and their owners who looked friendly to me and I would ask the owner if I could introduce myself to the dog. Only one person has said no so far. Many people even are happy that they meet a dog lover. I really feel connected to non human animals so that kind of socialisation helped as well. Eventually I began to realise the path to the city which I used (pedestrians only, next to a stream) was part of a bigger path alongside one of the cities streams so I followed it up a little more and eventually began to explore the part of it that were less concrete influenced and more about trees and undergrowth. I grew up near forests so I liked that plus people there are normally rather relaxed walking their dogs (or jogging, pushing their toddlers for their nap, but i do not chat these people up. No doggie, no talkie).

I’d say I always felt people would judge me somehow. I had this obsession about always needing to have an answer to the question no one ever asked me where I was going. I felt “justified” in groups but never alone. Neglect teaches you helplessness and nonexistence. The less you are seen and heard the better for you. Going out for a walk FOR NO REASON is a quite obvious violation of that rule about neglect. Part of it is literally about carving your own path, being a person on a basic level. Existing. I still worry about so many pointless things when going for a walk (what if I go to far and I can’t walk back and my battery has died or I have no reception… blabla) but I plan to gradually overcome this and dare I say it might even increase the area I’m covering by using my bicycle, having picnics… you know getting daring πŸ˜›

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Some of this might not help you. Maybe you are afraid of dogs of the idea of talking to anyone gives you nightmares or you don’t like nature the same way and would prefer the houses. But in the end the walk is about exploring. It’s mostly about you personally I guess. Another forbidden concept to explore around neglectful people. So you need to find a way to ease yourself into walking that works FOR YOU. The growth I have written about here took me a year. Each new addition to the walk (even the taking more time while walking anyway) took me weeks of anxiety getting myself convinced that it’s OK to do this and then even more weeks to get used to the idea of actually doing, trying to be less jumpy about it.

The walk starts with accepting the idea that YOU determine what is right and wrong for you. You can decide when you walk, where you walk and how long you walk. Who you talk to and what you say. A very complicated concept for me. I guess the best way to start is to open yourself up for experiments and review them, confront your fears little by little.

(autistic) relationship dynamics

I have recently been asked by a reader about a quote concerning autistic relationships. I feel quite honoured and flattered about being asked about my opinion by a passing acquaintance. πŸ™‚
Also I thought this is an important topic for many of us one way or another so I might as well share it with a wider audience. This is the starting piece:

β€œFar too many people on the spectrum spend most of their days with people who carry around memories of, and are often too overwhelmed by incidents of, prior misinterpretation. This is no fun. In travel you can start over, and reinvent yourself. If somehow a relationship gets weird, you can leave and go to the next town, the next block, or whatever the case may be, and try again.” β€” Michael John Carley

First of, I have no idea who Mr. Carley is and am thus not familiar with his work. The reader in question told me he is on the spectrum himself and that’s pretty much all the information I have. Just in case there are ardent Carley fans out there willing to accuse me of slander. I have no reason to personally attack the man, it’s all about what he said and what I think about it. πŸ™‚

For me punctuation and sentence structure in the quote is a little bit confusing. As I understood it it’s about people on the spectrum often being surrounded by people of whom they remember how said people misjudged the autistic person, misinterpreted them and so forth and how this is very painful. A possible way to counteract this is proposed as travelling and starting anew with other people.
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revelations of loneliness

I have not written in a long time. Meanwhile I have contacted 60 hospitals treating traumatised patients, lost another long term friend very suddenly and both came with ugly revelations. But I am a person who has an uncanny ability to see a silver lining in every terrible thing that has happened to me and this ability has not left me.

I think for the first time in my life there is now no one I communicate with on a daily basis. I’m well and truly lonely and it’s given me time to think and understand some things. My biggest lightbulb is that my biggest problem was not that I was abused. Rather I have been emotionally neglected. Pete Walker has linked the pain coming from emotional neglect to a scenario that made me understand A LOT.

He said all (human) children are hard wired to know they should not be alone, they rely on their parents to defend them from predators, nuture them and keep them warm asf. So the fight for the parents attention to a young child (Walker cites the age of six) is a fight for survival. I’m pretty sure the idea that we are safe from my often invoked saber tooth tiger regardless of our elders actions or inactions does not compute yet for our brains.

Emotionally it’s still being left to fend for oneself when young = being in mortal danger.

So the pain I’m dealing with does not come from abusive messages such as I’m not worth the oxygen I breathe or whatever else verbal abusers say. My pain comes from not being acknowledged to exist at all. By the very people who are responsible for my existence. Which in a way is akin to not actually existing. To me it feels more brutal than killing me. But that might be overdramatising things and I’m not a fan of measuring my own pain against other peoples pain. Pain is pain. I just feel a need to verbalise my own, make me realise what happened. I’ve not even been worth my parents time to insult me.

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