Mental Trauma (Childhood memories & PTSD)

Children that have memories after child hood abuse can be something fuzzy. Like tuning a radio finding a station. They sometimes can hear the chatter but the sound isn’t fully clear. Once they hit the right radio station however the image and quality of the memory becomes crystal clear. All the fuzz lifts away and leaves the person dealing with the memory in a limbo like spot. All the pain that once was and continues to be needs to be dealt with.

I struggle with all memories from my childhood. Even with the “good memories they are forced out by the ” bad memories”. I recently went over childhood photo books trying to place what time I was in. Names marked on the back of the photos I wanted to remember if I was happy at that moment. I wanted to know if it was possible for good times to outweigh the bad times. I recently started to recall parts of my life that was a main source of trauma. Wanting to get over the pain and move forward in life I struggle with the fuzz of the past. I can hear echos of words said and moments been. I cannot see faces unless I’m having a PTSD episode in my sleep. Once I wake I cannot remember who or where the incident happened. The fractures in my memory are really hard to cope with because I cannot get a clear picture of what happened. I question myself during the memory periods because I cannot say what is true and what is not.

I tried EMR treatments at therapy. I wish I could say the treatment was successful unfortunately I struggled with them. In my mind I struggled to know what was real and what my mind made up to cover the pain. Other people have reported EMR treatments for PTSD as highly successful. Even though it was not a success for me I still encourage others to try it. What works for one person in mental health may not work for everyone. I did feel angry that mine didn’t work because dealing with these memories have caused life problems I don’t have the solution to.

Triggers from fractured memories are complicated in childhood abuse cases. I have triggers ranging from the smell of bleach, smell of cologne, words people say in passing, and certain locations that look familiar. My anxiety gets triggered when my home becomes cluttered as I found my first home stressful due to my grandparents hoarding. Triggers and memory can be complex because try as I might to avoid them I cannot be certain I can. My husband has pointed out that I get weird around certain people. This can be contributed to remembering certain parts of my abusers face and placing it on the other person. Although my mind has blocked out what my abusers look like I can still remember from the fuzz certain details my mind has latched on to. One example of this is men with slight bags under their eyes. My one childhood sexual abuser to, had bags under his eyes and dark hair. I become triggered if the persons voice sounds similar to my molesters voice. I have never forgotten that voice because out of all the ones in the fuzz it’s the loudest.

One of the statements peoples make to childhood abuse survivors is ” remember this happened”. It’s hard to hear because the mind creates a protective bubble around the past. Trauma of the mind or body is a funny thing. Not hahaha funny, but funny in the way it works to protect the person living with the trauma. With extensive trauma such as childhood abuse or sexual abuse the mind forms the bubble in order for the host to survive mentally. This bubble is like a balloon and slowly deflates; because it becomes to filled with memories either true or untrue, that the person who survived the trauma has to try to heal from it. With any bubble or balloon it can pop at any given time and when that happens it is like an explosion of pain and grief. Not everyone survives the pop of greif.

I still live with fractured memories. I’m not keen on thinking I will ever fully grasp what actually happened. My mind is a puzzle missing the main pieces to complete. I don’t think my mental radio station will ever become fully in tune. Living with the fuzz is a part of my trauma. Moving forward has been tiresome because I wish I could put truth within my mind and understand why the abuse happened. Dealing with the release of memories has become a constant the older I get. One trick I have found helps in the getting rid of the fuzz is talking out the memory as if I was a small child again. Interacting with the memory even fractured has helped me cope and become more familiar with my triggers.

Everyone has a different way with dealing with trauma. In childhood abuse I would like to offer this it was not your fault. I am sorry someone robbed you of the good memories and replaced them with shards of false reality. You are not alone and others are right there with you hoping to replace what was once lost.

Written By: Ali Johnson

My Truth (Recovery From Emotional Abuse)

I once upon a time believed telling my truth would end up in more pain. For the last week I have tried to write my experiences living with my aunt. I have drafted and edited countless times. Every time I start to write my side of the story I get so angry my words come out as the old person I used to be. The angry person with little to no compassion because I felt lost. Reflecting on the past after living with an abuser is complicated. Excuses for an abusers actions are hard to counteract after doing it for so long. A part of me wanted to write everything that happened. Reading back my work I saw parts of the story that would hurt innocent people caught in the crossfire of my struggles. It’s not my place to write about them and hurt them back.

I started to forgive when I turned twenty-three. My forgiveness was not accepting what they did but to cut ties with my abusers. Inner knowledge states disengaging is the only way to fully heal and move forward with your life. Living in that home and going through emotional abuse has left permanent scars. The scarring is invisible on the outside, on the inside I live with the words and actions done by another person who I once looked up to. I chose to live with her because I thought she would different. Promises were made and I really thought my aunt would live up to them. I didn’t know in three short years our relationship would become a toxic lake of emotional turmoil. I lived with addiction my whole life I didn’t realize until years later addiction doesn’t care about anyone. It would do anything to destroy lives other than the addict itself. My aunt isn’t solely to blame for the relationship breakdown, I too played a part in pushing her mentally. I wanted her to get better three days before I left her home forever I wrote her note.

In that note I explained I wanted her to quit her company the Kali project. An escorting agency, it once held promise to do right and not allow drugs to the woman part of it. I think it was my second year living with my aunt drugs silently became part of our life. For someone who was once a successful paramedic and single mom doing her best addiction put her in sight and knew she would be an optimal candidate. Whatever pain my aunt had inside allowed addiction to turn her into the monster I know today. The second condition I wrote in the note was to start being a better parent to my cousin that I was raising for her.

I was fifteen and caring for a small child, I was neglecting myself. At fifteen, I started drinking to handle to screaming happening in my home. My aunt would leave me with her child and not return home despite my pleas of being emotionally unsuitable to provide care. At that time in my life my PTSD and depression went untreated. I was experiencing borderline psychosis from detoxing from the medication forced onto me from my first home. I loved my cousin with all my heart but to be her parent I could not. The reasons why; I was starving myself, I was drinking, I was mentally unstable, I was a cooking pot for disaster. My inner struggle was uncontrollable I went as far as using sex to be vulnerable. There was a night that pushed me closer to leaving the home and leaving my aunt. My cousin was screaming all night for her mom, I was going through a PTSD episode. I called my aunt to come home. She refused and said take care of it, I was so angry I threw the phone at my six year old cousins head. I regret this every day. If I could go back At that moment I would instead hold my cousin close and tell her everything will be alright. My aunt still insists that I beat my cousin, this part is untrue. I never beat or hit my cousin I did however come close during my episodes. After doing extensive therapy and treatment I see now that my aunt should have never put me in that position.

The third and final part of the note I wrote stated that I loved her, but I was going to kill myself or hurt others if I stayed. Three days before that note were written I was pushed to the end of a steep cliff. We had a large fight I still have trauma from. I asked her to get help before it was too late. She became angry with me and in front of my cousin and me she stated that she would drive off the bridge and drown us all. I hit my limit of patience and understanding. I told her to do it, words I wish I could take back. After that incident I came home I wrote the note. I wrote two notes that day one was a suicide note the other addressed to her. On the day I ran away I never said goodbye to my cousin. I wish I could explain to her one day that I had no choice. The drugs, the lies, the abuse made the choice for me. Three years later my cousin was removed from her home as my aunts life came crashing down. She lost everything that mattered to her.

I wish I could say a part of me is sorry she did lose everything. Forgiveness and empathy are hard to execute when your abuser will not change. Last year I received a message from my aunt stating she would have ” friends” who would do things if I talked to my cousin again. After that she emailed my grandmother stating I was a whore. Even in forgiveness her actions still tell the story abusers never change when they lose control. The best thing I ever did was walk away. Deep down I will always hold a place for her in my heart. I will hold the good memories close even though her voice and words cut like a knife from the later years. I hope one day she will own her truth instead of playing victim with her lies and false beliefs. Greatly hoping one day she will find peace inside her soul and make peace with the monster laying in her heart. I have done what I can to accept her, but acceptance can only go so far when she herself is loves the toxicity. I am sober and will not let her pain become mine ever again.

Written by Ali Johnson

Promise, They Will Be Enough

[Will’s father came back into town, and then lied to Will about being around more and left. Phillip is trying to comfort him]

Will: Hey, you no what, you ain’t got to do nothing, Uncle Phil. You know, ain’t like I’m still five years old, you know? Ain’t like I’m gonna be sitting every night asking my mom ‘when’s daddy coming home?’ You know? Who needs him? Hey, he wasn’t there to teach me how to shoot my first basket, but I learned it, didn’t I? And I got pretty damn good at it too, didn’t I, Uncle Phil?

Phillip Banks: Yeah, you did.

Will: Got to do my first date without him, right? I learned how to ride, I learned how to shave, I learned how to fight without him. I had *fourteen* great birthdays without him; he never even sent me a damn card. The hell with him!

[pause]

Will: I didn’t need him then, I won’t need him now.

Phillip Banks: Will…

Will: No, you know what, Uncle Phil? I’m gonna get through college without him, I’m gonna get a great job without him, I’m gonna marry me a beautiful honey and I’m having a whole bunch of kids. I’m gonna be a better father than he ever was. And I sure as hell don’t need him for that, ’cause there ain’t a damn thing he can teach me about how to love my kids!

[long pause; he’s crying]

Will: How come he don’t want me, man?

Scene from Fresh Prince of Belair.

I remember watching the scene from Fresh Prince of Belair for the first time and felt so connected to what he was saying. I too had absent parents who treated me out of convenience instead of want. Lonely is the best way I can describe my feelings towards the missing people that were supposed to step up and do the right thing. Some people say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but when your parent is negligent it causes a certain degree of pain.

Every time my parents would choose to jump in and out of my life a rift grew. I questioned why they chose that time to step up when they wanted no part in anything else going on. One of my battles as a child was dealing with questions of why I was not good enough for them. I was smart, imaginative, and loved to learn. The older I got I started to feel guilty for being a burden to them. I always felt that I was the reason my mom was slightly crazy and my dad didn’t want me because I made my mother nuts. It didn’t matter how much I achieved I was never good enough for them.

Overtime as their absent parenting grew I felt raw anger towards them. Other children would state how great their parents were. How they loved them unconditionally. The one time that I rejected seeing my father I was guilt tripped by family members. They stated that if I didn’t love my dad I should say it directly. I was torn into pieces that day instead of being told my emotions are validated. Thirteen year old me made a promise that day that if I ever have children; I would love them until the day I take my last breath, and be better than what they were one hundred percent.

Two boys later I have kept my promise. I, no longer keep contact with my mother by ensuring she has no access to abuse my children. My promise is simple yet it allows my children to be loved. Unlike my mother I will allow my children to make mistakes and not treat them as a disappointment. I will make sure they have food in their bellies before myself. They will always have a safe space to live in and someone to care about their needs. My last promise is to tell them I love them with each passing day. To hold them when they are scared and cheer them on when they do great things.

I am not a perfect parent by any means. My parents made a choice to walk away from me, what I learned is that I will be better. I did learn something from them and that is my children are first before me. My love for them shows them they are enough. They will not go through life wondering how they failed me. Love and trust does not come easy for me, but my children will never have to struggle with feeling alone and unheard. I may have been unwanted but I will always want my boys.

Written by: Ali Johnson

30 weeks with my son Maximus.

myself, Travis, and Max