There is no manual in abuse

my grandfather was sick I got the call last Monday. I thought things would be ok and hope for the best. The sinking feeling in my stomach was call him. The other side of me struggled to bring myself too it.

I called today: I rang the familiar number that never changes. The pit in my stomach grew larger and the wave of unrefined anger rushed out. I hate calling that number and I would hate it even more if she answered. Reminding myself it’s only for my grandfather and I did not have to speak with the demon. His voice answered, and then he didn’t understand whose voice it was. I felt the pang of guilt for walking away when I did. Not only did I leave her I left him behind too. I still feel it was the right thing to do.

We tried small chit-chat about his health. You could cut the tension with a knife it was awkward. I’m still angry as he is still angry. There’s no upside to this pent-up anger. There’s no manual to abusive childhoods and how you supposed to feel. He asked me about my kids and I tried to give small answers. I protect my children at all cost and I feel deep down the devil should never know them. She had us as kids and what she did was unforgivable. I vowed to never let them go through that. I wish I could share the love of my kids with him but there’s one person who stops that.

The line came up asking why I never call. I said I wish to not speak to Laurie. Sickening to even give her name. In the cliché of flying monkey conversation he said if you are mad at her then you might as well be mad at me too.” In the manual of abuse this means I will stand blind to your abuser and not acknowledge what she did. How can someone stand behind what she did? She drugged, lied, hurt, and destroyed the minds of innocent children. She created monsters in their heads. The manual doesn’t cover that abuse wounds never heal properly. They only grow larger and deeper.

He then asked about my dad and my other grandparents with spite. I was so internally angry because my other family are trying. This long battle between them should be put to rest. My grandfather stated he leaves him alone, and they leave him alone and that’s the way he likes it. There is an unspoken dialogue hanging in the air about a battle no one won. The devil tried so hard to destroy their spirit and lie about the truth. She tried to brainwash a child into hating people. It didn’t work and the dirt on everyone’s knees never came clean.

There is no manual to how I feel right now. There’s no book that can teach me the zen of blocking it out. I walked away long ago and I never looked back. Calling in today was not an olive branch. I froze when I really wanted to say my peace. The anger I feel is fire and I really want to douse it with water. There’s no manual, no rules, no truth to it all. I cannot understand how one path in life could be damming when everything else falls in place.

Written by Ali Johnson

The Spirited Child and Her Chrysalis

I was a spirited child when I was younger and it was slowly taken away by somebody who wanted control. My childhood was stolen same as my mind and my body. Looking back I think little pieces were broken off until I was small inside. I will never understand how so many people could do what they did and still sleep at night feeling no pain. Laying restless often I don’t wish pain on them, but sometimes I wish they felt the way I feel in the darkness and the fuzz of the past.

I loved colours, I loved stories, I absolutely loved animals, and I loved smells. My favourite smell was electricity in the air right before a storm. Feeling the small buzz on the skin I could always tell when it would rain down and the calmness it left in the soul. I loved the lady bugs and their bright red shell on their tiny immaculate bodies. My mind was great but it was also drugged into mindlessness. You couldn’t tell on the surface but I felt it. I felt everything and I felt small much like the lady bug.

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A bee is a small insect with fuzzy bodies. They are busy but effective little creatures. The sound they make is exquisite. I was six years old when I imagined being a tiny honey bee flying away to a hive to produce something new. Watching the bees collect pollen from flower to flower care free but with so much to do. I was six years old when my mom came back and got in a fight for a reason I don’t remember. Six year old me was being watched by a man named Derrick we called him uncle. Tiny honey bee is what I wanted to be in the basement being watched by a monster named Derrick. I left in my mind to smell the dandelions the honey bee and I loved so much. Six year old me would soon be put on several drugs from Derricks mother, my foster grandmother.

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The cricket is a musical instrument. It rubs its legs together to make a chirping sound. If you sit still in a field, you can hear the cricket orchestra sing loudly with pride. For a tiny bug it has a mighty strong song. I would think of crickets while my grandmother would lie about my intelligence to the doctor that never asked if it was true. Fielding the cricket song as she claimed I was angry and out of control. I danced to crickets in my head as children called my Ritalin; I was but the blue pill being put into my body, my mind was not mine to have. Three pills each for ADHD, FASD, and psychosis. I heard crickets when the test proved that only one of these were accurate. I have ADHD but the lied continued to be carried out by a mentally sick woman. There’s a tinge of sadness to the cricket’s song: partly due to it being so quiet on its own. It’s a lonely song to play when people don’t listen fully to the orchestra of the cricket.

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Most people are afraid of spiders when really they are surprising creatures. Some are harmless while others carry a deadly poison. No spider web has the same web, however like humans the spider comes in all forms, and designs their creations. I admire the spider because the black widow represents the deadly creature of abusive parents like my mother and grandmother. One bite and it’s fatal for the prey. If you get a daddy long legs, you will have an innocent spider who only eats mosquitoes. They look scary, but they have a romantic notion to protect the home they inhabit. When my grandmother chose to take my siblings and me away for a while, I would find daddy long legs and watch it climb high on the walls. She hid us from our grandfather and any one looking for us kids. The black widow didn’t care how much poison she spread, only if she could spread it on her terms. The dadddy long legs undaunted by the black widow climbed high to live another day.

photo by Robsatski

Bugs are amazing creatures. They hold incredible senses beyond what someone sees and hears. I wished as a child to be a bug and be able to live life with purpose. Much like a bug somebody bigger could come around and squish you like it didn’t matter. I felt squished and the people who did it just kept going. How can a tiny creature with offerings of greatness and intrigue be killed by a thoughtless act and have it continue with no consequence? If I had a time machine I would watch the bugs with tiny me and show her she was just as strong as the bugs she seen in her mind. I would lead her to the chrysalis and tell her butterflies are the change of spirit she should love one day.

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Written by Ali Johnson

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