When Hurting Stops Helping

I hurt so bad right now, and I can’t stop crying, just a fricking sobbing puddle of FML. The very nature of self-destructive coping mechanisms is that they stop working, they desert us. I know this, and I have more than a few.  Once I begin something self-destructive and it makes the pain go away, I can’t stop. I hurt, and it’s so much to bear. The biggest, worst if you will, of the coping mechanism thats’ been “helping” me through the trauma that is facing me, and the horrors that winter seems to bring in general, has stopped working. It feels personal, like a best friend turning their back on me. I knew. I knew better. But the relief was so great that I didn’t think about the pain of the certain abandonment I would eventually be facing. Well, here it is. Its slipping away.

Really looking at it all, it’s more like the self-destructive coping mechanisms use me. I’m all used up now, so I have no purpose. My purpose has been served, and the thing that “helped” so much has now abandoned me. I’m lost, bereft. And there’s that inner critic saying, “What did you expect? You did this to yourself. You knew better. You deserve every bit of the pain that’s punishing you now!  You’ve been fucking life up from the minute you entered this world.”

I was born blue, not breathing. The doctor had to reach into my mother and pull me out, ripping my mother apart and then having to revive me. Think of all the brain cells I lost, and how brilliant I might have been!  Yes, I know that I lived for a reason, but even the story of my entrance into this world gives voice to the inner bitch that plagues me. I don’t wish I had died at birth, as it would have ripped more than my mother’s body apart. I’ve  always been the problem child. I was obedient, kind, and respectful of my parents, but I had problem after problem and caused them worry. I broke my arm showing off on the  neighbor’s swingset. I had purpura when I was four also. Four was the worst year of my life, the beginning of the chain that I continued through life, getting pregnant at age fifteen, getting married at eighteen because I was pregnant again and didn’t want to cause any more shame for my parents, having five kids under the age of five by the time I was twenty three years old.  I was always stumbling through life, trying to get it right, fit in, and belong. I still am.

So, today I’m struggling with saying “goodbye” to the destruction that helped me cope through the winter. It has now deserted me, and I’m stuck with the pain of that desertion, facing the nightmare that caught me off guard (the brutal rape of little four-year old me), and the pain I’ve been avoiding for months. I shoved it away, and it waited for me. I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I’ve even shoved the rape away, not looking at it for the past few weeks, clinging to the destructive coping mechanism and panicking as it is slipping away from me. I thought I was in a healthy place. I was lying to myself and the destruction was lying to me.

I think the events of the past week have forced me to face feelings (Both of my daughters have been through breakups and I’ve been physically, mentally, and emotionally there for them. I’ve been present and feeling, opening the floodgate of all feeling), bringing all of it to surface, arms crossed, tapping its foot, glaring at me, and saying,”Well, here we are. Fucking deal with the shit you postponed, along with all the other shit you brought on yourself.” My mind works against me. Clearly, I need DBT group more than ever. The skills of MIndfulness, Distress Management, Emotional Regulation, and Interpersonal Effectiveness are real skills. THEY are my hope for survival, and they will last me a lifetime, hopefully breaking the pattern of being drawn into the destructions that feel great, numb my feelings, lift me up, tell me I’m good enough, boost my confidence, and then slip away, run away from me, taking all of that false goodness with it.

What next? Talk about the destructive pathways to my trauma therapist and learn how to avoid them. Deal with the pain in healthy ways. I hate days of crying and emptiness. I do realize that, although they feel like wasted lost days, these are the days that breed healing. The crying is healing. Running down those destructive pathways is doing more damage. I’ll let myself cry as much as I need to. I’ll utilize the true and healthy skills that I own to cope. I’m beginning again. I’m also fighting urges and impulses to engage in self-destruction. It’s what I know. It’s right there, promising distraction and relief. I have to fight the monsters that come disguised as helpers.  Is “ugh” a feeling? Because THAT seems to fit where I’m at today.

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