Sometimes I get the feeling I’m drowning, even when there’s no water around. Triggers, those pesky little things that set off memories, feel like waves washing over my mind, and the next thing I know I’m back in certain situations that I normally keep buried. What really gets up my nose is that some of the triggers would be *good* things to most people. Recently going out for ice cream set off an amazing chain of triggers that took two weeks to calm down. I shouldn’t have to go through that for a bloody dish of ice cream.
One of my internal children, a generally happy four-year-old called Lily, was ecstatic to get a gift card to a toy store from my best friend this past holiday season. She knows that she’ll have to share with the other kids, but she’s still very excited. We haven’t used it yet, though. Lily feels that she is acting like a spoiled, self-centred person by wanting toys and enjoying them. She feels guilty for even wanting to go to the toy store. My best friend keeps telling her it’s ok to like toys and to want stuff, but she feels horrible. I can’t seem to help– I remember the reason she feels that way and, as much as I’d like to deny it, I still feel that way sometimes, too.
This morning I woke up very sad and had no idea of why. The weekend was absolutely amazing, and I’ve actually got my tasks under control for school. Yes, there’s still the never-ending job search and the bills piling up hourly, but things are organised in the present. It occurred to me soon, though, that Lily was sad because she woke up surrounded by her two Pooh bears and one stuffed dog. She has a little stuffed lamb and a cat that we all thought was a bear, too, and she does love these toys. I had to stop her from destroying them this morning, though. We had to do that so frequently, destroy things we loved, and now that she realises how much she loves these toys she doesn’t think she should be allowed to keep them. I still think about stuffed animals, books, and other toys that we had to burn either as punishment or to try and prevent something worse happening to us.
And today, mixed in with the sadness, is anger and disgust. I try not to let my anger towards these people turn into hatred, but sometimes I wonder if that’s even possible. It’s only been very recently that I’ve felt this anger at all, and I think it’s slowly helping to take away some of the shame that goes along with these memories. For Lily, though, the memories are still sometimes reality. She feels guilt and shame, so I feel guilt and shame sometimes as well. She is, after all, just a facet of my mind that remains a child. As bad as it sounds, keeping myself somewhat dissociated from those feelings through her is necessary for now. I can, however, think of it in terms of what was done to that other child, and it almost makes me nauseous.
I don’t know what it will take to make Lily, and consequently me, feel safe and worthy of having things that make us happy. I don’t know when that fear of our things being destroyed or taken from us will get better either. What I *do* know is that this should never have been an issue in the first place. It’s cause should never have happened.