Tag Archives: Trauma

The Three Faces of Me


The Three Faces of Eve
The Three Faces of Eve (Photo credit: junibears)

During therapy yesterday Dr. R mentioned the movie The Three Faces of Eve.  Since The Mean One has come out fighting this week,  I feel like I need to understand what is going on with me.

Watching the movie helped me understand somethings that I have been trying to understand, the way they communicate, among themselves, and with me. Having these awful headaches more frequently also, a similarity.

I hate being like this.  I have always been the person to take care of everything.  I handled our bills, dealing with any and all business for us.  Now if the slightest ripple in the plans or transactions happen, that rock my boat, that cause me any negative emotion The Mean One thinks of it as an open invitation to take over.

In therapy we discussed acknowledging her and her anger.  Last night when she came out at something so minor and stupid, I did just that.  I tried to acknowledge her anger.  I begged her to tell me why she was so angry.  That seemed to make her more angry.  Little Shanna then pushed her way forward, and was so scared.  She asked for Mother.  I am proud of her for doing that.  Tracy called Mother for her and Mother was able to calm her enough for me to push back forward.

Something needs to give.  I hate this.

Thanks for reading.  ~Hope




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You Know What I Felt Most Of All?

Tonight we watched Standoff. Standoff is a series about FBI hostage negotiators. I love shows like this. This episode was about a victim of an adoption fraud who was holding someone hostage. We were not privy to why he was holding the hostage until most of the way through the episode or I would have decided to not watch this episode.

When I realized the reason, I started playing around on my Ipad, trying to drown out the show. I still heard though. The negotiators brought in another victim of the same adoption fraud. As she was talking on the phone to the hostage taker she said she understands what he feels. She went on to ask, “But do you know what I felt the most?”

In unison she and I said stupid.

I started shaking and crying, for so many reasons. It was like the adoption fraud just happened. Dealing with that is the whole reason I started going to therapy last year, when EMDR opened Pandora’s box, I have yet to really get to dealing with it.

My life.

What’s In A Name

What is in a name? Those words keep coming to mind today.

When I started this blog I specifically chose the nome de plume Hope. Hope according to Webster means:

: the feeling of wanting something to happen and thinking that it could happen : a feeling that something good will happen or be true

: the chance that something good will happen

: someone or something that may be able to provide help : someone or something that gives you a reason for hoping

Each of these meanings encapsulated what and who I wanted to be on my blog and who I want to come out on the other side of this journey. As an adult, I recognize that I use that name to write behind, and it is a symbolic representation of who I am. Something I am learning in therapy about my alter that it so hard to grasp, is she processes things like a child.

Have you ever jokingly called a child by another name? It might be cute a time or two, but children get pretty defiant about their names. That is their identity. These last few days as I have thought about this child, and in essence tried to mother her and understand her, I look towards the children that I have worked with through the years as my mentors.

I remember one child that I had the hardest time remembering her name, and then once I remembered it, learning to spell it was a completely new endeavor. Each time I would forget her name her face would sink, I felt horrible. Same when I spelled it incorrectly. Her expression showed that she did not feel as important as the other children or even forgotten. Which was not the case, gratefully I corrected my problem and she smiles alot now.

So what is in a name? My name is Shanna. My name means God is gracious. When put on a scale Hope and Shanna, the meanings are very similiar. I know that I CAN do all things through Christ that strengthens me. I am Shanna. I will always be Shanna. I have always been Shanna, except for the first six weeks when I was Nicki, but my Daddy decided I was Shanna. He was right, I AM SHANNA.

Little Shanna his hurt and angry that I do not use our name on a regular basis on this blog. I did not understand why until I realized that is her identity. She is already so afraid of being alone and forgotten. I will never let her be alone and forgotten again, but I am still going to go by Hope. I might occassionally name drop, Shanna, just to remind her, but I am the adult, and I need to do what is best for us.

It’s My Life

It is hard to say whether or not I should consider my last few weeks as eventful. Most of my days have been spent in my room with my blankets pulled up to my nose while I watch a Glee Marathon now I am on to Party of Five. I had brief breaks from the shows to watch movies, and a couple of days of doctor appointments, I vetured down to my parents a couple of times, and then I attempted to cook supper for my husband maybe three times. I also went to church on Sunday, but ended up coming home.

My life has become very sheltered. The last couple of days I have found words to describe how I feel. You see people in abusive relationships. They become imprisioned and cut off from their support system by their abuser. That is what I feel like “Little Hope” is trying to do to me. I do not know if she thinks that is her way of protecting me or manipulating me. I really feel like her wanting to kill me is her feeling like she has been the one that has protected us for all these years, and if I go away she will still be here strong, and I will not be hurting. Death through the eyes of a child is like it plays out on a cartoon, you come right back. I do not know if she realizes that we or she would not come right back. I do not know. I can only guess what she is thinking and feeling, and go by the memories and feelings that I have after she has manifested herself. Sometimes I am present with her as an imprisoned bystander and others I have very little memory to no memory that she took over.

Our minds are facinating and terrifying things. Though this Little One is me, because of her defiance, I do not feel any connection to her. When I think back to me as a child, that is not how I was.

Earlier this week my young cousin told her Mom that her teacher had gotten angry threw her folder, scattering papers everywhere, and then told the child that it was her fault to clean it up. When confronted the teacher lied infront of the Principal and then my little cousin was given a lecture about lying. Gratefully her peers came forward and backed her story and she has now been transferred out of that class.

My cousin’s courage gave me the courage to seek out my abusive teacher. It scares me that she is still a teacher, but I also know people can change. I first wrote her to verify that it was indeed her. It was and she remembered me. My anxiety shot through the roof when the last words she wrote were “Good to hear from a former student.”

She had no idea what I was about to write. Being the person I am and truly hoping she has changed, I wrote in the sandwhich method that I learned in management training years ago. Good BAD Good. Meaning good news and nice, bad news and harsh, good news and nice again.

I based the good news and nice on the few things she told me in her first email, and then I reminded her exactly who I was. I detailed the things she did to me and how they made me feel, then and now. I also let her know that I spoke to others in my class and without prompting they had the same memories. They also have their own stories to tell. I let her know that I was giving voice to the child that did not have one back then.

I let her know some of the good things that have happened in my life and that we share the love of working with those that have special needs. She changed from regular ed and is now a special needs teacher. I also commended her for getting out of teaching for a while to raise her boys. My Mother was a stay at home mom, and it was so important to me. I know not everyone can.

There were several things that I mentioned. I tried to express that I was not coming down on the person she is today, but in hopes of forgiving her I needed to let her know what it had done to me. I need to heal.

Sadly, I have not heard back from her. No apology, no excuses, no nothing. Now, it worries me that she still teaches. In my heart of hearts, I really thought as an mature adult, realizing what her actions had done, she would have apologized. I have now drafted a letter to her Principal, but have not hit send. I know her Principal well. I am waiting, in the hopes she is just processing the information. I know I should not expect and apology, I just hoped.

After writing the letter to her I spoke outloud, letting “Little Hope” know that I have taken care of it. She can become one with me and know that she will not be forgotten, but I will take care of us. I do not know if she heard me or not. She seems to listen in on my other conversations.

Yesterday when my husband and I where having lunch together, we were talking about teachers. I do not remember exactly what he said. I excused myself to to restroom. While in there she fought so hard to manifest, I knew I needed to get back out to my husband. I do not know what set her off. I do not know if she got full control or not, I was fighting so hard for her not to. I have not asked my husband, I remember seeing fear in his eyes. He kept saying we could go, but I remember telling him no that I needed him to get his dessert. I felt like she was trying to control that situation, she did not want him to be able to have his dessert, he has been waiting for that for a while. She knew I would feel awful if it was my fault that he did not have it. I do not remember him eating it or leaving.

Today is Saturday. I have family coming in. I am praying for a good day with no suprise guests.

One Small Step for Man, A Giant Leap for Hope

Today I walked around taking pictures. I kept getting closer and closer to my parents backyard. Yesterday in therapy we taked about wisteria, and its beautiful purple blooms. I knew some were in the backyard, the entrance to my Narnia.

I would start that way, and then change my mind and go a different dirrection. Take pictures for a while in that location and venture back to the side yard. Each time, just a step or two closer. My Daddy is inside the house I told myself. The yard has changed completely since “that time.” So have I.

I looked at the camera in my hand, and felt the weight of it. I felt the sweat rolling down my back and on my face. The air is heavy with humidity. The sun is hot on my black plants and not quite as hot on my gray shirt. My nose all snuffy because I am outside and my allergies are giving me a fits. I am very thirsty, because I have been outside a while in the heat. I hear birds chirping, squirrels jumping from tree to tree, cars passing by on the highway, and hear Roscoe and Enos wanting to come walk with me.

Each of my senses are engaged in the now. One more step and another and another and another. I am there. Looking at Narnia. My fist begins to clinch, but I am still in contol. I look for things to take pictures of. The wisteria that Mother photographed the other day is no longer in bloom. I found a couple of other beauties. More than the images on film was the accomplishment of conquering the fear today.

Will it be back tomorrow? Who knows, but today I stood at the gates of my Narnia as a Warrior and Returning Queen.

Some Days Are Epically Good, Epically Bad!! Today was EPIC!

You know you are having a really bad day when you ask your Mother to leave the room so that you can swear, when you normally do not swear.

The day started of well enough. I went down to my parents place to be there in case I was needed when the Comcast guy came. While I was there someone stole my porch garden. My beautiful bell peppers and my eggplant. They were much more than two plants, they were my therapy. I really hate the evil in this world. I’m tired of getting kicked with I am down and ready to catch a break. If they needed the food, and would have asked I would have gladly shared, but no, they have no respect for personal property or boundaries. This idiot thief apparently is going around stealing plants from people’s yard, not just vegatables. Some they are even digging up. I just want them to know I have gun and I do not know how to use it, but that makes me extra dangerous! Do not make someone who is already dealing with PTSD feel unsafe in her own home! The plants were just a few feet from my door. The thought of someone I do not know coming that close into my personal territory terrifies me. If a negative thought could be thought about anyone, it was thought about the person or persons who stole my plants. I guess I am more angry than I realized because so much anger is bubbling out, and continuing to do so, in the words of Mr. T, “I pity the fool” if I find out who did this!

As if that was not a bad enough day, sending my therapy to the pooper. My Daddy and I were pulling out of our drive way onto the highway, I saw him for the first time. It was worse than I ever imagined. You can never prepare yourself for it. Daddy asked if I wanted to go back home, we were going to pick up a puppy for my Mother, several counties away. I was able to verbalize, “No Daddy, please keep going! Keep going, please”. Then I was gone, fighting “her” for a long time. Cutting the circulation off in my fingers from twisting the straps on purse tightly around them. Trying to feel the pain so that “she” could not take over. I felt her expressions on my face, the pout of her lips. I wanted to call my Mother, but I knew she would want us to come home, but I needed to focus on doing this service for Mother so that I could stay in the now. Daddy keep assuring me that I was okay, that was in the past, reaching and rubbing my arm, calling me “Baby Girl”. I needed that as much as “she” did. Once we were nearly out of our county I sent a text to Mother. I could not call. I was right, she wanted us to come home, and forget the puppy. I said, “No”.

We picked up her baby, who I lovingly call “Piglet”. Not because she is big, quite the contrary, she is a tiny chihuahua. The runt of the litter. I call her Piglet because one of the pictures that I sent Mother she looked like a Piglet because of her coloring and the markings on her nose. Mother put Daddy and I in charge of giving Piglet the once over before buying her. I turned her over, and asked questions several. She received the stamp of approval from both of us, we tried to FaceTime with Mother, but it would not work. Anyway, on the journey back home, Piglet acted hungry and so I was going to let her nibble on my finger. Oh boy. Piglet, who will be 7 weeks tomorrow according to the gentlemen that we purchased her from does not have a tooth in her little Piglet mouth. We wonder if she might be younger than they said she is. Her mom stopped feeding her. Who knows, she is a cute tiny thing, and will have her first vet appointment as soon as Mother can get one. We tried feeding her formula tonight and she would not have any of it. Last I talked to Mother she was going to use a syringe and see if she can get something in her.

Today has been exhausting. I am ready to be asleep safe beside my husband, and pray tomorrow will be better, even though I do have a funeral to go to. Please let it be better!

Maybe Not My Smartest Idea Yet

I used to see him almost daily around town, in the last month or so I have not seen him, actually since I remembered what happened. Debating within myself for a couple of weeks about calling some of his family just to check on him. Not alluding in any way why I wanted to know. They do not need to know. It would not be fair to them or him. I batted the idea back in forth in my mind. I probably should have asked my therapist about it yesterday, she might have talked me out of it.

The way it played out in my mind before it happened was they would tell me that he had moved away, was happy, and I would breathe a huge sigh of relief shed happy tears, and continue with my healing journey, but able to go uptown without the fear of seeing him. My husband hand would start healing too from the tight grasp I keep when we drive anywhere.

Instead the reality played out much different. I emailed someone in his family, and they told me they had seen him just two days ago, only about 1/8 mile away from my house. I know he is no longer a threat to me. But anxiety went into overdrive. I can almost bet my life on the fact that he has no rememberance on what he did to me. I tried to convince myself that I am not anxious, but I step out of my house, I look towards the highway, and again when I leave my parents home, scanning the highway.

My husband said, “Don’t go looking for the Devil, He’ll find you.” Not exactly what I wanted or needed to hear. I really hoped that my abuser, my friend, had moved away and found solitude somewhere else.

You know, just as I do not want to be defined by what was done to me, I do not want to define him by what he did to me. I hate calling him “my abuser”. As I sat in therapy yesterday, I laughed at things we did as children. I really feel like if anyone else had done this to me back then and he knew it he would have stood up for me. He was a good friend, a friend whose life went out of control, and part of that lack of control was doing something awful to me. That awful thing was not him. As a child, I just knew I was going to marry him. He amazed me with his Evil Knievel dare devil and stunt man tricks, and often using his brother in his stunts as a prop. My heart hurts for him, and his family.

The last time we spoke, my husband and I saw him around town, and we talked to him. He shared his adventures as Patton, and walking with Christ, and many other delusions his mind creates these days. How could I be angry with him? I cannot be angry with the friend I love so dearly back then, nor the man who sees and lives a life none of us can see now.

I think where my lack of anger concerning him comes in were best described by Emilee Parker’s Mother, one of the victim’s of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting when she said of her feelings towards the shooter, “It is not my burden to carry”. I have really been frustrated with myself for not being more angry at him, I had one quick burst of anger, but it came and went. I truly feel love and compassion for him. That is in my makeup, that is who I am. And to be angry at him is not my burden to carry.

I wish I could convince myself that some of these other emotions were not mine to carry either. Fear, anxiety, depression, disgust… one day at a time, it is a journey. I will get there one day.