Thursday, June 12, 2014

Memory

I am not sure when I became so good at forgetting but I am pretty amazing at it.
Usually its not something I wish I could do. It makes it really hard when all I want is to remember moments with Kenzie. Lose myself in what once was. But those memories have faded. Really fast. I have learned through the mass amounts of counseling I have done through most of my life that its really common to block out trauma because some just cant handle it.
I guess I am one of those. and the older I have gotten the worse it is.
I have very LITTLE memory of my childhood. What I remember is almost snapshots. Paused moments in time. There are no voices or movement or smells or sounds. Its a picture. Much of it is good. I really have an amazing family. and even a lot of good memories came from my Dad. He used to do this thing when you would hug him really tight... He would say "POP" when you hugged him just right. I remember squeezing him so tight just to get him to say that. He sang to me when I asked. Those songs are forever in my mind. Not his voice. Just knowing those were sung. He did a lot of weird things... He was very controlling and manipulative. He had a Doctorate in Psychology- he was very smart. He knew how to talk to people. One of his little controlling tactics was that he would have special treats in the house. Treats of the rest of us couldn't have. There were 10 kids and not much money. We didn't have a lot of goodies or extras. but he always did. Well I remember him sharing with me. I remember him giving me chocolate covered cherries or twinkies or one of his sodas. I remember feeling spoiled by that.

I loved when my sisters and brothers were around. I remember them taking me on adventures, buying me fun things and just spending time with me. Even when forced. Sorry Jill. I don't know how many hours you were forced to play barbies--- well into your teens--- but I loved it. I loved how Donette would take Jonathan and I camping or to her apartment in Logan. I loved how Rick would take me on motorcycle rides. I loved when Ben would always bring me the McDonald toys when a new one came out. I loved when Kristianne would send me post cards and letters. I loved how Alana always seemed to save me when I would be hiding under the bed and the damn box spring would once again fall on me. I love how Amy would comb and braid my hair. I love how Lisa would take me to work with her and bring me special treats. I love how Jonathan still loved me after I was not a very nice big sister and how we were still a team in just about everything we did - spy club. I do have amazing memories and was given a good life. There are so many things I hope to mimic with my family.
I wish I could remember more good.
I also wish I could remember and understand more of the bad.
To understand more of why I have some of these feelings and have struggled with certain issues. Issues that I have worked on just about my whole life.
I was 6 when I started eating paper so I wouldn't get fat.
I started having anxiety attacks shortly after that.
I got in trouble in 1st grade for drawing pictures of naked stick figures doing things to each other.
I started going to counseling when I was 8 and continued pretty regularly up until recently.
I have always had problems in relationships. How I feel loved is not how others would.
I want to understand. I want a clear memory of everything. Of what happened and when. I wish I could pin point the defining moment so I can work through it now. So I can not be so confused. So I can fix myself so I can not be so... hurt. and be better for Ryan and Tracker.
I know there were times in life I knew and was clear on everything happening in life.
I have memories of telling things to other people or counselors.
I have memories of moments before... what happened next I am not sure.
At times I am thankful I don't have these memories in my mind. That I don't have to know every moment. Every sleepless night. I know even in my immediate family--- they remember--- and I know how much that hurts them. So most of the time I am thankful my brain has lost those images.
I know the feelings I had then. I remember the pain. The hurt. The anger. I was very angry. I would use the word hate. I do know that emotion was there just about every moment I was around him. Especially the older I got.
The worst abuse for me. That I am very clear about today. That I remember. That is carved in my brain. That is carved in every inch of my body. Is the emotional abuse.
I think we all suffer from some type of emotional abuse at some point in our lives. Name calling, being degraded, being made fun of, being yelled at. Maybe it was someone at school. Maybe it was a neighbor. Maybe it was a sibling or maybe it was a parent.
The words he said to me are clear. That part of my memory is very much still there. Those are some of the hardest memories for me. Being torn down- to nothing- from a very young age... I am not sure you can ever build yourself up to what you should be.
I used to work with a company that went around doing workshops for groups that worked with troubled or at risk youth. I did secretary type work for them. I went to one of the workshops and learned so much. The workshop made so much sense. It made me almost feel normal in this world. Normal for someone that has been abused. For those of us that have been abused our minds will not work the same as everyone else. There are triggers and emotions that someone who has not experienced abuse wont understand. I don't think people understand how damaging it is to harm a child. "They wont remember" or "They adapt so well" is what you hear so often. That is so not the case. Your brain develops 80% from age 0-5!! 80%!!!! When a child suffers neglect or abuse do you know what happens to their brain development? It creates holes. Holes that might start out small but imagine a cone shape. The hole that was created was the tip of the cone. As life goes on or as the cone goes on that hole gets bigger. By the end of the cone or the end of your brain development that little hole is really big. That means there is a big space missing. Of course these kids are going to have issues. We might all have a little hole made. Its near impossible to not have some kind of trauma in ones life. It doesn't just have to be neglect or abuse. But when its constant or on a regular basis. Many holes are made and that means there is a big problem later.
I think some of my holes are where my memory has gone. Those holes have both helped and hindered the trauma.

You might ask why I want to remember?
Why in the world would I want those memories in my head?
There are many reasons. but as much as I shouldn't... I feel guilty. Guilty that because of what happened my Dad went to prison. I know he made his own choice and what he did was his choice. but it was what he did to me. The statute of limitations had run out on anyone else he hurt. That came forward at least. So it was me. and as much as he made every choice until he made the final choice of ending his life... I still hold myself somewhat responsible.

Side note:
I don't ever want my writing to sound like I am feeling sorry for myself or wanting sympathy. I'm just writing. Please know I am just putting my thoughts and real feelings down. Unfortunately I know I am not the only one who has gone through these things. Abuse is far to common. and I am sure there are many who feel similar to me. Counseling helps because you talk about things out loud. You work through them. I guess I find this my new session.

7 comments :

rcbe1 said...

Kendra, I have followed your blog for awhile. You have such a cute family and my heart aches for you as you have, and continue to deal with the loss of your sweet Kenzie girl. Then today as I read your new post my heart aches for you in a whole new way. I often wonder why some people have so much trauma in their life to deal with, when others do not and it seems so unfair. Life is hard and I have always been impressed with the way you have handled loosing your sweet baby and the way you continue to celebrate her life. I am so sorry to hear of all you have had to go through in your life. My Dad passed away a year ago and it has really made me question so many things. I know death is supposed to be a natural step that we will all take at some point in our life, but it feels so very unnatural when it is someone we love. I can image all of the unanswered questions that come when someone chooses to end their own life, plus all the other things you have to work through. I guess my whole point is I am so sorry you have so much to deal with as you greive. I will keep you in my prayers and I do think of you often and hope you are doing well.Sending love from Riverton, Charlene

Juli McDermott said...

hugs to you

Williams Family said...

I stumbled upon your blog the other day and have been reading back through some of your experiences and loss. I am so sorry for all you have had to go through. I cannot imagine going everything this mortal life has given you.
I pray you can feel His strength and peace as you continue to live with the loss of your beautiful daughter Makenzie and the loss of your childhood. I hope writing this blog can help you find healing because I know people find strength and understanding as you articulate your emotions and experiences.
May you feel close to Him and know you are not alone.
Natalie W

Emma said...

Once again, there are no "right" words, no words to ease the confusion and pain-I wish there were. You have been through so much, and I know sometimes must just want to know "when is enough, enough"?! I know our struggles and how we grow from them are what defines us and through that I know these things are making you the BEST mom for Tracker, the BEST wife for Ryan and the BEST mom for Kenzie as well. The choices you make for your family are selfless and so inspirational. I know this new situation and new added grief will take work, but I know you will continue, one day at a time, to learn from it all-you are so inspiring!
Hugs, love and prayers,
Em

Jeremy and Kristin Colter said...

Kendra,
As a survivor of sexual abuse by a family member for over 10 years of my life I understand you. I am sorry you are going through these things. Don't ever feel guilty for the good memories you have of your Dad. He made HUGE mistakes but no matter what was still your Dad and you loved him. I hope you can grieve and come out the other end a happier, healthier person.
Kristin

Jeremy and Kristin Colter said...

Kendra,
As a survivor of sexual abuse by a close family member for over 10 years of my life I understand your feeings. Please don't ever feel guilty for your good memories of your Dad. He did Awful, Wrong things and paid for them, but he was still your Dad and you loved him. I hope that you can get through this grief and come out the other side a happier and healthier person.
Thanks for sharing your story with me!
Kristin

Toni ~ Mom to 8 heavenly Angels and 1 earthly Angel. said...

I know that there are not many comments on here any more but I wanted to send you my love. From one Survivor to another. We are stronger for what we have walked through. I walked a very similar path growing up, one I wish I could not remember. I have learned that I have learned to endure, when other's hear of my story they tell me how strong I am, I am not, I learned to survive and endure.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it is hard to relive that past. You are amazing for this path you have had to walk

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