Posted by: Marie | October 10, 2011

(598) A mixed bag – Part 2 of 2

Post #598
[Private journal entry written on Tuesday, April 5, 2011 – continued from previous post]

So . . . there have been lots of upbeat moments in the past couple of weeks. And, mixed in with those moments, there has been a river of flashbacks to childhood horrors. The flashbacks have come crashing into my peaceful moments – and I’ve struggled to ignore them. I don’t want to give them energy, but they demand my energy. I want to not talk about them, but they demand my attention.

I did my best to capture what was going on with me when I sent my usual week-before-the-therapy-session status email to Edward last week . . .

Hi, Edward –

So . . . for the last couple of days, I’ve been all over the place about what this email is going to contain. Most of that time, I have been convinced I would simply say something like, “I’m still here and I’ll see you next week.”

But, as I’m getting ready to slide into bed tonight, I’m feeling unusually brave and I have decided to admit to what’s really happening before I change my mind.

For the last week+, I’ve been having flashback-like experiences in which I see myself, as an adult, rage-fully slashing at my dad’s face and body with his own leather belt. The image hits hard, out of the blue, and then I immediately react in terror because the next image is of him hitting me on the side of my head and . . . for lack of a better description . . . annihilating me . . . everything goes blank and I find myself frozen and hyperventilating and dissociating.

It is much like what I experienced when the first hints of flashbacks of the sexual abuse showed up. That caused me to be almost non-functional. I’m doing better with this round as I’m actually functioning pretty well. But, it’s not fun.

I’m sure I never actually did that to my dad, so I’m guessing this is the rage I denied way back then coming to the surface. I am feeling that I will “die” if I allow it to come up . . . if I actually admit to experiencing these feelings and images. The terror is so great that, if I had a session with you right this minute, I don’t think I could even talk about it. I’m not sure where I’ll be with it in a week from now . . . but I figured I’d warn you that, right now, I believe it is doubtful I will be able to talk about it next week. However, I think it is good that I can write/send this via email so you have a clue what is happening (and it might help me be ready sooner.)

To give you an idea of how powerful this stuff is, I’ve included a link to a piece of music that I woke up with in my head after a nightmare about 10 days ago, when this all started. I had my computer next to the bed and, when I woke up from the nightmare, I turned on my computer, opened up my composing software and wrote down the music . . . . there was no thought, no planning . . . it was in my head, with the melody, counterpoint, harmony, walking bass, chord progression all fully developed. I was a good 4-5 measures into it before I even knew what key it was in — I was just typing what I was hearing in my head as quickly as possible.

The next morning I woke up and wasn’t sure if I had dreamed writing the song . . . but, I turned on my computer and there it was . . . and it was a breathtakingly accurate reflection of the emotion in the dream. I must have been tapped into something cosmic because this piece is way beyond my composing ability. The interesting part is that it is unfinished . . . and I don’t have a clue how to go about finishing it. So, it just stops mid-idea.

Okay . . . off to bed . . . thanks for “listening”!

– Marie


Dear Marie,

Thank you for your courage in sharing this with me.

I look forward to our time together next week, and in supporting you gently and meaningfully.


So, we have a therapy session scheduled for tomorrow. I wonder how it will go . . . I’m actually feeling better – more settled – today than I did a week ago when I sent the email. Maybe I’m in a place this week that will allow me to take some steps forward in the session . . .


  1. I’ll be interested to hear how the session went.

    • I appreciate your interest, Evan!

  2. Those are disturbingly brutal memories you’ve. It’s painful to hear of them for me, let alone be remembered by you. I have so much empathy for you Marie. Forgive yourself for feelings you should have been feeling but squashed then out of survival. You have every right to feel such rage at such beleaguering, toward a child no less, by a parent. I’m sorry you have to feel as if you’re reliving them. This difficult task of recovering your memory is draining so be kind to yourself, and allow for the necessary recovery time. You are reclaiming your life, starting by the accurate recollection of your youth, and as inconvenient and devastating as it was and felt again recently, this detail is coming to you for the first time. In this work of remembering with such clarity you are shining light unto the contents of the unconscious. When you do that you begin releasing the very powerful hold and influence these events have on you. They can drive a person to repeat patterns again and again. For your courage in facing your suffering you will become more free to choose what it is you’d really like do, instead of just reacting. At first you’ll react, at some point realize you’ve been triggered, and be able to behave differently. How liberating! Identifying one’s triggers is more than the average person does in his or her lifetime. It takes guts. My hat’s off to you.

    • Hey, Carrie –

      You are so right about recognizing a trigger and being able to choose a different response . . . I’m noticing that is happening more and more. Sometimes I have to allow the strong emotion to pass before I’m able to choose a different way, but I’m getting better at it!

      I appreciate your sharing your wisdom! Thank you!

      – Marie

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