I wrote this as the afterword for Broken then decided not to include it based on the advise of a good friend. I can not delete a single word I write. I ever. And so…I’m posting it here.
First, I wish to say that the individuals portrayed by Shaun, Elizabeth’s Father, and Scott no longer exist.
Second, I must tell you that I am not trained at all in Psychology. Everything seen here is my own philosophical deductions. Some of which is based on the therapy sessions I have had.
Third, Psychology is subjective and one disorder could be disguised as four other disorders too easily. Nothing is certain in Psychology and it is quite possible that when one subject is uncovered, the patient’s personality is altered leaving the therapist to change their initial diagnoses. Everything seen here is my opinion only and is subjective. Nor is it meant to be taken as anything other than that.
The reason why trauma victims need a therapist is because trauma victims often bury their worst experiences and memories in their subconscious so that they can survive the trauma. Those forgotten memories are what could hurt us the most even decades later. It doesn’t matter that you can’t remember them. They are there like a poison, eating away at your subconscious and directing your actions. The older you are before seeking help, the worse your condition can be. When a trauma survivor begins therapy, those memories re-surface. When a trauma survivor reads a book like Broken, it can pre-maturely trigger memories they buried in their subconscious, forcing them to confront memories they are not ready to address. This happened to me. I read “Finding Me” by Michelle Knight (One of the Cleveland Kidnapper survivors). Without proper medication and a therapist. The impact can lead to suicide.
Suicide in this case stems from an inability to cope, an inability to forgive themselves (self-inflicted guilt/shame), or an inability to shoulder that much pain. These of course, are just some examples.
In my case, it was an inability to shoulder that much pain. There are days, it hurts so much…I just want it to end.
In July 2015, I was finally diagnosed by a therapist and a nurse practitioner of psychiatry.
I have more than 44 triggers. I eliminated my first one this week. (Dogs barking)
301.83 Borderline Personality Disorder.
In my case, I simply crave a relationship, but feel I am playing Russian Roulette with my partner. I have sporadic urges to back out and run away before he can hurt me all the while wanting to be with him. I have frequent bouts of wanting to run away and sporadically, impulsively sabotage the relationship all while hating myself for hurting the one I love. I use these negative actions as a way to justify why I am not worth being loved. Having BPD…is a hell all in itself.
Mine is a prolonged state of Mania consisting of unusually high and endless energy levels followed by dangerous lows where I contemplate suicide.
When I was 15 years old. My doctor diagnosed me with Chronic Depression.
Here is a list of all my triggers. I’ve added additional notes in italics.
Fear of Lack of Control
The Lack of control and the inability to control myself and/or my surroundings developed from my rapes, the torture, and abuse = no control over my body, decisions, or fate. Really, the majority of my fears and triggers are related to feeling a lack of control.
My pedophile decided what I wore, what I ate, what I said. He chose and bought my clothes. He only bought books he approved of (It took me ten years to get a copy of Sherlock Holmes because he refused to buy it for me because I asked. In turn, he forbade me from buying Holmes) I own a copy now! He almost always ordered my food at restaurants, or he would make “recommendations” I was not allowed to turn down. He chose where I lived, what I studied, what I read, and where I went. He decided I shouldn’t get married or go to college. He decided my friends for me. He chose when and where I had sex. If I objected, I was punished. On a whim, he demanded I “perform.”
(Perform is a word I use to better cope with what it was he actually did to me). I had no say where this took place and was severally punished if I objected. “Severly punished” in every sense was…he threatened me with my greatest fear: Rejection.
Below is a list of unpredictable things that trigger a sense of danger and a lack of control. In one way or another, these things have characteristics of the thing itself that triggers me.
Loud and obnoxious people
Mentally ill people
Sounds: loud and sudden sounds
Hair being cut off
Going to the grocery store is a small Hell for me.
From the Rapes, the torture, and the physical abuse:
To this day, I hate bracelets and watches. I can not wear them or anything around my wrists. They remind me of the handcuffs that chained me to the bed. My daughter wore a bracelet yesterday. I felt myself flinch and internally screamed every time I saw it. This is one of the many things I hide inside.
There is a wall of black in this memory. I’m not touching this without my therapist.
- Angry people
- Anything Unpredictable.
My abusers were unpredictable geysers of anger. I never could tell when or where I would set them off. A couple things I did not talk about in Broken…
When I played the piano, the individual portrayed through “Shaun” would come up behind me and threaten to slam the piano lid down on my fingers. He never did, but the threat was always there. As soon as I relaxed into the music, he would come to me and spend the time feigning slamming the lid over and over while I played. This was done “as a joke.”
He also threatened to cut off my hair. Many times, he had my long hair in his fists and had the scissors opened around my hair ready to cut. Again…this was meant as “a joke.” It enhanced a feeling of not being able to control my own body.
From the Pedophile
The pedophile learned my worst fear (rejection/lack of approval) and used it against me.
After I wrote Broken, after my therapy began, I remembered telling my pedophile “no” all the time. He would propose something over the phone like urinating on me. I would say no. He would contradict my objection and devalue my feelings. Laughing, he often said, “You would too like it. You’re a dirty girl.” Occasionally, I found the nerve to be assertive and argued back, “No! I don’t like it!” In that case, he only reiterated that I did. He called me a liar and laughed at me. He never took my objections seriously and brushed them off as a form of BDSM.
The next time he saw me, he forced me to conduct any action I refused on the phone. I believe this was a way of reinforcing that I had no say in the matter. This revelation allowed me to say, for the first time in my life, guilt free, that he raped me. That sick bastard raped me.
Why did I suppress the memory?
I think, by remembering that I had said “no,” I could not deny being victimized. I’m not sure what this means. Any therapist would be able to analyze this further and break it down.
From the physical abuse and torture…
I was forced to watch “Fire In The Sky” in the dark…at night. I have blocked most of the movie from my mind. I can not hear the “A” word after dark. My kids know this. After dark, it is a banned word in the house.
- Pain: Seeing or hearing others in pain.
- Torture: seeing, suggesting, hinting, hearing torture in movies
I tapped into this trigger to write the cave scenes in Dolor and Shadow (Chapters 36 to 41). When I was done, I…was a mental mess. I hugged myself, wept, and rocked. I entered a trance for hours. This was my dissociation. My husband struggled pulling me out of it. This was all before either of us knew I had a problem.
- Sex: Seeing, hearing, hinting, suggesting, threatening sexual content of any level.
- The penis
Seeing, hinting, suggesting, or being near or around male genitalia comes with severe anxiety. I am not able to watch commercials, most American advertisements, most magazines, and most movies rated PG-13 or R rated.
For me, there is an instinctive drive to have sex much like everyone else’s. I want to have sex with my husband. I am attracted to him. But when I advance, I run into a wall of fear and can not go further without severe repercussions. (He has direction at this point to not initiate. Doing so could launch me into a flashback). This is a huge step forward from where I was only months ago.
March 2015 — Wrote Broken.
May 2015 — Began Therapy
August 2015 — Wrote this afterward
- Dropping my guard/Lowered Guard
I associate a lowered guard with abuse and torture. Often, when I lowered my guard, I was beaten or threatened every time. It taught me to never lower my guard.
From the animal abuse:
I identify with the victim and have an unusually high sense of empathy (it makes for great writing, but stinks for day-to-day life)
Below is a list of triggers resulting from the animal abuse and torture I and my pets endured.
- Dogs barking
- Medium to large dogs present
- Animal Abuse
- Suffering (Even a hint or suggestion of it)
To this day, I need to sleep with a cat in the room. A lack of cat triggers a sense of danger recalling the nights my cats were missing or beaten while I slept. If the cat was with me, then I knew that they were safe and I was safe. I currently own three cats. I usually have four. This is to guarantee a cat in every room at all times. I spoil my cats. But in my mind, I am making up for all the abuse they suffered.
Tribble used to always sleep at my head, to the right. Always. That was her spot. She is currently buried in my garden. Peach is 18 years old and sleeps on me. I call that spot “Peach Point.” Rolo would sleep in the crook of my knees. Cookie (my 3 year old kitten who has never known abuse) now sleeps at my feet. She is working her way up to my head.
From the early dinners around the table
The following resulted from the early dinner table as portrayed in Broken. The list below triggers a lack of control over what I put in my mouth.
- Shouting or any tension at the dinner table.
Meals in my home must be stress free or I don’t eat.
- Certain foods (Mussels/clams)
This is directly linked to the Pedophile and was one of the foods he forced me to eat. If I didn’t, he threatened to abandon me a state away.
- Foods with mixed textures
The mixed textured food is due to eating the unidentifiable stuff I had to eat as a child. Really, it reminds me of “being selfish.”
Note: Recent development since I wrote this. The food actually triggered a forgotten memory of that first day my siblings and I complained about the creamed mush we were supposed to eat. That began the endless years of being berated. All because we turned down food while others starved.
- Lima beans
- Being forced or forcing others to eat food they don’t want to eat
My children are never forced to eat anything they don’t want…which has developed a problem with picky eaters and being so choosy my son was underweight and malnourished. We took him to a nutritionist and my husband and I now educate the children on healthy eating habits and teaching them to care about good nutrition as opposed to forcing them to eat. We also are now teaching them serving sizes, which they happily follow. So far it is working and also has caused them to develop excellent eating habits.
From the Neglect
The following triggers my neglect and I live vicariously through my children. Giving to them what I wish I had.
- Hearing others screaming
My children can not cry or be upset in the slightest without me getting “in their face,” encouraging them to talk, and comforting them. I can not let my children cry alone. No one should ever cry alone.
- Physical Contact
I now force myself to hug my children. It hurts to be touched. They don’t know this. For years, I simply didn’t hug my children. My oldest daughter is in therapy and my husband has done a lot to reverse this problem before it became worse.
- Being approached, especially while feeling vulnerable
- Not being alone (I am most comfortable when alone and in silence)
- Domestic fighting
- Gifts (Receiving only)
These issues are associated with the individual portrayed by the father character in Broken. Money was associated with the father character as well as the Pedophile. The pedophile often boasted his money and how much he was able to “give” me with that money. I never cared about money. I still don’t and detest it. For me, one of the great appeals of Star Trek was the system of credits used.
Today, I still loathe money and am happiest without it…this is also due to the fact that I have never—ever—had to live without it. \
I do not ask for help. I do not ask for money. I will go without before I ask for anything.
Part of my Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is re-naming the possessions that the pedophile gave me so that I can re-learn how to categorize “gifts” and therefore accept them in the future. I still am not sure what to call the things he gave me. I do think they are not gifts (thought I don’t yet believe it) as they came with a cost, but I am still uncertain what to call them.
From the Television Viewing
To this day, I associate TV with a lack of love. It is like an unwanted sibling that I still associate with jealousy and sense of replacement.
Here are the triggers.
- Loud TV
- TV on without anyone watching it
- TV so loud no one can speak
- Being ignored because of the TV
And because of the Pedophile…
- Movie Cinemas
Because of the conditioning I underwent, to this day I must be very vigilant over which movies to watch. In most cases, I can not see the movie in theaters. I can not watch commercials as most of them have underlying sexual content in them. I have a huge reaction to “Axe” commercials.
I make an effort to see as many Marvel movies in the theater. I was there for all the Harry Potter films. I was there for the Lord of the Ring films and the Hobbit films.
I must be very cautious when watching movies with women in them (most of the time, when women appear in movies, there is sexual content). This is why I watch submarine films and war movies a lot. They were “safe.” I also am cautious with movies starring Nicholas Cage, Jack Nicholson, Tom Cruise, and Sylvester Stallone. I can not watch most movies filmed in the 1980’s. I struggle with Michael Bay films (the noise is too much for me).
I can not watch thriller or horror films…at all. I can not watch any of the Batman films (the “good” ones). I love war movies. I can handle gore with no problems.
I can drop my guard around Will Smith, Tom Hanks, and Peter Jackson. Cloud Atlas was a brutal surprise for me.
I can also watch any movies published before the 1960’s when Some Like It Hot forced the rating system in place (Prior to Some Like It Hot, there was a “television rating system” that literally banned all nudity and sexual content. After Some Like It Hot, the rating system was introduced allowing nudity and sexual content to the scene of movie viewing.)
Movies made in the 1970’s is a hit or miss. I was not okay with Soylent Green due to the sexual content and nudity in addition to the “other” reason revealed at the end. (To reserve the spoiler for those who have not seen this classic, I am simply calling it the “other” reason)
I was raped while watching (or immediately following) Titanic, Pleasantville, End of Days, and Airplane among many others. I do not own any of these films. I probably will never watch them again.
In most cases, I turn the volume down low and watch the movie with subtitles on. Anime is the only thing I can watch with my guard completely down. This is why I have attached myself to anime as strongly as I have. It is the only thing I can watch and enjoy like a normal person. I fell apart emotionally over Pixar’s “Inside Out.” My husband almost took me home.
Recent revelations that surfaced after writing Broken and beginning my therapy:
I associate romance with rape. The rapes began as romance. The Joe character bought candles and romantic smells to “enhance” sexuality. Very quickly, it turned bad and suddenly I found myself chained to the bed. It went downhill from there. To this day, I loathe romance. My husband tells me that isn’t romance. He is probably right. Another term I must redefine.
I don’t have a problem with food. I have a problem with rejection. I associate food with neglect because the food was the reason for my being labeled “selfish.” I associate that as the start to being rejected.
Below is a list of triggers I have, but am uncertain where they stem from.
- Mouths being covered (I have serious issues with ball gags and Hannibal)
There is an article on my website I wrote yesterday called “Starting Over.” It covers my sexual revelations that has launched me into my sexual healing. I record and track my progress in a journal on my website. I am calling it “Unbreaking Me.” I invite you to stop in and take a look if you are interested in how I am doing and my progress.
I want to make this mention before I close my story. My husband has never read Broken. I don’t think he ever will. He can’t. I can honestly say he is a great man for enduring so many of my issues and for staying with me through all of this. Despite everything I have done to him, he holds my hand and walks me through my healing process. He is working with my therapist now to guide me through my healing. Without him, I wouldn’t have made it this far.
This leads me to something he said he found while researching BPD online. In every case, men are telling other men, “If your wife/girlfriend is diagnosed with BPD, get out now.” As someone with BPD, I am telling you, this action only reinforces what someone with BPD already believes: that no one…no one…can be trusted enough to stay. That no one will ever love them enough to stay. Many people suffering from BPD, deep down and buried beneath all the pain, want only one thing. To be proven wrong.