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About rsilver15

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    CSA Survivor
  • Birthday February 26

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    reading, writing, baking, watching too much Netflix, yoga, coffee, nature...

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  1. I've been writing recently about things that I accept or things that I can 'allow' myself to do, and also things that I don't need to accept, and I've found it helpful. What are some things you feel you can allow yourself to feel/do? And things you can let go of and realize you don't need? For me, right now: I'm allowed to take care of myself. I'm allowed to say no. I'm allowed to do what feels right, comfortable, and safe for me, I don't need to justify or apologize or excuse myself to anyone for being myself and living my truth. I don't need to take responsibility for other people's happiness. I don't need to put myself aside to let others in.
  2. rsilver15

    Life is...

    Life is, in a word, ridiculous. I will never understand how people can go through life with complete faith in one thing, when things happen daily that cause me to question everything I think I know! Sometimes I feel like there has to be a loving God looking out for us, but other times I feel like however we got here, we’re on our own now. It is hard to reconcile the evidence when it is so contradictory. On the one hand, you have man’s capacity for love and intimate relationships, free will and knowledge, growth and ability to change, acts of anonymous kindness and global goodwill that bring tears to your eyes. On the other, you have endless examples of man’s willingness to destroy, the greed and pettiness and judgment and fear that seems to drive us so often, the starving and the desperate left to die without aid from the mega-rich, hoarding their millions away without a thought towards those less fortunate… There are earthquakes and mudslides and hurricanes and fires and tornadoes and tsunamis and everything that tells us nature is against us, it’s a battle for supremacy or the act of an angry creator wiping out his disappointing creation....And yet you also have rainbows and sunsets, the water cycle in its simple brilliance, the beauty of the oceans and the mountains and the forests, the changing seasons, and how everything seems to be interrelated somehow. All of this beauty totally at odds with all of the ugliness - is it meant to be a balance? Sometimes I think so. But then there's the more hurtful proofs, the things that happen to us in our own lives. Weeks like this, when the hits just keep on coming and it seems that everywhere I turn there is another example of how absolutely horrible life can be, it is so easy to see the bad and it feels almost impossible to see any of the good. A friend asked me to tell her something good that happened to me the other day, and for the longest time I couldn't think of anything. Not even one small thing, and it's not that absolutely nothing positive had happened, it was just that my perspective had been so focused on the bad that I couldn't recognize anything else. I know I've had no shortage of times like this, and in these moments there's no amount of rainbows or sunsets or shooting stars or unicorns that could make me feel that the good outweighs the bad or even that somehow it balances out. In these moments I'm convinced that things are hopeless. But somehow, every time, I find myself having hope. Maybe that's just life. And like I said, life is ridiculous.
  3. rsilver15

    What you taught me

    You taught me so much I wish I hadn't learned. You taught me that caring is weakness, that trust will be betrayed, that vulnerability will be preyed upon. You taught me to hide, to guard, to pretend instead of letting people see, instead of sharing how I feel. You taught me to doubt, you taught me to be wary, cautious, and mistrusting. You taught me that good things can't last, that people will let you down, will choose their own comfort over others safety. You taught me that love is a liability. A contest, a battle with winners and losers, a costume, an illusion to use for your own gain and then toss away. You taught me to hate myself, to never see the good and to focus on my faults. I'm unlearning all of these lessons. Slowly. One by one. I'm learning to replace them with my own experiences - to give people the chance, to give myself more chances, to prove you wrong. Your lessons are not true. Your teachings are false. And you don't have the power to make me believe any more lies.
  4. I'm not ok

    1. Show previous comments  1 more
    2. Capulet


      I'm so sorry!  I have these days and moments, too.  Always around if you need to talk.  If not, that's okay, too - will sit quietly in your corner if you'll have me. :)  Hang in there.

    3. rsilver15


      thank you @snmls and @Capulet so much, grateful to know someone is there.  I feel like I've been telling everyone "I'm ok" a lot lately and this felt like the only place I could be honest and say I'm not.

    4. Capulet


      @rsilver15 - that is what I like the most about this place!!! :)  I feel I can be most honest both with myself and others here while offline, I have to sugar-coat a lot of things.  

      I hope the evening is being good to you.  

  5. rsilver15


    I took a health assessment today as part of my new insurance plan. It rated my wellness in several areas and apparently, while I am doing a good job of maintaining a healthy weight and active lifestyle, I avoid tobacco and I stay up to date on vaccines, I am not healthy because I don't have strong social connections. It's funny because this is a theme I return to again and again in my mind; however well other things are going, however long it's been since I've had a panic attack or suicidal thought, however many social gatherings I attend, I always feel...unconnected. Now, that prefix might seem like a mistake - surely I mean disconnected not unconnected, right? But disconnected implies a former feeling of connection; that I was connected to something and somehow that connection ended. While it is logical for me to believe that I must have felt connected to people at some point, before all of the hurt and disappointment and protective wall building, it isn't something I can actually remember. I can't even remember or imagine what it feels like to be truly connected, to feel that sense of belonging or safety that humans require (or so I keep hearing). I have been trying so hard for so long to find it and sometimes it feels close, but always just out of reach. I am perpetually on the periphery. Like I'm in my own orbit but sometimes I'm able to slide along next to other people's even though I'm not really a part of it. I'm a good friend; I'm reliable and compassionate and make people laugh. I work hard and usually get positive feedback from colleagues and supervisors. I even have a family, one who I see or talk to on a semi-regular basis. And yet, somehow, I don't feel central to any of those groups. I'm not the one my friends call in a low moment or ask to be their bridesmaid or feel comfortable just showing up at any time to hang out. I'm not an employee of the month and I don't get more than a perfunctory card for birthdays. Even my mom, who tries so hard to make me feel loved and accepted - it's like she has two circles; one that is me and one that is the rest of her life; her new husband, his children, her mom and brother, her friends, and although I know she wants me to be a part of that world and she is forever pulling me that way, I always end up bouncing back to my own solitary place. It has been my constant mission to change this. I have opened up to people about my past, I have asked for favors and offered my help and advice whenever I could, I have been slowly showing more of myself to the world and trying to back away from presenting a facade of whatever I thought a given person wanted to see, and I have done the therapy and the journaling and the self-reflection and yet...It isn't enough. What else can I do? This health assessment puts it in such a straight-forward, black-and-white way; it is a risk-factor for an unhealthy life, just like eating trans-fats or sitting all day. That questionnaire, just like so many magazines and self-help books and TV gurus makes it seem like a simple problem with an obvious solution. So you don't have enough social connections? Go make some. Just like they're saying 'oh you don't get enough protein? Eat a hamburger!'. If it were that simple, don't you think I would have done it by now??? If it were as easy as going out and making connections, how lovely would that be? I have wracked my brain for years trying to figure out that missing piece, that one answer to this question of how to cultivate a sense of belonging, to have a group of people I can count on, to be connected to others...but it is not something I've been able to find. It's elusive and it hurts, it hurts so much to see that other people have it, to be so close to it, and to still not be able to claim it as my own. I don't know if that will ever change, if I'll look back in a year or five or twenty years and think 'ah yes, that was such a tough time, but now I have it and I see what I was missing.', or if I will die feeling this same way. Most days, I feel like it is worth the risk of the latter for a chance at the former. Most days.
  6. rsilver15

    Wings, or Roots?

    I have been traveling for work for the past year - I get a contract for about 3 months, and work and explore and then move on. It has been so interesting and I have learned a lot about myself, but I have been lonely and feeling this yearning for security and comfort and familiarity. That is the big struggle in life, right? We crave both security and freedom but to really have one, we have to give up the other. I've always felt called to the freedom side of things, and whatever I've done, I've always felt like I should be doing more - taking more risks, creating fewer ties to the places I lived and the people I knew, dreaming of leaving everything behind and moving to Fiji or Norway or joining an international NPO and making a real difference in a place that needs it. Now, after only a year of actually beginning to create that life, I don't really want it anymore. I still want to see the world and have as many different experiences as I can, but I also want to have a solid home base. I actually WANT connections, I want to be 'tied down', in a way. So, I took a permanent job in my home state, and I am mostly happy about it. Except when I think about like taking a job in San Diego or Hawaii or something. Then I am sad. I am like a dueling piano bar inside my soul. Half of me is so happy to think about settling in a place and buying a home maybe and having like a community and a solid life somewhere, and half of me is so disappointed and just wants to keep traveling and having new experiences and exploring the world and seeing what is out there. But I am sorry adventurous side, right now, homemaker side is winning. If I picture my ideal life, what I see is a cute house with a yard for my dog, and someone who loves me very much waiting there for me, and a baby or two growing up and laughing and getting excited about going to the park or to Disneyland, and a career where I feel satisfied that I am making a difference, and maybe former students or clients send me letters and I have a weekly wine night with my best friends, and my husband and I are planning a trip to Tanzania and my mom will watch the kids, and when I get home at night and things are crazy I still can just stop and feel actually happy and like, yeah this is where I belong. That is what I want, and yes being a nomad with crazy adventures and no ties is appealing in other ways, but I really think a big part of why I wanted that was that I was too scared to want this other life. I wanted freedom and adventure not instead of safety and security, but because that is what felt most safe and secure at the time. Trusting people? Building a life? Depending on others and actually admitting that I desired human affection? That was (and still can be) terrifying!! And it does seem a bit far fetched that I could have it, but it is what I want so I am not going to shy away from it anymore. And yeah, life can get in the way, and maybe not everything will happen like that. Maybe it will be me and my two foster kids who plan a trip to Tanzania. I don’t know. But all I can do is try and be true to myself and what I want. And try and really listen to what my heart is telling me as cliché as that sounds. So I’m glad to be taking a permanent job. And adventure will still be out there, and I will see where life takes me.
  7. rsilver15

    My Brother

    Thank you so much Waves, I really appreciate your kind words!! Thanks for reading my story, it means a lot!
  8. rsilver15

    My Brother

    I'm feeling pretty on edge right now, just messed up. Not a great way to feel on a Sunday night before a long work week (or anytime, I guess). Why are families so fucked up so much of the time? I had a decent weekend; I went to the beach, I talked with people over a beer, it was good. I called my Grandma, she was sad because she hasn't spoken to my brother in 3 years (I haven't in longer than that) and she was wondering if she should invite him to Michigan when she goes this year. I said, what could it hurt? At least that way he'll know we still care, we're still here. I occasionally reach out to him myself, never with any sign he's seen the message, but I keep doing it. Then my mom tells me, my grandma called and said when she'd tried to reach my brother, my dad answered and told her my brother isn't doing well and had been to the ER recently because of his drinking. A) Why the fuck would you tell a 97 year old woman that with no background info or preparation?? B) Instead of telling idk his MOTHER??? Or his sister?? C) the only reason he drinks so much is because he spends his days with a narcissistic abusive trainwreck of a human who hasn't managed to hold on to any of his other victims so...I was so mad (and a little tipsy from the beer). I almost called my dad, I haven't spoken to him in 5 years, but sometimes I get so angry I feel like I could do it, but I worry I will just resort to flight or freeze instead of fight, which has always been my MO in the past. I couldn't do that, so I called his sister, my aunt, who I have rarely spoken to since I accused my dad of abuse. I have never been so open with her, I told her how worried I was about my brother, I told her what living with my dad had been like and I point blank asked her if she believed what I was telling her. She hedged it, but she clearly doesn't, or at least doesn't want to. And I am sad to say that a part of why she doesn't is because of how I handled the situation (I don't blame myself - I was straight up in survival mode and making a compelling case to my relatives about why they should believe my allegations was not a major concern at the time) and also how my mom handled it. She didn't believe me at first and tried to convince me that it had been someone else, which she shared with my aunt and who knows who else? There is a lot to the story that my aunt told me that I had never heard from my mom, and things that were said that I never knew about or had any say in. My mom came around eventually, and it has been really hard for her to be out of contact with my brother, but hearing things from my aunt's perspective, it seems like she made things a lot worse. And I had escaped to another state at that point and did not have the mental strength to confront or convince anyone, and now it may be too late. My brother is still living with my dad, hearing his vicious lies and believing all of the awful things he's been told about himself, and us, and my aunt is too afraid to rock the boat and thinks my brother is 'on the right track' so we shouldn't pressure him to get in touch with his grandma or with any of us. I feel so powerless and like, why did I even call? Why do I keep trying to make things better in this situation that is so horrible??? And always, my go-to reaction is to blame myself - why did I even tell anyone about this? I probably did somehow make it up and it really never happened and I've ruined everyone's lives for nothing and even though it feels real and I truly believe that it happened, it probably didn't and I am just crazy and that is why people don't believe me and that is why my brother hates me. But, years of growing stronger (and getting lots of therapy) have helped me pause that reaction and point the blame where it truly belongs - this is all on my dad. I'm sure it sounds like a whole lot of unfair surly teenage-style angst to my aunt, but it really is his fault. He is the one who abused me, who abused my mother and my brother and made us feel worthless and unloved and stupid. He is the one who hurt us and then turned us into villains for leaving him. He is the one who dug his claws into my brother and stopped him from doing anything that would make him happy while all the while hiding that side of himself from his sisters and friends and anyone else who could stand the sight of him. He has torn this family apart, and as much time as I have wasted blaming myself I refuse to do it any longer. He is a manipulative, egotistical bastard and the fact that he can convince people that he isn't astounds me. But I shouldn't be surprised, really, And while my mom has made mistakes in how she has handled all of this, in the end, her love for me won out and that makes up for any extra hurt she caused, I think. My brother is a grown man now, and as much as it hurts to see that he is still in pain and still living in that awful place, I can't save him. I will always wish I had done more to help him, I can't stop that from happening. In the end, I did what I had to do to save myself and maybe it cost me my brother, but I honestly don't know what else I could have done. All I can do now is hope that he someday gets to the point I did when I left - the point where you realize that the person who is making you feel like you have no value, that you don't even want to live, that person is just a sad, fucked-up man and you don't owe him anything and you can have a life without him. God I hope my brother gets to that point. I hope he realizes that before its too late. I hope I someday will get to talk to him again, face to face, to hug him and to apologize for what I did and to have him apologize too, but most of all for us to realize that neither of us is to blame, and to both put that man in our past where he belongs so that we can have a future that we can both be a part of and be happy in.
  9. rsilver15


    I've been feeling depressed lately. In the true, medical sense of things - I feel chemically imbalanced; fatigued, hopeless, withdrawn, with a physical feeling of heaviness, sadness, that I can't shake off. I start to cry over nothing, I constantly stifle inner dialogues that go something like "this will never get better," "it could, it will, maybe"..."no one loves you," "yes, they do.". I may be off about this - I haven't had my neurotransmitters tested lately, but I feel like this is a different kind of depression that what I feel in regards to my past experiences, trauma, etc. It's hard to put into words, but I can tell the difference. I know I've definitely experienced both of these types of depression (brands? strains? Idk the proper terminology) at the same time, which let me tell you is all kinds of horrible, and I've experienced both separately. Thinking about this has led me down the rabbit hole of - what parts of my personality, my character, my cognitive functioning, even, have been impacted by trauma, and what parts are just the way I was wired? I realize it is impossible to tease any of that out - I will never know if I would still be anxious and depressed if I'd had a "normal" childhood, I'll never know a lot of things about who I would be without the experiences I've had, but nobody can. We are all this crazy mash-up of nature and nurture, and I feel like I tend to get hung up on one or the other. Sometimes I'll put it all on "nurture" and wax nostalgic about all the things I could have been, the person I would be (complete with natural confidence and zero trust issues) if I'd been raised in a different environment. And then I think, maybe that has very little to do with it - maybe I am the way I am because that is how I was born, and I could have been raised in a Park Avenue mansion or in a park by Charles Manson and I'd be more or less the same. Most of the time, I know it is not that simple - the relationship between nature and nurture is complex and nuanced and we don't even understand how it works, really. I do know that sometimes I need to grieve for the person I 'could have been', and that feels right. And other times I need to believe that the essence of who I am, my soul, my personality, is what got me through the things that hurt me, and that I am who I am supposed to be, in spite of (and maybe even because of) what I've experienced. I'm going to try to reconcile these two sides, to stop trying to pin down if my feelings or reactions or tendencies are a reaction to past trauma or a result of my genetic makeup, and to embrace myself as a whole person. Depression, whatever the root cause, has been taking a toll on me, and I realize that I've been trying to pin down something to blame for it... Now that I've written this out, I feel like I can try to move forward into figuring out ways to help myself, instead.
  10. I came on today to ask, "is this day really hard for anyone else?" and 2 seconds on, I can see it is. I'm so sorry for anyone who experiences this day as a reminder of what our fathers/father figures were not, of pain caused and hearts broken or betrayed. I feel it, too, and we all deserved better. 

    1. Free2Fly


      Safe hugs :hug: if ok?

      yeah I think everyone is having quite a hard time & it really sucks to see everyone this way :( ... 

      even I have fallen on hard times it's been nothing but dark days & very hard to get through....

    2. rsilver15


      Thank you! It does, and I am so sorry you are feeling this way too - at least we know we are not alone, right? safe hugs back to you, hope tomorrow is better/easier

    3. Free2Fly


      Your welcome & thank u , yeah it's good to know that your not alone in these dull days.

      i hope tomorrow is better/easier for you too.

      sitting with you and here if you wanna talk.

  11. rsilver15

    I am not a Phoenix

    Hi TEP! Well, first of all, welcome to AS - I am glad you are here!! I totally understand what you mean about stopping things when you get in a funk. That happens to me all the time - I get in a good routine or rhythm with things, and then something hits me and its like..well, back to square one, I guess? But I think something I've learned is that it's not square one, really; every time you try something, even if it doesn't work or you stop, you are still working towards something and you are still making progress. And that helped me because it used to be, when that would happen I would feel so bad and guilty about being in a funk that it made the funk worse and it was harder to get out of it...I've started to try and accept that it is ok to feel bad, and it is ok to be down sometimes and to not do yoga or to not journal or whatever it is you think you should be doing. Sometimes we just have to feel our way through something, and know that we can come back to the rest of our lives when we're ready. That said, I don't know what you're going through, specifically, or what your goals are, but I think the most important thing is that you are trying - you are here, and you are looking for ways to feel better. There is so much out there, and in some ways I think you just kind of have to try a bunch of stuff and see what feels helpful for you, because we are all different and have different experiences and what works for me may seem really silly to you lol! Personally, therapy has been really helpful for me, but specifically more body-centered therapy like EMDR and things like that. My biggest advice though is to be kind and be gentle with yourself - you are doing something incredibly difficult and you are doing it beautifully, even if it doesn't seem that way right now!! And also, the people on this site are very supportive and are a great resource. I hope that's helpful!!!
  12. rsilver15


    Feeling accepted is one of the most important pieces to overall well-being, in my opinion. For the longest time, I was convinced that no one could ever accept me, not if they really knew me...I thought that I was broken, that I had some internal, innate part of me that was unloveable and unworthy of compassion or acceptance. I've slowly been changing that, layer by layer, and while there is definitely still a small core part of me that is always there to whisper those terrible thoughts to me, I've come a lot closer to believing that I am just as worthy of love and acceptance as any other human being. I don't hate myself anymore, and some days I like, and even LOVE myself. I feel like I have things to offer the world, and the more I put myself out there, the more I find that people respond positively to me. I decided a little while back that since people are going to judge you no matter what, and no one is universally liked/loved/accepted, they might as well judge the real me, and not whatever version of myself I thought they would be most likely to appreciate. It has been a long road to make it even this far, and I know I have more work ahead of me. I just started trying to date in a way that is more than 1-2 dates and then getting scared and never speaking to the person again. I had been dating this guy, Dan, for about 2 months, and I am leaving town for a temporary job, so I knew we weren't going to be seeing much more of each other. That said, Dan was very forthright in his feelings for me - he told me all these lovely things, complimented me and went on and on about how I wasn't like anybody he'd met before, he'd never felt this way, blah blah blah...I usually responded with a very eloquent "Oh...kay" to all of that. As things progressed, I started sharing more of my story with Dan, mostly because I felt bad that he was getting so serious and I was holding him at arm's length (not to mention the awkward sex part), but also because I felt like here was a great, respectful guy who really liked me, and if I want to have a real relationship, I should be able to be honest, right? So, I told him things, and he was always understanding. Then last night, we met up for a drink, and we started talking and I realized he was telling me many of the same stories he'd told before. I have a weirdly detailed memory for things people tell me, so I didn't let it get to me. He didn't remember things I'd told him, like about my high school or my thoughts on a certain religion or whatever else...again, small details, whatever, it's hard to keep track of things. But then he started asking me about my family, and my brother, and did I have any nieces or nephews? And all of these questions, and in my mind I was thinking WTF??? I had told him about how my brother hasn't spoken to me in years and how hard that was and how I felt so guilty for leaving him with my dad when I left. I told him things I don't tell many people, and I had felt vulnerable and weird about it but I did it and it felt like such a positive step. And then he just...forgot??? Friends have come up with theories that he's a secret alcoholic or has a brain tumor or is dating so many girls he can't keep the background info straight, but personally, I think it is just that he had a certain idea of a girl he wanted, and I fit enough of the boxes that he decided I was 'amazing' and 'not like anybody else he'd met' and whatever other nonsense he said, but all of that was just a projection...he wasn't really interested in ME, he didn't really care about my story or what made me who I am or what's important in my life. He just wanted somebody, and ignored anything that didn't fit with his own fantasy. And that really hurts. That small part of me that still believes every person who looks at me is thinking how gross I am, that silly part that I've all but silenced, that part keeps trying to wiggle it's way in to my brain and convince me that "well of course he didn't remember, of course he wasn't genuinely interested in your story - who would be? I knew it was too good to be true. No one would think you were amazing if they really knew you." So far, I've been able to tell that part of my brain "ok, thanks for your opinion - but fuck off, that's not true." It is totally his problem that he can't remember a major detail of someone's life (someone he supposedly is all a-twitter about, even) and a definite red flag and a great reason to not get all melancholy about leaving. It sucks that the first guy I confided in about that stuff, the first guy I dated for any real length of time, dealt with things this way, but I still believe it was a really positive step and a good experience. And hopefully next time, the person I tell will take it with the weight and with the intention that I think is reasonable to expect. Regardless of that dummy, I accept myself more than I ever thought would be possible, and I love who I am and I am proud of my story and what I have accomplished.
  13. rsilver15

    I am not a Phoenix

    Well you know what they say about the best laid plans... I have planned for so many things, I have wanted so much that never seems to come about. I wanted to get a certain job, I wanted to lose weight before a big trip, I wanted a boyfriend or at least a not disastrous sexual experience, and I wanted to live by the ocean. I wanted to learn to surf and marry a wealthy, funny, handsome, kind gentleman. Whats more I wanted a dad I could love, one who would surprise me with pancakes and be supportive but protective of me with boys. One who would teach me how a man should treat a woman and not to be afraid of love or intimacy, of trusting people in general. I wanted friends who wouldn't leave when things were tough. I wanted an older brother who would tease me and teach me about cars and never think any boy was good enough for his baby sister. I wanted a mom who would be my friend second and my mother first, who would show me how to value myself and make good decisions... I wanted a lot of things but I think, what I have to believe anyway, is that I got what I needed instead. I have to hope that my life is happening the way it is supposed to, for reasons I don't know now and may never understand. But regardless, it is happening - things are growing in me, changing and adapting and reconfiguring. I may not have risen from my trauma like a Phoenix, but I sure as hell am making my way out of the ashes. And whatever I am, whatever I turn out to be, it will be worth it.
  14. I'm going home tomorrow!! After 5 months working in Alaska - I am excited and nervous about being back where people know me :ohmy:

    1. MeBeMary


      Hope all goes well on your return.

  15. Don't know quite what to say...just feeling anxious and not looking forward to another week.

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