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#463466 - 03/31/14 09:08 AM A Writing Project, Journals & Introspection
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 609
Hey guys,

I just wanted to share some stuff that's been going on with me lately. A few weeks ago, I came up with this idea to start working on a semi-autobiographical novel. So far I've got about 36 chapters outlined, and tons of memories to work with. In the process, I was looking for some old journals of mine, in order to try and get an idea of what I was going through. I was pleased to find some journals (about ten notebooks), dating all the way back from 2006. I was 18 then.

Honestly, up until now, I obviously knew I had kept these journals, but I had never bothered to reread them. I was embarrassed, to say the least. But after rereading a few entries, I realized the real reason why I didn't bother - it was because I hated myself. That really hit me hard, this realization. It was only when I was about 20 (I'm 26 now) that I realized the true nature of what had gone on between my mother and I, and to reread journals from before then meant I was faced with the prospect of reading the thoughts and feelings of a potentially clueless idiot who had no idea what was going on about himself and the world around him.

Well, some bits from July 4, 2006:

"...you must do things never relative to anyone - that is, you should never let anyone enter your own world. Do it alone, and create your own world. Sensitivity is something that you do have. But it's something you should use wisely and sparingly - that is, only for love. For some people, this is not applicable. People may kill for love. Some people will trash you completely, too engulfed in their selfish realm to realize it. However, you are unique, and so there are things that are applicable to you only."

I have to admit, my initial reaction was well DAMN, I actually had a brain back then. And I think I knew something was wrong, just not what exactly, just something. I was talking about the environment, corruption, wars, delinquency, things like that. There was also another entry from June 25, 2006, which read: "I have thoughts - perverted thoughts, violent and sometimes murderous thoughts. I don't know what to do yet, but all I know is that I have to solve my problems alone." That really cut to the heart of the problem, and for the first time in years, I felt my heart aching for the kid I was - so isolated from the rest of the world that he thought he had to figure everything out on his own. The problems were there. He just had nobody to provide him with the compassion and language necessary to make sense of it all.

Fast-forward a few years to 2009. There's this one entry, with a line marked in capitals: "MOTHERS' BOYS FLARE OUT IN THEIR MID-TWENTIES, SHIT!"

Obviously some things had changed. I would've opted for "burnt out", but what I had written six years ago was weirdly prophetic. I did pretty much burn out at 25 and 26.

A lot of the psychological jargon had already entered my writing by then - abuse, OCD, projection, regression, transference and all that, things that weren't in my conceptual framework in my late teens - and I also noticed something very peculiar: from 2006-2008, I had always written in the first or second person, but from 2009 onwards, none my entries included the words "I" or "me". I guess that signaled that my focus had moved from me to other people. And it feels like I had regressed. Like I was much more mature when I was 18 than I am now. Maybe that just shows how I was put in an impossible situation where I had to be a lot more mature developmentally (or at least, act like it) than I was in terms of age. Maybe that shows that in these recent years, I was living out a boyhood, in all of its gloriously outrageous confusion and instability. Maybe rereading all those journals is a sign that I'm ready to put those two characters in me together - the boy in me, and the man in me. Maybe I can go back to occasionally writing my journals in the first person again.

I'm still trying to make sense of it all, but the most powerful thing I'm left with at the moment is this feeling of regret and this thought: I wish I had paid more attention to what I was saying in the past. It was somewhat shocking to realize that the same patterns of self-destruction and emotional/mental abuse within my family had existed for close to a decade, and I just stayed in it, not realizing the repetition of it all, blinded by delusions that some things might change.

I used to hate my 18-year-old self. Or at least, what I've now realized - I used to hate the image I had of my 18-year-old self. He was actually OK. Admittedly, pretty dry, self-centered, bratty and sarcastic, but he was confident, asking the right questions...and it was refreshing to realize. Rereading what he had written, I just now see him - and by extension, really, myself, all the way up to the present - as really just this lost kid who was searching for his identity and his place in the world. I've done a lot of things I'm not particularly proud of these last few years. But maybe, I still was a good kid. Maybe I am a good kid. Troubled and damaged, but still, a good kid.


Edited by concerned_husky (03/31/14 09:31 AM)
_________________________
Husky

My Story

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#463471 - 03/31/14 09:40 AM Re: A Writing Project, Journals & Introspection [Re: concerned_husky]
KMCINVA Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1790
Husky

Wow you have come a long way and you should not should have would have because we cannot change the past. I saw something today

I have a past
But I now longer live there

I too have journals during the time I unraveled. I re-read them every so often and realize the pain I had, the insights I had, but ignored, as to the cause of much of the pain and unraveling, my self destruction which I could not see because I did not know, writings I do not remember writing or written in my normal handwriting, and so much more. I find the words insightful and helpful to remind where I had been and what was happening around me. It makes me realize I never want to go back there or to those times.

Most of us were good kids, had dreams and a future filled with hope, and then one day it was robbed from us. I no longer say why didn't I tell about the abuse, why did I hide it, why did I allow myself to be revictimized over and over later in life, why when I was loosing time more rapidly than the norm for me did I not seek help. I now know I was not ready to face the past. I preferred to keep myself fragmented I thought--but I had developed this separateness to cope with the abuse and what was done. I cannot change the past and like you I now see myself in a new light, the good and bad.

The last few years for me, were bad and nearly took a permanent toll on me, but it was a time of facing the past, uniting myself as one, learning to love myself and the child within and accepting all aspects of the abuse.

Your writings are always insightful and makes me think about myself--which is a good thing--because it keeps me in check and encourages me to reflect on where I was and where I am today.

Thank you.

Kevin


Edited by KMCINVA (03/31/14 09:43 AM)

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#463472 - 03/31/14 10:16 AM Re: A Writing Project, Journals & Introspection [Re: concerned_husky]
Suwanee Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/30/12
Posts: 759
Loc: Southeast USA
Husky,

Excellent work!

I've found that writing is probably the single most effective thing I have done to address the past and put it in some kind of perspective. Like you, I journaled extensively as a teenager. Reading it today reveals a teenager driven to succeed, but also one with fears and weaknesses. It's both awkward and comforting to read what that kid wrote once upon a time---and some of the insights I made then were rediscovered and at times became the basis for a few of my MS posts.

Keep on writing; keep on reading. We can't change the past, but we can reframe it if needed.

Will
_________________________
Cruel Summer
My Journal

-Signs and traces left in stone
Ruins of a past unknown-

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#463550 - 04/01/14 09:14 PM Re: A Writing Project, Journals & Introspection [Re: concerned_husky]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 271
Loc: Germany
Husky, I must admit, your writing is refreshingly insightful and so well written. I am happy for you that you have this outlet, and also one too that you are able to share with others.

It is interesting that you started this thread now because I am writing a piece for my support centre about my trauma and recovery. I am working on condensing so much, giving myself a voice while also crafting a short memoir that is relevant and well-written. It is challenging and emotionally exhausting because I am going back in time and evaluating what I want to include, exclude, and how I want to represent certain phases of and events during my trauma. I hope the final product will be good!!

How do you decide what to include, how to condense, etc.? I am finding it quite challenging and I have been working on this project for almost a month now.
_________________________
,,Nun ging es immerzu, weit, weit bis an der Welt Ende."

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#463555 - 04/01/14 11:44 PM Re: A Writing Project, Journals & Introspection [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 609
Kevin, Will, JayBro - thanks for your feedback and encouragements. smile It's uplifting to be in the company of others who have moved forward with the help of writing/journaling. It's no easy task, revisiting and re-experiencing what it felt like in the past, but like you said Kevin, it reminds me of a place I would never want to go back to again, and it motivates me to keep trying to change some things in my life.

JayBro, I really get it when you say it's challenging and emotionally exhausting. My journals from about 2009 onwards write more like chronicles, reporting day-to-day incidents of the abusive home environment I had (it is really, really packed with emotional abuse, which some physical and some covertly incestuous acts), and rereading them really feels like I'm opening up a can of worms. It's sort of like I was addressing the future me - the me right now - saying, look, I can't process all this shit happening right now, but I'm going to write everything down anyway so that you won't ever forget, and when you're strong enough, you can start processing all of it. I'm trying to be very careful not to tax myself too much at one reading.

I'm really happy to hear you're working on this memoir of yours as well. Like everyone's said here, I think writing things out can have a profoundly healing effect, where you can reframe, process and make sense of what happened in the past. I'm actually having troubling deciding what to leave out and how to condense everything too. What I'm finding useful at the moment is to organize everything under specific themes, so that I can condense numerous events under one category. I think that gives it a sense of conciseness, continuity and organization - a sense that I lacked previously in trying to understand everything because things were so chaotic. This method seems more workable for me, rather than going about on a day-to-day recounting sort of way. I hope this helps and good luck with your memoir, keep us posted!


Edited by concerned_husky (04/01/14 11:47 PM)
_________________________
Husky

My Story

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#463573 - 04/02/14 07:54 PM Re: A Writing Project, Journals & Introspection [Re: concerned_husky]
don64 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 828
Loc: St. Croix, USVI
Hi Husky,

I understand the great energy required to do what you are doing. It sounds to me you are integrating your experience--the precursor to wisdom and understanding. How smart of you to unconsciously have set it up this way. You are able to help you now in a way you weren't able to earlier. It has a real healthy feeling to it to me.

Don
_________________________
Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

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#463697 - 04/05/14 10:02 AM Re: A Writing Project, Journals & Introspection [Re: concerned_husky]
concerned_husky Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/29/12
Posts: 609
Thanks Don. smile It's taking a lot of energy for sure - I think it's exactly because of what you said, that I'm integrating everything. As much as I thought I was processing things, I don't think it was enough. Either that, or I was doing something wrong, because I'm still stuck in the same destructive cycles that have defined my life for close to a decade now. It's not easy to stay conscious of things you'd like to forget. And it seems to me like remembering is just the first step, and processing everything - making sense of the emotions and the dynamics behind what happened - is a far greater task, something that I think I've been neglecting. I'm hoping something comes of this. Thanks for your support.
_________________________
Husky

My Story

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#463714 - 04/05/14 05:13 PM Re: A Writing Project, Journals & Introspection [Re: concerned_husky]
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1147
Loc: The ATL

Hi Husky. Thanks for sharing this with us. Good luck moving forward with your book. It sounds like an ambitious project. I kept journals in my late teens as well and it's been a while since I've gone back and read them. In a way, it's kind of a painful thing to do. Reading the words of this lost, angry kid who had absolutely no direction at all in life whatsoever. A kid who was only beginning to realize how unbelievably fucked up he was and who was terrified of his future and of the world he saw around him. Not much of that has changed, only I'm older now. (Sigh).

Anyway, I hope you keep us posted on how the project is coming. Sorry I haven't been around much lately. Peace,

Ken

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#463721 - 04/05/14 09:07 PM Re: A Writing Project, Journals & Introspection [Re: concerned_husky]
JayBro Offline


Registered: 11/13/12
Posts: 271
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: concerned_husky
I'm still stuck in the same destructive cycles that have defined my life for close to a decade now.


Hey Husky!

I am writing more to my own little memoir now and decided to take a break and read any new comments on this post. What are the destructive cycles that you referenced? Have you been tackling them as its own stage in your trauma recovery? I found that for my destructive habits which I managed to control, I was re-traumatising myself by exposing myself to men and situations that were reminiscent of my abuse. I think taking hold of and ceasing these destructive cycles can be a tremendous break through in our trauma recovery. Because not only are you treating symptoms, but you are eliminating the continuing ailment at its root.

Big hugs to you, by furry, four legged, tenacious friend!!
_________________________
,,Nun ging es immerzu, weit, weit bis an der Welt Ende."

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#463722 - 04/05/14 09:29 PM Re: A Writing Project, Journals & Introspection [Re: concerned_husky]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 374
Loc: NY
Husky:

As you and I discussed once before, integration kind of goes on its own pace, finding it's way with our help, but also when we allow things to happen rather than direct them.

That's what I like about your post. You are considering the possibility of creating a space for something, even as you reflect.

There is an exercise you might consider. It is mentioned in Howard Fradkin's book (he got it from someone else). The exercise is a conversation between the boy in oneself and the man. The conversation is written out using the non-dominant hand for the child within and the dominant hand for the mature adult.

Best to you in any case, my friend.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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