When I was growing up, I had to keep my room very clean. I was punished if there was junk, clothes or toys on the floor. I guess I let my room get too messy one weekend. S had come over to play and we really made a mess.
My mother got so angry. I don’t understand why. We were kids, maybe seven at the oldest, and we were just trying to have a good time. I didn’t clean my room fast enough to please her. I was hit with a leather belt for every toy that was on my floor. It hurt. My legs and back and arms. Over and over again.
Then I was sent to my room to “think about what I had done”. In addition, I was grounded for a week. No television and no books, except for my school work.
It was bad enough as it was, but my father had to enter the picture. He came into my room and told me that he could get my mother to lift the grounding. I didn’t understand how he could do that. She was always so strict about the punishments she handed out. He sat down on the bed and patted it. All of a sudden, I knew what he wanted me to do. I did it. What else was I going to do? I just laid there. I closed my eyes and tried not to think about what was going on. When he was finished, he helped me pick up my room. True to his word, my sentence was reduced. I could have books, but still no television. That didn’t bother me, I didn’t watch much TV anyway.
How do I feel? I don’t know. I found this picture that lists emotions and gives line drawings to represent them. I’ve been looking at the drawings trying to match them up with how I might feel if I was feeling anything right now.
I came up with… Frightened. Guilty. Sad. Withdrawn. Lonely.
I’m sitting here writing and I can feel the sting of the leather. I can hear it snap. I can see the fury in her eyes.
But I don’t really feel the emotions. I don’t feel anything in this moment. It’s like I’m separate from everything. It’s like I’m an objective observer.
It’s my goal to talk about this with my therapist later today. When I speak the words, that dissociation tends to break down. So right now, it’s just getting it outside of my head so maybe I can sleep.