1-12-2017 Homework done for the Women’s Group

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My family in the living room during Christmas, in Newark, CA:
L to R- Alvin C. Rowe, my little sister, Pam, my mother, Pat, myself.  In the very front, my Uncle Tom Coop.  In the back L to R: My grandfather, Earl Coop, Peggy Coop (Uncle Tom’s then wife), Lorine Coop (my grandmother).  I was about 14 or so when this pic was taken.  I’m not supposed to post pics of my mom.  But, I’ve kind of reached the point, where I just don’t care what she wants.
She really was never THERE anyway….

Group is for Women with PTSD-{Post Traumatic Stress Disorder})

DO NOT read this if you are squeamish or have emotional problems that you can not deal with. IF you read this and it hits home, I suggest you call your therapist, or at least a very, very good, supportive friend.

What to do:
Make a list of things you’ve never told anyone, but want to be able to talk about.  

  • I want to know what dad and uncle Tom were fighting about when I was so very little.  What was so important that Uncle Tom thought he had to fight for me.  What did dad do to me?  When I asked Uncle Tom what is was, he could not answer me.  He had told me about his bar brawls, and other things.  But could not tell me what dad did to me.   I have the tendency to think the worst.  I have no one to talk to about this.  My uncle Tom is deceased.  He was on his last legs when he told me this.  I did not insist on him telling me the rest of the story because he was sick, and I am a respectful person.  He was obviously not comfortable going any farther than he did.  My grandparents probably knew about it, and they are gone.  My mother won’t speak to me because I am the child from hell.  I’ll tell ya, she didn’t know what a REAL child from hell is… I was a really good kid!!  I’m not tooting my horn to be full of myself, I was just a good kid.  The only person in the family to talk to is my sister.  I don’t consider this an option. She’s almost 3 years younger than I am.  My reality was not her reality.  We were treated differently.  She was favored.  I’d like to say that I remember that part all wrong, but my uncle also told me that he and my grandparents would sit around the dinner table and talk about it.  They were very concerned about me.  I asked him why they didn’t do something.  He said they were afraid they’d be cut off from us kids.  OF course, they could never help then.  Believe me—they made the all the difference for me.  They made the difference between life and death, they were the light in my very dark world.
  • I like to tell someone how when Scott asked me to sleep with his sister that it felt like a huge fist going into my gut.  It broke my heart. I really did not know why at the time that it broke my heart.  I just really knew how bad it made me feel. I was really hurt. Deep down hurt, even a betrayed kind of feeling. Today, I know that he was not really hearing me.  What was a ‘confession’ made in complete and utter despair, where I honestly thought I was a ‘crazy’ person—TODAY, I know there was no empathy there.  The only thing he got out of the situation was probably ‘turned on’.  Just writing this makes me sick to my stomach still.  Thirty years after this conversation with him, and another 40 years after the incident actually happened.  While trying to talk to him, I was ‘admitting’ to something that I had no words for yet.  I did not really know what I had done wrong, I just knew that something had happened, and it made me feel really, really horrible.  I know NOW that I was molested by a slightly older girl. The fact that I was 10 years old and had the thought to say no, and then to give in, I think that is what made me feel like I was the one to blame.  I was a passive child who never thought to tell her parents about what happened. Truth be told, I probably figured I’d get a really good spanking. But, I do not remember thinking it through in anyway.  I don’t know if I did or not.  At some point or points, I took 100% blame for it even though I was younger, and not even the aggressor. I still have not begun to even realize all the damage this did to my childhood, or to me as a young & middle aged adult.  When the person came to visit me in Ohio, I still was feeling horrible about it.  I admitted to my then mother in law what had happened.  She really reacted poorly.  She said that whole situation was SICK, SICK, SICK.  Between the reactions from mother and son, I went back underground with it.  It was obviously nothing that was safe to talk to anyone about ever.  I did not try to talk about to anyone again until after my child was ‘molested’.  It was still nothing that anyone wanted to hear.  So, I have kept mostly all thoughts to myself in regards to this situation.  So it takes me such a long time to realize things like, I’ve struggled my whole life with my sexuality.  As I learned a new word it became a new struggle.  Am I lesbian? Am I bi?  Was I in anyway in the wrong? Why is it so hard for people to talk about?  Of course, I realize now (at 55) the crux of my problem with Scott.  He had no empathy.  Of course, I felt so safe in the home I grew up in that I could not face my parents.  That part is easy to see now that I look back.

probably not done with this homework yet….

ACEs Study — Old News is New to Me!

January 4, 2017

Reading a book about the ACEs study from the late 90’s. I’m sure it made headlines. I guess I was too busy to notice. I’ve read the first two chapters. I am sure that I am, along with many others, living proof of the damage that ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences’ can affect an adult’s life. Took the ACEs test, and got a score of 6. Recognized the test as one my newest therapist gave me two weeks ago. I wonder now if she gave me the same score as I gave myself. I can tell you, it won’t be any lower on her scale. Amazing what science knows these days about how life experiences can affect your health. If I were not so tired, I’d read two more chapters tonight!

January 5, 2017

Read more in that book about the ACEs study today. Took the test with Clyde…he got a 7. 0 is considered ‘normal’. My two older girls got a 4 and my boy is a 7, and my youngest is at least a 2 or 3. Of course, my taking the test for the kids, gives me a ballpark idea..which I already had, and it depended on me being 100% honest about choices I’ve made in the past….where I put myself and my kids. Not necessarily in the best places. Like most parents I did the best I could at the time, and can look back and just want to kick my own self in the butt. But, had the thought while reading through this stuff on how one or two people in a child’s life can make so much difference in how the children are affected. I just knew I was adopted, and yet I look so much like my father, that he could have never disowned me if he wanted to. That was how disconnected I felt as a child from my parents. The place that I felt 100% wanted and loved was when I was with my grandparents (Earl & Lorine Coop). In my mind, they saved my life. Clyde has special people in his life that he feels the same way about. My kids will probably have some special attachments like that, though I am sad to say none of them had grandparents that they could count on. That is the saddest part of their lives for me. That they did not know the love of a grandparent. There are millions of such people out there. Clyde’s special people was a boy scout leader, and a parent of a friend. Good people make so much difference in a child’s life. If ever you wonder what is the point– then remember that is one of the points. Anyone can be good to a child, and that good can make all the difference. It takes only a smile, a hug, a kind word, empathy, understanding.