Domino Effect – Split

Warning – this post will be very raw and may contain items that people find offensive but they will be true from my point of view and memory.

In this series of posts, I will share dominoes that touched me.  I remind you, dear reader, that the items you are about to read are true from my own point of view and may be uncomfortable for some to read. I am writing about my journey not to place blame but to help me heal and maybe help someone else struggling with a similar journey.

DOMINO First Split:

The first split in the Domino design of my life, I feel, is my parent’s divorce.  As with so many children who have been through a divorce with their parents, there are so many warring emotions.  I was 8 years old when I found out my parents were getting divorced. I remember thinking that my whole world was being ripped apart. At 8 years old,  I had heard the word before and even knew a few kids whose parents were divorced.  I didn’t really know what it meant except that I knew that everything about my life would change. I was scared.

My nighttime bed wetting began to happen again.  I would also wake up with blood covering my face, pajamas, pillow and blanket from nocturnal nose bleeds. I now know that these things were triggered from the sheer stress I was under.  Like so many children before (and after) me, I felt that somehow I was part of the problem.  I began to obsess that because I had been “bad” by “letting” the sexual abuse happen,  God was punishing my family and me. So, I did the only thing I thought might help… one night while my parents were arguing, I screamed the announcement of my abuse at my parents.  I have thought of that moment many times and I am still not sure what I expected as a response to that. I know my dad was furious at the abuser.

My parents did the best they could to help my siblings and me get through the divorce.  We went to therapy.  I remember the lady who was working with me focusing on my weight and that she felt it was tied to stress. We may have spoken about other things but this is what imprinted on my memory. I remember her telling me to write down foods I ate, when I ate and how I felt about what I ate and how I felt after I ate.  I remember her telling me to avoid starches (aka carbs).  When we would review my journal, she would highlight all the starchy foods.  Important reminder here….I was 8 years old. I didn’t have a say in what my parents provided me for meals.  As a result, I have obsessed about my weight for a very long time.

An interesting fact about my parent’s divorce is that my siblings and I were placed in the full custody of our dad.  This was the early 1980’s and that didn’t happen very often at that time. I do not know the particulars or details of the divorce or even how this decision came to be.  I do remember what it felt like to move out of our family home and begin to have two addresses and phone numbers to remember. I remember worrying about things like: ‘what if I forget my toothbrush?’; ‘will there be enough clothes for both homes?’; ‘I will never again get a hug and kiss before bed from both my parents’; and ‘how will the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy and Santa know where I am?’

Suffice it to say that I acknowledge where my deep seated anxiety about being alone began. This is where my need to control my thoughts and actions began to develop. This is when my attitude around not trusting others to take care of me began.  This section of my Domino picture contains a few off shoots that I will breakdown further in future posts to do each Domino justice.

Reminder: This is a very raw experience for me but I will continue with the next Domino soon. Again, my hope for sharing this journey is that someone will see they are not alone in their pain. My hope is they will see my healing and learn it is possible to accept yourself and even love yourself. Until the next Domino, treat yourself with kindness….you are worth it.

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