My story

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Oriole
Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:53 am

My story

Post by Oriole » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:26 pm

Hi there,

I was told I should share a brief introduction. I’ll do what I can, but brief isn’t really my thing.

I’m an old guy, a builder of all sorts of custom things. Exhibits for museums, metal sculpture for artists, theater sets, anything else that pays. I’m nearly retired but unemployed at the moment. All my life I’ve struggled to get myself together, but I haven’t done a great job of it. I’ve had some good jobs and even a semi-successful business for 20 years, but I’ve always had poor self esteem and sometimes I just can’t put one foot in front of the other. I’m pathologically disorganized. I get irrationally angry about small things and I’m easily discouraged. I was a partly functional alcoholic from the point that I graduated from college and got a job, which finally got me out from under my father’s control. Managed to kick the habit 5 years ago, largely out of the shame over the harm that I caused myself. Feeling ashamed is easy for me.

I knew that I’d been abused, but it really didn’t seem that bad compared to other kids I knew and stories that I’d heard. Mostly lots of yelling and verbal abuse from my demented father, but it was backed up with enough random violence and threats to terrify all of us kids. As well as constant religious abuse. That’s what I’d call it anyway. Endless unhinged lectures about our many moral failings from a madman with a hair trigger temper who cowed our kind, sad mother into helpless submission. She’d patch us up and give us comfort, but she couldn’t save herself much less her five children from our father’s unpredictable wrath.

I remember when I was 12, getting my brother to join me in praying (the “Our Father” ironically) quietly in the back seat of the station wagon while our dad drove 100 miles an hour through our little southern city to terrify his six passengers simply because we were bickering and late for church on Sunday. However he did stop for cigarettes on the way, and nearly flipped over the car in the parking lot. I was sure we were all going to die. The scary driving trick was one of his absolute favorites.

I lost my brother to suicide 10 years ago. He was 50. He was so strong that I thought he was invincible. Nothing phased him as a kid. When he was barely old enough to ride it, he drove his tricycle off the porch and into the bushes, splitting his head open badly enough to need stitches. He didn’t even cry. He was my father’s favorite target and as his older brother, I was awful to him too. He was tough on the outside, but I think he was as broken inside as any of us.

Just before I turned 61, after my second divorce, I had my suspicions confirmed and received a diagnosis of autism. Among other things, it finally seemed to explain why I’d had such a hard time with people. Understanding what they want and what they feel. Most people don’t like being labeled with a word like “autistic” but I felt that the diagnosis sort of gave me absolution for being as weird as I am. And maybe I should embrace that weirdness. In theory at least.

It may be hard to believe, but knowing that I had a disability with empathy actually helped me become more empathetic. I knew there was something I was missing, and it made me pay more attention to what that might be. And that in turn helped me to connect with the kind woman who is now my wife.

But even that didn’t fix me. I didn’t turn into the relaxed and happy person that I imagined a truly nourishing relationship would make me. I wasn’t sure what to do next, but I did’t want to keep feeling so bad all the time, pissed off at a guy who’s been dead for more than two decades.

In January I was laid off after four years from the best job that I ever had. I’ve worked a few weeks at a couple of places since. The last one was terrible and I hated it. The work was challenging and a lot of the staff were great, but the boss was horrible and so were the working conditions. I was ready to quit, but before I got up the courage I was fired for the first time in my life. I was shocked and even happy for a few minutes, but then spiraled into a weeks-long black hole of self recrimination and frequent thoughts of suicide. I don’t even need the money that much. It all seemed ridiculous, but I couldn’t pull myself out of it. I didn’t know it then, but I’ve since learned that I was in an extended flashback.

This month, at the ripe old age of 63, I finally managed to read Pete Walker’s book about CPTSD, and was floored at how well he described my childhood and my laundry list of mental issues. So I’m starting to shop around for a trauma therapist and starting to reach out to the world a little.

I’m not sure what I’ll find here, if it will help, or if I’ll stay. But here I am.
Last edited by Serenity on Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Changed MT to NT as no triggering detail included

coconuts
Member
Posts: 2035
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:34 am

Re: My story

Post by coconuts » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:17 pm

Welcome and congrats on taking these first steps in putting healing first. A lot of times it takes something tough to make us take a moment and step back and ask, what's wrong with this picture and how can I fix it? It sounds like you have a lovely woman by your side who can help you through this and you are taking goods steps forward in healing.

reisha
Member
Posts: 2020
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:00 pm

Re: My story

Post by reisha » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:53 am

Hello, oriole
Welcome to our friendly lil corner of the web.
While sad to read of what brings ya here, am glad ya found us.

Sendin hope, for healing, a (good!) Trauma t, & gentle support
Last edited by Serenity on Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Changed MT to NT as no triggering detail included

Oriole
Member
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:53 am

Re: My story

Post by Oriole » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:59 pm

Thanks for your kind words. I'm still a struggler, but I'm feeling more hopeful than I have in a long time.

Serenity
Director
Director
Posts: 1851
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2016 4:13 pm

Re: My story

Post by Serenity » Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:53 pm

Hi and welcome, Oriole. I'm sorry for the reasons, but glad you are here.

With care,
Serenity

Jonesy
Director
Director
Posts: 12342
Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:44 pm

Re: My story

Post by Jonesy » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:10 am

Hi Oriole

A warm, slightly belated, welcome from me too. Glad you found us.
Please look for an email from me ;)
You are important

Email: jonesy@isurvive.org

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