A lifetime of pain, a breakdown, 2 years of psychotherapy and in the end a smile? [part 1]

So, maybe it’s time for a long, self analysis and review.

Where do I start?

My life was never one of luxery or normalacy.

It was far better than most, far worse than others.

In the end though, it was mine and it shaped me, rightly or wrongly.

I was born a month late and stillborn.

My childhood was as harsh, considering it was in a western world “1st world” country.  Both of my parents came from southern italian peasent stock. Both grew up through extreme hardship in war and post-war depression Italy. By today’s standards, both were horribly abused. In both cases it was never “abuse for the sake of abuse” but just one of those “that’s how it was done” deals.

This meant they both only knew one way to raise kids, and since they had the same experiances they did the same to me.

So, punishments were corpereal. Not just smacks, but beatings with belts, canes or bamboo swishes or being forced to be on my hands and knees in the corner “military style” with dried beans under my knees, tied to he bed or not having a bedroom door.

At the same time though, there was an almost smothering amount of attention from the maternal unit, and the paternal unit too was confoundingly loving those few times he was home and not punishing me for whatever transgression I had committed according to the maternal unit’s daily report.

So the messages were fast, furious and mixed.

Just like the amount of languages thrown at me. This may have been why I barely spoke growing up.  It may also explain the delay in picking up English and not speaking it till the first and second grades.

I still feel my language suffers.

I still feel like I cannot express myself.

If my home life was not enough, my entire world view was clouded with negativity. Raised a Roman Catholic, there was all that amazing guilt. There were the priests who demanded you talk to them, who discovered the truth, could have helped, but decided it was more fun to take advantage of the fear and preach and doctrinate further? The school teachers who were never interested in why the kid was covered in bruises – hell if he acts up, they beat him themselves, it was accepteable for them to do so after all.  The other schoolboys who were taught to hate any one who wasn’t a WASP? The boys in the streets who dago hunted? Beating me to an inch of my life more than once? The cops? They didn’t give a shit. Hell, some thought it’d be fun the harass the wog every day by stopping him for random searches … all of this … just in my Primary School years.

It was not all bad, there were good memories too. It’s taken me a long time to recall them though. Heck, I remember one of the first things out of my mouth when I saw my psychologist two years ago was “I do not remember anything prior to my eighteenth birthday … I mean I have flashes and mild recollections, but it’s all ike remebering a story or a movie”.

The last two years have opened up the archives of my mind … there are still some dark areas, there are still things I either cannot or do not want to see … but for the most part, I have a far greater view of my life than I allowed myself before. The darkness I was underr meant I could only see other dark images, but there have been flashes of happiness that have started appearing. Not enough to make me think of my childhood other than a hellish nightmare, but enough to realise I did have them.

I must, at this stage, make a disclaimer here … there are many memories I have, full blown experiances, that simply cannot be true, but form part of my psyche, my makeup … so, there is obviously some form of memory tampering I have done to myself through these years to … cope? survive? allow me to keep going? So, there are many things I will leave out of this synopsis for now … because there is no way for me to know which memories I can trust – but, the ones I do know about and the ones I have explored in thereapy will be what I will focus on for now.

So, this all adds up to a messed up individual, with no real social skills and a propensity to hide in books – escape into the worlds of fiction, science fiction and fantasy. Everything I learnt, I learnt via books. The ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy was blurred. The ability to escape reality became easier and easier. Far better to escape and withdraw than keep dealing with all these causes of hurt and confusion.

Until one day, all of that confusion, all of that fear and all of that hurt was too much. The fear of staying was far greater than whatever the wider world threatened me with. So I left home, at the ripe old age of 14. I left, I went to a friends place. I slept on their couch, I got a job as a “checkout chick” which was met with some ridicule back then – because blokes did “real work” in supermarkets.

I went back home a few times in the hope that things would improve.

The first time was when I was 16 and I had fractured my spine and ripped my lateral back muscles in a work place accident and was thus bedridden for a few months. The second time was when I wanted to go back to school at 18.

But it never did, and the rift just became bigger and bigger.

I changed my name by poll to remove myself from the family once and for all.

I wanted to remove myself from that entire culture –  I left the western suburbs, I left the italian community, I asked to be excommunicated from the church and I left anything and everything that made up that previous person.

I was alone. I was unarmed for the real world. i was lost in a world of denial and fantasy.

So, it’s not really surprising that I got involved in a cult group.

Not that I knew it at the time.

So, next thing I know, I am exploring the “New Age” community. I do courses in Crystal Therapy, Reiki, Ka Ra Therapy, Groundings, Shiatsu and relaxation Massage. I became enthralled by the world of “spiritualists” who were connected to the earth and who were aware of the “spiritual world” and of the many  “dimensions of reality” … finally to discover those who were in communication with the “fifth dimensional beings” who were “here to help and guide us”.

In hindsight, it’s easy to see how it happened. Here was a group that “accepted” me, that “loved” me, that explained to me that I was “an old soul” and that I had a “greater purpose” … it was sweet ambrosia to my ears and crack to my heart. By the time I realised what was happening it had been over a year I had been in their house and in their world.

Forward another year and I have come back from Noosa. The house I was originally staying in Melbourne was rented by the group, so I could not stay there. A friend who I had met through the group had her own share house, so I asked to move in there.

That is where I met Ingrid.

I did not know it at the time, but she would change my life.

Not knowing anything else, I continued down the path of “new ageism” for another year, although I focused on massages and reiki more than the spiritual side. However, there was a period where I almost became a cult leader myself. I was treated with some respect by the sharehouse owner, and she paraded me around like her own personal guru … I relished in the attention and took on the role.

My bubble was then burst.

With great force.

The first situation was I met my “soul mate”. I was told she was in a channelling session. She was told in a seperate session by a seperate chaneller that i was hers. When we touched, it was electric. My heart pounded so hard my vision throbbed like a bass speaker. I have never before and never since felt *anything* like that. We both reacted the same way to each other. Yet, she said no … we should not be together. She decided to be with the leader of a group who was planning on “ascending” and she was convinced that she was destined to assist him achieve this task.

The second was being raped. A nice way to lose one’s virginity, isn’t it? I think I was all of 19/20 at the time?I had joined this woman as part of the larger group that formed around the share house. We seemed to have a few things in common, and she appealed to me in more than a social sense. I was invited to her flat to perform some reiki and a massage. I did so, and by the time we were done, the last train had departed. So I was invited to spend the night. It was at 3am that I found myself tied to the bedhead and her already well underway in utilising my body’s natural reactions to attention.

This was still coming out of my anorexia phase, so I guess I must have been “skinny” (not that I saw myself like that) but apparently when I asked her why she said “you looked like my cousin and I wanted to do that for a long time” which made it feel even dirtier … to add insult to injury, she then told me I was a “pussy for whining” since it was “every mans fantasy” and I should feel privaliged. Then told all the girls the next day that she had me and that I was crap … so wthere was that.

Welcome to sex and relationships on earth old boy, I hope you enjoy your stay.

Those two things are what really broke a lot of things down. There was a third incident, which I do not want to share, but it was of equal, earth shattering and reality destroying impact. The reality of my illusion came crashing hard, and yet again I was shown I was not prepared or armed to deal with the real world.

Ingrid was a solid person in my world of shadows and illusions. It’s surprising that two people that did not have a positive first reaction to each other, who both claim had no interest in each other ended up together. It was a year after we become a “couple” and we are both still vague on how exactly it occured.

But I am glad it did.

She was the first person who really saw me. Who called me out on it. Who accepted me. Who talked to me.

Who loved me.

Who declared that love for me.

Our relationship was not ideal. It was hard. It was rocky. By all rights it should not have lasted. But it did.

We are not soul mates.

We follow the rules.

We are just the best of friends who will do anything for each other. Including take a bullet for the other.

How can I ever hurt someone who has done more for me than anyone else in my entire life?

It was because of her that I decided to refocus my life.

I moved into a “good, solid, reliable job” in the IT arena.

I worked hard.

I sacrificed everything I had to sacrifice and kept moving into higher and higher skilled and paid roles.

I became a provider.

I became a logical person.

I become someone grounded in reality.

We got a house mortgage.

I took roles for the experiance rather than the pay. I climbed the ladder. I then made the jump and landed a great job.

By this stage, I had become a workaholic. I was living to work. I didn’t know how to stop anymore, constantly chasing the next challenge, looking for the next rung, the next way to prove myself. I WAS GOOD AT THIS. I WAS DOING IT WITHOUT THE TRADITIONAL UNIVERSITY DEGREES AND I WAS EXCELLING!

Every challenge was mine to beat. Every problem was mine to solve.

This is where we catch up with me two years ago.

A straw landed on the camels back and it snapped.

A complete mental and emotional “nervous” breakdown.

The last two years have been spent exploring my inner workings.

Trying to remember.

Trying to understand.

Trying to cope.

Most of all, trying to make enough sense of it all and develop the tools to continue on.

Part of my therapy was to learn to communicate my internal turmoil. To extranlise my emotions. As much for myself than anyone else.

This is where this blog started from really.

It was that requirement to maintain a journal, to “write it out” that led me to return to social networks after a lengthy absence. I returned with many goals, but the most impactful on my life was the tumblr community.

I learnt to deal with people again.

I learnt to work out how to cope with rejection and even compliments.

I learnt what makes me feel happy and what is important to me.

For that I am eternally grateful.

So, that’s the sob story part of it. What about the lessons? There are many, and I will share them in Part 2 – but I have just spent the last 3 hours of my workday brewing in this recollective, vitriolic mood and tapping this melodramtic journey out.

I would prefer it if i was in a happier, more positive frame of mind when I start that section.

6 thoughts on “A lifetime of pain, a breakdown, 2 years of psychotherapy and in the end a smile? [part 1]”

  1. Thanks for sharing. Our backgrounds have many similarities. Wasn’t it Nietzsche who said, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”?

  2. It is difficult to open up this way. Thank you for allowing these memories and experiences to be seen. You are a wonderful person and it is an honor to “know” you (as much as anyone online can be known). Please continue to let the beautiful you shine. Hugs and Love!

  3. I am honored to know the person you are today. You are a true treasure to have as a friend. I am here for you in whatever capacity you may need. Never hesitate to call on me if you need anything.

  4. Hey Taiss,
    Life is a long string of connected experiences, both good and bad. What one learns from those experiences is up to them. You my friend, are a man of worth. I take great personal pleasure in the knowledge that you are among the few that I call friends.
    Take care, Ron

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