Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jordy Meow on Unsplash
  • Self-harm and suicide
  • Violence
  • Drug abuse
  • Mental illness
  • Sexual assault and rape
  • A shit-ton of swears

how to make friends and brainwash others

People I know in the CPTSD community, such as it is, don’t say that they hate their families. These people — women, mostly, thus the preponderance of talk about moms in these communities — and I don’t know if women are more likely to experience this or more likely to talk about it, probably a little of both — these people were brainwashed like I was, in a conscious, deliberate way. My mother never made any bones about what she was up to; “brainwashed” is the word she used, and she elucidated her technique to me constantly as she was doing it. As a result, I know exactly how and why she created me. I know the terror that underpins all of it, the desperation to make the world what it should be, the inability to protect something precious from a vicious universe, the fury and fatalism of seeing someone heading for trouble and not understanding why they don’t turn away… I understand all of that. It makes it hard for me to hate her. I know that she loved me and was afraid, and that all her decisions flowed out of that fear. I know that I loved her and was afraid, and so I reinforced her fear.

Image for post
Image for post
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season 7, episode 7, “Conversations With Dead People”
Image for post
Image for post
Avengers: Infinity War

hope is killing you

That was the start — well, maybe the middle — of burning everything down, not just everything I was but also everything I’d hoped for. That’s the other thing about those articles that say, “It’s hard to hate your mom.” They tell you that eventually you’re gonna have to accept that the idea you have in your head of “mom,” the person you needed and everyone deserves as a kid, isn’t coming. Whether or not you achieve some form of peace with your family, the day when they suddenly listen and transform, magical-girl style, into the family you spent your whole life trying to be good enough to deserve… that day isn’t coming. You’re sitting in the ruins of your identity like a man camping on the foundations after the hurricane hits his house, and as long as you cling to the wreckage, you can’t build anything new. You have to sweep away everything, even hope. Because of that power disparity, that love is unhealthy, that hope is unclean — everything that flows out of it is poisoned. Hope is killing you as long as it makes you linger there.

who I’ll be without these walls

So that’s about where we are now. I don’t have much. Maybe one friend left, maybe one hundred dollars on a good day. I don’t drink anymore. I cry a lot, sometimes without warning. It feels like weeping toxins out. I don’t feel any less sad, but I feel cleaner. My therapist asked me how I think it’s going, and I think it’s going better than I ever could have dreamed, and so horribly slowly. I never imagined that it was possible to change, does that make sense? The ways in which CPTSD affects everything you experience, your understanding of the world warped at such a fundamental level… I literally couldn’t parse how it was possible to change that. And of course we can’t — it’s a paradigm shift. Can’t see the other side until you’re there. But it is changing. Everything I thought was immutable is crumbling, and it’s terrifying, because I don’t know who I’ll be without these walls and bars, but I haven’t been afraid in a long, long time. I haven’t been interested enough in the future to feel fear. I didn’t think it would matter — I didn’t care if I lived that long.

I write queer love stories, existential rants, and advice for sluts. Join my cult at www.gentlecult.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store