ETA: This is probably more triggery than most of these types of entries I write. I will put this under a cut. I’m a little scared of this entry, myself.

Well, this weekend managed to turn up worms. As I was discussing with a friend, this thing over the weekend touched upon something that twigged one of my triggers that never had a chance to wear out. That specific trigger doesn’t happen very often—but when it does, it’s extremely effective. Even after the primary stress is removed, there are still echoes.

I’m usually afraid to tell people, because this is truly annoying: even when they help me, it doesn’t mean that my symptoms will go away. There’s a lot of frustration, and I hate frustrating people, but I honestly don’t know what to do with myself to make such things stop. Most of yesterday I’d forgotten—or at least I thought I had—about the incident.

But this morning I woke up with a subtle unease that I didn’t squash down because I didn’t think I needed to, and then half an hour later I was bent over with that nausea you get when you are really, really anxious—or, more precisely, and I hate admitting it, when you’re really, really afraid.

I’m still pretty nauseous, but I spent a little time thinking about this stretch of time in the summer, you know, between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and July 4th and my birthday, when things can sometimes get really awful for me. This is very short, because frankly I’m still pretty sick:

I mentioned previously that it took some time for me to leave my parents. Truth is, it took that long to prepare to try for a last reconciliation from a position of more independence from my parents—e.g., try to get them to be more reasonable. You know, not visit me every single weekend, not requiring me to call them every single night. We’d start slow—once a month visits, once a week phone calls.

So for three months I tried this. It was a nightmare.

Every night my parents called and left wailing messages on the answering machine in my dorm room—either my mother crying that I was being too cruel to her, did I want to kill her; my father screaming at me for making my mother cry, and who did I think I was, to keep my own bank account, and try to do away with them.

A few days in they started calling all of my friends, every single night.

You can guess how the actual once-a-week phone calls and monthly visits went. I think my parents were most hurt when I didn’t let them into my dorm room anymore, so instead my father started hurting me outside the dorm room.

Oh why oh why did I think reconciliation was a good idea?

This state of affairs went on for a few months. During this time, my parents never got used to the idea. Every night, the horrible phone calls. Every few days, things sent in the mail in attempts to bribe me back. Every week, screaming attempts to let them take me to dinner, just this once.

And yes. You guessed it. Hell went through April, May, June, and July.

Well, most of July. You see, I decided a birthday present to myself would be to cut my parents off. I couldn’t take it anymore, and it wasn’t going anywhere. And it was getting scary.

So I cut them off. I’m not sure why I thought that would settle things.

The day after my birthday, death threats came over the phone.

Two days after my birthday, death threats arrived in the mail.

The weekend of my birthday, my parents came to the University to hunt me down. They threatened and scared the shit out of the dorm front desk clerk. They visited my friends’ addresses and scared the shit out of them. They went wild across campus until the police stopped them and scared them away.

I was not there. Some of my friends had spirited me away to the next county because they were afraid my parents were actually going to kill me. I didn’t completely believe that would happen, but I let them take me away.

Turns out they were right.

The death threats kept coming, over the phone, in the mail, to the point where I couldn’t get my mail without someone accompanying me, because I would freak out. And the packages… don’t get me started on the packages.

The University was concerned enough to move me to a high-security dorm and suppress my information as much as possible.

So, you know. It was bad. This stretch of months has a history of bad, and I never thought about it consciously; but subconsciously, I must have been remembering.

Naturally, in August of last year, someone sent legal threats in an extreme overreaction to something I had written.

I didn’t know why I reacted quite so badly.

And now I think I know.

I’m not sure that’s a good thing.


– I should never say “this is going to be short” because it almost never turns out to be so.

– My birthday is nearly the same as Harry Potter’s, so the parental threats came thick in August before the University moved me.

– I feel less nauseous after writing this entry (as evidenced by the fact that I kept writing it). Good? Bad? It’ll probably come back, so I don’t even know.

2 thoughts on “Echoes

  1. It was never a matter of getting used to the idea. Their reaction was not based in difficulty dealing with change, or insecurity. Their reaction was based in wanting to control you utterly, and preferring the prospect of you dead to the prospect of you free. It is typical of abusers to step up the abuse whenever the victim tries to assert a bit of autonomy.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever read any Alice Miller — or whether it would be too triggering for you — but she had a lot to say about parental attempts to control children through death threats, either ‘you’ll die if you keep doing that’ or ‘I’ll die if you keep doing that’. Most abusive parents are less direct about it than yours, though.

  2. Oh, hm. That would explain why absolutely nothing worked to calm things down. Gods, it was a scary time. Maybe it was the scariest period in my life, although perhaps not; the title has a lot of competition.

    I didn’t know death threats were a form of control, but it makes sense now. To me at the time it was just WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN. It still kind of is, but knowing that detail does help frame things better.

    Reading about Alice Miller’s work on Wikipedia, I think it might trigger me. At least, I can’t decide on whether I want to read her work right now….

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