Hi Sam -
Thank you. I don't right now feel like I could ask anyone that but I'd like to be able to in the future.
I think a lot about how different forms of violence interact with each other, and how psychiatric confinement/assault was just brought to bear on me because the softer forms of persuasion/programming that were "supposed to be enough" *weren't working* to bring me in-line with the compulsory school/work agenda. And I mean, real intimacy would need to be something radically opposed to more blatant abuses against me, but also opposing the premise that "instead of assaulting you, those institutions should have just used more soft-power to break you into being a docile subject," and opposed to the exploitation of people everywhere. How could I think I could have that? Who on earth loves freedom that much?
Oh also the one time in my life that I was most able to speak and write candidly about my experiences, a straight female lawyer used what I said to write rape fantasies about me.
If I could talk about how my strategies have failed and what I'd realistically need to do better, without having to worry about people throwing positive-thinking shit back at me in response - where would I even begin?
I tried to tell people, for instance, that I'd failed to stand up for other people who were being abused in custody, or that I was utterly dysfunctional when I had a role to play in environmental justice actions, and that I'd need both to form different social connections and personally work through my own issues more to build my capacity for those things, but people kept pretending that I "did fine" or worse, that I had no responsibility or no place taking on critical tasks of resistance to begin with.
On a more personal level, I think when I was younger I wished I could ask people about things like - are there any reliable markers whatsoever for 'knowing' if people are trustworthy or not / will or won't turn out to really just hate women or not / will spread rumors and talk about you to their social circles in hateful objectifying ways or not? / Are there even human beings who will say so upfront if they're looking for casual sex / can I ever expect truthfulness from anyone / if I'm physically involved with anyone, do I have to disregard things I'd read as forms of bonding in a platonic context as probably just being part of an 'act' they're doing / is there anyone who will NOT mock, attack, or blame me if I believe or invest in things people tell me that turn out to be lies to manipulate me?
But I was afraid of more people telling me "You don't need to worry about that / you don't need other people's approval / you're strong and independent / you just need to love and value yourself", and that *is* the kind of thing a lot of people said to me more recently when I tried talking to them about trying to safely navigate possibly dating again or something, and when I tried really desperately to explain to them that self-worth isn't a substitute for the ability to have healthy trustworthy relationships.
I don't expect anyone to believe me. It seems like a lot of women's/feminist support spaces are really just set up for people who've been 'good victims' to say "I played nicely by the rules of capitalism/patriarchy, tried to be compliant/feminine, got hurt by it, and now I deserve better." And if I walk into those spaces and say, "I rejected all of that from day one, and was severely retaliated against for doing so, and now I deserve better" I mostly get shut out.
(I've been trying to work w some of the stuff from "Many Roads One Journey", and there's all this stuff like, "We make a decision to become our authentic selves and trust in the healing power of the truth. We affirm and enjoy our intelligence, strengths, and creativity, remembering not to hide those qualities from ourselves or others," but I've been doing that since forever and objectively it's mostly gotten me hurt over and over.)
But people don't seem willing to hear that story, they seem to want a story about how I *must have* adopted abusers' perspectives like they did, and now it's hard to keep forming thoughts at all, like I can understand how solitary confinement drives people out of their minds.
Chellis Glendinnig's stuff was a lifesaver to me. But when she writes the bit about doing a therapeutic 'dialogue' between her repressed/natural self represented by a ragdoll and her 'civilized'/internalized-oppression self represented by a barbie - I thought, "Well, as someone who never formed that 'second self,' never had the capacity to dissociate or split my consciousness, and was always and only the first/natural person with NO sense that I could survive in this social order, I wonder if I could find any writing by other people like me?"
I am relieved to see that Mary Pipher at least in her writing acknowledges the *existence* of girls/women like me, although she doesn't really spend a lot of her time focused on us. (Fair! We're not the majority!)
I don't know if I have ways to bring my emotions and thoughts into synch. My autistic traits feel largely protective and positive but also slow me down and interact with the ptsd in weird ways. Yes, sure, I would appreciate resources about that.