Now the sun is out the white marks show up more clearly against the tanning skin, a landscape of negative freckles.
I’ve been reading about the psychology of relationships a lot recently because of the dawning realisation that I don’t know how they work. Just as one acquires language as a child so one acquires social, interpersonal and emotional skills. Unfortunately if the available vocabulary of the latter is severely limited then the subsequent ability to communicate in these ways is concomitantly crap.
Research, observation and modelling the behaviour of others helped me immeasurably in the mission to acquire parenting skills which are, after all, a very specific set of relationship abilities. I’m still crap at it, but, thank god, it’s clear that I’m not as crap as my mother was. Mainly I suppose because I’m not as ill as she was. My travels through wikipedia in search of insight brought me to attachment theory, from there to reactive attachment disorder and complex post traumatic stress disorder.
Such a lot of long labels and phrases. Words, words, words. And yet. And yet. It’s deeply, viscerally shocking and upsetting. To be taken back to the obsessive gouging of flesh, pulling at the layer beneath the skin, tearing away as the white vacancy fills with bright red sting and tang of blood. The sight and the smell and the taste (sucking the blood, sucking the blood hard to pull out the venom of badness, one day, one day if I do this enough maybe it will be gone, the invisible stigma, the evil that must lurk, must be exorcised, excised, and then look at the white bloodless flesh and the red seeping in again).
I used to do this every day.
Sometimes I still do.
Apparently a characteristic symptom is “belief that one has been permanently damaged by the trauma”. How can this be merely a belief when the evidence is there, carved indelibly across the surface of my being in marks of tan and white.