Friday, 23 December 2011


The therapist asked me last week what happened in my life around the age of 13-14 that caused me to start somatizing (my subconscious producing very real and difficult illnesses in order to express an inexpressible trauma).

I couldn't think of anything; the sexual abuse had stopped by then, I'd changed schools, my disabled sister was already at her 'special' school with her 'special transport. There was nothing particular that happened around that time. It struck me last night though. It was my little sister's near miss.

She was about 5 and was cycling with my mum. They were coming down a steep hill leading to a very busy road, when my sister suddenly forgot how to use the brakes on her bike. She was flying down the hill towards certain death, so my mum powered past her and knocked her off. It was the only way to prevent her crashing into a bus or fast-moving car, and quite probably saved her life.

I was always stunned and amazed at my mum doing something so heroic. I was proud of her. But I was also completely confused: how could the woman who would go to those lengths for her daughter, be the same woman who was never, ever there for me? Even at that time I had already blocked out the sexual abuse, so I couldn't put the betrayal I felt into words - I didn't know what I felt so abandoned about, I just knew that I did.

And I think it was that, the 'heroic' event and the conflict it caused in me, that tipped me over the edge. I think that's what started the somatizing - I desperately needed to know she cared that much for me.

It's so weird though - all this time I've been convinced it was about the attention my middle sister got; turns out, it's my baby sister.


I'm aware I haven't put a post up here yet about the somatizing; I'll try to, but it's not easy to talk about it.

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