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This area is reserved for the tidbits I know hope will be of interest to my readers. Check back often for regular updates. 

 

Check out this article about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, including a list of organizations which strongly oppose this sick trend, and have implemented various means of helping women who have been sexually victimized.

 

It's been a long time coming---7 years to be exact---but finally email notifications for new BD posts is available. Sign up today and never again miss another scintillating, moving post. You know you want to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kate Is Rising has an excellent Survivors Resources page which directs you to numerous websites dealing with issues of abuse, healing and recovery. Please bear in mind that the information on these pages may be triggering.

 

 

There's lots of good stuff at the Dissociation Blog Showcase, including a list of 180 blogs dealing with some aspect of this disorder. 

 

 

On the Overcoming Sexual Abuse site there's an article entitled, "It's Not About You Mom" which I could have written myself. I bet many of my readers could say the same!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday
Apr162015

Throwback Thursday

I've written so many blog posts over the past 9 years that I can't possibly remember them all. I don't, in fact, remember writing many of them. Even the subject or title of the post looks foreign to me when I come across it while lollygagging on my blog. This is to be expected when you have separate parts writing your truths.

Sometimes I read an old entry, and  it takes me back to what was happening in my life during the time it was written. I might recall the series of steps or slowly awakening realizations that led me to embrace a long buried truth, or realize something about my childhood that I'd never before considered from a particular angle.

In honor of this crazy journey I've been on for decades as I've attempted to unravel the mystery, not only of my past, but of myself as well, I'll be republishing some of my older posts.

I'd like to initiate Throwback Thursday (hopefully I can remember it each week), and I'll start today's with this post from my original DID blog.

 

Thursday
Apr162015

Beauty in What Remains

Somewhere I ran across the phrase "beauty in what remains," and it got me thinking. How often I've rued the fact that the biggest portion of my life is spent in dealing with my traumatic childhood. You know, as much as I see the need for continued growth and healing, I don't want everything to be about what happened to me on Brightwood Street.

Is there any beauty in what remains? Or did I emerge from the season of childhood stripped of everything human and good and salvageable?

It's easy to slip into the habit of seeing evidences of my brokenness in just about everything; after all, every aspect, every nook and cranny of my being were affected by the ravages inflicted on me by my stepdad. But is that all I'm left with? Is this to be the way it goes for the rest of my life, these constant reminders of those childhood rapings?

The other day, sitting in my car at my granddaughters' school, the person parked next to me blasted their radio. A song from the year I left home, at the age of 15, pounded into my head. I rolled up my windows, but I could still hear and feel the music pulsing all around me.

That was a particularly difficult year for me. I reunited with the father whose absence from the last 8 years of my life had turned him into a stranger I wasn't sure I could trust. I knew the heart of the father whose love had enfolded me during the earlier years of childhood, but what about this man? Was his father heart still to be trusted, or had he changed over the years? I now lived with my father and two older brothers; for all I knew my new home was full of danger at every turn. I hadn't known during those earlier years as the apple of my father's eye that men were to be feared. Now, I knew it all too well.

Listening--involuntarily--to a song from that year kick-started a ripple effect of depression throughout my entire system. This is why I've cut myself off from most music, this is why. I was back in the year 1968, living with the family I'd longed for during the 8 years of my stepfather's reign of terror, but I didn't know them and I hardly trusted them. I had no life skills, nor did I have any clue that the stepfather wasn't the only predator I'd encounter.

That year I hid from my father a vicious rape from the friend of a friend, burying it as deep as I could so no one would guess the shame of that violation. When a man twice my age tried to rape me later that year, I also kept it to myself. Would telling my father have set something into motion? Something that might vindicate me? I couldn't risk the possibility that, like my mother, he might remain passive, unmoved by my sufferings. Better to keep my mouth shut, then.

All this came back to me as the golden oldie came to an end. I sat perfectly still as the song faded, a new thought filling me with cautious excitement. What if instead of allowing triggers to pulverize me, I go one step further? What if I give myself permission to consider how far I've come in the decades since those horrible events?

Yes, I thought, that was an especially horrible year for me. It should have been anything but. That should have been the best year of my life, for not only had I escaped my mother's home but I'd also been reunited with those I loved best. But look: I'm not anything at all like that scared, frozen teenager who couldn't even give herself permission to feel outrage at what had been done to her.

Look how far you've come, I told myself, with growing wonder. You've survived the worst pain, shame and violations imaginable...and you're still here!

I don't ever have to go through that year, or any year, again. Not even one solitary moment or event has to be repeated. It might be repeated in memory, but I will never again physically experience the weight of my stepfather's gut slapping against my pelvic bone, or the terror of the older man attacking me in the dead of night. The memories are painful, but they are only memories. I don't live there anymore, I am here now: here in the present I've  arrived at through sheer stubbornness, and a faith that lit my way, one step at a time.

The memories will come, for as I've said I'm surrounded by triggers everywhere I go. It can't be helped. Even if I never left home there would be triggers: glancing at the bathroom counter and remembering my stepdad plopping me down on the cold counter, naked and riven with shame. Lying in bed at night, half asleep, and suddenly not being able to remember where I am. Is it my old childhood bedroom? I lie in the fetal position, listening for footsteps approaching my door, all my senses on high alert . . .

No, triggers are everywhere, for its the memories I hold that jump-starts them. That can't be helped. I'm not going to guilt trip myself for experiencing them when they surface. I'm not wallowing in them, that's the main thing. They may surface, but I can choose to not drag out the memories from the need to wallow in self-pity.

Beauty in what remains? Imagine a child's mind as a beautiful stained glass window, made up of gorgeous colors, reflecting the sun and illuminating all around her. If someone comes along and smashes that beautiful window, the remaining shards and slivers of color would retain their original beauty, but there would no longer be a substantial whole through which the child views the world, and interacts with it.

My mind has been shattered; from time to time I discover remaining shards shining their mute beauty, and I'm infused with hope. Even if that hope lessens, it gets me through the next patch of rough spots until I can once more catch my breath, take it easy, and revel in the knowledge that I have, once again, moved forward. Yes, I must look backwards in order to work through my past, but I can begin to teach myself to use my triggers as a measuring stick of my growth, rather than as sticks with which to beat myself up for having been such a stupid, shameful victim.

I like the idea of beauty in what remains. I like the idea that there is even something of the original me remaining!

 

 

 

Saturday
Apr042015

I Am Not Your Victim Anymore

I felt so good after writing my last blog post that I went on, in the next couple of days, to write 10,000 words on my novel.

Oh, I've been frozen since childhood, haven't I? And then something happened that caused me to thaw and set myself (mentally, emotionally and physically) into motion again. I don't pretend to understand why my rejection of harsh words about one of my alters should do it, but there it is.

Today, a new dentist. I've a fear of dental procedures. So much so that I put off my root canal for 2 whole years.

What am I so afraid of? I kept asking myself in the days leading up to my appointment. Pain, I thought, but then I've given birth 5 times, 2 of them without anything to numb the pain. I've suffered black eyes and other physical abuses from one man in particular, and a miscellany of other abuses from several others. And here I am, still standing. I can't be that much of a wimp when it comes to pain.

Then it hit me that it's not the pain per se that had me dragging my feet earlier, it was that panic of being trapped in a chair for a period of time and subject to whatever the person towering over me chose to do. It's that apprehension of knowing you are helpless, at the mercy of another human being.

Today, I was just woozy enough from the gas for my thoughts, during the root canal, to be a bit off. I went through everything from why my mother doesn't love me to pretending the odd shaped light fixtures on the ceilings were from a movie theater, and upon hearing the dentist telling the assistant, "Do a little rinse," following it up in my thoughts with, "make a little love, get down tonight, get down tonight!"

As the drill droned and my thoughts tilted, a sort of euphoria took over. Look at me! I wanted to cry out to someone. I'm getting through this just fine! I'm not freaking out, I'm not even scared. I thought I might pass out, but just look at me!

A part of my mind was taking note of everything from the minty smell of what I was breathing through my nose, to the sudden urge to giggle at the thought of my tongue getting in the way of the drill, in case I decide one of my novel's characters needs a root canal. And all the while my sense of wonder was growing.

I am not your victim anymore, is what I was thinking. I knew exactly who those words are meant for.

I am not your victim, I want to shout at my stepdad. I was, but my mistake was in thinking for all these decades that I'm still your victim.

My mistake was in thinking that you, and others like you who have peppered my life, hold the last word in who I am and in how much value I do or don't have.

The gas I inhaled during the root canal messed with my head, but in a good way. It's as if I were able to access deeper thoughts than I'm normally aware of and, in doing so, to cast off the superficial thinking which may be a safe way to get through life, but which is also incredibly numbing and restrictive.

I've hobbled myself in so many ways and always when I do this it's because of others. Why have I allowed the thoughts and assessments of others concerning me to be of more importance that what I think of myself?

It's well past time to start putting more stock in my own self-assessment. There will always be those who misunderstand me, and because of that misjudge me. There will always be those who don't much care if they're right or wrong about their conclusions. How can I base my sense of value on such sinking sand, and expect to experience a sense of security?

No, I'm no one's victim anymore. Though daily I struggle with the aftermath of childhood abuse, I'm moving beyond the unthinking acceptance of my status as an inferior being into the marvelous freedom of one who has chosen life over the numbing death of victimization.

 

 

 

Sunday
Mar292015

What a Day For a Daydream

Something happened recently which forced me to ponder how others see me. Isn't it strange when you're so sure you come off as being one way, then something is said which makes it clear that isn't how others see you at all?

Without going into all the details I'll just say that my dreamer personality was mentioned in a less than flattering way. I'd never given much thought to how this personality comes across. I'm not usually even aware when she's front and center. (I just flashed on how often my abuser, the stepdad, used to bellow, "Front and center!" when he wanted me to come change the channel on the TV, refill his iced tea, or any number of various menial chores. I wonder if my dreamer self took over at times like that? Did I feel anger or impatience at being so abruptly and rudely summoned from the sanctuary of my bedroom? If not, it's probably because my dreamy alter took over for me. After all, we kids weren't allowed to display any negative emotions.)

I'm not apologetic about this alter, is what I've come to realize. When disparaging remarks were made about her they took me off guard. I hadn't even considered what others on the outside think of this part, but now I had good reason to. What I've concluded is this. If a person is of a totally different temperament they will most likely not have much use for my dreamer self. They will probably be impatient with her dreaminess. That's okay, I don't see that as being my issue at all. There's a reason that this personality is part of my inner DID system. I can't really apologize for her existence when she made it possible for me to survive unimaginable horrors.

For the majority of my life I've crumbled or cowered under the criticism of others. What others thought of me mattered way too much--as I see now--because I had no real sense of who I was apart from my interactions with others. For one of the few times in my life, I'm rejecting criticism. The person who gave it is entitled to her opinion, but that's all it is: an opinion. I am not less, my dreamer self is not less, because someone doesn't much like her.

I stood my ground. In the aftermath of doing so I find that I feel freer and empowered. I don't recall the last time I felt this good. It's wonderful and delicious to own who I am, regardless of who does or doesn't approve of or like me. I'm not less valuable as a human being if someone decides they don't like me. I like me. With all my flaws, weaknesses and stumblings I like this person I'm becoming, this person who is made up of many.

I don't always exist in a dream state; I could hardly have raised 5 kids single handedly or accomplished half of what I've done in life if that were case. But there are going to be times when my dreamer will be in the forefront, making it possible for me to keep on keeping on. That's okay. That's more than okay. I see it as a good thing that I haven't lost the ability to dream.

 

 

 

Saturday
Feb282015

Full Measure

I didn't give much thought to accepting the set of metal measuring cups Sissyface was getting rid of as she sorted through kitchen items, preparatory to moving.

Days later something nagged at me, and finally I texted her, "Are these the original measuring cups from Brightwood Street?"

"Yes!" she texted back, stirring within me a tornado of emotions.

When the stepfather napped, we were all to be quiet. Tip toeing around became second nature to me, and a bane to my existence.

The measuring cups were kept hanging from a metal rack inside a cabinet door. Whenever I opened that door to put things away after our evening meal, I had to be sure to open it slowly and cover the cups with one hand so they wouldn't bang against the wood and awaken the fury of my stepfather.

If he was away on a trucking trip and my mother was in the garage beating Doreen to near unconsciousness, I welcomed the noise of those measuring cups clanging against the cupboard door, and would sometimes open and shut the door harder than necessary in an attempt to drown out my step-sister's whimpering.

I'm not sure why I do this, why I accept things from my childhood which I know can only hurt me beyond words. I think this is a way to test myself. Can I see and touch these cups without flinching? What about the reels and reels of home movies I might also inherit? Can I see them in their metal canisters and not think of what they contain of my childhood? Will I be a stronger person for not wincing with shame and anger? Will I win this strange silent battle with my mother if none of this makes me cry? Oh! Am I so much like Doreen, then, with this not wanting my mother to succeed in reducing me to a weeping, blubbering mess?

I thought of how my mother's contempt for Doreen was so apparent, not only in the severity of the beatings but also in her general at-arm's-length attitude toward her. I thought, well I didn't fare so much better myself, but atleast my mother didn't show contempt for me. And then it hit me: what was her refusal to do anything about seeing her hubby molesting me if not absolute contempt for me and my welfare?

Yes, I have the measuring cups here within easy reach. It would be taking it too far to hang them inside a cupboard, so I won't be doing that. After all I'm not attempting to replicate my childhood, simply to understand it as best I can. What I want to do, what I hope to accomplish eventually is to take full measure of my character with as much honesty as I can muster.

Have I clung with tenacity to my childhood dreams which made it possible to survive the unthinkable?

Have I exceeded my mother's set of priorities, choosing a life focused on the heart of things rather than on outward appearances and financial security?

These are questions I love to mull over. They are much more answerable than the other kinds of questions I can't help but ask myself such as, Why doesn't my mother love me?

I will take stock of myself, and where I see that I fall short of measuring up to the person I choose to be I will make an effort to change. I will own those parts of me I'm not too fond of, and allow myself room to grow and experience and change.