First Things First
Getting Down to Basics
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Ponder This

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.

 

Were you raised by a narcissist? Chances are you were if you suffered any form of childhood abuse. The Little Red Survivor website is filled with excellent articles examining the many faces of narcissism.

 

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 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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Wednesday
Aug102016

Slogging Through My Blog

I've had it in mind for years to publish my blog posts in book form. Maybe I should have done so years ago when I first had this bright idea. I began yesterday cutting and pasting blog posts into Word documents, in fact spent the entire day on it and am only up to May 2007! I began blogging in 2006, so the task before me is monumental. Fortunately, not every blog post is worth including; I'm attempting to choose the cream of the crop.

One thing I didn't consider at the beginning of this project is that in order to do this I'm going to have to read through every post to see if it's something I want to include. After spending the entire day on this yesterday I emerged from the work in a sort of trance, caught between the past of 2006-2007, and my life today.

I had to remind myself why I thought this was a good idea. I recalled wanting to do my bit in demystifying DID. I wanted people to understand that it's not as Hollywood so often portrays it. Maybe what I should have asked myself is, does anyone care? Will publishing volumes of my blog posts really make any kind of a difference in anyone's life? And there's the rub: how can I possibly know that?

I want my sufferings to be of some use in this world. Maybe someone will read them and realize they are not alone in their own struggle to live as a multiple in a singleton society. Maybe someone will read my words and understand a spouse or sibling or friend just a little better.

I want to proceed with this project because I think that it has to matter to someone, somewhere. But at the same time the last thing I want to do is to slog back through that mucky past. To be done with it once and for all, wouldn't that be something?

 

 

Wednesday
Jul272016

Seeking the Old Paths (Still)

(This is a post from 2008 which, for some reason, was saved in a file deep into my computer. When I came across it I barely remembered writing it, but it resonated with me. In fact, I feel just as I did when I wrote this though I haven't made any attempts to do anything about my longing to begin attending church. Because I spent decades in what ended up being a cult, I've been skittish about attending any kind of organized religious services.)

 

I miss attending church. I've no idea where that thought comes from, but its sudden wistfulness is worth noting. Usually when I find myself unaccountably yearning for something it's a sign that something is missing in my life.

Growing up, church attendance was a given. Because I learned to love it when I was still living under my dad's wing, I put up no fuss when my new stepdad insisted Mom take us each week. I barely blinked an eye at the oddity of worshipping on the seventh day of the week, instead of on Sunday as I'd been accustomed to. The thing is, I needed this: needed the peaceful atmosphere of the sanctuary as  every head bowed in prayer; needed the hauntingly beautiful hymns (which contained within their melodies a wealth of theology.)

Sometimes I studied the frail wrinkled neck in the pew ahead of me, intrigued by the whiter than snow baby-fine hair escaping from a carefully skewered bun and oh! something constricted inside of me to think that I was studying the landscape of a dear old saint's neck. Perhaps this was an individual who had loved the Lord all of her days--just imagine! I couldn't even fathom walking an entire lifetime with God. What must that be like?

My hair will doubtless never be baby-fine, no matter how old I get, and I swear I'll never wear it in a bun. As I contemplate this growing desire to be within that old familiar atmosphere--on holy ground--I'm surprised to realize that my own walk with God is 50 years old. 50 years!

If someone were to ask me what it's like to walk with Him that long, I could only say it's  like this. It's sorrow and grieving and (a sometimes aggravating) joy popping up at the most incongruous times. It's laughter and deep wistfulness, and begging prayers and prayers whispered hotly out of a devastating sense of shame. It's fumbling like the world's biggest stumble-bum while blurting out asinine words which are instantly regretted.

Grace and sin and glory and unholy hands touching me and sunsets so gorgeous they make my throat hurt, and cruelty so ugly it makes my whole body throb with shame and anger.

A constant sense of wanting something unnamable, and seeking it within the glass-stained confines of the building whose mysteries surely weren't meant for the likes of me--but still I braved my weekly entrance, certain that some word of Scripture would embrace me, even me, in ways that nothing else ever did, assuring me of my place in the Creator's master plan.

I miss attending church. Now that I have my car back I can go whenever I want to. The deliciousness of this realization washes over me, compels me to look up local churches on the Internet.

I will go, I will return back to what was once a weekly solace, a necessary solace for a redheaded stepchild who only wanted to be loved and valued.

 

Wednesday
May042016

Loneliness and Needs

I'm lonely.

Because this is so the subject of loneliness has been on my mind recently. Before I explore the nuances of loneliness, I want to figure out something that's bothered me for quite some time.

For years my son who has brain injuries has been visiting me on the weekends. Sometimes I take him to Subway because that's what he's craving for lunch. He sells one of his video games, and then uses the money to buy lunch for himself, and one of his brothers.

I've watched as time after time he's come out of Subway carrying two sandwiches, one for him and one for his brother. There have been times I would have loved a sandwich too, though Subway isn't my favorite place to eat. But I've been hungry enough to where even one of their sandwiches sounds good.

One day, as I watched T and his brother wolfing down their sandwiches, I couldn't hold back.

"Why do you always get your brother a sandwich?" I asked.

T said, "Because he's my brother and I don't want him to go hungry."

He went back to eating while I mulled that over.

"Okay, that makes sense, but what about me?"

"What about you?"

"What if I'm hungry too!"

This came out of me in a rush of hot words, indignant on my own behalf. How could he ignore my needs time after time, and see only his brother's?

"Oh," he said, "I didn't think of that. Do you want half of mine?"

Instantly I felt guilty for making him feel bad, for that wasn't my intention. I wasn't even sure what I meant to say to him, but surely something beyond the simple assertion that I might be hungry too.

I've given all of this a lot of thought because it's created a lot of confusion mentally, and emotionally. On one hand I know that T loves me dearly. He wouldn't deliberately do something that would make me feel bad. And yet . . . how do I reconcile his love for me with the way in which he consistently overlooks my needs?

As I ponder the subject of needs I am instantly focused on my childhood, for surely in that land of trauma and sorrow I was taught that my needs--if they existed at all--were selfish and insignificant. It wasn't made clear to me what to do with the needs that I couldn't help feeling, except that I was not to burden others with them. I wasn't to speak of them or assert them in any manner. I was to demur, always, to my stepfather, then my mother, and then my younger siblings. I was low man on the totem pole, and if any of my needs that went beyond a roof over my head and food on the table were met, it was always a fluke.

Light dawned on me as I considered all of this. As a child I became an expert at erasing myself. I existed to serve others, and it's clear to me that this extended years later to my years spent raising 5 sons. I didn't spoil them, but I also didn't make clear to them that even their mother has needs that should be considered. How could I? I'd forgotten myself that this was so.

T never offered to buy me lunch because I've come across all his life as being self-sufficient. He's not selfish, he simply didn't have any way of knowing that I wanted to be included in his generosity.

So what has my loneliness got to do with any of this? Suddenly it is so very clear to me that it's a sign that a huge need isn't being met. Because I'm such an expert at hiding my needs that even one of my sons doesn't recognize that I too might like a sandwich, my need for human companionship has simmered on the back burner, as ignored as a redheaded stepchild.

I feel a lack of emotional connection most when I experience something--the reading of an emotionally stimulating novel, or watching an uplifting movie--and there is no one to discuss it with afterwards. The necessity of stifling my needs has created a degree of solitude I believe to be unhealthy. I've always enjoyed my own company, but when taken to an excess being solitary begins to wither the affections and heart.

I've felt something was off for quite some time; it feels rather silly to say it's simply that I'm lonely! I wonder how bad loneliness must get before it turns into a kind of soul rot?

I think a first step for me is to be more vocal with my needs when they arise, and when appropriate. There is nothing wrong with letting my son know that I'd like to be in the loop too. I don't really have to wait until indignation compels an angry outburst. I can speak the truth calmly in a non-confrontational manner.

What a delicious realization! I not only have the freedom (if only I'll take it) to express my needs, but I can do so without making others somehow to blame for those needs not being met sooner. I can speak up on my own behalf--and it doesn't have to be in the abusive manner of my childhood abuser.

 

Friday
Mar182016

The Deconstruction of Beauty

While searching in my bedroom closet the other day for a long misplaced book, I realized with sudden clarity that I've been living out of boxes for decades.

As I went through box after box, I thought how I couldn't do this anymore, couldn't spend hours lifting and sorting through boxes, not even knowing if I'd find what I was looking for. My old bones protest too much. And that's when it hit me for the first time that I've been doing this since I was about 16.

How does one develop such an odd habit? I suspect it comes from a deep insecurity, the insecurity of never knowing where you belong or, if you belong anywhere at all. This insecurity most likely also accounts for why I've moved over the years more than anyone I know. Maybe it made a certain kind of sense to keep everything I don't use on a daily basis boxed up: who knew when I'd be on the move again?

I want to be angry or indignant on my behalf, I mean that things happened to me to turn me into such a stumble bum. But I find that I just can't; the most emotion I can conjure up is a sense of tenderness for all the awkward stages of my becoming who I'm meant to be that have led me here, to a closet full of boxed up life.

This is another benefit to my mother's recent death. I feel more kindly towards the both of us, and it goes so deep I can't begin to understand a bit of it. When I would have a thought that normally results in anger towards her, I think, "Yeah, but she had such a horrible childhood." When I want to silently mock myself for not being perfect, I realize, "No one's perfect."

Those boxes stacked in my closet symbolize so much for me. They symbolize my life all shut up and compartmentalized. They symbolize my inability to put down roots in any one place because I've been too busy trying to outrun my childhood, and the shame of a mother who couldn't love me.

Most of all, they symbolize the depth of my stepfather's brainwashing, the constant mocking and disparagement that told me I didn't deserve to take up space or live a healthy life like others.

These boxes don't have to continue giving off these tired, worn-out messages. I can see them rather as one more challenge to be overcome. I've overcome so much in the 9 years I've been blogging that it makes my thoughts spin trying to keep some kind of tally. I can do this; I can let go of what I've outgrown because it's not healthy living like this, and I deserve a healthy life.

These boxes are mini-storage units (or let me be honest here, mini-prisons) I've willingly confined myself to as I've continued the deconstructing work on my soul that my abuser began back when I was a redheaded stepchild.

How silly they seem to me now, these bland brown boxes whose contents are not so much filled with treaures I can't bear to part with, but the no longer needed relics of my own destruction. I don't need these keepsakes to remind me of that House of Incest.

Isn't it fitting that I've kept them hidden away in closed up boxes, where no air gets in and no one can see from the outside what they contain?

My life feels as if it's in need of a good airing out. I sense a good old spring cleaning on the horizon!

 

 

 

 

Saturday
Feb062016

Memorial Day

Over the years I've posted about the pain of being alone while the rest of my family was at my sister's, enjoying a holiday visit with my mother, who was in town.

Today, as 3 of my sons left together to attend my mother's memorial service, I remembered. Remembered the shame of being the odd man out. Because that's what I was, right? Even if it might be said I did it to myself by not choosing reconciliation, still, it hurt to be the one left behind. Left behind, left out, left.

Yesterday, my brother, who has discussed our childhood with me endless times, shamed me for my decision to not attend the service. I was astounded that he even thought I'd consider going. He told me he was disappointed, and he didn't need to say it for me to know what he meant was, "I'm disappointed . . . in you."

I held my tongue. More than anything I held my tongue because I had gotten no sleep the night before, and was punch drunk. But as we ended the call, anger burned hot. What I would normally experience as hurt had turned into something else. I knew in that moment that, had I not been nearly woozy from lack of sleep, I would have told him exactly what I felt. My mom not even in the ground yet, and already I experienced this newfound sense of freedom to say exactly what I mean.

Oh, the tippy-toeing around I've done over the years! The decades I've spent protecting her!

When I consider that she is no longer living (an odd thought, to be sure), I realize the stupidity of having allowed myself to be under her thumb for so long. Even years after our estrangement, I felt under her thumb. I carried with me everywhere I went her condemning presence, her annoyance with me which was expressed by the lifting of her brows or the shuttering of her eyelids. The barely audible sigh or gasp to let me know I'd done something she thought stupid. And now she is nowhere, capable of nothing. Whatever her power or spell over me seems to have dissapated the moment I heard of her death.

Yes, I've been too nice all along, afraid to hurt the feelings of the woman who consorted with a monster in my destruction. What a waste of years, of time and energy. But could I have done it differently? No, I don't think so. Because of who I am this is how I needed to do things. This servitude to her opinion of me has brought me all the comfort of a hair shirt, but it was the only way I knew to live my life.

I never thought that the death of my mother would be a rebirth for me! I never expected it, but here it is: a gift I didn't even know I wanted. I've rattled the chains shackling me from time to time, but there was no passion behind the action because I never truly thought I would be free.

This is a memorial day I'd do well to never forget. On this day every year I hope I'll pause to remember the delicious sense of freedom that became mine today. It grieves me that my mother had to die before this could happen...but I'm not indulging in false guilt over it. One thing I'm noticing more every day is that since her death, I feel more kindly towards my mother. What I couldn't do while she still lived I may yet accomplish. I may be able to forgive.