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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So You've Decided to Heal

Dear Brave Soul,

Don't laugh, I call you this because, even though I don't know you, I know the amount of courage it took you to face up to the fact that you need to heal. And then from there to decide, okay, I want to do this. I want to heal. You've perhaps come to the conclusion, as I did years ago, that time itself does nothing but age you. It doesn't heal, it simply moves you physically further from the season of your abusive childhood, offering you no healing properties in the process.

And so here you stand (or slump, or lie facedown on the floor, whimpering) with a steadily growing conviction (that you need healing) morphing into a coherent resolution (I want to begin the healing process). The good news is, you've taken the first step which will set all kinds of things in motion. The bad news is, you've taken the first step which will set all kinds of things in motion.

Your decision to begin a journey of recovery from your traumatic childhood is going to stir up all the memories you've been trying to shut out for years, or decades. You will wonder why you ever thought dealing with your childhood was such a great idea. No one told you it would be this painful! What's the point, anyhow, if all you have to look forward to is more pain?

The point is that by facing and confronting the memories your pain will begin to be manageable. Some days it won't seem like it because some days you will feel raw, and everything around you will feel like salt in your open wounds. But not every day will be like this. Like everyone else, you will have your good days and your bad days. Some days and weeks it will seem as if your entire universe revolves around your healing, and you're right because it does, at least initially. In the beginning of the journey you're about to embark on, you will necessarily have to focus on you and everything that made you who you are. You can't accomplish this without looking back from where you've come. It's unavoidable. But you won't have to live simultaneously in the present and the past forever, at least not to such an extreme as is required in your early season of healing. 

Life will seem not to change much, perhaps for a long while. You must expect this so that you can be tender with yourself (or, if you're a multiple, your selves). You must believe, even in the face of no such tangible evidence, that one day you're going to come into your own. You mustn't crack a whip over your own head in a frenzy to force yourself to arrive there before you're ready. Your abuser did that when he introduced you to sexuality on his timetable. You mustn't continue what he started. Forcing yourself to move faster than you are able to along your journey of recovery and healing will stall you out. Healing takes time; it can't be rushed or forced. 

You will have nights when every cunning demon in the universe seems to be whispering your name in your ear like a contemptuous taunt, nights when sleep is like an offended friend who has turned his back on you in disgust, and refuses to return. Nights when you recall with clarity every detail of your abuser: the color of his hair, the pores of his sweaty face, his favorite brand of aftershave which you can smell again there in the night, alone. You will convince yourself that this is all you have to look forward to for the rest of your life: these night time horror fests when bits and pieces of your childhood come up like vomit, and you powerless to stop it.

In spite of this, you mustn't allow yourself to give up your resolution to recover. Though this resolution may not seem like much, it's the strongest thing you own. No one can snatch it from you, it can only be freely surrendered. You may relapse and throw in the towel on an especially hard day, but don't let that rob you of your future. There is a certain rhythm to this process of recovery. You might take one step forward and then fall back five, but that's okay, it's just part of the process and not to be taken as a permanent failure. You're not a failure, no matter how often you stumble. You are stronger than you think: you've already survived the worst thing that ever happened to you!

I've been dealing with my own recovery for close to 15 years, and I can honestly say I never thought I'd be where I am today. And yet there are moments when I despair of ever being totally free of my past. Though it doesn't loom over me in the way it once did, I must face the fact that we can only choose how to deal with our childhoods. We are never quite free of them, though the hold they've had on us can be loosened to such an extent that we can live without remembering the brunt of the abuse every minute of every day. Once we've got some mileage under us along the road of recovery we can choose what to focus on. We can choose, and make little adjustments along the way, because, well, because why not? We're in charge of our lives now!

Some days I just sense that I need to address certain issues. For me that usually means I need to deal with my DID system, something I don't like to do. But for every day like that there are many, many more where I barely think of what was done to me in the first place that made my many personalities necessary in order to survive.

As you head out into the first steps of your oh-so-brave journey, with nothing more than your wobbly resolve to guide you, hear my blessing over you from one overcomer to another:

May you find the footprints of those who have gone before you to help guide your way, and encourage you in the heat of the day and the cold of the night.

May you gift yourself with all the time in the world you need for your journey, remembering it is the journey itself that brings the healing you so yearn for, for there is no destination at which you will magically arrive.

May you allow yourself to be the intelligent, sensitive person you've always been beneath the heavy, dreary weight of trauma and abuse.

May you find like-minded souls for friendship, nurturing and as a source of encouragement along the way.

And, may you some day find yourself on the other side of your worst struggles and fears, standing strong as you cheer others on, away from the past of their victimization into their true place under the sun.

All my best,






Passing the Torch

Sometimes I'm weary of the whole DID thing. If it were simply a lifestyle I decided to try out to see if I liked it I would have said long before this, "Uh, thanks but no thanks." 

Recently I read The Minds of Billy Milligan. I found this true account of multiplicity quite intriguing, and that's another thing I don't much care for, that I can read about DID in reference to someone else and even admire that person for persevering and knowing so much about their system. But when it's me and my system? I get exasperated. Impatient. Angry. I don't see one single thing to admire about my own management of a group of insiders I barely know. They are strangers to me, I'm barely aware of their existence most of the time. Reading the Billy Milligan story gave me a bad case of DID envy. I mean, everyone but me (or so it seems) who lives with this disorder knows their system inside and out. Why don't I know mine? Is it because I put up resistance? Are they deliberately in hiding from me, and if so why? If they are here to help then why play hide-and-seek?

Another thing that gripes me is that I'm turning 63 next month and here I am still plodding along not dealing with something I should be dealing with. I've never figured out why this is so hard for me. I can't get to the bottom of it, it's all a murky mystery. I've a sinking feeling it's never going to get any better than this. As Jack Nicolson's character said, "What if this is as good as it gets?" Well it probably is. I mean if I haven't figured this out by now what are the odds I will at some later date when my health is failing, and my memory too?

This is one of those posts that have no real resolution. I didn't think when I began that by the time I reached the end I'd have arrived at any conclusions. So in that respect I'm not disappointed. I'm slightly relieved that I took the time to write this; I'd forgotten how good it feels to blog about my troubles. Whether or not anyone is reading it feels good to write it.

I spent nearly the entire day working on the revision of my poetry book. I don't mention DID in these poems, but they were written about the time in my childhood when I was mauled and raped by my abuser on a regular basis. I'm at the point of editing and so of necessity I must read every word, something I absolutely don't relish. Hard to write such poetry in the first place and double hard to read it later at different stages in your life and not feel as if it's all whining. I swear at one point I wanted to yell, "Just get over it already!"

All kinds of mixed up thoughts ran through my mind while editing. In addition to "just get over it" I found myself thinking, rather defensively, that if I hadn't been raped for 8 years I wouldn't have had to write such poetry in the first place, and wouldn't now be having to edit it in the second place. And then I thought how writing about such violence is supposed to be healing, and sharing your sufferings in the form of writing can be like passing the torch to someone whose pathway has been ill-lit and scary.

So. Here I am passing the torch. I do this in the poetry I so despised today. Forging ahead with the editing even though everything and everyone inside of me was protesting, is me handing that torch over. Everytime I make no explanations or excuses for my often quirky behavior to someone who doesn't know its source, I'm passing on the torch. Because how easy it would be (and has been for much of my life) to laugh along with someone else about what a goof I am, how I can't do anything right and my memory has more holes than swiss cheese, etc. I must make a choice whenever I am met with another's humor or scorn at my ineptness at this whole business of living. I can hide inside my shell, laugh along with them, make up something that sounds halfway credible...or I can do none of those things. Instead, I can take one for the team. Not just my unique little team of insiders but also in the bigger sense of the whole DID community, however small or expansive that might be. If I take one for my team then I'm not adding to the misinformation that's already out there circulating about us. I'm not encouraging the stigma attached to this mental illness by scoffing at it or making myself the butt of a joke.

Passing the torch and taking one for the team--these are two things I can do even though I don't understand the world inside of me. And for now that will have to be enough.


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?




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.



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.