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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.

 

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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Entries in Childhood abuse (56)

Wednesday
Jun192013

To Tell the Truth

What would it mean to come clean, to the world at large, about one's DID? I've been thinking about this ever since I posted a rather snide remark about announcing my multiplicity on Facebook.

I've no intention of doing that, but the thought of being my self all the time rather than with a select few who are "in the know" excites me. I think of the courage it takes for one to come out of the closet of homosexuality, transgenderism, or to appear on Dr. Phil, for instance, and spill the beans about shame inducing secrets: adultery, issues with rage, gambling and porn addictions. Eating disorders, drug abuse, voyerism. Is there relief in telling one's truth?

I waffle between wanting everyone to know, to lay down this burden of secrecy, to wanting to retain my privacy. The fact is, some--perhaps many--would not get it. They would not want to know about the many selves I harbor. Whether they know me personally or not they would rather not have to think too seriously about the reality of this particular disorder.

Some would get it, or if not exactly get it they would at least be open-minded enough to want to educate themselves about DID. They wouldn't dismiss it out of hand.

I've watched several documentaries about multiples, and always I come away from these with great admiration for those willing to expose their disorder to public scrutiny. How self-sacrificing, I always think, for one to be willing to have one's fragmented life documented to increase public awareness of DID. When I try to imagine doing this myself, well I come up with a blank. And not a little anxiety. What would it feel like to put something like that out there, knowing that you've spilled the beans to one and all?

I consider how violated I felt when a couple of people in my life blabbed about my DID to others. The difference of course is that I hadn't chosen to share my truth with certain individuals: that right and choice had been stolen from me. But would it feel the same if I made that call? Or would it seem as if I'd betrayed my selves?

The first word that comes to mind when I think about my childhood is secrets. Tip-toeing around trying to act all normal so no one would guess what I went through on a regular basis. And then, well and then after that childhood there was more tip-toeing around, pretending, so that no one would guess the depth of my brokenness.

Seems like survivors of childhood abuse have an awful lot of prentense in their lives. They must daily erase themselves, their truest selves, in order to live with some semblance of normality in a society that hasn't much use for those handicapped by mental disorders.

I've a hunch I'll forever be fighting this inward battle of wanting to tell, of not wanting to tell. Of feeling the need to be known for who I am versus the desire to guard the secret of my DID because it's mine, and no one else's business. Very likely I'll live out my days without coming to any kind of a resolution about revealing this biggest secret of all. At times I'll be ashamed of my timidity, at other times I'll pat myself on the back for allowing myself all the time in the world to come to a decision, or even not ever come to a decision. Which is a decision all by itself, isn't it?

The confusion of how to handle the truth of my DID goes with the territory of living with multiple personalities. As much as I might wish that things were more cut and dried, life is seldom that neatly uncomplicated. Everyone has something they struggle with; DID is my particular daily struggle. I think it's good to contemplate the issue of telling, whether or not I ever decide to actually blurt out my truth. I have to be able to think about it in the privacy of my own mind.

To tell or not to tell, that is the question I'm in no particular hurry to answer. It's a big question, yes, but it will keep.

Wednesday
Mar202013

I've Got a Secret

Secrets. Seems I've been harboring them most of my life, wadding them up and hiding them deep within as you'd do with any shameful thing not fit for human eyes.

As a child I carried around the secret shame of living with a monster and the double whammy of belonging to a mother who chose not to protect me. The weight of this secret was crushing; it was nearly a double self, tagging along with me everywhere, not giving me elbow room or any little corner of my life that was all my own.

I've been dogged by this double self for so long that I can go for long periods of time forgetting that this other exists. Morphing from the original ugly secret (and, in fact, created from that secret) is the shamefulness of having many personalities. Though I've told some in my world about my multiplicity, I've chosen to keep it to myself more often than not. Why, though? Why must I slink around in the stealth mode dodging the radars of those who are not mentally ill?

I admire anyone who is vocal and upfront about their mental illness, displaying it for all the world to see. I don't know how one reaches a point in life when they simply cry "uncle" and give up all pretense. None of us should have to present a false self to the world. At what point does the false self become more and more our truest self, having subsisted within for so long that there is hardly any demarcation between who we are and who we pretend to be?

Do I continue with my facades, I wonder, because in a sense it's expected of me? Surely those closest to me wouldn't want to be faced with who I really am, not on a regular basis. How painful, how irritating it would be for those who had to witness over and over again my brokenness. So I hide myself away in part to spare others. But that's not all of it. I need to spare myself. I need to be able to look in the mirror every day and not see in my face every last trace of pain and shame and weirdness. I need to be able to focus on more than my inner wounds. If I was open about everything, would I be able to live normally? Okay, so I'm not doing that anyway, but wouldn't it be more jarring to have everyone know my business and to have to wonder how much they thought about it? 

I'm sick of being a carrier of secrets but, truth be told, I'm not willing to bare them to the world. Some day, maybe. For now I continue doing what I've always done, sparing myself and others from the horror of what someone looks like and acts like in the aftermath of outrageous abuse. For now I'll continue pretending to most of the world that I'm a singleton. I don't know how to live any other way. I don't like that I have to fake so much of my life when the reason for my being this way isn't my fault to begin with.

Secrets: I've more than my share. What a relief it will be to some day lay this burden down where it belongs--at my feet.

 

 

Wednesday
Jan162013

To Tell the Truth

What to do when my bad hip is throbbing with pain and every step is an effort? Why, sit in bed with my lap top and read my old blog posts, of course.

I had to laugh at one I wrote nearly 6 years ago entitled, I'm Going to Write My Book!  Six years ago, oh my goodness. This is the kind of thing which normally would send me into a tailspin of guilt, but even if I haven't managed to produce a finished book I have learned something along this journey of healing from childhood abuse.

I've learned to extend grace to myself and to be patient with all the setbacks and detours that throw me off course. Yes, I could look at it as a shameful thing to have procrastinated this long. But here's the thing. I see now that I wasn't ready to write my book back then. How could I have been? Tim hadn't been out of the hospital all that long from his motorcycle accident, and was learning to live a new kind of normal with his resultant brain injuries. I'd moved from pillar to post, 7 times in as many months, and didn't even have all my belongings with me. I was in constant motion, not deliberately but due to circumstances that were far beyond my control.

But that's not all. I've come a long ways since then: emotionally and mentally. My understanding of the dysfunction of my childhood has deepened. I've learned bits and pieces about that childhood I didn't have access to when I made my first fumbling attempts at a memoir.

Recently viewing home movies filmed the year that I lost my dad and brothers, and gained a pedophile of a stepfather, has brought those days into sharper focus. I can sense a shifting going on deep within. It's not all sorrow and shame and the longing to die. I can't even express what it is that I find so stirring about the movies. But they help as much as they wound. They heal as much as they pierce my heart and spirit.

I've known for over 10 years that some day I would write my story and share it with the world. It's the thing I need to do, it's the right thing to do. As a child with big writing dreams, I couldn't put down on paper my personal truth; I couldn't risk it. But now I can. Now, or I should say as soon as my living situation changes so that once more I have the time to do so, I can be what I've felt all along I was meant to be: the family scribe.

Someone needs to give an inside account of living with an insane dictator. Someone in my family needs to speak the truth as a warning, as a lament, and as a documentation of the kind of culture in which such atrocities are acted out routinely, as if they are merely a normal part of growing up.

I may not write my story this year or next year, but God willing, it will get written. I've no vendetta, no axe to grind but there is a burning need to exercise the right that I was robbed of as a child: the right to tell the truth.

 

 

 

Thursday
May172012

My Mother's Husband

Responding to an email in which I'd made reference to my step-dad, a friend commented, "You don't have to call him your step-dad. He was no more than your mother's husband."

I've always thought of my mother's husband as my stepfather, but one definition of that word is "a man who takes over all the functions of the real father."

True, my mother's husband fed, clothed and provided shelter for me, but beyond this he failed to take over the functions of my father. He failed to provide my life with the necessary ingredients of humor, compassion, safety and respect. There was no emotional tie, nothing to bond me to him, for I feared everything about him. Aside from what he didn't supply, he did untold damage to my spirit, body and emotions.

I find it liberating to think of him in terms of my mother's husband. Oh, he was so much more than that, but in ways that beat me down and resulted in the loss of my once whole self. He was my sexual mentor, though I had no need of one. He was my harshest critic, my sure and steady enemy. He made sure I knew of his constant disdain for me, expressed in every possible way.

My mother's husband. The man who supplanted my father but who was incapable of continuing what my father had begun 7 years earlier: the romancing of his only daughter with a pure love that sought to build up, rather than tear down, my little self.

I think of all that my father meant to me during those first 7 years, and my heart aches in realization of all that we--my beloved father and I--were robbed of. My mother's husband tore me down until, emerging finally at the age of 15 from that dreary household, I had no emotional compass, no anchor for my soul, no strong sense of existing.

A stepfather should be one step away from the real deal. Not a biological father, but one who can even so cherish and nurture the little life entrusted into his keeping. When a stepfather is nothing but an animal preying on the helpless child in his care, all of Heaven must surely weep.

No, my abuser was not my father or even one step away from being my father. He was the animal my mother married and stayed with until the day he died of bone cancer.

What a waste of so many lives! I've tried to pick up the pieces of mine as well as I can, but there isn't time enough in the world to finish the job. Like most victims of childhood abuse I live in the wilderness of the aftermath of domestic terrorism, afraid every day of my life of what lies around the next corner. I won't relax, can't relax, until I'm in my grave.

My mother's husband was just the man she married after leaving my dad. He's nothing to me, yet his actions and words affect me all these decades later, like boomerangs I must dodge constantly. He's nothing to me, but conversely, his memory looms larger than life, sometimes even larger than memories of my own father.

 

 

Friday
Sep232011

Opening Night Jitters

Dear Readers:

This is one of the first posts I wrote when I began blogging 5 years ago. I can't believe I've had my blog for this long! I'd forgotten writing this, and after reading it again decided to re-post it, since everything I wrote here still applies to my current DID struggles.

I don’t like reading my own writing. Years ago I used to make a friend of mine go into the bathroom, with the door shut, to read anything I’d written. Even then it made me uncomfortable to know my words were being read by someone else, a form of self-consciousness seriously conflicting with my passionate yearning to be a writer. I have to confess, though, that if she was reading something by one of my funny parts, I wasn’t above running over to the bathroom at the first sign of uncontrollable laughter, and yelling through the closed door, “What are you laughing at? Is it the middle paragraph? The ending? What?!” I was like a nervous playwright on opening night, pacing and chain smoking in the back of the theatre, frozen with the fear that no one would get the jokes, then panicking if there was laughter where there shouldn’t have been.

Once, when my friend was obediently enclosed in my tiny bathroom, perusing my latest scribblings, she let out one of those blood-curdling screams that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. She burst out of the bathroom, babbling something about blood. Well…I guess if I’m going to force my friends to read in the john, I should always remember to flush after dumping stewed tomatoes down the toilet!

Earlier this morning I was reflecting on the oddity of knowing so many have read my posts. Obviously I post them to be read, but there’s a sense of discomfort nonetheless. And it hit me that this discomfort stems from all thoseani-zip.gif childhood years of being told not to tell. The truth was absolutely forbidden–at least, if it was a truth which might have exposed the rotteness at the foundation of my dysfunctional family.

Besides that, when I was little I did a lot of writing in pencil tablets and one of my stepdad’s favorite forms of humiliation was to snatch my tablet, holding it high over his head in a sadistic game of keep away. Sometimes he went so far as to read its contents aloud to my family. Despite being a little stoic, this was one thing guaranteed to drive me to tears. Frantically I’d jump, making a swipe at his upstretched arm while he hooted with laughter, swatting away my feckless attempts of retrieval as if I were no more than a pesky fly. I soon learned to hide my writing, and thus it became something furtive, to be secreted away out of sight, like something disgusting…an old kotex, maybe, or something equally repelling.

So today I’m thinking of those years of keep away and hide and seek, and all the other games and rituals he put me through, and find I can’t help gloating just a little.

“What are you writing–a book?” I hear his taunts as if it were yesterday. “If so, when you come to me, leave that chapter out!”

But it wasn’t yesterday, and it didn’t happen just once. His systematic demolition of my faith in myself, both as a person and as a writer, was an ongoing source of pain and humiliation. I’m gloating, just a little, because I realize the irony in his repeated lame joke. And, as much as I’d like to ‘leave that chapter out’, I can’t. But for him there would be no need for such writing, and there’s no way I can condense his outrageous mark on me to one itty-bitty chapter.