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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 Femaleness (2)

Monday
Jun082009

On Shutting Down

 

After a half day of sewing, I relaxed on my bed trying to pick up the thread of the mystery I began reading several days ago. My TV was on; I halfway paid attention when a storm warning interrupted the local program. Part of me, who definitely was listening, went, "oh yay, a storm!" Several minutes later a gust of wind shook my window pane, followed by hail, and such a rousing, deafening clap of thunder that I jumped off my bed, every nerve tingling, adrenaline flowing.

I love a good storm, they don't normally faze me. This one, for some reason, did. When it was spent and it was safe to put my potted tomato plant back on the porch where it belongs, I wandered back to my room. A great weariness overtook me, a weariness I suspect is the product of self-loathing. Why must I be so weird, I wondered, jumping off the bed at the first clap of thunder? I never did that back when I was a little girl!

I thought of how often I blank out lately, just suddenly feel my neck tingling and everything tilts and then it seems as if I, the me in the here and now, is erased. Coming across that photo of the vintage Barbie (which I posted recently on my blog) hasn't helped matters any. It was quite a jolt to see that, to feel myself shrink back in time to the proportions of my childhood self. I felt the teeny Barbie necklace in my small hands as I fastened it expertly around her neck. The feel of the plastic brush with which I brushed and brushed her lovely blonde ponytail. Yes, blanking out a lot, and jumpier than ever these days. When I watch TV it looks jerky at times like one of those old timey black and white movies.

After returning to my room , I heard a character on a dramatic movie begging for the safe return of her daughter. "Mommy's here, baby girl," she said, before sobbing hysterically. "I love you baby girl." This was another emotional jolt, having never been called baby girl in my entire childhood. When I've heard others use the expression (oh how loving it sounds!), I've winced, and I bet, I just bet that if I'd ever allowed my natural feelings to surface at such times (instead of shutting down), there'd be plenty of anger to go with that wince. ("I'll have a wince with a side order of anger," just went through my mind.)

To dig deeper (though why should I when everything hurts so?) it goes beyond the mere fact of never being called by this endearment. Baby girl. Spoken so gently, yes. But evoking for me images of the shameful discovery that it is for (or because of) my female parts that I am being harmed in tunneled places deep inside my body which I'd never known before existed.

Baby girl . . . panties . . . keep your legs together . . . . the dirtiness inherent in these words brings a flush of shame to my face and neck. A memory surfaces: at my grandpa and grandma's farm when I was about 5, standing in the kitchen hurriedly dressing as my grandma announced that the men were walking back towards the house. (But why was I dressing in the kitchen anyhow? Maybe it was the warmest room in the house. Oh hurry hurry!) Her good natured, lazy grin never wavering, just the slightest urgency in her tone as she admonishes me, "Put your pants on first. It's the bottom part you don't want them to see." Why? Because I'm built different from these men with their strong bodies and self-assured voices. I know this much from bathing with my brother when I was younger. How crestfallen I was when he taunted me for lacking a certain body part. Mine must have fallen off, we decided, or perhaps I was simply born without one, deformed. The bitterness of being other than--different-- stung me. And I felt the recurring sting in my grandma's kitchen shoving my matchstick legs into shorts, my breath coming in gasps. A threat hangs in the air: cover up your shame ( . . . or what?) Oh my grandma has the men in her scope, she knows exactly how close they are to turning the knob.

Why do these thoughts and memories plague me now, when all I was doing today was sewing and straightening my home? The fact of my femaleness--well hasn't it been the bane of my existence? And isn't the fact of my DID just another shameful thing to hide away (hurry, cover it up before they see!) from the threat of curious eyes?

The danger isn't physical now; at most the discovery of my multiplicity would elicit nothing more than guffaws, scoffings, idiotic questions. But I can't seem to separate the hurry hurry of my female shame from the instinct to hide, cover, bury, hoard my DID from those who may mean me no harm, but would surely inflict it all the same.

The truth is, I've never comprehended the fact of my femaleness. It boggles me. Pondering all the ways in which being female has affected my entire life (for one thing, I would've been allowed to live with my dad, as my brothers did, if I'd not had a vagina), makes me feel anxious. And then: the shutting down begins.

 

Wednesday
Mar042009

While I Was Gone

When I returned to my dad at the age of fifteen, I did so with something of the mentality of a child who has been kidnapped and held hostage. To be reunited with the one my heart loved best had been the gist and shape of my dreams for all of those years; now here I was restored to him, feeling vaguely suspicious.

This was, after all, an exclusively male household. There was about my dad's apartment a foreignness which was manifest mostly in the lack of womanly touches. No curtains graced the kitchen window, no dish towel patterned in flowers or cheery cows hung from the handle of the fridge. A general messiness gave the rooms an air of forlornness,  yet I found a certain beauty in Dad's art work taped to the walls in slapdash fashion in the least likely of places, and in all the accouterments of his artist self: bunches of paint brushes gracing old coffee cans, bouquet like; canvasses stacked in corners in various degrees of completion. Did the mere sight of little nubs of charcoal, or the smell of turpentine take me back to those earlier years spent as the apple of my father's eye? I don't remember now if this is true, but I have to think that something within my well protected memory was aroused by the sight and smells of my father's craft.

In the low built-in cupboard which ran the length of one living room wall, beneath the long windows, I nosed around looking for clues to the lives and personalities of my long lost family.

Everything but the kitchen sink could be found in that cupboard, for it was the equivalent of a huge junk drawer, holding the accumulated detritus of their years together. I waded through piles of old (and unopened) bills; stray socks; crumpled up napkins; discarded pads of my father's endless doodlings; tattered and creased Playboys (which I hid in my room to peruse in private, wondering at the beauty of such bodies, wondering when mine would ever measure up to such female perfection.)

I did my digging when my dad and brothers were out, thinking to puzzle together from all of these sifted clues the mystery of those longs years lived without me: the only daughter, only sister. I read (shamelessly!) notes to one of my brothers from his steady girlfriend, notes written with all the passion of a first love imploring him to open up his heart, to confide in her, to speak more spontaneously of his love. Digging through discarded issues of TV guide, whose covers featured Goldie Hawn (back when she became famous in the silly weekly show Laugh-in), and The Monkees, I found grocery receipts from five years ago (I would have been 10, and no longer a virgin), the box from a fried chicken TV dinner, black and white photos of people I'd never seen before in my life.

There was nothing for me in that cupboard, not really. What had I hoped to find? Some evidence maybe that I had been missed? Photos of me before my banishment? Locks of my thick hair? Perhaps an old sweater, a favorite of mine whose absence I'd overlooked in the greater drama of being wrenched from my family? I suppose in some melodramatic corner of my soul I longed to stumble upon a journal of my dad's in which with great pathos he poured his heart out, grieving his lost daughter. The pages would be ripply from where his masculine tears had fallen, and some words would be runny or totally illegible. No such journal was forthcoming, of course. My dad was one to express himself either through the safe cover of verbal humor, or on mute canvasses awaiting his inspiration.

I studied my dad and brothers covertly, wondering at their ease with one another. The suburban home to which I'd been banished had not contained nor encouraged such bantering! I distrusted it even while admiring its naturalness. But beneath the casual jibes and teasings, who were these men? Who were they in themselves and, most importantly, who were they to me? A heavy sense of self-consciousness washed over me at odd moments. I'd come back to my father, but I'd come back to him with an otherness about me. True, his blood flowed in my veins--but my stepfather had known an intimacy with me which cut to the quick: not simply the intimacy of naked flesh but also of abuser to victim. What had my father to offer me that could compete with my (hated) fusion to my abuser?

I studied him and wondered what about him had caused my mother to forbid the continuation of our relationship for 8 years. What had he done to so insult her that she felt the need to punish him in this manner? Or was I the one being punished? And did he ever balk at her stubborness, ever threaten horrible things in a feverish attempt to change her mind? My dad wasn't one to let himself be pushed around; I have to think he fought for me behind the scenes. I watched him, wondering if my otherliness was something he sensed, maybe without realizing just what it was that was a bit off putting about me. Did he sense on some primal level that his enemy had stormed his daughter's gates, so to speak, had raped and pillaged and restored her to him a battered, sorry replica of her former self?

I wonder if, instinctively, my father pulled away from me just a little, exultant to have me back in his life but at the same time leery of my stepdad's influence during my missing years.

I see my father back then in his favorite trench coat, his bow legs giving him a rather comic look. He tells me my eyes are huge, as big as headlights. He tells me I'm pretty. My hands are soft, I have a nice smile. But does he see beneath any of this? Does he have even the slightest clue as to who I am beneath my surface self?

Does he?