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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 Survival (8)


What I've Been Up To

Sometimes, upon revisiting my blog after an absence, I am captured anew by how very much I like it, and I nearly gasp my pleasure.

Oh, it's not that it's award worthy, or anything all that special . . .  except to me. Nearly 10 years of blogging! When I berate myself for being so behind in all my writing projects, I've only to visit my blog and think of how many words have been written over the years, and my spirit is calmed.

For nearly 10 years I've been writing my truth. That's not nothing. That's something. Whether or not I'm read very much isn't an issue. Once upon a time I checked my stats every single day, and panicked if they plunged, but no more. I'm secure enough now in the pure simplicity of writing truth that it hardly matters how many read me. Of course I want my words to woo others out of darkness into light, but before anything else my words need to help me. If they don't make it possible for me to advance just a bit away from that house of horrors on Brightwood Street, well then I question just how honest I'm really being after all.

I love my blog, warts and all. I'll never get it to look exactly as I picture it, but no matter. It's mine, it's writing my abuser never saw and--especially due to the fact that he's dead--can never snatch away from me, as he used to do with my pencil tablet.

All mine. Delicious sounding words!

I created this, I made something out of the darkness into which my abuser plunged me back in that tiresome era of my childhood. Sometimes I'm still back there, parts of me groaning and crying and despairing. For several days now I've flashed on my stepsister, Doreen, and the sound of her beatings coming to me from the garage as I stood at the kitchen sink, stricken with horror and fear, washing dishes in scalding water. Doreen, whimpering in the garage, is what comes to me, unbidden, and a little shiver runs up my spine.

Doreen didn't get to live long enough to delve into her pain and live beyond the wreck of childhood. She didn't get to live long enough to be diagnosed with DID, or even long enough to be reunited with the 2 children taken away from her.

I write this blog for me: that's one truth. I write it, at times, with Doreen breathing over my shoulder, as pesky as she was in reality, always wanting to tag after me. I'm not as stuck in the past as I used to be, not after all these years of doggedly keeping this blog. I see what I've been up to here; I've been writing my stepdad out of my soul, and my mother too. I'm writing myself out of that house of incest, and I've been preparing to take Doreen with me now, as I couldn't then when leaving home at the age of 15.

"Let her go with you," my mother used to say when Doreen would trail after me as I prepared to go to Bec's, or walk to the store to spend my allowance. "It won't kill you to take her with you."

There is something, at last, my mother was absolutely right about.

I resented Doreen's dogged presence then, but now I consider it a blessing to my soul to pluck her memory from the obscurity of being the one not loved, and lead her into that place in which most days I reside, trailblazed by the writing of this blog: a rugged, wide and wild place called Redemption.


Out of step

This month I turn 57, though for half of this year I thought I was turning 58. I've said before on my blog that I'm not hung up on age; this still holds true except for something which occurred to me today. I've a tendency to compare my life skills with everyone else's, and comedown hard on myself when such skills are obviously lacking. My thoughts go something like, Here I am nearly 58 years old, and I still want to cry when someone walks in on me in the bathroom--even if that someone is Midge (my cat)!"

Lately I've lost (or misplaced) many things. My good pair of sewing scissors, Sissyface's pinking shears. My set of Ikea measuring cups. A whole stack of homemade, brand-new dishcloths. That's just off the top of my head. Anyway, I realize this is not something that happens only to multiples, or sexual abuse survivors. But when it happens to me, repeatedly, I begin to feel that sickening sensation of once again being out of step with the world.

The thing is, I've gone to great pains to organize the stuff I use most often to avoid this very thing. There aren't too many places I'd stash my scissors, and I've checked them all, and some pretty incongruous places as well. About the only place I haven't looked is inside my toilet tank. I'm beginning to think that may not be a bad idea! But to get back to my organizational efforts, it causes me mental anguish to go out of my way to have some control of my little world only to be sabotaged at every step. My last therapist would have said my parts may be hiding things from me, either to get my attention or to tease me. Does this do me any good (if this is the case) when I haven't the faintest idea what it is they want from me?

I send email out to the wrong individuals, never mind how careful I am at picking the right contact name. Come home from grocery shopping with cream cheese but no bagels, tomatoes and bacon--but no lettuce for BLTs (despite having added these things to my shopping list.) My family and friends think it's great fun to see my little bumblings; I know their laughter isn't unkind, but affectionate. But it still hurts to be the one who's always a bit off.

I suspect the core of my hurt and mental anguish lies in the impossibility of controlling my entire world. I'm not even expecting everything to go my way once I set foot out my door, but inside these four walls it seems things would be rather routine.

Growing up with sexual abuse meant that I never knew when or how my body was going to be assaulted.

Growing up with a mother who pretended not to see meant that I was in it all alone.

Growing up with the constant sense that the welfare of my entire family rested on my shoulders rendered me old before my time.

Growing up physically but not being able to truly grow up in every other way meant that I entered adulthood with absolutely no clue as to how I was supposed to live in this world.

Seems I'm still trying to figure that one out. I'd like to be able to accept myself--all my selves--as opposed to scolding myself for every little thing I (assume) I do wrong. I realize that recovery is a journey, as is life, but really:  here I am nearly 58 years old and still dealing with all this crud.



Out of the Survival Mode

Yesterday I wore a nicotine patch for the first time. I found myself much less inclined to smoke; I probably smoked about half as much as usual. Maybe I'll actually overcome this nasty addiction.

Maddy and Anna will be in town this weekend for a visit. They'll be staying with their folks at Sissyface's because my place is dinky. I wonder how they're adjusting to their new life. It still feels odd to not have them a few apartments away, as if something in my world is a bit off. In a way it's a blessing that I've been dealing with my upcoming 9th grade reunion, and trying to figure out how to handle things with Steve. It's taken my focus off of my loss, and I can only think that's a good thing.

Little by little I learn to let go and how to venture out of my comfort zone, if only momentarily. When of necessity I must do this I realize anew just how much of my life is still lived in the survival mode. I'm perpetually geared up to defend myself, to ward off trouble. The least thing can throw me for a loop, even when it's not danger oriented. I'm trying to change my perspective, to see that not all unexpected events are a threat to my well-being. It says something about the power of abuse in my childhood that decades later I have to make a conscious effort to relax and not come out fighting. The fact is there are very few dangers in my world these days. There are things (such as Maddy and Anna moving away) that are difficult to come to terms with, but that's not the same as danger. Somewhere between the ordinary days of nothing in particular happening, and outright tribulations (such as my son's accident), there is simple life. Simple in the sense of normal little ups and downs which everyone experiences. My desire is to find how to dwell in this simplicity without constantly looking over my shoulder, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I want to live, is a good way to put it. And by that I mean I want to experience more often than not an ordinary, normal existence, where not everything is ruined by anxiety, dread and fear.

There is no manual to consult for those of us recovering from sexual abuse. We make up survival as we go, as best we can. We can do this for decades without even realizing we're doing it. When I think of how it must be to discard my survival mode I think it must be a lot like climbing into a warm, cozy bed after a long, fatiguing day. I don't expect to suddenly cast aside the survival techniques which have gotten me this far; I know it takes time. For the first time in a long while I feel optimistic that the time will come when I'll have grown out of my need to defend myself from old childhood monsters and terrors.



My Tenable Strength

I think I have to be strong for everyone else, and this is never more evident than when I'm attempting to adjust to a major change in my life. Yesterday I got my hair cut and though it wasn't meant as any kind of symbolism, I couldn't help but feel that the haircut was a sort of transition from what my life had been with my grandkids next door, and what it is now with them living far away. Sounds dopey, I know. I seem to need to do something different at such times to signify (to myself) that I'm not the person who is being abandoned, or hurt in some other manner.

What I started to say with this post is that I've a deep-rooted sense of responsibility which will not allow me to fall apart. If I were to do so who would be a source of strength to others? I realize on some level how ridiculous this is, making it sound as if I'm so important in the lives of others that they just can't function without my (tenable) strength. I suspect I'm imagining how much others need me; I'm most likely simply carrying on with my functional role in The House of Incest where I lost myself and became many, and my stepdad hissed in my ear about keeping my mouth shut. Not letting on was the main thing. I couldn't afford the slightest hint about our dirty little secret, for didn't he make it clear to me on many occasions that if anyone found out he would hurt my mother? I had to be stoic and strong so that that would never happen.

Sometimes I think I could withstand any shock, trauma or heartbreak, but the knowledge of my strength to do so doesn't fill me with pride. Rather it's a source of shame for me. What kind of person is incapable of breaking under the storms of life? Shouldn't there be some fragile humanity somewhere deep within me which is threatened whenever I suffer loss, disappointment, abandonment? There is something wrong, I suspect, with not being able to fall apart. Not that I want to, but I'd like to know I was able to do so. This isn't making sense.

I'm going to begin wearing a nicotine patch today:  this is another new thing to separate my old life from the new. I've put off trying to quit smoking, telling myself that I couldn't afford to be irritable when watching my grandkids. I don't have that excuse anymore (dang it!)

Yes, I think I have to be strong for others. When will I put the same energy into being strong for myself?





One, Two, Three I'm It

No matter how strong I think I am, the merest possibility of coming face to face with my mother does me in. At the slightest chance of an encounter I'm once again that bewildered broken-hearted little child of decades ago, non-nurtured, non-protected: unloved.

The only time I give serious thoughts to suicide is when I hear my mother's coming to town. Recently my brother's wife died. This is the good brother, the one to whom I've grown close over the last 7 years. While it dimly crossed my mind that my mother might fly in for the memorial service, I quickly dismissed the possibility. For one thing I figured she couldn't afford it after her last visit. Also, I knew that Sissyface was flying out to Mom's next week to sign important papers. I concluded that I had nothing to worry about.

Last night I got the call. The one from Sissyface informing me that Mom is flying in for the service, and staying for 5 days. My mother hasn't made much effort at a close relationship with my brother. She barely knew his wife. Why must she attend the service? I'm asking this rhetorical question because if she's going, I'm not.

It's hard enough being the odd man out during the holidays, spending alone what should be a special evening because my mother's in town. I want to support my brother; I want to be there for him, but I can't. The memorial service is about his wife, not me and Mom. Being in the same room with her would so decimate me there's no way I'd be of any help to him. And in all fairness, how can he focus on what he needs to focus on if he has to worry about what I'm feeling? Or a dramatic row between me and our mother?

When I seriously doubt my DID the thought of being in close proximity to my mother shuts down my denial in seconds flat. I'm broad sided by so many turbulent emotions, more than could be attributed to one single person.

I've the unplesant task today of informing my brother I won't be attending his wife's service. I love you to death, I'll tell him. I want to be supportive, and here's how I can do that: I can help when the time comes to sort through your wife's belongings, clean your home, grocery shop, talk to you any time night or day that you need a listening ear. Be available at a moment's notice to hang out, should you need companionship. This 1 thing I cannot do: be in the same room as our mother.

I have no idea how he'll take this. I can well imagine him (as well as others) thinking, or saying, it's only 1 hour of your entire life. You can't suck it up for 1 hour? Well no. You see, that hour would have its repercussions. It could very well drive me to the edge of a place I've no desire to be. And finding myself there, teetering on the brink of indecisiveness, who's to say this won't be the time I fling myself off the edge into the abyss I've always known was awaiting me, should I care to make use of it?

That 1 hour could make all the difference in the rest of my life. Perhaps it would be the catalyst for my irretrievable downfall, the one thing that pushes me beyond all human endurance.

Only a moment in time (as every victim of child abuse knows by heart) and a life is forever altered: an indecent touch, a violent adult fist connecting with a child's flesh and bone, a thousand and more nights weeping unsolaced. Who can measure the depths of such sorrow or weigh it in a balance?

One of my brothers once said to Sissyface (in regards to me), "That was a long time ago. Why doesn't she just get over it, already?" I can't simply "get over it" because I'M it. As if in some lunatic version of a child's game, I've been tagged as 'it.' In this version of the game 'it' means to be valueless, not worth protecting: a contamination.

One, two, three . . . you're it! we children used to cry innocently enough. I've played the adult game of tag with my mother longer than I care to admit. Somehow--and this is worth noting--oh somehow she is never It. I'm through playing this game, and it makes sense to me that if I take myself off of the playing field she'll have to play it alone, or find someone else to tag. Even as I write these words I know that the sting of being 'it' in her eyes will forever haunt me. Though no longer an active participant in the game, the shame of being dubbed 'it' echoes throughout my soul, will echo until time for me is no more.

Then, and only then, will I be released from the nickname of 'it' which I never wanted nor deserved.

(And it occurs to me to wonder what I'll do in the future when I have no blog to turn to when I need to express such emotional angst.)