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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 issues (4)


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!






The Girl I Used to Be

When something stirs up my memory, reminding me of that period of time just before I began having kids, most of what I recall is depressing. The truth is, I've rather blurry memories of those times, and it's just as well. I was young (16), living across the country from my family with no friends, and the person I chose to begin a family with hurt me in nearly every conceivable way.

Sometimes it doesn't seem possible I even existed back then. Possibly I didn't for the memories are so ethereal at best. I get a sense of loneliness, for instance but not what I may have done to try to staunch it, or I remember the color of one room of our apartment, but not whether we had curtains at the windows, or matching living room furniture, or even if I bothered hanging things on the walls. I couldn't imagine now living without my familiar things, but I draw a blank when attempting to bring back a sense of what things I chose to have around me then. I know I was in the dark about my DID, but even so I must have felt the need for something to ground me. What could it have been, though? Was I merely a shell, existing without feelings about much of anything?

The odd thing about not remembering my environment is that I've always had near total recall of places I've lived. The smallest details have stuck with me, but not from this particular season of time, which lasted about 6 years.

My niece recently posted this photo of me on FB. That's my future hubby's hand on my shoulder; he's been cut out of the photo. I can't imagine that anyone but I would have done that. I must have cut him out and then sent her mother the picture.

I haven't seen this photo since it was first developed. What a shock to see me as I looked then! What I do remember is having no fixed opinions about anything, or if I did they were tucked out of sight where they wouldn't offend. I didn't rock boats, I didn't insist I be treated with respect. As bad as this sounds I felt like a thing. I took up space in the world, that couldn't be helped. I moved and breathed and quietly did whatever I had to do so that my movements wouldn't be offensive. I didn't believe I had any right to assert myself in any manner, and so I didn't.

Well, what struck me first about this photo (aside from the fact that it was taken so long ago that I didn't have any kids yet) is the fact of how happy I look. I know I wasn't. But look at me, standing there smiling, posing with my future hubby in his brother and sister-inlaw's kitchen where so often I babysat for them because they needed someone, but couldn't afford to pay anyone.

This is where we used to hang out even when I wasn't babysitting, the home we visited where fried potatoes were made often, evoking deep longings within. I'm not sure what those frying taters symbolized for me, but they sure made me emotional. Those are just about the only emotions I remember from that era, emotions of a keen homesickness, of longings to belong somewhere and feeling that I never would. The desire for a family of my own, and the love and protection of a man who would make up to me for every bit of pain life had so far dealt me.

The girl in the photo: what a long, hard journey she's had of it! How strange to think that she couldn't have known what lay ahead: for example, that she would give birth to 5 sons, and go through many marriages before she figured out she couldn't handle being with a man. And multiple personalities? Most days she wasn't sure she had even one! She sure couldn't have looked ahead into the future and seen the beautiful grandkids she'd end up with, or see that she would eventually adjust so well to not having a man in her life that she actually preferred being single.

I don't know who she is. She is me, but she's not. She's the one who interacted with the outside world, at least for a time. I don't know if she's still me, or if she in time was replaced with another. I just don't know. But I like her. I like her, and I feel for her for having experienced  that well of loneliness, that sense of being hollow and not having even one thing worth sharing with another human being.

I just like her.



He Said He Said

Earlier today I had lunch and went to a movie with the brother I haven't seen in 15 years. For reasons I won't go into here, I've kept my distance from him. But I've missed him. Both of my brothers are so much like our dad that it's a bit eerie. The same laugh, same hilarious expressions, mannerisms and humor.

I told my brother I needed to ask him something about our childhood. He said, "I know all kinds of things about our childhood. What do you want to ask?"

I told him I didn't understand why Dad simply allowed my mom to take me away from him. He wasn't one to allow himself to get pushed around; why wouldn't he have fought her on it?

He told me that it was the court's ruling that I be returned to Mom.

I said, "There was a hearing?"

He said, "Yep, and we were all there. I think the judge thought you should go with Mom because you were a girl."

This brought me to my next question. "What about visitation though? I would think any judge would have decreed that Dad be allowed visitation rights."

He didn't have an answer to that. But when I mentioned our other brother telling me that Mom had infrequently visited them over the years,  he vigorously shook his head.

"No, what's he talking about?" he scoffed, "that never happened."

"I've often wondered why Dad would allow her to come see you guys and not insist she bring me along."

"That would have really angered him," he said, "but no, Mom never visited during those years."

Hmm. So here I am now caught between these two versions of the past. I don't believe either one is lying. I think that memory can sometimes play tricks on us, especially concerning things that caused great emotional turmoil.

My one brother remembers how Mom always refused to come inside during her visits, even though Dad offered to leave so she could have privacy. He remembers Dad telling him and my other brother to not forget to send Mom a Mother's Day card.

I never, during those years, saw any letters or cards from them to Mom. Different family members checked the mail of course, but surely during nearly 8 years I would have seen some written communication from my brothers if there had been any.

When I was 14 my mother told me one evening to come with her. I followed her out to the car, and once she'd backed out of the driveway she informed me that she'd run into my dad the other day, and was taking me to see him.

That first meeting after so many years is mostly a blur, but I do recall that she wouldn't come inside. She had me tell my brothers to come outside and see her while I visited with my dad. Possibly this is one visit that my brother is thinking of. There may have been a few others before Mom took me to see Dad. If she unexpectedly ran into him after so many years, it makes sense she might have wanted to see where he lived, and what their situation was before bringing me along. Maybe she visited several times before bringing me and, again, that's why my brother has the sense that she visited over the years.

Deep inside I know none of this matters. I mean it does, but in another way it doesn't because whatever happened has long since been over, and there's no changing it. The thing is I have many inside of me who are not so easily mollified. They have a deep yearning to know as much of that time period as possible.

As time goes by I plan to ask my brother more about those days. I don't feel as driven as I've been in the past to ferret out all the details even if my parts are pushing for that, but if he can fill in any gaps in my memory that would be great. For now it's just good to reunite with another family member from whom I was estranged for so long.

It's crazy sad how great are the repercussions of child abuse. So great that I am just now reuniting with the brother I used to follow around with total adoration. Sometimes it's easy to forget that my brothers suffered too. Maybe not in the same ways I did, but they lost their mother and sister, and those losses must have wounded them deeply.

I used to think there was a way to patch up the past, if only I could find it. I know better now. There is no patchwork that can change what has happened. The best I can hope for is to live each day as grounded as possible, being as engaged in my life and the lives of my loved ones as I can. The best I can do is to not allow the past to so overshadow today that I let the darkness win.




My Displaced Blues

What is this ambivalence I feel towards my new little home? The floor plan pleases me. Everything's set up all cozy, with all my familiar knick-knacks and framed art work and photos: the same ones I've brought with me from pillar to post for nearly 20 years.

Though this is a large complex (over 200 units) it's much quieter than I'd anticipated. Is this the problem? Have I grown so accustomed to the unavoidable noise level that comes with living with 7 people that the quiet is too much for me?

My cat, Midge, crouched behind the toilet our first day in the apartment. I felt like saying to her, "It's okay, I kinda feel like hiding myself."

I've got more space in this bedroom--I can actually walk around the bed to make it. The washer and dryer are in a closet just off of the bedroom; normally I find the sound of the different cycles soothing.

What do you want? I ask myself, impatient with my unease. You were ready to move, you've been worn to a nub taking care of, and being around, so many. Why can't you enjoy the peace and quiet?

I feel a great sense of disorientation, that's the truth. The more I try to deny the trauma which any move causes the greater my sense of discomfort. Part of what I'm experiencing is shame, the shame of not being able to immediately adapt to my new surroundings. Shame that I'm still dealing with the same crud I deal with every time I move. And then, I remember. I remember that it's not just me who has to adjust.

When oh when will I learn to factor in my alters in whatever situation I'm dealing with? When will I quit forgetting that much of the time what I feel originates with their pain, their shame, their sorrow, their fears?

And see, now I'm into deeper shame for having forgotten once again.

Someone--and perhaps many someones--is terrified of the new home. Because it's different, not what we're used to. Someone is deeply depressed. Someone keeps hearing the word death whispered into the night. Why, I've wondered, do I feel the strong desire to just die and be done with it every time I move? I suspect it's because parts of me want to die rather than face the upheaval of another move and all the adapting it requires. Looked at logically it makes sense to me. But I've little hold on logic when my emotions skimmer all over the place.

I look at people around me and try to imagine how they deal with moving. I'm very much aware of the fact that not everyone goes through an emotional wringer when they relocate. I want to be a grown up, is what I think, no, what I yearn for. I want to be normal in this aspect of my life; I want to face major changes like an adult. And maybe it looks as if I do on the outside, but I know the true story. I know that I am full of fear, just like Midge. I sit on my bed and look around at the walls, the door, the window, and wonder how I can ever muster up affection for this new room. There is nothing wrong with it. It's not the room then, it's me. Always always me. Us.

What does it matter, is what I tell myself irritably, if you never feel at home here. I mean really, what does it matter? This is temporary like every other move you've ever made. Why get attached when you know you'll be moving on some day?

The angst I feel with every move is simply a condensed form of the angst I've felt since the age of 7: the trauma of suddenly belonging nowhere, to no one, and never never will, world without end.