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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 Healing (71)

Sunday
Aug242014

This Crazy Life of Mine

I don't know what I mean to write.

Sometimes the need to write overwhelms me even (and especially) when it seems I haven't much to say.

My childhood years of abuse and trauma come to me sometimes like a dream, a dream wrapped up carelessly in an old, priceless shawl whose radiant colors have faded with time. Sometimes the thought of my childhood so wrapped up nearly leaves me breathless with dread mingled with excitement.

I dread the retelling of what never should have been. Excitement grabs me when I consider all that my story can mean to someone else who has known and endured the shame of covert acts of sexual terrorism, of those moments in time equivalent to the endless minutes I spent hunched atop my mother's washing machine, naked, alone and waiting to be abused.

I'm excited because I have something to give away, something that cost me every bit of my soul. In the act of giving lies the dread that it may be misunderstood, scoffed at or heartlessly tossed aside.

But I am used to mocking; I grew up being the subject of much mockings. Surely I can bear more of the same for the sake of those few who may read my story and weep in that good and pure way which cleanses and uplifts, readying one to go on to take more steps and fight more battles.

Oh, it's not over yet.

I live a dual life, at any moment here in the present in all my nana-ness, while the past is a slow steady stream of vignettes playing upon my mind's eye from some decrepit movie projector.

I am me, a sixty year old woman who is just learning to cry out my sorrow.

I am her, the laughingstock little girl carrying heavy burdens and hiding them within the pages of fiction I can't quite get enough of.

When I was little my Dad was everything to me. He loved God so much that I did too, and this made of us a sort of trinity which suited me well and leant to my days and nights a sweet stability and comfort.

There isn't any bemoaning my childhood so much as simply wondering at its twists and turns.

Sorrow has expressed itself and no doubt will continue to do so infrequently now that I am becoming familiar with its intonations. I'm grateful for a respite, but I don't fear her reappearance anymore. She is part of me, a part of me I haven't wanted to acknowledge, let alone explore.

Today I'm neither happy nor longing for death. I'm not particularly joyful, which is not to say that some little ray of joy couldn't zap me out of nowhere, for instance as I'm reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, or when I get a whiff of an especially pleasing scented candle.

The way I see it, I'm about one step above simply existing. I don't long for anything else, not now. Maybe some other day. Today is all about being, just being.

And so I sit and wait for whatever it is will grab me next, be it an old, old memory or a new thought that takes me in a whole new direction.

My life is mine, is what I mean to say. Others nearly robbed me of its possession but it's still all mine. Even and especially the dark, unmentionable acts which crushed me, those moments in time when I hardly knew my name and despaired of ever laughing again.

I might laugh today. Today I might laugh. It's hard to say what I'll do today with this crazy life of mine.

 

Wednesday
Aug132014

Hello Sorrow, My Old Friend

Anyone reading my blog on a fairly regular basis knows I've been struggling for a couple of years now with sorrow.

I've written about how strange it is to feel its depths while having no idea of its source. In retrospect I can't believe I could write such a thing. Isn't it obvious? This blog is devoted to dealing with my ongoing attempts to deal with the aftermath of sexual abuse, as well as living my life as a multiple. And I really have no idea where all this sorrow originates?

Denial goes deep, that's for sure. Since my sons moved out I've had a great deal of time on my hands. The quiet has at times been deafening. I've not been sure I could handle it. I wasn't sure of anything except that I didn't know if I'd make it through this transitional stage of my life into whatever lay ahead.

It's not so much the nights, I've discovered. Being completely alone during the daytime is much more problematic for me. Sorrow, once nothing more than an infrequent acquaintance, won't go away. Sorrow has overtaken my life so that there is probably not one teeny little bit of it that isn't somehow related to that sense of just wanting to die. Or not exactly wanting to die, just wanting the pain to end already.

I've had nearly a week of this; I can remember few times in my life when I've felt this low not counting the nearly 8 years I was sexually abused.

Something has been sinking in during these abnormally long days, the realization that I've come to the end of my journey if I don't deal with my sorrow. I've nothing to give anyone else anymore if I don't do the one thing I've avoided for 53 years. How can I? If I don't do this one thing for myself there will be no self left.

The last thing I want is to have struggled and fought and persevered through all the trials of life only to have my life die out as a pathetic whimper. After all that how can I let myself be defeated by sorrow? I see how willing I've been--eager even--to jump in and rescue anyone who needs help with anything. I am a rescuer, therefore I exist. I am a helper, therefore my existence is justified. Or, and this is more to the point: I will turn myself inside out to help anyone, anytime, anywhere so that I can turn away from my own arching sorrow and never have to look it in the eye.

There is no going back. Having seen that I don't begin to comprehend the extent of the damage done to me I can't now pretend not to know. I can no longer continue this charade of sorrow being nothing more than a casual visitor. Every part of me is aching, despairing and ready to call it quits. Every part of me is swaying with the weight of this desolation. What if I put my efforts into encouraging their individual expression of pain rather than wearing myself out running away? What if I allow for the one thing that may just save my entire system? The door behind which sorrow has hidden all these decades has already been unlocked. There is no keeping it out now, and I see that for the first time I am beginning to welcome this open door and all that it brings with it, knowing it will hurt. Knowing I will (yes) at times want to die. And knowing, oh how I hope this is so, that none of this can hurt worse than the original abuse.

Simon and Garfunkel sang, "Hello darkness, my old friend..." Within darkness hides sorrow that will not lie to save our tender sensibilities, nor dress itself ornately to hide its simplicity. Sorrow insists on the truth, I've discovered. What has driven it underground in my life is my inability and, at times, unwillingness, to see things for what they are.

I'm full of sorrow and suddenly that doesn't seem as overwhelming as it did a couple days ago. In a curious way I feel as if  sorrow is my truest friend, that one friend we all need who will tell us when we are lying to ourselves.

It's not that I'm anticipating this new season of my life, which will require an incredible amount of courage. Not anticipating it, maybe, but not refusing it either. I'm fighting for my life and how wonderful it is to begin to believe it is worth fighting for.

Thursday
May292014

Throwback Thursday

In light of the devastation I've experienced recently, I feel the need to publish something a bit more hopeful than my last two posts.

The following is A Letter to My Future Self, which I wrote 4 years ago. It reminded me, as I read through it again, that my efforts to keep moving forward with my healing hasn't been in vain:

 

Dear Beauty (10 years from now),

Congratulations! You've enjoyed 10 years smoke-free, an anniversary well worth remembering and celebrating. There is much to celebrate as you look back on your eventful life.

From the scared, abused little girl who used to cry herself to sleep every night, you've emerged into an emotionally stable adult who has succeeded in putting much of the past behind her. You will never be totally free of the traumas and woundings which so enslaved you most of your life--but you've experienced a degree of freedom which allows you to live in the here and now without constantly shifting back into the emotional quicksand of your past.

You've watched your grandkids grow and mature; you've even held your first great-grandbaby in your arms, marveling at the wonder of doing so. How odd to think that as a teenager you so longed to commit suicide. You can't imagine now feeling that desperate and hollow, though you feel a pang of sadness for your 15 year old self. How is it that you've made it all the way into old age? Love has been the mitigating factor in your survival: love for your children and grandkids and friends, and their steadfast love for you.

Braving the necessary work it takes to engage in the healing process, you've found the freedom to speak more and more of your truth. This you've done by blogging and writing poetry, and the memoir you had published several years ago. Nothing you've attempted in coming to terms with your childhood has been easy, but there have been many rewards. Perhaps the best reward is the letters you've received in response to your memoir. These are from women in all walks of life (and some men too) who have lived through the same kind of abuses you wrote about, and have found within your story a spark of hope and inspiration.

You are discovering that, as plodding as the healing journey has been, all along you've been building up a wealth of good memories to feast on in your twilight years. These have a powerful counter affect on the demeaning, shameful memories of your childhood redheaded self. You've taken what was distorted and evil in your life and turned it into blessings for you, and many others. The God you put your faith in so many decades ago has made this transformation possible.

You have many good years ahead of you. You will see your great-grandchildren grow and thrive, untouched by the abuses you know by heart. You will continue making a steady way for yourself not by cursing the darkness but by lighting a candle of hope. New friends (and old ones you've lost touch with) will enter your life, sharing their individual tales, victories and wisdom. You will learn all over again that though life is fraught with mystery (and sometimes pain and heartbreak), it is well worth the living.

You will get beyond your present day little troubles, hitting your stride as you enter into your sixth decade of living. Always a late bloomer, you will find yourself amused that it's taken you this long to get in step with your truest self. But you will--not without struggles or self-doubts, but perhaps in spite of them.

You've chiseled out your own destiny, or fate, not content to remain the victim forever, and in this there is strength unlimited.

Sunday
Mar092014

Loneliness

Sometimes I wonder if it's mere coincidence that every one of my friends lives far away--in most cases too far for us to hang out together.  Some of them are online friends I've never even met in person.

I'm thinking about this because it occurs to me that I'm lonely. Hugely, constantly lonely.

How long does it take me to identify an ongoing emotion? I'm not sure, but I know that loneliness has stalked me for quite some time now, probably for over a year.

Loneliness is what awakens me in the dead of the night, causing my heart to sink at the thought of having to face yet another day, alone.

Loneliness is pretty much my only companion these days. I interact with others: grandkids and sons, but my social life is at a complete standstill.

The things I would normally confide to Sissyface I no longer have any outlet for. You know how there are some things you tell to only one person, because only that person would get it? Because we grew up in the same warped family and suffered the same abuses, Sissyface is the one I used to talk to in depth about childhood issues. What do you do when the person you once confided so much in is no longer available? Should I go trolling for a new relationship, hoping I find someone I can eventually feel that comfortable with, who would also, magically, understand all the aspects of my painful childhood which I never had to spell out to my sister? I haven't the energy, time, nor the heart to get into deep explanations, even if I were to find someone who would care to hear it.

Loneliness is why I can't seem to get my bearings. It's not the only reason, perhaps. Quitting smoking has also caused me to feel disoriented, as if I'm perpetually forgetting to do something. But the loneliness was there, alive and thriving, long before I gave up that habit.

Loneliness creates a restlessness that effectively blocks all interest in what I used to care about.

Perhaps loneliness isn't the true culprit here, but rather an offshoot from a more complex problem: my inability to trust.

Because my ability to trust was severely damaged at a young age, I've found it difficult to let down my guard. Once I manage to establish a degree of intimacy with someone, I don't have a desire to experience closeness with anyone else. Or, I don't have anything to give to another relationship.

Loneliness is the result of putting all my eggs in one basket. Having come to this conclusion, I'm clueless as to what to do about it. Maybe the obvious thing to do would be to pursue new relationships, or attempt to deepen the ones I've already formed. But the obvious is not always so simple for those of us with DID. And let's face it, I don't want to replace my friendship with my sister with someone else. I'm surprised how I keep harping on this; apparently I'm more hurt my her abnegation of our relationship than I'd originally thought.

How easy it would be to continue folding in on myself until I am effectively emotionally cut off from everyone. I have this tendency anyway. Something, or someone, inside cries out for more. Don't I need--and deserve--healthy, life affirming relationships? Don't I have something to offer others? If some I've been intimate with in the past no longer value what I have to offer, that doesn't mean that no one else ever will.

Loneliness. Such a troubling subject for someone who really doesn't want to pursue relationships anyway. I acknowledge that everyone needs to be in relationship with others. I can see how a person could probably die of loneliness, eventually. For that reason, and perhaps only for that reason, I'm not going to simply give up on myself. I've quit smoking, mainly for health reasons. Surely now that I've dropped a negative in order to enrich my life, I can focus on adding something positive to further my well-being?

Sometimes I wonder if it's mere coincidence that every one of my friends lives far away . . .

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Dec172013

Ordinary People

The childish singing greets me the moment I enter my granddaughters' school:

"I'm a little snowman

short and fat,

Here is my scarf

and here is my hat..."

 

As you can probably imagine, it's sung to the tune of "I'm a little teapot short and stout."

 

They're rehearsing for a Christmas program. I stand in the hallway with the other grandparents, parents or older siblings, waiting for their release. I people watch while doing so, noting the odd woman in the unbecoming pink knitted hat, hurrying into the front office. I see her every day; she is the kind of person who makes me uneasy. She talks loudly, sharing personal things about herself that the rest of us can't help but hear. She is friendly, too friendly, and this too makes me uneasy. I make a point to avoid standing next to her as I did out of ignorance last year. I haven't made that mistake twice.

Next to me is a set of grandparents whose features are so similar they could easily be brother and sister. I see them every day too. They are here to pick up their grandson, who looks to be about 7. When he saunters over to them, this scrawny boy with his grandparents' earnest expressions and facial features, his grandfather takes his face between his hands and gently kisses the boy on the lips, then strokes his hair in absolute adoration. I make myself glance away, afraid that I've witnessed an intimacy I'd no right to see.

There is the receptionist: tall and skinny, with a huge pot belly. I never see her smile. She rules her office grudgingly, performing her multitude of tasks with a brisk efficiency which reminds me uncomfortably of my mother. I watch her covertly, remembering how she scolded me last year on my first day of picking Maddy up from school. I hadn't known it wasn't okay to walk down a certain hallway to use the restroom. Surely she could have informed me of this without the anger, and crisp, caustic words?

Maddy's best friend's daddy wanders in at the last minute. He's older than I, with grizzled beard, curly grey hair pulled back into a sloppy ponytail, and wears the kind of crumpled hat I associate with fishing. He speaks gruffly, but is friendly enough in his own fashion. Bow-legged and wearing a flannel shirt and the impossible hat, I've come to feel a degree of fondness for him. Seeing him day after day reassures me somehow, reminding me that there is some consistency and continuity to life. There are seasons and routines; everything isn't quite as willy-nilly as I've always suspected and feared.

I watch these individuals, and many more, through blurry eyes. I don't want to wear my glasses unless I absolutely have to, so the people I watch are comfortably blurred. It hits me from nowhere that there is a rightness about the routine of it all. We are all caught up in an awkward--a beautifully awkward--ballet of humanness. We're every one of us at once both fragile and strong, stupid and smart, funny and dull, grudging and forgiving, stumbling and focused.

Perhaps it's familiarity itself that is the foundation for affection and friendship. If I were to play this role in my granddaughters' lives for all of their grade school years, would I come to be friends with any of these? Would I gradually unclench long enough to see there is nothing to fear in the over-friendly, loud talking woman? Would I grow to realize that she is lonely and doesn't understand that her desperate need for attention drives others away?

What about the twin grandparents? There is something odd about them. It's not simply the fact that they are dowdy, as if from another era. There is an exclusiveness about them which makes conversation with them next to impossible. They are a clique of three: grandmother, grandfather, grandson. They need no one else or, no, maybe it's that they trust no one else. I'm never able to gain their eye contact, and I never see them speak to anyone but their grandson. But surely after years of sharing that shiny-floored hallway there would be a relaxing of their need to shut out the rest of the world. They might let me in just a little, enough anyway to learn their first names, and the name of their beloved grandchild.

I wonder if the constant exposure to the same people day in and day out is how others form friendships. I've lost my childhood knack for making friends. I'm much more self-conscious now than I ever was then about getting to know someone new. So, is this what happens? You see the same individuals day after day after day, season after season and then, after the summer break, you are thrown together once more, everyone older, the children taller. You make casual conversation and then, or so I imagine, something is shared of one's personal life: how many kids, how many grandkids, etc. Notes are compared, common interests discovered. These people I watch five times a week, these people I mostly fear, belong to families. They are mothers, fathers, grandparents, sisters, aunts and uncles. They despair of a wayward child, they clumsily balance checkbooks and fret over the same things I fret over: the price of living, the lack of manners and goodwill, the gradual sauntering into old age which, once begun, becomes more of a gracelss gallop than a saunter.

They are people, just people. I tell myself that. I tell myself if I'm not so quick to judge (and by doing so, keeping them at a safe arm's length) I might just discover that they are not so very different from me. I might begin to relax enough to allow myself to become known for more than the dowdy nana I must surely appear to them.