Feb
06

Dissociative Identity Disorder and Reconnection

By

Multiple Personality disorder
Beauty in the Ruins

Sometimes I get a comment that is bursting with questions that I just HAVE to talk about in more depth than just a comment back. In my last post “coping methods ~ trying to escape myself” I got one of these comments from Susa.

 Susa wrote: “Interesting perspective and I really appreciate reading your experiences with dissociation.  I suppose I could refer to switching as escaping myself, but the only problem I have, is what part of me is actually me?  Who is really “myself”?  I have always spontaneously deferred to a part of me who can more easily handle the specific task at hand, and have never had any control of that process.  At this late stage of the life game, I am finally starting to almost be co-present with some parts of me… and yet I, Susa, still struggle with the question of who, or which part is the real me, or the original me?  I know that I am not the original birth person, and have only been the CEO since 2006.  I suppose the real me would be a sum of my parts, but hard to pinpoint any specific part of me.” Susa ( To read the post and the rest of the discussion read “coping methods ~ trying to escape myself“)

As I read this comment from Susa, several things were going through my mind. One of them was that although I am frequently asked to talk about my experience with dissociative identity disorder, (the multiple personality kind) I rarely do talk about it other than to say that I had it and I recovered from it. I tend to stay away from the subject because there are so many different beliefs about what it is, and how it operates. My opinion is that it was one of the ways that I coped; first with the trauma and then with life, and that in the final analysis, it was no more or less important than any of my other coping methods. All of my coping methods were tangled together to form a huge armoured tank around all my issues, protecting me from the outside world, but in the end also shielding me from the freedom and wholeness that I wanted so badly. All of my coping methods served the same purpose; survival.

Switching was an effective escape; it was a necessary coping method that in the past I had come to understand was about escaping the trauma, pain and or emotions that I was experiencing at any given time. As I grew up I learned to switch at any perceived danger. It became automatic. Anything that was even remotely familiar to the feelings surrounding childhood abuse or trauma, caused me to “switch”, becoming the alter I most needed to be in order to handle the situation. This was necessary as a child. It was not so necessary when I became an adult but I had no way of knowing that. Dissociative Identity and switching alters had become the way that I did life. As an adult, the switching personalities seemed to become more about me becoming whoever someone else wanted me to be, but was still a survival method or coping method due to the fears that I carried with me from childhood into adulthood.

When I came face to face with my dissociative identity disorder, I had those same questions. Who is the “real me?; Which one is in charge?; how will I ever know?”  Will I ever find out which one of “me” is the original one? And I got really invested in thinking about all of that. So much so that you could say it became yet another escape. The “original me” quest however became very important to me as I began this healing journey.

I found out that all of them were me. Each fragmented self had arrived to protect me or to take the feelings and handle the fears for me. Each one held its own memories and had its own triggers. Each one had the job of protecting me from the memories, pain and trauma so that I could survive. Some alters were male, some were children, one was much older then I was. They took care of me. That was their job. And I had only even had or been glimpses of the original me or the core because the core of me was the sum of all parts.

I had a lot of fears about who I really was and about which alter was going to be the strongest one in the end. I was really afraid of one of them as I had gotten into most of the trouble in my life with her in the front. I tried to shut her down and one time when I was in intensive therapy I dreamed that I tried to kill her. I woke up from that dream with the profound realization that I had tried to kill myself in a dream. Through that dream I realized that I could not ditch one of “them” and  that I had projected most of the self hate, blame and shame onto that part of me. My therapist had a less known method of treating dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder) and the method he used was instead of concentrating on which alter had which memories and emotions, we concentrated on the trauma events themselves and we began with the earliest ones that I remembered. I had lots of alters popping out in therapy, and my therapist just let it happen without giving too much attention to the individual alter. It was more like he treated me as though I was only “one” and then I came to realize that all of this trauma actually happened to me and not to the alters whom I believed were separate from me.

Dissociative identity disorder allowed me to separate trauma events and view them as though they happened to someone else.  Because more than one alter personality  would come out at each trauma event, I was able to detach from the event on many levels. I saw each tiny moment as separate from another moment. That was how I was able to deal with them. But I did the same thing with the lies that I learned. With all the memories fragmented, it may have been easier to cope, but at the same time I accepted the lies, shame and self blame because I separated those memories too. I believed that I must have done something to deserve what happened because I didn’t have one whole memory. So if someone indicated that it was my own fault or that I deserved it or that I was the problem, I remembered that as a single event too.

As I looked at the memories, and started to connect the fragmented pieces, I realized how many false beliefs that I had accepted about myself in the course of my childhood. As I uncovered those lies and exposed the truth (to myself) I began to come together. As I realized how many lies that I had accepted about myself and corrected them, I began to calm down. As I calmed down, I became more comfortable. I felt like I was growing up. In the calming down, I felt like I was coming together. I was able to become conscious of when I had switched and soon I was conscious even before I switched and found ways of talking to myself that enabled me to stay one.

The trauma happened to me. The memories were all mine. Each personality was me and I was restored, by connecting, facing and accepting the truth about the past.

Please share your thoughts. We always have a wonderful discussion in the comments section!

Darlene Ouimet 

Note: It is important to understand that it was not the recall of the events that restored me. I do not have all my memories, and I still remember only fragments of certain events, but I remembered enough to realize how my belief system had formed and why. The key was in realizing how I had come to believe so many lies about myself, and was not about remembering all the events.

**This is an example of my personal journey. All processes are different. Many people need to dig really deeply into the personality of each alter; I am not discounting other ways of recovery. I am only sharing how it worked for me.

Related Post ~ D.I.D. and the Essence of who I am by Carla Logan

Categories : Therapy

96 Comments

2

wow another great post.
i remebr being about 14 or 15 and having a group of male friends a yr or two older than me. there was about 8 of us that hung out together for about 2 yrs and only looking back as an adult and in a therapy session did i realised that i used each of the guys to act out differeing things i was struggling with at home. i had 1 i hit, 1 i got affection from, another i flirted with, one i took the mickey out of. all thse guys helped me be able to cope in different ways as a safe outlet for my confusion and unconscious cries for help.
i have said for years i am a cheamleon and my actions suited what the person in front of me needs. that i switched from confident to shy, passive to aggressive, loud to quiet, bitchy to compassionate. swinging from mood to mood as the people around me set my emotional gauge as to how i could feel needed and wanted by others. i had days where i would hide from the world and then up id fly. gosh i hate those early years of my recovery. i was a walking timebomb never knowing what or how id react in given situations. it took me wanting to become a parent that i took control of some of my fears and learnt how to blend in the more outrageous with the more interverted parts. but some where along the way, the way i coped became who i was. it has taken me most of my adult life to narrow it down to two personas, with lil sub behaviours that im working on in each area. the social and the behind the door person. they are different in so many ways, one can be calm and be the person i want t be, the other is angry and scared, shouting at the drop of a hat and then cursing at myself because i know i can do it another way if only i wasnt at home. this confusion continues to haunt me. head seperated from my heart, two different people in the one body. (me, myself and i)

3

Hi Maggie, would love to hear more from you on this one!
Hugs!

Hi Carol,
This is a fantastic addition to my blog post today. I have always believed that there are so many ways that each of us learns to cope. This is such a good example of how you see your history of learning to cope and how you became who you are because of it. My goal with this blog is to show how I went from coping to conquering. I had extreme personalities too. Very extreme. And the more that I faced the past, (and change the false things I believed to true things ~ placing the blame and responsibility for abuse on the abusers and NOT on myself) the more that I calmed down, the more that I become one person and saw myself as one person. It is a process. I found that I also had to practice accepting all my mood swings and personas, instead of fighting with myself about them. That gave me a break enough to grow a little more. All things worked together towards wholeness.. and one day it all came together!
Thanks for being here Carol.
Hugs, Darlene

4

Darlene, thanks for helping me to understand DID. Looking at the development of alters as coping tools takes the sting out of the disorder.

My dissociative tool wasn’t to create alters. Mine was to go deep inside of myself until the acts of incest were over while at the same time being supervigilent with my sense of hearing. I always shut my eyes. I didn’t want to see the acts being committed on my child’s body even though I could still hear the sounds of what was going on. I have the voices of my inner children in my mind but I have never seen them as an alternate me. They are a part of me but not separate from me. My internal system of voices helps me to understand to a degree what alters are about and how they interact with each other. Those voices are only heard when one of them becomes frightened or angry.

5

‘I believed that I must have done something to deserve what happened because I didn’t have one whole memory. So if someone indicated that it was my own fault or that I deserved it or that I was the problem, I remembered that as a single event too’
My memory blank is so extensive it covers nine years, and also some parts of my adult life. I didn’t consider that I ever had DID until I began reading here and recognized all these things as familiar, always becoming something for others to cope, saying whatever needed to be said and doing what needed to be done to get any and all situations over with as quickly as possible. I think if I was ME I wouldn’t have had half, or more, the life experiences I have had. Now that I’m addressing my feelings I’m having dreams about trapdoors (memories?) and literally parts of myself return to me… first a little girl in a dream who didn’t want to be alive and then an angry and naughty little girl who was tormented and thinks she herself is very bad. I’m recognizing parts, I used to become different but just thought they were all me. I have had people say HI to me I had no idea who they were and it turns out I worked with them for ages. My memory is that good at blocking out time and events. I don’t remember dates of things from one month to the next and have to write things down and check myself. That’s getting easier now I stay present. The problem with ‘allowing’ my feelings is that it’s setting up confusion in me because part of myself doesn’t BELIEVE the other parts of myself and yet when I’m congruent there’s no difference. Also I feel very odd. Like someone’s turned the light on in a dark room and I’m standing in front of a mirror and can see my reflection. Whereas before it was dark and I was looking at darkness and did not even know there was a mirror. Hard to explain. It seems when I tell other folks my feelings and memories they can confirm things and many understand them completely, whereas because half of me is fighting the other half (or parts) it’s like this constant allowing and denying battle; when allow – feelings come up, when I deny they go down and I get ill… When I remember the original trauma initially all I can feel is pain, and trappedness and no way out, and many feelings and it overwhelms me and things part of me doesn’t want to know so much it doesn’t want to live. So I’m having a full on internal battle it seems. And I’m going to win – I have done giving up again and again, had it with losing

6

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Darlene Ouimet and Splinteredones, patriciasinglet. patriciasinglet said: Emerging From Broken writes Dissociative Identity Disorder and Reconnection http://t.co/xihavvn […]

7

Darlene, excellent explanation of how DID begins and then manifests throughout the life of a trauma survivor. The method that saves becomes the method, that through it’s longevity, destroys any hope for the same survivor to live a fully functional adult life. Healing can happen!

8

Hi Patricia,
Thanks for sharing your own history with dissociation. It is great to hear how others have dealt with things because there are always millions of others who have dealt that way too. (and we find so much comfort in similarities) My alters didn’t interact at all with each other. They were created to keep everything separate so there would be no point in them interacting. That is what I have discovered about dissociating ~ that the point was to keep events all separated, like strings in separate envelopes ~ so the dots couldn’t be connected. That was how I survived.
Thanks for sharing about the voices.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Louise,
I have huge memory gaps too.. in fact when I started to go year by year, (and school grade by grade) I could only remember one of two tiny memories from each year. In grade 2 there are NO memories. But with the few memories that I had I was able to dig out enough details that I realized some of my belief system. It was a beginning. for instance, I remembered a babysitter who sexually molested me, and I didn’t know that I thought I could have stopped it. That was where the feelings of guilt and shame came from. Through a process of talking about the details of what I could remember, the truth came out that I thought I could/should have been able to stop it. I never questioned it because I remembered leaving my body and thought I must have been crazy to think that I actually left my body. When I faced the whole story, I realized that because I left my body, I thought there were two of me. And that 2 kids should have been able to overcome one adult. But I was stuck trying to hide the knowledge that I had left my body and the truth was lost in all the rest of the trauma. When I got through working that whole thing out, for the first time ever I realized that the bottom line was that I thought I could have stopped it and therefore because I didn’t stop it, I must have been bad/wrong/unworthy. That forgetting pieces, became a way of life and I didn’t know the difference between forgetting a trauma and forgetting a detail such as my own innocence. These are the things that I had to sort out. All these little facts, things, memories, false truth, there was a lot. But I did it, and today I am free.
Keep hanging in here!
Hugs, Darlene

9

This is excellent article. I saw my self as in a movie that is what kept me safe I felt as if it was happening to someone else not me. When I got into recovery I did a lot of writing and talking and at first I was only able to talk about it with keeping me apart so I thought of all that happened to me as if I was the person in a movie so I could tell anyone about it but I got my emotions out by pretending it was a movie I did not know I did this until I got into recovery. I did that for years and years. It worked for me so I did it. But it stopped working when I got into recovery and then I had to see the person who it happened to it was me who it happened to and I had to see who I am and learn who I am. It was painful to get out of thinking of it as a movie but it is very healing. Thanks for this important message you share with us. Hugs Angela

10

Thank you, Darlene, for this very candid and transparent look at your experience with dissociative disorder. I have read some about it but I appreciate the opportunity to get a real first hand perspective on this coping skill.

🙂
Kellie

11

Hi Darlene,

I had a long, personal history account written, and instead, decided to post the following. I may still post the other at a future time. I have been thinking about this a lot:

I do relate to much of your post, and I appreciate that you spoke about Dissociative Identity Disorder even though you have now recovered from it. I understand that you had rather focus on other topics in your blog, but what you did share about your DID process will help others who are still on their healing journeys. You spoke of switching being “automatic”, and I totally agree… It is spontaneous here as well.

As is everyone’s, my history of abuse was a little different, and the trauma was very convoluted and complicated in its diverse effects from different family members. I have worked through most of the trauma memories, and there hasn’t been much difference in my ability to stay present… but then, is it me, Susa who should even try to stay present? Do I invalidate the “others” of me by trying to stay present, and robbing them of their time in the sun? At this chrono age (62), the most I will probably be able to accomplish in this life is to become co-conscious with other insiders, and work more as a team rather than against one another. You are fortunate to have started your healing journey at a much younger chrono age. Our ever present “other” residual issues like severe depersonalization and gender confusion seem to be just as disturbing to me as being fragmented…

Thanks again for sharing your experiences,
Susa

12

That was an interesting post. I was diagnosed with DID a year and a half or two years ago and have been struggling with accepting this as truth. For me (and the others inside of me) it is very important that they be accepted and acknowledged as they are currently. I think mostly because I am still struggling with accepting it as truth, and struggling with accepting everyone inside, accepting memories, etc. (and I also have this creeping suspicion that not everybody inside knows that they aren’t “alone in the body” so to speak) But I have only just started working on it with a really wonderful therapist in May of 2010.
I have connected with many different people who have been diagnosed with DID and as you said – every journey is different. It is amazing just HOW different they can be sometimes. And also how different our needs can be. What can be healing for one, can be destructive for another.
I am wishing you all the best for your journey and all the others reading here as well.

13

Hi Carla L.
Great summary! Healing can happen! Absolutely!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Angela
I had those movie times too and I also talked about myself as though it was never me that it happened to. My therapist pointed it out and I was shocked! I didn’t even know that I did that.
It is painful, but as you say, very healing, and the most worthwhile thing I have ever done in my entire life.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Susa,
It isn’t that I would rather focus on other topics, it is that there is so much surrounding DID issues, that I have trouble writing a single post ~ all of them start to get way too big and I can’t seem to get across all that I want to when it comes to this subject. My healing and the way that I healed from DID was really different than anything that others have heard.
I have to say that I don’t think age has anything to do with healing. I have worked with people MUCH older then I was (I was in my mid forties). What you said about other residual issues also being just as difficult, that is why I have trouble just talking about dissociative identity. ALL my issues, my depressions, ALL worked together as one big survival mode. it was in NOT looking at them as all separate issues so closely, that cut so much time off my therapy process. (in my opinion) I had to look at the belief system that I had adopted because of the abuse in order to understand how the overall coping methods came into usefulness.
I am really glad you are here, and I would love to read the personal history if you change your mind about posting!
Hugs, Darlene

p.s. stay tuned because the next post I publish is going to be a guest post by Carla Logan about her healing journey with Dissociative Identity Disorder / Multiple Personality Disorder.

14

Hi Cloudya,
Yes, there are many different ways to go about the process. Many people have to take a look at each separate alter ~ each of us has our own path. As I was saying to Susa, for me and my purpose in writing this blog, I believe that what saved me, (how I recovered) was about finding the bottom line, which is how the belief system that formed in me was adopted in the first place. Each of us has a different journey in finding that bottom line. That bottom line was the “truth that set me free”. Looking at the coping methods and realizing how they got there, was so instrumental in me finding this bottom line. I tend not to highlight only DID or MPD, bi polar depression or post traumatic stress disorder, addictions, etc, because although I had all of those coping methods, there was no solution for me in the diagnosis. We each have to dig as deeply as we have to regarding symptoms etc ~ I am not discouraging that process at all. I am just trying to say that for me it went beyond that.
I hope that makes sense.
Thank you for being here,
Hugs, Darlene

15

louise, you described me to a t. wow scary. yet in another way it is so helpful to realise i not alone out there, there are poeple who understand why i do what i do and why i am struggling in certain areas.
darlene, thanks for your words they come at a good time for me. today has been one of those days where i would of gone and faced my fears no matter the cost to my phyiscal health so as to appear strong. but i dont feel strong and was hurt at college last week and knew my talking to my mentors would enrage certain people but i told her why i was not staying in college even tho i had all my books and everything and was intending to stay for lessons. i then went home and hid. didnt feel good but i knew if i had stayed the situation would have esculated and i would be further angered or isolated from the other class members. 1 class member decided to ask why i wasnt at college n wouldnt let it lay so i told her i had been upset because of such n such to be told i hope you have caused trouible for her and im outr of order for saying why i didnt feel i could stay, her actions are bullying in class and outa class but no one seems able to make her see how antagonistic she can be, especially when she accusing me of stirring trouble.avoidance is not the answer and know it will make going back even harder as i will feel more isolated and uncomfortable. i hate being me sometimes, why do i have to speak out when i feel wronged and why do others always take such offence to it. mmm not a good day im afraid

16

Hi Darpene–i coped by splitting of the traumatic stucf,each of the 30-40 specific rapes has it’s own splinters. I stayed as some Me, altho’ i retained very little autobiographical i formation that wasn’t traumatic. I fun tiondx very well but that’s based on stuff, like finding my valedictorian speech or trophies blah blah. So there iw no Me to “reconnect with”. There has never been a cohesive Me, other than the survivo who blindly functioned and who kept the splinters away

17

***EXTREME TRIGGER WARNING***

Hi Darlene,

I know that DID covers a HUGE spectrum of not only issues, but seemingly separate stand alone disorders. I understand the enormity of opening that door, or doors. It seems that you have developed a very effective way of healing from DID, and I am very impressed with your persistence, and creativity in your therapeutic approach.

I suppose since others have shared parts of their personal histories, I will attempt to touch on some personal history just to highlight some differences in how our childhood trauma backgrounds manifest themselves differently in our later lives. Much of my history is fairly accurately represented in my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/susa48#p/u , although there were some important details that were not included.

Back in the mid 1970s, I was hospitalized for two extended stays (totaling almost a year) in a psychiatric unit, and forced to take a huge cocktail of psych drugs that for all practical purposes, rendered me and most all insiders almost comatose… except for a few young ones. Constantly trying to hide the meds under the tongue, or in the sides of the cheeks, we were always found out, and put in four point restraints, and given the meds in hip injections. The staff along with my psychologist and psychiatrist overlooked the fact that we could go from total flat affect, to a young giggling child pushing the laundry cart around and around the oval hallway, with a line of psych nurses and attendants in hot pursuit. After being misdiagnosed as Schizoaffective, then came the force feeding of everything from Thorazine, to Mellaril, to Haldol to Triavil, and everything in between. My nut cup of pills was the fullest of anyone’s in the unit. A Parkinson-like disorder developed as a result, and eating with utensils was no longer possible because of severe tremors… Eating mashed potatoes with your hands is an acquired skill.

When first husband filed for divorce during the last inpatient stint, the health insurance came to a screeching halt, and suddenly came the immediate release from the hospital with no home, no job, no car, nowhere to go… etc… so, we were forced to go to the home of one of our worst family abusers. We couldn’t sleep while staying there because he still tried to “visit” during the night, even with his wife in the next bedroom.

I have since been in touch with that doctor who was the psychologist 30+ years ago, and he admits that he suspected a trauma caused disorder, but overlooked many of the obvious signs.

Finally, I believe in either 1979 or 80, we saw a psychiatrist who practiced out of Timberlawn Hospital in Dallas, TX (before Colin Ross was associated with the hospital), and he diagnosed Multiple Personality Disorder. This DX was not only unbelievable, it was unacceptable… so, the advice of family and friends who said to “sweep it under the carpet”, “forget about it”, and “go on with life” was taken. After that, there was no more psychotherapy (as family and friends had advised), and we then proceeded to try to live a life that I now have very little memory of.

When our promiscuous, sexual insider came bursting out as the driver of this bus, then began the “revolving door” of men, alcohol, countless “relationships” one of which produced a pregnancy. We lost the baby as a result of intervention by the family of origin. A few years later there was a brief marriage to a tall, handsome, jazz trumpet player, Swede, who was chronologically 9 years younger. Dad had pre-conditioned the flashy, sexual part of me who we refer to as “Peachie” to engage in specific sex acts by sending us 8mm porno movies which portrayed only acts that were more attractive to homosexual/bisexual men. We found out later that this was to recruit prospects for him. This body was raped on a fairly regular basis when Peachie would bring the men home, and when I emerged briefly to scream “No”, it was already too late. We eventually had Pelvic Inflammatory Disease plus other infections, and had countless cryotherapies, D & Cs, etc… but it could have been worse…. there was no treatment for AIDS back then. After two weeks of marriage to this young, handsome husband, he blurted out that he no longer wanted to be with a female, so we asked him to leave. He then left for my parents’ house in Oklahoma, and proceeded to have a sexual affair with my dad.

Fast forward to meeting the third (present) husband in 1982. He met and married the same, flashy, “Peachie” part of me. I had some co-consciousness with Peachie, but it was very hazy. I have vague memory of the first 5 or so years of this marriage, and after Peachie went “underground”, someone who husband called “Bells” took over. I have absolutely no memory of this “Bells” person or being husband’s intimate partner and spouse for the following 20 years. This is the largest block of lost time that I have ever had. I, Susa, did emerge occasionally, but just in the artist capacity, to go to work, but not as his wife, or in any other role.

After mother died in 1993, we told my younger sister about the early childhood incest, physical, and emotional abuse that we endured for at least eight consecutive years, and irregularly after that, from 3 members of the family of origin. After coming out with this information, the next year -1994, was the last year that I was able to function in the workplace and in my profession as a graphic artist.

Fast forward again to after we moved from the Dallas area to NM in 2004. (I don’t even remember the move here). We apparently bought a place after selling the one in TX, and then settled in here. My first memory was in 2006 when I was called to sit on a jury. It wasn’t just any jury… it was the Cody Posey trial which made national news. Cody Posey had been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused by his parents much of his life, and one day he just had enough, and he killed his entire family. You might be familiar with this case because they lived on the Sam Donaldson ranch here in NM, and Cody’s dad was the ranch foreman/caretaker. Being called to serve on this jury triggered everyone inside to come tumbling out, and the confusion was overwhelming. After about a two week period of being almost in a comatose state, I, Susa, came forward to try and make sense out of things… like waking up one morning in a body that was 20-25+ years older, and in the same bed with a 60 year old husband… I suppose that is why depersonalization is such a huge problem with me. I essentially have lost so much time, that I am living in a body that I have no connection to. The last time I remember being in any control, at least for some consistent time, was in college in the sixties. I only have scant memory of any time after that being present with the exception of art related events, and memory of my caretaker part, “Tress”, especially with younger sister.

So in 2006, I finally sought the help that I should have sought back in the late seventies… I re-started therapy late as I now am chronologically 62 years old, and my chances of full recovery are probably not a realistic goal. I feel as though I have Rip Van Winkle syndrome… Not only do I have no connection to this old body, I am essentially still a kid, and I bristle at being referred to as a “woman”. I have the emotional and sexual maturity of a six year old… I also have other major issues like gender confusion caused by things that my bisexual dad forced us to do for him, and because mother dressed this body in boys’ clothes as she preferred male children, and did not want a girl baby.

These are the reasons that the other issues like depersonalization and gender confusion seem to be as daunting or even more so than being a multiple. We all do heal in different ways, and all I hope for is to attain some level of happiness, and a little stability at long last. We are getting there, inch by inch.

Healing wishes to all,
Susa

18

Just to share part of my uni assignment, we were asked a series of questions. One of them was on abuse. I particularly liked the first part of the abuse series, which wrote:

“1. The person (the victim) who is bullied or abused is in the best position to label the behaviour as violent.
Do you believe that this statement is accurate? Why or why not? How does this apply to the different kinds of violence? ”

Of course, I do not believe that victims are able to recognize abuse. I think it’s largely due to the fact that abuse victims are forced to dissociate in order to minimize their pain. Our minds cannot comprehend ourselves undergoing such trauma, especially as children. The only way to survive is dissociation. In fact, many psychologists believe that it is even better for one to cut themselves than to have absolutely no coping methods.

Having said that, the eventual path towards healing is still to face the pain head-on. After all the pain that I went through growing up, I didn’t know myself either. I just knew that I had to make other people happy, and that is my responsibility. I had learned to not express my opinions, needs or wants. I didn’t know how to reach out to others for help. In fact, I didn’t even know that I am capable of forming healthy, close relationships.

I did, eventually got really close with my therapist, but I refused to see it. When I did eventually, I didn’t want to terminate therapy. I had become so unhealthily enmeshed with my therapist that I needed her. I told her that if she were to leave me, I will go back to where I was before therapy. My therapist then showed me that if I can form a healthy relationship with her (except for the enmeshment), if I can open up to someone to freely and if I can be myself in therapy, then I can do it outside of therapy too (isn’t that the goal of every therapy)?

She then gave me an illustration – that I am building a garden guarded with thick, tall walls. No one else can come in to help me care for my garden. I was so protective that I had imprisoned myself. She said that I need to “build walls with a door that you can open and close to the right people”.

I also believe that part of recovery and to stop dissociating, we have to stop handling pain on our own. As children, we didn’t have the emotional and physical capabilities to communicate our pain with others. Hence, we kept things to ourselves and dissociate/repress to cope. Over the years, we’ve learned that we cannot depend on others, that we have to deal with the pain ourselves. But as you begin to reach out to others and allow them to carry your burden, that is when we find a lesser need to dissociate.

To know who we really are, we need to start untangling the knots. Often, we can’t do this alone.

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Hi Carol
Sorry to hear that you are having a rough day. I think that many of us work our whole lives to get the courage to speak up when they feel wronged.. so I say “good for you”. and then others take offence to it because they want control over everything. I don’t care about others taking offence anymore. I know that people get offended, especially when I don’t agree with them or when I don’t do things their way. So what? That’s what I say.
Hang in here Carol.
I hope tomorrow is a brighter day! Hugs, Darlene

Hi Spinteredones
Thank you for sharing. This is great information for others about just how many splinters can happen. I have heard of hundreds within one person and I think of them as segregated memories. I think that you misunderstand my expression of reconnecting to me. There is always a “me”. I have come to think of the original ME as the one that was born or even the one that was “created”. Before the fractures. I had no clue what (or who) I would find but in merging and healing I feel like I have returned to myself. A self that never had a chance, but now I do. Does that make more sense?
Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

20

Hi Susa,
Thank you for sharing your video link, and for sharing this compact view of your history with DID and MPD. I have a friend who specializes in communication and healing of this kind of interference when it comes to the so called mental health professional community. What a terrible ordeal that you went through. It blows my mind that the hospital thought that they could help someone that way, by filling them full of toxic drugs. Wow. Amazing you lived through that!

Thank you for sharing your history in this way. I know that isn’t easy. There are a lot of readers that will be impacted by your share. Something almost magical happens when people share this kind of history. It is like giving permission for others to share, or to even acknowledge to themselves that similar things happened to them too. AND there is a lot of information for you also. I found that when I wrote things like this, I wrote things that actually were clues for ME, that I missed at first. Weird but it really worked. I would write it and then “GET IT” later.

Anyhow, thank you so much. Your sharing is inspirational ~ you have come so far.
Hugs, Darlene

21

Darlene,

Thank YOU for your kindness in allowing me to share part of my history, and I hope that it wasn’t too triggering for any reader. I understand that DID in itself is so multi-faceted with separate issues, that it would be incomprehensible to discuss all in one blog post.

Yes, that forcing of those horrible psych drugs caused so many problems like the Parkinson’s-like disorder and involuntary muscle movement – I’m sure that there are still residual effects in this body even the long afterwards. I have read so many studies that today’s psych drugs are not any safer, and in some ways, can even have worse side effects. I believe that is one reason why I resist taking prescription drugs now, and I even hate that I have to take the two blood pressure medications that i do to stay alive. I do take a lot of supplements, but we have to even be careful with those.

After I hit the “Submit Comment” button last night, my head started screaming louder than I ever remember. This happens when we have touched on something that we need to work more on… then, the blood pressure shot up to almost 180/100… This is a sure sign that we touched a nerve that needs more attention, and I suspect that it relates to the parts of my history that involved dad, and earlier trauma from him that I did not share in this post. I am better this morning, but am glad that therapy is today!

Again, thank you so much for allowing me to share this.

Hugs to you,
Susa/all
.

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Good morning,Susa….I wanted to pop in to just say your experiences in the mental health system has been horrendous and I am so sorry that this was part of your journey. This is what I have come to call the second trauma and one that too many have faced when we sought help from psychiatry following the first trauma in our childhoods. What you describe in being punished for attempting to resist being drugged is horrendous; that must have been terrifying to you as a young person. Fragmenting is a normal response to overwhelming life circumstances and as I travel my own path and hear others stories about being abused in the mental health system I feel infuriated at the victimizing of those who have already suffered and survived the worst of what a person can experience only to then be told they are again different, bad, defective and then fed mind altering drugs sometimes as in your circumstances, being forced into compliance, and told we will require this “medicine” for the rest of our lives because our brains are simply broken and defective.

In my own journey I thought I had dealt with my trauma as I faced the original abuse from my childhood, the violations of mind body and soul that left me defenseless in the bigger world. Until I began to wake from having been labeled and drugged in psychiatry about this same time and then I realized and even deeper grief and sense of loss as I realized that I was never “sick”, that the drugs had incapacitated and crippled me, turned me into a zombie and all that I lost because of being brainwashed into believing that I was “less than”, different, disordered and diseased. This was when I began to recognize this second trauma and its effect on my journey.

And as I woke from the stupor I’d lived in for over 15 years I experienced a deeper grief than I’d experienced in facing my original trauma for all that I had lost to believing the lie that I was defective, had no power to change my life and no hope to overcome this “disease”; I accepted what others said I was; I identified as being seriously mentally ill and gave up all hope of ever having any kind of life or happiness as the drugs dulled my mind and flattened my emotions. I existed but I did not live. It was during the years I spent in the mh system I began experiencing severe and crippling dissociation and a feeling of fragmentation in that overwhelming sense of powerlessness and hopelessness of accepting the lie that I had a disease and that my trauma history had nothing to do with anything. I have often said that what I experienced in the mental health system was far worse than anything I’d faced as a child.

And sadly, very often the families become complicit in this situation as they need us to be “sick” so they can maintain their control and justify their abuse of us.

Susa, your journey has been long and you exhibit such courage in sharing your story here with us. I am glad you have found the support and help that you are finding to be more nurturing. And – I was also told (by the therapists and psychiatrists:)) that I would never heal, never be whole, that they doubted at my age (50-ish) that I would ever heal. Yet here I am and very similar to Darlene – I didn’t find healing in diagnosis or remembering or reliving every trauma but I found healing in getting to the core beliefs that were the lies that kept me prisoner in my own mind that I was defective, less than and held no intrinsic value and being able to connect with one other person who could validate my experiences, my anger, my grief and that I was worthy simply because I exist.

This is kind of a long (really long:)) comment but I really wanted to just say I’m sorry this was your experiences Susa, you are not alone in this and I’m glad you are here:) Thank you so much for sharing your story; I can so very much relate:)

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Hi Jasmine,
Your comments sparked a lot of thoughts in me. I has always amazed me how victims can recognize someone else being abused, mistreated and even neglected, but are unable to acknowledge it happening to themselves. I was no different.
I especially appreciate the following statements that you wrote ~ you said;

“I also believe that part of recovery and to stop dissociating, we have to stop handling pain on our own. As children, we didn’t have the emotional and physical capabilities to communicate our pain with others. Hence, we kept things to ourselves and dissociate/repress to cope. Over the years, we’ve learned that we cannot depend on others, that we have to deal with the pain ourselves. But as you begin to reach out to others and allow them to carry your burden, that is when we find a lesser need to dissociate.”

To know who we really are, we need to start untangling the knots. Often, we can’t do this alone.”

There is a progression of consequences in this cycle as you say here. We do learn (even if we don’t realize it) that we cannot depend on others, that we have to deal alone. I think that I taking the chance to share with others makes a big difference. For me I had to learn not to expect others to save me (like the enmeshment that you speak of with your therapist) but to take a chance with sharing FOR ME. I had to learn to do a lot of things just for me. (I had also come to believe that if I did anything for me I would be rejected again. That was how it always was in the past)
I think that when we share our pain and stories this way with each other, something really powerful happens both for the writers and for the readers.
Thanks for being here,
Hugs, Darlene

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[…] has focused on getting to know each of her alters as individuals, which was very different from the methods that I used to overcome dissociative identity however we have discovered that the destination for all those who travel from broken to wholeness is […]

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To Susan:

Thank you so much for commenting about my post. I believe that we knew from the very beginning of the hospitalizations that the drugs were not only ineffective, but just plain BAD for us. I can remember the heart rate speeding up and staying at over 100 most of the time… I remember when we had a horrible side effect of the jaws clinching hard and locking during a weekend home visit (before husband filed the divorce), and not releasing for hours until we got to the emergency room, and they were able to push the crushed up side effects pill into the mouth between two of the teeth… They said that some of my teeth may have fractured from the intense pressure – this could be one of the reasons that I have had so many dental root canal procedures… I stopped counting at 10. I also remember during home visits (because of the psych drugs), there was severe involuntary muscle movement and twitching along with other horrible side effects, and we would walk around and around the living room non-stop for what seemed like hours.

In the hospital, not only were four point restraints used when we tried to hide the drugs in the mouth, there were also times of being locked in solitary confinement in the padded room with no bed, no windows (except for the tiny one on the door for the attendants to peer in and watch), and no bathroom. I can remember the horrible stench of urine. While I was inpatient, I was taken to the OR for at least one pelvic surgery while inpatient there, and to this day, I don’t know what the surgery was for. As soon as I was released from the hospital, I immediately started to wean off of these horrible poisonous drugs.

In my opinion, there is NO drug for treatment of DID other than a mild anxiety med for occasional use for panic attacks. Furthermore, I don’t believe that the recent psych drugs are useful for anyone whatever their DX… However, I respect others’ choices to use them. This is only my personal choice.

At this point, I am doubtful that I will ever be “integrated”, and I’m not even sure that I believe in that term. I think that is a term that the psychiatric community has created to lure us into a false security, and fictitious event. I am satisfied with starting to become more co-conscious with my parts inside. I give each of them validation, and I don’t try to force them to stay inside… They all deserve to come out and have their time not only with the therapist, but even to be out – period. I believe that “dissociation” and “switching” are the same process, but I also believe that there have been times when two of us were so co-conscious that we were almost co-present. That is what we’re working toward.

Meanwhile, I will continue to do videos, and try to get the message out about childhood sexual abuse, and I hope to soon be back in “teddy bear making” form! I make therapy teddy bears and give them to trauma therapists as well as to trauma survivors. They are really for using in treatment of DID as they have pockets in the chest that house a red velvet heart in which I put a tiny pink teddy bear, and a poem scroll. Also, there are many other small teddy bears included in the chest pouch. Have not been able to sew them for a while, but I am gearing up to start again. This is my passion.

Thanks again for your comment!

Hugs to you,
Susa/all

26

One thing that I realize about the aftermath of abuse is, that its effects do stay a lot longer that we can ever imagine. Even though my relationship with my mum has largely improved and she is no longer quite as controlling as she was, the way in which I handle abuse hasn’t exactly improved.

I remember nearly a year ago during a smaller elective class, we did a psychodrama activity (psychodrama is used when there are “unresolved issues”, whereby the entire scene is enacted as closely as possible), and I was one of the protagonists. The scene that was enacted was that of my mum yelling abuses about me being fat, etc. What I didn’t realize was that when my “mother” started being abusive (and hell was she good at it), I had immediately put up a mental block that I could not feel or respond to them. When my lecturer (therapist) asked me to learn to say something (because I had never got to say anything before), I realized that I couldn’t say anything but “I didn’t do anything wrong!” My lecturer had hoped that I would get angry and yell at my “mum” and also at the lecturer herself (by forcing me to “say something”) because I had never shown my anger before…but it obviously failed. In the end, she whispered to my “mum” to apologize to me. Instantly, the floodgate of tears opened. Of course, the better reaction would be for me to get angry.

I believe that you’ll understand what I mean by a “mental block”. That is how we protect ourselves from the abuses, but not allowing them to touch us. We’ve built a wall so thick and tall that we’ve numbed ourselves. Recently when I came home for my holidays, I realized, to my frustration, that this hasn’t changed much. I was still as passive as ever. I couldn’t stand my grounds. I couldn’t tell people how to (not) treat me. I still take in whatever that was thrown at me.

To be honest, I don’t know how long this process is going to take (I’ve learned that often we THINK that we’ve fully recovered, when there’s still a lot more work to do), sometimes I don’t even know if I’ll even get there.

But one thing I’m sure of – I’ll press on.

27

Clarification on my comment from an earlier post:

“I believe that “dissociation” and “switching” are the same process…”

I said this only in reference to having the DX of Dissociative Identity Disorder. I do realize that dissociation is a much different process with those who do not have D.I.D.. I believe that when those who have D.I.D. switch or dissociate, it is a total leaving process, and another insider has to step forward to “drive the bus”, or the body could not function. With those who do not have D.I.D., dissociation appears to be much different in that it may not be a “total leaving” of the body, but still allows the person to have some level of automatic control of body functions… more of a severe day dreaming sensation perhaps, that does not seem to involve total amnesia? Does this make sense? Just my opinions.

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Susa ~ what you describe from your times in the hospital is horrible; there is absoulutely no reason for people to be treated this way in the guise of “help”. This is not help this is blatent abuse and a show of power and control of the hospital staff over the “patient”. I am deeply saddened to know that this is what your young mind and body had to deal with after surviving the original horrible things. I feel angry knowing that you were subjected to this kind of torturous treatment. You are truly a brave and courageous person. I am so glad that you knew enough to take yourself off the drugs once you escaped that place.

And I’d have to agree – there is no drug that can fix any of these issues and short term occasional sedatives may be helpful in the short term although the long term these drugs become addictive in the sense that the body and brain needs them to avoid the withdrawal symptoms that can increase both physical and mental distress very often.

I think our individual experiences with the sense of fragmentation and internal alters is a varied as we are and our life experiences. We each find our own way of addressing these issues as I did and Darlene and in the next post Carla has. I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way to integrate the past into our todays and I think we can all learn from hearing how others have addressed the issues behind dissociation and DID, so thank you Susa for sharing your experiences here.

I’m glad you have a passion to follow Susa and I’m grateful for your notes and that you’ve chosen to share part of your personal journey here. 🙂

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To Susan:

Yes, I agree with you about all who have had D.I.D. developing different processes/methods of healing, and it is enlightening and positive to read what others have shared regarding their therapy strategies. I am especially grateful for your work, Darlene’s work, and others’ work who have contributed to our collective healings both here, and on their own blogs.

Thank YOU!

Susa/all

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Hi Susan,
Thank you so much for your contributions to this post! You are the friend that I was referring to in my comment to Susa when I said “. I have a friend who specializes in communication and healing of this kind of interference when it comes to the so called mental health professional community.” I am really glad that you have come by to share all your wonderful experience and information with us! This whole subject is such a re-abuse. Once again we are defined by others. I have such a passion for the subject of SELF Definition as a means to recovery! Taking my life back for me means that I define myself, that NO one tells me who I am anymore. I was told my whole life what was wrong with me but no one told me what was wrong with what happened to me. I was never told that I was “right in any way” either.
Thank you so much for all of your excellent comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jasmine,
Another great example of shut down. When I talk about wholeness, I am not talking about perfection. This whole thing is a process; a personal growth thing. I had to walk away from certain people so that I could build my strength up. I am not the same person that I was a few years ago. I say things that I NEVER thought I would ever say in ways I never even thought of before. But there are still times when I wonder why I was passive or why I didn’t think to confront blatant disrespect or an obvious control tactic. And then I remind myself that this is a process. I have not been depressed in years. I have not felt the need to hide in bed for years. I live today, I embrace life and I can get through the curve balls that life naturally throws. That is wholeness to me.
I am so glad that you share your insights here!
Hugs, Darlene

Susa,
I love to have all kinds of insights and methods, successes, victories and struggles share on this blog! None of us have the exact same stories, but all of it works together to solve some of the mysteries that we live with.
Thank you so much for your contributions to all of this!
hugs, Darlene

Everyone ~ the post that I spoke of here by Carla Logan was published yesterday! If you have not seen it, there are 17 comments already and you can read it here;

~ D.I.D. and the Essence of who I am ~ by Carla Logan

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I had my Dad who never shared and emotion, or rarely so and my Ma who exploded often. And she would emanate unspoken emotions like I don’t know (HUGELY). I’m not sure where my Dad’s emotions went.
As for me, I just had them ALL bottled up inside, now I see they were filed, away, I think that it’s less like I split into people, than that I adopted ‘a way of being’ that could be a ‘who’ I guess.

For me significantly one part of me felt something, could handle a lot of pain and yet be very cold and severe and projected a wall a ‘Don’t come near me’ energy, another part of me was overly sensitive said ‘come here’ and absorbed all sorts of energy. And I flip flopped between these and different ones. Like my ‘putting on my work’ hat one who bore little resemblance to me, she had no likes or dislikes and would do whatever anyone said dutifully, take any and all criticism whether warranted or not and would never speak up for herself – someone else would do that eventually, another part and always dramatically so.

It was the ‘putting on and taking off’ of these ‘ways of being’ that was so stressful. And life being a constant transition between them depending on outside situations. And yet ironically it is US who create our lives! My inner family of copers are a bit dysfunctional yes, but they got me here, and survived terrible things. I want to be honest and congruent and to have likes and dislikes and be able to know myself.
‘This above all, to thine ownself be true’ ALWAYS grated with me… And I never knew why until now. How can you be? When your self is busy lying to yourself about your entire reality so you can at least stay alive until it’s safe. It’s like saying ‘Oh this fire isn’t burning’ so you can walk through the flames Or ‘Oh I am not drowning in this water’ so that you can stay afloat just long enough…

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Darlene,

Thank you for reminding me that it is a process – a long, tough one that is. Too often I (and perhaps, WE) get too eager to be “completely recovered” that we try to rush the process. I guess I have just been too harsh on myself.

You’re right, I haven’t been so free from depression in my whole life. Never felt so capable of joy, so hopeful, so enthusiastic about life!

Just a reminder to everyone – you don’t have to be completely “whole” to “be there”. As long as you don’t stop moving forward, life is a never-ending process in itself.

33

Darlene; thank you for your note and yes; I’ve felt for a long time that we who survive these horrors in the orginal abuse are the most suseptible to being defined by any system we turn to from religion to the mental health and other social welfare systems. We were taught to allow others to define us and when we turn to others who say “this is whats wrong with you”…well, I jumped right on the bandwagon because these guys were the professionals, right? “Diagnosis” was my hope but the mh system never gave me a path out instead they told me I’d never be free.

I’m grateful to be a part of this community Darlene!

Susa….:) thank you for your notes!

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To Susan:

And I thank you for your invaluable input! We find camaraderie with those here with whom we agree, but we also find enlightenment and additional information from those who have chosen different paths toward healing even if we don’t totally agree with the method and specific points. It’s all good.

Have had a family crisis lately, so have been extremely distressed… This too shall pass. Onward and upward!

Susa/all
.

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Susa…..I’m looking for a like button:) I hope you and your family are well; you are a true overcomer!

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Hi Jasmine!
I changed my definition of wholeness along the way! I had wholeness mixed up with perfection and didn’t even realize it. I remember telling my therapist that I was really down on myself because I ate a bag of chips that week. He asked me what size of a bag of chips… and showing him with hand motions, I was like “a small one… a personal size bag like you would have with your lunch”. He said and?? and I said “and what?”. So we talked about the rest of my week, all the successes, wins, victories, etc. and through the course of the conversation I realized that I was willing to call the week a failure because of a small bag of chips! WHOA. That was the beginning of me looking at things like success and wholeness differently.
Thanks for being here. I have no regrets for wanting to rush the process! I want it all! however.. some days I have it all, and I have to remember that!
I think you are awesome and I love your contributions here!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hey Darlene,

I guess I know it in my head that recovery is a life-long journey, and it does not mean that we have to be “completely recovered” to be able to be “of use” to others. But boy is it hard to practice! I guess many of us have grown up to believe that perfection will prevent us from being rejected. I once told my current therapist, “I don’t think I’m a perfectionist because I’m not entirely perfect”, to which she rolled her eyes.

My previous clinical psychologist was a perfect example of how someone (a professional) who is honest with her feelings can greatly help a client in self-disclosure. While under her care, I read her articles on which she shared about her experiences and lessons in life. She even talked about her struggles and grief. Once or twice when I was doing badly, she told me that she wonders if she’s competent. And yet, she’s a postdoc fellow, with vast experiences, competent in large areas of mental health and very well sought after. If she isn’t competent in handling my case, don’t know who else is. But yet, it was her honesty that enabled me to be honest with myself. And she is far from perfect.

I guess recovery is never a black-and-white thing. “perfect” therapists can be detrimental to their clients in many ways, such as making them feel less adequate.

38

I just read through all these posts, and it’s left me feeling breathless. So much I want to say… but I can’t. I’m trying, but I can’t.

Thank you, everyone, for your open honest posts here.

Lynda

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Lynda!
I have missed you! You know that you can always come back when you are able to post!
(I am going to go read your other recent comments and catch up on replies)
Hugs, Darlene!

40

Thank you, Darlene. I’ve been missing you too!

I still don’t know how to say what I want to say about this post. There’s just SO MUCH… here, and in my past experience.

Just to touch on it a bit: my dad was diagnoses with Multiple Personality Disorder, back in the 1960s, around the time I was 12 or 13. He definitely had several distinctive personalities, and one of them was EXTREMELY TERRRIFYING. Like… a horror movie.

The “good daddy” personality was his predominate one throughout my childhood until I turned 12. Then, that personality went away and I never saw that “good daddy” again. When he died unexpectedly, at the age of 53, when I was 34, I realized then that I had been waiting all those years for my good daddy to come back, and now he never would… and I had not allowed myself to get to know the new person he had become. A loss.

In the church where my dad was a minister when I was a child, it was all about a Spiritual War. There was the Holy Spirit, and there were demons, good angels, and evil fallen angels. When my dad’s personality changed to the evil terrifying one, he would later claim that he had been demon possessed. Scary Stuff.

Then, when I had my complex-ptsd breakdown in 1967 at the age of 14, which was many years before PTSD was known, and I was given the catch-all diagnosis of the day of schizophrenia, and my mother had me committed… I thought that I was demon-possessed. It seemed so very real, like the movie they came out with years later, The Exorcist, it was almost that bad. Being raised in a strict Pentecostal-type non-denominational church by a minister father with MPD, probably had a little something to do with the form that my c-ptsd took.

When that happened to me, at 14, after a lifetime of being told by my mother that she loved me but didn’t like me, after all the many ways my parents put me down and made me feel like I was ALL WRONG and no good and unwanted… then to have a breakdown and think that I was becoming demon-possessed like my dad…. my life was a nightmare. All I knew was what my mother kept telling me, “You are crazy just like your faather. Insanity is inherited and you have gotten it from him. There is no known cause and no known cure…”

What a BITCH my mother was, telling me that stuff, when I was falling apart and NEEDED HELP, not MORE HURT!!!!!

Lynda

PS~ Well I guess I said more than just a “bit” on this topic, after all. It’s an eye-opener to me to learn that you can have MPD, or DID, and not be “hopelessly insane.” What a crock of LIES I was fed all my life. KUDOS to you, Darlene, for overcoming… and being the great Light in the Darkness that this hurting world has needed for so long! I Love you!

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Dear Lynda,
There is a lot to that “good daddy / bad daddy stuff and it applies to almost all relationships when there is an abuse or controller involved. I had this boyfriend one time and I was crazy about him. We had this magical couple of weeks; no one ever made me feel like he did, and then the magic was over and looking back I waited for “the perfect boyfriend” to come back for a very very long time. I thought I could somehow MAKE him come back. I tried doing things to get that wondrous time back. I always believed that it/he would come back.. and once in a while I got a glimpse of what that was like with him, and then it faded away again but I didn’t give up.. I kept going back for more, never realizing that the BAD stuff that had become the everyday far outweighed the good that once was. And as you said, the groundwork was laid for me to believe it was all up to me, far before I met that guy.
Thanks for sharing!
Love, Darlene

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Oh my gosh,I had the same kind of thing with several boyfriends, exes, one in particular, like yours, he was so “perfect” for several weeks, I was on cloud 9… and then he wasn’t anything like that any more. Distant, verbally abusive, emotionally unavailable, physically unavailable, spreading gossip/lies about me that people told me later… it was so crazy making. And I kept trying to get that perfect boyfriend to come back, YES I thought it was all up to me. Sometimes he would give me glimpses/pieces of that again, to keep my hope dangling like a carrot, oh my gosh.. I finally had to move 2,000 miles away just so I would stop falling into his trap each time he decided he wanted me again, loved me again, only to turn right around and decide, NO, he didn’t… wow.

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And part of what I had to realize in recovery Lynda, is that I did that same thing with my mother, bosses, friends, well you get the picture. The boyfriend (I also realized in recovery) was only one of the peoole that I thought I had to carry the entire burden of the relationship with and wished the fantastic part of him would come back. There were good times with my mother, times when I thought she cared, and I longed for those times again, and I kept trying to get them back, to get HER back because I truly believed that it was my fault, my defect that she (and the boyfriend) didn’t treat me as though I were special anymore. (but that was a lie, it was their defect.)
Hugs, Darlene

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DITTO to EVERYTHING you just said, Darlene.

[[BIG HUG]]

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Darlene,

When I was 16 I was enticed away from home by a 27 year old man. My parents did nothing to stop it. They let him have me. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I was flattered that a grown man was interested in me. I was desperate to escape my home-life and he offered me a place to go as a ploy. I didn’t know what a pedafile was. I spent the next year as a sex toy. During this year and up until I was 19, I suffered a lot of trauma just from being a kid on my own on top of all of the sexual abuse by this man and other men. I think I dissociated many times. I had to be someone else to do what they wanted me to do. I also learned to be what people wanted me to be in order to survive. I know that during that time when I would write a letter to someone, my handwriting would change many times as though several people had writen it.

My question to you is do you know if it is possible to dissociate many times in this manner and then to completely dissociate from all of those personalities? When I began to pull myself out of the life that had consumed me, I completely locked away memories from this time and told no one about it. Then when I was fifty, I realized I’d been abused and that I wasn’t just a drug addicted whore with a past to hide. Two years later, I went through 48 weeks of chemo-therapy and developed a horrible fungal infection that covered my scalp, was in my ears, nose and mouth, and spread down to my knees. It also affected my nerves and I had horrible sensations of movement and of my skin tightening and crawling. I dissociated in a way that was at first comforting but then turned sinister. I fell into that secret world I had locked away and relived much of it. I have always had flash-backs but these were physical and so real that I actually thought it was happening to me in real time. It was horrible and I realized how much evil was locked away inside of me and after I recovered, I began to tell my husband some of the things that happened to me. I have not had the courage to go for therapy as I had such a traumatic experience with the health-care system. I know one man I trust but I’m not comfortable talking about the sex. Sitting here right now, I don’t really remember much about any of the sex. I remember people and places and I know that it took place but I don’t remember much about it. I’m terrified to remember. I’m also terrified that I will fall into that secret world again.

For my whole adult life, I have had a reacurring dream that there is a secret house attached to the real house that I live in. In the dream, I find a secret passage that is hard to get through and then I am in the secret house and it is fully furnished. After talking to my husband, I have been dreaming that the houses are one house, that I have only been living in a few rooms, and I am trying to move into the rest of the house. There are all kinds of obsticles that keep me from moving into certain rooms. There is also a basement with a deep, dark hole that I feel compelled to enter but am terrified to do so. I wake up when I begin to enter it.

Is this something like what you have experienced?

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Dear Pam,
I just got home from the city where I was reading your comment on my phone… and I was just shocked. The similarity to my own story is crazy! first of all, yes.. I think that type of dissociation is possible, and I also blocked out all personalities when I got married. Then I had some problems and they started to come back as did the flash backs. I was terrified. That was when I finally faced all this and went through the emotional healing process I talk /write about now. I had to face where the dissociation and trauma started. Once I started to deal with it (face it and where it came from) the fear became less and I never came close to falling into that old world!

The second thing that shocked me was your dream story. I actually had to stop and think if I had ever posted MY HOUSE dream stories! They were a big part of my life, this recurring house dream… similar to your dream. Secret passage ~ yes.. mine went up some narrow stairs and through a tiny door. There was a lot of other rooms… I also wanted to move into them but nothing ever got done… OH man, tons of my recovery was around these dreams. I wrote down everything I could remember about them and the little differences between one dream and another. Those dreams held so many clues for me. (For me, in a nut shell the house was my life. I had secret parts. I wanted to deal with them but I was afraid and there was a lot of work to be done on the “rooms” before I could move in to them. I was afraid to change. I was afraid to face the “work”. Some of the rooms I loved… and I would just stand and gaze at them. Others I hated and wondered why I visited them so often in the dreams. ALL of it was symbolic… and guess what. I have not had one dream in at least 4 years since I did my work. I did have dreams along the way, and some of the rooms changed! very cool. I don’t want to say too much because your house dreams are for you to figure out, but that I do know that the house dream thing is not that uncommon. (and in my case I believe it had a lot to do with the DID (dissociative stuff) also)
Thanks for sharing Pam!
I am still just going WOW.
Hugs, Darlene

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Thanks, Darlene. I want to cry and can’t think of much to say. I believe that the house is me also. I’m just a little terrified by how many rooms there are and how frightening some of them are. There is always a section of the secret house that is haunted and filled with demons but I just know this, I never come face to face with them.

Thanks again for your reply. I know that I have to go for therapy. I have been stuck the last few years trying to get my familly to understand that I was sexually abused. Now that I know that will never happen and that their ignorance is willfull, I have to face the rest of it.

Have you told your children very much about what you’ve gone through?

48

I used to have those house dreams a lot, too. So many rooms and levels and hallways and staircases, and it was all so very big and complicated, you needed a map to find your way around in my house.

Lynda

49

Yes, the house dreams are scary ~ but I came to believe that these kinds of dreams were my subconscious trying to deal with something consciously. After years of wondering what these dreams meant, I started to really think about them, the details, the rooms, the stairways; there were lots of stone rooms.. (cold) there were lots of attic room, and abandoned nursery that I frequented always looking for something not knowing what ~ my fav. room was a tiny tiny little room with barely room for the bed, which was also tiny but soft and piled with soft blankets; it was filled with books and papers, (possibly my writing and journals) it was way high up and had a tiny little window with a really nice view of the meadow that went on for miles. I felt safe in that room but didn’t seem to go there often. Once in a while there were footsteps that scared me, but no one ever found me in that room. I love my house dream memories now.. they really helped me to find my freedom. I was also terrified of some rooms, and when I got stronger, I went there in my awake mind to see if I could discover anything by going ~ and I did when I got stronger. Sometimes their were people in the rooms ~ strangers that couldn’t see me…(the story of my life) As my recovery unfolded, so did the mysteries of all the rooms. It is kind of cool to be talking about this with others who have been there too.
Hugs, Darlene

Pam ~ my kids know what is age appropriate for them to know. I am careful what I write on my blog because somethings my children don’t need to know and it might really scare them ~ 2 of my children are still minors. But we talk about abuse, they know a lot about my life. If they ask me questions, I tell them the answers. I don’t try to get them to feel sorry for me though, and I don’t tell them to try and make them understand me, as I believe that is unfair to them. I tell them that they might have a greater understanding of the dysfunction in the world and because I am a deep person who likes to talk about deep stuff… LOL But I try to be wise about what I share with them making sure (trying to make sure) that it will not cause them harm.
I have been on the radio and they have heard me speak several times, and sometimes they hear things that I wish they didn’t but so far it has been okay.

Hugs, Darlene

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Lynda,

I guess houses are important to us ladies. It is probably not a surprising dream image for us to have.:0)

Darlene,

The dream has been mostly mysterious to me. I’ve been through a lot and I don’t scare easily.;0) It is only since I began to confront the sexual abuse and had the major episode during chemo treatment that I’ve begun to understand what I’m trying to tell myself! I’m going to write it down the next time it comes.

My children are adults and they know quite a bit about me. I’ve never told them about the sexual abuse though. It seems to me that there are some things boys should not know about their mother. I am concerned though that since I’ve confronted my family of origin that they may say something to them to twist the truth. My kids will probably never see their grandparents but I’m sure my nieces and nephews have been talked to and I can just imagine what has been said. They have already been talking bad about me to common aquaintances. Anyway, I’m struggling with how to handle it.

When I was a kid, I wrote a short poem that I think relates to this”

Her eyes reflect, as in splintered glass,
The image of her broken soul;
Tortured by her endless search
For something that she used to know.

I wrote this at the end of my ‘shattering’ and really didn’t know where the words came from. Now I do know. That is one of the things that drew me to ‘Emerging from Broken’.

Have a great day, Darlene.

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Pam,
Just keep doing your work. One of the major bonuses that I got from doing my work is that I don’t care at all what is being said about me! (and I live in a small farming community where half the community is related to my husband. My kids don’t see their grandparents on either side, (and 2 of them are old enough to make the choice if they want to, I have a son turning 20 this year) There was never going to be equal value for them either… and they saw it themselves. I know that everyone in the community has an opinion, but I also know that they all live in the false family system, the dysfunction, that I ESCAPED…. so their opinion resides in the fog that I came out of! I feel sorry for them. =)
Thank you for sharing your poem! Very deep, very well said.
Hugs, Darlene

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Pam,
my kids all know about the sexual abuse, I told them becasue I was doing so many radio and speaking engagements that I thought they might find out the wrong way. Why do you think that boys should not know some things about their mother?

53

Darlene,
Maybe I’m just old fashioned.:0)I kept this buried for decades. Of course my parents and sibblings knew some things but not really any details. They blamed and still blame me for all of it. I really can’t even believe that I wrote what I’ve posted here. It is getting easier. When I first tried to tell my family of origin, I wrote a letter to my mom and dad and mailed copies to my brother and sister. My parents were still living on our property and the time so I handed her the lettr at the front door. Then I went home and shivered under a blanket for about two hours. More and more time passed and I heard nothing. I never heard anything from my sister or brother either. My brother’s girl friend was the only one who showed any concern. It was horrible and it ended in me losing all of them. I guess I’m afraid of how my adult sons will also respond. They also have been hurt a lot by my family and don’t like the way they treat me in gerneral. They feel that they were always treated as second best just because they are my children. My husband thinks they already have enough reasons to hate and doesn’t want to give them any more. I worked hard at trying to get through to my family and both of us are just tired of emotional turmoil. I guess I’m just not ready and I’m sure if I ever will be.

I don’t care about gossip either. I am not the kind of person who needs a lot of aquaintances. I have a few dear friends and I’m satisfied with that. My sister and her husband are the opposite. I think they prefer admiration to love and they have a ‘following’. They use religion as a means of controling people and bringing themselves attention. I think they are protecting their ‘testimony’ as they didn’t want to take my parents in but are too worried about what people would think. I cared for my parents for 11 years and I was in poor health and just could not do it any more. They tried to manipulate the situation so that I would continue to care for them and I forced the issue. They tell people that I kicked my parents out which is a huge distortion. Anyway, it is agrivating and I know if people knew about the things my parents have done to me and other members of the family they’d tell me to kick them out.It is just a mess…

54

Pam, your hauntingly beautiful poem reminds me of the famous 1985 National Geographic Magazine cover photo of an Afghan War Refugee girl with hauntingly beautiful, tortured eyes. I consider that picture to be “the face” of Post-Traumatic Stress.

Here is a link to that magazine cover photo online, so you can see what I am talking about:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_FsdjIBV0Rlc/TFffy1DFNyI/AAAAAAAABbw/WNjUvSxWZMo/s1600/AfghanGirl1985.jpg

“Her eyes reflect, as in splintered glass,
The image of her broken soul;
Tortured by her endless search
For something that she used to know.”

~Beautiful words, Pam. Haunting, and terrible, too…. just like that war-ravaged young girl.

Lynda

55

Pam, the photographer who took that photo of the 12-year-old Afghan war refugee in 1985, searched for 17 years to find her again, and finally did find her, in 2002. Here is a link to the Before and After pictures:

http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/enlarge/afghan-girl-before-after_pod_image.html

The write-up with that photo states:

“In 1984 photographer Steve McCurry immortalized the haunted eyes of a 12-year-old Afghan refugee in a camp on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Her image (left)—first published on the cover of a 1985 National Geographic—became a symbol of the plight of refugees.

For 17 years the photographer tried to find the mystery “Afghan girl” again. In 2002 he succeeded—and again captured her on film (right).

Photograph by Steve McCurry”

~Pam, I remember when my eyes looked very much like that 12-year-old girl’s. I was 14, and I was staring into the mirror at my own shattered eyes in the bathroom of an insane asylum in Nevada, Missouri, in 1967. I was a refugee ~ not from the horrors of war ~ but from the horrors of my own childhood home.

In 1985 I was 32, married with 3 young children, holding down a full time job, and going to college part time, when that National Geographic Magazine was published. When I saw that girl, with her broken, haunted eyes, my mind flashed back to that terrible time when that was what I saw looking back at me in the mirror. I had come very far from that hellish place in my life… but that magazine cover brought it all back in an instant.

Thanks for sharing your poem, Pam. It resonated very deeply with me.

Lynda

PS …and it never ends, does it? Abuse… War… Trauma… look at what is happening right now in our world, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and elsewhere.

56

Lynda,

When I look at the two pictures I see a face that has aged but the terror remains. It has aged with the face but I am sure it never leaves her. That is the way PTSD has been for me. I am much better now but I am still so hypervigelent that I have to take something to sleep. I just can’t take myself off guard duty. I no longer have anxiety attacks that way I did simply because I know now that it is not about anything happening in the present it is me reacting to things that happened to me in the past. For a long time, I thought these flashed of intense anxiety were possible premonitions of something about to occur because I didn’t understand what they were attached to. Those old coping mechanisms of survival on the streets really took on a life of their own. I spent some time in a mental hospital also when I was 18. I actually suceeded in commiting suicide and they brought me back to life. I cried because I was alive. They kept me for three days and then sent me back to what I was so desperate to escape. I continued to esculate downward and ended up sick with hepatitis and weighing 75 lbs. That is when I wrote that peom. It isn’t finished. I think that when I’m able to finish it my journey will be complete.

It never does end. Human beings are so good at abusing one another. I have suffered many things since I wrote that poem. Each new trauma kills a little more of me and leaves an empty space for God to fill with love and hope and life.:0) We shall overcome.

Big Bear Hug,
Pam

57

Pam, you are so A**E*S*O*M*E, you are STRONG, you are an amazing overcoming woman… and together, with the emotional support and validation and empathetic understanding of our fellow trauma survivors, YOU, and I, and all of us who refuse to ever give up, WILL FULLY WIN this uphill battle to HEAL from our years of trauma, abuse, and brokenness.

HUGS
Lynda

58

PAM, You are A*W*E*S*O*M*E, I meant to say…

59

I hung myself at the age of 15 while I was in the mental institution, Pam. I, too, was so frustrated at the time that my suicide didn’t “take.” But I’m so glad to be alive NOW!

LYNDA

60

Lynda,

You make me blush,honey.:0) I’m nothing special.

I’m glad I’m alive also. Isn’t that the best of it? What doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger! The bad guys just can’t win!

61

Haha.. Pam, what you said: “What doesn’t kill you just makes you stronger” ~ I use humor a lot to brighten my days, it really is the best medicine. A few years ago I took a photo of our Otterhound, Farley, when he was unhappy with his dry dog food and had a very GROUCHY look on his big shaggy face. Then I made a poster out of that photo, by adding the words: THAT WHICH DOESN’T KILL ME MAKES ME STRONGER (X’d out) GRUMPIER.

😉

Lynda

PS~ Yes, you ARE special. The fact that you are alive and coherent enough to tell your story, is testament to that, Pam.

62

Lynda,

I am special in that we are each very special. Thanks for the encouragement. I can never get too much of that.

63

*DITTO* what you said, Pam.

I wholeheartedly agree, we are each very special.

*DITTO* about needing encouragement, too. It took me half a century… to my 50th birthday… before I began to turn my life around from HATING myself, and being ASHAMED of my life history, to genuinely LOVING myself and being PROUD of all that I have overcome!

I am 58 now, so I am just 8 years into my healing journey. I’ve had a few setbacks along the way; like Darlene said in one of her recent posts, sometimes something will happen that temporarily causes my rewiring to come undone and revert back to the old “default” position. But each time I get knocked down, I get back up again… and the new wiring/new default is holding longer and better as time goes on.

LYNDA

64

Darlene, There are pieces of me, people that I’ve been, that I don’t like very much. I could always look back and think ‘yuck’ I’m glad I’m not like that anymore but it is only lately, that I have realized how completely I dissociated from those girls, and women. Being the scape goat in my family, it is like I also created scape goats from myself,within myself, sending them away to bear the trauma and shame that was too much for me to carry as I became yet, another woman. Hopefully, a more capable woman than the one I left behind with all of her friends and the things she liked to do. I can’t help but feel kind of embarrassed. It is amazing how unaware of myself I have been. Seeing myself as a whole including these other women seems too much to get my arms around right now.

When I went through treatment for hep c and dissociated and then became psychotic, the first strange feeling that I had was of myself as three people. Later, I became many, most of them young, male and female with some of them like new born kittens (I don’t understand this part). I know I was under the influence of very strong medications but this experience was real (like a waking dream in which I was working out the trauma of my life and who I am) and I opened many doors within myself that were sealed long ago. Is it possible to dissociate as an infant?

Pam

65

Hi Pam
I can relate to what you are saying here. Sometimes even now I am very aware of how much of my life I missed because of dissociation caused from trauma. I had kids and male alters too. There was a small child who could not speak. I realized a few years ago that she was the way that I saw myself. ~ Dirty, abandoned and voiceless. This whole process takes time, self love, patience and gentleness. It is really huge!
Hugs, Darlene

66

Darlene, Because of you, I am focusing on self-acceptance, allowing memories and awareness to come in its own time, and not only loving who I am now but also those, Pams that I walked away from in disgust. I’ve had my family telling me that I need to forgive them even though they never admit to doing anything to me, when I need to forgive myself and the people I created to do what I lacked the self-confidence to do. When all those pieces are fit together, there won’t be anything I can’t do!lol! It is huge. I asked my husband if he saw the pattern of my changing into different types of women in response to trauma and he said yes, he could see that and said he knows our boys see me as a ‘changling’ with him tagging along. Then I asked him if I was completely different or if there was always something in me that remained the same. He said yes, there was something that always remainded the same and that is what he almost lost when I went through chemotherapy treatment. I was shocked because a major part of my waking dream, my psychosis, was those young parts of myself calling to me, wanting me to go with them, and telling me I had to go with them. I had to make a consious decision to stay in this world. I was so terrified and I was nearly swallowed up into that other world. It was the catalyst though for me to start talking about the things that had happened to me and now both worlds are more unified. It is so strange how things work out and what the human mind is capable of.

67

Pam
This is really great, I love the way that you talk about this. I think integration happens differently for many of us. (some don’t want it to happen at all ~ it feels too scary for some) The dream world stuff was so important for me to pay attention to. There was so much information and so many clues there.
Thanks so much for all your willingness to share the way you do. It is this type of honesty that makes the biggest difference to others and it is what I also strive to write and live in my own healing.
Hugs, Darlene

68

[…] I tried to look away, but he told me to look at the pictures. Something about him scared me and so I did as I was told and looked at the pictures. He slowly flipped through them, and I looked at them one by one. I was […]

69

Darlene,
I’m being triggered by your post. I coped for many years, by compartmentalizing my experiences/trauma. A prior counselor of mine, told me that when i talk about my experiences it seemed like i wasn’t talking about me. I interpreted that, as i was disconnected from my feelings, which was a defense mechanism for facing the trauma. As therapy progressed, she told me i have a more “integrated self”, well i thought that was a good thing but i still questioned myself- what does that mean?…did i have DID? mind you i studied Psychology in college…Years later, i get a new diagnosis of Personality Disorder NOS (non other specified) and was told i have Borderline Traits which does explain some of my extreme coping skills. This same counselor also gave me mixed messages of go towards my family who are the abusers- “continue to visit”, “your mom is trying to have a relationship”, your mom changed your diapers and she’s the only mom you’ll ever have”. Well, those comments didn’t sit well with me and i became confused, since i knew my family inflicts harm and blames me for things that are not my responsibility. Also, for years the relationship was ONE SIDED with me doing all the work. I would talk about this, but did not get validated. Luckily, i had a Psychiatrist at the time, who prescribed my antidepressants and she listened to me and told me my counselor could have her “own agenda”. This made sense to me because my counselor VALUED FAMILY..well maybe her family wasn’t abusive towards her like mine was! Anyway, long story short, I stopped therapy with her by saying it wasn’t working anymore and moved on to another counselor recommended by my Psychiatrist. She was better & validated my experiences & feelings, however, she told me as therapy progressed, that she didn’t want to hear me “unraveling”, when i called her one time because i was very upset. She was the one who encouraged me to call!…Needless, to say shouldn’t have said that to me! it made me feel bad(ashamed) for reaching out for help…Well i moved on from her also & ended up with an amazing counselor who is warm, approachable & available…she will take my calls in crisis & does not get frustrated with me….i trust her and i’m lucky to have found her….it took me awhile to find the right fit. I now feel as if I have a safe person to talk. My depression is better and i’m on my way to healing! this blog also helps me to express myself and I’m learning so much from all of you. Sorry if this post sounds random & disconnected to the prior posts, but it’s my thought process right now & just trying to connect the dots. Thanks for listening!

70

Hi SMD
I healed by trying to connect the dots! I love the work you are doing here, and I (as well as many others I am sure) appreciate it!
I too spoke of myself as though I was talking about someone esle. I was DID however, knowing the diagnosis never helped me heal.. so I don’t concentrate on that part.
Thanks for sharing,
Hugs, Darlene

71

spinning as i write this–but have a question well question and a statement i guess–first you, here is one of the few places i have read how your memories come back by different parts, pieces, etc–that is so me, everything is a “slide” show but different fragments have some of memories from the same incident–i not sure if i said that right–and that is so us

sorry now babbling–but my question was, is, and if you dont care to share here–i am not sure about the whole needing to remember the memory to heal–how did you heal then??? where i am at now keeps hurting me worse (healing) and i am stuck so just wondering suggestions–being spiritually hurt before–going through spiritual healing has made it worse i think

72

Hi Broken
It might help you understand how I healed if you go through the blog starting at some of the early posts. There is an Archive button on the right hand sidebar. Having said that, here is a quick answer ~ I had a few memories, even fragments helped because the goal is to realize that there was in fact damage, (full memory or not) and the ultimate healing goal was realizing what I believed about myself (the lies) as a result of the damage. I realized that I believed it was my fault, that I must have done something to cause the truama, that I was born defective and unworhty and stuff like that. All of that was lies and those lies were in my way but just saying that was not enough. I had to dig down and find the WAYS that those lies got there in the first place. I had to validate the fragments of memories, ~ there was plenty of turth in them.
Hugs, Darlene

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Uuuu a place to post about my dissociation and be understood. Supremely exiting. We r thrilled. I love my internal family and we are almost integrated entirely. Even as we are integrated we still know who is who. We never had entirely separate alter personality but more of compartments that held specific trauma emotions that had access to particular core functions. Our core was always one. Then we created the ceo Kathryn and its been great ever since. We are now in process of making sure every part has total access to the core of wisdom of ceo parent. When it doesnt it will act out. It has been a process. I think to know your mind like this and see it happening has been the most profound experience in my life. It was literally finding myself, what can be better. And to know that i have shaped the very strucure of my personality and bent it to my will is magic.

74

Hi Darlene,

I realized this past week that I have been utilizing this form of coping since I was a very young girl. I continue to use it in life today as an adult, even though I don’t need to anymore. But, the pattern is very hard to break. I think what I am wondering if how long does it take to break the pattern of dissociation being the “go to” coping method? What are the best methods for grounding yourself? I feel a lot stronger now that I recognize it, but I think because I know that this is what I do–I am fighting hard to not go there, and I want to stay present/in the moment. Can you give any tips on the initial stages of awareness that dissociation exists to powerfully living life to the fullest as you are doing? I’m blessed to have found your sight. I’ve been broken too long…and I want to heal! 🙂
Hugs to you!

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Hi Discoveringme
Welcome to EFB
Awareness of it is the first step. For me the more I looked at the root cause of it to see “what caused me to do it in the first place” and what I needed to ‘cope’ because of, the more I could do the self talk I needed to stop doing it. Learning to stay in the present for me had a lot to do with looking at the past. I write a lot about this subject for all kinds of coping methods.
Thanks for sharing
Hugs, Darlene

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Darlene,
I have searched and searched for something that would help me to understand DID on a personal level… not a “medical” level. reading what you wrote it was like reading something that I would have written myself… it was like my thoughts were there for the most part. I have an alter that can take over if I let her, she used to protect me because of the abuse I endured, now however.. she is apparently angry. And when I am angry, frustrated, hurt, and can’t process my emotions in any way.. she can take over. (due to my eating disorder, I also self harm, and she will use that to hurt me) I am afraid of Kari at times. When it is her, there is a clear difference in my eyes.. my eyes are no longer blue.. they are more grayish. I have pictures to prove it. Christmas, I was me, my eyes were pretty blue. A month later, I was not me… she was there, I was suicidal and it was around my birthday. My eyes in that picture were gray and dead looking even though I faked a smile. No matter what you do on the outside, eyes don’t lie. certainly not mine. And my therapist has picked up on this. I have dissociated in her office several times.. I have just “left the building” so to speak… I don’t switch, I just leave my head. but there have been times she feels I have switched and not told her. and there have been times that it wasn’t me there like the time between Christmas and my birthday… it wasn’t me that whole time going.. I wasn’t never there, and I hardly spoke a word during our sessions. I don’t like to lose control.. and that is what it feels like to me when this happens. I lose time. I just did yesterday. I got in my car ( have been stressed lately) looked at the clock, didn’t buckle( which I always do) started the car, and then I don’t know what happened, but the next thing I knew, I looked at the clock again it was ten minutes later, I had tears going down my cheeks, car still idling. I had “left” without going anywhere. I checked out…. where did I go? I did this several other times when stressed badly and “came to” with cuts. I can’t have this happen again.. Same with my dreams at night. Some aren’t just dreams… I will actually sleep walk like I did as a kid. It is like an alter is awake inside me and takes over or something, I don’t know. But some dreams happen and I am fully asleep. I want to stay “HERE” I don’t want to leave to go back I don’t want anyone else to take over. I just want to be me. I want everyone in my head to be a united front… we can all work together.. I used to want to kill kari… to get rid of her, and just like that lady at the top of your site said, I too tried to kill myself in order to kill my alter. Enough was enough… you feel as if there is no way out… but I have come to realize that kari protected me, and what she did she did out of love, she is now frustrated because I got grow up and she is trapped. that is why she is angry. If I just show her love, maybe she wont try to hurt me. So I can’t try to get rid of any of them. I need them all because each is a part of me, and we can work together to get thru the trauma and memories.. even though I don’t want to open that pandoras box. so anyway, thank you for putting your story out there for me to find because otherwise I would still feel helpless and alone in thinking there was no one who actually understood how I felt. 🙂 thank you

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Hi Karen
Welcome to EFB
It was really helpful for me when I realized that all of “them” were ME. In this way I was slowly able to see the trauma that happened to ‘them’ and accept that it happened to me. They came into existence because I could not cope with what had happened to me, so in a way they were ‘my coping method’ and that coping method saved my life. Through the healing process and seeing each of them as having ‘saved my life’ and that really they were all ‘me’ I was able to start to relate the memories to myself. (saying stuff like “that happened to me” ~ I was slowly able to integrate. There is hope!!
Thanks for sharing!
Hugs, Darlene

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Hello Darlene
I am so frustrated. my name is Lynn and I stumbled upon these wrtings after coming home from therapy after my T said my muscle spasms are indicative of others’ trying to talk. I have been frustrated because I am so pathedic that I can’t figure out how to write/respond on the forum. I guess I am hoping that on this forum maybe I could learn how to navigate and respond. I have read posts dating 2 years back. I had 3 family members sexually abuse me, hospitalized first at 16 and am now married and have 2 kids (39 y.o.)my therapist went away 2 days ago for 2 weeks. I am trying to reach out and am stable. before stating more or asking more questions I would like to know if anyone even receives this and that I can resp0ond to you or you all. I know how to access emails but may or may not be efficient in responding here as I don’t recall how I got here. I have written 2 posts and maybe just didn’t do it right. If anyone is here, plz respond or send me an email with instructions on how to get back to this site to respond. I am embarrased to be so bad at this!!!!thank you to all and anyone who read this and/or feels able to respond. best wishes:o)

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Hi Lynn
welcome to efb ~ you have succeeded in commenting on this site. All you have to do is keep coming back. If you subscribed to comments, there will be a URL in the email that will get you back to the site. If not, bookmark the site URL. And once you are here, there are buttons at the top that will take you to which ever subject you are interested in. There is a comment place for each one.
Hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene,
thankyou so much for responding and I have the email address on my email now so I believe I can return to that to get here until I figure out how to get here from the forum. Thank you so much.

I guess I will try to summarize some things and then ask a few questions.

When I was 6 years old my mom sent my dad to JohnHopkins because she found his shoes under my bed and he had already been imprisoned for “peeping” while in the military. Dad went to a 6 week rehab at john Hopkins and my parents told me and my siblings they were temporarily going to separate but didn’t say why. My siblings and I were devastated. I knew about hIM COMIng in my room at that time but never thought that was the reason he left. I was never interviewed by anyone and john Hopkins sent him home after 2 months and said he just needs to stay on the medicine and he should be fine. I remember that brief time when he came home and didn’t come in my room at night. Hopkins thought he was just a “peeper” and as long as he was on medicine I would be safe. Little did they know then that my dad had different fetishes for different seasons.

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Lynn
I am not sure what “forum” you are referring to. Can you explain?
hugs, Darlene

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Hi Darlene,
believe me I am confused too. I came home from therapy and googled muscle spasms and dissociation and the forum that came up was info@psychforums.com. I entered the DID forum and my name is loisisher*** and I have responded a little but still don’t know how to initiate or compose a message. I don’t know how I stumbled on your site and I received your email( thanks so much) and got started and wrote 3 paragraphs before I clicked a wrong button. So I am exhausted now and will try to finish later. thanks so much. I was a therapist for 15 years until we moved a few months ago. It is all just catching up with me. I told u a lot but I think most got deleted after I hit some button. thx for patience. I think we r talking about the same forum and I will attempt to finish my post later cause my kids are coming home soon. thanks, people like you give me hope

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Hi Lynn
The link you shared is an email address, but that’s okay. That site may have been referring to my site, but I am not part of it nor is the site a part of any forum.
It is fine if you share here but in the spot for the URL in the comment form, leave that blank. (don’t enter that psych form address because it causes your comment to be flagged as spam.)
hugs, Darlene

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Lynn,
I just got your last reply through admin. Please make sure that you don’t hit the reply button to the email notifications for blog post comments but rather return to the blog itself. (here) to post your comment or else no one will see it, most times not even me!
Thanks, hugs, Darlene

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How do I know what is still in a range of “normal” and what is DID?
Maybe it is just a complex personality? Maybe we are all like that? What aggrevates me the most (and worries so much is the fact that the last 2 years I have been having such “Swings” very frequently and I am not the only one who noticed that.

When I am afraid, instead of fighting like I used to, a little frightened ridiculous girl comes out. She can ruin everything in an hour, book a flight, cancel a flight, quit a job, run away from an interview. She has been very present the last 2 years. Actually she appeared for the first time in 2011. She cries a lot, is totally indecicive, gets panic attacks, clutches to men, highly neurotic.

Than there is my favorite: confident, stubborn but compassionate, masculine and feminine forces combined together, excellent future businesswoman, great sense of humor, logical, no fear, likes to go out and than charges batteries in solitude, she can do anything, great intuition, the first one started appearing 2 years ago and can ruin everything the second one juts accomplished. BTW: the second one is bisexual.

It is usually either the first one or the second one. BUT there are several others, only a bit less present: one is numb and depressed, there is nothing else I can tell you about her, she was me in high school, and than on and off a bit in 2009 and 2010, and for 6 months this year. She functions on auto pilot, daily routine only, eating (or rather not eating- she is prone to anorexia), sleeping most of the time.

Than there is me as an older lady, much much older than I actually am, she would prefer to just stay home and chill, have a dog maybe, just be by herself, no interest in career, relationships, has sort of a been there, done that approach.

Now I know I am not bi polar.
The last 2 years I have been living in chronic stress, which actually brought me here, to my break through. The last 4 months I was dealing with my childhood memories coming back to me, I am through with that, I feel much stronger, I know I am on a good track….I still do not feel stable though. I fear that the little coward I described will soon ruin something. What is wrong with me?

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And as KAren said …it is unbelievable but the changes are visible in photos.

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oh one more thing: the depressed part of me that functions on auto pilot- I would say this is something that comes out after what I went through in high school. The part that I said I liked the most- I think I would be like that all the time if not for what happened to me when I was 14-18.
I might be wrong though

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I just did one of those online tests
http://www.pcsearle.com/screening/over.html?60.4

My score:
Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES) Screening Results

Total score of: 60.4(30 or Above – Higher Association With DID)

!!!!

Things that really scared me and I thought they were “normal”:

Some people sometimes find writings, drawings, or notes among their belongings that they must have done but cannot remember doing. (I kept blaming it on stress and bad memory)

Some people find that in one situation they may act so differently compared with another situation that they feel almost as if they were two different people. YES!!! VERY OFTEN

Some people have the experience of driving or riding in a car or bus or subway and suddenly realizing that they don’t remember what has happened during all or part of the trip.
Always always….it started when I was 15, this happens to me all the time… I thought most people do that… I literally fly away

Some people find that sometimes they are listening to someone talk and they suddenly realize that they did not hear part or all of what was said. (I thought I had troubles with focusing but that also started when I was 15)

🙁

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is it possible that the chronic stress for a prolonged period of time (6 months) caused those swings?

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Hi Darlene

Could I really have lived nearly 40 years with other personalities and not known? Yesterday in therapy I finally talked about a memory and my body was shaky and then the sporadic kicking started. I finally let it out and spazzed out physically (looking much like a dog trying to dry of when wet. It felt good and for the rest of the session I had no shaking or muscle spasms. While telling the memory it was just like describing what I could see but I could feel the anguish of the little girl in the memory (have remembered that memory before but without feelings. first time yesterday telling my therapist and I have had only 1 other therapist who became enmeshed with me and I frequently went to hospital due to suicide attempts. She really made me more unwell but I didn’t know it till after 3=4 years.

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Amazing, again, sorry all
to the point – With the exception of a few times, I remained co-conscious. I do have screaming in my head at times that is definitely not my thoughts – always happens when feelings of younger ego states (personalities?I don’t know) get sad during therapy. we have named the anger part and that part now trusts my T so I could follow through with the memory without her yelling at me and that is when my body seemed to literally shake off the grossness and felt better. Am I crazy? I feel so alone in all of this and really am (just moved). Is there hope, I feel so depressed as the day progresses and I can’t believe I have to sit in these feelings for another week before therapy. Thinking about hospital just to get away, you know? what do others do-I am just so dang sad, then anxious,etc. Want to call my therapist but am bugging her too much I think. Am safe, thx for listening and writing Darlene and others:0).

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Hi Lynn
Welcome to EFB ~ there is a whole community sharing on the more recent posts. (If you click on the home button you will see more recent stuff)
Glad you are here,
hugs, Darlene

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Hi, Darlene and others,

My experience with D.I.D was complex and I am still dealing with it at age 68. I think I started dissociating when I was very young but didn’t realize what I was doing until I was in my 30s – during the 80s. By then I had been diagnosed with what is now called Complex PTSD but it was only after a therapist and some women in an Incest Survivors group told me I was switching, that I started to suspect that my PTSD was more serious than I realized. Raising the child of my primary sexual perpetrator prolonged my blocking and switching. At times I was younger than she was and I still experience that from time to time. Many times I was what is called co-conscious but I still couldn’t control when a younger ME had control. My daughter is age 45 and she has stopped speaking to me because I still can’t control the switching and the flashbacks when she does something that triggers me – like befriending a pedophile on Facebook and not warning me. The D.I.D became worse the last couple years when my granddaughter turned 14, the age when most of my molestation took place. I became hyper-vigilant toward protecting her – something my daughter had experienced as abusive when I did it to her. Now my granddaughter doesn’t speak to me either. I don’t think there is anything I can do until I feel safe alone and heal by myself. At age 68, this has been a tiring journey, made even more so by breast cancer and a recent concussion. I hope someday more people will understand PTSD and DID – and we won’t me made to feel “crazier” than we actually are. My best to all, Diana

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BTW- I would love to hear from others who have raised the child of their perpetrator. I mean women who were molested, became pregnant, had the child and raised the child. I would like to know how they coped with their family’s denial (if the family was non-supportive like mine was) and the flashbacks that just seeing the child sometimes caused. I am sure I would have suffered far less if my family had supported me and if my daughter hadn’t decided that the perp was the safer/saner person for her to be around. I don’t regret raising her; I do regret not knowing how ungrateful she would be as an adult and how she might not want to bother to deal with me when I finally had to take care of me. I truly believe that I would have become insane if I had not finally realized I had tolerated TOO MUCH in my lifetime! Thanks!

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Can anyone who has DID share with me what it took for you to finally make the connection that all of your alters were really indeed you??? Also how were you able to recover some of your memories???Intellectually I get it. I have been able to do most of what Darlene talks about in her posts. I get all the ten thousand lies that my parents taught me and I know the truth now. I am at the point where I am very familiar with all of my alters and I accept and embrace them and love them and I know why I created them. I have re-parented myself. I overcame that inner and outer critical voice. I have overcome perpetrator loyalty and the locust of shift control. I overcame all of that sick enmeshment I had with both my mother and my father. What the heck else will it take to make the connection that these alters are indeed me??? I do a lot of inner work on my own so I have grieved many of my losses so I am aware to that degree that these traumatic events happened to me but I still view my alters as separate entities from myself. I still refer to myself as we and us.I know that I am missing memories. I read Darlene’s posts but I still don’t get HOW the connection was made. What self talk can I do to overcome this mind set?? I say to myself these things happened to me but I don’t internally believe it. It has not clicked inside of my head and heart yet.I would appreciate anyone’s input. THNX in advance.

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No need to respond to my last post for my sake anyway. I finally figured it out for myself. I think God knows when I have had my limit with trying to figure some of these DID things out and then He reveals the truth to me. I get it now. I was still believing the lie that I needed someone to rescue me. If I believed that my alters were really me then who would be the one to do that?? But what I wasn’t realizing is I no longer need anyone to rescue me anymore. No one is out to hurt me now. I wasn’t able to separate the past from now. Plus I didn’t want to give up the idea of losing my friends. I spent the last two years getting to know all of my alters. Nurturing them. Re-parenting my self in the process to the point where I no longer needed my alters to think and feel for me anymore but that felt scary to me too. I was associating that with being rejected and abandoned by my parents when I was a child. Everything is linked to that. I see how this is all connected now. This is how I will learn how to stop dissociating because as long as I was still believing that I would be hurt without them, I was never going to accept that they were really me because doing that was like a death sentence for me so I fought tooth and nail not to see this truth.

Anyone who has DID, my heart goes out to you. There is no way to adequately describe the pain involved with having this disorder and all the obstacles that you need to overcome in order to heal from it. It is one sick, twisted mess to say the least. Couldn’t make this one up if I tried. It is just that sick and twisted. I think to myself how horrible living in that house really was in order for me to have to go to this extreme in order to survive it and how the same disorder that once saved my life as a child has the potential of killing me off as an adult. UNBELIEVABLE but all true.

Hope this helps someone else who is stuck like me.

Peace,
Kris

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