March 29, 2013
It’s the Easter weekend — a complicated and conflictual weekend for most dissociative trauma survivors. So many layers of your inside levels will be awakened, aware, involved, wondering, waiting, going, sitting, thinking, watching, feeling, remembering, refusing, believing, fighting, crying, calling, hiding, etc. Its a time of being pulled in dozens of different directions all at once.
Lots of headaches, that’s what that means.
And lots of pain. Ouch, ouch, ouch.
So yes… I am thinking of you all, and wishing peace for you. I know it’s difficult. Really difficult.
The Easter season is typically overloaded with the triggers, external pulls, family complications, and spiritual battles. The inside battle within your system may be raging at full intensity.
As best you can, remember to sit with each other, and learn what you can about the others that you see nearby. What struggles are they having? What thoughts are in their mind? What feelings do they hold? What feelings do they avoid?
Is there anything you can do to help them? What can you do to give them comfort? What can you do to make the struggle less sharp? How can you keep your system safe, both on the inside and outside?
Intense weekends such as this are usually heavily overloaded with information, from your past and maybe in your present. These are things you need to know. It’s from your life, and you can know what you and your insiders have been through. You are allowed now. It’s ok to know. It’s good to know, even when it’s difficult to know.
For many of you, just making it through alive and well is the goal. Self-injury may seem like the “best option”, but it really doesn’t help in the long-run. Look for other options to handle this time of stress. Read through the bunches of articles here that give other options to consider. The intensity of what you are feeling will gradually subside… You don’t have to cut or purge it away. It’s ok to feel what you feel. Your feelings belong to you — you are allowed now to have them.
For others of you, you may feel solid enough to use this time to make headway in reaching others in your system who are struggling more than you. It can be painful to hear and connect with the trauma memories held by many in your system, but it really is ok to remember what has happened in your life, and you don’t have to be punished for that anymore. FInd ways to heal your wounds and comfort your heartaches. Be kind to each other. Kind, gentle, soothing. Come together. Be a team.
Some of you will be far enough in your healing journey that you can find the good things to enjoy about the holiday weekend. Maybe you can enjoy a warm walk outside in the sunshine, or a handful of the kids’ favorite candy. Something near you may smell really nice – where is that? Breathe deeply, bringing in things that are good. Yes, there will be beauty in this weekend — see if you can find it.
Speaking of finding things….
Can you see the two caterpillars in the picture?
In my personal way of thinking, good beats out evil, so …. do your best to hold on tight till the darkness passes, and as soon as you can, find ways to reach those places of goodness, peace, comfort, joy, and love. It’s ok to let go of that darkness. You don’t have to stay there any more. You can move over to a life of warmth now. You are allowed to do that.
You can do it, I know you can.
I am thinking of you all, and I wish you the best in your healing journey.
Happy Easter everyone.
Copyright (C) 2008 – 2013 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
February 24, 2013
Here is Doris and Morris. Of course.
Doris and Morris are the very best neighbors I have ever had. A horse, of course!
Doris is the pretty chestnut mare, and Morris is the beautiful black gelding.
Doris is younger, and spunky, and she happily canters over every afternoon for her very favorite treat — pieces of bread. Bread, bread, bread! Doris could eat a whole loaf of bread every single day. She also likes oatmeal, fresh grass, handfuls of hay, and chasing cows. Doris talks a lot — she creates a constant stream of pretty pony sounds every time she visits, proudly announcing her presence. Oh, and Doris the horse likes to run, of course!
Morris is an older, gentler soul. His knees are sore, so he walks over gingerly, lagging behind Doris. Morris likes hugs and brushings, and he will stand snuggled up close with his kind heart for as long as you’ll stand beside him. Even though feisty Doris sticks her nose out in front a lot of the time, snatching up as many treats as she can grab, Morris is still the boss, and he happily gives her a quick nip when she gets too pushy. Morris likes bread and oatmeal too, of course, but Ritz crackers, strawberries, and Granny Smith apples are special treats for him since silly ol’ Doris turns her nose away at those tasty nibbles.
Doris! Don’t get so pushy, Pushy!
Doris and Morris are particularly good neighbors. They don’t make any annoying noises. They don’t intrude on my space. They make no complaints. They are happy to come and visit, but they are willing to go on their way as well. They don’t spread gossip, and they don’t talk bad about me behind my back. They don’t stare, they don’t impose, they don’t do any damage, they don’t make any messes. Doris and Morris are just good company.
It’s hard to find good neighbors. And I really appreciate good neighbors.
What are your neighbors like? Are you fortunate enough to have good neighbors?
Have you had some difficult neighbors in the past?
Having good neighbors is important for everyone, of course, but for survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder, having good neighbors is particularly important. DID survivors need to feel safe where they live, and to not feel afraid, angry, or upset or confused by the people that live near them. Most trauma survivors have had far too many years of living near difficult people.
Healing from a childhood filled chaos requires stability. Calm. Quiet. No unnecessary dramas.
A big part of the healing process for trauma survivors is finding, creating, and maintaining a peaceful environment here-and-now in the current day. You need space to heal. Room to breathe. A place to rest. An area where you don’t have to look over your shoulder every few seconds.
So yes, where you live is fundamental to the kind of lifestyle you can have. Who your neighbors are matters. The absence of ongoing conflict is important. Having a place to unwind, relax, feel comfortable, and feel safe is essential.
Creating a safe inside world starts by experiencing a safe place in the outside world. For many DID survivors, living with a feeling of safety is a completely new concept. You might have to learn what safety is. The sooner, the better.
True enough, you can’t control the safety of most places in the external world, but your home is your own. It’s your space. You can’t change the craziness of the past, but as an adult, you can do something about now, the here-and-now. Safety for your whole internal system starts with making good decisions about your immediate worlds. It’s truly important to create your own personal safe places.
Do you live in a safe home?
Do you have good neighbors?
I certainly hope so. If not, what can you do about that?
I wish you all the very best in your healing journey.
and Doris and Morris too
Copywrite 2008 – 2013 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
January 11, 2013
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 170,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 3 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!
January 1, 2013
Happy New Year to you all!
It’s the beginning of a new time, a New Year, and nearing the end of the Holidays. How are you feeling? I hope that you each found joy in something that warms your heart. My wish is that each of you can walk peacefully through this holiday season with a priceless treasure to hold on to for years to come.
I had that goal for myself too, and when I was asked what I wanted for Christmas, my answer was that I wanted an experience to remember. I didn’t have any specific gifts or presents in mind – I just wanted something to treasure in my heart.
And that’s exactly what happened.
A big part of my Christmas Day was spent in a beautiful outdoor setting, with dear friends, looking at photos, swapping stories and walking down Memory Lane. It was a precious time. A blast from the past, as they say it, only these were truly nice memories full of smiles and laughter. It warms the heart and lightens the soul to remember good memories.
All too often, trauma survivors equate the word “memories” with bad memories, filled with scenes of trauma and abuse, chaos, conflict, and other terrible experiences. Sometimes it seems that all the memories are bad memories. And fair enough, far far far too many of the memories remembered by dissociative trauma survivors are really not pleasant at all. That’s not your fault – your history was as it was, and genuine healing involves looking at so many of those horrible times. You are brave and courageous to face those past horrors. It’s enormously painful, but you are doing the right thing by remembering what was once dissociated away.
It just doesn’t have to stay that way.
You can have beautiful times in your life too.
It’s a nice change to remember something pleasant, fun, and enjoyable. For most of you, as your healing progresses, you will remember good moments as well.
But don’t wait for that.
Create good times, good memories, good experiences now. Today. This week. This year.
You really can have a happier New Year this year.
Finding and creating new, positive, valuable memories is so very important to the healing process. Having memories to cherish is a necessary part of making life feel valuable and worthwhile. Knowing there were good times in the past, experiencing the good times happening today, and having the assurance that more good times are ahead give us all the hope to live on. To move forward. To hold tight during the tough times.
To make this year a better year, how can you create more of those times to cherish within your heart?
- Can you take the raindrops in your life and create beautiful moments?
- Can you find ways to see beauty in your life, no matter what else is happening?
- Do you treasure the beauty of nature and the vibrant colors that surround you?
- What small moments can be nurtured into much bigger brighter spots in your life?
- Where can you go and what can you do to find something that brings a smile to your face?
This can be good year for you.
Get determined to be happier, and make it so.
You can do it. I know you can.
Copyright © 2008-2013 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
December 21, 2012
It’s Winter Solstice week — time that is often difficult for far too many dissociative trauma survivors. It’s a time where days are short, and nights are long. Far too long. It’s a day where light feels complicated. Fractured. Broken. Dark.
I haven’t forgotten. I know that many of you are hurting and remembering intense hurts right now.
This year, I wanted to write something not as heavy, but still acknowledging the difficulties of this week. As you all know, from my recent comments, I am enjoying a new Ipad and all its options. Today, I’m going to post two pictures that I took myself, with this Ipad, while exploring its funny photo options.
There is much innocence in this pictures. Believe me, if you could see me fumbling around like a country bumpkin with this new fancy technology, you would roll your eyes at my utter rediculousness-ness-ness in the process of taking the photos. For that matter, what they look like are pure coincidence, lol.
But, to my surprise, as pretty as these pictures are, they still remind me of trauma issues related to DID / MPD.
What do you see in these pictures?
What do you like / dislike about these pictures?
Do they relate to your trauma history in any way?
What comforts do you see in these pictures?
What triggers do you see in these pictures?
How do these pictures relate to the Solstice times of your life?
Your thoughts and comments are welcome.
And, more importantly than anything else, I hope that, even little by little, you find deeper healing today. Hold your insiders near to you. Be kind to each other, and ever so gently support yourselves.
December 8, 2012
Many times I get asked what abuse is.
I understand this question, and the need for that question because many of the dissociative survivors who I speak with grew up in such chronically abusive homes that abuse was normal. Normal is just normal to them. What I would define as abuse was their norm, their everyday, their usual, their expected. And once abuse is “just how it is”, it becomes tricky and confusing to learn where actual abuse – physical, sexual, emotional abuse – starts and stops.
It gets even more confusing when the person that is being abused has a genuine relationship with the abusive person. Having genuine care for someone may give the abuser extended grace, or extra permission, or repeated forgiveness for the inappropriate actions they did. What about when the abuser’s behaviors are gentle, or appear as loving, or are done in the guise of helping the other person? Is gentle touch ever considered to be abusive or inappropriate?
It also gets fuzzy when the abusive parent, for example, has medical illnesses, or psychiatric illnesses and severe mental health problems of their own. Even if this person is acting in abusive ways, do they realize they are being abusive? Do they know when they are doing something irrational or violent or neglectful? Should their poor behaviors be categorized as rigorously abusive as the negative behavior from those without mental health troubles? How much abuse or neglect should a child be allowed to tolerate from a sick parent before it is considered too much?
And what about situations where the person is taught to honor their father and mother, and / or to obey their father and mother, because to not do what you are told to do is a sin based on their religious beliefs. When do those parents cross the line from claiming their rightful authority over their child? When does honoring parents actually become a dishonorable request?
Where is that line between appropriate and abuse?
Where does the unacceptable start?
It’s often not clear.
It’s especially confusing to a young child or teenager growing up in a home where these kinds of behaviors are typical.
I’m going to list some examples below, and in this post, I’m not going to give my opinion for what I deem to be abusive versus what isn’t. I would be glad to hear comments from you first. I will have an opinion, of course, but I’ll wait and say mine afterwards.
Are any of the following situations abusive? And if so, how so?
*** Please note – if you are sensitive to triggers and self destructive behavior, please be sure you are in a safe enough space to read further.***
*** Also, if you think I am describing your personal situation, I assure you, I am not. These are examples created for discussion purposes only.***
What do you think about these situations?
1. A divorced, single mother with low income and high anxiety obsessively restricts the amount of food that her children are allowed to eat. She does this by hiding the food, and especially hiding any cookies or chocolates from the children. She frequently locks the children out of the house (ie: after school) to keep them from sneaking extra snacks until she gets home from work. She will not allow the kids to keep any snacks in their bedrooms. The children are fed something most days, but there is very little food in the house. Sometimes the fridge is barren and empty. The children feel hungry most of the time and they start stealing food from local stores because they are hungry. The mother is too proud to get help from her wealthy family members or from charities. She wants to “do it on her own”, and would rather go hungry than ask for help.
2. A father, who says he is happily married to the mother, makes flirty comments to his puberty-aged daughter. He doesn’t touch the girl, but his comments and his gazes are sexualized. He says he is only complimenting his daughter for looking cute and attractive. The father’s buddies whistle and make many of the same kinds of comments in front of him while staring at his daughter. These comments make the father beam with pride. The mother hears some of these comments but acts as if she didn’t hear anything at all.
3. A mother is very angry at her children and decides to discipline them. She doesn’t hit them, but she speaks openly about fantasizing slapping their faces. She also removes various items from the children. For example, all toilet paper is hidden, all towels are removed, the use of the shower is taken away, all silverware is removed from view, lamps are removed from the bedrooms, hangers are removed from the closets, all food is removed from the children, the blankets and pillows are removed from the bed. The children are told to stay in their rooms for 24 hours and if they leave their room, they will be locked out of the house. The children don’t know whether they are allowed to go to the bathroom or not. From time to time, the mother gets inches from the faces of the children and loudly lectures them for 15 – 30 minutes at a time. She is seething with fury and anger during this entire episode, making hideously ugly faces at the children, and laughing at their discomfort. The mother has not touched the children, and believes her methods of discipline to be appropriate.
I could give more examples for your consideration, but for this particular post, I think I will stop there and check in with you readers at this point.
- How are you feeling after reading these scenarios?
- Do you feel comfortable reading them?
- Were these situations upsetting to you in any way?
- What are your thoughts about these three different situations?
- Are any of them abusive or excessive?
- Are any of the parents in these scenarios acting inappropriately? If so, how so?
- What do you relate to in these examples?
- If you view any of these things abusive now, would you have viewed them as abusive when you were a child?
Your thoughts and comments are much appreciated.
Copyright © 2008-2012 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
September 10, 2012
Recently, I had a conversation asking the question whether the insiders in a dissociative system should be called parts or people. And now, after recently reading Insomniac’s cute comment to me about that very same topic, I’ve decided to make a quick, informal post about it. I’m interested in hearing what the rest of you think about this topic.
Of course, the official “politically correct” term is probably parts. Well, maybe it’s still “officially” supposed to be alters, but yuck. Personally, I really dislike the term alters, and I really don’t use it often – it’s not a comfortable term in my opinion. Nope. It has too many other implications for me, and I just don’t go there very often. But the word parts – that one I have used many times.
However…. It is true, that when I get to know people with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID / MPD), and I get to know their insiders, those inside people become exactly that to me — people. DID people are people with a lot of people. I don’t see the insiders as “parts” anymore. I see them, experience them, interact with them, relate to them, remember them, refer to them just like they are people in their own right. Real people. Not a part of one someone. A group of individual someones.
For right, or for wrong – that is how it feels.
I realize this is probably not at all the expected “mental health professional” stance on describing dissociative systems. It’s not an intellectual approach. This is a statement about what the experience is like for me when I meet you all.
So yes, to me, insiders are like people. They are people that share a body, but they are people, many of whom are easily recognized as their own person within the group of people.
Inside people very much have their own voice. They have their own presentation, their own thoughts, beliefs, memories, feelings, body sensations, facial gestures, perceptions, clothing, jobs, etc etc. They can each make the same body look very different (that’s so fascinating to me!). They have their own eyes, their own way of sitting, their own way of walking. They have their own way of speaking and their own way of writing. They become their own selves. And in a way that they are not parts of any one someone, but more like they are important members of a group.
Groups are one, but the groups are filled full of lots of different individuals. Each of these individuals will have their own unique reason for being part of the group, and the whole of the group is completely flavored by the individuals that belong to it.
It is amazing to me that there are such differences between the people in a dissociative system. I realize that many of these differences are probably related to the differing demands being placed on the person as a whole at the time of creating each specific new insider, including some not-so-happy reasons to need to be somebody else. However, the basic ability to become somebody else (even to pretend to be somebody else) has got to be an incredible talent in itself – I know I can’t do that very well (and yes, I have tried, funny enough. I guess that’s why I’m not a Hollywood actress, lol.)
My hat is off to dissociative people who have created and developed highly sophisticated life skills at being different people.
It’s a rather awesome ability, if you ask me.
Copyright © 2008-2012 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
May 19, 2012
Maizy is a quiet little cow. She talks when she wants to, but that’s not very often.
Maizy doesn’t like noise, and she doesn’t like crowds, and she doesn’t like bunches of people everywhere near and around.
Maizy isn’t that sure about people – she only likes one or two people, here and there. And even then, she’s not completely sure. People are not her favorite.
Mostly, Maizy likes her own space.
She likes to feel safe, and she likes to have plenty of distance away from the threat of anyone coming near. For Maizy, space equals safety. She knows she will be ok if no one is nearby.
Maizy likes anything that reminds her of unruffled freedom. She likes to watch birds fly in the air. She likes to watch horses run across fields. She likes to see puppies play and ducks swim in ponds and butterflies fluttering around.
Maizy also likes to watch kites flying in the sky. Kites up in the sky are very peaceful. They blow back and forth, floating and looking, and enjoying their own space up and away from everybody else. Kites get to see all kinds of things, and they get to lift up and away from the noise of the world. And kites come in all colors, and all shapes, and sizes, and there is no such thing as a bad kite or a wrong kite. Kites are just fun. Maizy loves kites!
But today, Maizy has a dilemma. Oh dear, oh dear.
Maizy heard about a kite day. On this kite day, all kinds of kites were going to go to the park and fly high in the air. There were going to be box kites, and round kites, and home-made kites, and tiger kites, and fish kites, and heart kites, and circle kites, and bear kites, and mermaid kites, and turtle kites, and rainbow kites. There were so many different kites coming to kite day that Maizy could hardly decide which ones to watch! Maizy was so excited!
A Fly-in-the-Sky-like-a-Kite Day all day would be perfect!
So what was the problem?
The problem, for Maizy, is that the kites came with oodles and gobs of people. People! Yuck! Maizy is not a fan of people! Maizy wanted to see the kites, but she didn’t want to see the people! If only the kites could fly by themselves over to the kite park…
Oh dear, oh dear. What was Maizy going to do?
Instead of feeling happy, Maizy was feeling very cranky. She was upset. She was angry. She did not want those noisy scary people to mess up her wonderful Fly-in-the-Sky-like-a-Kite Day!
She stomped her foot.
“Go away, people!”
She stomped all four of her feet.
“Go away, go away, go away, go away! Don’t mess up my wonderful Fly-in-the-Sky-like-a-Kite Day!”
But the people did not go away.
In fact, more and more people came. More and more of them!
Maizy had to stop and think. She couldn’t make all the people go away. As much she may have wanted to, she just wouldn’t be able to do it. There were just too many of them, of all shapes and sizes. There were as many people as there were kites. Maybe more! Those noisy people were just everywhere!
Would they bother her?
Would they hurt her?
Would they leave her alone?
Would they be kind to her?
Maizy had to make a decision. She really wanted to go see those beautiful kites, but she would have to be super duper brave to be near all those people. Hmmmm….
What was a Maizy to do…
Ok. Well. Hmmmm….
She thought and she thought and she thought.
She really didn’t want to miss it. She had already missed out on too many fun things because she was afraid to be around people.
Maizy finally decided she could be brave.
Maizy knew that while some people had been very mean to her in the past, she knew that some people could be nice.
She knew that she couldn’t always believe the worst about everyone.
Maizy knew that a whole bunch of people would probably walk right past her, and not really interact with her at all. Maizy liked that. She liked to be ignored by strangers. She was plenty happy for people to stay involved in their own lives and to leave her alone. Maybe just maybe she could quietly watch the kites from her own little spot, and not mingle with anyone else. She wouldn’t have to look at anyone. She wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. She could just look at the kites.
Maizy knew she didn’t have to miss out on fun stuff just because she didn’t like to be around people.
If she stayed mostly quiet to herself, and if she was polite to anyone she decided to speak to, Maizy figured that there was a very good chance that she could navigate her kite party without any big problems happening.
Maybe, just maybe, she could go see the kites and not be bothered or hurt by anyone at all.
And maybe just maybe, Maizy could have fun at her wonderful Fly-in-the-Sky-like-a-Kite Day!
Copyright © 2008-2012 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation