March 31, 2013
Hey Everyone –
I received an email about this, and wanted to pass along the news to you as well.
On April 16, 2013, at 9 am, Prevent Child Abuse America will be making a dramatic visual statement in New York City. In their words, they are turning the “Big Apple” into the “Big Pinwheel” by displaying around 5000 pinwheels in Times Square.
The pinwheel is the new national symbol for child abuse prevention. They have chosen the pinwheel as a way of saying all children deserve a bright future.
I certainly agree that all children should have a safe, happy, and bright future. Child abuse creates so much long-term damage, so much unnecessary pain, so many horrors that last and last and last…. It really irritates me that there are adults in the world who feel “entitled” to abuse children. It’s such a nasty horrific crime to beat and abuse and terrify little children. How dare they be so cruel. I completely despise perpetrators who believe this to be an acceptable way of life.
And yes, far too much child abuse happens in the world, so I applaud those who are working hard to take a stand against it.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to be in NYC on April 16, but I can imagine that it will be absolutely beautiful in Times Square. If someone gets to be there, please be sure to take pictures! It will be very sparkly, very twinkly, very colorful, I’m sure.
Please remember — the spinning and reflective flashing of the lights and colors from the pinwheels may be a little triggering for some of you with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID / MPD), so if you go, please be sure that you are safe enough to handle that much visual intensity all at once. Work with your system ahead of time so they can know what you will be seeing and why you are looking at it. Fast moving lights and colors are commonly used in various mind control abuse techniques, so if you are sensitive to these types of triggers, please be careful.
You can learn more about this national event at Pinwheels for Prevention at http://www.pinwheelsforprevention.org .
(Photo courtesy of Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia.)
* What are your thoughts about this particular event?
* What does a pinwheel mean to you?
* Do you like the choice of a pinwheel being used as the national symbol for child abuse prevention?
* Would you like to be there, if you could?
* What are your thoughts about child abuse prevention?
Your thoughts and comments are appreciated, as always.
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
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 11, 2012
This beautiful story was sent to me via email. I didn’t write this story, but I thought it was so heart-warming that I would pass it along to the rest of you. I hope you like it as much as I do.
In 2003, police in Warwickshire , England , opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog. The dog had been locked in the shed and abandoned. It was dirty and malnourished, and had quite clearly been abused.
In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a female greyhound, to the Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, which is run by a man named Geoff Grewcock, and known as a haven for animals abandoned, orphaned, or otherwise in need.
Geoff and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims: to restore the dog to full health, and to win her trust. It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved. They named her Jasmine, and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home.
Jasmine, however, had other ideas. No one quite remembers how it came about, but Jasmine started welcoming all animal arrivals at the sanctuary. It would not matter if it were a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or, any other lost or hurting animal. Jasmine would just peer into the box or cage and, when and where possible, deliver a welcoming lick.
Geoff relates one of the early incidents. “We had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line. One was a Lakeland Terrier cross and another was a Jack Russell Doberman cross. They were tiny when they arrived at the centre, and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the settee. Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them.”
“But she is like that with all of our animals, even the rabbits. She takes all the stress out of them, and it helps them to not only feel close to her, but to settle into their new surroundings.. She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs, and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose.”
Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted waif, became the animal sanctuary’s resident surrogate mother, a role for which she might have been born. The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, fifteen chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and fifteen rabbits – and one roe deer fawn. Tiny Bramble, eleven weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into the full foster-mum role. Jasmine the greyhound showers Bramble the roe deer with affection, and makes sure nothing is matted.
“They are inseparable,” says Geoff. “Bramble walks between her legs, and they keep kissing each other. They walk together round the sanctuary. It’s a real treat to see them.”
Jasmine will continue to care for Bramble until she is old enough to be returned to woodland life. When that happens, Jasmine will not be lonely. She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next orphan or victim of abuse.
Pictured from the left are: “Toby”, a stray Lakeland dog; “Bramble”, orphaned roe deer; “Buster”, a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; “Sky”, an injured barn owl; and “Jasmine”, with a mother’s heart doing best what a caring mother would do…and such is the order of God’s Creation.
And, just in case you wondered, Snopes.com, ( found at: http://www.snopes.com/photos/animals/jasmine.asp )
has verified the truth of this wonderful story and the reality of these photographs which accompany the story.
So you can pass this story on, and maybe make someone else’s day to be just a little brighter!
I think the world needs more Jasmine’s!
Doesn’t she have just the most beautiful spirit?
We people have so much to learn …
I hope you enjoyed this story.
May 13, 2012
Mother’s Day 2012.
It’s Mother’s Day.
A difficult topic.
A difficult day.
Often a day of loss and grieving.
A day that many dissociative survivors don’t want to think about.
If only…. If only, if only…..
I’ve been thinking about these things all week, knowing I would / should write something about mothers. Hmmmmm…. I wasn’t sure which angle to talk about….
Then I thought about something that has been happening around here each day.
I’ve been watching some birds again. For several weeks now, I’ve been able to see a very dedicated momma lark and a equally dedicated daddy lark tenderly care for their little three baby birds. This little bird family has sparked great interest, curiosity, and hours of entertainment.
This little fearthery family tucked their home deep within some very leafy trees across the street from me. I just had to go over there to see if I could find it! Their nest, not at all visible unless you meander directly under their tree with the grouping of many of trees, was cleverly built where it stayed the most protected from the cold blowing winds, where it would stay dry during the drenching rain storms, and where it would stay shaded from the heat of the day. I was impressed! The little babies, while having to brave the uncomfortable changes in weather, were clearly as protected as little birdie babies could be. Well done, momma bird!
To my delight, I have been able to see and admire their very busy lives. All day long, the parent birds have been flying all over the neighborhood, searching for food to bring back to their babies. All day long, the baby birds have been running around in the grass, chasing their parents around, looking for tasty treats to eat. And when I say all day long, I literally mean, all day long. From sun up to sun down, someone in this little lark family was searching for food for the babies.
And noisy! These young babies are loud little sqawkers! I was just sure all that racket was coming from a big ol’ crow, or some other big bird, but when I paid closer attention, to my complete surprise, that noise was coming from those little baby birds. My goodness! Noisy little flappers! They are the loudest larks I’ve ever heard!
For the longest time, the baby birds just ran around like little speedy zingers in the grass – ding ding ding ding zing zing zing – running really fast, but just running. Last week, I saw them actually fly up towards their favorite trees. That was exciting. The babies could fly!
I could still see the momma and the daddy bird fly back and forth, searching for food for their babies, delivering it back to them. Once I realized the lark parents were feeding a family, I started leaving more food out for them. I love my maggies, of course, but now I tried, in particular, to be sure the Larks had food to take to their babies any time they happened to show up on my front door.
These birds were smart. If I tossed out a piece of cheese to the momma, she would immediately pick it up, grab it in her beak however she could, fly across the street to the babies, and disperse it to her little ones from there. Then she would fly right back to my side of the street – to the exact same spot where she got her cheese – and wait there for me to toss another one down. And the routine continued. It seems like hundreds of hunks of cheese have been flown over my street. Along with bits of bread, little tiny pieces of meat, and whatever seeds she selected from the bird seed pile. Clever momma!
Feeding these babies has been a lot of work! Their momma has been so dedicated to them. She hasn’t rested one little bit.
Then another milestone happened. This past week, the little baby birds were actually allowed to fly across the street too! Momma and Daddy Lark have been trying to show the babies where to find their own food, Instead of feeding them beak to beak, they have been encouraging the babies to pick the food up from the ground themselves.
You would think this would be an obvious thing for the babies to figure out. But no. Not at all. Those three silly baby birds still run around behind their momma just squawking and screeching, wanting their momma to beak-feed them. Bless her heart. She’s showing them how to pick up their food. She knows they need to learn these skills for their survival. They can’t live on home-delivery forever!
On top of that, Momma Lark had to show her babies how to find their food, how to keep their food, and how to eat it safely away from the other birds that would fight them for that same exact bite of food.
I have to admit, my maggies have not been very nice to these little baby larks! My maggies are just sure they are the most important birds around here, and they are the only ones deserving of food from this house. They have not been very keen on sharing, that’s for sure! I have to make sure the maggies have plenty of food too (and they do, believe me!). The timing of feeding the little lark babies is becoming a fine art.
And those huge crows! They are the worst. They’ll steal food from anyone, even chasing and terrorizing the small birds in the air, following them around and around through the trees until they steal the food right from their beaks, or until the smaller birds drop the food for the crows to pick up. Those mean crows. I don’t like them very much.
Momma Lark has a lot to teach her little ones. It’s been tense, and scary on several occasions. Those little babies were clearly going to have to learn how to fight for their own survival. After several days of these “how to safely pick up your own food with your own beak” lessons, I think maybe, just maybe, a few of them are starting to catch on. Slowly.
Momma Lark must be exhausted by now!
Her work isn’t yet done with these young larks, but she’s well on her way. It’s been truly impressive to see.
The phrase “ A mother’s work is never done” came to mind.
And again, I had to think of my own mother. And the many years of “momma work” she has whole-heartedly given to me, including this year as well. I’ll save the details of that story for another time, but I do have to mention her with my deepest respect. The same goes for my momma-in-law. She’s been an absolute gem to me (and my family) for years and years. These two women have dedicatedly worked from their hearts for their families as hard as any Momma Lark ever has. They are incredible women. Beautiful souls. Tough as nails, but gentle as feathers. I can and do learn a lot from them.
I wish all mothers were as dedicated and hard-working as the Momma Lark I have been watching. The world would truly be a better place if we all had that kind of nurturing and protection throughout our lives.
Ever heard the phrase “as happy as a lark”? Maybe this is why.
To the Momma Larks of the world – I thank you.
Copyright © 2008-2012 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
December 11, 2010
Hi Everyone –
This post is partly for fun — because you know I just can’t resist sharing more pictures of these puppies — but to be fair, I do have a few thoughts related to trauma issues when I look at these pictures. I am starting to think that I might just have to make a “puppy series”.
First, let’s do the fun part. The fun part is when I get to show you all another puppy picture. This particular picture is picture of the two oldest puppies sleeping peacefully when they were just a few days old. The little black puppy is a boy, and he is the oldest. We’ve been calling him Dolce (taken from the incredible cologne Dolce & Gabbana). The brown puppy is a girl – you can, of course, tell that she is a girl by her pretty pink toenails — and she was born second. She has a little white diamond shape on her tummy, so we have been calling her Diamond. Plus, there are a number of different perfumes with the word Diamond in the name.
You know how puppies smell so good? We’ve joked about naming each puppy after a cologne or perfume. Maybe having nice-smelling names will help the puppies to not make the house so stinky as they get older!
Aren’t they just adorable?!
Mind you, both of these puppies are considerably bigger this week than they were last week, so I will have to get updated pictures soon. But for now, I wanted to show these pictures to you and make a few comments that are actually related to trauma issues.
What do you think when you see little teeny tiny babies?
Baby puppies or baby kittens, or even baby people are truly amazing to me. When you look at the tiny perfectly formed selves – they are so very little — but everything is there. The purity, the innocence, the newness of life is just so prevalent. These little puppies are alive and well, comfortably sleeping, but completely trusting of and relying upon those around them.
Do you see how sweet and vulnerable these little ones are?
Now, put yourself in the same place that these little puppies are. At one point in time, you were born with as much purity and innocence and newness of life as these puppies were. So many dissociative trauma survivors believe they were born bad. I have heard dozens and dozens of trauma survivors with dissociative identity disorder make comments such as “I am bad” or “I was born bad” or “I have always been bad”. But how can this possibly be true? How can this be true for any of you?
Have another look at the innocence of the newly born. When you see the truly young, you can see how genuinely innocent they are.
I’m sure that most of you can see the innocence of these little puppies.
You had that same innocence.
I can hear the arguments already, so I’ll say it again.
Yes, you had the same innocence. You are not inherently bad. You may very well have had a lot of negative, bad, painful experiences in life, but you are not a bad person. You may have had people tell you that you are bad, and you may have begun to believe them at some point in time, but you were truly born as innocent and pure as these little puppies are.
Parents and caretakers are supposed to nurture and care for a child. They are not supposed to convince a young child that he or she is bad. This scars a child in many ways, as so many of you already know. Overcoming the “you are bad” messages takes a great deal of work in the healing process.
The parents and caretakers are making a serious mistake and they are being poor and inadequate parents when they teach their children that the child is bad. It is very wrong to beat this message into a child. The adults are being criminally abusive when they hurt or assault young children in the claim of “you deserved this because you are bad”. Children are not bad.
Children are not bad.
You were not bad.
Your child parts are not bad.
Children are not bad, inside or out.
It is wrong for any parent to blame any child in these ways. This is an error and an inadequacy that belongs to the parents. A parent doing or saying something wrong does not make an accurate description about the worth or value of the child. Parents projecting their poor behavior choices onto a child is about those parents’ projection and a displacement of blame. It is the parents externalizing responsibility instead of owning responsibility for their own behavior. It is the parent blaming someone that is young and innocent, instead of honestly accepting that they are doing something wrong and unacceptable.
For the child parts reading this blog: all those big words mean that you are a good kid. They mean that even if your mommy or daddy told you that you were bad, or that you deserved bad things to happen to you, your mommy and daddy were telling you something that is just not true. I don’t know why your mommy or daddy said those mean things to you, but you are not bad, and no child is ever ever to blame, and none of those bad things were your fault. You are a good child, and that’s that!
Simply put, children are not ever to blame for the inadequate and improper behavior of their parents.
Children are young. Children are tiny. Children are vulnerable.
But they are not bad.
Children have a lot to learn, and they might make little mistakes as they are adventuring out in life. But children are like young puppies who know very little about life. The young of this world are allowed to learn, and they need guidance, gentleness, and care as they make their way in this big cold world.
Please remember, as a child, you were absolutely as innocent and precious and unknowing as the puppies in the picture. And just like these tiny puppies, children should be treated with tenderness and caring so they can grow up to be healthy and happy.
Kathy Broady LCSW
Copyright © 2008-2010 Kathy Broady LCSW and Discussing Dissociation
November 11, 2010
In this blog article, I’d like to hear your opinion.
It’s very clear that the mental health professionals out in the world do not agree on treatment goals for dissociative identity disorder (DID / MPD). For that matter, the mental health professionals of the world do not even agree that dissociative identity disorder is a real and legitimate diagnosis, let alone agree on how to best work with trauma survivors with dissociative issues.
The disparity of perspectives and lack of education, training, and knowledge about dissociative disorders means that therapists take all kinds of different tactics in their approaches. Obviously, some of these approaches are more effective than others.
After reading the hundreds of comments on the different articles on this blog, it is very clear that many dissociative survivors are not feeling completely satisfied with their healing process. There are various limitations and obstacles in the way of having optimum treatment. Many of you have written about some wonderful therapeutic experiences, but plenty of frustrations have also been included.
Please note: I am not asking about your therapist’s personal faults – please don’t use this blog as a way to bash your therapist.
I’m actually asking the opposite. Dream big for a minute. If there were no limitations preventing you from having the perfect treatment plan for DID, what would that include?
In my opinion, those of you that have DID or live with someone with DID are the experts here. You are much more knowledgeable about DID than the mental health professionals are and you know what genuinely works for you and what doesn’t. So, in order to get an better understanding of what works best for the treatment of DID, I’d like to hear from a bunch of you. You are the true experts here on what works. You all know what you need to get through your healing. You know what helps and what doesn’t help at all (even if the mental health professionals insist on doing it that way).
Obviously what works best for one person may be a very different list of options than what works best for someone else, which is completely ok. Everyone’s opinion is welcome and no one will be more right than anyone else.
Your comments would be appreciated, and your ideas as a collective group will be important. The comments you write could send a message to the trauma therapists of the world and hopefully help them to hear what actually works, from your perspective.
If you could design your perfect treatment plan for DID, what would that look like?
- How many times per week or per month would you meet with your therapist?
- How long would your sessions be?
- What kinds of things would happen in your sessions?
- What artistic or creative therapies would you include?
- Would your sessions be inside of an office or anywhere else?
- What time of day would your sessions occur – morning, afternoon, evening, or night?
- Besides your therapist, who else would you want to have on your treatment team?
- Would you include any kind of group therapy in your treatment plan?
- What kinds of approaches would you want your therapist to use?
- Who from your DID system would be allowed to speak and present up front during your sessions?
Any other thoughts, comments, or ideas are welcome!
Kathy Broady LCSW
Copyright © 2008-2010 Kathy Broady LCSW and Discussing Dissociation
October 31, 2010
It’s Halloween weekend again.
This year, I’ve been reminded of the dichotomy our society lives in during times such as Halloween.
There are the many people of the world who are enjoying the weekend. They are having some version of fun, gathering candies, creating pumpkin-flavored foods, and dressing up in costumes as innocent as pretty Little Bo Peep with some Sheep walking along beside her. For many of us here in Dallas, Texas, Halloween weekend this year has been about watching the Texas Rangers Baseball team finally playing a good game in the World Series against the San Francisco Giants. Last night the Rangers won, and there were many joyous celebrations all over the state of Texas. For all of these people, Halloween weekend has been wonderful. It’s been a good time and no one and nothing was hurt (except the pride of the San Francisco Giants!)
But for dissociative trauma survivors with a ritual abuse background, this weekend – and the majority of this month of October – has been anything but fun. It is a time of darkness. It is a time where they were physically and emotionally forced into darkness, forced into worlds of violence, forced into worlds so hidden and evil that the happy candied people clapping and cheering in the baseball stadiums don’t even know the tiniest bit about it.
Ritual abuse and the horrors of ritual abuse have stayed secret from the surface layers of society for a few reasons – none the least being the idea that ritual abuse is so extremely sadistic that it is impossible for most people to fathom or acknowledge its existence. For those not raised in the worlds of hidden ritual abuse, it seems too incredulous to tolerate or believe. It’s too mind-blowing to think that such intense evil, violence, gore, and pain could exist in the real world. It’s even more impossible for them to believe that these horrors could be purposefully devastating the lives of our local children. Understanding that these atrocities can still be happening in the current-day lives of adult dissociative survivors is barely even recognized by trauma specialists in the mental health profession.
Besides, there are powerful dark organizations, most typically connected with the money-making sex slavery industries that help to provide massive cover-up’s for socially-complicated dicey issues such as ritual abuse. The phrase “money is the root of all evil” comes to mind as so much of the extreme abuse of trauma survivors is rooted in groupings of greedy soul-less sociopathic perpetrators making wads of dirty money while completely ignoring or insanely enjoying the suffering they are inflicting on survivors.
Trauma survivors with dissociative identity disorder (DID / MPD) can experience a lifetime of pain and mental torment from the ordeals they suffered through on Halloween. They re-live these horrors year after year after year in their flashbacks, body memories, and internal worlds. They feel the tortures. They hear the screams. They are paralyzed in their terror. Healing feels next to impossible because the pain runs too deep.
How are trauma survivors supposed to come to terms with the fact that someone they loved and cherished (usually a parent) did the ultimate betrayal by subjecting them to the horrors of sadistic ritualized abuse?
How are trauma survivors supposed to overcome the fact they were forced to learn to hate with such intensity that they turn completely cold and dark from the inside out?
How are trauma survivors supposed to overcome their reality that they were forced to hurt others, even those they loved, and to relish the moment as if it was joyous and full of ecstasy?
How does anyone overcome these experiences and not let them ruin or tarnish or their lives forever?
Is it impossible to unthaw the effects of such hatred?
Is it impossible to heal from such deep soul-wrenching wounds?
It feels that way.
Many, many, many, many days, it feels too impossible to heal. Ask any trauma survivor that. I bet they will tell you, without a doubt, that they have wondered if it was ever possible for them to overcome the depths of pain and agony and torment that they experienced in their lives.
But it is possible.
It is possible because there is such thing as NOT being hated. There are such things as compassion, understanding, gentleness, kindness, forgiveness, and yes, even the ultimate word – genuine love. (I do not mean the creepy distortion of love – I’m referring to the actual genuine, true, God-filled love.)
Because as much as the hatred of violence and abuse of sadistic predators exist, the kindness and gentleness of true compassion and understanding exists as well.
And genuine kindness can trump violence.
After you’ve experienced true hatred, experiencing true kindness is a completely heart-reaching, life-changing, awe-inspiring experience.
Yes, when someone survived a lifetime full of hatred, it takes a LOT of kindness to overcome all that hatred. Occasional kindness helps, but for genuine healing, it takes experiencing a lot of kindness. Unfortunately, for many trauma survivors, the world just has not been that kind.
But don’t give up — there are kind people out here. They may be obliviously cheering in a baseball stadium at the moment, but they are out here, and they exist, and they can show you gentleness, acceptance, warmth, and love.
Years of hate can melt away with a listening ear, with cups of tea, with a soft smile, with a tender relationship, with a quiet conversation, with a safe hug. When someone feels genuinely cared for – even for moments of time – those moments can crack through the cold darkness created by hate and violence. They can allow other moments of warmth and sunshine to take hold, and the healing process can continue, one moment building upon other moments.
It’s not quick. And it’s not easy. The turning-over is gradual, slow, arduous, and painful. But it can happen.
Kindness can trump violence.
My wish is that one day, all trauma survivors could find themselves having moments of pure joy and light-hearted fun, clapping happily in innocent places like baseball stadiums, even if the date is Halloween.
Kathy Broady LCSW
Copyright © 2008-2010 Kathy Broady LCSW and Discussing Dissociation