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 28, 2013
Isn’t this picture hilarious?? I laugh every time I look at it so you know….
I just had to post it.
These furry critters are NOT my neighbors, but I thought that maybe just maybe Doris and Morris would enjoy meeting them.
Sometimes you gotta do things just for fun.
Life is difficult enough, so finding something that makes you smile is a real treat. Hold on tight to that little treasure!
And as you go through life, fill your spaces with more and more of those treasures.
Imagine this —- if you could truly surround yourself with people, things, items, pictures, nature, critters, clothing, foods, activities (etc, etc) that bring joy to your heart, just imagine how much better you could feel.
If you look over that way, and see something you like…. and then look back the other way, and see something that brings a smile to your face… and then look over there, and see another treasure…. Do you get the picture? Can you imagine how that would feel?
In your world, it’s your space. Fill it with your favorites!
Copyright (C) 2008 – 2013 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
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 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
May 1, 2012
I hope you are doing well today.
This will be a short post, but I made an important update to the Discussing Dissociation blog and wanted to be sure that you all knew about it.
I have been asked repeatedly about my views on integration. I’ve written posts and comments about this topic, but unfortunately, I didn’t create a “category” for these posts. So now, with the 170+ articles on this blog, these posts and comments are difficult to find. Of course! This means it’s time to simplify this topic search for everyone, and to make it simpler for the Discussing Dissociation readers to find these blog articles.
If you look on the right side of this page, scroll down until you see the Categories drop-down box. I’ve added the category “Integration – yes or no” to this feature.
This drop-box will link you to here.
I’m assuming, in all my many blatherings on this blog that I’ve made more comments about integration than just what is written in these two blog articles. However, this link is a good start. If anyone finds comments about integration in other articles, please let me know, so I can be sure to add that article to the category list as well.
In case you don’t have time to read the other articles at the moment, I’ll give you a quick summary of what I think about integration right here in this post.
Quick Thoughts about Integration – Kathy Broady’s Opinions:
Is integration necessary?
Is integration beneficial?
I doubt it.
Is integration the ultimate peak / proof of healing for dissociative trauma survivors?
Not at all.
Does integration need to be your treatment goal?
Not unless you say so. I wouldn’t ever ever make it a treatment goal for any of my clients.
If integration is not the treatment goal, what is?
Team work. Lowering the dissociative walls between internal people. Internal communication. Talking together. Not hiding information from each other. Building trust and genuine relationships within your system. Learning to genuinely love and care for each other.
Do you, Kathy, think that integration is possible?
Honestly? Not really. Not complete and “total” integration. I have not yet met anyone who integrated in such a way that they stayed integrated permanently for the rest of their life. I have not even met anyone that I would say has been integrated successfully for years of time. I have heard the stories of many such claims, and met some of these people, but in my opinion, none of the “integrated” people that I have ever talked with were able to literally demonstrate true integration. They were still very multiple in oh so many ways.
I’m not convinced that a person who has lived most of their entire life as a multiple can literally change their brain in such ways to become a singleton. Besides, what would be the point anyway?
Do you think that blending is possible?
Yes, absolutely. To me, blending and coming closely connected together in a co-conscious ways are very different from integration. Blending does not imply a complete union of absolutely everyone. It is perfectly natural, normal, and healthy for some of the splits to become more blended together, especially those parts that are already very close to each other. If their blending happens naturally, that is great. You cannot force blending to happen, and it doesn’t happen instantly. It is a very gradual process that happens over years of excellent therapy, healing work, and genuine external safety. If there is any kind of “forcing” or demanded blending under duress or coercion or deception, you can bet that those insiders will step back and separate again in the not so distant future.
Do you think that integration keeps you safe?
Ummmm…. No. In fact, I think that claims of integration can lead to the very opposite of safety. Why? Because I think that real and genuine integration so very rarely happens (if ever), that when someone begins to believe that they are integrated, this is the beginning of some really dangerous times. This typically means, in my experience, that some of the top layers of the system may have blended together, and/or learned how to work well together, but the darker under-layers of the system have hidden behind very thick dissociative walls. This is extremely dangerous because the dark parts are able to function without being noticed, and the top layers of the system are too busy being proud or protective of their integration and/or completely absorbed in their outside lives that they don’t notice the dark rumblings behind the wall.
Do you think that integrated multiples are safe leaders for other dissociative survivors?
No. Not that I have seen. In my opinion, it is much more likely that the alleged “integrated multiple” has very neatly hidden or shoved away their dark sides, even if they do not realize this. All the claims in the world of being integrated do not actually make someone integrated.
In fact, following the leadership of someone who alleges to be an “integrated multiple” can be extremely dangerous for others, especially for those who are newer in their healing process. You would be safer to run 100 miles in the other direction than to assume that an integrated multiple is “automatically” a safe person.
I know many of you will not like these statements, and it is ok if you disagree. I am not meaning to offend you. We each have our own opinion and our own experiences in life. Let me repeat this, because it is so very important. In my years of experience, “integrated multiples” have more often than not been used as lures, and in reality, they are people who have not completed HUGE areas of work, and they are not automatically “safe” people. Going further into this topic is an entirely different blog post, but in my opinion, there is a whole whopping lot of danger in this area. PLEASE be careful when you meet an “integrated multiple”.
I am very aware that there are many multiples who have had spiritually-based integrations. That is yet another complicated topic, to be discussed at another time.
Ok – this was going to be short (and of course, it’s not short!!), so I’ll stop at this point. I can feel the waters already getting stirred out there. Ah well. What is life without controversy, yes?
IF I thought integration was a great thing, I would certainly say so. I just haven’t seen it as such.
What about you?
Do you have any comments about integration?
Copyright © 2008-2012 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
April 8, 2012
Hello Everyone –
How are you?
I’ve had another few weeks of extremely limited internet time, but it is Easter weekend, and I wanted to come and say a quick hello to you all.
I am aware that this is a very difficult weekend for many of you…. “Happy Easter” is more of an oxymoron than a reality for all too many of you.
For those of you that relate to that, I want you to know that I am thinking of you, and remembering that you are having struggles. And flashbacks. And body memories. And fights against worlds full of darkness, experiencing that conflict from both inside and out.
Please remember: no matter what you’ve seen in your prior years of life, you don’t have to belong to or stay stuck in any of the dark worlds that you were shown or taken to by those who, at that time, had more power or authority than you. This includes those of you that have been more familiar with worlds of darkness, and have always believed that you belonged there, and only there.
Even if that has been true for years of time, that does not have to stay true.
You don’t have to stay connected to worlds of darkness. You can decide to do something different with your life. They didn’t (and won’t) tell you that you can do something different with your life, but you can. Even if they tell you that you can’t, that is not true. You actually can. Your life belongs to you, and only to you, and you can make decisions different from anything anyone else plans for you.
This time of year can be a time of new beginnings for you.
Easter, to me, is full of new beginnings. Here in the USA, it is Spring – a time for new blossoms, new buds, new leaves, new grass, and baby animals are everywhere.
I know that it takes a whole lot of courage to do completely different things with your life, but doing something new can be the beginning of freedom. It can be something beautiful, and it can be something of your own making. It can be hard to change your life, but it can be wonderful and very much worth the effort it takes.
Instead of feeling trapped and weighed down by darkness, your life can be something you are happy about. You can be genuinely content and happy with the places you are going in your life. You can feel proud and pleased with your life.
If you are willing to do what it takes to make such big changes. Change can be scary, but you can do it. I know you can. Believe in yourself, and know that you are worth the effort.
So I wish you all a Happy Easter today.
If it’s not a Happy Easter just yet, have hope that one day, you too can have a happy day.
Copyright © 2008-2012 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
March 17, 2012
I don’t have any idea why this is the case, but this week, the Discussing Dissociation blog had it’s highest viewing day ever. Ever! Since the very beginning back in December 2008 ever! The highest number of viewers in a single day. This week.
Maybe Emma and Maizy are just that wonderful? They probably think they are. I think they are too, but even so… it surely can’t be just Emma and Maizy, lol. Or is it??!
Whatever it is, and why-ever it happened, I appreciate the readers of this blog. You’ve been a bright spot in my life, you’ve been encouraging and appreciative, and I thank you for the ways you all have had a positive influence on me.
My life has been in a huge transition in so many ways in 2011 and 2012, and as I’ve written before, sometimes I had connection with the internet, and sometimes not. Despite my inability to be consistently available to anyone or anything this past year – especially with my web people — the fact that the readers of this blog have continued to be here, and remained supportive, kind, and dedicated has truly been a blessing to my life.
I have all kinds of ideas, hopes, and dreams about where to go and what to do with this blog in future months / years. As per usual, I have far more creative ideas than I could ever accomplish in one lifetime, so we’ll see how many of my new ideas I actually get done. The point being, there is a lot of good ahead. That’s how I view life. No matter how many difficulties have happened in the past, there are so many positive and beautiful options ahead.
I know that the readers of Discussing Dissociation are not strangers to rough years, difficult times, intense pain, heartbreak, loss, grief, illness, conflict, and death. I know you all are more than familiar with the dark overbearing powers of the world, and the overwhelming heaviness of trauma, abuse, and cruelty. You all have seen more horrors than I can shake a stick at, and still you persevere, and grow, and heal, and progress in life.
THAT is amazing. Even Maizy thinks so.
So many of you are an inspiration to me. So many of you have been a shining light in the midst of the most horrible storms. You have an inner strength and beauty that cannot be squished or squashed or squelched no matter how much torment and evil you have seen.
THAT is an inspiration to me.
So thank you. Thank you for staying true to yourselves. Thank you for staying true to your healing. Thank you for staying invested in the good sides of life. And thank you for standing by me while I have been here, there, and everywhere. (My current bouncing schedule isn’t quite over yet, unfortunately, but I know that some things are resolving little bit by little bit.)
And thank you, again, for reading this blog.
You are very much appreciated.
Copyright © 2008-2012 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
January 29, 2011
I am glad that you have been enjoying the puppy pictures. The puppies are 8 weeks old now, and they have all been placed in their new homes. That has been a bittersweet experience, as I really quite enjoyed each of their little tender selves.
I thought I would share a few more puppy moments with you — I picked pictures where the puppies were doing things together.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we all had such good friends we could be this comfortable with?!
Armani and Vera are both such sweet little gals. Armani is the quieter, gentler one of the two, while Vera has a bit more courage to take on life’s challenges. They both like to be held and they were the first two insist on sleeping right here with me at the computer. And Vera talks! She and I would have rather lengthy girl-friendly conversations about all kinds of things, lol. One of us would start our little chat, and the other would say something back, and back and forth we’d go just chattering away. Such fun!
Diesel and Diamond are the two oldest of the litter. You might remembering seeing the two of these puppies back in December 2010 when they were just two days old. Haven’t they grown?!! In the picture of this week, they are each happily chewing small plant stems. It’s great that the puppies are sharing, but oh dear, what about those poor plants!
Diesel and Fiori must be sharing the same dreams! Aren’t they just the cutest, all perfectly matched like that, lol. So precious…
I am going to miss these little ones as they head off to their new homes and their happy new lives. As I get updated information, I’ll be sure to share with you all.
I hope you are having a good day!
Copyright © 2008-2011 Kathy Broady LCSW and Discussing Dissociation