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 29, 2012
*** This is a difficult post and it is meant for your older parts. Please note — it could be triggering to many within your system. Please check this article with your internal leaders before letting your littles or sensitive ones read any further. Thanks, Kathy. ***
Recently, I witnessed a fight between some wild animals that was particularly upsetting to see. There is no need to go into great detail about the actual situation. I can speak about it in sweeping statements and you will get more than enough picture of the situation from there.
The long and the short of it was that a rather large group of critters (yes, they were birds) were picking on one particular bird to the point that it appeared that it could be a fatal situation for the one very unfortunate bird. Talk about outnumbered! It was just really really not ok to hear or see. It was particularly disturbing and very upsetting.
At first I wondered about what to do – somewhat fearing for my own safety if I got involved – but I really was not comfortable not interrupting the attack in some way, somehow. I hesitated for a brief while, knowing that Mother Nature and wild animals do what they do and wondering if maybe I should just respect that. But I could hear it and I could see it, and I just couldn’t not do anything. It was just too upsetting to not act somehow.
So I darted across the street, running in the direction of the mob of birds. I didn’t know what I would do when I got there, I just knew I had to do something.
Lucky for me, my running at them was more than enough to disturb the birds and interrupt their horrible attack. All the birds, including the one being picked on, flew away and left the area in a big hurry.
I mean really, thank goodness.
I was so relieved that the ordeal was at least over for that moment. I knew the group of birds could attack the injured bird again, another time, and in another place, but I was so very thankful that it had at least been stopped at that time. I could at least hope that I had stopped it completely.
There was no way of me knowing how injured the victim bird was since he flew off and away when everyone else did. I can only hope that I interfered quickly enough that he didn’t get very badly hurt.
I’ve been watching for an injured bird, but I haven’t seen one. I don’t know if that is good news or not. And I don’t know what injured birds do when they are hurt, so I don’t know if I would see one or not. I don’t know whether to be relieved, or whether to worry more. I just don’t have the answers to this situation.
But boy, oh boy, was this an emotional situation for me. I found the whole experience to be incredibly upsetting. I was tearful. I was afraid. I was worried. I was brave. I had all kinds of emotions going on throughout the whole day.
And again, the parallels of this situation to the lives of dissociative trauma survivors are many and layered.
First of all, I think that nearly every DID survivor that I have spoken to has told me of horrific situations where they were the one targeted victim being attacked by a group of perpetrators. Even if there was only one main perpetrator, there were other people around, watching and / or supporting the perpetrator and not helping the person being hurt.
This is just soooooo not ok.
It is just so wrong for groups of anyone to gang up against one person, purposefully hurting them, doing terrible things to them.
It can be just as wrong for anyone to witness such crimes and to not step in and help the person(s) being hurt. Granted, this is very much a gray area since there are a number of complicated factors involved when it comes to interrupting and stopping violence. At this point, my comments are directed specifically towards those who really could have the ability to stop or interfere with the abuse, and simply choose not to.
I can’t even come up with enough words to describe how wrong these things are.
I couldn’t tolerate watching a bird being injured. How on earth do perpetrators tolerate watching a person getting hurt, especially a little person?
I just don’t understand that.
Not one tiny bit do I understand that.
*** Please note – in these comments, I am not referring to the situations where someone is forced to perpetrate when they don’t want to. There is a kind of victimization / abuse where dominant perpetrator abusers force others in a less powerful position to do abusive acts to others. I call this situation victimization by perpetration. Most DID survivors have experienced this situation too, and please know, that my comments today are not in reference to those very difficult and equally horrible situations. ***
I am talking about the abuser types that are truly sadistic and hurtful, completely by choice. I’m referring to situations where the perpetrator does not have to hurt anyone, but they simply want to and choose to because they like it and enjoy it.
THAT is what I don’t understand.
What does it take in someone to be truly sadistic? How does this happen? How can those abusive violent people live with themselves? Where is their compassion? Why do they have no compassion or kindness?
I know there are intellectual answers to those questions, but my thoughts are based on more of an emotional and spiritual level.
I just don’t get it.
Copyright © 2008-2012 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
January 13, 2012
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2011. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 5 days for that many people to see it.
January 10, 2012
I do have some short little stories I would like to share that are on the fun side.
Animals have always been very important to me, and for most years of my life, I have had a variety of pets – lots of cats, dogs, horses – and when I was little I had a pet raccoon called Petunia, a pet pig called Snorkie, and a pet calf called Grassyhopper. I would be writing for a very long time if I started through the list of critters that have been my best friends through all the years!
This year I made some brand new critter-buddies — I met a tiding of magpies. (Tiding… hmmm, that’s a very odd word. It reminds me of tidy, and believe me, magpies are not exactly tidy!!!) Magpies – to me – are a group of birds that are now affectionately known as Maggies, or Maggie Babies, or Baby Pies, or simply just “Pie”!!
I’ve not had much to do with birds prior to this year, so meeting and enjoying birds has been a fun, new adventure for me. My maggie babies have been a nice surprise. I didn’t know that birds had as much personality as they do!
Maggies look very similar to each other, and even though I have the incredible experience of having a close personal look at as many as 16 birds surrounding me within arm’s reach at a single time, it’s still hard to tell them apart. However, I have been able to distinguish a few of them from each other. Today, I want to introduce you to one of them – a small little maggie girl named Walks Inside.
Walks Inside distinguished herself by her willingness to walk right inside the balcony door. The other maggies stayed grouped together out on the balcony, singing their greetings from the sunny outdoors, but little Walks Inside preferred to walk right inside the house, having a little peek here and there all by herself. Her trusting nature seemed odd, but I welcomed her friendliness. She liked to eat her treats at least twice a day, she definitely preferred being hand-fed, and I fancied believing that she enjoyed the individual attention she got by visiting me all on her own.
One day, Walks Inside was walking different. Actually, she was limping, or more accurately, she was painfully hopping on one foot, barely walking at all. Somehow, somewhere, she had gotten her delicate left foot tangled and wrapped in loops and loops of fishing line. She clearly had been pulling and tugging and pulling and tugging at the unbreakable line with absolutely no success at freeing herself from its ever tightening hold. From a distance, I watched her peck and pull at the line, clearly confused and struggling.
The amount of looping line around her foot made this a very dangerous and life-threatening situation for little Walks Inside. She could have easily got the loops caught in trees or bushes or on any other jagged, hooking edge. If that happened, she would be stuck there, like a small feathered prisoner, unable to fly away from danger unless she was found and assisted with regaining her freedom.
Once I became aware of this predicament, I watched especially closely for Walks Inside. Many times, everyday I looked to see her. I was worried for her and I wanted to make sure she was still ok.
My friend and I knew that something had to be done before Walks Inside got caught somewhere, or before she lost her foot, and before any other tragic end would come to her beautiful little self. We thought and thought, and finally made a plan.
It took several tries and re-thinking of our process for our plan to work. Since Walks Inside already knew how to make herself at home by walking right inside the house, I purposefully gave her treats to invite her even further and further inside the house. I wanted her to come inside far enough that we could gently shut the door behind her, and then work on plan B – somehow catching her so I could carefully remove the line from her foot.
Walks Inside had been happy to eat treats from my hand in the kitchen, but she really wasn’t so sure about those moving doors! She would quickly hop and fly away when the doors misbehaved to her disliking. Apparently, Walks Inside didn’t have any intentions of being a long-term houseguest!
But we knew we needed to catch her inside if we were going to be able to help her, so we tried again, and again.
Eventually we did it! Once she was inside, she tried to fly out a window, and my friend was able to catch her gently with a towel. We made sure she was sitting comfortably within her towel, and my friend held her in one place while I worked at freeing her little tiny leg from the layers of fishing line.
Little Walks Inside was amazingly calm during all this. I expected she would be fearful, and upset, and that she would try to fly away, but she did not show any of that. She sat calmly, snuggled in her towel, looked right at me, and acted like getting a pedicure (a birdie-cure? Or a pedi-claw?) was an everyday event for a bird.
The fishing line was truly wrapped and knotted and looped and layered all along her left leg. She was getting wounds already, and it was blaringly obvious that little Walks Inside would have never ever be able to tug the line off by herself.
It seemed like forever, but it probably took a solid 10-15 minutes to ever-so-carefully remove all the bits of the clear, nearly invisible fishing line tangled around all the claws of her feet and to pull it out of the wrinkled skin of her tiny little bird legs. Walks Inside was very patient. She seemed to know we were helping her and not bringing her harm.
Finally — success! All the bits of fishing line had dropped to the floor and her foot and leg were totally free and clear of any trouble. As quickly as possible, we took her back out to the balcony so she could fly off on her own and enjoy her newly reclaimed freedom.
I worried that the ordeal may have scared her so much that I wouldn’t see her again, but in less than 15 minutes, she was back on the balcony, saying hello again, happily snatching another treat from my hand. She was still limping with her sore foot, and holding it tucked up close to her tummy, but she was able to ever so gingerly stand on it with the toes of her foot stretched out properly instead of being all caught up in a tangled ball of fishing line.
Again I watched for her, and over the next few days, Walks Inside limped and favored her foot, but she was clearly getting better and better, and healing up well.
Now none of the maggie birds that visit me have a limp. The word of easy pickings for bird treats has apparently spread around the neighborhood and several of my pies have also learned to walk inside the house. It is fun, seeing a little community develop. I actually have quite a few maggie stories that I could share!
But what is the moral of this story for dissociative trauma survivors?
To me, it is a story of courage, and having a willingness to trust. It is a story of a brave little bird who risked letting someone very different from her help her with her wounds. It is a story of appreciation and gratitude because little Walks Inside came back again and again, bringing joy and happiness with each of her visits. It is a story of survival and a willingness to live, even when facing life-threatening situations. It is the story of how a tiny little bird can have such a beautiful impact on people’s lives.
We can learn a lot from maggies!
Copyright © 2008-2012 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
December 21, 2010
Well…. it’s December 21, 2010. Although the weather here in Dallas was nearly 80 degrees Fahrenheit today, this is the official first day of winter. It’s the Winter Solstice and on top of that, last night was the lunar eclipse. Did anyone see that? If you can actually enjoy the moon, it was pretty cool to see.
However, late last night while I was standing alone outside, quietly looking at the lunar eclipse, I could appreciate the beauty with my eyes, but my heart was feeling a sadness and heaviness for the other things that were happening in other parts of the world.
Winter Solstice represents a day of darkness that is full of trauma for too many dissociative trauma survivors. The night was far too scary, far too difficult, far too dark, far too long.
Many of you know what I am speaking of and I don’t have to go into the gory details for you to know the pain and anguish you have probably already been feeling all day.
If this kind of history applies to you, I am sorry that you had to experience such horrible atrocities in your lifetime. I can promise you it was not right nor good nor ok that you were required to participate in such darkness.
I wish the world was not so dark.
I wish that evil didn’t have such a hold on so many people.
I wish that kindness and gentleness could win all wars.
I wish those creeps that enjoy inflicting pain would inflict it on themselves, and leave the rest of us alone.
I wish it was just an ordinary night for you, and not a night of darkness.
I am sorry that you were hurt.
I wish they had never ever showed you any of their darkness.
I hope that you find freedom, safety and a lifetime of distance from their darkness.
Kathy Broady LCSW
Copyright © 2008-2010 Kathy Broady LCSW 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