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
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
April 3, 2010
This is Easter weekend.
For DID trauma survivors with a ritual abuse (RA) background, this is a very difficult weekend, full of difficult memories, painful emotions, and system conflicts.
*** I’m going to speak of some of the horrors of ritual abuse – here is your trigger warning – for those of you that need one of those. ***
With ritual abuse, anything that represented something positive in the Christian faith would have been turned into something dangerous and harmful in the dark worlds. The good would have been twisted into evil. The light would have been made dark. Distortions, perversions, confusion, pain, violence, and chaos would have been celebrated.
Opposites are taught – white becomes black. The day-world church is very distinctly different and opposite from the night-world church.
Children should never ever be exposed to the level of sadistic violence that occurs in ritualistic ceremonies. It is wrong for this to happen.
Children should never ever be forced to participate in the outrageous activities and horrendous practices of the dark night ritualistic world. It is wrong for this to happen.
If you were forced to participate in sadistic ritualistic activities, my heart goes out to you. You’ve seen some of the worst of the worst that happens in this world. It is not ok that anyone hurt you like that.
If you were ritually abused, you would have been painfully traumatized, emotionally tortured, sexually assaulted, and physically beaten. These are horrible crimes. It was wrong for anyone to do this to you. It was wrong if your parents did this to you. It was wrong if strangers did this to you. It was wrong if friends or neighbors did this to you. It is wrong, criminally wrong, for any and all children to be forced to participate in these kinds of activities in any way, shape, or form.
You did not deserve that kind of treatment. (Don’t believe lies that say otherwise.)
You were not born to live in the darkness. (Don’t believe lies that say otherwise.)
You were not destined to belong to evil. (Don’t believe lies that say otherwise.)
You are not the child of Satan. (Don’t believe lies that say otherwise.)
You do not have to live your life chained to this darkness. (Don’t believe lies that say otherwise.)
It is ok and important to get healing from any kind of ritualistic abuse that has happened in your life. RA is gory and violent, it’s controlling and demanding, it’s hateful and sadistic, but it does not have to define who you are. You do not have to stay connected to anyone or anything that pushes you into that direction.
You can separate from those people, places, organizations, and become your own true, genuine self.
You can make your own decisions for what you believe in, and for what kind of life you want to have. You don’t have to be involved in a RA lifestyle if you don’t want to. You don’t have to go to any more RA gatherings, and you don’t have to be one of them.
Your abusers would have told you otherwise, but now that you are an adult, you can decide for yourself. You can think on your own, and you don’t have to be bullied any more.
You can be your own self, with your own life. You can develop your own values, beliefs, and preferences. You don’t have to like the things you were told to like – you can decide for yourself what it is that you like. You don’t have to want the things you were told to want – you can decide that for yourself as well.
You don’t have to be one of them. You can have a life full of kindness, gentleness, compassion, empathy instead. You don’t have to prefer violence and hatred. You can be different from that.
If you have dissociative identity disorder (DID / MPD), be sure to let the parts who were ritually abused to experience some of the more positive things in your life. They might initially say they aren’t interested (I’m guessing they were taught to say that), but if you encourage them to experience some of the positive things in your life, you can help to bring healing to them too. Don’t leave them stuck in their traumatic history – help them to heal and to have a chance to live in a safe, positive, warm place.
All the parts of you can heal from the atrocities of ritual abuse.
But for that to happen, you will need to be willing to introduce the light of the day-world to those parts that were split off into the world of darkness. Invite them to actively participate in your day-world. Let them have a cup of coffee or your favorite soda. Let them sit outside in the sun. Let them listen to some of your favorite music, or watch television, or walk the dogs in the park. Let the have a turn at your favorite computer game, and to nibble on your favorite treats and munchies. The dark-side parts will need to experience some of what your world is like in order to understand how it can be better for them. Be gentle with them. Slowly show them the things that you like.
It might feel scary to interact with these parts, but keeping them separated from you only keeps them stuck in the darkness they have known. With the help of your therapist, let those parts become more connected to your personal worlds where they can learn about kindness, gentleness, peace of mind, etc. Build up your courage and ability to listen to them. Comfort them from the hurts they have experienced. Help them to get out of those places that have been so violent.
Separate yourself from anyone in the outside world that wants you to stay in the darkness. Firmly reclaim all your insiders as parts of you that belong with you, and not to anyone else. Work very hard to not leave any of your parts left stuck in such violence. Have the courage to pull them all out into a life of safety.
Your whole system can have the life that you want. Don’t let any of them stay stuck in the yuck of the past.
Let them experience the goodness and joy that can be part of Easter.
Kathy Broady LCSW
Copyright © 2008-2010 Kathy Broady LCSW and Discussing Dissociation
April 12, 2009
Do you remember the DiscussingDissociation article from December 2008 called “Holidays for DID Trauma Survivors… Making it Nice for the Littles”?
If you have not yet read that article, please check it out. It was written in reference to holidays during the Christmas season, but the points are still very much applicable today on Easter, and during Passover.
We have seen the numerous comments from people about how the Spring time holidays are difficult, painful, emotionally challenging, etc. I have been listening to dissociative trauma survivors for many years, and that is a consistent theme for survivors with DID/MPD.
While you cannot change the past, you can make a few things happen that will help you to feel better in the present.
At some point that works for you — don’t put this off forever! – do the memory work that is connected to the pain you feel about the Easter / Spring time holidays. Find the ones inside that have those horrible memories, listen to what happened to them, look at whatever images they need you to see to understand, address their concerns, and help to move them forward to the here and now.
Remember, as long as your internal parts stay stuck in time, and are internally locked in the past, they will continue to re-live and re-live and re-live those memories.
For survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder, memory work also includes doing internal system work and making changes in your internal landscapes. Read the January 2009 articles, “Using the Internal Landscape to Increase Internal Communication” and “When It’s Dark and Scary on the Inside…” as guidelines for working with trauma memories.
Also, since many trauma memories are related to or contained by child parts, it is also important to refresh your memory on how to work with child parts. Have a glance back at “Thinking Ahead – Preparation for Working with your Child Parts” and “Understanding the Child Parts in the Dissociative System”.
Working with the child parts that hold the painful trauma memories, and helping them to find ways to reconnect with the here and now, both internally and externally, is crucial in your healing process. If you are still hurting today, and your trauma happened years ago, a great deal of that pain you feel is coming from the child parts that experienced the pain and abuse in real life.
Don’t avoid those little ones just because they are hurting.
That’s not going to help. It’s not going to help you feel better, and it’s certainly not going to help those little ones feel better. It’s not ok to repeat the patterns of neglect and avoidance that you might have seen from your own parental caregivers while growing up.
Be courageous as best you can, and do some kind things to help your child parts to heal.
Find ways to give something positive and fun to your child parts today.
Give them a piece of Easter candy, especially if they have never had the chance to have safe, and yummy “real” and actual candy before.
Let them have a picture of a little duck or a baby chick and spend a few minutes coloring or drawing a pretty spring picture, with fresh grass, safe flowers, colorful blossoms, etc.
Play a few fun games (not hurting games) with Easter eggs or colored toys.
Let them sing some favorite spiritual songs or say some prayers today.
Let them do anything that is fun for them, something that does not get to happen just any day, ie: watching a favorite show on tv, having their favorite snacks, etc.
It doesn’t actually matter what you do with your kid parts as long as you do something nice, memorable, and positive for them, with them.
Give your kids a pleasant, positive memory today. Let something good become part of their life experience. The more you build something positive for their lives, the sooner your negative memories can be less enormous in proportion.
What good times are you going to have today?
Kathy Broady LCSW
April 10, 2009
For many dissociative trauma survivors, various holidays and times of year are more difficult than other days. Some survivors may know they typically have a difficult time at the change of seasons, or when Easter-time comes, for example, but they may not have the memories or internal information to understand why they consistently have a difficult time at that time of year.
- Are you struggling more now that Easter is here?
- Does Good Friday have any specific meaning for you?
- Does Passover have specific meaning for you?
- Do you consistently have trouble with functioning at this time of year?
- Do you remember anything that would make this hard time make sense?
When survivors with DID/MPD are sitting on unprocessed memories and their system is separated by strong dissociative walls, the host of the system may have absolutely no awareness of why certain times of year are more difficult than others. The host might know that there are consistently difficult times. They might have an acute awareness that they “hate this time of year” but they still might not have an answer for “why” certain times of year are more difficult than others. Host alters, fronts of the dissociative system, can be aware of the side effects of having a hard time, but still not have any explanation for what it’s about.
- Do you find yourself switching more than usual?
- Are you missing more time, even in small chunks? What about in big chunks?
- Are you experiencing more headaches, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, flashbacks?
- Are you seeing flashes of images, or fleeting snippets of pictures that don’t quite make sense?
- Do you feel unsettled or jittery?
- Do you feel confusion and time distortion, as if it is another time than 2009?
- Are you extra sensitive to certain smells, sounds, lights, and movements?
- Is there more noise, commotion, chaos, and activity coming from deep within your system?
- Do you feel not quite like yourself, as if there are others standing nearby to you, affecting you?
- Do you feel more suicidal or more vulnerable to self-injury, self-harm, and self-destruction?
If you are experiencing these type of symptoms, and yet have no answer for why these things are happening, you really can do something to help solve the mystery.
Any guesses for what to do?
Do you want to know why you are having such a difficult time?
My answer to that is to ask inside. Listen to what your insiders are telling you. There will be someone inside your system that knows why this time of year is so difficult. You might have insiders that have been particularly split off to handle situations from this time of year, so if you can find who that is, you will get some answers for what is going on.
Frequently, my interpretation of the above listed symptoms is that the dissociative walls – amnesiac walls — that previously blocked you completely from an awareness of what happened, is now starting to crumble. What was once kept from you, is now starting to seep into your awareness. For whatever reason, the dissociative wall is starting to weaken, and you are getting bits of information passed to you from others deeper within your system. Maybe they want you to know? Maybe they need your help? Maybe they are ready to begin sharing their story with you?
- Are you willing to help the others in your system that have experienced such difficult times?
- Are you going to turn your back on those ones in your system that are hurting and struggling?
- Are you going to continue to deny their existence because their life story is so completely different than yours?
- Are you determined to strengthen your dissociative walls? Or are you willing to lower those dissociative walls?
Understanding your life, your symptoms, your history, your struggles, etc all go back to having good internal communication. As you talk to your inside people, and ask them what THEY know about what is going on, you will get the answers you are looking for.
Someone inside will know why this time of year is difficult.
Someone inside will be able to explain what those flashbacks and picture flashes are about.
Someone inside will know why you are so sensitive to certain smells, sounds, movements, voices, etc.
The majority of the answers for why you are struggling are contained within yourself, within your internal system. Talking to the people in your system that are on the other side of the dissociative wall will give you a ton of answers to what is happening. Whether you are willing to listen to them or not, or believe them or not, is a totally different issue, but if you want to know why you are struggling, you can find out.
Lots of times, it will be because certain insiders are struggling, and their depression, or their fear, or their anxiety, or their panic, or their PTSD flashbacks will be overflowing onto you.
If you are not sure why you are having a hard time at this holiday season, look inside to find the part / parts of you that have direct knowledge of those hard times, and go from there.
You can do it.
If your insiders are brave enough to start telling you about their struggles, be brave enough to listen to them.
Kathy Broady LCSW