December 26, 2008
Posted in DID Education, DID/MPD, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Therapy Homework Ideas tagged Aching, Bell, Child, Children, Christmas, Christmas Light, Conflict, Cookie, Depression, DID / MPD, dissociative, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Family, Family Relationship, Festivities, Freedom, Gift, Good, Good Memories, Grief, Healing, Healthy, heartbreak, Hole in the Heart, Holiday, Holiday Memory, Inside Kid, Insider, Internal, Internal System, Jingle, Joy, Joy of Christmas, Kathy Broady, Kid, Listen, Listening, Little, Memories, Painful, Present, Remember, Smile, Special Occasion, Survivor, System, therapy, Therapy Homework, Trauma, Trauma Survvor, Traumatic, Treasure, Troubled at 7:29 pm by Kathy Broady
I hope you are all having a good holiday season…..
I had hoped to post these thoughts a couple days back, but unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance until now. And even though it’s the day after Christmas, I still want to approach the topic. I’m proposing that it’s not too late to make a difference this year.
In my experience, from listening through the years, holidays are typically very difficult times for dissociative trauma survivors. All too often, holidays are closely connected with painful memories, traumatic times, and troubled family relationships. Holidays tend to be filled with heartbreak, conflict, aloneness, exclusion, depression, grief, and that nagging aching awareness that things are not anywhere near close to ok.
Years after years of painful memories leave big holes in the hearts of many survivors…
Having a good Christmas holiday is a need unfulfilled – an experience unknown.
Because this is such a common area of tenderness, I am strongly encouraging you to do something different for yourself and your inner people. You can’t force or demand a change in your family members, or create fulfilling outside relationships for the holiday moments when those relationships haven’t already been there, but you can still make the holidays a good time – a memorable and special occasion for yourself and your internal system. As soon as you are able, find a time and a place of your own where you can do a variety of special things for yourself and your inner-ones. Be determined to make some good memories this year!
For example, did you do anything this month to make the holidays new or memorable or pleasantly surprising for your inner kid parts? Did your littles get to read any Christmas stories? Or watch any holiday festivities? Did anyone in your system get any presents? Do you know what kinds of things they might want if they were to get a gift? Most times, it doesn’t take much to bring a smile to their little tiny faces, and I can’t encourage you enough to do these things for them.
Even now, at this point in time in your life, you can take the time to do things for your internal kids to make up for what they may have missed through the years. And especially, if you are not living with people who safely interact with your littles, I’d bet that most of your inside kids didn’t get many treats this year. So those little insiders will probably be looking to you, the bigger ones in the system, to provide those kinds of new experiences.
For most of you, it’s only the day after Christmas. It’s really not too late. There are still Christmas decorations available in the stores (and now at clearance prices!). There are still cookies to bake, and little presents available everywhere. There are Christmas lights all around, and it still feels like Christmas. At least it does around here. And it can, for you too.
Take a few minutes to listen to your inside ones, and find out what they want for Christmas this year. Like all kids, some of their requests might be too big for you to realistically get for them.. But then again, maybe a small stuffie, or a home-baked cookie, or a pretty treasure from the dollar store would brighten their day. (Or, if you can see your internal worlds, you can give each other all kinds of things that way!)
Let the littles have a chance to make holiday gifts of appreciation for the others in your system. Little ones inside might want to give something to each other, or maybe they want to make something to give to some of the older ones as well. Encourage the ideas of giving, sharing, and being kind and generous with each other. These kinds of activities are great in terms of encouraging greater system cooperation and positive emotional connections with each other. Who doesn’t feel more kindly towards someone who shares a nice gift with them?
Encourage pleasant holiday experiences too. Maybe the littles or other people in your system can have a few private minutes to look at the neighbor’s Christmas lights, or to watch a TV show with a holiday theme. Maybe they would blossom at having the freedom to sing some of their favorite Christmas songs, or to jingle a bell. Ask them what they want to do, and if it’s at all possible, make it happen!
The point is this. Let your insiders experience some good things. Create a positive holiday experience for them this year. I’m convinced that a big part of the healing for survivors with dissociative identity disorder is giving your inside kids some of the healthy, life-enriching experiences they may have missed out on while growing up.
You don’t have to make a visible scene in front of anyone else – please be safety conscious and very wise about where you allow your kids to surface, especially in public. But, when you are in that safe and private place, let your kids experience some of the joys of Christmas first-hand. Do something for them, to bring a smile to their face. Let them have a good holiday memory of their very own this year.
Every child needs something good to remember.
What are your inside children gonna remember about this year?
Kathy Broady LCSW