November 28, 2010
It has been Thanksgiving week here in the USA.
Thanksgiving is the time to be thankful for what we have, for the people in our lives, for the food and shelter that we have, and for the lives we have had. It is meant to be a good holiday, with time to relax, watch the Macy’s Day parade, cheer for our favorite football team, have an incredible meal, go to movies, chatter with close friends and family, enjoy freedom and all the goodness of life.
Thanksgiving is usually a good day.
But the world is a cruel place.
And for many people, there is a lot that has happened that has been anything but good, or pretty, or wonderful.
Too many people are struggling. Depression dominates. Darkness permeates too much.
Too often, the world is a vicious place.
There are sadistic abusers that hurt and devastate children in every country of the world.
There are thousands of destructive diseases, starving children, destroyed families, broken spirits, and wounded souls meandering around in our world. There are far too many wars, polluted lands, toxic waters, drug overdoses, and homeless people.
The world is not a pretty place.
There is ugliness and coldness splattered everywhere.
It is difficult to find a good faithful friend.
It is difficult to find loyal, trustworthy people who won’t betray you or leave you.
It is difficult to find people who care or express compassion or gentleness or have time to listen.
It is difficult to find someone to love that equally and freely loves you back.
All too many people feel alone, heart-broken, saddened, and hurt to the very depths of their core.
Others are embattled in wars against the injustices of the world or trapped in chronic poverty.
Having a life filled with trauma and abuse both destroys and deepens the survivors of violence. Trauma and abuse makes people find ways to cope that are beyond what anyone else can comprehend. But trauma and abuse also leave scars that last for a lifetime.
With all the darkness in the world, what is there to be thankful for?
What is there to appreciate or to enjoy?
Some days it’s just not so easy to find those good things.
Even though it feels like it, everything was not taken from you.
What is it that you hang on to?
Where can you go in your mind that takes you to your very own place of happiness and safety?
Where do you find beauty?
What brings a smile to your face and warms your soul?
What gives you a feeling of peace, and security, and solidity?
When you see an incredible sunset or a fascinating unique cloud formation, what do you think?
When you smell honeysuckle blossoms or newly opened roses, what do you feel?
When a butterfly sits on your finger or when a baby bunny hops in front of you or you hold sleeping baby puppies, what do you feel?
What do you feel when you hear a song that reaches your soul? Do you prefer instrumental music? Or do you prefer to listen to the words of your favorite singer? Do the rhythms of your favorite songs create an aliveness within your spirit that makes you want to dance?
Finding your own sparkle moments will help to remember that life can be good, and that life can be appreciated, and that there are things to be thankful for. Is life perfect? Oh, absolutely not. Certainly not for the people who have been the targets of sadistic abusers and manipulative con artists. Life is far far far from perfect when you’ve been thrown around and beat up in tumultuous storms.
But there are still a few good things out there – those places that hold beauty and joy — that can never be taken away.
Hold on to your inner self – your soul, your spirit. The world can stomp hard on those places, but protect yourself best you can. Others out in the world may not understand why or how you are doing this, but it is up to you to protect yourself from harm in any way that you can until you feel safe enough to not have to. Don’t forget — even in times of tight rigid self-protection, you can find sparkle and joy and warmth – but once you shut others out of your world, it definitely will be up to you to do that for yourself.
Create moments every day that bring that a hint of joy to mind. You don’t’ have to be jumping up and down with joy to feel joy. A little spark of joy is a good start.
Create something – anything. Creating is the opposite of dying so when you create something, you are adding to the value of your life. Creating something new is a way of creating life itself. Write a story, compose a song, choreograph a dance, cook a new dish, draw a picture, paint a painting, make some jewelry, plant a garden, sing a jingle, organize a pile of clutter, sew a shirt, embroider a design, build a bookshelf, make a guitar, clean a mess, re-style your hair, paint your nails, carve a bar of soap, bake some bread, etc.
When you can, adventure out of your protective walls and find something outside of your home that creates a sparkle moment for you. Take an adventure walk around your neighborhood – can you find anything at all that brings a smile to your face? Ever so carefully, gently interact with others out in your neighborhood, local stores or churches. Gradually, by finding places that can give you joy when you are outside of your home, you will remember that the world is not all bad.
Even when it feels like you have lost everything and everyone, you can find something to be thankful for if you stay alive in your spirit and soul. Many trauma survivors feel that their soul has died or taken from them, but I am willing to bet that it has not. It might be well hidden and covered up, but it is there. You may very well need to nurture it back to life, but you can do that with the things that create those sparkle moments.
Make it a goal to find something to be grateful for everyday.
Find the beauty out there in your world. Search for things you can appreciate.
Depression and darkness do not have to dominate anymore.
Your ability to feel thankful and to have gratitude will help to change your life back towards the positive, one sparkle moment at a time.
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
May 9, 2009
For dissociative trauma survivors, Mother’s Day is often a painful time.
For survivors with dissociative identity disorder, mother issues are usually complex and difficult to sort out. Momma-trauma comes in a variety of forms.
For some survivors, their mothers were simply not there to protect them from the violent abuse of the father or other sadistic family members. These mothers were away at work, or away at the hospital, or too ill to tend properly to their children, or divorced from the fathers and living in separate homes, etc. Many of these mothers love their kids dearly, but still were unable to protect their children from trauma and abuse. Most of these mothers are not to blame for the abuse – many of them are absolutely horrified and deeply furious to find out, years later, how much abuse their children went through, and their feelings of guilt and shame are huge and overwhelming. None the less, their inability to protect their children creates mixed feelings for those children.
For some survivors, their mothers were too blind or too lost in their own denial to be willing and able to protect their children from abuse. These mothers do have some responsibility for their role in not protecting their children. These are the mothers that were in the home, and could have been instrumental and helpful for the protection of their children, but out of their own fear, denial or dissociation, refused to look, and refused to protect. These mothers let their own fear be bigger than their willingness to protect their children. These mothers may not have been directly used as accomplices, but their fears and unwillingness to protect would have most certainly been taken advantage of by the abusers.
For other survivors, their mothers were the abusers. These mothers were absolutely in the room at the time of the abuse, they caused physical pain, they did inappropriate sexual touch, and they played mind games on their children. These mothers are every bit as much a perpetrator as any other criminal.
So every year when Mother’s Day rolls around, it is difficult for survivors who grew up with mothers like that. It hurts. It’s confusing. The pain of what was longed for, but never given pierces the heart. The agony of wishing the mother had been willing to do something helpful grows cold out of the slow but torturous and accurate realization that the mother adamantly preferred apathy or self-protection over her children’s safety and welfare.
The heart-wrenching pain caused by an unattentive or abusing mother carries on for decades. The wounds do not heal quickly or easily. The hurt is felt for years and years.
It’s not right for mothers to cause such harm to their children. Those mothers are a disgrace. They are criminal. They are not “mothers”.
- Real mothers are good mothers that firmly protect their children from abuse, as much as that is humanly possible.
- Real mothers are good mothers who fight to get quality help and genuine safety for their children when someone else hurts their children.
- Real mothers are good mothers who do not complacently overlook or ignore the needs of their children.
- Real mothers are good mothers that put the needs of their young children over their own.
- Real mothers are good mothers that tend to the daily needs of their young children, and adjust with the various changes needed as their children get older.
- Real mothers are good mothers that work hard at being loyal, caring, kind, compassionate, loving, and giving to their children, forever and for always.
What kind of mother are you to your children?
If you are a trauma survivor…
- What kind of mother did you have?
- What affect has your mother had on your life?
- How did your mother fight to protect you?
- How did your mother contribute to your abuse?
- What thoughts and feelings do you have now, all these years later?
- What do you wish you could say to your mother, but couldn’t / wouldn’t say to her in real life?
Mothers and Mother’s Day.
So painful for so many people…..
Kathy Broady LCSW