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
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
March 14, 2009
To continue the previous post, here are five more life-lessons I’ve learned from my years working with those with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID/MPD).
By their life example, multiples have shown me:
6. Spiritual Strength even Under Persecution. Most survivors with DID and long-term severe abuse have had various religious / spiritual connotations mixed in with that abuse, creating a version of Spiritual Abuse and a variety of spiritual crises. Every trauma survivor handles these situations in his / her own way, and yet in my experience, most survivors have at least one or two insiders, if not a whole grouping of insiders or even their whole self, that develop a very strong spiritual life despite the trauma and its effects. Maybe these trauma survivors develop a strong spiritual life because of the trauma? My thought is that any survivors that have the personal strength to fight against the vileness perpetrators and horrific abuse have a deep spiritual reason to do so. How they portray that faith in later years of their life varies widely, but the point is still there: persecution and pain can strengthen and deepen spiritual beliefs. What a strong statement of faith!
7. The Ability to Overcome Adversity in Life. Dissociative trauma survivors have faced head-on some of the most difficult challenges in life. They have dealt with overwhelming pain, tragedy, heartbreak, betrayal, abandonment, and isolation. They have encountered some of the darkest trials and tribulations of life, even during their earliest , most vulnerable years. And yet, despite the effects of being attacked and consumed by wickedness, corruption, and depravity, so many of these dissociative survivors have gone on to have incredibly productive, successful lives as gentle, giving, compassionate, caring people. These are inspiring people with thousands of stories of courage and strength. They are true examples of resilience and over-coming the odds!
8. Joy, Happiness, and Fun-filled Laughter. I have been amazed at how many trauma survivors have maintained an incredible sense of humor and an appreciation of fun, good times, laughter, and joy even after being crushed by intense pain and horror so much of their lives. Maybe seeing so much heavy darkness has created a greater appreciation of light-hearted fun? Any which way, it speaks volumes to me that people who have been immersed in pain can and do continue to find humor, fun, and positive excitement in life. Having good times and finding ways to enjoy life have an elevated importance for these folks, and that makes a lot of sense to me. Laughter truly is the best medicine, and trauma survivors that can still laugh (in the good ways!) are genuinely inspirational.
9. The Pure Hearts of Children. Children have a natural joy and wonderment with life. Even though dissociative trauma survivors have had tragic childhoods destroyed by sadistic criminals, these trauma survivors typically split off a part of themselves that totally protected the purity of childhood innocence and beauty. Through dissociation, they were able to keep a part of themselves totally separated from darkness, evil, horror, pain, trauma, and abuse. That is amazing to me. It shows the importance of these childhood feelings and that even the worst viciousness of predators does not take this precious innocence away. This creative, incredible ability to maintain self protection is extraordinary.
10. Loving Others More than Yourself. Trauma survivors were typically forced to put their abusers’ needs ahead of themselves in a harmful, tragic, devastating ways. There is no doubt about the harm that happens to children when their own needs are ignored and neglected. However,many trauma survivors seem to turn this abusive extreme around. In a less abusive context, they maintain the awareness that others are as important as themselves, and they can be extremely compassionate and selfless towards other people. The examples of selfless generosity, giving, and caring can be awe-inspiring and genuine examples of how to love someone else.
In my opinion, trauma survivors that retain the ability to genuinely love and connect with others have risen above the worst effects of the abuse they suffered. Maintaining the ability to bond correctly with animals, and/or people, and/or spiritual powers despite the years of forced darkness and evil is truly amazing and inspirational.
Those of us fortunate enough to experience less trauma and abuse in our lives should take note. Trauma survivors can be incredible role models of what is truly important in life.
- Do you have the depth of character and strength to withstand a war against evil?
- Would you handle persecution and pain with as much grace and strength as DIDer’s do?
- Would you still be a good person even if you spent years of life being controlled by darkness?
I encourage everyone to look deeper than dysfunctional symptoms and mental illness. What can trauma survivors teach you about life?
What can you learn about the power of good over evil?
I see examples of that every single day in the trauma survivors that I know.
Kathy Broady LCSW