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
November 28, 2009
It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in the US, and besides the wonderful traditional family meal and pleasant times with my kids, this time frame reminds me of something else.
Discussing Dissociation has been up and visible for nearly one year now. Yep, in a few days, it will be a year already!
Wow. Where has the time gone??!!!
There is truth to the saying that time flies, or is it because time flies when you’re having fun … or maybe I’m just getting older, lol.
Anyway, I’m being silly, but I do want to say today how much I appreciate all of you that have been readers here at this blog. The number of faithful, returning readers has been utterly amazing to me. If you look back through all the pages, you’ll see well over a thousand excellent comments from a wide variety of the readers. Wow! The input you all have made in this blog has brought it to life and given it a life-filled energy that I certainly couldn’t create on my own.
For the way each and every one of you have contributed to the positive, educational nature of this blog, I sincerely thank you. I truly appreciate your involvement, your thoughts, your comments, your questions. You’ve helped to make this little site a safe, comfortable community for dissociative trauma survivors. I think it’s a job well done, and once again, I do sincerely thank you for your part in this process. Writing a blog wouldn’t be nearly so fun without hearing comments from the readers! You all rock!
Many of you have questioned why I started this blog in the first place. The original reason is not as mysterious or worrisome as some of you may have thought. It’s a widely stated and highly recommended common practice for therapists to use blogs for marketing purposes. Marketing experts recommend to write what you know about, and to respond to the comments you receive. Blogs get quickly listed in search engines, and they are an easy, economical way for your target audience to get to know you, and to see what you do, and to become more familiar with the work that you do. It’s a simple as that. Check the blogosphere for blogs by therapists. You’ll see that most therapists write about their fields of work the same as I do.
I just happen to know about a very specialized topic – dissociative identity disorder. And my readers are a very distinct but wonderful population – dissociative trauma survivors or trauma therapists. (There aren’t very many of us out here — it’s no wonder that we are congregating together!) And yes, practically all of my blog articles have been very specific to DID, not that the topics couldn’t also apply to other populations, but the point of this blog is to “discuss dissociation” so I do tailor my articles to being about dissociative disorders, and the DID population. There’s no mystery there, lol. I think I’ve said that pretty upfront.
But something much bigger has been happening besides my having found a very effective marketing tool.
With all the positive sharing and support that has been created here, this blog has provided a deep sense of hope and healing for so many people. Having that absolute knowing that others are progressing along their healing journey as well, many survivors don’t have to feel so very alone. You might learn things from my articles, but you can also learn from each other, the same as I learn from you as well. It’s a wonderful circle of positive, helpful information, and that in itself is priceless.
Building a sense of safety, knowing you are not alone in your struggles, and learning from others who have been there too provide emotional foundations that so very crucial to healing and can augment your therapeutic process. Please remember, this blog is in no means a substitute for actual therapy, but it does provide a lot of educational support for survivors working on their own healing, or for therapists learning about working DID / MPD.
Again, you all have immensely helped to create that healing, informative atmosphere, and I am grateful for that.
We have to create and protect places of healing.
Even survivor-led blogs such as the truly incredible BTC blog have become targets for destruction by the “hazing / flaming / insaniacs” of the world. Do we really want the haters and gossipers to take over and ruin all the places of healing and support? How sad is this?!!
I know that you know there are predators and perpetrators out there in the world. For some of you, your abuse stopped years ago. For some of you, you are still smack dab in the middle of fighting your abusers. Some of you are being hassled and manipulated by internet predators (whether you know it or not), and some of you are safely away from any direct attack from anyone. No matter where you are in your life, there are abusers and predators out there in the world, (including those wolves in sheep’s clothing hiding within the dissociative population itself), so the importance of having safe retreats amongst all the danger and destruction is more important than you might realize.
Those of you that feel the loss of BTC’s blog can understand what I’m talking about. It’s a real shame that abusive people continue to ruin the good places and run off the good people. I think that is a tragedy. But it happens.
- Are you one that sits back quietly, doing nothing even though you see others destroying places of support?
- Do you believe the lies and negative gossip spread about helpers and healers?
- Are you so angry from your own abuse that you are willing to take that out on people who have helped you?
Surely the survivor population can see through the manipulations of abusers. You are adults now – you can start seeing through the tricks that are being played out there. Please remember to think for yourself the next time you hear some negative hogwash about someone who has dared to be a helper / healer. You can take a stand against that.
Complacency only allows abuse to continue.
Trauma survivors, I encourage you to ban together in protection of your valued and positive healing resources.
So many of you grew up without any safety or comfort or support. You learned to pull deep within yourself or to block out the world entirely. You survived it alone.
But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
Most of you are still learning about how important and helpful it is to have places of safe connection, genuine relationship, and gentle bonding. It may be scary to be around people, but building a positive, healing, trustworthy community is a way of overcoming the need to be isolated in order to avoid abuse.
Again, I challenge you to protect your places of healing. Protect those that are your helpers. Stand firm around your leaders that fight against abuse.
Don’t fall into the trap of complacency or destructive participation.
Your healing resources are depending on that.
Kathy Broady LCSW
Copyright © 2008-2010 Kathy Broady LCSW and Discussing Dissociation
March 4, 2009
The 2009 Crimes Against Women Conference in Dallas Texas this week has been quite interesting. I’ve picked out some “make you think” quotes from the conference to share with you all:
Over four million women are victims of a violent crime each year in the United States.
Female homicide victims are more than twice as likely to have been killed by husbands or boyfriends than male victims are to have been killed by wives or girlfriends.
Three women and one man are killed everyday in the USA from domestic violence.
One out of three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
From Casey Gwinn:
The most dangerous men in the world do not leave marks. The most experienced batterers are the ones that don’t leave marks, even with sexual abuse.
From Jim Tanner:
Sex Offenses are generally the SAME
- Secretive – they are done privately
- Abusive – there is denigration of the victim
- Manipulative – the offender exercises control
- Emotionless – the offender has no empathy
90% of the time, the victims know the offender.
From Jim Savage and Kristen Howell:
Women are more likely to be injured from domestic violence than by car wrecks, muggings, and rapes combined.
Help women stay safe from the most likely attacker: her partner.
The very skills that allowed a woman to survive the relationship are different than the skills needed to leave the relationship. …Help her develop a different skill set. She’s got the fortitude, we simply must equip her with a different skill set to move her through the stages of change.
Help her to understand the game – passive capitulation is key to survival, but it is a killer to her soul.
Women can protect themselves by not looking like an easy target. In a letter written shortly before his escape from the Glenwood Springs jail, Ted Bundy said, “I have known people who… radiate vulnerability. Their facial expressions say, “I am afraid of you.” These people invite abuse… By expecting to be hurt, do they subtly encourage it?”
Kathy Broady LCSW
February 6, 2009
To any dissociative trauma survivor weighing heavy in denial….
SO important for your years of survival….
SO very very crucial for maintaining your education, functionality, employment…
important, so very powerful…
covers up the amnesia
What time loss? Has anyone lost time?
covers up the pain
covers up the horror
covers up the hopelessness….
And yet denial,
as helpful and comforting as it was for so so so so so many years….
it keeps you stuck in those years… not knowing… not changing…
and yet, still at enormous risk for being hurt….
over and over and over again…
And the finding out what is on the other side of the denial…
well, that is so hugely painful…
usually proving exactly why you wanted that denial there in the first place.
And yet, if not knowing means you continue to be hurt, then is denial hurting more than helping?
Or what if not knowing means that you stay caught in a world where you are hurting others, then how is THAT helping you? Or them?
What if keeping your denial and not knowing means you have to stay split and even amnesiac in order to handle the different extremes in your life — where is the real peace of mind?
If you can’t stay present to see what your own self is doing, how is denial helpful?
If something is going on to THAT degree now while you are an adult, you really do need to know about it. Knowing is the first step of doing something about it.
Yes, it might be huge.
If denial has been there from day one… and you happen to be 20-30-40-50 years old… then just how MUCH has happened that you don’t know about? How much have you blocked? And when did you stop blocking whatever needed to be blocked?
What if you know nothing, due to the denial. That is like knowing 0-1%.
AND what if you have to learn at least 25% of the information in order to understand an inkling of what all has been going on in your life…
And what if you have to learn at least 50% of the information to start realizing that you might have some reality connection to it…
And what if you have to learn 60% of the information in order to make some system headway?
And what if you have to know 70% before you can take action about it on your own?
And what if you have to know 80% of the information before you feel like you are making genuine consistent headway?
Do you have any idea how MUCH information that is that has to surface from behind those darn denial walls?
So of course, you get caught and tangled in learning lots, and yet, initially not being able to do much about it. It’s all part of the process… to eventually learn how to do something about it. Just the knowing in and of itself is only one step of the healing process.
And then there is the system work, the sorting out the who’s and why’s your inside parts would be doing such different things from each other. Understanding the who’s and why’s of someone in your system has complete willingness to do something you find abhorrent…. How do you handle THAT?
It’s hard to know WHY that one over there would really really be willing to participate in such horrifying activities…. and NOW what? What do you do with a part that really appears to “like it” over there?
It takes a lot of work to get through denial. And for your life to truly be your own, you have to know everything that happened in your life.
I’m not talking about remembering every minute of time. At the moment, I’m not writing much about sorting through what others do to you….
Right now, I’m thinking more about what you do to you….
I mean … for your life to be yours… you need to know what you and your body and your mind is doing… basically at all times…
and to not ever not know what you did during your day (or night)
How can you ever be safe if you don’t know what you did or didn’t do?
These are some of my rambling thoughts about denial….
What are your thoughts?
Kathy Broady LCSW