May 13, 2012
Mother’s Day 2012.
It’s Mother’s Day.
A difficult topic.
A difficult day.
Often a day of loss and grieving.
A day that many dissociative survivors don’t want to think about.
If only…. If only, if only…..
I’ve been thinking about these things all week, knowing I would / should write something about mothers. Hmmmmm…. I wasn’t sure which angle to talk about….
Then I thought about something that has been happening around here each day.
I’ve been watching some birds again. For several weeks now, I’ve been able to see a very dedicated momma lark and a equally dedicated daddy lark tenderly care for their little three baby birds. This little bird family has sparked great interest, curiosity, and hours of entertainment.
This little fearthery family tucked their home deep within some very leafy trees across the street from me. I just had to go over there to see if I could find it! Their nest, not at all visible unless you meander directly under their tree with the grouping of many of trees, was cleverly built where it stayed the most protected from the cold blowing winds, where it would stay dry during the drenching rain storms, and where it would stay shaded from the heat of the day. I was impressed! The little babies, while having to brave the uncomfortable changes in weather, were clearly as protected as little birdie babies could be. Well done, momma bird!
To my delight, I have been able to see and admire their very busy lives. All day long, the parent birds have been flying all over the neighborhood, searching for food to bring back to their babies. All day long, the baby birds have been running around in the grass, chasing their parents around, looking for tasty treats to eat. And when I say all day long, I literally mean, all day long. From sun up to sun down, someone in this little lark family was searching for food for the babies.
And noisy! These young babies are loud little sqawkers! I was just sure all that racket was coming from a big ol’ crow, or some other big bird, but when I paid closer attention, to my complete surprise, that noise was coming from those little baby birds. My goodness! Noisy little flappers! They are the loudest larks I’ve ever heard!
For the longest time, the baby birds just ran around like little speedy zingers in the grass – ding ding ding ding zing zing zing – running really fast, but just running. Last week, I saw them actually fly up towards their favorite trees. That was exciting. The babies could fly!
I could still see the momma and the daddy bird fly back and forth, searching for food for their babies, delivering it back to them. Once I realized the lark parents were feeding a family, I started leaving more food out for them. I love my maggies, of course, but now I tried, in particular, to be sure the Larks had food to take to their babies any time they happened to show up on my front door.
These birds were smart. If I tossed out a piece of cheese to the momma, she would immediately pick it up, grab it in her beak however she could, fly across the street to the babies, and disperse it to her little ones from there. Then she would fly right back to my side of the street – to the exact same spot where she got her cheese – and wait there for me to toss another one down. And the routine continued. It seems like hundreds of hunks of cheese have been flown over my street. Along with bits of bread, little tiny pieces of meat, and whatever seeds she selected from the bird seed pile. Clever momma!
Feeding these babies has been a lot of work! Their momma has been so dedicated to them. She hasn’t rested one little bit.
Then another milestone happened. This past week, the little baby birds were actually allowed to fly across the street too! Momma and Daddy Lark have been trying to show the babies where to find their own food, Instead of feeding them beak to beak, they have been encouraging the babies to pick the food up from the ground themselves.
You would think this would be an obvious thing for the babies to figure out. But no. Not at all. Those three silly baby birds still run around behind their momma just squawking and screeching, wanting their momma to beak-feed them. Bless her heart. She’s showing them how to pick up their food. She knows they need to learn these skills for their survival. They can’t live on home-delivery forever!
On top of that, Momma Lark had to show her babies how to find their food, how to keep their food, and how to eat it safely away from the other birds that would fight them for that same exact bite of food.
I have to admit, my maggies have not been very nice to these little baby larks! My maggies are just sure they are the most important birds around here, and they are the only ones deserving of food from this house. They have not been very keen on sharing, that’s for sure! I have to make sure the maggies have plenty of food too (and they do, believe me!). The timing of feeding the little lark babies is becoming a fine art.
And those huge crows! They are the worst. They’ll steal food from anyone, even chasing and terrorizing the small birds in the air, following them around and around through the trees until they steal the food right from their beaks, or until the smaller birds drop the food for the crows to pick up. Those mean crows. I don’t like them very much.
Momma Lark has a lot to teach her little ones. It’s been tense, and scary on several occasions. Those little babies were clearly going to have to learn how to fight for their own survival. After several days of these “how to safely pick up your own food with your own beak” lessons, I think maybe, just maybe, a few of them are starting to catch on. Slowly.
Momma Lark must be exhausted by now!
Her work isn’t yet done with these young larks, but she’s well on her way. It’s been truly impressive to see.
The phrase “ A mother’s work is never done” came to mind.
And again, I had to think of my own mother. And the many years of “momma work” she has whole-heartedly given to me, including this year as well. I’ll save the details of that story for another time, but I do have to mention her with my deepest respect. The same goes for my momma-in-law. She’s been an absolute gem to me (and my family) for years and years. These two women have dedicatedly worked from their hearts for their families as hard as any Momma Lark ever has. They are incredible women. Beautiful souls. Tough as nails, but gentle as feathers. I can and do learn a lot from them.
I wish all mothers were as dedicated and hard-working as the Momma Lark I have been watching. The world would truly be a better place if we all had that kind of nurturing and protection throughout our lives.
Ever heard the phrase “as happy as a lark”? Maybe this is why.
To the Momma Larks of the world – I thank you.
Copyright © 2008-2012 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
December 23, 2008
Hello to all my Readers,
I hope this day finds you doing well.
The first part of this article certainly caused a little stir, and maybe raised a few eyebrows along the way. Please know, my intention in posting these blogs is not to offend anyone. If you have any questions or concerns about anything I’ve posted, please comment and let me know what you’re thinking! And here’s a big Thank You! to the folks who did comment to the “Part 1″ post. I appreciate that.
Let me try framing the context of this article. In previous blog posts, we’ve been discussing questions to ask a new therapist. This article is, in some ways, a follow-up to that idea, because these are the kinds of things a therapist is going to be thinking about / assessing in new clients as they arrive at their door. These are also the strengths that you want to emphasize when you are meeting a new therapist.
If you approach your therapy keeping these qualities in mind, you will honestly find that more therapists will stay interested in working with you for the long haul. That is not to say you have to be perfect. Who is???! It means, work on these things. Be mindful of them. Developing these strengths will make you a better person overall, and that is very much the goal of therapy.
These qualities, in my opinion, have nothing to do with mental illness. I have worked with some very disturbed people with huge issues, and yet, they possessed these qualities, and they made huge progess in their healing. I’ve also seen some folks who appeared to be rather high-functioning, and yet, they did not, or could not grasp some of these basic ideas.
I agree with the brave soul who commented that these qualities are an important part of everyday life. The more that survivors strive to incorporate these strengths into their approach to everything, the better. Your self esteem will improve, your self-dignity will be solid, and people around you will appreciate you more.
I don’t expect every trauma survivor to have a solid grasp on these qualities, but I do hope every trauma survivor strives to.
Intermingle these strengths into your life everywhere that you can. You’ll be glad you did!
And here is part 2 of the article, “10 Qualities Therapists Recognize in Good Clients”:
6. Honesty and Trustworthiness
- Are you willing to be honest with yourself?
- Are you willing to lie to your therapist, or hide information, or lie by omission?
- Do you gossip and tell lies behind people’s backs?
- Do you gossip about your therapist?
- Do you lie to your inside parts? Does anyone in your system try to trick or deceive the others in your system?
Therapeutic relationships are built on honesty and trust. Your therapist will need to know you possess these qualities as well.
- Will you treat your friends and family members with kindness and respect even if they have done things you do not like?
- Will you loyally protect your internal system from predators and perpetrators, putting the safety of your inside parts as a priority?
- Are you loyal to your therapeutic process and will you keep clear boundaries around the therapeutic process?
- Will you respect your therapist’s trust in you to the same degree that you expect your therapist to respect your trust in them?
- If you and your therapist experience a conflict, where do you look to resolve that? Do you expect to resolve the conflict within the context of therapy, or will you spread the conflict outside the therapeutic relationship and draw others into it?
Your therapist and support team can be your greatest allies in your healing journey. However, a deep level of mutual respect is expected and needed in order to progress in therapy. It is crucial that you thoroughly differentiate the “good guys” from the “bad guys”. Therapists understand the concepts of transference and projection, and they will work with you in those tender moments, but there will be limits to that. I can promise you, your helpers do not want to be thrown under the bus any more than anyone else.
- Are you determined to do the same things over and over again?
- Are you open to trying new options?
- Can you think outside of the box instead of being boxed in?
- Do you help to problem-solve the various dilemmas that surface?
- Will you work on ways to reach even the most difficult of insiders? Even if this involves several failed attempts before you successfully connect with these parts?
We’ve all heard the saying, “the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again, expecting to get different results.” A huge part of the healing process is learning new things and doing different things.
9. Gratitude and Appreciation
- Do you appreciate what people do for you?
- Do you recognize when someone is doing something for you?
- Do you thank them for helping you?
- In relationships, do you overlook smaller imperfections in appreciation of bigger strengths?
- Do you thank others in your dissociative internal system for the ways they have helped you to survive through the years? Do you recognize their strengths and talents in the current day?
Gratitude and appreciation are key elements of any healthy relationship. Don’t take the goodness of others for granted. Be thankful for what you receive from others.
- Are you a safe person?
- Do you use threats of violence, or threats of harm to others, or threats of emotional blackmail, or threats of any kind to destroy or control other people or to get your own way?
- Do you threaten self-harm or suicide as a way to manipulate others or to get your own way?
- Are you willing to hurt yourself or someone else in order to get your way, including others in your internal system?
- How far is “too far” to go to get what you want or prove you are “right”? Do you think there is such a thing as “too far”?
Therapists will model safe behavior. If you are acting in ways that are unsafe for yourself or manipulative of those around you, your therapist will set boundaries with you — just as you should set boundaries with someone who is unsafe in your direction.
If you follow these guidelines, you will have a much better relationship with your therapist and others around you. If you are looking for a new therapist, remember that the more you can genuinely offer in the areas listed above, the more those therapists will view you as a client with potential — and the more positive potential you demonstrate in these areas of your life, the greater interest more therapists will have in working with you. It goes to your advantage, your healing, your self-respect, and the amount of respect others will feel toward you to learn these things.
All people, including trauma survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID/MPD), can claim these strengths as their own. Work hard to be a “good person” in your therapy, and you’ll be amazed at how much difference this can make in your relationship with your therapist and with your system. Remember:
Maintain your stability the best you can.
Be dependable in what you do, and do what you say you will do.
Maintain your motivation and your willingness to work hard.
Be courageous, even when it is scary.
Stay clear and upfront about your personal responsibilities.
Be honest and trustworthy at all times.
Stay loyal to your helpers.
Be creative in the hard times.
Have gratitude and appreciation for the good things and good people.
And be a safe person. Be safe for yourself, and be safe for others.
You can do it. I’m just sure of it.
Kathy Broady LCSW