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
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 28, 2009
Ok. So I was all kinds of optimistic and hopeful that the Showtime series, United States of Tara, would be a positive statement for dissociative identity disorder. After all, Showtime interviewed Dr. Richard Kluft, an informed psychiatrist, one of the founding fathers of the treatment of DID/MPD. That was a good sign, wasn’t it?
As a trauma therapist with 20+ years of clinical experience working with multiples, I have to say I’m quite frustrated that Showtime has presented multiplicity in this way.
First of all, the word is dissociation. Pronounced di-soh-see-ay-shun. The word is not disassociation. There is no additional “a” sound in the word. Saying dis-a-soh-see-ay-shun is the wrong pronunciation and a different word altogether.
Secondly, there is not a medication that can remove or prevent or end dissociative identity disorder. Medications can address various symptoms, and can even slow the thinking down, but medication cannot remove multiplicity. The idea of drugging away the parts is particularly offensive to me, and as far as I am concerned, it is totally opposite to genuine treatment. Insiders are there for a reason, and promoting the idea that the inside can be drugged into silence seems abusive to me. This idea is absolutely absurd and smacks of perpetrative behavior.
I understand the idea of “creating additional drama” for the sake of entertainment and to get a viewing audience. Fine.
And I can understand that the visual presentation of the various alters is metaphorical for how switching feels from within. It is true — or can be true — that when insiders surface on the outside, they “feel” like they look on the inside. Insiders are often confused and upset about looking externally very different than they feel internally. They are convinced they are shorter, or wearing different clothes, or have different hair, or are even a different gender, etc. And yes, internal parts are very often adamant about being a very different person from the host personality.
For the Tara show, the insiders get to look as extremely different on the outside as they feel on the inside. However, it’s not typical for DID’ers to actually present so drastically even if they wish they could.
The different presentations of Tara are excessive, but it makes the point, and it helps the viewing audience to catch on to a switch to one part from another. I would have hoped the viewing audience did not have to have that much help in recognizing switching, but maybe they do.
Now to my biggest beef about United States of Tara: the criminal behavior.
I suppose that somewhere out there in the world, there are multiples that beat up teenagers on school property, break in to and vandalize homes of others, urinate on others while sleeping, froth and drool in public, and sexually assault their child’s underage boyfriend. I suppose I cannot say that no multiple in the world would ever do that.
But really?!!! Is this the kind of message that we want the viewing audience to have about DID? Do multiples really present as the criminally insane?
Not to me!
The multiples I have met in the past 20+ years are not out-of-control monsters like this. Their inside parts know that there is a legal body age, and while they typically feel younger than the body age, the insiders have an understanding that they are not actually the same as outside people of that age.
DIDer’s might have flashbacks or a hard time functioning or emotional outbursts, but typically, trauma survivors will have enough self-control to manage their behavior without committing a crime in public.
Showtime crossed the line by making Tara a sex offender.
It is true that many multiples have been tangled up in sexual crimes, but typically, multiples that are in treatment have not chosen the life of a sex offender. All too many trauma survivors were forced to perpetrate as part of their victimization by organized perpetrator groups, or even by violent single abusers, but being forced to hurt others is not anything near the same as purposefully deciding to sexually offend in the day world.
Most multiples are not sexually inappropriate of their own volition.
For the writers of United States of Tara to present multiplicity in this light is cruel and inaccurate.
I’m disappointed, to say the least.
What a slam.
A great big huge insulting ridiculous slam.
I am not impressed.
- What do you think?
- What are your thoughts about the show United States of Tara?
- Are you criminally insane?
- Would you do the behaviors that Tara is doing on this show?
- If you are multiple, what are your feelings about being portrayed in this way?
Kathy Broady LCSW
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 28, 2009
This week, the readers here have posted a wide variety of reactions to the idea that being multiple could have benefits. If you haven’t yet read all the comments on that blog, please do so. They are very interesting.
When people have DID/MPD, they have experienced life as a multiple since their childhood. It is their norm – basically the only way of life they know. Multiples typically have not experienced life any other way other than being multiple, even if they didn’t realize they were as split as they are. Sure, one or two of the host personalities may not have a strong personal connection to what it’s like to be multiple, and many of them can deny the existence of the internal others to some degree, but the internal system as a whole would have been there for nearly your whole life.
And frankly, many DID’ers that are newly diagnosed just haven’t realized how much they have been switching their whole lives long. But just because they haven’t recognized their dissociative abilities doesn’t mean that they haven’t been living their life as a very active multiple, switching, possibly losing time, and putting amnesiac walls around anything that is too uncomfortable for them.
So what if you are dissociative and you really really detest being a multiple personality? What if you can’t stand being DID/MPD, and you hate it, and you despise it, and you make sure that everyone in your system knows it, and that everyone in your treatment support team knows it too?
- How does that affect how your internal system views you?
- Will they feel loved and accepted?
- Will you feel good about yourself?
For sake of argument here, let’s be sure to separate the fact of being dissociative as being very different from being traumatized and abused. I will clearly and adamantly acknowledge that no young child likes the trauma and abuse that happens as the first step in the process of creating various alter personalities. I am not proposing that the road to becoming DID is a pleasant one. It clearly is not. The very idea of being forced to become a multiple is horrifically tragic in itself. Any trauma, abuse, neglect, violence, horror, pain, that you’ve gone through is too high a price for anyone to pay.
Often the fact of being multiple becomes inextricably entangled with the fact of having been abused. The multiplicity comes to represent all the pain and fear and wrongness of the abuse, and rejection of the multiplicity is part and parcel of rejecting the reality of the painful past that caused it.
But how do those feelings of adamant rejection affect your healing?
One of the ways to treat and understand multiplicity is to join in, to some degree, with the idea that the alter personalities are their own individual people. Of course they are all connected to the same one person, but you can balance that out with also seeing each of the insiders as their own unique person. How would an outside person feel if they were treated the same way your insiders are being treated?
If your internal parts know that you hate the fact that you are multiple, might they begin to internalize that feeling as if you hate them? I would think so.
How would you feel if you were repeatedly told that you were disliked and unwanted and despised? Remember, your insiders don’t have to be told these things in actual words. They are connected to you, and they will know how you genuinely feel about them, whether or not you make a point of telling them. They will be able to feel how much you don’t like them. You will not be able to hide this fact from them.
How would you feel, if day after day after day, the people that you lived with refused to speak to you? Or to acknowledge you? Or to care about you? Would you feel cooperative? Would you want to be friendly and helpful? At what point would you lose your patience and tolerance? How might you act when that happened?
In this context, if you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, and you also firmly believe that multiplicity in itself is a horrible way of life, that strong pervasive belief will negatively affect your treatment progress and your healing. How could it not? Your insiders are aching for acceptance and kindness and comfort no less than you are – and constant rejection can and will make them continue to act out in resentment and anger and desperation. Nobody else’s acceptance will ever mean as much to them as the acceptance of their own group – their own self – and if that is perpetually withheld from them, then both they and you will be at a self-created stalemate in your healing.
Because the flip side of treating your insiders like individual people is remembering that they are the same person as you.
If you are repeatedly telling yourself that you hate the way you are, what does that do for your self-image and self worth?
If you believe that the way you are is not ok, not good enough, not right, not acceptable, not normal, then you are reinforcing a lot of negative beliefs of yourself – and it is a short road from having a low self-esteem to have a ton of self-hatred.
- What if hating your multiplicity is a version of hating yourself?
- What if accepting your multiplicity is a version of accepting yourself?
Multiplicity is simply what it is – the fact of having more than one personality / “person” in your head. In my opinion, it does not have to be a bad thing. The trauma and the abuse were devastatingly bad – absolutely. The dissociative walls can really cause problems in the current day, even if they were initially helpful. The PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other emotional fallout can be debilitating at times.
But the multiplicity – just the multiplicity… does it have to be bad to share your life with others?
Again I ask….
Is accepting your multiplicity “as is” a version of accepting yourself?
Kathy Broady LCSW
February 27, 2009
Next week, I will be attending the 2009 CONFERENCE ON CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN.
AbuseConsultants.com will be an exhibitor at this conference.
If you are attending this conference, please stop by my exhibit table and let’s chat for awhile!
2009 CONFERENCE ON CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN
March 2-4, 2009
CO-PRESENTED BY GENESIS WOMEN’S SHELTER
AND THE DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT
The 4th Annual Conference on Crimes Against Women offers the most practical, current, and relevant training provided by the country’s leading experts in the fields of intervention, investigation and prosecution for the full range of crimes committed against women.
Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers; domestic violence, sexual assault, and homicide investigators; probation and parole officers; state and federal prosecutors; nurses; victim advocates and domestic violence shelter staff, will gather again this year in Dallas to participate in workshops, computer labs and case studies that will address all types of crimes in which women are targeted. This year’s agenda will address issues related to the prevention, investigation and prosecution of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, serial murder, Internet-related offenses and other crimes.
Some of the workshops include:
By Christina Smith
Prostitution has been an age-old problem around the world. But with the ever-growing popularity of technology and the Internet as well as other trends in criminal behavior, law enforcement officers must look beyond the traditional places when investigating prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation of women. This workshop will provide practical information for combating these crimes. The emerging trends in prostitution will be discussed. Additionally, the issues of substance abuse, human trafficking and other factors that affect prostitution trends will be examined.
By Jim Tanner
Improve your interview skills. Learn how to tell when someone is editing something out of a verbal or written statement. This session will cover the basics of Discourse Analysis, a lexical and syntactical approach to analyzing statements. Using clear examples, Dr. Tanner will explain how a respondent’s shifts in words and grammar can point interviewers to “hot spots” in a statement that need to be probed. You will never listen to a conversation or interview the same way again if you attend this session.
“EVERYONE JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!”: WORKING WITH FEARFUL AND RESISTANT VICTIMS
By Susan Clark
In this workshop we will explore the psychological dynamics involved in victims’ interactions with criminal justice professionals. Faced with a volatile mix of anger, alarm, denial and unpredictable responses – how professionals can communicate effectively with traumatized and resistant victims.
HOW WOMEN CAN PROTECT THEMSELVES
By James A. Savage, Jr. and Kristen Howell
This is a two-part workshop. The first part will present a number of simple security and emergency planning measures designed specifically for women as well as effective strategies that can be adapted and used by police officers and other professionals to deliver these important learning points to their constituents and communities. Also covered will be several aspects of personal safety and security to include travel, shopping, home, school and work that often are overlooked or not commonly known
The second part of the workshop will discuss safety planning for battered women who are either in abusive relationships or trying to safely terminate those relationships. Safety planning techniques include how to be emotionally and physically safe from the batterer, as well as how to manage the batterer when he is violent and when he is the Honeymoon stage and promising change. This presentation will also go beyond the run-of-the-mill safety planning techniques by helping domestic violence experts identify and train women how to augment their own survival skills with skills to effectively leave and leave safely; as well how to maintain safety in a technologically advanced world where hiding is no longer a plausible strategy.
“MY DADDY HURT MY MOMMY”: INTERVIEWING CHILD WITNESSES TO CRIMES AGAINST WOMEN
By Irish Burch
This workshop will provide investigators and others with an overview on the importance of forensically interviewing children who have been exposed to violence. It will provide participants with an understanding on the types of information that can be gathered and how the interview process can aid in gathering key information for their investigation.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN GOES HIGH TECH
By Cindy Southworth
From Caller ID Spoofing to stalking victims through social networking sites, abusers are misusing new high-tech tools to commit the age-old crimes of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Learn how everything from GPS to Spyware to Virtual Worlds can be misused to harm a victims and how agencies can become more tech savvy to address these crimes, safety plan with victims, and safely incorporate technology into their own work.
SERIAL SEXUAL ASSAULT AND OFFENDER CHARACTERISTICS
By Craig Ackley
This workshop will present information on the different types of offenders who commit sexually assaults. Included in this presentation will be a focus on understanding offender characteristics, motivations, and risk for violence.
UNIQUE APPROACHES TO INTERVIEWING POTENTIAL VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING
By Bill Bernstein
This workshop will be an interactive training that will address the crime of human trafficking from the perspective of helping the victims. It will include a discussion of many of the obstacles faced by those interviewers of human trafficking victims. Techniques and strategies for overcoming these obstacles will be presented.
WORKING WITH EXPERTS TO EXPLAIN VICTIM BEHAVIOR IN SEXUAL ASSAULT AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CASES
By Jennifer Long
When a victim alleges a sexual assault, the prevalence of myths causes the public to search for a reason to doubt the allegation rather than to search for the truth. This presentation compares the myths about victim behavior with the realities of the behavior, addresses the necessity of offering expert or other testimony to explain a victim’s behavior and offers recommended strategies for explaining victim behavior—either through the introduction of expert testimony or through the victim’s own testimony—at trial.
RESPONDING TO STRANGULATION AND TRIAL PREPARATION: WHAT LAW ENFORCEMENT AND HEALTH CARE NEED TO KNOW
By Tiffani Dusang and Eddie Hazell
This workshop will address the issue of strangulation. Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a leading cause of physical and psychological injury to women between the ages of 15 and 54. An episode of IPV often includes multiple actions, and the violence typically escalates over time. Often times these injuries result in permanent disability or disfigurement and can include strangulation. Responding to strangulation, when it occurs within a domestic violence context, requires an understanding of the overlapping dynamics of power, control, love and fear. Due to the variable ways strangulation can be accomplished severity cannot be decided by visible bruising or injuries. Victims have complex needs that thorough well-documented reports can provide objective and factual demonstration of the inflicted violence. These reports can be crucial at trial and impact the outcome of any legal case as well as victims.
And many more….
If you have the opportunity to attend this conference, please do so.
And remember to please stop by my exhibit table and say hello!
Kathy Broady LCSW
February 10, 2009
Dissociative Identity Disorder is created from severe, chronic child abuse, but does that abuse automatically stop in childhood?
Unfortunately, no, it does not.
All too many survivors continue to be trapped in abusive environments long after their childhood has ended. Sometimes this abuse continues with the same family-related perpetrators that abused the survivor all throughout the childhood years. For example, far too many adult children of creepy-fathers are still being sexually abused into adulthood.
Creepy-fathers don’t necessarily stop being sex offenders just because their children get older. These lifelong predators already know how to manipulate your dissociative system, and they will continue to “call out” and dominate the child parts that they controlled for all the years previous. The child parts don’t necessarily realize that they are in an adult body, or that years of time have passed, so it still feels like more of the same to them.
Typically, in situations such as these, the dissociative walls that separate those abused child parts and the adult host can still be locked solidly in place, allowing no seepage of information to pass through. The adult DID survivor may not have any conscious awareness that they are still being abused in this way.
But true, far too often.
Sometimes, the ongoing abuse is more organized than in-home family abuse. The sex slave industries can use, own, control, sell, and exploit dissociative survivors for many years.
Slavery didn’t end with the Civil War – it just became more hidden.
One of the current ways that slavery still exists — even in 2009 — is through the entrapment of the dissociative population. Various prostitution / pornography organizations can “own” and exploit survivors by using physical violence, emotional blackmail, drugs, mind control techniques, and dissociation as means to maintain their power and control. Extricating these dissociative prisoners from these organized predators is a complicated and complex process, but possible nonetheless.
Adult trauma survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) have had years of experience managing severe trauma while simultaneously blocking themselves off from the reality of that trauma. Dissociative walls can provide an element of amnesia that both protects the person from the overwhelming crushing awareness of ongoing abuse, but also traps the survivor in an ongoing continuation of that abuse.
If dissociative survivors have current-day chunks of missing time blocked from their awareness, they cannot know what happened to them, but they also cannot remove themselves or protect themselves from the ongoing trauma and abuse. Without effective therapy and treatment, they also cannot remember or control the fact that they could be handing over their children to be used in the same abusive ways by the very same perpetrator groups.
Unfortunately, we all know that the kiddie porn industry is alive and well.
Dissociative survivors that grew up being used and sold within the kiddie porn industry are at a higher risk of continuing to be owned by, and forced to work for that industry even as adults.
When DID survivors are involved in current day abuse, it is imperative to break down the amnesiac walls created through dissociative processes. The survivors have to have the courage to look at what they are involved with, and then have even more courage to problem-solve their way out.
Dissociative survivors trapped in other kinds of family violence and domestic violence are vulnerable in these same ways.
Trauma therapists must be aware of these possibilities so they can actively work with the dissociative population in order to assist them to gain freedom from ongoing abuse. Therapy with a strong emphasis on increasing internal communication and lowering amnesiac barriers is essential.
Therapists need to use basic good trauma therapy while doing this work. Listen closely to the inside parts, help sooth the pain, create both internal and external safety, reconnect the isolated parts with the rest of the system, address the concerns raised by those internal parts in all the normal ways, etc. Many of the very same processes that work to help heal “regular abuse” continue to be effective in addressing more extreme abuses.
*** To all dissociative survivors —
You don’t have to stay stuck in the abuse cycles. If you are able to read this post, you are able to do the work it takes to remove yourself from any ongoing abuse that you are tangled in. Of course, your perpetrators won’t tell you that you can get out, but you can get out and away from them anyway. You are older, wiser, and stronger than you were when you were just a child. You can find ways that will work for you, you can find safe people to help you, and you can be safe. Talk lots and lots to your inside people – it’s only as you work together as a team that you can beat the external controls. It takes a lot of hard work, but if you all really want to be free from abuse and safe from harm, you can be. It can happen.
Kathy Broady LCSW
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
December 21, 2008
“Have you worked with clients that have ‘extreme torture’ trauma history in cult-RA and/or mind-control (governmental experiments)? If so, what has worked?”
Yes, I have worked with trauma survivors that have talked about extreme torture, cult / RA abuse, mind control and governmental experiment traumas. Bunches of clients through the years have spoken in detail about many of these things. All of these survivors have also presented with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID/MPD), as these extreme, sadistic tortures cause splits to occur.
That’s the easy part to answer. The harder question is addressing the “what has worked” part!
And since this is a ritual holiday weekend, I thought this might be a good time to address these extreme abuses. I am sure that many of my readers have been experiencing difficult memories and flashbacks this weekend. It’s heavy on my mind that many others could be experiencing current-day traumas as we speak, so it seems to be an appropriate time to address this topic.
As far as “what works,” that is a very complex question. The simple answer is, basic good trauma therapy, listening closely to the inside parts, soothing the pain, creating more internal (and external) safety, reconnecting those parts with the rest of the system, and addressing the concerns raised by those internal parts in all the normal ways, etc. Many of the very same processes that work to help heal “regular abuse” continue to be effective in addressing more extreme abuses.
Mind control and programming are very complicated topics. Most people who have been programmed with various mind control techniques have experienced some of the most hideous of abuses. Healing comes by processing the traumas, but also in freeing the mind from the controls of the abusers. The various techniques and approaches to de-programming are quite complex — I’ll write more specifics about that on another day.
Working with the trauma memories themselves is much the same — start by hearing the story of what happened. Because of the level of pain and violence involved, it is very common to have more than one insider involved with any specific RA memory. So, be sure to check with a variety of parts in the system to hear what they know, to understand what they saw or felt or heard or smelled. It is also common for a person to split off new parts during extreme tortures, so you might find that you are meeting a bunch of new insiders while you are working on these extreme abuses. These inside parts each helped you to survive some of the most horrible of abuses, so welcome each of them into your world.
It is absolutely essential to remember that the inside parts are not the “bad guys”. Don’t “kill the messengers” of this bad news. No one finds memories of cult / RA / sex slavery stuff to be good news. However, your internal people didn’t create these original traumas — they just lived through it, and they survived. So recognize them as your heroes, not as people to be feared.
Of course, these internal parts with dark-side roots will have been taught dark-side things and would have been expected to behave in dark-side ways. That’s all they know. Don’t expect them to present as goodness and light when they have only participated in the dark worlds. Some of these insiders might not have ever even seen the day-side world or light-side activities. They will likely have been locked away from all that, contained and controlled by their perpetrators. They will be as disconnected from your everyday “normal” life as you are from their hidden dark worlds. They will have been already told how terrible and horrible your day-side world is, and they will be initially resistant to your efforts.
This is normal. Don’t get discouraged. The perpetrators planned ahead for this and have created various system “blocks” to prevent easy access to these parts.
The fact that you are meeting them is HUGE. They are courageously breaking the first rules given to them by even admitting and showing their existence to you. Breaking the rules of silence is not easy, so expect the road to be bumpy. And, these dark-side parts will need a lot of time to work though the years of gunk they have experienced.
Healing comes as you can claim these parts as your own people. Listen to them. Hear their experiences. Address their concerns, fears, anger, etc. Remember, it is very likely that they have heard ONLY teachings from the dark side. They won’t initially believe you or agree with you. They have already been taught and programmed to think dark things.
Let me say that again: you as your very own person, with freedom of thought, and the power to decide for yourself, can genuinely break their controls over you.
This is hard. It is not easy. They do not put in years of programmed training-trauma-abuse for no reason. Those predators have had every intention of controlling your life, for your whole life.
There is an entire book of information to write on this topic. But, none of the things that “work” will matter two hoots if you haven’t gotten this first step down pat:
The fact is, all the people in your system belong to you. The programmers will have told the dark ones, they belong to “them” — that is a lie. The people in your system came from your head — from your splits — from your life. They are yours. Healing from RA and mind control means that you are willing to do what it takes to get them back, and to show them that they do not have to stay stranded or stuck in those dark worlds.
Here are some soul-searching questions to ask yourself:
- What could your dark-side people say to you that will push you away from wanting to work with them?
- Do you really want parts of yourself to be controlled, manipulated, owned, and used by the cult or programmers or sex slavery organizations? Why or why not?
- Are you willing to do what it takes to claim all your inner people back to you? Why or why not?
- Are you willing to hear in detail what these dark-side parts have been through in their experiences? Why or why not?
- Are you willing to fight on their behalf, even if they are mean and ugly to you at first? Why or why not?
- Have you read RockingComplacency’s article about RA? If not — please do. http://rockingcomplacency.wordpress.com
To get through the process, you will need to be firmly planted on one side of the fence. You can’t play both sides.
Which side are you on?