The dissociation has impacted the way I think, feel, act and talk. My friend C is writing her thesis and talking about the healing nature of poetry for trauma survivors. She is dissociative too and talks often about her fragmented mind and how the fragmentation is apparent in her life, for example it is evident when she speaks and does not finish sentences. This is linked to her trauma and she has observed it can be quite frustrating to some people. I don’t find it frustrating and I realised recently that I do this too. I live very much in my head and feel like I have very complete thoughts and experiences internally, yet when I go to express these verbally or in written form, I struggle to make full connections explicit. I am definitely getting better but I feel fragmented when I speak and my thoughts are never as coherent as they were when they were internalised. C says this is because our experiences were dissociated, so the connections were never fully formed. Rather than seeing this as something that is “problematic”, C thinks it is something that others should adjust to. The way we might adjust to someone who has autism or a spectrum disorder. I like this idea as it makes me feel less stupid and inferior. It gives my fragmented self permission to explore connections and ideas randomly, without shame. I can go off on tangents or work my way through thinking and feeling as separate entities until they connect, if they ever do. The process of making is very much about putting pieces together and through this process narrative can emerge. It is constructed. By giving myself permission to be dissociated in my thinking and feeling, but observing the process and exploring it through writing, I am slowly learning how to create a narrative of my life. I can draw on these moments to make new discoveries or to better articulate my journey if and when I need to.
My best friend is a poet and satanic ritual abuse survivor. She is also a feminist and is teaching me a lot about feminism. I was really attracted to feminism in my mid 20s but only superficially so. I wish I had of delved into the literature more as I don’t think I truly grasped what it was. I think I might have become more empowered earlier or may have been able to express myself through the language and lens of feminism. By my late 20s I had sort of lost interest in the notion of feminism. As I started to “wake up” from the mind control and also entered into recovery, my identity was so confused and my self was so shattered I just did my best to survive. Also I had been in a long term same sex relationship and then entered into a relationship with an older man. He was very masculine and heteronormative and I found that dynamic actually very safe and comforting and easy. M was a typical bloke and I embraced that, but also found it difficult at times as I guess I didn’t take to the “dutiful wife” that easily. In some ways it felt easy and in other ways, I felt like my docile mother, which weirded me out. I also found the notion of feminism difficult to embrace within a heteronormative relationship because it felt in some ways meaningless. M did take care of my needs to an extent. We did split the house in the middle, I paid my half of the mortgage and my money was my money, His was his, but I could lean on him if I needed things. He paid for dinners, he paid for holidays, he drove if we were going somewhere. I liked that. I didn’t need to position myself in front, nor did I want to. Now, separated, I am standing on my own two feet. I’ve done it before, but this time it feels different. I’m older for one, more established in some ways and making more mature decisions. I guess I’ve got more “stuff” this time round. I’m not coming at life from a desolate place, not so spiritually, emotionally and financially poor. It’s hard to think though that I don’t have anyone to lean into. It scares me. It makes me realise that I am standing out on a limb and having to be this brave woman. Perhaps this is why I can now hear the calling of feminism. It provides me with a strength and courage that I am yearning to tap into. I know I should be looking at this through my faith, but I struggle to find it there through the Christian framework. Don’t get me wrong, God is super strong to me and my rock and foundation, but when I read the word, I often walk away feeling confused and at times disempowered. I believe reading the bible is very important and I do this almost daily. Yet I struggle through it. I often feel more shame and confusion than strength and enlightenment. Is that my skewed interpretation? Is it Satan? Or is it my immaturity as a Christian? As an SRA survivor my natural go to state is guilt and shame- for existing, for feeling, for the way I look and sound. I learnt how to disconnect from myself and hate myself as a child so profoundly, it is therefore difficult to read scripture that seems to suggest that I am less than, I am immoral, corrupt, vile and wrong. I know that the truth of God is steeped in love but sometimes His word contradicts that for me. So yes It feels good when I turn to feminist based theory and stories that encourage my voice to be heard, for me to proclaim my silence and to reclaim my sense of self through sharing my trauma. It’s not a matter of one or the other for me, it is both/ and… I am exploring all facets of me through these frameworks.
A part wrote these a while back.
Stripped me, sold me, shot him. Money. Is bad and good and buys me stuff, is dangerous. Money. Is cold. Money heats up the air. Closes in. Doors shut. Truth gets locked out. Buried underneath the stairs. Money. Rejection comes at a cost. Count chickens. You’ve been a good girl. Take your earnings. I earn nothing. You bought my fear. I am lust. I crave the desire. I wanted to be the one shot in the head. Laugh it off. Hot chips. Lollies. Frivolous spending. March flies. Bitten legs, pork chops. Sweet girls and soft legs. Pay what it’s worth. I have no worth. Short skirts and long legs. Aspirations unmet. They paid to get rid of me. I’m ugly. They paid to quiet me. I’m too loud. They paid so I would never come back. I’m not worthy. They paid to shut me out. I’m useless. They paid to train me. I’m unruly. Little one, little one, it’s okay. Throw the coins away. I don’t know where to hide them. I’m rich all of a sudden. Get rid of them. She will find out and know the truth. I own nothing. I am worth nothing. We are worth everything. They tried to buy me off with lies. It’s time to get even.
Archived mind. Go fuck your self with this image. She’s a queer pedagogical conundrum. I find self sickening. She disgusts me. Keep her imprinted on film. Locked in your memory. Naked and torn and nothing. Throw her head back and laugh at her. She remembers nothing. She’s a doll, a princess, a slut, a dirty winged moth. She says she does not yet feel sexual or woman or liberated or oppressed. She is absent. From all conversations. Why? She became a record on screen that can no longer be played. Hidden tapes. She was destroyed. Circulated and then discarded. Persevered in the blood bank of your minds. Dirty men. He hobbles to the Masonic centre. They do charity. They sell souls. She runs far from the tree tops. He says take it off. She is unsure and resists. Then does it. It’s not even an act of submission. It’s just automatic. She knows her place. The camera as apparatus- an extension of his mind, her body. The camera is him, them and the watchers. It records her, removes her, holds her, frames her, fixes her, freezes her. She bristles with antagonism. She doesn’t understand it. It controls her, she renders herself powerless by its gaze. A moving image frozen in space yet stuck on loop.
Massive thumping headache the past few days. Painkillers not working. Despite this, today was a good day and I achieved a lot, which always makes me feel good. I haven’t been able to exercise all week because of being sick, which gets me down due to a certain amount of hypervigilance I have around my body image. Tomorrow I go away with S for a romantic two night weekend, which I am looking forward to, but nervous. I know it will be fine I can just get all worked up internally around the idea of just “stopping”.
I have felt so disconnected from my self/ selves all week. At therapy tonight my T took me through a body scan. I just saw a big empty hole that felt like it was vibrating. I pictured it around my stomach area. T asked me to go with it and I saw myself falling into it. I travelled through this empty black hole, which felt like water. I was scared I was going to choke and die or stop breathing. T encouraged me to keep going. Eventually I landed in a cave. T asked me to ask inside what the black hole was about. I was told “fear”. For a while I stood in this cave unsure what to do next. T said to look around and see what happens. This was a strange experience for me as I usually struggle to visualise and see things in my mind. I saw a light and followed it out of the cave into a forest. My helper / healing guide part met me and introduced me to the parts I know- The little ones, Robot, Blue and that’s all I remember. I got distracted then because I saw a lot of limbs, all disembodied like raw meat and I didn’t know what to make of that. Then I just wondered if I was trying to will the memory too much or control it. I guess I just disbelieved myself. I came back to it and that’s when the headache really started to kick in.
I am stressed. I work myself into stress and overwhelm. I can’t seem to stop it. Being sick doesn’t help. I don’t feel as “in control” of it. High functioning doer. Do. Doing. Doer. Being so busy makes me confused. When I’m confused I can’t think properly. I won’t remember. I am not present. I’m out of body. I get it intellectually. When will I be able to circumvent it emotionally? Time. Practice. Sometimes I think I am going to get really sick and have a breakdown. End up in an institution. Other times I feel so normal and on top of things it feels like I have no worries in the world. Sometimes I don’t know who or what I am. There is much going on, I just need to take it one day at a time. It will all be okay. Breathe.
When I first attempted to talk to my parts a few years ago it was a difficult process. Many voices would write back to me abusing me. Protector parts perhaps. I found it difficult to respond to this abuse and also would get very tired quickly. It was hard for me to write more than a page or a few sentences in response. I would be overcome with a wave of tiredness and need to sleep. Perhaps dissociation.
I also didn’t know what to say to the parts. I lacked compassion. I felt so disconnected from them. They didn’t trust me and I didn’t trust them. I wanted to communicate but remained distracted and found other things to do. I’m also programmed to keep busy so it is difficult for me to stop and be still.
My little ones came out more with my ex husband than my therapist at one stage. They also came out more with him than Patricia, who I was doing prayer ministry with. They liked to be held by him and talk to him about dogs and to lie on his big belly. They felt safe with him. It takes them a long time to feel safe with anyone.
When they came out with Patricia and my therapist they were so embarrassed to be seen or heard. They couldn’t believe someone would want to talk with them. They sat behind a large chair in T’s office and would talk to her from behind this. They would mainly talk about how disgusting they felt and yucky. Life was hard. Being in the body was hard.
The parts would sometimes come out at work. I would feel gross and out of it and so ashamed to be in my body. The sooner we got distracted the better and I was able to get through my day. When I got home, the feelings would emerge again.
Holidays were difficult. I was very dissociative when I lacked structure. I was much better when I was busy but then stress overwhelmed me. I still can’t seem to get the balance. This whole process has lasted so far 5 years and is still ongoing.
Nowadays, I hear some of the little ones a bit. If we see a dog on the street, they might yell out. The little ones might come out maybe once or twice a week. Sometimes I know they just want to take over the body, other times they are triggered. Stress, movies, conversations or memory are the biggest factors. Memory is emotional, implicit and involves feeling really gross, ugly, shameful and negative. I still struggle in these moments to talk to the parts, to regain executive control and try and help them through this process. I want to get better at that. The feelings consume me and I seem unable yet to take the required action- for example writing to them, moving my body, punching something or going into a self care routine.
Another SRA survivor is going to help me connect with my parts more which is good. I need to do more in this area as they deserve to speak and share their memories. I keep saying I want to handle it but then when I feel those feelings I can’t seem to hold onto the experience and want to escape far inside my head until it passes.
I’ve come down with a cold and it has really knocked me about, more than usual. I feel very out of it and it has been intensified by my experiencing body memories. This occurs as follows:
- I lose my sense of self. I become disconnected from me. I am not in the body. I am on autopilot.
- I feel an intense existential spiritual pain. Waves of disgust permeate my being. I feel depressed and shameful.
- I go in and out of parts when I am in bed. On Friday night a part remembered they were raped. I could feel it.
- I can’t move. I feel trapped, my breathing is limited. I just want to curl in a ball and disappear.
That’s been the last two nights for me. I did practice something I learnt listening to the podcast Beyond Abuse. Mike Garner, a counsellor suggested the following steps to talk with parts. It’s acronym is ATT TTA
It stands for: A – ask Yeshua for help.
T- thank the part(s) and let them know you can take over from here
T- truth. Tell them the truth/ where you are at now and what life is like. Tell them it is not working anymore and that you need to take over from here.
T- give them three advantages. Eg. I can drive so they can go anywhere they like, I have a great job where we get to be creative and meet interesting people, they have the strength of God with them all the time or I can call someone for help, I can get help now etc.
T- time to stop. Tell the part that you need to let me handle this. Lay down your weapons.
A- ask God for help again. To bring healing, grace, love, to give new weapons (belt of truth, sword of spirit) etc.
I did that on Friday and it was very interesting, I kept splitting and going into different parts. I can’t recall much but it was one of those intense multiple moments I often have in my head.
Today I went to church and it was super triggering. I didn’t want to go but I can’t go for the next two weeks and the week after I am giving my SRA testimonial. So I didn’t want to miss this week even though I wasn’t feeling well. I usually arrive late to miss some of the worship music but today I was on time and the music was soooo intense. I don’t like it. It feels hypnotic and crazy and scary. This woman was moving her body in weird ways and my parts were freaked out. I hadn’t seen this woman and her partner before and I got bad vibes from them. I think they were there to bring demonic energy into the service. The sermon was on faithfulness and the pastor was citing his marriage vows. Of course that was difficult for me to hear as M and I have just separated; so I immediately felt like I wasn’t faithful in God’s eyes and that I was bad. I sent P a message on Skype whilst i was in church and she responded to me so at the end of service I left quickly and I decided to Skype call P. My little parts spoke to her and cried and were very upset. They thought God didn’t love them because they were not whole and also because they weren’t faithful to M.
P was so nice and prayed with them and broke programming. Later she said on Skype that she felt my parts feel like they offend God by just existing. This is true and shows how low they feel about themselves. It feels good that someone understands this, even though it is not nice to think and feel this way.
It’s coming up Easter too and it is just a difficult time of the year. I can’t wait till this period is over.
One of the things I remember a woman telling me about abuse survivors is that they experience IBS, stomach issues and problems with constipation. The result of a disregulated nervous system. I don’t see it talked about much so I just wanted to share a bit. It’s embarrassing. I have had lots of memories where the abusers have rubbed shit on me. Satanists love faeces. They love disgusting things and that is why they like to defile innocence in this way.
I only write to break the silence. It’s hard to counter the voices that want to stop me. The defender / controller parts who want to block me from speaking out. Parts designed to keep my mouth shut. Sometimes the urge is so strong to speak out, other times I just don’t know what to say.
In therapy today my little parts spoke to T and asked her if she cared about them. Of course she said yes. This is quite new for them and shows they are beginning to consider trusting. Three things struck out to me.
1. When the parts are not feeling good, I can lie down and hold a toy and say I care about them.
2. There is good control and bad control. I can exercise good control and be a good leader. I do this at work and am recognised for it. My parts are beginning to see a different version of control – a healthy one that helps people and things.
3. The parts can feel the good experiences that happen in my life and know they are happening in the now. This is a different experience from the bad stuff they remember and gives them an alternative frame of reference.
It’s been a good week after the start was shaky. I feel more balanced and focused. I am learning I can make a decision to love and the feelings will follow. Being dissociative it is hard for me to know how I feel at times, so instead if I make a decision to be respectful and kind and polite then the feelings will eventually follow.
I listened to a good podcast this morning on Beyond Your Past. She does writing workshops for trauma survivors. I am going to check out her workshops. The link is here.
It’s turning out to be a rough week. I said to God, “okay, I’m ready for the next wave of memories or the next process”, but the truth is when I experience it, I still can’t handle it. It hurts to feel. It hurts to be in my body. I feel so yucky and disgusting again. I keep distracted. I disconnect from my feelings but I am left feeling empty and sad. I know it’s got to change, progress to something more. I think I know what to do- I don’t do it yet, but I am getting close. I’ve got to talk to my parts and see what’s wrong. There’s memory there. Something’s been triggered.
I am pretty much all packed up and moved out of home. I can’t believe I’ve split from my husband. I can’t believe I was married. I experienced so much transference with him, it is sad. I feel sad I have broken his heart. We were always different. I wouldn’t have married him if I had of known I was going to change so much, if I had of known i was going to be so triggered in the marriage. I think it was good that M didn’t “buy into” my emotional dissociative states, but my parts wanted a father figure so bad. I think the kids were running the show. We should have got help for it a long time ago. In some respects we did, as I was with Patricia doing prayer ministry. But when I started to grow on my own, that is where the real split started to occur. I’m not sure I can even put it into words. I had an affair with a woman; I am still seeing her; and she is not triggering to me (thank God). It’s a question of yet however…. it wasn’t like that to begin with my husband. Or maybe it was. Internal shifts inside confuse me. I wish I knew what I wanted, I wish I had solid ground. Sometimes I do I guess. Work keeps me focused, on track. I am relatively consistent despite the internal confusion in my head.
My parts feel embarrassed to exist. That is how deep the shame is. So, so deep. I used to sit behind a large chair in my T’s office and talk to her in parts, because I/ we didn’t want to be seen. Sometimes I would just go to her office to sleep as the blank, sleepy parts would take over and I couldn’t do anything but close my eyes. It was annoying paying $70 a session to do that, but I had to ride through it.
I really am trying to do my best. Sometimes I feel Gods grace and warmth and love and other times He is but a distant memory. It’s nearing Easter and it is a ritualistic triggering time. I am going to fast soon for a period of 40 days. I feel called to do this. I always thought fasting meant no food, but I learnt recently it can be anything. I’ve decided to fast from chocolate and icecream. It will be hard as I love it. I am noticing I am eating heaps more to make up for the fact I won’t be having any soon. I don’t want to be gluttonous like that. I know I can be gluttonous, out of anxiety and fear. I remember when I was about 8 years old, I snuck off to the bathroom and ate a whole packet of Jaffa’s and then I was sick! Addiction is in my makeup. Food is the least of it for me, but I’ve had to work through them all and it will come up, I can feel it. I’ve been addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, love, avoidance, dissociation, cigarettes, work and food. Not sure what else there is in life? For some people Adrenalin might be a thing. I suppose I am addicted to that hence workaholism. Oh dear it’s never ending. This is a ramble post.
Bare root. I am a leaf blower.
The lowest of the low. I once stood.
Here I stand, a white woman, privileged by default, nonetheless, my voice once silenced, now released. She carves a platform made out of shipwreck.
Painted cross. A hand full of nails. I touch his feet; wet.
Cried out underneath a hooded mask. Cried out; silently wept.
To fit into the non normative world, I must make my fractured mind public or forgotten. Caught between the nexus of time, place and victimhood.
I stand on the inner of the outer. I take comfort in cold tea. I never waited for the silence, only to what I heard in my head. Few and far between was her words. His saying. They’re muttering.
It has no meaning. Someone stuck up for me. I was only young. I never went back. Publicly shamed. I struggled to find words for my experience. Few pieces ever existed in full. The rest lacked coherence.