Stop. Move. Breathe.

Stopping is hard. Moving is safety, fast, dizzying, empowering and free. Stopping is paralysing, kick in guts, panic. Moving makes me strong, invincible and prolific. I got lost when I stopped. I took wrong turn, went backwards, searched for nothing, lost meaning, cried in hands, roamed streets listlessly, wasted time. Moving is breathing, breathing is scary, moving is fighting, kicking out at ghosts in darkness, hovering space crafts, menacing men. Stopping is sun bathing and soaking by pools, it’s eating icecream cones in a nice town. Moving is spinning, endlessly spinning, it’s robotic and stilted, it’s split legs and climbing for air. Stopping is assessing and becoming coherent. It is re-claiming incoherency. Breathing is life giving, deep soul work to the core full of pain and inner release and sadness that erupts into tears during tender moments.

Bad dreams.

Last night I had very bad dreams. I can’t really remember them but I woke frozen in fear. This has happened to me a few times and it is the worst feeling. My body was paralysed with fear and I just sensed pure evil. It is absolutely terrifying and I realise in those moments why I have amnesia and parts. Because to remember could send me insane.

Parts

I’m dissociative tonight. I don’t know what happened. I guess I feel like it’s been coming for a while but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to go into parts. I just feel real little tonight and like nobody loves me. I feel like S hates me and is going to leave me if I go into parts. I just want to be looked after but I’m scared to ask for that. Cos when you are little you can’t work or go out by yourself or do stuff so it just feels like it’s better to just hide as I don’t want to ask for help.

Also now In my head, I am getting screamed at and it hurts. I hate it when they come for me. I think deep down it’s better not to trust anybody in the world cos they are going to die or hurt you.

Unpacking Resistance.

Post structuralist theory: “subjectivity is not fixed but is always responding to power/knowledge.” (Linnell & Cora 1993, 11).

Perhaps my resistance is twofold/ I tried to resist how my abusers had defined me, which was my personal refusal “to conform to external messages about how we should think, feel and behave” (11). At first this was still mired in secrecy and shame so often resulted in further shame based behaviours (acting out, drunkenness, promiscuity, drugs, etc etc). Over time, through therapy, connecting with my parts, faith and working with survivors, my resistance to these beliefs became an act of defiance to carve out a new identity, based on rejecting what we were told we were or are. “This understanding shifts the emphasis from discovering who we are, to resisting what we are, through the resurrection of subjugated knowledges and the production of alternative knowledges (12).”

Simply, I needed to know and understand the powerlessness of the image and identity bestowed upon me, before I could reconsider and re-story a new identity or a new way of thinking about self.

Promotion.

I found out yesterday that I got a promotion. The application was pretty intense and I really had to “sell” myself. I enjoyed constructing my journey though and also articulating the things I have achieved and the value inherent in them. Universities expect that of you, to emphasise the value of relationships, activities, events, experiences and processes. It’s only recently landed for me as to why that is important. It’s about knowledge transfer and translation. I’ve spent the last few years learning another language and I am starting to understand it. It’s taken so long and it’s been frustrating but I never gave up. It’s like healing, I cannot stop moving toward healing. I have always felt like my healing journey is outside of me, or within me, but not of me – I believe it is all God. Yes I am taking the action and good on me, but I can’t stop doing that. It’s like I’m being pushed. I feel the same with my job. It’s hard but easy and the Lord keeps gently prodding me forward in to new and unchartered territory.

I feel very positive and inspired at the moment and I know sometimes to others that can feel a little annoying, but I said to S the other day, you know what, I spent ten years (probably more actually) depressed and in suicidal ideation, any chance I get to feel good about life and to want to celebrate it, I’m going to take i and run with it as far as I can.

Stacking things

Things have been good. I feel strong mentally and physically, although very busy. I can’t stop. I constantly pack on more. I enjoy what I am packing on though so it’s not like it’s a chore but sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed and wonder if it is all going to fall apart at the seams. Maybe I’m just built this way. The capacity I have to do seems somewhat greater than those around me. I am mindful that sounds stuck up but I have no clue. I can’t seem to fully comprehend what I do as I still feel so much of me thinks it is not good enough or that it doesn’t really matter.

Today I felt that if i stopped and checked in with my body I would just curl into a ball and shake. So I got moving. I set tasks and then later I went for a 2 hour run and then did silent disco dancing with some of the girls from the boxing writing workshop I run. S joined in with me too. It was fun dancing in the lounge room with our headphones on. Basically you watch others move (online) but you don’t know what they are dancing too. It’s fun and energetic. I felt good after but there’s still parts that struggle to have fun. As though having fun is bad and it leaves them feeling flat and depressed. But believe me these feelings are tinges and nothing compared to what it used to be. The only way I could have fun was drinking, drugging or just being reckless in a way that was so disconnected from my body and self, I hate thinking about it actually. It was all so deluded and negative. Now at least I can be present- still outer self- but much more there. Less self conscious perhaps. Less wired to want to be self destructive. I keep seeing the progress and need to acknowledge it more as there was a long period of my life where I felt that things would never change, never get better. Over time they do or at least things just morph and change and things pass.

Past stuff 2.

I spent about six to eight months in a drug and alcohol fuelled sex addicted romp with M. I worked at his factory to help his business in online marketing. It was wildly different from anything I’d been part of. He had four adult kids, two of them worked there and so did his mum. They were what you would describe in Australia as bogans, maybe in America you would say rednecks. Salt of the earth. I was in a deep depression, I’d come out of a six year relationship with a woman, straight into his arms because I wanted to be dangerous and have sex from a sexless relationship. A chasm had awoke in me. I was 30 and life was meant to be on the upwards but for me it was all quickly going downhill.

I went overseas to study a master practitioner certificate in NLP. Of course I was drawn to techniques of mind control, amnesic that this was my past. I thought if I could just change my thinking I would be successful and free and happy and…

When I came back from the training in Vegas I got sober. M started to get sober too. The more I sobered up the more I was repelled by my situation with him. What was I doing? Thinking? I said I needed to do this on my own. We parted ways. I got back with my ex girlfriend for a while. Running from one person to the next (I hated being alone). I was desperately trying to get my life back together through recovery and AA. Then he texted me. Something dirty/ an invitation. He knew how to “get me”. I was 31 then, maybe 32… and I had been starting to hear voices again, telling me I should kill myself. It was relentless. He was a distraction, a compulsion. I met with him. We started to meet again and have sex. I felt terrible: here I was sober and having an affair. I thought I just did that stuff when I was drunk. It lasted a couple of months before the guilt gnawed at me and I broke it off. That night my girlfriend broke up with me. She said she wanted or needed “all of somebody”. I felt confused. I didn’t know what giving all of me meant. I wasn’t all of me. I couldn’t help it.

I texted M that night. Guess what? She broke up with me. It was back on within a week. Soon after this, I met a woman at church and she recommended prayer ministry. I went along and had some intense experiences where parts started to speak to the ministry ladies. That’s when I got confirmation I was D.I.D. I was finishing up a post graduate degree in teaching and desperately trying to maintain a sense of normalcy and cool. Each night I was praying for God to just end my life. I so desperately wanted to die. I had started therapy with an experienced woman in ritual abuse, then prayer ministry with Patricia on Skype. I was going to church, praying, doing AA every day, sponsoring, exercising, detoxing. Whatever I needed to do to get better.

I told M about the dissociation and parts- kind of – and he seemed very accepting. I felt like no one else would accept me or love me because I was damaged goods. A few months later we got married. I was a Christian then so now I was a good girl and things were “normal” even though I was switching during our honeymoon. He saw me switch all the time. Interacted with my parts. But later he would invalidate my abuse and when I cut off contact with my mum, he would still accept phone calls from her. He wanted to try and keep us connected even though Patricia had said specifically to cut all contact and stated the reasons why. I felt on one side he deeply accepted my parts and dissociation but on the other he never believed fully they were because of satanic ritual abuse. He said I concentrated too much on the darkness. As though it was my fault. That I was willing it. But I was just trying to understand it. I needed to know this shit existed. That I wasn’t alone. That I could survive this.

Past stuff.

When I met M he triggered in me a desire to be submissive. It was like a switch had been activated in me and I fell under his spell. I remember staying at the factory after sex, thinking “I need to stay here for ever” and just be at his beck and call. It was a strange feeling. I wanted to be his prostitute, a dirty slut. That’s how I felt inside.

For months I acted out violent fantasies with him. He would beat me, I would be wanting it. We were drunk or on drugs the whole time. During this time I had a strong compulsion to become a dominatrix. I recognise now it was either demonic or a part that had been triggered. I genuinely felt an urge to become a mistress- a voice inside me saying “do it”. So I rang a dominatrix place and said I wanted to train as a mistress and for a few months I hung out at this dungeon and witnessed some pretty sick shit. One night I came home and threw up because what I saw was so gross and triggering it made me nauseous.

I won’t go into details but basically a couple of things started to “wake me up” from the experience. Firstly, the woman I was training with was into Satanism (she told me), and had some serious psychological issues and a very intense abuse background- and she was my mentor. Secondly, I had to learn how to tie people up in ropes and frankly I wasn’t very good at it and I think the frustration and stupidity of being in a room with weird people learning how to tie knots for sadomasochistic purposes was just strange to me and not my scene. I felt out of place and like an idiot. Thirdly, I began to realise that I actually wanted to be a submissive – not a Dominatrix and this freaked me out. So even though I was doing this in my relationship with M, I hadn’t put two and two together. Or I felt in control of this aspect in a different way. It’s hard. Even now, about ten years later I’m still struggling to make sense of it. I left the dungeon and never went back. No one tried to chase me. It wasn’t like that. If you wanted to be there you put the effort in. I feel grateful for getting out and only being part of this for a few months. When I came into therapy my therapist said I was lucky that I hadn’t gotten in deeper as these environments can be very damaging.

I feel sad that I was playing out aspects of my abuse and attracted to this scene/ compelled/ lured. I didn’t feel like I fitted in but I also felt I had no choice. I definitely think it was a part acting out.

I also feel kind of sick that my relationship with M, who later became my husband started out in this toxic way. I let him control me in many ways and felt like I needed that. He was never abusive though so it’s hard for me to not feel like I have such a big part to play. I guess there were just patriarchal powers at play that were a replica of my mother and fathers relationship.

There’s no point in attributing blame I know that I guess I just want to understand more about my decisions.’ Forgive myself. Forgive him. Sometimes I can still see myself being with him and thinking I would be in a similar position as to now. Just getting on with life, excelling at work, running, hanging with dogs etc. But I’m not so sure. I was so triggered with M. I’m not convinced I could have worked through it all with him, maybe I would have ended up crazy. My little ones were very attached to him and I was very dissociative with him. He often didn’t have his wife around (me) but when I was around sometimes I didn’t like him or wondered why I married him. So I’m not sure who really fell in love with him. Def the little ones in me needed a father figure. I’m okay with that. They have a right to get their unmet needs met. It’s complicated though.

I feel angry that I was damaged and he accepted that I should be treated like a dirty slut etc. Angry he never questioned why I would want to be treated like that, talked to in such a degrading way. Rather he just let it be a massive turn on. I know it suggests he wasn’t well but he was twenty years older than me and I think there’s a part of me that feels like I wish he had of known better. But maybe that’s what we feel about our abusers. Like why the hell didn’t they know better?

Resourcing

Today I talked about resourcing and the things I have that keep me grounded and sane.

  1. God – my faith in Him.
  2. Exercise – being fit and always wanting to and needing to exercise and be healthy and strong
  3. Doing my PhD – which keeps me focused on something that I need and want to achieve
  4. Boxing writing workshop- connecting with a group of women sexual abuse survivors everyday helps me to no end
  5. My students – keep me motivated to find new and better ways to teach and co-learn with them. I am inspired by them all the time.
  6. My Job- which is hard and scary at the moment with so much uncertainty and the looming threat of job losses and budget cuts amidst educational and economic collapse. But I am privileged to be doing what I am doing for now and just need to hold on to that.

I didn’t mention my partner and I don’t know why. I just don’t know whether I trust a human in such a way anymore or if I ever have. Maybe I don’t trust me still.

Safe places and Imagination

A long time ago, I set up a safe place inside for my parts. Part of this inside structure included a hospital (or caring room). It was run by nurses that are bears and many little parts have had to go there and be put on oxygen tanks as they were rescued from dark caves and were found unconscious. Also, many have needed rest and to sleep, as they have lost all energy. It’s been some time since I’ve visited the ward and today in therapy I did. I can’t really remember why. That’s right, we rescued a part who couldn’t walk, her legs were all numb. My therapist guided me and I held her and then eventually took her to the hospital to be looked after. That’s when I saw the mess! The ward was in chaos. Many of the unconscious parts had woken up and were basically throwing up and oozing crap out of them (in this healing way). So with the help of some helpers, we got down to cleaning the ward and making sure everyone had water and clean sheets, and set up more rooms so anyone that wanted to go do art therapy could or there was a dance room and then a memory room so if anyone needs to go in to process a memory they can do that now. It’s got a tv screen on it so they can show it to me. And there’s a group room for meetings and they can have visitors, such as therapy dogs and pandas. The problem is the bear nurses went a bit crazy and didn’t really know how to run the hospital ward very well. They were basically hanging out in the office causing havoc and so we worked out that it’s probably best they are just supervised and go and cheer up the patients rather than look after them.

So this is another part of my safe place system now. I know it probably sounds crazy but it’s my inner world and I can be as imaginative as I want. Today was the first day I could really vision this place and I think that is progress.