High functioning D.I.D.

I have heard Rob Goldstein talk on Beyond Your Past podcast and find him very relatable. In his first interview with Matt Pappas (spelling?), Rob talked about living well with D.I.D. and helped me reframe my multiplicity. In this podcast he talks about being a high functioning D.I.D. survivor and I think that’s me too. I am very active, I work, I am doing my PhD, I am in recovery, I run writing/ boxing workshops for survivors of child sexual abuse and trauma. I am training for a half marathon and most of the time I am together. Mind you, last night I dissociated intensely, but I am able to bounce back these days after a night or day of being out of it. Rob also talked about the duality of having internal parts who don’t want to put themselves out there in life, in contrast to the more active host. I definitely experience the sabotage and internal parts who don’t want to be seen or heard. They are embarrassed to even exist. The shame core planted by my abusers. It’s a process to shake off and change but I know it’s getting better. I think D.I.D. people can be seen too much as patient rather than empowered individual(s) who use a highly creative and complex coping mechanism to live their lives. My dissociation is a gift from God. I believe my ability to dissociate is what has kept me alive and able to achieve so much.

You can listen to Rob’s interview here: itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/beyond-your-past/id1143688126

Sometimes being an RA survivor sucks…

Being a ritual abuse survivor sometimes really sucks. Firstly, it is like I attract trouble – namely with members of the opposite / same sex. Its like I have an unconscious sign on my forehead saying “flirt with me”, “like me”, “desire to have sex with me”. I do believe that as abused people, we exude an energy that can attract demonic forces. I mean the portals were opened when we were kids, so we can become like magnets. I am not saying by any means that an RA survivor deserves any abuse, or wills it to happen in any way, but I think we are more susceptible to things happening to us or around us, and so have to be ultra vigilant. The problem is, the host is married and we just seem to find ourselves in situations where flirtation arises or there are chemical feelings. These people could be RA survivors themselves or most likely have been sexually abused. We tend to attract each other. Husband gets jealous (naturally), and as our host is Christian (and 76% system is too) it conflicts with our spiritual beliefs and desires (to be like and of God). For example, I just went for a run earlier and a guy was checking me out. It always surprises me when this happens, because I have had an inner belief for a long time that I am ugly and unattractive, yet there is this great longing to be desired and found attractive – validated. I have no idea whether I am or am not attractive/ unattractive. In contrast to the ‘beauty’ images we are force fed in mainstream media, I don’t think I fit this bill. I am certainly not a ‘pretty girl’, sometimes I don’t even feel like a woman. Ha, ha, the description of me sounds so bizarre, who knows what the reader is imagining. But I think I felt so worthless for so long, that I don’t know what is true anymore – or if I ever knew. My self image has definitely improved and I don’t hate myself as much as I did many years ago. I don’t sit in shame and self loathing near as much as I used to. I understand when these feelings arrive nowadays that they are emotional memory. But the point is, there is still a huge part or parts of me that unconsciously desire to be wanted, sexualised, attractive in men and women’s eyes. It is about power and prestige. And that is what can get me into trouble. Because some people can pick that up, demons certainly do and like to exploit it. And I wonder when it will stop – of course, I know the more I get healed and integrated and die to self, the less these things will become an issue. Probably the older I get the less it will happen too. I wonder what age it is that as a woman you stop being desired by others – 45? Also, sometimes when I argue with my husband, it is like my brain shuts down. I get so, so tired and just want to go to sleep. I can’t communicate and shut down internally. I have to wait some time until it passes. It is a feeling of complete heaviness and as though I am dead inside. The ‘me’ who I think I know is gone and I just switch into operation mode – whatever that is. Sleep sometimes helps to bring me back to normal self, sometimes I just have to wait it out.

Oh, Easter is a crappy time of year too as most RA survivors can relate to. I realised the other day it is a highly sexualised time of year for me – likely linked to my abuse and the rituals that went on. Tomorrow it will be over and that is probably when I will come out of this funk. For now, I just have to keep myself distracted and busy and it will pass as it always does. Just can’t get stuck in it. Thanks for listening. (Tina).

 

 

Gay Alter on the scene.

Last week, the host of this blog discovered me – Grace. I am 36 and gay. Female. Of course it is a problem as the host is Christian and married lol! I used to be out for a while, when I was with a woman for six years. I wasn’t out all the time, others would come up who liked men and well, who responded to pretty much anyone liking them. Yeah, desperate, no boundaries, I know.

I went away for a few years, because that six year relationship and break up kinda screwed me over and I just needed to retreat for a while. I am only back because I have been woken up by female student where I work, can you believe. I know it sounds terrible and I wouldn’t do anything (we could lose our job),  but she is so alluring and beautiful and I feel a chemical reaction pulling me toward her. I became quite obsessive last week, fantasising about her. Host is freaking out because feels like she is having an affair and I contradict her Christian beliefs. She won’t let me engage in sexual fantasies about the girl because to her this is like having an affair with her husband (who by the way, I can’t stand and he reminds me of the Father – i feel sick just writing this).

It is a complicated situation. We spoke to T about it and she said that I was out because I needed something. Yeah, I can tell you what that is but it is not appropriate, besides that I need company – stimulation, art, good conversation, writing, a couple of glasses of wine (can’t do that because of the alcoholic thing dammit). I would like to write a play – not sure what about. Being stuck in one freaking body might be a good start. Majorly challenging and wouldn’t recommend it.

Anyway, that is why I am writing today because apparently it is ‘good therapy’ for me. We’ll see. Host runs around like a mad woman most of the time, so busy, might be difficult for me to get the time but I guess I have to push for it.

We have started boxing too and are going to fight soon. Not everyone is into it, but most people think it is pretty cool and happy to work hard for the chance to get in a ring. I just want to go to work with a black eye <grin>.

Thanks for listening.

 

How I used to dissociate.

I was cleaning up my office yesterday and discovered something I had written about eight or nine years ago – this was before I fully realised I was SRA and had DID.  It was also at a time when I was drinking and using alcohol as a coping mechanism. Thankfully, this is out of my life now.

To dissociate now is different from what it was then, which is a blessing. It was very intense in the past, but that was also because I didn’t really understand what was going on and I had not been diagnosed properly. I didn’t realise that being triggered was emotional memory and my parts being activated. So, how did I dissociate in the past?

Well, there were different sides to me – I was disconnected and angry. I had a need to be destructive; wanting to have it all, but end it all at the same time.

I felt scared, untrustworthy, fearful. I had a fear of others trying to control/ manipulate me or hurt me.

I would get choked up, unable to speak or communicate, I would feel violated. My mind would race at one million miles an hour and I escaped into it, attacking myself, becoming slightly catatonic; wanting to thrash about in rage and say really horrible and nasty things to my partner, but unable (thankfully) to say the words aloud and / or even move.

I felt different, a heightened sense of being ‘other’ (obviously that was me in parts, but I had no idea I was multiple then). I was acutely alert, yet found it difficult to retain information. Scared – mostly scared; ill at ease. Scattered, as though I couldn’t think straight and I struggled to breathe properly.

Ready to snap. I felt angry because of the confusion of wanting to shout out in absolute rage for it all just to stop, but not sure what it was that needed stopping.

Thoughts would dawn on me in terror. “Oh God, I think my mother was involved”. How could she have been? That is such a terrible thought to face, such a contradiction to who I thought she was. I fear that I am making it all up and wonder why I would do such a thing.

I had an absolute fervent desire to get to the top of this mess, but unable to switch off this sabotage button that gets triggered. (Again, I now know this was not a sabotage button; it was parts being activated – I just didn’t have the language for it yet).

Then I recorded, what it was then that triggered me:

  • Expectation
  • Alcohol
  • Mistakes
  • Stress
  • Being out of control and / or in the moment
  • Sex
  • Touch
  • Emotions
  • Being vulnerable
  • Having too much fun
  • Loving too much
  • Letting myself go

Its sad to read my triggers above – no wonder I was so miserable all those years back! To think I walked around like that for years with no clue as to what was really going on. Even though I was seeking help and therapy, I just had no idea as to the depth of the trauma and the pain. I was also just so disconnected from self. I guess I just did the best I could, but reading the above gives me a little bit of compassion towards who I once was and why I acted in the ways that I did. Sad stuff. 😦

Praise God I have now discovered (even if I am still amnesic) more of why I am the way I am and that I am seeking the appropriate recovery and help.

Setting recovery goals

It has been a long time since I have written in this blog. I fear there is programming at work behind this. I have been subjected to much ‘don’t talk’, ‘silence’ programming that whenever I get close to sharing and discussing my feelings and abuse history, then I am usually attacked spiritually and shut down. My decision to communicate, to share, to write, disappears and I forget all about it. Life gets in the way.

And with that, 2016 is over and so we start a new year with fresh focus and direction. I like to write in my journal at the beginning of each year about the year past, expressing my gratitude for what has been achieved and then setting some goals or areas of focus for the new year. Whilst I would usually do this offline, in order to combat the internal programming, I will review my year and establish goals via this platform, in the hope that it will stimulate more writing.

So here goes…

In 2016, I achieved and am thankful for the following:

  • I converted from my masters to PhD
  • I produced a short film and it is now ready to hit the festival circuit
  • I secured a grant for work for my digital archive project and acquitted this successfully
  • I kicked enormous goals at work with the project and other things, ending the year receiving a large grant that will span over the next two years
  • I started sponsoring women from AA and taking them through the steps (this was very good for my emotional and mental state and allowed me to get out of self effectively)
  • I got a beautiful dog – a groodle, so now we have two
  • I joined a gym and started boxing again and have really increased my fitness and strength

I am sure there are plenty of other things, but these are the main things I can remember.

In 2017, I would like my focus to be as follows:

Spirituality / Recovery

  • Do bible study once a week and continue to read my bible every day and pray more, working to better my relationship with Jesus
  • Connect with my parts once a week (at least) – i.e. by writing in my journal, drawing, painting, blogging – maybe a recovery podcast? Start to track my process more and be creative in this
  • Reflect more on my day at the beginning and end, handing over my will to God daily and then asking God if I really did my best that day and if not, helping me to heal or make my amends as necessary.

Fitness/ Health

  • Continue to go to the gym minimum three times a week (ideally five) – start sparring.
  • Make sure dogs are healthy and get a walk every day or five times a week at least
  • Work at getting at six pack!!

Work

  • Set goals in google docs over Summer break – working on grant and outlining objectives to achieve these
  • Submit short film to festivals
  • Apply for grant for final digitisation of material
  • Continue PhD writing theses – finish three chapters by end of year
  • Go to New Orleans in November and co-present at conference.

Husband

  • Work with husband on weekend to help around house -with gardening or cleaning or just general repairs
  • Finish second bedroom with hubby and set up new office
  • Work with him more in general and be a good assistant to him so that we achieve things together.

Holding On.

Last night I dreamt I was pushing about 100 shopping trolleys, and working really hard  not to let go of them. I think this is metaphoric of how I am feeling internally with my  parts and maybe even memories. Like, I am trying to hold on and not let anything spill  out. I am trying not to crack at work or at home (not doing greatest job with the latter).  Having trouble with AA too and because the group rhetoric is ‘if you leave you will pick  up a drink’, I am scared to walk alone with God. I fear that is not enough. I know it is silly  me even thinking that God is not enough, but when you are under spiritual attack  constantly it is hard to hold on to the truth and it is a daily spiritual battle, that sees me  lose often. I will keep holding on though, to the hope, to the truth, to bearing witness.

Disgust

The last few days the feelings of terror lurks around me, in me. When I sense my body, pain shoots through me. It is a pain that is difficult to describe, it is not like back pain or foot pain or a headache, it is an existential pain, a deep, all consuming, stifling pain that makes me shudder. I feel disgust and so, so, so ugly. It is probably shame, yet that feels too adult as a logic. The disgust and the ickiness is me in those moments, there is nothing removed about it. My body wants to snap shut, twist into a safe ball and hide in bed with my toys, but I have to get where I am going or do what I am doing and I just have to grit my teeth and distract myself from it quickly.

When I get reminded that God is my saviour and that with him I am strong, the relief comes. In those moments it is truly difficult to know this, but tonight, I know He has my back and it gives me solace and quiet comfort.

Husband thinks I am strange

Uh oh. Husband finally caught on that I am not who I seem to be… it has been seven days and lots of us have been out and he knows it, but just doesn’t know when ‘I’ will be back and normal again. I can’t necessarily give a time, date, or location as to when it will happen either. Something just usually shifts and I snap back. Just feels a little more intense this time. When I feel like this, I prefer to be left alone, like i don’t feel married to him and he just doesn’t get that. Of course, he doesn’t, I don’t wish to sound too selfish. I would prefer we just had a ‘platonic’ relationship for the time being. Kissing him is gross, there are too many kids out to want to do that and I just would prefer to hold hands or cuddle you know or sometimes not even do that. Just go to bed and read or do work.

All in all I am pretty well functioning and when people are out to be protective or whatever, then things get done and I am pretty motivated to do life. Not sure what the other option would be? Curl up and die. At least this way I am safe and no one can hurt me, because I guess I don’t feel as much as the others. I don’t mind by the way, it is what I am used to.

Hope the husband thinks I am okay after all this and can go along with the ride. He might give up and leave me. He is mostly worried I will have an affair. I told him I wasn’t out to sabotage anyone, i just needed to be out to safeguard things for a while. Truth is, I am not interested in sex or relationships with people. I prefer to be by myself and just work and keep busy.

Facial Hair as Trigger

My husband and I fight mostly about two things: his (adult) kids and his lack of attention to grooming. Tonight, I will discuss the latter. Firstly, he hates shaving. As a woman I shave the relevant bits almost daily so I don’t really get the gripe. It’s kind of like Nike says, you just do it. Now I don’t mind the light beard that he adorns, however I do like some attention paid to how long it gets and overall presentation. I get that the hipster men have made beards the new zeitgeist, though don’t get me started on that. I just think it is a cover for lack of real manhood… oops, did I say that out loud!

Back to hubby. So every 10 days I am usually subtly suggesting he goes for the trim, tidies up a bit, and he nods and agrees but days later, it is just growing fiercer by the minute. And now, I am starting to get obsessed. The pattern is, we are travelling along great, madly in love and I think he is beautiful and funny and sexy and I let my guard down and then I do some therapy work and the memories or emotions creep in and all of a sudden some protector parts are out and we go home and we start looking at the husband more objectively and all of a sudden he isn’t that beautiful or funny or sexy and his clothes are starting to hang and he looks like a hobo. Shite, they think, who the hell did we marry?! This guy doesn’t take care of his appearance, he is scruffy, he doesn’t care about himself, let alone me (or us). So I mention the hair again and he says he will do it, but this time is acting a little aloof and there is a tone there I am reading that perhaps he thinks I am trying to control him… again… mmh… so I get resentful and narky and this time a little more insistant and passionate with the pleas. I may even come across threatening. ‘I won’t shave for a month’ I think, or I tell him that I aim to please him by looking good, doesn’t he want to do the same for me? It seems like he doesn’t, and I start thinking that I have attracted someone who thinks their worthless, which of course makes sense, because I am worthless and I get what I deserve. The stinking thinking sets in and I am all alone in my head and it is not pleasant and I don’t like this man and I don’t want him to touch me or look at me, I just want to run and be free from all this bullshit and trivial stuff and I am embarrassed this is happening, and I just wish he would solve it all by actually shaving and trimming his freaking beard. That is it. That is all I need. And then finally, after smoke is coming out of my nostrils, he does it. And he does an average job mind you and I have to fix it up, and I get angry again because I am not a barber and I just wish he would do it properly. At 54 years of age, I mean come on people!!!

So I go to bed angry and I give him all I got. ‘One thing’, I yell, ‘One thing I need from you and you cannot give it to me. Why, when I tell you it makes me feel worthless and like a piece of shit, do you procrastinate and not do it?’. ‘I did it two weeks ago’, he defends himself. ‘People do it every single day’, I am fuming. ‘I am not like other people’. ‘No’, I say, ‘no, you are terminally unique of course’. He ignores me, he thinks I am in parts. Well I probably am, but he is not helping. Dammit, why can’t I let go of this resentment and fall madly in love with him again. I have to wait a few days or maybe weeks and I am not sure what it is that eventually gets ‘me’ back to ‘me’…. until the next cycle.

Infuriating I know. If I apply the AA 4th step way, then this is how it looks:

I am angry at my husband because he doesn’t take care of his personal appearance. I don’t want him to be some Nancy boy or look at himself in the mirror more than I do, but I do want him to trim his beard once a week and brush his teeth twice a day and shave his hair every fortnight ideally.

It affects my self esteem, personal and sexual relations, pride.

What did I do to get the ball rolling? I am not letting him be who he wants to be. I am being prideful and vain. (It makes me angry just to write that by the way).

Character defects: Fear, shame, guilt, self centred.

Taking this one step further now and using this to connect with my parts… What does this trigger in my inner world?

I am scared of him when he has too much hair, we don’t like it, it makes us scared and we think he will hurt us. We think he is more friendly and young when it is short and nicely kept and he doesn’t look scary.

Sometimes I wish my husband would understand what a drama his procrastination creates inside me, but then I feel selfish and embarrassed for making such a big deal about facial hair. Blah!

Hatred

image taken from kayiniafrika.com

image taken from kayiniafrika.com.

I had a part named ‘Black’ who came out tonight in my prayer ministry session with Patricia. She was full of hatred; that is all she knew. Patricia told her that feeling joy and being happy was a decision. For Black, that decision felt dangerous because to feel joy and happiness meant denying the pain that she felt and pretending everything was normal, when it wasn’t. Kind of like the abuse, play happy on the outside, but really when the doors are shut, the real personalities come out to play and they ain’t nice. Better to feel the hate, live the hate, be the hate than to live the lie. But Patricia said that the hate didn’t serve anyone and the only one it was hurting was Black. I think Black knew that deep down, but still it was hard to consider letting go. Patricia said that all God asks is that we make a decision, and that He will do the rest. The Bible asks us to be obedient and to make the decision to forgive and that is all we need to do. I understand that because I believe that there are spiritual principles that govern the world – on the earthly and the non-earthly plane – and forgiveness is one of these. In order to release souls and allow people to break free from the bondage of self, we must forgive. Black gets this too and so decided to commit to Jesus. Believe me, when I (she) had to say the prayer, it was like pulling teeth. She could have resisted and stopped the process anytime, but she didn’t. Turns out now she has a new name, it is Sunny. Black doesn’t feel very Sunny yet, I guess that might take some time. Either way, she did crack a smile, though there was such great sadness underneath.