Processing the emotions of my past

Processing the emotions of my past

Please note some people may find this blog difficult, please exercise self care. 

Life’s been a bit tough this past week, tough because I’m in the process of trying to understand my past and the anguish that seems to come from the legacy of my abuse. I’ve found myself crying with real pain, but this is not physical pain, no it’s deep within and it consumes all of me. It’s a pain like no other, a pain of deep scars and ingrained thoughts knocked into me years ago. This hurt is the dawning realisation and acceptance that the abuse I recall actually happened to me.
You see it is often easier to just acknowledge the memory, to think it through but not get emotionally involved, to remember but not accept these events happened to me. Yet once you start acknowledging these memories, the hurt and anguish that goes with them it hurts so much more. Acknowledging the emotions that co-exist alongside the actual memory itself is far far harder and I’m slowly realising that this hurt is something I have to go through if I want to recover.
For years I’ve had memories, fragments of time that suddenly appeared into my subconscious taking over my mind and plaguing me with horror. I’ve been inflicted with flashbacks and body memories which do so easily catapult me back in time, to when the events were actually happening. But for years I lived under the premise of these events happened to this alter or that alter, I never thought about the emotional impact that I as a child felt when the events were actually happening to this body of mine.
I’ve tried hard the past year to accept these events, this abuse well it happened to me I may have dissociated during the actual event but I was still there. I may have shut the memories, the pain and hurt away but I can’t deny this didn’t happen to me. I can’t deny I was scared, I was afraid or that I felt anger or guilt because back then I did. I can’t deny any longer that I as a child suffered horrendously, that I felt terrified, that I wished I could stop them because I did. Looking back now I realise that I boxed my emotions from this time away, I wasn’t allowed to feel, to express an opinion I had to just lie there and endure, that was my role.
But today decades later I can feel, I can express the pain and anguish of those times and the inner child in me needs to do that. I need to be able to let go of the hurt, the fears and the anger locked deep within. You see parts of me have carried these feelings and these memories for so long and now it’s right that we express them, it’s time for them and me to let go of our emotions, to feel.
So this past week I’ve found myself crying, consumed with anguish and hurt because for the first time in my life I’m feeling the hurt from decades ago, I’m actually allowing it to have an outlet, to stop it from being locked in. I’m giving the emotional hurt from that time an opportunity to be expressed, the feelings I have well they are those carried by me as a child when the abuse was a daily event.
Today I maybe an adult, but deep within lies the emotional scars of a child who has endured so much and yet thankfully survived. Those scars need to break free and the emotions contained within need processing, they need processing by me. I’m slowly realising that it’s ok to grieve, to feel, to cry, in fact it’s ok to be angry, to feel fear and a thousand other feelings I’ve carried over the years. I do feel dirty, I feel used, I feel rejection and I feel angry, I’m angry that this happened to me. I’m angry these people felt they had a right to abuse me when they had none.
I’m slowly coming to realise just how much this impacted upon me, not just the physical scars but the emotional too. You see being unable to express emotions over the years has taken a real toll on me. I’m scared of anger, I’m uncomfortable when I cry or feel overwhelmed and I find my emotional reactions to events quite alarming at times, because emotions feel alien to me.
I know that feeling and processing those emotions, my emotions is a huge part of my healing journey. It’s so critical to feel and to understand why I think and feel the way I do about many things. To acknowledge my grief, my hurt and to accept that these feelings are ok, they are safe and I’m ok to express them. So right now I’m accepting I need to take care of me, that I need to let my tears flow and that its safe. I used to think they’d overwhelm me and never stop but I know now that if I needed to stop crying to answer the phone or deal with an emergency I could stop them. I know that if they consume me and it becomes too much I can take a break from the pain they hold, I can say that’s enough for now I’ll feel some more tomorrow.
I know that this hurt and pain will take time to pass, indeed processing the emotions from the past will take sometime. But I know it’s better to start processing than leave them unworked through and full of their deadly sting which they hold. In time processing will lessen that sting and it will mean these memories and the emotional baggage they contain will not be able to come bite me again, they will not have the same hold over me.
Right now I’m slowly learning to manage my emotions, I’m coming to terms with the past and all the scars it contains. I’m taking time out in order to allow those emotions to be safely expressed and I’m ensuring all the parts of me have time too. Time to cry, to laugh, to shout and to feel but most of all to have time to heal, for that’s what this journey is all about. So I’ve structured my diary to give me some space, some free time and I’m ensuring I have space to think, to communicate internally and to work through these emotions, this legacy from my past one teeny tiny step at a time.
Copyright DID Dispatches 2015

Learning more about one of my little me’s

Understanding how to parent myself better

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This week I’ve been thinking about the differences between some of my alters and what the characteristics they have tell me about my past. I am always conscious that my alters are parts of me, just these parts are fragmented from adult me by the nature of dissociation. I am learning as I continue to utilise internal dialogue more and more about these parts of myself and at times it makes me realise just what my life was like in the past. For whilst I still have amnesia of some parts of my life I am slowly realising what it was like back then through the character traits and emotions carried by my alters.

I have one little alter  who is probably aged around 5 or 6 she initially seemed quite upfront, forward, chatty and cheeky. I used to think she was super confident as she would speak loudly compared to the other parts and she let me know when she was around. There were times when she would find sharing cartoon time difficult and she would appear to be more precocious than other parts.  But these were my initial thoughts build over a few months of internal dialogue and sometimes being co-aware or as I call it side by side. Times when I would find myself watching as she was in control of this body we share, times when I didn’t lose time but didn’t have control either.

Then as time progressed and internal dialogue continued I began to notice little repetitive issues that I could see were part of her character. For instance if I made a mistake she’d tell me I was silly, pointing out the things I did wrong seemed to be a regular occurrence. I would then point out this wasn’t nice or that she was being cheeky and suddenly I could feel her fear, but this wasn’t normal fear.

Her fear was palpable it was so strong and I would feel like I was trembling inside, she would start  to apologise but in an over the top way. She became timid, so willing to please and seemed desperate to know I wasn’t cross. She’d often be filling my head with noise, begging forgiveness for being a naughty girl and saying she didn’t mean to be naughty. Of course I’d do all I could to reassure her, tell her she wasn’t in any trouble and that reassurance would have to be repeated many times. She was then often quiet and withdrawn and I’d not sense her around for quite a while afterwards.

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She would often be bothered if I was upset again displaying fearfulness and if I didn’t sense my teen part for a few days she would ask me to check she was okay. She gradually seemed happier with sharing time and activities and toys, always checking though that she wasn’t being bad afterwards. It was as if she needed to know that she wasn’t getting things wrong as that seemed to really concern her. If she thought other people in the external world were upset or angry with us that would really bother her too.

As time progressed I began to realise that her precociousness is just her being a typical little girl and I also realised her fear was genuine terror filled fear and its origin stems from our past. I now find myself offering reassurance to her at regular intervals, letting her know things are safe and okay. I try hard to encourage this part of me, trying to build up confidence and personal skills, such as her assertiveness and sharing skills. She is slowly learning to help me cook; she can make brilliant toast, she is learning she can share safely and that its okay to show feelings. Hence when I’m upset or another part is thats not a danger, it’s just us expressing our emotions.

I learnt this week in psychology that her negativity is deep within and it’s something I struggle with too, in fact I often put myself down. I have a low self worth so it’s no wonder she is saying similar things, she is repeating the behaviours she observes in me.  As my psychologist said yesterday its time I practice what I preach, I need to stop making disparaging remarks about myself if I want her too.

I also need to think of better ways to respond to her instead of creating increased anxiety and fear, I need to think of better ways to parent myself. In the future when she puts me down or says a disparaging remark its important how I respond. The same applies to when she is cheeky and perhaps a little too forward because if I create fear in her I’m not parenting myself well. So currently I’m trying to learn to respond differently to her but it is a steep learning curve for me and so I expect this will be a case of not always getting it right. This morning when she puts us down I stopped myself from saying ‘that wasn’t nice’ and instead said ‘ why do you think that’ as conversation ensued it became clear she things she’s silly and stupid too. I spent time reassuring her she isn’t and pointing out her good qualities.

My little me is frightened little girl who is confused and unsure about the world around her, that can only stem from our past. My job now is to counteract those negatives and build up all of me to be collectively the person we had the potential to be, had we been given the right parenting and care. I can’t change the past but I can change me going forward, so I guess it’s time I did practice what I preach to my alters and stop putting myself down too.

 

Copyright DID Dispatches 2015

 

 

 

Facing the Shame and Guilt of being Groomed

TRIGGER WARNING !!!!

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Over the past few weeks it’s been very hard to write a blog, so my apologies for not posting very much recently. The holidays have caused me to face some memories from my past which have been extremely difficult and that I have found very painful and challenging.

It all started with a new alter who emerged one day as I tried to give my little alters time, suddenly overwhelmed with emotion I felt scared and a sadness that was blacker than black. It felt dire and it really was difficult to feel, I tried to find out who these feelings belonged to and so I asked inside. Suddenly the new alter appeared, she’s aged I guess about 8 or 9, I’m basing that on two things one this is definitely a little alter and two the memories that have surfaced revolve around a very specific time period in my life. Her only questions to me were quite specific, ‘was she bad’ and ‘why did her mummy not love her’.

Trying to find answers to these questions was difficult, I know she is not bad but were does one start with the question regarding my Mother. My Mother clearly didn’t love me, not even for a minute and she was intent on making sure I knew that especially as a child. Yet even now I find it impossible to explain why, some tell me she was mad, others bad, I just see her as someone whose actions and reactions were incomprehensible to any sane person.

I was able the first time to sit with these feelings and reassure my alter who settled after a while and disappeared from my radar again. Over the next few days she kept appearing and mainly it was her feelings I felt, alongside the voice in my head which joins the cacophony of voices that I live with most days as a result of living with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Over time my head was filled with memories of specific incidents and people, times in my past that I really wish I could leave behind. I found myself sitting and thinking, remembering what I did know yet had chosen to block away and yet at the same time dealing with memories of things I had not fully recalled before. Alongside these came the emotions that I guess stem from this time but which I have never really felt before, it’s as if I am reliving the events of decades ago.

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It’s not time travel but it’s the nearest thing to it, I’ve been catapulted back to 1974 yet I’m living in 2015. I’ve travelled back to a small rented house on the edge of a mill town in Yorkshire, relived in my mind the horrors of a man who skilfully played me. I say skilfully play because that is what he did, he spent months grooming me in full knowledge my Mother wouldn’t object. My Mother introduced him to me when he was on bail for offences against children, she knew his bail terms and she allowed him to break them in our home; until he was sent to prison for his crimes against other youngsters.

He wasn’t like other abusers who bullied me, threatened me or were violent and aggressive towards me, no he was different he befriended me. He made me feel like I was safe, he provided stability in the utter chaos that was my existence back then and he cleverly orchestrated to break down my barriers and then psychologically played me. He spent months helping me with my school work, stepped in and protected me from my Mothers chaotic random behaviours and he gave me time and attention. In fact for years I thought this man was my friend, a friend who cared, who was a calming influence in my childhood. Then the memories began and about 10 years ago I started to realise things were not as idyllic as I had convinced myself they were. I began to remember his actions, the things that really happened that I had blocked out for so long. I realised it was at those times I had dissociated away to avoid the pain, but a part of me still lay there took the abuse and carried those memories that for years stay hidden from me.

It is this part I’m now engaging with, this child that is me who was betrayed and conned by a man who groomed me to such an extent that I didn’t need physical coercion in order to fulfil his requests, he psychologically had full control of me. This man had played with my head so much that looking back if he had told me to jump off a bridge into a deep river whilst weighed down with a heavy weight, I would have.

This man was a career paedophile who knew from the moment he first met me what he wanted to achieve. Then he skilfully worked at getting what he wanted, whilst at the same time making me carry all the shame and the guilt. This week that shame and guilt carried by my alter has for the first time really hit home with me, I have felt it and I am now trying to deal with it and survive.

To say shame and guilt is overwhelming would be an understatement, the feelings of disgust with myself is so bad that my skin feels like it’s crawling. I feel dirty, I feel soiled and I feel like I am bad.
I know logically none of the abuse was my fault, but what my head knows my heart doesn’t and so the emotions are intense as are the feelings they evoke. I have had such a strong desire to self harm this week that at one point I sat looking at tools to use, trying to decide which one was best. I haven’t planned in such a way for ages and it felt like a huge battle just to stay safe, thankfully with the help of additional medication I have been able to do so thus far.

My abuser will be old and wrinkly now I don’t think he is dead, I doubt he ever thinks of me but this past few weeks he is at the forefront of my mind. What happened over 40 years ago is being played out all over again.

My job now isn’t to dissociate it’s to keep talking with my alter, keep building a rapport and trust with her and it’s to feel my feelings that she’s held for so long. My job now is to learn to feel these emotions, and deal with them so that they no longer hold such a stronghold over me. As my psychologist told me this week this won’t be easy and it will take time and work. I know right now its a challenge and it hurts, it’s the first big test of the skills I have learnt in the past year of therapy. I can only hope I manage to survive this without too much damage or harm to myself.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2015

Female Abusers

Please be aware the content of this blog may cause distress to some as it contains sensitive information. Please exercise self care.

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Sometimes words we utter strike a chord deep down, it’s as if they go straight to the core of our being. The other day words describing the situation in my childhood were uttered, they have continued to resonate in my mind over these last few days. It’s hard when the past leaves such a legacy and yet it’s time that past was shattered, the strength it holds over me broken.

I had been talking about how I had been betrayed by the person who is my biological female parent, it was through tears that I talked of her failings and the reality of that time. I found myself asking questions, did she always hate me, did she ever love me, what was it I did wrong, but invariably it led to the one big question WHY? WHY Me?

I know I can’t explain it in any other way than to say that she was not a very nice person, in fact if truth be known she was never going to love me, never going to care for me and even before I was born these things were decided. She was unable to love, unable to care and unable to see me as anything more than an object such was the evilness within her.

Yet she gave birth to me and many would say that my mis-fortune was that I was born to this woman in these circumstances. But I also know that without her body I wouldn’t be here, my children wouldn’t be here, so it is strangely mixed feelings that I sometimes feel. I think once I use to love her and once I desperately sought her loving me back but then things changed and I began to realise just how much this woman hated me. I began to realise how she saw me, not as a child, not as a human being but instead as an object and a commodity.

I hate the very fact she felt she could treat me the way she did, I still cannot comprehend how any woman would behave in the way she did. Yet society has fuelled this disbelief for few people imagine a woman could harm her child in this way. My female biological parent was just a body that carried me into this world, she was never a mother, she never cared for me and she wasn’t able to show me mercy or care. The dysfunctional beliefs she held were nothing short of perverse and evil and she held views many people including myself will never fully understand, views that were skewed and utterly wrong.

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This woman like many other women was an abuser, she didn’t show love or affection she showed abuse, anger, rage, hatred, you name it she showed it. This woman who once carried me didn’t seem to have any maternal instinct, she didn’t see a new born baby she saw one thing an object she hated and one she could use and use to good effect. Growing up I wasn’t her child, I was her possession, I was controlled and owned by this woman and I had absolutely no rights, no choice and I wasn’t allowed such things as free will or opinions. I sat the other night and thought of her and how she would bark out orders to me and my older half siblings. If she said jump people would ask how high, if she said go – you went.

Yet to the outside world this woman was seen in my guises, and to the professionals involved in my childhood, the teachers, the doctors, the social workers and the psychologists she was one of two things. The poor woman struggling to cope with this difficult child and living in difficult circumstances or the problem that no one knew what to do with. She was able to convince many with her lies that she was the victim, she was unwell and yet she was doing her best, it wasn’t her fault I had yet another bruise, or another injury of some kind and my behaviours or symptoms had nothing to do with her. Some people fell for her lies and I was too afraid to correct them instead I just stayed silent and nodded my head, I didn’t tell them she abused me, who would have believed me if I had?

But some professionals saw through her lies and yet they still failed to protect me, they left me living in an intolerable situation and basically ignored what was going on in front of their very eyes. They saw things, they knew she was the cause of my extreme nervousness, anxiety, tension, stomach cramps, physical injuries, emotional scars and a mountain of other things too, but they didn’t step in and help me. Instead they left me living in this nightmare and they doped me up on medication to make it more bearable ‘for this poor unfortunate child’ these are the words they used to describe me in medical letters and reports.

This woman was at the time untouchable it seemed and I grew up knowing that this horror was my life and there was no escape, well except to dissociate which is what I did on many occasions. This woman wasn’t my only abuser but she was the key to it all, she was the person who controlled the access other people had to me and she benefitted from others abusing me.

There are words that I keep hearing in my head currently that seem to just not want to let me go, that resonate inside me and tear at my heart. Words that basically sum up how this woman saw me, treated me and felt about me. Those words are ‘my mother prostituted me’. I don’t know if people today will believe me or not, to be honest I don’t care what others think, I know the truth and the truth needs to be set free.

I need to be set free from the past and that past is worse than most peoples worst nightmare, I so desperately wish it wasn’t but I can’t change what happened, or the things done to me. I cannot change how she hated me or how she viewed me it’s too late to change who she was. This was my reality it doesn’t have to be the legacy I take forward, I can choose my future and the hold she has over me. I can break free from the fear I once held, the fear of a woman who despised me, who hated me and who basically throughout my childhood sold me to whoever was willing to pay.

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I’m currently struggling to come to terms with the starkness of the reality, I am slowly realising that all I was worth to my mother was the price people were willing to pay. It’s hard to come to terms with the pain this truth holds, even though I know it’s true beyond doubt, it hurts. It is like someone is stabbing at my heart and trying to tear it to shreds, it’s an all-consuming pain that’s how much it hurts.

All I ever wanted as a child was to be loved, accepted and cared for, I got that from my father but not my mother. That isn’t my fault the blame for this lies with her not me the child who was robbed of her innocence. I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact I am not to blame, but it’s not an easy road to journey along.

However unpalatable it maybe to society, females do abuse, they physically, psychologically and sexually abuse children. Female offenders are not uncommon yet somehow society seems less willing to accept this truth, it’s time attitudes changed so victims like me have a fighting chance of getting help and support to break free from the women who hurt them. It’s time we realised mothers can be the perpetrators of abuse.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2014