The Blame Game

I’m really not too sure why it happens, I really wish I knew what it was that causes me to take the blame for things going wrong in my life. Yet it seems from early years I learnt to blame myself for the difficulties I encountered and it appears to have continued ever since. As a child I used to think people hurt me because I was bad, I’d disappointed them and it was all my fault. As an adult when I was losing time and struggling to keep my life on track I would feel a sense of shame at not coping, I’d blame myself and there would be lots of self critical words being spoken. In hospital it soon became the norm to be blamed for my behaviour, my reactions to situations and my self harm, people encouraged and proactively assisted me to keep on blaming myself.

Blame played a big part in my life, prior to being diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder I had a range of ill judged diagnoses, none of which turned out to be accurate. Yet in those years preceding the correct diagnosis the blame game continued, I was labelled and judged as a nuisance, dysfunctional, attention seeking and emotionally unstable. It appeared that the medical professionals were saying that I was to blame for my mental health problems, it was my fault I was losing time, my fault I was depressed, anxious, forgetful and confused. The healthcare professionals played the blame game with me for a number of years and sadly I wasn’t in any position to stop it.

 

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Today with an accurate diagnosis there still exists a blame culture, many professionals don’t accept the diagnosis of D.I.D, they are sceptical about it. I’m aware of at least one psychiatrist who stated the fact I knew so much about D.I.D; which he didn’t believe in anyway, was indicative of me having a disorganised sense of self. In his opinion I was to blame for my carrying a teddy, for losing time and for changing personae. Of course I know it is he who was misguided and not me, but yet again medical staff placed blame were none was due, blame upon me.

This week in therapy I was undertaking some trauma work, it’s tough at times but I know it’s important too. As I spoke my psychologist made me stop and think, he made me reflect upon the words I was using because I was being self critical and negative. As I spoke of my past out poured the words ‘why didn’t I tell someone’ and ‘why didn’t I stop him’. Words such as ‘I let him’, ‘I never stopped him’, spewed forth as I continued to berate myself yet I wasn’t just berating me. In this case I was blaming the younger part of me who years ago took the abuse, of course at that time I had dissociated and so in reality I was blaming my poor alter.

My psychologist made me stop, made me think and I guess rationalise just how much I was blaming myself, and blaming my alters. He reminded it was a common theme in our work and that I do judge myself and my alters quite harshly. I couldn’t disagree with him because I knew he was right, I do judged them. I view my past and the memories of that time including the abuse I suffered through my adult eyes, I assume that I should have told someone, I should have hit out, screamed, shouted and fought to stop the abusers. Yet when I think of who I was at that time, a vulnerable frightened little girl who was being controlled through fear and betrayed by certain adults I ought to have been able to trust, I see things in a different light.

In truth at that time young me knew if I told I’d be in trouble, that no one would believe me, child abuse wasn’t talked about in my day it wasn’t recognised. The most safety advice I had received as a child was not to play with matches, and the green cross code. Younger me knew from experience that the aggression and violence that I had previously encountered would increase if I tried to fight back or stand up to my abusers. I had realised that it certainly wasn’t a safe option to object, or to tell, no in truth my alters did the best they could at the time. My alters, my younger me’s they took my pain and suffering so that I might survive to live another day.

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Yet here I was blaming them for what happened to us, how unfair of me and how wrong. My psychologist enabled me to think about who was really to blame and slowly I began to understand were that blame lies, it’s with those adults who betrayed me. I’ve no doubt it will continue to take time for me to accept I couldn’t help what happened to me, to accept I wasn’t to blame. This is a work in progress and I have a lot of alters and a lot of me to forgive.

Blame is an inherent part of our culture, of our society and we judge and blame others far too easily, in my case I direct the blame at me, either myself or my alters. I’m learning that this blame is about forgiveness, it’s also about grief. Accepting it wasn’t my fault, that I’m not to blame means acknowledging I was helpless in these situations and that yes I was hurt. It means accepting I was abused and I couldn’t stop it, it means acknowledging that certain people betrayed me. It also means facing up to the harsh reality that I hold feelings of anger towards these abusive individuals and that yes I am angry at them.

It is hard to understand the blame game, to understand I am playing it too and that at times I have blamed my alters. But that is the reality I face right now, these parts of me who have enabled me to survive don’t deserve my blame, my judgement. They deserve a future and a future filled with hope, acceptance and understanding, in turn I deserve that as well. So I’m trying hard this week to end the blame game, to repair the damage done and to work better with my alters. I’m slowly learning to forgive myself and to accept that actually I did ok, I did more than ok. I survived to live another die.

Copyright DID Dispatches 2015

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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