Archive for February, 2014

I am late today in figuring out the red X. I do want to add my voice in speaking out against sex trafficking, though.

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Title: Rachel Un-named artist

Title: Rachel
Un-named artist

“My body belongs to me.”

I’ve had that thought echoing around in my head for the last couple of days. Not all of me completely believes it, but more of me believes it than used to.

Unfortunately, I have a recurring body memory of a type of abuse that is difficult for me to accept happened to me. At this point, I have become resigned to the fact that not only must it have happened, but it likely happened at a variety of ages and I had different experiences with it. I seem to remember it from the different mind sets that I associate with being older or younger and sometimes the body memories just indicate pain, sometimes they simply are intrusive feeling, but not painful, and, worst of all, sometimes they seem to be memories of mixed pain and pleasure.

It took me much of a year to come to this point of acceptance and I thought that once I accepted that there was a basis in reality for the body memories, they would go away, but they didn’t. Thankfully, they did become easier to tolerate- yes, I am still dealing with horrible physical sensations, but at least I am no longer raking myself over the coals about whether I can believe myself or not. But why am I still experiencing those sensations on a frequent basis? Previously, I would have thought that there was something out of control inside or there was some harmful impulse involved, but I have recently learned that even when something seems to be completely out of character and to have no good purpose, if I sit with it for long enough, I may discover that there actually is a purpose.

So, I asked myself, “What do I need to understand from these body sensations? Is there a message or a lesson here for me?” And I sat quietly and listened.

The answer astonished me. In a weird sort of way, my claiming that those experiences happened to me also was a statement that my body belongs to me. There seems to be layer upon layer of meaning and implication for me here and I’ve been in a tiny bit of shock at the intensity of feelings involved. But, clearly, this is about my doing something very important to help myself and it’s actually a sign of healing.

Rather than simply rejecting the experience out of hand, I can now see that I need to accept what happened, in order to claim the me in the experience. Yes, I hated what happened, but it happened to me, it happened to my body. In order to be whole, I need to have ownership of my body, but if I make it in my mind that the abuse happened to “that body that I had as a child”, then I have rejected my body. It’s like I have made it my body’s fault that I felt the abuse, when my body was just doing its job: experiencing what was happening to it. The fault doesn’t lie with me for experiencing what happened, it lies with my abusers for putting me through the experiences. So somehow, the repeated body memories reflected the need to and I think even facilitated my shifting away from rejecting my body for feeling. I’m no longer furious with my body and I don’t feel like it betrayed me. I do feel very sad that I have been left in a state of feeling so much hatred for my body for so long.

Another layer is that I also felt as though this abuser wanted to possess me- that I was supposed to belong to him. But somehow, even as a child, I knew that his belief was wrong. I wasn’t supposed to belong to him. I wasn’t supposed to belong to anyone. I wasn’t sure what the relationship was supposed to be like, but I did know that people didn’t own other people. Unfortunately, I did a good job of “divorcing” myself from my body, so I didn’t understand that my body is irrevocably a part of the whole me. Because of the dissociation, I viewed it as something separate, so I had a lot of confusion as to whether he could own my body. He acted like he could do whatever he wanted to with it and he had control over my body during the abuse, not me. Anyways, I didn’t really want to be involved in what was going on. Much of the time I hated that I was trapped in a body that was being abused. If I could have gotten rid of my body, I would have; after all, I was rejecting my body and blaming it for feeling.

So I was left with confusion over whether he “owned” my body or not. What happened in these particular memories was experienced as being strongly dehumanizing and underlining how completely and utterly powerless I was in the situation. Can a “thing” own a body? Did his control over what was happening to me mean that he owned my body? If I couldn’t decide what happened to my body, how could it still belong to me? But if I can choose to “own” what happened to me then, somehow things change. I am no longer that child who was devastated by what was happening to her. While I don’t want to deal with what happened and I hate experiencing it in memories, the reality is that I can deal with it and tolerate it- at least in small doses. I most definitely am a person and not a thing and I do have power in my life. I now have power over what happens to this body that I am in. He controlled my body when I was alone with him as a child, but he didn’t really own it, not even then. Most certainly no one but me owns my body now.

It’s time for me to take off the blinders and see how much I have blamed my body and how resistant I have been to living in and experiencing things in my body. Most of what is there for me to exist is neutral to wonderful! I am missing so much by hating my body and pushing it away as hard as I can. It is time for me to accept that yes, that child’s body was my body. The abuse really did physically happen to me. I physically felt things that no child should ever feel. But none of it was my body’s fault. It’s time to accept and own that my body does belong to me. It’s time to start living in my body.

Note: Most likely I didn’t actually think any of this out nearly this clearly as a child, but it’s the best that I can “translate” what I am being told by my insides now. One of the problems about writing is that it makes everything seem so much more clear than it really is. I do not claim that I have clear memories of these experiences as a child, this simply is the best that I can piece together from remembered feeling states/ flashes of memories/ and bit of internal communication. It doesn’t really matter whether I am completely accurate about how I understood things/ felt then; I just need to get close enough to allow me to move forward with the healing that I need to do.

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Artist: Kevin Stanton

Artist: Kevin Stanton

This was a thought provoking article from a DID survivor about her experience with integration: Understanding Integration. I think that most, if not all of us with parts, even if we are not diagnosable with DID, have concerns and questions about integration. She addressed many of mine and has given me a lot to consider about the process. Perhaps my largest questions simply were, “What is integration like? Is it as lonely as it sounds like it would be?”

After reading the article, I find myself feeling like my head is “busy,” as if on several different levels I am evaluating what I have read and trying to form opinions of it. It was long and full of many provocative points, so I have a feeling that I will be processing it for awhile.

What do you all think? Not necessarily of the integration vs. non integration question, but of what she otherwise said about integration? What the process was like. What the benefits were for her. I will admit that at the moment I am very aware of the barriers in my mind and that the flow of information is not smooth or predictable. I am frequently frustrated by my limitations and the idea of my being able to have all of my recent thoughts and memories available is appealing to me.

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Giselle Blythe Thicket

Giselle Blythe

A few weeks ago, my Mama Bear and I started to work through Coping With Trauma Related Dissociation, chapter by chapter. She had me buy it about a year and 1/2 ago and had me read chapters about the window of tolerance, dealing with triggers, and other such topics when I first bought it. She pays attention to when I seem to be resistant to something that she suggests, so we didn’t spend much time on it and we definitely stayed away from the chapters that were specifically about parts. When she suggested starting at the beginning and going through the entire book, I liked the idea and was even a bit excited at the thought of starting to get a handle on what is going on inside.

However, since starting to work on the book, I have found it increasingly difficult to talk about my parts at all. It’s even gotten to the point where it’s affecting my relationship with Mama Bear. I admitted to her today that a large part of me “doesn’t want to talk to you ever again. I just want to hide.” When she asked me if I realized that I was speaking from a frightened child part and not my “fuller self”, I said yes (even I could hear that in my voice.) But I just couldn’t access anywhere in me that could comfort the child.

It’s like since I started to work on the book, things have just gotten harder. I find myself very much not wanting to accept that I have parts at all and I will think from that place sometimes, hoping that I can go back to dealing with things the way that I used to. It’s like there is an odd time warp and I can feel myself thinking and perceiving things the way that I did 4 years ago, when I had firmly shut away all of the parts and kept them “asleep.”

It has become much more difficult to talk to my Mama Bear about anything, really, but especially anything that I perceive as being parts related. I am less able to comfort frightened or hurt child parts than I used to be. It seems like there is more chaos inside. I am spending more time dissociated, even though I don’t know what I am so upset about that I am dissociating. I almost never lose time, but I’m discovering that I am losing bits and pieces, because my daughter tells me that I’ve said things that I don’t remember or I’ll have an experience of “skipping” between places along the route that I am driving. It isn’t like I’m falling apart, but it is like deliberately starting to look at the parts precipitated a bit of a crisis inside of me.

Today, I told my T how much trouble I am having talking about the parts at all and her response was, “Even though you have been talking about them for years?” But it’s like before they were just this odd thing that I experienced. I simply coexisted with them, tried to help them feel safer, and sometimes ‘listened’ to what they ‘said’. Now I’m thinking about trying to understand them. Trying to understand what I look like inside/ how many different parts there are/ who they are/ what their needs and concerns are. I’m also looking at trying to communicate with them deliberately. Frankly, I am scared out of my skull. I don’t know what’s there.

My T has been reassuring/reminding me that even though the parts may feel like “other”, they really are all parts of the whole of me. However, it’s just so frightening to have so much of me hidden from me in all of these pieces that just aren’t under my control. What is going to come out? Am I going to remember things that I really don’t want to remember? How am I going to tolerate actually feeling the emotions that these parts hold? How can I make it through looking around and seeing all of the different parts of me that were hurt that badly?

For those of you who deal with parts, what was it like when you finally started to really deal with having the parts in a deliberate manner? What helped to make the process feel safer for you?

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