Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Pre-Occupation With Past Guilt #amsosa



If GUILT is a major part of your life and you can attend one of our DAY
WORKSHOPS here in Swindon, we can help you leave behind the Guilt, Shame and
Blame that continues to hamper your recovery

Before you read any further down the page, please avoid getting confused
by levels of GUILT, SHAME OR BLAME, because they are all inter connected and all
of them lead to increased levels of BLAME, SHAME AND GUILT.

So having read that, please consider this.......When you look back at your
previous behaviours, and look at a violation of your, or societies moral
standards, your basic belief has to be:

"I shouldn’t have done that”
This leads to your thoughts being occupied with
“If only”
“but”
“I should have known better”
“I should have stopped myself “ etc., etc....

If you are still spending time thinking “Why”, “I’m a bad person, “Evil
person” etc, the only answer I can give you is that you are still pre-occupied
with an event that has been put in the past - purely by time.
By that I mean that the previous events has passed into time, left behind,
and often forgotten by others, yet you still dig it up and feel bad about it
If you had the knowledge that you have now, you may have been able to prevent
the guilt, the memories and the shame you feel now.

As you did not, a possible way forward is to:

1. Acknowledge, and accept that you acted and behaved in a way that you now
consider to have been wrong.
2. Identify, challenge, and then accept your guilt-creating demands, e.g.
that you shouldn't have acted the way you did, and that you are basically a bad
person.
You're not, and never were!
2. Realise and accept that what you may have did was based upon the situation
you were in, at that time, & the knowledge you had at that time.
You know differently now, but still feel that you should be guilty for an
event that happened, and has been finished with by almost everyone else but
you..

What you are doing is living the past, and in doing so, creating more guilt
that you can cope with.

To continue inflicting pain, caused by the behaviour created by yourself,
others or perhaps both, is not only harmful to your development as a person, but
also to any further relationship you may be in already or looking to find in the
future.

You need, and have to forgive your actions, even though it may seem
impossible to do so, otherwise the guilt you may feel now is nothing like the
guilt you may have felt at the time.

To explain that better, consider how you felt as a child, and feel now as an
adult, with far more insight and knowledge of what really happened.

With time to consider your actions, and with some recovery behind you,
coupled with the questions and answers you’ve possibly received, has anything
enabled you to see the reasons why you behaved the way you did.

Is there a possible way forward, and give yourself space and time to consider
that you are not as bad as you originally considered yourself to be.
Look at why you feel guilty, is it due to something that you had control over
at the time, or due to an abusive history that you had no control over?

Were you able to handle situation differently, but chose to behave the way
you did, regardless of the circumstances?

Is there a realistic way of resolving your guilt feelings?
e.g. can you honestly make amends, or do you have to accept that the
problems caused at the time are beyond redemption, and therefore finished?

You really need to stop feeling that guilt, otherwise you will lose the
ability to think logically, and will be back where you started, perhaps even
worse than before, having acknowledged the guilt you’re carrying with you!

Having considered the issues of guilt, and having re-experienced it all
again, maybe it would be a good time to explore those issues.

I have to say that this isn't a cure for the guilt you carry, but can enable
you to look at those areas of guilt in a different light, and maybe, just maybe,
forgive yourself for the shit you have caused or been through

As always, the choice is yours,and you need to decide what you do with it
now, before the guilt reappears.

NEW RULES TO LIVE BY

NEW RULE 1.

It's very scary for your inner child to break the old rules, especially the
“no talking” rule that has been imposed upon you since being abused.
You, and only you, must now decide to give yourself permission to feel what
you want, and re-teach yourself that feelings are not right or wrong. You also
need to have clear guidelines on expressing those feelings.
It order to do so, your inner child needs to know the difference between
expressing a feeling, and acting on a feeling. It will save you a lot of grief
if you spend some time now, and learn how to do this in the future, when it will
become second nature to you.

NEW RULE 2.

This new rule counteracts the "toxic shame" related to your needs and wants.
Your inner child doesn't believe that he has the right to want anything, but you
can reclaim him by listening carefully to what he needs and what he wants.
You may not always be able to give him what he needs and wants, but you can
learn to listen to and give him permission to want it.
Without any form of desire or want, your inner child gets crushed. In
addition, you need to teach your inner child that your feelings are part of your
personal power, and is the fuel that moves you to get your needs met. They also
signal danger, when you are being violated and when you have lost something of
value to yourself.

NEW RULE 3.

This new rule counteracts delusion and lying that occurs in dysfunctional
families. e.g. you heard your parents fighting, but when you asked what was
wrong, you were told "nothing". Messages that convey the wrong image can cause
you to doubt the validity of your parents.
Your inner child doesn't believe he has the right to want anything, so listen
carefully to what he needs and wants, but also be aware you might not be able to
give him what he needs or wants.
Messages that covey the wrong meanings can cause you to doubt what to
believe, or listen to in the future, & will cause you to doubt your own
feelings too.
It can also cause you to doubt your feelings or even shut them down
completely.

NEW RULE 4.

This one is about playing and having fun. Playing is a way of just being.
Learn to take time out to play, regardless of what you're doing. Go fishing,
play football, go for a swim, or just no nothing in particular. Even that helps.
Another good form of play is sexual play. The best form is when the adult
self shuts out the parent self, and allows you to let your natural child out to
play. As the child, you will enjoy touch, taste, smell, and will be able to
explore yourself and your needs fully. No, I'm not talking sexually, that's down
to you to work out if that's what you want!

NEW RULE 5.

This might be the most important one so far. Early in life, your natural
inner child learned to adapt in order to survive. Your inner child therefore has
the ability to prevent you from growing, by thinking thoughts that violate
reality and distort the truth. The delusion and denial will jump straight back
into play is not watched. Your inner child is also shame based, which also needs
to be confronted and corrected.

NEW RULE 6.

The needs of your inner child are immense. All children want what they want
now. Part of growing up means learning that you have to wait sometimes, and
delay gratification that sometimes helps reduce life's pains and worries, but
only for a short space of time.
Since being abused, your inner child has had a harder time to prove his
worth, so maybe you, as the adult, compensated by buying things you didn't
really need, maybe being intensely jealous of friends or lovers, feeling
isolated, or believing you were dirty, unclean, not worthy of love or respect,
etc.

NEW RULE 7.

The key to inner happiness!. So much human suffering comes from within, and
becomes increased by the inner child's unhappiness.
You need to face the full consequences of your child’s behaviour. By
reclaiming the inner child, you will be able to see that the damage done is
recoverable and that you, as the adult, is capable.
Most of your inner child's responses are not true responses, but a
conditioned response to actions previously known or suspected. A true response
results from one's true feelings and a conscious decision.

NEW RULE 8.

How to teach your inner child a healthy sense of shame and guilt.
Toxic shame forces you to be far more than human (perfect) or far less than
human (a slob).
Healthy shame allows you to make mistakes, which is human, and allows you to
see that you can be fallible. Making mistakes allows you to also grow gently,
and allows you to be more spontaneous in actions.
An example; if your inner child is always aware of having to watch for fear
of making a mistake, he is never going to be free enough to say or do what he
wants, ever.
Therefore, he may never ask you for help or say that he hurts, or loves you.

NEW RULE 9.

The golden rule. It asks that you teach your inner child to love, value and
respect other people, and to love, value and respect yourself too. It comes back
ten fold to you in the process.
It will also allow the inner child to know hen he is violating this rule. He
needs to learn accountability and healthy guilt, which is moral shame.

NEW RULE 10.

Learn to like and then love who you are now, as opposed to whom you were
then.
Maybe, just maybe, you were unlovable, but how do you think you survived this
long?
All you’ve gone through, all that has happened to you think how much strength
that took, and how well you’ve coped with the shit that life has thrown at you.
That has taken considerable strength.
You had to be what you were then, in order to become who you are now.
A far better person by far, and no arguments either!

DID YOU
KNOW.....
..that in Britain alone...
...37 babies under 1 year old (26 male, 11 female) were murdered in 1997. The
majority killed by members of their family.Source: Home Office (1998)
Criminal Statistics, 1997. HMSO.

"...the current cost of dealing with child abuse to statutory and voluntary
agencies is in excess of £1 billion a year". Sadly, most of this money is
spent dealing with the aftermath of abuse rather than its prevention.Source:
Childhood Matters (1997). The Report of the National Commission of Inquiry into
the Prevention of Child Abuse.

....some 15% of a nationally representative sample of 998 children aged 8 -
11 years said they would not talk to anyone if they had a problem.Source:
Ghate and Daniels (1997). Talking About My Generation. NSPCC.
...3% of a national sample of 1,350 young people aged 12 - 15 years old (2%
of boys, 5% of girls) had experienced an incident of sexual harassment that they
considered to be a crime. They had not reported the majority of these incidents
to the police.Source: Aye Maung, N. (1995). Young People, Victimisation and
The Police: British Crime Survey Findings On Experiences and Attitudes of 12 to
15 Year-olds. Home Office Research Study 140, HMSO.

Copyright Steve Bevan, AMSOSA UK

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Reaching Out WorldWide



On August 24th I decided to add a flag counter to this blog in an attempt to better understand who my "audience" is.

The counter itself can be found at the bottom left of this page and can be added to your own site free of charge. This is a map showing the result after 5 days.

In total this blog has been viewed by 142 countries since I added the counter.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Denial, Killer Beliefs, and a Secret Weapon via @TrishHurtubise


Please welcome Trish Hurtubise to the Wounded Warrior blog.

Trish Hurtubise is the Founder and Editor of the web site Mental Health Talk; an eclectic collection of stories and wisdom from people who experience mental health issues. MHT is often called by visitors “a valuable resource” for all things related to mental health. Please stop by if you are experiencing mental health challenges as it is Trish’s intention you leave the site feeling better understood and connected to a courageous tribe.

This is Trisha in her own words.

Denial, Killer Beliefs, and a Secret Weapon

In July 2008 I asked: “What is my diagnosis Dr. S.?”
“I evaluated you as having Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.”
Finally a diagnosis! I had been using alternative therapy since the psychic shock in early 2007. However my mental condition had become worse; slowly spiraling down into depression, flailing around in psychotic bouts, to only sit very still in terror, hoping to hide from the powerful black mass I could feel slowly eating me alive.

It was an alternative practitioner who convinced me to go back to allopathic medicine—he felt I was psychotic.

I trusted him.

I arrived home to look up C-PTSD on Wikipedia. The diagnostic criteria seem to fit but with a gaping hole where I felt psychosis should be.

I didn’t trust my psychiatrist. She was old-school and thought I was too rational to be psychotic (but I had to be or the black mass would consume me. Couldn’t she see that?)

I concluded I did not have C-PTSD; it was an umbrella diagnosis by a psychiatrist who didn’t like to put labels on her patients.

I forgot about my evaluation and focused on getting help with my anxiety, depression and eventually (I convinced Dr. S.) my psychotic states.

Fast-forward to April 2011: I am reading the letter Dr. S. has written to file with my disability application. She has documented the last 3 years of my experience to support her evaluation of C-PTSD. She writes about my gruesome visions of my death.
Something clicks: my visions are my flashbacks.

Jump to May 2012: No longer struggling with psychosis or depression, and taking medication and using techniques to manage my anxiety, I am in recovery. However I still have mental and physical symptoms that no one can really explain, and all the work I have done so far has had very little effect on them.

I decide to look up the symptoms of C-PTSD on a web site known for its content related to everything PTSD.

As I read the information, 95% of my symptoms are staring me in the face.

I become a believer.

Some of us take the long road in our journey to finally have a term to help describe our experiences.

Not always because of misdiagnosis.

Sometimes because of denial.

Your trauma is related to what?

I find it hard to talk about the trauma—not because it triggers me (anymore) but because people’s eyes glaze-over when I describe it.

First off, you have to have some acceptance of the paranormal.

Secondly, trauma related to the paranormal is not openly talked about.

Thirdly, experiencing the trauma again and again through a specific type of energy work for a year and half after the initial shock…

Well this is usually too much for the average person’s brain to comprehend.

I understand completely. When the trauma occurred, I found it really hard to comprehend too.

So much so, I had a nervous breakdown.

I was once told by a person who works with PTSD survivors--a survivor herself--that “While we are each individual in our trauma, we are universal in our PTSD experience.”

I am not alone, regardless of never connecting with someone who has experienced a similar trauma.

Am I safe right now? How about now? What about now?

Now in the midst of processing the extent of C-PTSD on my life, I find the beliefs I’ve formed out of trauma is the biggest hurdle in my recovery.

Beliefs engraved in every fiber of my being as my defense against the reality created by vivid and graphic memories of terror.

Beliefs such as I cannot handle uncertainty, I must stick to the same routine every day, I must be in control of everything, everyone must love me, I am dying.

I think these beliefs keep me safe because I believe if I do not abide by them, I will die.

I know these beliefs keep me, and my world, small. They create a hyper-vigilance so
extreme I spend a good part of my day cutoff from the stimulus around me.

I do my best to honour these beliefs for keeping me safe, even though I question what safety really is. I have tried to dislodge them through energy work and my body goes into distress.

They exist because my most primitive survival mechanisms are now based on them.

Surviving versus thriving? Which one would you choose?

It is not enough for me to just survive my day. I don’t plan to let the wisdom that has come from my experience be shut-in by silence. I plan to live my message and life to the fullest.

I’m studying my beliefs. This involves learning their strengths and weaknesses as well as their effect on my body, mind and soul. They show up in very physical ways—primal fight-and-flight energy stored in my body that was not released after trauma (the powerful black mass I felt during psychosis). I do this through connecting with my intuition via words and symbols and creating art from that--a process I have learned that channels my sixth sense into something empowering and grounds me in reality.

I also use EFT with a trained practitioner to shift the primal energy very gradually.

I am gently challenging my beliefs. I challenge their validity through action; baby steps to prove them otherwise.

I am rebuilding the skills I need to form new beliefs and counteract the existing ones. I focus on nurturing my self-esteem, reconstructing my self-confidence, renewing my faith in my divinity, validating my self-worth, being present, and surrendering to exactly who I am and what I am doing in the moment.

I know who I am. This allows me to envision my future based on what I have to give versus what I can do within my mental and physical limits. Focusing on the giving,

I always find a way regardless of how rough the terrain gets.

My secret weapon

It’s self-love.

I tend to it with the care of the Mother. Then I practice it with no excuses. I will continue to practice it every day for the rest of my life.

I know this for certain because it saved my life and I tend to be pretty disciplined when it comes to practicing lifesaving techniques. This diligence comes with the PTSD territory.

It gave me life too—a new life that is sensual, fulfilling, and blessed with gratitude.

You deserve this as well.


Follow Trish on Twitter

Friday, 24 August 2012

Fear of talking to other men #amsosa


Do you feel unable to talk to another male about your sexual abuse, if so, what does that say about you?

Does it mean that you are weak?
Afraid of being abused again?
Possibly not even a 'real' man?

No it does NOT, all it says is that your anxiety is heightened to a level of untrust, but there really is nothing to be scared of, IF you take the first step towards speaking out, it also says that you are scared of what could happen, having been abused, disbelieved, or ignored in the past, so by treading carefully, you will take the biggest and best steo forward ever.

Many men who eventually contact us fear that they would be seen as weak, unable to cope with life, and unable to be the strong man they are supposed to be.

So lets think it through, because what you are trying to do is cope with a childhood fear, but doing so as an adult man, and therefore are bringing adult logic into action, so it confuses you even more, as you know its the childhood pain that is causing the hurt and pain you feel

Working on that premise, to finally speak out takes immense courage and inner strength, which we all possess, but something we also lose along the way, but by starting to speak, we slowly but surely start to break the secrets and silence which was imposed upon us

Here are a few issues that cause us problems before healing is started:

* Many male survivors are fearful and isolate themselves from other men.

* You may have difficulty in being ' seen' or undressing in communal showers or locker rooms.

* You avoid using public toilets if you can do so.

* You avoid male activities or even being in the same room with other men.

* Most of us have had abusive or unavailable male role models.

* It is often those fears that stop you from even telling anyone about the abuse.

As a result, you may feel flawed as a 'real man' and experience major issues regarding male gender shame.

Men usually deal with this in one of two ways:

By over-compensating with a need to prove masculinity through hyper-sexuality, invulnerability, and constant efforts at control and mastery;
or under-compensation, avoiding traditional male behaviors and interests (often associated with seeing or believing that men are perpetrators)

For me, and the men I work with, the best healing process begins in group sessions, as that helps show you that you are not alone, that you are not at threat of bein abused again, and that you are amongst fellow survivors who really know how you feel and what you have gone through.

Being in a group session with other men brings out many of the underlying issues associated with gender shame, which makes it easier to conquer and overcome. Here are some examples:

In group therapy sessions, you have:

* The chance to find out that what you think, feel and experience is not wrong or perverted
* The chance to find true partners in healing, and true friends to support you
* The chance to know that you're not alone in this struggle
* The chance to be yourself, perhaps for the first time in your life

So why not give a group session a try? There is no real fear in being afraid, and admitting that, and then getting over it in time can be liberating and sets you free from the past. If that still feels too much to take on, consider perhaps doing one to one sessions, which is just as safe and is one setting that allows you to stay safe and control what happens to you.

If the thought about attending group sessions really scares you, why not pick up the phone or even email, as that often feels safer to do, and start speaking out about the abuse that has silenced you so far, but which is reeally not your secret to keep anymore.

All rights Steve Bevan, Amsosa UK.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

AMSOSA

It is with great sadness that I must report that the male self group set up by my very good friend Steve Bevan has had to close down due to financial restraints during these very troubling times.
The website will remain live for the time being at least but the phoneline is switched off and the individual and group therapy sessions have ended.
Steve will hopefully still be involved with helping male survivors in the future and I shall keep you posted as and when information is available.
Steve, a survivor himself, has devoted most of his adult life to helping other, non-offending, male survivors of childhood sexual abuse and adult rape. Without men like Steve the world would be a much darker place for men like myself.
I salute you Steve, along with the thousands of other men you have helped over the years. You are a champion and one hell of a nice guy!
AMSOSA - Adult Male Survivors Of Sexual Abuse

Building Blocks







Most people have a happy childhood right? My childhood had happy moments, but overall was a very miserable experience.

It is said that a child's character is formed by the time they are six years old. We are born with a predetermined number of building blocks and how we are raised, how we are treated and the experiences we have decide how we use these building blocks.

Our reactions to danger, trust, pain, love, anger, fear depend on where we place these building blocks.

So much in life is a "two way street". Give and take, action and reaction.


If our formative years had a high percentage of negative experiences then we react by building walls in an attempt to lessen the impact of these events. As we are young builders then we may build these walls too high, thereby isolating ourselves and making it very difficult to let anyone close in the future.

As well as blocking out the bad experiences, we also block out good ones. Our reactions to events in later life may become inappropriate because the walls we built in childhood are too high or too low.

Hiding behind too many walls leaves us miserable and isolated. In an attempt to protect ourselves in childhood we inadvertently deny ourselves the ability to fully enjoy and appreciate life.

Every good building should be built on solid and safe foundations. Foundations can crack if not built with the correct materials and in turn the building on which the foundation stands becomes unstable.

The age at which traumatic abuse occurs can determine how we cope with it. In my case the abuse started when I was still a toddler. My foundations cracked and in turn the building of my life became very unstable, to the point that it actually broke into separate sections. Some walls fell down and some of the debris used to strengthen what remained standing. It made me an "incomplete" adult.

Walls exist where there should be doors; open spaces where a wall should protect me; turrets instead of boundary walls.

My reactions to danger, trauma and intimacy became exaggerated. Trust became distorted. The survival instinct kept me alive but not fully functioning. With my incomplete structure I allowed enemies in and kept friends out. Cracks exist, some wide enough and deep enough to trap and imprison me. One wall deals with danger, another love. A tower handles trust and a drawbridge intimacy. Fear resides in a moat and anger in the metal spikes that top the walls.

All different, segmented, pieces of whom I should have been. Some pieces working independently whilst others have wooden bridge linking them tentatively. Together they form me, my castle.

I'm calling in the builders. I don't want repairmen anymore that just patch and make do. It's time to rebuild, this time in safety and with love and care too. No longer an eyesore but something to be proud of, something appropriate. Join me?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Reporting suspected paedophiles on Twitter

Twitter only acts when it receives complaints. Even then their response is far too slow. Twitter is a paedophiles’ playground, with perverts using the site to swap vile images and videos of ­children as well as trying to groom vulnerable and innocent children.

I have reported several very obvious paedophiles over the last year and not once have I had a response from Twitter.

One BIG mistake that many people do is to include the @ sign when discussing potential perverts. All this does is alert the culprit who may simply delete their tracks or set up a new account.

As angry as you may be it does not help catch these depraved perverts by calling them names or telling them to get off Twitter, you are in fact helping them by pre warning them.

You can email Twitter with your suspicions on cp@twitter.com

There are also several "anon" Twitter groups that are actively working to rid Twitter of these scum.

Contacting the police and child protection organisations may also help as will

https://www.iwf.org.uk/report

Be aware, be vigilant and be careful how you discuss these "people".





Self Confidence #amsosa


REGAINING SELF CONFIDENCE

Amongst the many effects of sexual abuse, lack of confidence, low self esteem, and low self belief amongst male survivors is immense.
These are the most common myths heard about lack of confidence:

1) "You have to be born with it." WRONG ! Self confidence is a set of skills that can be learned, just like learning to drive or play a game.

2) "If you've had your confidence destroyed, it's gone for good." WRONG ! It may take a greater leap of faith to start building it back up, but once you're there you'll be much hardier than you were before and less likely to have your confidence shaken again.

3) "I'll know I'm confident when I can be sure I'll succeed at something new".
WRONG ! How can you know you'll succeed when you've never done something before?

Heros are not born to be heros. To be a hero, you have to do brave things, then you become brave, so take a dep breath, be brave, do something brave and be your own hero!

Confidence is much more about tolerating uncertainty: being cool with not knowing what is going to happen, and it's important that you look at these and see if you have been thinking along any of these lines.

Great self confidence can be learned, and you can learn it, building self esteem and confidence involves making certain changes, which takes time and energy.

IMPROVING ENERGY LEVELS
To achieve this, ensure that you have a nourishing diet, sleep well, take regular exercise, meditate regularly, make time to do things that you enjoy spend time with people you love. More importantly, develop a structure and routine so that these aspects are built into your daily life. For example schedule time during the day to relax, meditate, take a walk etc.

Building self esteem and confidence is dependent on breaking old habits and developing new productive ones. A key habit that needs to be shattered is the habit of negative thinking. These thoughts are so interwoven into the fabric of your mind that you assume that they are normal and changeable - but they are not! Learning how to acknowledge and deal with your inner critic is an extremely effective way of starting to boost your self esteem.

STOP THE BLAME GAME!
Stop judging yourself and other people in your life for what has happened to you in the past. Playing the Blame Game serves no one, least of all yourself. People did what they thought was best at the time, the same way you did. Learn to forgive yourself and others for past mistakes. Harbouring old grudges takes up a lot of time and energy you could be using in more productive ways.

Learn to reconcile, resolve and accept what happened in the past and know that it has made you a much stronger person. Acknowledge your fears and find out what's behind them. Many of them are likely to be groundless, but it is the thinking, attitudes and beliefs that cause much of the inappropriate fear. Fear is often a disguise for your lack of belief in yourself and your judgements.

WAYS TO BUILD SELF ESTEEM/CONFIDENCE
First off, commit to making changes and it will make a difference to your self esteem.

The lack of self worth stems from the belief that having being abused you are to blame in some way, maybe because you failed to speak, maybe you spoke out, but was disbelieved, or maybe you blame yourself for not telling and that someone else was also abused, because you "failed" to speak.

Self confidence is based on how well or not we have done in previous situations, and base our personal values on how successful we are in different situations and demand that we give a perfect performance in all we do, so struggle to live up to our perfections, and in doing so, we lower our values of ourselves.

We often lose sight of the fact that we can value ourselves in spite of making mistakes. While it is only natural to care about performing as well as we can, it is also important to learn to feel good about ourselves just for who we are, mistakes and all.

As children, we had self confidence without even questioning it. We were valued for just being people, for just being in this world. The value that other people placed on us and that which we placed on ourselves had very little to do with how well we did or how well we performed.

As adults we often believe we must continually justify our place in the world, that we have to somehow prove to other people that we are worthy of their esteem and through their eyes we can, therefore, prove to ourselves that we are really valuable.

Often we spend excessive amounts of time doing that and we lose sight of the basic fact that we are usually all right just as we are, in spite of the fact that we are not perfect.

Something that can help you is to make a list of the things that you like about yourself. By doing so, you will see likable qualities about you that if often taken for granted. Treating yourself to something nice will also increase your feeling of confidence

One thing you can do is to make a list of the things that you do well and then do one of these things on the list everyday. It has been shown that although this method of increasing our self confidence sounds simple, it is often very effective.

Start of by seeing that you have taken the biggest step so far, in looking for support and answers and that alone took some confidence, it wasn't that hard to do was it?

Look at what skills that you can begin to develop, and perhaps start to: Assertiveness skills, saying yes/no. maintaining your self-respect, feeling secure in knowing the real you......

What is the scene you see yourself in, when trying to be confident with others?
What specific situations cause you to withdraw into yourself, and therefore bringing back those old memories of previously held ill-feelings and resentment that you never said this, that, etc......?

What do you see as the next item on the agenda, that you need to work upon?

Do you feel safe in doing what you are doing, can you face crowds without shrinking away (anxiety/panic attacks)

Are you able to cope with the stresses and strains that come at you on a daily basis?

If not, what can you do to get over them, when can you do something that you can see has real results?

Thursday, 16 August 2012

I walk by faith! #poetry


You took away my innocence 
My hopes, my dreams, my youth
You took from me my very soul
What could have been, I never knew

Your words would cut me deep inside
Deep to the very core
Darkness. Cold. I could not feel
Why did you hate me so?

You crushed me as I screamed in pain
Your words ripped out my heart
The world grew dull. I felt insane
Did you ever care about that part?

Is that what you wanted all along?
"I win!" "You lose!" A game?
Control, submission, guilt, defeat
Yet, I still remain

It was for a child that I lived
Although I rather would have died
Now, how I thank God for that child!
Because of him,  I have survived

I will live in spite of you
You no longer have a say
My Life, my Body, my Mind, my Soul
You will never again have control

Whether in this world or in the next
Justice will have a way
You hurt me and you almost won
But "You Lost!", I have to say

A new Dawn breaks of Hope and Peace
Of Happiness and Grace
From me, these things YOU CANNOT TAKE
My head held high, I walk by Faith!



Unknown

A Song of Life: Being DID via @jeffssong



I met Jeff online about a year ago. We have quite a few things in common.

About Jeffssong

JW is an adult childhood abuse survivor with DID*. He grew up in a violent family devoid of love and affection. He is a military brat and veteran. He still struggles with that past, things he's done, done to him. In 1976 JW began writing "The Boy". It took 34 years to complete. It is currently on Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004T3IVKK ), or if you prefer hard copy, on Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/Boy-J-W/dp/1461022681). JW resides somewhere in the deep South. He is disabled and living with family. Note: Please feel free to take what you need; all is free to all. With that in mind, keep it that way to others. Thank you. We have 3 Blogs - One for our younger days, 0-10 (The Little Shop of Horrors); one for our Teen Alter and his 'friends' (also alters) with a lot of poetry; and finally "my" own, the Song of Life (current events and things)

This is a copy of a recent post from his blog.

About a week ago (it seems), a blogger asked a very important question which has for a long time bothered me: “How many are there in you?”. (Thanks, Hobs! – evil grimace, friendly grin, et cetra ad infinitum.) And if you look up there at my ‘menu bar’ you will see a new entry: “Who Are ‘WE’?”.

Now I’ve tried this before without much success. The system is so complicated . . . realizing alters (alternate personalities) have their own alters makes it even more difficult. But it’s the truth; that’s where some of my “Groups” have come from. And it makes sense. My wife, who I talked to about this, agrees: A host developed new alters to handle his situation, then when a new situation emerged which required a new host, new alters were built to handle the transition (the old host had ‘failed’) – and then the new host, in response to his situation, built new alters of ‘his’ own. Therefore are more ‘alters’, ‘entities’, ‘constructs’, ‘ghosts’, and ‘beings’ – than I had originally suspected. Originally I thought there were just three or four – then last year sometime I was willing to admit the number might be more – even in the high teens. But now? Now I find there are over (perhaps) thirty of them, with the potential for more.

Here is a ‘still’ from a movie I made a long time ago which showed rotating shells protecting a central core. The original was an AVI format which this website will not display; I will have to convert it to an animated GIF or some other suitable format later on . . .

Imagine a series of broken shatter ‘shells’ (read ‘selves’ or ‘alters’) rotating and counter-rotating around a central core (unseen). These are the ‘parts’ to myself. Each was constructed to ‘protect’ someone ‘inside’ – and each has parts of its own.

Yeah, it’s that complicated – somewhat. But here you go, Hobs: what you asked for – a summary ‘list’ of my beings. Read my “Self-Inventory” for more – and a complete (as far as I can tell) list and understanding how ‘this’ system works . . . and be aware that not all are available for ‘conversation’; some are only internal beings – they work for ‘me’ and ‘ours’ – helping ‘us’ to heal in some ways, learn more in others.

People kept asking . . . so there ya go.


DID & Me: Self-Inventory – July, 2012


To understand a person with DID, you have to understand their ‘system’ and how it works. While there may be similarities between two people with a dissociative identity diagnosis, no two systems are the same. As best I can determine and describe this is ‘mine’ at this time. Be aware that it can change.

Rules:
The first rule of a DID system is every rule can be broken.

Dynamics: A dynamic system can evolve to meet new circumstances. I have a “dynamic” system. New personalities can be formed, usually starting with the creation of a persona. Depending upon how long a persona exists, it can develop into a permanent alter. An alter’s power and influence can ‘fade’ over time, but they cannot be destroyed. At best they become dormant. We several dormant alters. Some must be kept dormant to protect society and ourselves. They do not fit society and can present a physical danger to others or my self / selves.

“3 on Top”. This rule dictates only 3 alters may be ‘active’ and in control at a time. More than three and the ‘system’ can become unstable and crash. Crashing is like a computer rebooting – we ‘disassociate’ almost completely and then come back together to face the situation which caused the crash. This is where what I have dubbed “the Tinkertoy System” comes in.

A Tinkertoy system can mix and blend various alters either spontaneously or on command, which adds to the flexibility and complexity of the system’s dynamics. Cooperative co-conscious alters can merge to some degree in order to present a desired persona or survival trait. An example would be ‘me’ (the host) merging two ‘selves’ (or groups of selves – more on that later) – to form a ‘new’ persona (or ‘mask’) to a person, group, or culture. “We” are DID in part due to the need to assimilate and adapt into new cultures and environments. A year ago only certain ‘groups’ (think of them as individuals with alters of their own) and alters could merge; others were incompatible with each other. For instance, neither my teenage alter nor the “Beast” could merge with Little Mikie (who is controlled by Little Michael) because of hatred issues based on the shame ‘they’ (the older alters) felt at what the younger ones had done. Many of my alters had grouped into factions which were at war with each other, causing self-harm, highly destructive behaviors, and constant suicidal idealization.

There are multiple categories of ‘alters’ within a DID system, ‘ours’ is no different. In order to create an accurate, logical inventory, we have decided to try inventorying “ourselves” again. The descriptions are presented in general order of influence and power; eg. Hosts are more powerful (or exert more influence) than transients; transients more powerful than ghosts.

Hosts
These are the most important individuals. They are not ‘groups’, nor can they form groups, but they have groups of their own. These are alters developed to present to the outside world, and to manage (to some degree) inner alters, hosts, ghosts, and artificial creations. Each alter has ‘my’ birth name, though ‘we’ have learned to differentiate both for the outside world (making sense of it all to you) – and our inner one(s). We have three hosts – the former child, the teen, and our adult self (typing this). However, using our given name will not ensure the ‘rise’ of a particular alter, host, or being. It simply gets most of ‘our’ attention.

Note: It is important to be aware that while each ‘host’ IS an individual, each ‘host’ created alters in their time. Therefore in a sense each host is a ‘group’ – they are ruled by the dominance of the Crowd (hence my saying we are a majority run system) – but ‘they’ can stand alone as well, putting their ‘alters’ aside – or sharing them with us. When a particular ‘host’ shuts down, ‘we’ can lose all ‘his’ memories – as well as the memories and skills ‘inside’ him or possessed by someone inside him.

Transient Hosts
These are personalities that were being developed for what was perceived as a permanent situation – and then the situation changed, making them unsuitable for the environment they were in. Think of them as ‘aborted hosts’. We have numbers for some, eg. “13” and “21”. They are still hosts of a kind, but limited, crippled, and most of them are hurting inside. They were not fully formed before ‘we’ had to move on. In a sense some “died”. Many of these transitory beings were used as stepping stages to building a new long-term host, unknown to the conscious mind.*

Ghosts
Ghosts are beings which have been built on someone else, generally a outside person in our environment who had some major effect on us by simply being there or being an influential person in our lives.

“Beings” or “Entities”.
These are some of our oldest group. One of them is a “Recorder”, the ‘person’ responsible for recording our lives. We found he could “split” into 3 clones during information overload and depending upon our desire to learn. He resembles an old college professor, bald pate, with white lab coat – somewhat lanky – twinkling eyes and a vast amount of storage space. (10 to the 10 Gigs is what he says – which makes sense, given what we’ve read about the current amount of information the human brain can hold.) There is some information which he keeps hidden from us. In our mind he ‘lives’ in sort of a college lecture auditorium, stands behind a high desk (where he keeps his notes and ‘things’ – meaning notes we can’t or are not allowed to read) – and he ‘stores’ said information in a tall circular ‘room’ in our head, quite like a towering warehouse.

Another is a group of Scientists we keep on hand for topological information, analysis of fact, and some of our logic skills. “They” (the Scientist Group) are broken down by specialty; eg.you have the “Astronomers Clique” (which includes some of the General Physics Group), the Life Sciences (including, but not limited to Genetic Engineering, following life cycle trends, and keeping an eye on ‘things’ – meaning medical science and advances in anything ‘life’ related, including the Ecological Group – which is in turn broken down into several internal groups, such as the “Urban Clique” (for analyzing neighborhood type animal/plant lifestyles), the “Wild Clique” (true wildlife heroes), and other such similar groups. Each group is responsible for remembering what we read; only life experiences go into the Recorder mode (though he may keep some notes, too). They are collaborative, cooperative, and serve the entire being.

Artificial Constructs
These are ‘beings’ or entities which we knowingly created on our own. All were created by a ‘host’ at our command, or what ‘he’ (the living actual host at the time) thought was his own internal motivation and/or command. One of our first artificial constructs was “the Soldier” – created by “M1”, or “Little Michael”, our very first ‘human being’ (host). He created the Soldier to satisfy the demands of his father and his own heart. He wanted so much to be the “little Soldier” that his dad would admire and feel proud of. Again, he failed – but that didn’t keep him from adding to the Soldier’s stock of inventory in terms of the “military machine” – how to jump wearing parachutes, how to lay a mine . . . that kind of stuff.

The next totally artificial being I am aware of building was “The Machine” – a really tough one built by “13” (a transitory host) who had the seeds of our Teen, aka “M2” (2nd host), aka Matthew Washington. This was partially initiated by “Little Michael” the little one who was still in feeling lonely and betrayed by his emotions – love, especially, and “13” who discovered nothing remains the same and decided he was done with friends – forever – for it seems you only ended up losing them . . . Together with some help from various alters, ghosts, and beings – the Teen was born in the Machine. He was born there to protect him, but got out later on – (and soon after “21” – a transitory host – was born).

So . . . with this rough list in hand, we will begin ‘assembling’ and/or describing our system as best we can. Bear in mind: this is a dynamic system, and not only can ‘it’ change (new personalities can be created) – but the ‘power’ or ‘influence’ of various elements can change (quite radically perhaps in some cases) depending upon the environment ‘we’ are in.


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Hosts and/or “Major Players” are in Bold – often deal with the real world and its problems and ‘things’. Label in parenthesis indicates apparent ‘type’. They are presented (roughly) in order of appearance / development.

“Baby”. (Dormant). Assumed to have developed into “the Toddler”.
“The Toddler” (Early Host? Dormant.) Typical human toddler who was beginning to have some problems; ‘he’ developed the ability for disassociation and for projecting our mind inwards. He lost his fear when his mom tried to kill him. He is able to separate himself from reality somewhat. (Eg. ‘Going away’ in his head to envision life in an orphanage named “The Bad Boys Home” while his mom faked calls (threats of abandonment) – and how life would be for boys like him.
“Little Michael”. (Host. Active, but with little influence. That is changing as ‘we’ work with him to shed his ‘alter ego’, Little Mikie. “He” was using the plural terms of “we” mentally at about age 6, though not out. “He” is for the other kids to play with. “He” is used to sucking up punishment – but not enough . . . “He” goes on to build our first true alter . . . We suspect ‘he’ was developed in part to help “the Toddler” because Little Michael thinks rationally through problems instead of feeling panic or fear (something his mom did to him). His alters (which he protects very diligently) are “The Toddler” and “The Baby”, while he relies on all of “us” to protect ‘him’.
“The Soldier”. (Entity/Being – started as an Artificial Construct). Mostly Dormant. Created by Little Michael to impress his dad. Kept for defense and offensive measures; for bearing pain. Handed ‘over’ to Little Mikie whenever Little Mikie ‘took over’.
“Little Mikie”: (Entity. Active.) Little Mikie is a projection created by Little Michael to deal with grownups, his own sex life, and for handling “the Soldier”. “He loves sex,” would be one way of putting it. Seven to ten years old – he started losing power around 10 or 11. Intensely curious, loves to please, always with a bright smile . . . but is basically a puppet for “Little Michael” and the injured Toddler. Little Mikie is ‘fading’ as attempt to force / help “Little Michael” become ‘more himself’. When we find we are dealing with “Little Mikie” we go to Little Michael to find out why. He uses that persona on us / other people else, except when we are having sex. That is when Little Mikie comes out due to his eagerness to please. Little Michael, 13, and Little Mikie all want to be held after sex. Not dormant, he is able to stand great pain – and holds great love.
“Jeremy”. Temporary Host. Dormant. Built specifically for dealing with the Germans and exploring German architecture and it’s culture. Controlled by Little Michael and Little Mikie. Of no real importance except he contains a lot of our memories from ‘over there’ exploring and all.
“13”. Transitory Host / Entity. Active (because we are working with him to reduce his pain). He appearedt when we came back to the United States and found the place where we grew up had changed. Instead of ‘our’ house we were living in our abuser (aka molester’s) house, and all friends were gone except one family which had also changed. We are ‘growing up’ around this time. Divorce among parents begins. Two schools and three moves in one year helped contribute to his misery and confusion. Racial tensions. “13” got hit (and bit) by a LOT of things (which explains why he is so depressed, angry, lonely and sad). 13 currently has much ‘power’ since ‘we’ are working with him – trying to alleviate his pains, his internal sadness, agony at losing friends . . . there’s a lot ‘wrong’ with him; he’s a boy in much pain . . . “WE” all know ‘he’ contains ‘others’ (Jeremy, perhaps Sarah, Samuel, perhaps ‘others’) inside . . . and that when ‘he’ goes into hiding we can lose a lot of our mind (read: memories).
“The Machine” – Host / Entity / Artificial Construct. Dormant. Built by “13” along with some ‘help’ from his friends, “The Machine” was supposed to be an emotionless ‘being’ modeled after a machine – no love, no hate, no anger, no anything. And it worked, albeit barely (after all, we ARE human whether we like it or not) – but it set the ball rolling for our hatred of love and ‘things’ (emotional responses to anything at all, including rage, hatred, love, envy, jealousy . . . any emotion was up for suppression; however, the ones which hurt us most were specifically targeted to be ‘kept out’ and/or ‘kept in’ the Machine. This entity was VERY strong for a long time, up until ‘we’ were 21 or so (both the personality, the mind, and the body).
The Teen, aka Michael, aka Matthew Washington. HOST for a long time. Very active, still powerful and controlling. A typical teenager with issues of his own; biological sexuality is now blooming (though we were a late bloomer – an issue for years – didn’t get pubic hair until we were about 15) . . . violent, unstable, illogical sometimes; given to rages and loss of self and control. He is a repository of most of our technical information and is ‘allowed’ access to scientific knowledge; a LOT of control . . . one of our ‘good’ drivers, though he is apt to take a chance . . . imagine a hard core teen with survival traits out the kazoo. “He” (and 13) studied survival for a LONG time . . . of many kinds.
The Marine: Artificial Construct which became an Entity. Active. About 21 years old. A younger Marine PFC or Pvt., well trained and educated with devotion to Duty, Country, and “fellows” (men under his command or other Marines or Servicemen.) He is dedicated to protecting Civilians, especially Americans. The Soldier guides him in the field, but he mediates what the Soldier does since the Soldier can be inhumanly brutal and cruel (due to the Soldier’s associations with “The Beast”), up to and including killing infants, women, children – you name it. The Marine (and others) keep the Soldier and the Beast in check – and kept them in check in the field when we could have actually hurt someone without meaning to.
“Sarge”. Entity evolved from “the Marine”. A subset of “the Marine”. Older (24 or so). Developed in order to take care of responsibilities, especially towards ‘our men’ (troops under our command) which meant shutting down certain emotions and reinforcing others. One, for instance, was love. We loved many of them – and fell in love with one – but weren’t allowed to express it. Indeed, we had to be prepared to sacrifice people we loved – our love and our men, in our devotion to duty, country, and our other men.
The Beast. Entity. Semi-active. Age unknown (ancient). “He” has always been with us to some degree; however, he ‘solidified’ under 13′s tenure, and then again under the Marine and “21” (another transitory being). Imagine an inhumanly cruel, vicious, sociopathic monster that makes Satan look pale by comparision. “The Beast” long held a desire to ‘consume and burn’ – everything. “He” is under control and ‘drowsing’ in a field in a forest (of Oz) in our mind. “He” more closely resembles “Puff the Magic Dragon” right now – and our ‘kids’ can play with him. He’s finally learned to love somewhat . . . and we hope to build within him a hatred towards destruction anymore . . . This used to be a very powerful, sometimes ruling entity and could be quite cruel. “He” hasn’t lost his power . . . just ‘temporarily’ set it aside . . . just in case it’s needed sometime. He is controlled by the Soldier, Little Michael, the teen and the Marine, D.A. Michael and some others.
“21”. Temporary Host. Semi-active. Born in under 15 minutes on a fair ride (quite literally – on a ride at a fair). Occurred when the Teen recognized and realized we needed love and he had failed. At that point the Teen pretty much ‘threw up his hands and died” – and 21 was ‘born’. 21 began working on our issues. It was then we began realizing we’d been abused and were not normal in some ways . . . one being that ‘I’ (or he) had disparate parts inside that did not think or ‘feel’ like him. . . and some of them had names. 21 is fairly dormant, but still troubled, and still aids us in helping to analyze what happened at that time (ages 20-25). He has a very specific ‘location’ (a small room where we all worked for some time in a huge old WWII building at the back of a huge Army base . . . ordering ‘things’ by the hundreds. We had an unlimited budget back then. Quite literally: backed by the entire Federal Government. Millions of dollars were spent . . . by our own hand.)
“Whistler”. (Ghost? Alter? Approximately 18-24 years old?) Active, but not allowed influence (if we can help it). A nice guy but dangerous in some ways. Haunts the Dark City alleys in the Neighborhood of my mind . . . and whistling . . . and lurking in my mind. We will not discuss him at this time except to say that you would not like him. He is nice to you . . . and more. Just not going there with him; this guy ‘we’ have to keep under strict control, lock and key, all the time. Just not going there with him. But we have had our fights sometimes – some REAL fights sometimes (cutting, burning, cauterizing it out of him . . .)
“24”. Transient Alter. Dormant. Not really sure, but this may have been the ‘birth’ of the current host being (M3) or “Michael” and the adult host being. May have taken two years to ‘evolve’, leading into something just ‘sensed’ at this time: #26. We’re not sure.
M3, aka Mike aka Michael: Current Host. Alter, Active. Fair amount of influence. 38 years old ‘mentally’; 52 physical. Limited power. Mostly I ‘work’ with my alters to help ‘run’ the system, “I” am there for my wife (sometimes); I am the one who make responsible decisions, watches the budget (“party-pooper!” I hear in my head, LOL!) – but I am a majority system and therefore must ‘bow’ to majority rule. THAT, however, does not mean I won’t make fight, stand my ground, and argue with the ‘others’ to make a point or change ‘their’ minds . . . however, “I” can be ‘shuffled away’ – and the ‘grownup’ in me sort of ‘disappears’ until he’s needed again. Think “long distance manager’ – though I might be the one talking to you face to face most times. I am also “split up” into various alters, one being “the Businessman” (exactly what the name indicates) – kinda cold-blooded, hard, and calculating, “the Father” (to all my insiders and some else); the father to my daughter, and sometimes ‘someone else’ depending upon the mixture of my ‘alters’ that I chose to display and/or ignore. “I” am often not aware of ‘things’ in the background; ‘they’ make plans and . . . well, quite frankly, I’m confused some of the time, and yes: I really ‘doubt’ this thing (DID system) – and hate it sometimes – but have made the decision to ‘go along’ – and ‘we’ have (in general) been much happier since, so I “bite the bullet” and go down/under sometimes.
Jeffery Thompson: (Entity/Semi-host). “WE” offered him hosting duties, but “he” declined. “HE” does not WANT to be boss of us. HE is just here to ‘help us along’. In our mind ‘he’ was ‘sent’ by someone else (perhaps God, in our mind.) We’re not sure, but we’re certainly glad ‘he’ came! (Born Jan 1, 2011, ‘appeared’ and made himself known on April Fools Day 2011.) This is our mediating being; a therapist, the ‘one’ who helps ‘us’ settle things internally; who brought us around to loving ourselves and one another; helped us determine our relationships to ourselves and others; determines plot & strategy for us as a whole, . . . This is a very important Being to us. We really are not sure of what all ‘he’ is doing – except all he’s done is help us, he has a ‘clean’ mind; a single goal: of helping ‘us’ to survive, thrive, and love one another and ‘build’ a more and better cooperative system . . . and something else . . . something along the religious line, which brings us to the . . .
Spiritual Beings:

D.A. Michael” (Dark Angel Michael), aka (full name) Angel With Dark Wings (Hands Full of Sorrow): Fairly Dormant, but can be Activated at any time. Very close to the ‘core’, and part of our spiritual being, future, and past being. He has been severely damaged in his ‘last fight’ (if you believe in reincarnations – and of angels, too.) No, he isn’t Archangel Michael – not by a long shot. As best described he might be a platoon leader for him – and he ‘leads’ little children because their hearts are pure and brave in battle – like no others are. And ‘his’ children ‘died’ in some God-awful battle . . . ‘sometimes’ and ‘somewhere’. “We” see him standing on a cliff overlooking an immense battlefield . . . somewhere far off; perhaps on a different ‘planet’, perhaps on a distant plane . . . he lost the ‘fight’ (or the will to fight) to something – over grief, perhaps, for his dying children . . . all of US are gathered around him; ‘we’ support him but he will lead us in the end, ‘we’ feel . . . towards something greater than ourselves and the Final Battle . . . we’ll see. Not everyone makes it to that end; some of us have different destinies when ‘we’ are released from this human body; this human ‘machine’ . . .
The Core: sensed and found last year early April. Imagine a ball of streaming fireballs interlaced with one another whirling around – neither warm nor cold, but like a lot of minds! – chasing one another’s tails all around; sort of a ‘solid’ entity – to ‘us’ it represents a lot of what we think god looks like: a multimind, comprised of billions upon billions of souls . . . all working towards some common goals . . . along with some ‘dark ones’ on the other side . . . Effects? Unknown.
“Satan” – Active alter of limited influence. ‘We’ split ‘Satan’ into two parts: The Insane Baby and Satan. Satan is our friend, but he can lie, do tricks (trick someone), deceive, play nasty games.
Satan’s Insane Baby: Active, but as best we can not allowed any influence our our decisions internally or externally. The ‘howling bad parts’ of that personality. Can cause depression, guilt, pain – but ‘our children’ take care of him. Sealed off from the rest of ‘us’, but can cause problems
Which leads us to a trick we do – or did. Having been faced with the ghost of “MOM” (yes, modeled after my mother – but an evil hissing thing) – we ‘split’ that ghost into two beings, one being “MOM” (still insane and living in the rocks of my mind – hissing, evil gloating, pessimism, putting down – undermining – ‘she’ tries to do this but ‘we’ ignore her at this time), and the ‘rest’ – the things we wanted ‘her’ (mom) to be we split off and made into:
Aoela (Ghost, Active, Low Influence) – a woman in my mind, made from the remnants of ‘MOM’ . . . and something else. Aoela is a strange being; a ‘made up woman’ sometimes – and sometimes quite real. She is very hurt by her OWN past – which is not mine! “Her” past comes from ancient times – a long sad story about an ancient priestess who fell in love with someone . . . maybe another reincarnation of our “Michael, Angel With Dark Wings and Hands Full of Sorrow” – but their love was doomed to failure; she was killed when she began to preach in the concept of there being one god after all . . . sacrificed on the Temple steps right there in front of the crowd . . . really looks like old . . . I don’t know. Older than Romans. Dirty, dusty, nasty . . . But she lives on my Island along with all (or most of) the kids . . .
At about the same time Aoela showed up (last year) along comes Sarah (Ghost, Active, Low Influence), then Samuel. As best I can determine these two kids are related; perhaps sister and brother, and they were murdered. Aoela takes care of them. This is part of her learning to be a proper mother (whispers a voice in my mind. So that makes 2:
Samuel: (Ghost, Active, Low Influence) I’m not certain that he is a Jewish kid; I think this was before Judism evolved. But something went wrong; their village / whatnot was attacked (by pirates come the words, but I think ‘he’ means ‘terrorists’ or thugs of some kind) . . . his sister hacked up and so is him . . .
Note: there is a notion in my mind that his sister may have been reincarnated into Aoela, but I’m really not quite sure. This is all a fiction as far as “I” am concerned – but a fairly stable fiction at that. I can’t quite seem to ‘get rid’ of ‘them’ – but I’m all right with that.
Religious Man, aka “Dad”. Ghost, Active, High Influence. Just like my old man, only spouting religion (Christian beliefs), making me try to feel guilt all the time (just like ‘MOM’), lives in a narrow ‘room’ surrounded by his books (very much like real life nowadays) – bedevils me with questions, is insanely rightwing conservative (rabidly so); can be highly prejudiced against some groups (example: people with AIDS: feels they are a religious curse visited most justly by god on them . . . including the little kids who were just born with it . . . doesn’t matter . . .)
The Recorder: Entity, Active, Very Important! Been with ‘us’ a long time. Can split ‘himself’ into 3 beings (temporarily, of course!) – until the information stops flooding in. Useful for classes and tech details, too.
The Scientists Crowd: Entities, Active, at least four or five. May just be ‘one’ with many ‘facets’ or ‘sides’ to him. Minimum requirement for most things. Known ‘sides’ include (but are not limited to):
Astronomy / Physics
Life Sciences
Social & Mind Science
All Other Sciences
The Crowd: Number unknown. Best guess? To infinity – or thereabouts. Each is represented by the ‘possibility’ of a personality and/or ‘double’ (whatever that means; it’s the first time I’ve found I’ve used it in DID talk; perhaps it means “quining”, as in to duplicate a computer program a second time.
There are also ‘ghosts’ or remnants of ‘other’ personalities – some that were formed at this ‘school’ or that one; ones formed – and then (partially) destroyed, ‘faded’, or just ‘gone away’. We can ‘sense’ them in our minds sometimes – hints of flavors, like; or seeing smoke and smelling a color. What effect – or influence – ‘they’ have on my mind, I don’t know. Which brings me to the ‘greatest’ or ‘biggest’ group of all:

The Crowd
There is the constant murmuring of “the Crowd” – a dense set of ‘beings’ which is really hard to ignore – and ‘parts’ of myself can ‘disappear’ into it, organizing some; forming ‘factions’ – lots of things. You’ve got to remember: DID (for me) is dynamic system, but ‘major players’ and quite a few of the minor ones are represented here for all to see. There are ‘other’ children, and “the pretend ones” on our Island nation – but those are for entertainment and the Crowd and to “take care of things” (meaning the health of our internal selves). Imagine a small Hawian type of nation, complete with a fat dark skinned chief dressed in a grass skirt . . . his friends, village, family . . . a very complete ‘thing’ and ‘vision’ to me – our ‘healing place’ sometimes, and a ‘place’ for our kids complete with ‘friends’ for them to play with . . .

This ‘place’ has also been around with ‘us’ for a long long time . . . I think it started when I was about 12 and read “Lord of the Flies” . . . and it started from there, this fantasy ‘island’ coupled with some science fiction I had read complete with Margaret Meade’s work on island nations (and the sexuality within) . . .

Lots of things.

PLACES:

The Ice World (no longer in use). This is a place where we ‘stored’ the boy (Little Michael, and therefore ‘his’ projection-turned-persona, Little Mikie) for a long while – over a decade and some years. This was both for our protection and ‘his’ in some ways, but it was a very hard thing to do and made us self-harm and suicidal.

The Island World: A place for healing, it has what I call “Pretend Beings” – items created for our ‘others’ – and yet in a way ‘they’ (the natives of our Island) are very real, in that ‘they’ love and can advise ‘us’ sometimes – very healing. And there’s no way it’s on Earth, or even (perhaps) in our local galaxy. An imaginary world, it has a horizon (deepening, with stars) that helps indicate how ‘we’ all are feeling.

The Dome (with it’s hallways). An old system of control; abandoned now, but the hallways (lined with doors) aren’t – ‘they’ contain our loves from the past – like long diamond shards suspended over stone pedestals, they can hurt and cut, but are beautiful to hold. “We” are very careful about ‘handling’ them because, well . . . it’s love. Lost and found again. And again and again and again. Until it hurt to hold them. So ‘we’ put them ‘there’ as part of our building the Machine . . . in order to get rid of those emotions. (Love.)

Dark City: Whistler’s place.

Oz Woods: The Clearing – where the ‘dragon’ or our old “Beast” ‘sleeps’.

The Babies Room: Where we keep all our insane ‘babies’. One of them is Satan, or at least a part of ‘him’. Another is a miniature version of ‘our mom’. Our ‘children’ take care of them.

Lineage:
I think “the Toddler” built “Little Michael” to deal with grownups and kids – and to shield himself from his mom (and perhaps dad). Perhaps Little Michael built the Beast around this time; more likely the Toddler did. Little Michael then built Little Mikie to handle pain, deal with grownups – while ‘he’ (Little Michael) kept himself around to play with the kids, go to school, and have fun. The two are intangled, with Little Mikie being more of a ‘puppet’ for Little Michael to hide behind.

Little Michael then ‘built’ the Soldier as a conscous effort (happened when we were about 7 or 8 – I can still recall the exact time, place, moment, et all on that one).

A temporary personality was apparently ”built” for our move to North Carolina (#9). He relinquished control when ‘we’ came back ‘home’ again.

This personality may have cropped up again when we moved to Germany. This is where “Jeremy” appeared. Our “little soldier” was strengthened by this experience.

Coming back, “13” was born, but soon gave the reins over to “The Machine”, in which the Teenager (Matthew) was born.

At 17 the Marine was born. He continued until “21”, at which point the Sargent was ‘born’. Then “24” (an adjustment in personality), then “26” (the age we were married – and found ourselves living with a woman and family – 3 kids). Then ‘I’ (M3) was ‘born’.

Last year Jeffery Thompson was born, along with Aoela, Samuel, Sarah, and Satan. We became aware of “Dad” aka “Religious Man” and “MOM”, the evil being. MOM we split into two beings; one became the insane side of her, the other (I suspect) went into the building of Aoela. Her ‘two kids’ (Samuel and Sarah) I rather suspect were built to ‘help’ her and others in my mind (playmates for Little Mikie, Little Michael, and the other little ones).

Theories, Suspicions, and Hypotheses

How the system is set up (currently working):

Sarah, Samuel, Aoela, live on the Island unless I call them up. Little Mikie often stays on the island, but he can come up on his own; however, ‘we’ have managed to ‘train’ him so he is more in line with “Little Michael” – as an attempt to ‘blend’ the two into one – a ‘real’ Little Michael. Getting ‘him’ (Little Michael) to realize he can set this ‘puppet’ down is a big thing to us at this time.

Little Michael hides a lot, but he’s ‘coming forward’ a bit more as we zoom in / hone in and quit getting tricked by him into thinking he is little Mikie or vis versa.

3 on Top, Majority Rules; the Scientists side and a lot of general knowledge is shared by all and the Recorder is bound to give certain information to all.

I suspect that Samuel & Sarah are ‘non-entities’, that is, ‘they’ were ‘sent’ or set up simply for ‘training’ our feminine side how to behave – be unlike our real human mother in some ways (no more violence, hitting, clawing . . . sigh . . . the list goes on) . . . However, if you believe in reincarnation, ‘they’ have a story to tell – and they are all ‘linked’ or tied together – D.A. Michael, Aoela, Samuel, & Sarah – listed in the order which ‘they’ appeared or emerged from the ‘system’.

An atheist would say it’s just an over-active imagination.

A spiritualist would say I’m possessed by many souls & minds.

A psychologist would say I’ve made a ‘self-adjusting system’ which is attempting to heal itself in some way.

“We” can build new alters “on-the-fly”; new ones may be emerging. A new one – or a new host – may be being ‘built’ without ‘us’ becoming aware. There appears to be other forces working inside of us of which we are unaware. Jeffery Thompson, for instance – we did not know he was there until ‘he’ just suddenly ‘appeared’. “He” is also the alter we most use for online communication. Several have been ‘hooked up’ (our creative ‘part’, for which we have no name – ‘he’ comes from the ‘core’ and is present in all of us) – to form permanent and temporary associations, such as our “Elvis” persona (which is a mixture of some more). LOL, and no, he’s not a singer at all; he’s a writer and is ‘modeled’ on Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens). And his “piano” (he ‘plays’ in an old dusty auditorium) is our keyboard. He is most apt to make some wry commentary – and ‘helps’ take care of our ‘kids’ – and has helped quite a bit in ‘us’ getting ‘their’ stories out of them.

This is the end of this current Inventory. Be aware conditions can change. Like any ‘society’, family, or group of beings, power ‘struggles’ can happen and opinions can ‘change’ as one group or another ‘takes over’ – which, by the way, makes me the most excellent devil’s advocate – since the current ‘being’ can believe and feel what he says – while the ‘rest of us’ know he’s very wrong, or is supporting an unpopular argument.

*We do many things like that – without permission or psychological clue to the hosting beings; that is, ‘we’ develop plans (some very long term ones, ranging in terms of not just years, but decades hence) and trick or force the host into them. This is a common method we learned when we were rather young. I am not certain how it came about except that it had something (perhaps) to do with my dad and his psychological experiments on us.

Follow Jeff here:-

http://jeffssong.wordpress.com

His Book "The Boy"

Twitter @JeffsSong

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

What's In A Name?

I've never really liked my first name.. Jan may be a European version of John but I was frequently teased and bullied through my school years for having a girls name. In my adult life I have had much the same. Telephone calls for me asking for Miss or Mrs Jan Frayne are common and the same happens in hospitals etc when my name is called out.

I was going to change it twenty years ago but never got round to it. I changed to Ján for my own use but frequently forget. My name is pronounced Yahn.

Jan is a variant of John in Catalan, Dutch, Scandinavian, Cornish, English, German, Afrikaans, Northern Germanic and Western Slavic Languages (in Slovak, spelled Ján), also a shortened form of Janice or Janet. It also has separate origin in Arabic.

I was named after Jan Masaryk, Czech diplomat and politician and Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia from 1940 to 1948. I don't know why. My Mum wanted to call me Guy.

The meaning of Jan is "Chosen one of God sent from above"..

My second name is Lyndon, after the U.S president Lyndon Johnson. The meaning of Lyndon is "of linden (lime) tree hill".

My surname is Old French/Breton in origin. The French meaning is "of the ash tree" whilst the English meaning is "stranger or foreigner"


There are many anglicised versions of the name - Frayne, Frenes, Freyne, DeFrayne, Franey, Freaney, Freeney, Frain, ffrench, Ffrench, French and possibly some more. All these names are the same and have been used, changed and interchanged over the years. All are derivatives of the same name “DeFreine”. Theophilus de Freyne, third cousin to William the Conqueror rode beside his cousin at the Battle of Hastings 1066.

The DeFreines, the ffrenches, and the Frenches, who were of noble blood, came to Ireland with Strongbow during the Norman Invasion of Ireland from 1169 to 1172AD. There were and still are two or three families of Irish peers who carry the names DeFréine, ffrench, and French. As Anglo-Normans the French family became one of the 14 Tribes of Galway, helping to found the town in 1425AD, fortifying it to keep the locals out.

In Wexford the name Franey is common, In Wicklow Freeney / Freney is common and in the Connaught area (Sligo/Galway) Frain, Freine are common. The name is from the French word Frêne which means a wooded place with ash trees indicating that ancestors of that family came from an area noted for its forests. Some sources can even trace the name back to Roman times.

Having traced my family tree back to 1280 the surname has had four changes.

This post will not really be of interest to most people... Guess I'm just trying to make sense of who I am and where I come from.

THREE SURVIVORS : THREE OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS #childabuse #survivors




Olympic champions are usually determined on the field by being, as the motto states, “Citius, Altius, Fortius”…(Faster, Higher, Stronger).
To be an Olympian and an Olympic champion is considered by most athletes to be the greatest accomplishment any sportsman can hope to attain.
At these years’ games, there were three women who were Olympic champions before the procession of countries even began at the beginning ceremonies.
Kellie Wells, Richmond, VA., Kayla Harrison, Middleton, OH., and Quanitta “Queen” Underwood, Seattle, WA., competed in 100m Hurdles, Judo and Boxing, respectively. Kellie won Bronze and Kayla won Gold but that’s not the real victory.
From east to west coast, these young women are examples that no socioeconomic status is out of the reach from the destruction that is caused by Child Sexual Abuse (CSA).
All Olympians face the same struggles: Training beyond the scope of most our understanding; Injuries that can plague or even end a career; Sacrifices made by both athletes and their families/loved ones. For these super human competitors, it’s just another day at the office.
But the obstacles that stood in front of these three Americans were different; the hurdles they had to overcome were not just 3 ½ feet high, the attacks they were defending were not just the “Tai-Otoshi” (the judo body drop), the punches they were dodging were not just a potential knockout uppercut.
No, these brave women were having a simultaneous and continual mental and emotional battle that started in childhood. Wars that began in their bedrooms and practice facilities waged not by Russians or Chinese…these came from those they trusted, respected and loved…a Coach, a Step-Father and a Dad.
The detail of their sexual abuse is not required here. What is of importance is that they survived and what we can learn from Kellie, Kayla and Queen: Their strength, courage and determination to realize their dreams in the face of real-life nightmares. Even though they had their innocence stolen and their faith betrayed – instead of giving up, they chose to turn these horrific events around and used it to fuel their Olympic ambition. And for that they will always be champions, patriots and amazing women who didn’t just survive their sexual abuse…they thrive in spite of it.

Article copyright David Pittman Together We Heal

http://www.causes.com/causes/640477-together-we-heal/

Monday, 13 August 2012

Lost #poetry

Lost in a world, that scares me to death,
Lost in a crowd, I'm losing my breath.
Lost as a boy, lost as a man,
I need to grow up, don't think I can.
Lost as a person, can't find my way.
Lost in life, every day.
Lost in worry, who am I?
All my life, I've lived a lie.

Lost to kindness, lost to love,
Lost in a sky, like a new-born dove.
Lost in thought, which I shouldn't do,
It winds me up, I can't get through.
Lost to comfort, all kind words,
Lost to advice, it isn't heard.
Lost to those who really care,
All these people, always there.
Lost in me, I need a break,
Lost in wonder, which road to take?
Lost in a place I don't know well,
Where are you now? There's no one to tell.
Lost here, all alone,
Lost apart from the mobile phone.
Lost still, there are no calls.
I'm struggling alone, to break these walls.
Lost in mind, lost in soul,
Lost memories, they're just a hole.
Lost family, lost mate,
Gone now, yet I'm full of hate.
Lost in my head, don't know night from day,
Lost right now, for what to say,
Lost in my daymares, I think I'll leave.
There's a lot in life I need to achieve.


Daniel Brown


All the men I am...



The most important thing I have learnt this past year is that "I" am ok, whomever I may be..

From a young age I strived to be what everyone wanted from me. Even if my personality had not fractured, I would still have had to be many things for many people. A child for all seasons. I had to please everyone, there were so many divisions within my family.

So many people strive to "find themselves"... Where do I start? There were nine of "me" which, if any , is the "real" me?

Will I ever know who I would have been had the abuse not occurred.. Through therapy and much soul searching I have come to terms with having split, the reasons and the consequences. Or have I? It is something I keep coming back to.

Through much of my life I have been known by a nickname. I don't recall whether I or someone else started it. "Janni"or "Yanny". It has often annoyed me but I have also seemed to accept it. Is it a combination of Jan/Danny? I don't know. Danny has been the most persistent and forceful of my alter personalities. It's the name Daniel that I was going to change my own to via deed poll in my twenties. Danny is the main character in my novella "A Winter's Tale"...

Is Jan dead? Am I in fact Danny?

D.I.D or M.P.D is a common "symptom" in those of us who were abused from a very early age. A coping mechanism, a way to survive and protect the inner child. It is said that a child's character is formed before it reaches six years old. The abuse I endured started when I was eighteen months old. . Or sooner? I just don't know for sure.

I can now look back over my life and identify times when my alters were in control of my actions, even why in many cases. What do I do with this information though? Will I ever be "just me" ?

So many questions remain unanswered, for now anyway.







Saturday, 11 August 2012

Kirthi Jayakumar #activist via @kirthijayakumar #childabuse #abuse

Please welcome Kirthi Jayakumar to The Wounded Warrior blog.

Kirthi Jayakumar is a Lawyer, specialized in Public International Law and Human Rights. A graduate of the School of Excellence in Law, Chennai, Kirthi has diversified into Research and Writing in Public International Law, Arbitration and Human Rights. She has worked as a UN Volunteer, specializing in Human Rights research in pertinence to issues in Africa, India and Central Asia and the Middle East. Kirthi has worked extensively with grass root organizations that focus on women's rights. She also runs a journal and consultancy that focuses on International Law, called A38. Kirthi's main interests lie in International Law, International Relations, Peace and Conflict studies and Human Rights. She has also dabbled with Art and writing Short Fiction, which she showcases through her Blogs devoted to the same.



Ten years ago, a history lesson at school on the Second World War and a lost opportunity to participate in a Model UN session owing to a health setback decided the career front of the funny trajectory that is my life.
I decided I would join the United Nations.
The lure was magnetic- I would stand as a representative of my country, or of an oppressed people. I would work with grass-root organizations and proffer them the benefits of humanitarian aid and assistance. I would be their voice. I would be their advocate. I would fight for them. I would ensure they would get justice.
But I would not be an empty, jingoistic activist, I told myself. I would never, ever stand and scream hoarse saying that I wanted rights as a woman, as a member of any kind of a minority, as a victim of anything. I counted on myself as empowered, and found it ridiculous to outrageous, to hear over-the-top campaigns and cries that alleged sufferance of “deprivation” of rights. I found it stupid that actually empowered people would stand and argue in Parliaments, demanding that they be given legal rights. Blame it on my upbringing. My parents brought me up treating me as a human being. I was never deprived of anything by virtue of my gender, nor offered any special treatment owing to my gender or anything. I was normal, life was normal.
Bit by bit, I began uncovering the entire spectrum of work that had to go into making the dream real. Not meaning to forget the hurdles altogether, I’ll save them for another post on another day, and for now, focus on the things I learned so far.
Ten years later, I found myself somewhere near my goal. Without the requisite educational qualification of a Masters’ Degree, I had something like a foot in the United Nations through some volunteering opportunities. I soon grew to become part of several activist and feminist organizations that worked for women’s rights.
And that is when the true essence of feminism- the grain of true activism separated from the chaff of jingoism- smacked me hard in the face. I learned the importance and imbibed the practicality of being a feminist for the woman in need, and not for the already empowered woman in greed.
When I worked with these organizations (I still do- I love each of them, sincerely), I was just a writer. That was what I was – a meagre nerd across continents and oceans from where these organizations functioned, staring at a computer screen and churning piece after piece after piece, following copious research. What difference are you making, anyway? I’d ask. My family would ask. My friends would ask. You’re just writing. I’d tell myself. My family would tell me. My friends would tell me. Does your writing bring any justice to the ones in need? I’d ask myself. My family would ask me. My friends would ask me.
Well.
I have no idea. Does it make any difference? Did it make any difference?
To them, I don’t know. To me, it did, it does and it will always do so.
When I wrote, I narrated the stories of women in distress. I told the world of real stories, of stories that were so real, they had to be fictionalized for the world to digest, of sordid and morbid realities that could leave you shaken. I told the world of the things women went through, children went through. I told the world what it already knew- or at least, most of the world already knew.
Stories of Rape.
Sexual Harassment.
Domestic Violence.
Honour Killings.
Deprivation on gender-based grounds.
Gender-based inequality.
Foeticide. Infanticide.
And as I wrote, I grew. I grew because I didn’t just tell these stories, I felt them. I realized that what were just words for me here was the reality, the harsh truth for a woman, miles away. I realized that as much as the world was “ahead”, it was also terribly backward.
I travelled in my research. I went to war stricken Afghanistan where women bear the brunt of living a crippled life- facing domestic violence, honour killings, rape and an abject deprivation from their every right. I went to DR Congo where women still bear the brunt of Sexual Violence aplenty, and suffer indignities in the hands of the very society that should protect them. I went to different parts of India, where I learned of girl foetuses being killed in the womb because they were girls, where tribal women are forced to dance naked to be able to get a meal. I travelled to parts of the Middle East where women are the property of their men, and could even be killed or raped, with no one asking. I went to Nigeria, where girls are subjected to the harsh malpractice of genital mutilation, and their cries were too loud, that they were silent. I went to Pakistan and Palestine, where women are subjected to the awful nightmare of murder in the name of protecting their familial honour. I went to South East Asia where girls are born into brothels, and lived their lives there, without knowing that they were made slaves. I travelled to Kosovo and Houston, Texas, where their dirtiest secret is the filthy game of human trafficking has many a woman under its fold. I went to Latin America where “poverty has a woman’s face”.
I realized that in the same world where a woman had the freedom to work as an equal with a man, a woman was also subservient to a man and could not work whatsoever. I realized that in the same world where a woman had the right to be educated, a woman was also forced to give up school because her society ordained otherwise. I realized that in the same world where a woman was free to choose who she would marry and when she would marry, a woman was forced to marry a man many years older than her while she would be a mere child. I realized that in the same world where women would be respected and their honour safeguarded with dignity, a woman would also be used as a miserable sex-slave. I realized that in the same world where women would be in charge of making peace, the bodies of women would be battlegrounds where war would be waged ceaselessly, devoid of all compunction.
And then I learned more - that where for every little girl that was abused, there was also a little boy; that for every case of abuse, there was silence. So much silence, that it deafened you. I learned, quite simply, that there is something intricately linking the backbone of society and humanity. I realized that when one of those woven threads constituting the weft in the fabric is unravelled, society is crippled.
I may not be an expert. I may be far more ordinary than I know I am. I may lack expertise in totality, and “intellectually stimulating” might hardly be a justifiable title for the kind of stuff I write. But I do know one thing. I am a drop in the ocean, but a drop, nevertheless. I am one among the scores of other women who serve as a conduit between the oppressed and the outside world.
And that is why I am proud to be an activist. I may be armchair-bound for now – but I have words in tow, words that can make people realize, see, and understand. Staying silent is the biggest crime next to committing the main crime itself. I’ll talk. Will you?


Contact Kirthi via Twitter @kirthijayakumar
and her blog http://www.kirthijayakumar.blogspot.co.uk/

Friday, 10 August 2012

A Non Refundable Christmas Gift #childabuse #writing via @mad_verdun

Please welcome Mary Ann Davis to the Wounded Warrior Blog.

Mary Ann has kindly allowed me to share her work. She writes extensively and further links to her writing can be found below. This is Mary Ann in her own words.

I am a survivor of multiple sexual assaults including incest and other forms of family violence. At ten years old I watched my 12 year old brother who was my best friend die in an avalanche. By the age of ten I had experienced what seemed like a lifetime of traumas. My mind shattered. I began the process of survival through years of struggling with Complex Post Traumatic Stress.

I have been a feminist activist for over 25 years. I am now 45 years old and all these years I battled with PTSD, I tried to keep it hidden for fear that I would be judged. The shame of the sexual abuse was too much, and even though I fought the lack of justice for survivors of sexual abuse, I never came out.

The time has come where I feel I need to come out as a survivor of child sexual abuse and other forms of violence. Not only do I want my survivor’s voice to be heard, but I want to encourage all survivors that have not found their voice to speak up. We hold the shame of our abusers, and it is not ours to hold. Let it go.

It all sounds quite gloomy. But in fact, I have grown to love the person I have become. I have survived the violence, but most importantly I have survived the battles of my mind. I learned to appease the sadness and anger, and channel it for good by helping others.

I have been writing since the age of 12. I usually write comical prose, stories about poetic justice and non-fiction pieces on a variety of subjects. I have only begun sending my writing out for publication. My goal is to one day publish a collection of stories about living with Complex Post Traumatic Stress. I should be writing disorder, but it is not a disorder it is a survival mechanism that helped me cope under overwhelming strain as a child and as an adult. I have a twisted sense of humour which comes out in the essays and short stories I write. This comical twist keeps me sane in light of overwhelming flashbacks that grab hold of me and try to pull me down.

Besides writing, I have a day job as a Union Representative for the CSN employees at a hospital. Fighting peoples rights has been my calling, which I have fully embraced with all the energy possible.

I live in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with my partner, Diane, of 18 years. My two loves are Dante and Guizou, my cats who try to control my life and actually succeed. I am proud of who I have become, I like being me with all my imperfections. In the great words of Oscar Wilde, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.”



A Non Refundable Christmas Gift

Incest is the gift that keeps on giving, and Christmas reminds me of this every year by harassing me with corporate fabricated holly jollies. Furthermore, the disheartening images of the perfect nuclear family plastered on every magazine, television and store front window serve as a reminder that I am indeed marginal. I find comfort in the fact that the nuclear family, if it ever did exist at all, surely went extinct in the 1950s.
I am an incest survivor; turned into a five-year-old slut by a brother who was almost 10 years older. The abuse went on for years. He was known as a fun and generous guy, and I was fortunate enough to learn first hand just how generous he was. Tis the season of giving and sharing, and triggers that awaken my mind to memories of my brother’s selfless giving.
Most children remember reading their first book: “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” or maybe “The Cat in The Hat?” My first book was “The Joy of Sex,” and I still remember how it felt on my lap while my brother showed me the pictures of different sexual acts. I thought the Chinese people were funny, and for most of my childhood before every bath I would stand in front of a mirror with my arms extended over my head to see if I too had armpit hair.
One Christmas I received the complete recording of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. It was narrated by the legendary Burl Ives; his velvety voice comforted and touched me with a gentleness that was un-known to me. I played it winter, spring, summer and fall, and knew every song by heart. My brother laughed and teased me, but I didn’t care because I knew that it was much better than the Jimi Hendrix he used to play over and over again. I always felt perplexed as my brother fiddled with me and Jimi Hendrix kept asking, “But first, are you experienced?”
Many times I pictured in my mind what would happen when my brother would finally be caught, and I’d be saved from my life of hell. My father would throw my brother out, and my mother would hold me tight as she whispered comforting and loving words into my ears. Life would go back to being simple and carefree, and I could again roam freely without the burden of living as a hunted animal. Not so. The end was far more traumatic than soothing. My brother was beaten, and I was punished because I should have known better than to play in my brother’s room. Silly naughty me.
I am thankful that the mind is such a well structured self-repairing mechanism. When sexual abuse starts at such a young age, the only positive point is the mind goes into survival mode, helping you by dissociating yourself from the overwhelming strain. No matter the beatings, no matter the pain my dissociation always ensured that I survived. Children who are victims of incest are like little warriors fighting a valiant battle for survival; because a child is being raped repeatedly also believes they will die. In the case of incest, when the sexual abuse ends the child is then forced into a continual relationship with the abuser. My predator happened to live two rooms away from me.
I have a family I love and somewhere I know they love me. But they are unable to deal with what I went through as a child. Incest is a dirty secret, and most families go to great lengths to keep it just that, a secret. In my case, family members witnessed the abuse directly and some indirectly, and because they were unable to face it, they chose to do nothing. How many times have I heard, “Ah, Mary Ann, you were always everyone’s favourite.” Oh happy lucky me, and could you imagine if I had not been the favourite one? In hindsight, I would have preferred not to have been their favoured sacrificial lamb in their ceremonial dysfunctional dance.
My brother and I have not spoken or had any contact since 2002. Three years ago I confronted the whole family about the abuse. In my naïve mind, I thought they would all stand up for me and send him flying to the other end of the universe. But no, they decided it was a conflict that affected only the two of us, and therefore a mistake due in part to his youth, hence there was no need to drag the whole sordid story on.
As a survivor I have gone through life with a dagger driven through my heart. Every so often when I move and the pain paralyzes me, it acts as a constant reminder. Then comes the secret you hold, and the family who would prefer killing your psyche slowly to letting you divulge this information. You are alone as you are being raped, and then you are abandoned by those who should have protected you in the first place. The gift that keeps on giving are the families of incest survivors who, for the sake of not rocking the boat, will gladly throw you to the sharks.
I have recently realized that in the spectrum of normality, it is an unremitting fact that incest survivors are commonly abandoned by their families. All too sadly, the closer the relative is to the victim the more chances they have of being turned into shark food. Since learning that I am normal, it has been easier for me to focus on my own life. This is my third Christmas without them, and as Gloria Gaynor says, “I will survive.” My life is slowly turning around, and with every new day I am becoming more human and less angry. Granted, I have tons to be angry about, and there are days that I want to explode and just yell and yell and hope that someone will understand. When the loneliness hits and I realize that all I have is my partner, those are the days when I feel myself crumbling away. I am moody and sad, but usually within a few days I am able to pick myself up again and move on.
So in this high time of Yule-tides, Silent Nights and busy sidewalks, I feel a need to toast my newfound life. Let’s crack open a bottle of that bubbly, and raise our glasses. Here is a toast to that rocky train ride that brought me here. To the survivors of incest who have grown up to become big warriors and continue to fight battles every day, but are forgotten at this time of year. To those of us who will watch It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol alone. We have the couch to ourselves, the quietness of our homes, our partners and animals who love us; and the feeling that we are safe and sound in our homes behind doors that we ourselves have locked. God rest ye, Merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay…


Mary Ann writes extensivly. More of her writing can be found via the links below.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/my-partners-clutter-was-getting-out-of-control/article546274/

http://www.cbc.ca/books/strangerthanfiction/yourstories/childhood/by-mary-ann-davis-montreal-qc.html

http://www.cbc.ca/books/strangerthanfiction/yourstories/date/by-mary-ann-davis-montreal-qc-1.html

Contact her via Twitter @mad_verdun or davis.maj@gmail.com

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