What Kids Think

What does a two-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHH

What does a three-year old think when somebody rapes them?AHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a four-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a five-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a six-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a seven-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does an eight-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a nine-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a ten-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does an eleven-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a twelve-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a thirteen-year old think when somebody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHH

What does a fourteen-year old think when nobody rapes them? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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Dissociation Time and Hope

If you look for it there’s alot out there about dissociation. Are trauma memories real or not, is DID real or not, how trauma exposure at a young age causes children’s brains to store traumatic information and subsume it into Alters, little timebombs of memory that can sit forever in one’s mind and impact their entire life of choices, social capabilities, and of course sex.

But there’s a crushing aftereffect of chronic dissociation that isn’t much discussed that requires a great deal of understanding if any therapist is going to be helpful to the patient. And that concept is Time.

I do not have a concept of Time as something that marches forward. I understand intellectually that it’s the year 2010 and I am a grownup. I know that my perps are dead and they can’t come back to get me. I know too that at any moment I can stumble across a trigger and be suddenly thrust back to 1965. Literally, be there in that year. I have smells and sights and feelings and sounds and physical pain exactly as it happened so long ago.

In my world, things are coming at me constantly bombarding my body and my mind. My job is to quickly sort out what goes where. ice cream, for example, doesn’t need much fending off I can let it in without much of a thought. But these split-second evaluations of people interactions, messages in the media, seemingly “safe” video…..much more challenging. I imagine myself in a particle accelerator, tiny pieces of who knows what constantly assaulting me. My job is to fend off the bad stuff before it gets to my hypervigilance zone.

It’s not easy, but it’s how I grew up. And even now, 45 years and more later, processing in the same way. Permanent victim.

There are many, many ways this perspective on my life is not such a great thing. One, as I say, is the permanent victim status. Things coming at me, assaulting me, and all I can do is to fend off the worst of it and dissociate thru innocuous information. But the real biggie is that I have no sense of future. Of an awareness that time passes. I have no timeline in my head, just a series of still shots.

This fucked up lack of understanding of time gives me no ability to dream. To want. To really understand what improvement means. To envision goals and meet them. If I can’t look forward how then can I make plans? How can I say oh one day I’d like to xyz? How can I have any sense of a purpose for my life? and if there is no purpose, how then do I ever dig out of the nightmares of my kidhood?

If time doesn’t go forward, how do I go forward? It’s a tough question. I can look at this moment and decide how safe I think I am, that’s about it. I can’t say in ten years I’d like to be xyz. I can’t say I have a purpose and it’s to help people in abc ways. I can’t think well I’d really like to retire to a ranch in New Mexico or Idaho or wherever. Because that time doesn’t exist for me.

We never hear about the consequences of lack in fluid timeline but it is an integral part of real healing, or so I believe. Looking beyond the past or this second and making any kind of real decisions about my life. If my traumas had started later in my life I might have a sense of something to go back to, to recover. But I am building from scratch.

I hear letting go of the past and it’s consequences are the key to getting beyond mere survival of trauma. That things need to be of value, that I need to let happen a sort of letting the shit go. But it’s really not that simple.

It is all about learning about time. About how to go about incorporating a clock in my brain that goes forward. That is the real trick.

I suppose I will have to write about this, describe it, get it out there that time bends for child survivors. Because I just don’t really see it anywhere. C gets this as much as one can and I am very fortunate for that. She’s constantly asking me what I am going to be doing…tonight or this weekend or whatever timeframe. My inability to picture the meaning of her questions is how I came to understand that I don’t know how to do that. I have a calendar and I put stuff into it and every day I do those things that pop up. But this is the way I’ve learned to manage the world ahead. I am still a slave to my calendar, events are still happening TO ME.

Dissociation. Time. Hope. This is the real key to healing. What I’m saying here probably makes no sense to very many people, but the mental health community has to get this perception in order to do much good to those of us who missed this part of development.

Not The End.

My #FFs

I generally don’t like the #FF thing. It makes for a nice Friday ritual, gears me up for the weekend. But I find it impossible to do an #FF list for myself. I care deeply about and learn from and am surprised by and laugh with so many of you. Everytime I try to do it I leave people out. But I have been feeling a huge upwelling of gratitude today thru my meditations that I’m going to give it my all. If you know you belong her and I’ve forgotten you please don’t take it personally. OK then — here goes.

@MoreVoices–my sister from another (unfortunately also hugely fucked) mother. I am astounded by your ability to manage your system, your willingness to push forward, and your stunning courage. You are one of the funniest people I know. I love you. #FF

@ssanquist–you teach me so much from your very being. I consider your existence in my life to be a huge, huge gift. You stick with me even thru my asshole moments. You right my ship. You listen. Your future clients are going to be very, very lucky people. Love ya #FF

@SarahEOlson2009–you tell it like it is honey. I love that in you. Why you have an interest in helping somebody as fucked as I am I will never know but I am grateful for it every day. Love ya. #FF

@Aliquant–you are just great, my bud. I love your humor and your sensibilities. Your honesty and candor are fearless. Love ya #FF

@sarge 481–my god, you’re hysterical. And committed to your family and life. such a zest for it all, I admire you trremendously #FF bud

@hopefortrauma–you are so brave in the work that you are doing, you are a tremendous inspiration to me. #FF

@FindingMelissa — you are one courageous chick. It has been great to see you dealing with such crap that life was dealing out to you for awhile there. You grow and teach every day. #FF

@LisaKiftTherapy–You are just one cool woman. I have learned more about my relationship, which is a very complex beast, so much from you. You have made me see how to be a better partner and a better individual there thru. Also I really like your style. Your clients are very lucky people. #FF

@dragonheartsong– Ah hon, another sister. You inspire my search for peace and balance thru your example. I love the candid approach you take, my girl. Love ya #FF

@spiritsully–you funny, I think we are alot alike. Look forward to getting to know you better. #FF

@VoiceinRecovery–Bravery. Strength. Truthful Insipiring to the folks you reach. Cali will take care of you, just remember to keep the heart open. #FF

@TherapyTales–what can I say bud? Thanks for the hysterical laughter. I am here, just in case. K? K. #FF

@DarleneOuimet–You tell my story. I have learned so, so much from you. You’re a tremendous inspiration for me to keep going when it’s all just bleak. Thanks #FF

@karenkmmonroy–Remember, shit happens. HAH you deliver your message so cleverly. Come to Chicago so I can see you do your presentation thing. #FF

@MarjieKnudsen–I think we have quite abit in common despite our very different lives. I am learning what it means to be a parent from you, which teaches me to raise myself. Gratitude doesn’t cover it. #FF

@serialinsomniac–you know I love the stuff you do, you know I wish your Trust didn’t treat you like shit. You know if I could do anything to change that I would. Your perseverence is stunning. Love ya #FF

@catatonickid–You’re just great. #FF

@fmbeeperlife–the candid nature in which you place yourself and your struggles is inspiring. It gets better, promise. Honest Injun. #FF

@CindyAshton–you remind me to stick with my practice. thanks #FF

@IAmEchad–it gets better hon. You’re on the right track #FF

@Acrimonia–It will improve. Keep just plowing thru it and it will come. Love ya #FF

@OneLoveOneEarth–Namaste. thank you for bringing me back to Peace #FF

@Dpasquella–HAH I just love your little adventures. You so funny. Look forward to getting to know you more

@shiv379–see, it wasn’t that hard. Proud of you dude #FF

@tigerbean–niece. Auntie is very very proud. You are living it and that’s the point, right? Right. Love ya #FF

@amandajo–you have made some tough, tough transitions gal, and you are doing great. Love to chat 😉 #FF

@spikecat–MOL at ur antics. Very, very creative and I adore that. #FF

@chaosandcontrol-brave, brave lassie. You balance life so well, you’re an inspiration #FF

@Narkyness–my dearheart. Love ya #FF

@zebrapolkadots–I’ve learned to have a much greater tolerance for all that positive, hon. You’re just great #FF

@SpiritAli–Namaste. Thank you for keeping me on the path. #FF

@heathcrush–cool dude, dude. Thanks for all the entertainment ;0 #FF

@differently–your perseverence is astonishing. Glad to know the goos are real and not in your head. #FF

OK, I know there are a bunch of people I have forgotten. You know if you’re on the list, catcha next time.

I hold such gratitude for so many people here. It’s staggering just how much I get from all of y’all. Thanks and happy Friday.

Transformational Therapy

I have been in therapy since becoming completely unhinged in 1997. From trauma, as even God must know by now.

Until this past October I have completely wasted my time. I have added up the checks I’ve written to my old shrink and therapists and it totals well over $250,000. In other words I have bought a house for the privilege of being stuck panicked confused drugged up and completely hopeless.

As a victim I of course blame myself for this. After all, I could have switched to psychodynamic and attachment therapy with a trauma and dissociation goddess anytime along there. Unfortunately for me however I didn’t know such people existed until this past summer, when things with my psychoanLyst and shrink of 12 years got so bad that I was forced to start looming around.

I was told thru all this therapy that it’s no about what happened in the past, that the only thing that matters is here now and the future. Abou making good or bad choices. Dissociation was just one bad choice I couldn’t seem to change.

This type of therapy is brutal on trauma survivors and disastrous for polyfragmented people like me. It placed the onus of my symptomology squarely on my shoulders. My fault. My emotions my disssociation my flashbacks my hypervigilance derealization panic attacks impossible sleep.

All bad choices. I was frightened to death of this woman. As one can easily imagine. Twelve years of torture 1-3 times a week for well over a decade.

Anyway. I have landed with a therapist who specializes in trauma and dissociation. It is like night and day. Finally I am understood. Therefore I am finally able to speak my truths. Haven’t had a panic attack in months, since I first met with new shrink who works with T and many dissociated people.

I am actually working now and no just spinning around in circles of guilt and endless frustration. Now, one would think that I would be falling all over myself in love with new T. After all, she hears me. Relative to the ice queen bitch, how almost could I not?

In the past my therapy was very focused on the woman in whose office I sat (P for psychoanalyst). What was I not getting across does she really give a shit why does she refuse to hear me how is all this my fault why don’t I understand her at all blah blah blah blah blah. It really was all jus about not feeling heard hence scared to death. It was all and only about P for me as I struggled in vain to feel safe enough to do any work at all.

As you all know too well, I am an animal psychologist. Which means I work with usually dangerous and frustrated animals. Who are frustrated and dangerous because their owners unknowingly have very inappropriate attachments to their pets. Before I fix the animal I have to change the owner. In short, I spend my worming life with people who are usually quite attachment disordered. It’s rare that a client doesn’t transfer these feelings onto me, which is an irritation but one that’s pretty much inevitable.

So I am very touchy when it comes to being bitten by the transference bug. When I am on the other side of the couch it angers me to be so completely objectified by these people who know next to nothing about me. To the point where they assume it’s okay to sexually assault me, that I must Want It to if they do so very badly.

Anyway. Come to find out that that transference thing really isn’t there. I mean, I care about T I want for her to be happy etc etc. But because I am understood and validated and am actually learning basic skillsets I didn’t develop because my sexual assaults began when I was two.

I don’t have to wonder If T cares about me because I know that she does. Rather she knows HOW to care about me and people like me. People who are very damaged thru the actions of others. I am learning and growing. I am heard and I am helped.

What all this means is that I now get to focus on the therapy. Where T bumps into the process we talk about it right away and we USE that as valuable information. I could not be in this transformative process alone. T could no be in this transformative process alone. It is a thing that happens between us, together. I can take my necessary risks because I know there is firm bedrock underneath me.

Of course, yes. There has to be a “fit” there. Not everybody fits well with every therapist. And I count myself to be very fortunate to have T, this woman, working with me. But it’s really not about either one of us. It’s The Process and that is totally cool.

I used to plot what to say to P the ice queen in great detail. Thinking all along if I could just get this woman to give a shit about me then maybe she would help me. I had completely misunderstood. Now I just go and amaze myself at the honesty that comes out of our mouth. And it’s totally okay.

This is a really groovy place to be.

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Thankfulness, Who Knew

Had a very bad day yesterday. We were sexually Assaulted by a client. After a few hours’ wandering in the desert of depersonalization we awoke, startled to find that the sun was shining and that we’re totally okay.

Thankful about so many things this morning. For our inner protectors who got us home and kept us safe when we
Couldn’t manage that ourselves. Thankful for the support of so many who brought us back with their concern and their humor. Thankful for T, who did ‘t overreact and who allowed us to get out of it okay. Thankful for the incredible empowerment we feel from that.

We’re thankful that we are able to dislodge this little wrinkle from our past and see it in the context of our present-day adult life. We’re thankful for the one inside us who is soothing the freaked-out parts right now and for keeping that off-line.

Thankful for this opportunity to see just how far we have come, to be able to be angry about it yes but within reasonable limits. This will not throw us back into the dark ages. It will not shut us down. It will not send us out of our mind because we’ve discovered thru it just how strong we truly are.

Thankful. Just so thankful foe this opportunity to learn to grow and to realize that we are pretty touch shit. Huh. It’s Grand.

Later note: we have blogged about this woman before. Can see the transition in her mind now like glass. We have failed her, actually, by not really giving her the opportunity for self-growth thru her erotic transference for us. Not a job well done, Splint. She’s still culpable of course. But we could have done much more for the poor thing. Or are we just in a place where we still excuse violations to our bodily integrity because it doesn’t really belong to us anyway??? Sheesh.

Therapist Begs 4 Transference

We have been in therapy since we began having flashbacks in 1996. We were with the same shrink until this past October. We were stuck. Had been stuck for years. The Shrink was not very concerned with what had been done to us or to our constant dissociative interruptions. Death by CBT.

All of life, we heard, is about making smart choices. Trauma work? Bad choice. It’s ovah now, nothing to do but move forward. Dissociation? Poor choice.

So. Transference issues really never came up with Shrink. She appeared to be inhuman. We would prattle on about these horrific acts done to our body mind and our soul. Nothing but silence. Stone, cold silence. No reaction of any kind. We were so afraid of her that we never thought to ask why. The message we received was that there is no horror, no good no bad no nothing. PerhAps the woman was thinking that she didn’t want to encourage us to feel badly about it. Whatever. We heard that she just really never cared.

So. It never occurred to us to get attached. We carried on, thinking of all the ways our head was screwed to be sad or angry or confused. We failed to understand why we couldn’t just choose to be one soul.

For reasons currenly unimportant, we chose this past fall to switch things up, to see a specialist in trauma and dissociation. See how we could get “past it” jiminy quick and get back to the nightmare who was, to us, our unfeeling savior but our savior nonetheless.

Hum. We saw T once and all plans of going back to the evil CBT flew out the window. The woman listened. She told us that trauma actually IS a bad thing. She explained why we couldn’t just will away the alters that were the screaming howler monkeys of our mind.

Wow. See, when somebody tells of some horrific event, T actually reacts. She tells me that yes this was bad. She talks to our alters and makes them feel better. She has put to sleep a poor little seven year old girl who Had never slept before.

T is solid. She tells us that sometimes she is sad about the things that bastard did to us but that she can handle it, tha that is her job. To sit with us and hear the shite and take care of herself All at the same time.

She does attachment therapy, T. And if has totally changed our life. After over 45 years of hiding blaming laughing blanking out self-harm splitting our mind and personality and otherwise not dealing with it, we are finally just doing that. Dealing. Beginning to feel the rage is what is coming out first.

We are able to do this because we have a place to go that we can trust. That place is with this woman. T, T, T. She knows what she is doing. The whole trust thing is such a novel concept that it gets confusing. But from the first time we talked with her face-to-face we knew. She is strong enough to take if and she cares. Finally, finally. Somebody gives a shit.

You can probably see where this is going. red, the little 5 year old, has a total crush. She keeps bringing T little presents so she doesn’t make her sad. To make her happy. Pomegranates so she doesn’t get the flu. Hah, what can one say. The kid’s only five. T says let red know that she doesn’t have to do that, that I can take care of myself that she doesn’t have to have that job. But red will persist for as long as she can. Because she doesn’t know how else to say I need you and I trust you. Mostly because it’s never happened before. Not from good people.

There are others, of course. They have varying degrees of suspicion. But in time they will be having red’s experience and then of course the shit will hit the fan.

T is asking for it and this is how:

I will never hurt you I will protect you from your uncle Norman he will never find you here. No bad people will ever hurt you here. Yes it was a horrible thing he did to you. Tha was just awful. It was not you fault it has never been your fault. Bodies just do what they do. That doesn’t mean anything good happened from it. You could not control that it just happens. No dissociation is not a choice there are many very traumatized people in you and that is REAL. Who am I talking to? Well I’m very glad to meet you I’m happy that you came to tell me this. It wasn’t your fault. Who is taking care of you? How does that work? I want for you to heal. I want for you to be happy. If it’s too hard you don’t have to tell me I will just sit with you, okay? Uh, how awful. That must have been terifying. It was terrifying, wasn’t it? I know how you feel, you know. I care about how you are feeling. Do you feel that. That physical pain right now? I know you hurt. Yes. Yes I do I know that you are hurting.

Yes, that’s what I hear. Well, she asked me not to discuss it and I will honor her privacy, just like I will honor yours. You need to get together with them so we can work this out. Can you let the adults have Their Time? Take turns? Yes I’m sure that it was scary seeing that but that is something that adults can do as long as it Makes them happy. That is not time for you. I care about you all, about all of your parts.

I want for you to stop hurting her. You are being counter-productive by re-traumatizing her when the system’s upset. Can you try that, just for three days until you’re back here. Yes you can comeback. Why do you think you can’t come back? You think I feel differently about you because you have told me that horrible thing? Well I don’t. I do not think any less of you because of what they did to you. No I don’t because you are not what has happened to you. Your essential goodness has nothing to do with those awful, awful things.

You are strong. You are brave. You are working so hard and I want you to know that as much as I know you hurt right now that this is a good thing. This is a sign of major progress that you are creating within yourself.

This is not funny. Do you know that, do you know that this isn’t funny? I notice that you do that, that you laugh alot about it. But what happened to you was totally, totally vile. Your humanity was stolen and your childhood. Your ability to trust, to bond, to feel. This. Is. Not funny. Stop hiding.

I know how much you hurt, you know. I do. I know how much you hurt and I am very, very sorry.

Do you see? Do you see now how she begs for us to get the Transference Bug? Hahahahahah.