Dancing Candle, Dancing Mind

I’m sitting here in meditation, staring at a candle flame, trying to just be within each moment. Just sitting there, watching this little flame.

It’s an unusual candlelight, this one. Although there are no drafts or fans or otherwise air movement about, this little flame is dancing about like crazy. Up and down amd left and right. Nearly sputtering out then bursting forth ablaze again.

As I sit here I realize that this little candlelight is doing exactly what my mind is doing just now. Nearly going out into dissociated haze. Jumping alight with this slim thread of what feels like peace that I’ve been chasing all day. Dancing left dancing right. Am i under threat or not? Do I cut my losses and run, to never see my therapist again? Or to go in tomorrow after a three-week absence and spill my guts about how much I have been struggling and how even though i know it’s only a case of the transference bug I still have the feeling that she will be going away from me soon?

Up down left right dance Splinty dance.

And then as I sit here I realize that despite the wild machinations and meanderings that this little flame is going through…..it remains lit. There is a commitment to itself, as if to say hey I may be a crazy little flame and I may be all over the place, but I am still giving off light and color and warmth. I’m still here.

And so it is with me. Banged up as i may be, as anxious as I seem to need myself to be, I’m still here.

So I will be jumpy and twitchy and be unable to keep still–yes. But I made it. I know that this show is just the drama queens’ (the Teenagers’) way of saying we don’t like this this is just like all the rest. But it’s not.

It’s 2010. I am a grown woman. I have chosen to remain here. I may be dinged and the Voices may be screaming but my light’s still on.

Now the only remaining question is what do I do with the next 25 hours. Really–ya gotta laugh.

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Dancing Candle, Dancing Mind

I am humbled and feel tremendous gratitude toward the courage, compassion and wisdom in the submissions posted for this month’s Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. I know well how much guts it takes to put out our stories and the work involved in helpful steps we can take in order to gain and regain our lives. Thanks so much to all of you for sharing your stories, your wisdom, and your artwork. Ok, I’ll stop my ramblings now–on to the good stuff!

POETRY

I’m starting with the artsy stuff first because, well, I’m an artsy person.

Susan Kingsely-Smith gives us a work of great beauty. She says: There is hope there is Light. The Road to Freedom from the Past is full of potholes and yet there is hope TITLE How do I? I will

RIck Belden tells us of the pain in nogt being validated when we told. Heartbreaking TITLE scapegoat’s cross

ART THERAPY

Amanda Kobeshimi submits some beautiful photos that accompany a description of a survivor with a compelling tale of life with DID TITLE Season’s Greetings from the Demon World

HEALING/THERAPY

Always a popular topic, especially so during the holiday season, when so many of us struggle.

Laura aka Simply Green tells us how to use compassion to help your abused child TITLE Compassionate Parenting: Meeting Needs

One of my favorite writers, Darlene Ouimet, gives us a blog from Emerging From Broken on the beginning of her emotional healing. She tells it like the process thru healing was for her. I identify with and learn so much from her–if you don’t follow her you really should. TITLE The Beginning of Emotional Recovery :: Emerging From Broken

Pandora, a dear friend, says: This is a discussion about a therapy session in which an alter of mine came out, bringing with her all the hideous and abject horror of her experiences of systemic child sexual abuse. TITLE Child Minder – Paul:Week Four

Paul from Mind Parts says “here are some thoughts on what are the essential tools to healing from dissociation and trauma” TITLE Cultivating Skills

Darlene Ouimet shares one of my favorite blogposts as well. It’s a hot-button topic and one that puts me up on a soapbox quite often, too. TITLE Forgive The Abusers? A bit of a Rant :: Emerging from Broken

ADVOCACY AND AWARENESS

From Tracie fills us in on Awareness of new and obtrusive TSA procedures, a very hot topic for this busy holiday season TITLE Vacation Choice: Naked Pictures or Federally Mandated Molestation

The wise Patricia Singleton asks: “Are you aware of who you are because of your struggles in spite of your struggles? Now THAT is a good question! Read what she has to say TITLE A Short Biography – Who Am I?

Joanaa Tiger talks about the senselessness of violence giving us ten instances wherein warning signs could have been acted on to avert horrid crimes TITLE Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

AFTERMATH

VoicesUnsilenced is a very powerful writer of the aftermath of child abuse. She tells her story with courage and fortitude in the face of trauma. Here’s what she has to say TITLE won

Nesher gives a great informational piece on the aftermath of trauma. TITLE Childhood Abuse and Clinical Depression in Adults

SURVIVOR STORIES

My bud Hope For Trauma talks about the stress of the holiday season on her alters. I put this piece in this section because her words echo throughout the year. TITLE 5k’s & Turkey Burgers

From Tracie says “This is a great project for survivors to participate in.” It’s yet another way to speak out, tell your story, and obliterate the silence” TITLE My Name Is Project

Patrticia Singleton talks about choosing a position of gratitude throughout the year, not only during the holidays. Strong piece! TITLE Thanks Giving

Tim Fischer gives us a compelling survivor story. Spend a few moments with his powerful images and notice what your mind thinks about it TITLE The Ghost of Halloween Past

My dear DragonHeartSong takes a courageous look at multiples and their struggles TITLE The holidays approach – good news; bad news

IN THE NEWS

Paul at MindParts gives some thoughts on the recent Oprah Winfrey show with 200 men who have survived child abuse. Interesting TITLE Why I Did Not Appreciate Oprah’s “200 Men” Show

Steven and Debra give us a fabulous poem on recent changes at the TSA. Read this twice. TITLE Opt-out to the Beltway TSA and Their Airline CEO Cronies: Take Your Planes and Shove ‘Em

AND FINALLY…..HOLIDAY TRIGGERS!!!!!

Patricia Singleton says sometimes shutting down is all that you can do to get through the Holidays. Hear hear. TITLE Shutting Down To Get Through The Holidays

My buddy Sharon Sanquist gives us some survival tips on how to deal with moment-to-moment stressors and triggers during this challenging time for so many of us. She’s a great writer and has a way of bringing clarity to just about any confusing issue. Go down to Comments to read her valuable help!

Lisa Kift the ever-wise creator of the Relationship Toolkit also gives us some survival tips. If you haven’t been to her website–do so today. Skip down to the comments section to see what she has to say. If you’ve not been to Lisa’s Toolkit on her website — you need to go!

My good buddy Ravin has been through so much in her life. She has more compassion in her soul than any ten people I know. Read her story of what the Holidays are for her in the Comments section below. I prize her life and so should you!

I personally did not write a blog for dealing with the holidays because I lost track a day or two before Thanksgiving. Meaning I just faded away. Apparently some of the littles were out and about, why I do not know. Since I have been seeing the Mighty C, I’ve been co-conscious. My personal history is that Christmas Eves I was brutalized more than any other time of the year. So–I lost a few days. Could be worse, could be raining. I get used to it as the weeks pass, but it’s always a bumpy ride at the beginning of the season. My wife is great, she knows it’s a tough time for me. We always end up doing all the fun stuff that’s plentiful here. And it ends up being a good time as I get involved as an adult. But it’s a rough go for awhile.

Again, thanks so much to contributors here. It has been an amazing opportunity for me to be allowed the privilege to read and consider their strength, wisdom, and compassion. Happy Holidays where you can get them! And remember–it’ll be over soon 😉

The Holidays in Haiku

The holidays are upon us. Hellidays in my mind. There are so many IUDs and triggers lying about that i am constantly running into them at this time of the year. I’m not of a monotheistic faith so there is no attachment. Basically i see Christmas as a tradeoff to get the Druids to stop celebrating the Winter Solstice debauchery and move over to Christianity.

In any event, i thought i’d write a few haiku addressing the immense internal stress of this time. Not in any particular order, just little vignettes. So here we go

Holidays just suck
Perpetrator went insane
Ev’ry Christmas Eve

I didn’t have fun
The Christmas celebrations
I was always hurt

Santa Claus would come
With dozens of gifts for me
Ev’rything but love

Mom would lose her shit
Too much pressure I suppose
Guess who made dinner?

I would always cry
Internal bleeding hurting
Dad losing HIS shit

I have learned to cope
With happy happy joy joy
Some girls are having

My wife into it
(Recovering Catholic)
So we make our joy

Wife makes Peking Duck
I wrap most of the presents
On Dread Christmas Eve

Bacchanalia
Of the in-laws, not so much
They’re not a bright group

We’ll go to the Zoo
And see A Christmas Carol
Our traditions now

Lots of great presents
Reindeer antlers on the cats
Send out Christmas cards

But i hate this time
Usually fade away
A hybernation

January comes
And i will be back again
For now–toodeloo

;).

Call for submissions-Carnival against Child Abuse

I will be hosting the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse for November. Our theme, which you can choose to address or not, is….what else….ta daaaaaaa…..drumroll please….. HOLIDAY TRIGGERS! It’s a tough time for many survivors and thrivers. We’re shown all these images of perfect, happy homes, fried turkeys Santa Claus and dredles. Which for so many just didn’t ever exist. Oftentimes the abuse was ratcheted up a notch. Happy Holidays, indeed.

Feel free to say whatever the heck you want to about the Holiday Season in this month’s Carnival. Ranting and raving is allowed, please add “trigger” to rough stuff. It’s also a great time to talk about how you cope with it all (hint for you professionals out there especially!).

Your submission doesn’t have to be original, you know. You can submit something you wrote five years ago that works for you. Participatiuon is the buzzword here. Of course, you can just ignore this month’s theme and talk about any of our regular monthly topics:

-Advocacy and Awareness
-Aftermath
-Healing and Therapy
-In the News
-Poetry
-Survivor Stories
-Art Therapy

The purpose of the Carnival Against Child Abuse is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse. All forms of abuse – physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, verbal – are discussed. We highlight blog posts from child abuse survivor stories, survivor art and poetry, child abuse as a topic in the news media, as well as PTSD, dissociation and other areas of the abuse aftermath that adult survivors are forced to deal with. We link to hopeful posts about therapy, recovery, and healing from abuse. All forms of child advocacy and awareness are included.

I’m looking for new posts that you have written specifically for the carnival, or an old post from your archive. You are not limited to just one submission! I know that (surprise) I have alot to say about all of this stuff, so expect to see it. Again–participate! It’ll help you feel better!

You can submit your posts here using the form, or you can email your links to me at splinteredones@gmail.com

I’ll be taking submissions until midnight Tuesday November 23rd and the Carnival will be posted on Friday the 26th.

Thank you! I’m excited to read all of your fabulous submissions this month. Namaste _/|\_

Battlestar Galactica

My mind has been waging a huge war over me in the past ten days or so. The primary issue has had to do with whether it’s my duty to stay alive, slogging thru the shit for some unknown reason, or if I have an obligation to just go ahead, kill myself, and start over with the next life.

Frankly, it’s a tangle. Kenny Chesney the country weatern singer has a great line in one of my favorite songs. “For all the answers and the reasons why I’m at this crossroads in my life and I don’t really know which way to go.”

This is where I’ve been. It has seemed like a time for decisions, though. I did the research had the plan. Wrote a current will and fascinated myself with the perfect goodbye letters.

Once all the glam was done, I just waited. For ten days I let unedited thought pass thru me. It was a heavy time of flashbacks and exhaustion.

Ihavenovalueihavenopurposenobodywouldmissmeforlonghoqgreattojuatbedonethisonehasbeenaclusterfyxkfromthebefinningiwillpayahugepriceinjarmadorthosehorriblethingsrhathappenedbutijusycantdothisanylonger.

I got off the strict diet I was on (to support my wife who’s just been diagnosed w/diabetes) at the command of my therapist, the omniscient C. Within a day I was regaining my strength. I was becoming able to do a couple of my coping things and felt a tad better still.

It was said to me that even though my life to date has been this huge clusterfuck that it needn’t always be that way. Then she said these words: “your purpose in this life is to learn thru your rough life whatever it is that your karma needs to learn. Probably healing many lives’ worth of lessons. That is the purpose of this life for you. Healing”.

Oh yeah. Hummm, well. Bad Buddhist, bad! So I meditated on that for a day or so, during which time it became as clear as crystal. Yes I have a purpose in this lifetime. And yes–healing IS what it’s about.

I don’t know what has happened during earlier wanderings of my soul. But I can honestly say that I don’t know much about healing myself.

And so I see that I can do good to my own personal karma, which will improve the wisdom of the Collective. I have been so lost. But now I’m found thru my faith. Was blind but now I see.

Battlestar Galactica is over for now and I’d like to think that Universal good has won. I am not naive, I know that I have a long painful road to walk. But at least thru this round I have a purpose. Heal to teach others how to heal. I like this.

Battlestar Galactica

I’m getting near the place of finally just quitting. Iambitadangertomyselforothers at this time but am not making any promises. A dark shroud was forced over my head in my childhood and I am realizing that nothing can ever make that go away.

Suicide is an interesting question. My soul, like everyone else’s, is timeless until something happens to mass. I figure I have around five million years to keep cycling thru and I am really not up for it.

There are lessons for me to learn this time around. I know what they are I think but I can no longer see how I’m gonna learn any of them here. I know that I am doomed to go backwards next time around because there is so much of horrendous that I cannot healthily reconcile. Evil has attached itself to me and there’s no getting out.

It breaks my heart. I have tried so, so hard to be a good person. But I will never be good enough in this life I fear.

The only thing that is keeping me alive is the fear of facing all the damage done to my karma. That and the physical act of dying.

People say all the time that everything happens for a reason. Why I have happened I do not know. Nobody’s ready this time around to hear my message. It’s nice to think that people care but I really don’t believe it. Many people have been nice to me of course and I have greatly appreciated that.

My message was this: speak up. Don’t be tolerant of abuse. Be militant. And yet every few seconds some girl somewhere is being sexually abused somewhere in the world. It’s like it doesn’t exist. Fuckall.

I have this huge pile of crap that I’m trying to be able to do. Cope. But one has to ask–is that really enough to keep going? Is feeling good for awhile really all that I can do?

I am worthless. All used up before I hit my teens. Such a shame that I am not a good enough person to be able to turn that around and be valuable in any way. I would like to think that I could be helpful, but I can’t be. I do not know why. Is what is.

The clock is ticking on this allforshit life of mine. It seems that this life has let me be strong enough to handle some very serious shit but hasn’t given me the strength or compassion or whatever it took to use it to teach. To save children. Not so much for me.

It’s not U it’s Ur Illness

So I’m in therapy with C last week, talking about this awful depressive state I’ve been in for awhile. I said it feels like something just takes over and smothers me.

C looks at me for a quick second then says well that’s because this is exactly what is happening. It’s not you, it’s your illness. Like a fever is not you, it’s an illness right? This is not. You. This. Is. Your. Illness.

CLICK. you mean I’m not totally fucked in the head, there’s a Me that is separate from all the shit that’s in my head? Yes, exactly. That is what your illness is. The fear, the heartbreaking sadness, the panic/anxiety. That’s. Not. You.

Wow. So just like if I had the ‘flu and I go to the grocery store to get Nyquil or whatever. Treat it. This is the same thing? C says well it’s abit more complex than the ‘flu of course but the principle applies.

Wow, this completely changes the dynamic between this cPTSD Dissociation blah blah and my head.

I have always thought of myself as being just a total whackjob. That I am harming myself or I should be locked away because there is something just too wrong with ME. I am the mess. I am responsible not for what happened to me perhaps but how I have been unable to handle it well.

But this idea that it’s something that is outside my humanity. It makes so much more sense to fight it now. CBT has a framework that I finally understand. So when I get a panic attack I can say this is not me. Self-hatred, you no longer belong. I can say panic you are part of the sickness that was brought on by a bad bunc of people in my kid life. Stop it. Breathe meditate run paint play piano do whatever else.

It’s a wicked cool perspective for me. Pf course I have to wonder why this has never come up before. Smartass me says why have I paid out well over two hundred G’s and nobody has ever explained this to me? C says well probably because they didn’t know you as well as I do. My therapists of five years? Ten years? C says well that can be true. We click and I know what I’m doing. I can tell you’re a cool chick, maybe they didn’t see that.

Grr Whatever I know she’s right about that. This isn’t important. What matters is that I am able to truly set myself free.

Because it’s not me, it’s my illness.

It’s not U it’s Ur Illness

So I’m in therapy with C last week, talking about this awful depressive state I’ve been in for awhile. I said it feels like something just takes over and smothers me.

C looks at me for a quick second then says well that’s because this is exactly what is happening. It’s not you, it’s your illness. Like a fever is not you, it’s an illness right? This is not. You. This. Is. Your. Illness.

CLICK. you mean I’m not totally fucked in the head, there’s a Me that is separate from all the shit that’s in my head? Yes, exactly. That is what your illness is. The fear, the heartbreaking sadness, the panic/anxiety. That’s. Not. You.

Wow. So just like if I had the ‘flu and I go to the grocery store to get Nyquil or whatever. Treat it. This is the same thing? C says well it’s abit more complex than the ‘flu of course but the principle applies.

Wow, this completely changes the dynamic between this cPTSD Dissociation blah blah and my head.

I have always thought of myself as being just a total whackjob. That I am harming myself or I should be locked away because there is something just too wrong with ME. I am the mess. I am responsible not for what happened to me perhaps but how I have been unable to handle it well.

But this idea that it’s something that is outside my humanity. It makes so much more sense to fight it now. CBT has a framework that I finally understand. So when I get a panic attack I can say this is not me. Self-hatred, you no longer belong. I can say panic you are part of the sickness that was brought on by a bad bunc of people in my kid life. Stop it. Breathe meditate run paint play piano do whatever else.

It’s a wicked cool perspective for me. Pf course I have to wonder why this has never come up before. Smartass me says why have I paid out well over two hundred G’s and nobody has ever explained this to me? C says well probably because they didn’t know you as well as I do. My therapists of five years? Ten years? C says well that can be true. We click and I know what I’m doing. I can tell you’re a cool chick, maybe they didn’t see that.

Grr Whatever I know she’s right about that. This isn’t important. What matters is that I am able to truly set myself free.

Because it’s not me, it’s my illness.

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.

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