The beginning of grief

Today has been a shit day.

My fucking therapist came back from a much needed week off, and is on her game and ready to tackle the subjects I avoid.

Fuck. I want to get better, so I am trying really hard to talk about what she thinks I need to talk about.

Fuck. She wants me to talk about and feel grief over the fact that I didn’t have a Mom, and instead had a monster to watch over me.

Fuck. I feel dead inside. I told her my mom feels dead to me even though we know she is still alive. I feel nothing for her. I learned from the very beginning she was to be feared, and I wasn’t to be loved.

Fuck. I know I need to do this but I can’t find it in me. I am searching and asking among my parts. I am scared exploring this grief could obliterate me if I find it. But, I look, knowing it could incapacitate me and render me back into the psych ward.

Fuck. I found a little substance about this grief/mom thing in my session today. My inside world revved up and felt like total chaos. Parts started talking some about her and us. Thoughts of cutting my wrists or throat kept weaving around in my head.

Fuck. My system crashed into a younger part who doesn’t talk or walk, and seems to only want to go to sleep. The part is in flashback and having body memories and reacting to sounds in a PTSD way. The part seems confused about where we are. I am so off course I can’t pull us out of this part.

Fuck. My spouse needs to go to the Lady Gaga concert she has been excited about. I can’t seem to pull out of it, but my outside children will need me to watch them tonight. Finally, someone gets us out of bed with the help of my spouse. The flashbacks are still happening. The part is still pulling us in. Finally, we break away.

Fuck. I need to go pick up my son. Can I drive? Can I speak? Can I snap out of it and act normal for him. Get grounded for fuck sakes. I mean, at least get back on planet earth. Ok, here, but just barely.

Fuck. The kids are home and in bed. I feel incredibly sad and like crying, but not letting myself explore to find out why. An insider says I know the fucking why. Yeah, it’s a minuscule piece of the grief seeping in.

Fuck. I hate that bitch of a monster Mom I had.

The unloved child

Lately, I have been discussing in therapy the fact that I grew up in a loveless home.

My therapist wants me to grieve that my parents didn’t love me.

I haven’t been able to do it as my immediate response is that I feel nothing toward them.

I do not feel love to, or from them, or even want to be loved by them. I feel nothing.

Empty. That’s what I feel the most when I think of them.

My mother was drunk as an alcoholic all through her pregnancy with me. My dad on more than one occasion laughed saying “I don’t know why you don’t have fetal alcohol syndrome given as much as your mother drank.” He always followed it with, of course, they didn’t know about fetal alcohol syndrome back then to make an excuse for her.

When I was born, my mother didn’t let up on her drinking. Both of my parents were alcoholics, and living in a middle class fantasy world. It seems almost every adult that came to our house was an alcoholic, which was weird statistically.

Our minister wasn’t an alcoholic, but I can remember him at the house sometimes to clean up some type of domestic mess.

Like the Catholic Church, our minister served to keep this chaos, violence, and abuse hidden behind closed doors.

Neither of my parents were affectionate with me in a way to communicate they loved or even cared for me.

In fact, it took my mom 50 years to utter the words she loved me. By then, it fell on deaf ears.

My father, who was nicer to me than my mom, never told me he loved me his entire life. I wanted to believe he loved me because he was kinder to me once he stopped drinking. But, as I sat with him for months on his deathbed, I heard him tell others he loved them, but never me, the only one who was loyal enough to see him through his death.

Growing up without love is a hard thing to work with as an adult. The only loving behavior I received was when I was being sexually abused. Otherwise, I was invisible in my world.

I once had an African-American maid who worked for my family in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her name was Annie, and she had a son who went to school with me named Tommy (he ways my friend until he was taken away from me). Annie tried to look out for me and my brothers. She would try to make sure we had food and other things that children should have. Though she was strict, she was kind to me, and gave me a few moments of stability.

As embarrassed as I am that we had a maid, I am grateful God put her in my life for a brief reprieve of some of the horror that was happening to me. I was so sad when she was gone.

It turns out you can grow up without love, and not always turn into something horrible. But the price of that admission is to walk around feeling empty, not getting too close to people, and not needing anyone outside of myself.

Interestingly, the main place I feel strong love is with my children. I love them with every ounce of my being, and I know they love me. I don’t know how I learned how to love them like this since I never saw this in person. I am grateful that somehow I have this inside of me when it comes to them.

I don’t feel lonely, which is strange for someone who doesn’t get too close to people. I think I am so used to living on my own, and in my head that it is comfortable this way. When I am alone, I don’t have to worry about someone hurting me.

I don’t know how to get close to the grief my therapist thinks I need to experience to heal. I suppose my intuition believes my world will come to an end if I touch on this type of grief. Maybe I am better off staying numb to it.

Sharing an abuser with someone famous doesn’t make it any better

When I first started reading the New York Times op ed piece of someone famous recounting how they were abused growing up, my heart started tightening with each word on the page.

I knew, with every word written describing her abuse, and not naming her abuser, she was literally describing one of my many abusers. My chest was tight, and I was barely breathing.

I felt frozen. My mind was alternating between paralysis and flashbacks of this man we shared as our abuser.

She was able to describe every despicable detail of this man and how he started sexually abusing her when she was 14.

My mind was flashing back to a day of being in this man’s van, in my childhood neighborhood, watching in terror out the front of the van window as my mother and this abuser argued outside it. They were arguing about me, and something my mom wanted in exchange for me. I was only 7 or 8 years old.

This was a habit of my narcissistic, sadistic mother. She would trade me to men for things she wanted from them. I think she usually got whatever it was she wanted.

By the time I was in the van watching this “heated negotiation” go down, I was already broken by all the abuse I had previously endured.

My being was silent and resigned to this way of life.

As I write this, I can feel this disgusting man on top of me. His sweaty skin touching me. He was a pig.

My mom got what she wanted from this man for a couple of years. She wanted this former Olympian and pillar of the community to coach one of my brothers to become an Olympic swimmer.

I was excited for my brother because he could have made it to the Olympics. He was a great swimmer, and still has the body of a great swimmer some 40 or so years later. The chaos and pain of our lives derailed those plans.

For this negotiation to work out between the coach and my mom, I had to be on the swim team, too. Sadly, I was a pathetic swimmer, but had to get in the pool with some of the best swimmers who also wanted to be Olympians.

With each lap my weak body swam during those practices, I cried and screamed and wished I was dead while I went from one end of the pool to the other. Sometimes I would swim to the bottom of the pool and try to will myself into staying down for good.

Sometimes I focused all my attention on the cheeseburger I was going to get at the snack bar afterward. Food was scarce for me in those days, so it was a luxurious treat I wasn’t accustomed to.

By this point in my life, I was lost, alone, and like a robot. I didn’t feel human, and thought I was already dead floating around the planet with seemingly no control over my life. I had no one to turn to. It was just me, on my own, in a very cruel world.

My life has always felt ruined because no matter how many years pass, the horrific abuse I experienced is still there. My mind holds it alive for me and won’t let it die.

But, to read this famous person’s account of her awful abuse by this man, I felt terrible. I think she has always struggled to get people to believe her because no one wants to believe this Olympian and pillar in the community also molested children.

I don’t care if anyone believes me. It doesn’t matter to me in my healing.

I reached out to the famous person by sending her a message on Facebook with the intention of validating her by telling her he abused me, too. I never thought of anything past that.

The next day, one of her employees contacted me through Facebook saying the famous person wanted to talk to me.

At first, I was like sure, here’s my info. Then I felt panic and fear sink in. What had I done? I know better than to talk publicly about my abuse while my mom is still alive. It is more than forbidden.

A couple of hours later as I was at a baseball camp with my son, I see a call from Los Angeles come in. I listen to the message and it was her. The tears welled up inside me as this brought this particular abuse front and center in my soul.

I felt pathetic and ashamed because I didn’t even feel worthy enough to speak to her. Not because she is famous, but because I am so ashamed of me and my abuse history.

She has the courage to speak up because she is strong and has made something of her life. She can remember every detail of her story.

I grew up like a piece of garbage to my family. I was disposable as they let my life unfold the way it did. I never mattered to them, so often I don’t believe I matter to anyone but my children.

How can I explain to this strong, courageous woman that I am so worthless as a human being that my own mother facilitated my abuse with our shared abuser?

I can’t just join the “me too” campaign and rock on with my sisters in the world who admitted their abuse.

There is only a small minority of the world who understands the type of childhood I had, and the baggage that goes with it.

My mind shattered. I am not whole. I am a 50 year old woman who lives her life with different “parts” of myself who helped me survive the never-ending abuse of my childhood.

My brain and spirit are ruined most days. I continue to fight and believe that one day I might recover from the brutal experiences of my life.

It’s interesting. I have learned there are those who have been abused who want to punish their abusers, and there are those of us who are only trying to hold onto our lives and have no expectations of trying to get justice because holding onto life is hard enough.

Sadly, Justice left me the moment I was born. Justice is overwhelming and complicated for me. It is not for me.

In the end, I am fairly sure there is no real justice for any of us who have been abused, because you cannot change the lost innocence and the damage done to those of us who manage to carry on with our scarred lives.

It will never make sense

I often find myself in a place where I am trying to make sense why abuse has happened to me throughout my life.

It is common for abuse survivors to think about “the why.” I can get stuck in this place because I want to believe I had some control over what happened to me. In other words, if I can just figure out what I am doing to cause the abuse, I can change my behavior and it won’t happen anymore.

I struggle with the idea that there was nothing I could have done differently to stop the abuse from happening. Admitting that degree of powerlessness is extremely scary.

Instead, I struggle to accept there is no logical or spiritual reason these awful things have happened to me.

I have to accept as an adult the people who abused me were sick people, and it wasn’t my fault even as an adult. Power imbalances are still in a lot of places as an adult, and I certainly never learned as a child how to stop predators from hurting me.

You would think I would let myself off the hook for the severe abuse that happened to me as a child. Nope. I am always looking to make sense of it, wondering what I did to deserve such horrific things to happen to me.

It is especially hard to understand when I meet other adult woman around my age who haven’t suffered any abuse as a child or an adult. This knowledge does a number on my thinking, and my beliefs.

My “go to” belief about myself in trying to understand the abuse I have suffered is to believe there must have been something inherently bad about me when I was born.

My therapist often can help me pull out of that belief at least temporarily by asking me about my own children and whether they could have been born inherently bad. Knowing the innocence of a baby, I know it is not possible, except maybe in a Hollywood movie.

On a good day, I have to understand that I will probably never understand the cruelty and sickness of others, and this is probably a good thing.

Accepting that some people are just sick and twisted for their own reasons, and it isn’t going to be logical, is hard for me.

I know, on an especially good day, that both in adulthood and childhood, I did nothing to deserve the abuse from the many sick souls I encountered.

I know I am a good person. I am not perfect, but overall, I am a compassionate and loving person who carries around a lot of deep wounds underneath.

I have to stop trying to make sense of my life, and why so many people hurt me.

The logic will never explain the behavior of sadists, narcissists, and pedophiles.

I hope to one day be free of trying to take any ownership of “the why,” because no one deserves what happened to me.

No matter what.

Understanding Dissociative Identity Disorder

I have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which most people don’t seem to understand and are terrified of it. I guess I understand the not understanding part, as it is often hard for those of us who have it to understand ourselves sometimes.

I want to tell you about my experience to see if I can help bring any clarity to the understanding and fear of this disorder.

I grew up in an alcoholic and extremely abusive home. Sexual abuse, violence, religious abuse, and neglect were part of my everyday childhood. I am not going into detail here about the child abuse I endured because that is a whole other very big topic. I just need you to accept I endured a horrific childhood that wouldn’t be imaginable to most people, so I can stay focused on trying to explain the DID.

Growing up, I didn’t have a manual to read to tell me how to deal with the amount of trauma I experienced, but I was lucky enough to have a resilient brain to help me survive it.

As a child, I was often in overwhelming abusive situations that my brain just couldn’t process at that developmental point in my life. So, my brain ended up splitting off into what I call different “parts” or personalities to handle all the trauma and other things in life that I was expected to handle.

For instance, I had parts that would handle being sexually abused through the night, and other parts whose job it was to go to school the next day and pretend like everything was normal. I have parts that hold specific traumatic memories, and other parts who hold the feelings that go with those memories. I have parts who function just fine in the world, but will tell you they can do so because they did not experience the trauma themselves. For them, it is like it did not happen to them.

I have parts who have their own friends, and socialize very differently. The outside world that might notice this chock it up to mood swings, which I find very funny.

My parts are evolved enough to know they all share the same body, but my parts also each see themselves as a separate person living in this body. Most of them see themselves as much younger than the biological age of the body, which often creates a lot of confusion for all of us as the body is aging.

My parts are very different, some even have different names, ages, genders, sexual orientations, religions, vegetarians, meat eaters, happy, depressed, cognitively impaired, brilliant, social, agoraphobic, and on and on.

Most people don’t know how to look at me and understand that depending on which part is out, the essence of who I am shifts to that different person.

One moment I can be experiencing the world through the lens of a successful and bright 40 year old woman, and something may trigger me to shift to an 8 year old boy who is afraid of everything and has trouble navigating the world and trusting anyone.

A lot of people don’t believe it is possible for someone to truly be this way, but the truth is the brain is an amazing thing, and there are thousands and thousands of us on Facebook alone who all seem to have a similar way of living in the world like this as adults, yet we have never met each other in person to come up with some collaborative scheme to fake this for reasons that would only benefit those accused of child abuse.

My life is very challenging on a daily basis. Amnesia and psychiatric symptoms like anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, self-harm, and PTSD are my biggest struggles. These symptoms are fairly common for those of us navigating DID.

I have had this diagnosis for 28 years and it has been confirmed by multiple experts (this fact seems to be important to people, so I put it in). In the 28 years of knowing about this diagnosis of DID, I have worked really hard to have some semblance of a life and to get better.

I have given up on getting better at times, and have just tried to learn how to navigate my life without letting others find out I have DID. This is definitely a disorder of secrecy, as my experience has shown that when people find out you have it, they immediately pivot away from you as if you suddenly became dangerous and scary, no matter how long you have known them and in all sorts of capacities.

Hollywood has not helped with people thinking this is a scary, dangerous disorder because it has really only made movies about DID (formerly MPD) that portray killers and other dramatically scary people.

The truth is that:

1. People with DID are typically some of the kindest people you will meet. They are kind because they have been hurt so much that they would never want to hurt anyone. They are often overly sensitive to not wanting to hurt people in any capacity.

2. I realize people do not want to believe DID exists because then they would have to believe that horrendous abuse is happening to children all over the globe. Because NO ONE gets DID unless they have experienced horrendous trauma as a child, usually before age 8. And the truth is, this is happening way more than anyone wants to fathom.

The biggest truth that people should understand is that we are already living among you as your neighbors, school teachers, therapists, police officers, friends, and so on, and you have no idea we are here because our experience is that we must keep this particular victim status a secret to protect ourselves from further abuse as adults.

I’ll give you an example of what I mean when I refer to further abuse as an adult. The very system in place to supposedly help those of us suffering from mental illness typically refuses to help those of us with DID, and oftentimes doesn’t believe us.

The mental health system is sorely lacking in people who are qualified to help someone who has DID, and both therapists and treatment centers typically won’t work with us because of their own lack of education and fear of DID.

Therapists and treatment centers like Sierra Tucson and The Meadows that specialize is treating “trauma survivors” won’t treat trauma survivors who have DID (they both refused to treat me based on my DID diagnosis).

In my opinion, you have NO RIGHT to call yourself a trauma specialist if you decide the most traumatized amongst us don’t deserve your treatment because you are afraid of your liability, or some other equally ridiculous fear. We are people who deserve help, and it is the responsibility of the helpers to get the education they need to help ALL traumatized people, not just the ones who fit neatly on their trauma spectrum.

When we feel suicidal or in need of emergency help, we can’t just go to any hospital, because most of them refuse to acknowledge or treat those of us with this disorder. Instead they stick a variety of other diagnoses on us and medicate us into wellness (there is no medication for DID), so most of us with DID try very hard not to use the mental health system unless it is one of the rare people or places that understands and treats DID.

The most depressing fact is that DID is actually a serious mental health problem that can be “cured” if the person with DID wants that, and has access to appropriate resources, which they almost never do.

This makes me sad, and I hope it does you, too. Everyday when I am not focused on my own recovery, I think about how I can change a system to get people who have been so severely abused in this world the help they deserve.

No one deserves what happened to them to get DID. As fellow humans, we should all be trying to figure out ways to help our brothers and sisters who were served these horrific starts to their lives. I hope you agree.

Not everyone deserves forgiveness

I was just speaking philosophically about the concept of forgiveness with a therapist, and I agreed with his perspective that forgiveness generally is to the benefit of the victim. But, I disagree that everyone should be forgiven no matter their crime, or that forgiving someone will always benefit you.

As a survivor of extreme abuse from my mother and many others, I told him I wouldn’t even consider the concept of forgiveness of my mother. It would serve no purpose for her or me. After all, when your mother is a sadistic narcissist, she does not see any reason for a need to be forgiven.

She doesn’t need it, and I don’t need or want it.

As commonly found in survivors of child abuse, I struggle with blaming myself for the abuse that happened to me. “If only I wasn’t so bad, maybe it wouldn’t have happened.” It is really hard to get off that train ride of blaming yourself, if ever.

I have forgiven other people for betrayals because I knew by me doing so, I was setting myself free and letting myself move on. But, there is a big difference in hurting someone, and intentionally perpetrating evil on someone.

In the case of the evil my mother perpetrated on me, I will feel no better by forgiving her, especially since I don’t believe it is my job, or within my capacity to even consider it.

Where I stand today, I am not sure everyone deserves to be forgiven. I know there are many people who would disagree with me, which is totally ok.

Some things are bigger than the capacity to understand. For those, I leave it to God or a higher being to make that call as to whether they are to be forgiven or not.

In the case of my mother, she perpetrated such evil and intentional abuse that has robbed me of so much I should have had in life. There are long moments of feeling like she has ruined my life, and brief moments of taking that power back and trying my best to live a life that is still broken in so many ways on the good days.

I survived the woman who was supposed to be my mother. I wish I had a mother, but sadly I don’t, and never will. Even with my mother still alive, I would never want HER as my mother.

I have no desire to try to make amends or to fix anything. I have found when evil is nearby, it is best to step aside and let it keep going by instead of trying to tame it.

My mother will one day meet her maker, and will have to answer for her extreme sins. It hurts me to think of her possibly going to Hell, as I feel pity for her.

I was an innocent child who deserved a “good enough” mother. Sadly, she was far from it, and has no remorse for it.

I can’t imagine what went wrong in her life to make her into the person she became, but I still can’t excuse her, and I won’t give her forgiveness.

It was never ok what she did to me. And somehow I think if I contemplate forgiveness of what she did to me it says “it wasn’t so bad, or I am over it so I am going to let it go,” but that is never really going to happen. It will always be a part of my damaged soul.

Today, for me, courage is to stand up and say “I will not forgive you for what you have done to me. You have controlled and hurt so much of me. It is my right to never forgive you.”

And I know this is right today, because just saying that sends terror through me that you will find out I said it. A child should never be terrified of their own mother.

All I can say that seems appropriate is may God have mercy on your soul.

An Extraordinarily Brutal Life

I am just an ordinary person who has led an extraordinarily brutal life. My life between 0-11 was the most horrific of all, spending almost everyday being sexually, physically, and emotionally abused and neglected. It didn’t stop at 11, but that was the worst of it.

I have had the cruelest mind tricks played on me, which in some ways were worse than the overt acts of abuse I experienced.

My mother used to think it was funny to take me 10-15 miles from home in a beach town and leave me at some random place when I was 5 years old. I had no ability to do anything in that situation. I usually waited until nightfall when my father would find me and bring me home. So yeah, I have good reasons to feel an intense fear of abandonment.

My father never spoke of this abuse he knew my mother perpetrated on me, because at the end of the day, he loved her and wanted to be with her more than he cared for me.

So-called dignified people in my community had sex with me whenever they wanted, and my mother was so narcissistic and sadistic she helped facilitate this abuse, and I am sure got something out of it for herself.

I’ve been locked in rooms with our local State Farm agent and his children screaming at me that I must accept Jesus Christ into my heart if I wanted everlasting salvation. No matter how many times I tried to say what they wanted, it was never “right” because they were relentless in their brainwashing that I was, and always would be a sinner, doomed for hell. They always ended this special kind of torture by sexually abusing me.

My mom used me as a surrogate spouse when my daddy disappeared on a drinking binge for days or weeks at a time. What seemed like a special relationship with her always turned to a disgusting, sexual experience with her drunken passed out body on top of me.

When she wasn’t sexually abusing me, she spent her time hitting me for no reason, or telling me how much she hated me and how ugly I was. She was quite strikingly beautiful herself, so she often criticized me regarding just about everything that existed within me.

My mom used to make me go to our town’s most reputable pediatric dentist after school so he could sexually abuse me and torture me with dental devices. He used to drill me teeth for the fun of it, and I had no knowledge of what Novocain was until I was a teenager.

My grandmother used to give me to a cult called “The Way” when they came to town. I was driven with other children I did not know out into a dark wooded area where these cult members, mostly in their 20s, would drug us, teach us that we were supposed to cut our wrists and let all our blood out to sacrifice ourselves for Jesus, and then they would sexually abuse us around a big bon fire. Needless to say, I have some very confusing ideas about religion.

My older brothers were what people might have called “troubled” if they were using nice words. Since they were older than me, I really don’t know what they were exposed to to make them so out of their minds. Sadly, they were drug addicts and drug dealers at an unusually young age. This brought me lots of unwanted sexual abuse, torture, and violence.

My oldest brother was like my mom, sadistic and sociopathic. He would go out of his way to torture me with pleasure. He would rape me regularly, sell me to his friends for sex, and often try to see how close he could come to killing me without actually killing me.

My middle brother sexually abused me to around age 7 or 8, but one day he was the first to tell me that you are not supposed to have sex with family members. He never personally had sex with me again, and would try to protect me from my oldest brother when he was around. Still, he could not even put a dent in the madness and abuse that came my way from all sorts of places. Though he is probably the most troubled in our family now, I imagine that is because he had a conscience and suffers from extreme guilt and sorrow over what happened in our family.

The strange thing about our middle class family is that all the kids in our “community” had sex with each other from a very young age. This was an all the time thing, and sanctioned by our parents. This was our normal, and usually involved group sex, but not always.

I’ll never forget spending the night at one of the boy’s houses when I was about 7, and he was having sex with me in his bedroom, and his mother came in and put the laundry away while it was going on. It was as if nothing was wrong, and nothing needed to be said about it.

I would venture to say that by the time I was 6, I had more sex with people than most people do their entire lives.

Why I chose to survive this life I was living is often a mystery to me. A life where no matter how “good” I tried to be, I was repeatedly abused, neglected, tortured, and exposed to mind control and religious craziness.

I didn’t survive because I was so strong and could see me making a better life for myself one day. I survived because my mind split off over and over to deal with my reality. I didn’t intentionally do it. It is supposed to be some lucky source of creativity and intelligence in my brain that allowed me to do so (which I don’t fully agree with).

The splitting of my brain has left me as an adult with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly called Multiple Personally Disorder. It is not fun or interesting to have DID. Maybe it is fascinating to those who don’t have it. My life is an absolute cluster f*ck on most days.

As someone with DID, I have more parts of myself than I can count. I am so screwed up that half the time I don’t even know myself that I am not the personality that is “out front” talking to someone. My brain is seriously impaired memory wise. It is like having dementia since I was 21.

I can’t remember huge and significant parts of my childhood, and even positive memories of my adulthood. It is all a mystery that I continue to strive to figure out and fix.

Honestly, I don’t really know if there is a “fix” but since I have kids and won’t kill myself because of this, it leaves me with little else to do but to try to fix myself, and help others who have suffered similar plights.

In psychiatric, psychology, and other mental health schools, they teach that this is a rare condition, and spend virtually no time teaching people how to recognize and treat it. It is by no means rare.

So many children are abused at this level to create this disorder. I know people don’t want to imagine abuse on this level, but it is true. People just don’t end up with this disorder without suffering extreme abuse or trauma at a very early age.

For the fun of it, you can visit the endless pages of survivors who have DID on Facebook. You will see this is not isolated to a few of us, or isolated to any one country.

DID is real and awful to live with, and those of you who care should be doing more to help the most wounded of us.

Do you realize if we go to an emergency room and tell the people we have DID, we will likely be completely discredited as crazy and possibly put in the psych ward even though we are coming in for a medical issue?

Do you realize the majority of mental health treatment facilities refuse to treat those of us with DID? Heck, the majority of therapists in all countries don’t want to treat DID, and thus refuse to.

People like to think of us as dangerous and scary, but in reality, people with DID are often the kindest people you will meet. But, we can’t change the Hollywood version of DID that is probably the only knowledge most people have about DID.

In a world where there is so much injustice, I guess I can’t expect you to care about this abuse of DID people as adults. But if you do care, I hope you will help me make the world a better place for those who are most wounded amongst us.

Stand up for what is right. Stand up for the most wounded.

The mistaken survival of the soul-less child

 

681b5a8aa699a740d4474eb363281471I have walked through my entire life a fraud. A nonexistent soul using the mortal body of no one. I am a fraud because from time-to-time, I would use this body to pretend as if I was a normal human being. Though, I always return to my place of nothingness. The place where those without souls return.

As a child I tried my best to be as invisible as possible. I tried being very still and quiet. I do not want to be noticed because I know I do not belong to this world. This world is confusing and cruel and scary. I don’t like it, so I am happy to not really belong to it. Yet, somehow, I got stuck with this mortal body that always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

There is no making sense of the life this mortal body was given. The people who come in and out of it. The constant desire for it to die.

To be human is to claw your way through everything to survive. This soul-less being does not wish to survive this cruel human world.

This body does not know love, comfort, happiness, safety, or anything that would be good or pleasurable. This body knows darkness, sadness, hatred, pain, evil, death, anger, and a strong desire to turn out the lights on this mortal body.

Without hope, there is death.

This soul-less body was created from birth with lies, pain, shame, fear, and brutality. It was programed to be obedient, to never disobey, and to serve the greater human species to which it did not belong.

How can an entire species be so cruel, even to the soul-less body who was never one of them? But it is true, and that is the way it is.

A wrecked soul-less child body who mistakenly survived. It was never supposed to survive. There is not upside for this being. There is no better. No nothing. Especially a real life on the human planet.

It is so confusing to figure out what to do with this fraud of a soul-less body. Oh children, why did you survive? I suppose some instinct, or maybe they made you with their confusing lies. I don’t blame you. I promise I hold no anger toward you. You were only babies and toddlers and youngsters doing what you thought you were supposed to do.

Now we have this fraudulent body built through evil lies, and there is nothing for it to do but to lay in bed until it dies. Oh wise one, you are correct in that we could take it from this earth sooner by our own hands. But, they say it will ruin the human children in this new family.

I know we don’t belong. But there is a speck of dust, maybe love, in this soul-less body that makes me think how sad it would be for these human children to be ruined by our actions.

We may know we never belonged, and wouldn’t have ever wanted to belong to this world, but now we have somehow become connected to these two children who look to us to keep behaving in a fraudulent way because they need us to.

Why, with no soul inside, do we have to always be the good guys? Why?

Because that’s the way it is.

 

Why was I born?

I never mattered. My family ensured I understand this. I figured this out early. My brain became dizzy and lost and alone. Early on I didn’t know suicide was an option. I thought I had to stay on this very horrific planet where life didn’t make any sense to me.

I was the 3rd child in my family, the first two being older brothers. My parents tell the story that they wanted a girl, which is why they had a 3rd child, and I naively thought for years they wanted a girl for the “normal” reasons families typically want a certain gender. I was wrong.

What I could never understand is why if my mom wanted a girl, then why did she hate me so much? And why did everyone in my life treat me so poorly, and it seemed to be ok, and my role in the family.

From as far back as I can remember, my mom was always upset with who I was and how I looked. She would yell at me in her bathroom making me look in the mirror and tell me all the things wrong with me. One thing that especially infuriated her was that I didn’t hold in my stomach all the time like a proper young lady. Otherwise, I was showing the world I was fat. The fact that I was malnourished and skin and bones didn’t enter into this repeated criticism.

I was born into this family, never to understand it. I never understood why my older brothers who were constantly in trouble were treated special and as if they were loved, but I hardly existed as a wanted child in my family. Well, at least not the right kind of wants.

I don’t ever remember being loved or cared for by this family as a child. No one cared where I was, what was happening to me, or whether I had appropriate food or medical care. I was always more of a burden expected to keep my mouth shut under every circumstance. No one wanted to hear or cared what I had to say.

Love in any kind of normal way did not exist for me. As close as I have to love in some kind of caring way was once in a while my middle brother would pull off my older brother for things he was doing to me.

I didn’t have any caring neighbors, relatives, people at school, or anywhere else. It was as if I was a ghost, and didn’t matter to anyone.

No matter how many times my therapist explains it to me, I can’t seem to comprehend that my parents would intentionally have a baby to harm it for their sick, personal gain. I know we all see stories of this kind of stuff on the news from time-to-time, but this can’t be my story, despite all the evidence that says it is.

I guess it seems incomprehensible to me partially because I am a mother of two, and I just can’t imagine harming them in any way. I would step in front of a train for either of my children, whereas my family of origin was the train coming right for me all the time.

I suppose I have to explain I was born to two active alcoholic parents , and my two brothers became alcoholics/drug addicts at a rather early age, and later drug dealers. This alone brought in lots of violence to our home, but it also brought in lots of other strange and sick people, amongst other things.

When I tell people this story, which I actually never do outside my therapist’s office, people assume I grew up in poverty. I guess to be correct, my family lived in an upper middle class neighborhood, but I did live in poverty in my own little world.

My mom was President of the Junior Women’s Club and pack leader for my brothers’ Cub Scout pack. She entertained lots of hot shot business men at fancy parties and over cocktails at our house. From time-to-time, she would be in the newspaper for her fancy parties and philanthropy work.

My brothers were in the newspaper twice as children, once for taking an overdose of my aunt’s “diet pills,” and the second time because they intentionally lit our house on fire in the middle of the night. The fire story leaves out that they left the family for dead, and many fire fighters endangered their lives looking for them in the fire. The story also leaves out that my drunk, passed-out parents were more annoyed with me than anything for waking them to tell them the house was on fire.

My father was missing a lot from the house. He just wasn’t there. I believe this was part of the dark life he was living. When he was home, he was drunk and my parents fought a lot after their drinking buddies left.

My mom grew up during the depression, and has several siblings who I would describe as all mentally unstable in a religious kind of way (like psychotic). All of my cousins on my mom’s side were drug addicts and some were mentally ill in scary ways, all except two, and those two cousins were adopted, but still describe their childhood as something they had to escape from.

My mom was by far a very attractive woman, and she used this to her advantage her entire life, and wasn’t afraid to tell you so. To this day she looks about 20 years younger than she is. She also says she was sexually abused as a child.

She is a classic narcissist. Everything is about her. No matter what is happening, she manages to turn the story back around to her. She requires constant attention, and has no respect for anyone’s wishes but her own. Just tonight my mom called and I told her I had neck surgery this week, and there were some complications with the anesthesia. Without a beat, her reply was to tell me she has red dots on her leg and wants me to come up with some type of solution for her problem, and my issues never exist unless she is blaming me for a problem.

But here’s the key, to everyone on the outside we were this upstanding family mostly respected in the community. No one would ever guess what went on behind closed doors unless they were participating in it.

My mom has been called a sadist, too. I grew up in a fairly large beach town, so there were always a lot of transient or seedy people around. I wandered among them and received my share of abuse from them. But my mom liked to do a special thing to me. When I was about 5-6 years old, she would drive me about 5-10 miles from my home and leave me there. At that age, I didn’t have the wherewithal to know what to do, so I would just sit and wait for many, many hours. Usually by nightfall my father would find me and bring me home. We never spoke of this, but I was always terrified to be left somewhere. My sick mother thought this little joke was funny. I don’t know what my father thought, but I know at the end of the day he always picked her over me.

My life growing up from a very young age was nonstop physically, sexually, and religiously abusive, neglectful, and psychologically torturing. As a result, my mind decided to survive by creating Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which was formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder. I developed “parts” or other inside people to break up my life and handle things I couldn’t. I didn’t do this consciously, it just happened. It is what allowed me to survive.

As an adult now, my mind is filled with “parts” or other people. Some have more expansive identities than others. Though it helped me survive my childhood, it is by no means an easy life, and many days I have thoughts of suicide. My memory is severely impaired due to the DID. It is something I try to hide everyday. I have to negotiate between the parts of me who will be “out” on any given day or moment. As a result, this body has no clear sense of who it is. Not having a cohesive sense of yourself is a depressing predicament to be in for your entire life.

Loneliness is the prevailing feeling when things are good. Because if you don’t have this disorder, it is not something the rest of the minions on this planet understand, or even believe in.

Ghost Child

 

Imagine growing up in an environment where you don’t really exist. Most of the time no one sees you, hears you, or even thinks of you and your basic needs. You don’t exist, but you do.

You know you exist because you can see them. Sometimes they sound muffled, sometimes you are drifting away, but you know you are there. You can feel some things like hunger, pain, and fear. You have to be real to feel those things. But most of the time the world acts as if you don’t exist, unless it is one of those times when the people want something from you.

As an adult, I am always fearful when someone asks me a basic question about my childhood. I am afraid my secret will be exposed. My secret that the things I could discuss with a regular inquiring human don’t exist for me. I don’t remember the normal happenings of any given day from my childhood, though I am sure I must have had some. I only have memories of the bad, or the quiet moments when it seemed like the world stopped and I was just walking around in it alone.

I don’t tell people that I can only remember 3 memories of Kindergarten, and have no memory of 1st through 6th grade, except for a few traumatic memories that involved school.

Now that I know I have DID, I suppose the logical explanation is that those memories are stored somewhere in my brain as experiences of another part of me. I try and try to remember, but I can’t. It is hard to make sense of things when you don’t have complete memories.

There is this really shitty group out there called the False Memory Foundation. They would dismiss all my memories because of the significant gaps in memory I do have. They like to say people with DID are faking it because they are trying to avoid responsibility for a crime, or perhaps the fake DID person just wants attention. We won’t go into their motives for saying that here.

I am not avoiding responsibility for a crime, and I certainly don’t need attention, especially of this nature. There were times when I denied it was real, but there is just too much that meets the criteria for Dissociative Identity Disorder that I experience.

I have distinctly different parts who have distinct personalities, cognitive functioning, and beliefs about the world. They have different names, genders, sexual orientations, ages, bodies, and so much more. Though we experience ourselves as separate people, we do know there is only one body that we all share. We just don’t all agree on what the body looks like. Younger parts actually see small bodies when they look at our body.

Almost all of us experience terrible amnesia that affects us just about every day. We have learned techniques to hide it, but anyone who has any insight into this disorder would easily spot it with a few questions. I tried to write it off as dementia at one point, but then that doesn’t explain the parts who have very good memories and can recall all sorts of details I would never be able to recall.

My DID helped me survive horrific abuse, neglect, constant exposure to violence and alcohol/drugs, and mind control. By the time I reached 7th grade, my DID seemed to settle down some and I remembered more of my life from that point on, but definitely still experiencing periods of amnesia.

My parents decided for reasons I will probably never know to move to another state and start the family over in 7th grade. We became this new fake family that just tried to blend in with the rest. For the most part we did, considering so much was still going on.

I was still being raped by a family member during that period, but that seemed tolerable compared to my younger years.

Though I never mattered much to my family of origin, my life did become a little more normalized despite the ongoing abuse, violence, police interventions, drug dealing, suicide attempts and prostitution that still went on in our family.

Though I had friends my entire life, I have always felt alone because of the disconnect between my fake world and real world. I was taught early on that the real world I lived in was never to be discussed with anyone. And it wasn’t until recently.

So, I have always sort of felt like this ghost person, one who was there and at times interacting quite normally in the world, but one who had no real identity and no connection to anyone, except maybe my pets. It is hard to explain. Some of my friends would describe me as quite social, but that is because I have parts of me who can do that without being our authentic selves. When you can’t be authentic, it is like you are not really there, but just playing a part of what we think a “normal” person would do in those situations.

Sadly, I have been disconnected from other people my entire life. My children are probably my closest connections, but even then it doesn’t feel 100% connected or authentic.

I have always known I was abused and neglected, but I used all my energy to push that away from my everyday thinking. The memories stayed everyday, but the feelings and thoughts about them stayed far away until my Senior year of college.

And that began the official deconstruction of my life.