Archive for the ‘alters’ Category

h1

Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 7

February 15, 2010

5. We need to jump right in and work hard on healing. Let’s not waste time. It takes time to build trust. A good therapist will give you that time. While they might gently prod you at times, they won’t accuse you of not being serious about your healing if you need to go slowly.

6. It should not take very long for you to “heal” with my method of doing things. Or…you will need to work with me a long time. The problem with this is that no one knows how long it will take for anything. I have seen huge leaps forward in healing and I have seen things take a long time. I might give them a try, but I will be wary of anyone who insists on a specific time frame rather than explaining general possibilities. It is one thing to share what others have experienced, but I am not others. I am a unique individual.

To Sum Up

Your feelings, your thoughts, your ideas, your knowledge, your questions and your hesitations…should always be respected. A good therapist will take the time to talk with you and work things through. He/she will take as much time as you need to answer all your questions and to build trust. They will never try to force something upon you.

To be continued…

The first post in this article is here.

h1

Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 6

February 15, 2010

3. I don’t need (or have time) to answer your questions. Just trust me. I am the expert. I cannot emphasize enough how important this really is. I was at an online for-pay forum run by one therapist who did not use those words, but whose actions said the same thing. I was really stuck on something and was not given adequate help to figure it out. I was not completely ignored…just not really helped. When others at her forum labeled me as “uncooperative” and “purposefully tromping on boundaries”, she never stepped in and corrected them.

As for the therapist mentioned in number two, when the host struggled to understand some things, he insisted that she just accept it. Her questions were largely ignored. When questions were raised on his private client forum, or in an online group therapy venue, we were accused of trying to undermine him to his other clients. Our questions about his methods or about things he said about our system were never answered. What is really sad, too, is that we found out other clients had similar questions, but were too afraid to ask him.

4. I know you better than you know yourself. Or…I know what you need better than you do. Again…those might not be the words used, but the messages are there, nonetheless. No one knows you better than you. Even though you may not be conscious of it as host, there are those inside who carry knowledge needed for healing. They know your system much better than any outsider can, regardless of their experience. An expert therapist might have some really good insights as to what is most likely going on inside, but they cannot know for sure since they are not inside of you. Pay attention, as best you can, to the trusted insiders. They are important in healing and in staying safe.

When one therapist was challenged by alters regarding his understanding of the system, he refused to listen. He told the host, as well as some alters, that they were wrong. It took months and a lot of help for the system to recover from the damage he caused. So, if someone does not respect that you know yourself better than they do…watch out!

To be continued…

The first post for this article is here.

h1

Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 4

February 15, 2010

3. Keep working on establishing some kind of communication with your system and, hopefully, the stopping of time loss. In the beginning, I also shared a willingness to listen while, at the same time, admitting that I was challenged in that area. I asked them to help me learn to hear them…to work with me on it. The biggest thing I wanted was for them to all realize that I was on their team and that, just because my ability to “hear” them or “see” them was extremely limited, I really did want to hear them…when we were both ready. I cannot say for sure, but I think that really helped. My goal was to gain their trust and encourage working together for healing and for safety.

So again, I encourage you, whether you call it being co-aware, co-present or co-conscious…work on it. I cannot emphasize it enough, so let me write it again. If there is always another alter overseeing the presenting alter, an alter who is mature and safety minded and who can step in if need be, the system can remain safe even when a very trusting alter (such as a very young alter, or little) is out.

It is also important that the host (and the whole system) be made aware if there are people, places or situations that are dangerous. If anyone in the system knows anything that could be important for staying safe, it needs to be shared amongst all. Communication can be such a huge part of staying safe.

Although I had very little of what I would call a direct two-way communication going on, I did have an advantage of not being, by that time, an obvious time loser. There was enough continuity that “I” always knew what was going on at any given time. Yet, in spite of that, about four years later, I was revictimized. So, safety is always an issue, even if you do not tend to lose time.

4. Make sure everyone knows what to watch out for. This can be tricky. Sometimes, it is not what is happening that is dangerous so much as who is doing it and why…and whether they have your permission. For example, working with littles can be key to healing, but if anyone keeps pushing to talk to littles, especially if you have not known them long…be extra cautious. I hate to have to say this…but there are bad therapists out there. So, you have to watch out with them, too. I wish it were not so.

To be continued…

The first post in this article is here.

h1

Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 3

February 14, 2010

Working With Your System

1. Work on developing a co-operation between you and your alters. When I first found out I was multiple, I did something that might help others. I did not “know” my whole system. I had no idea how big or small it was. So, I spoke out loud to my whole system. I shared what I knew about what had happened to us and how we developed DID. I also explained what I understood healing to be, what I thought our goals should be and how to stay safe. I shared anything and everything that, at the time, I thought might be of importance. I did not concern myself with who heard me or with getting responses. I simply told them that I was going to learn all that I could and work with them as best I could. I also asked them to please pass the information on to whoever could not hear me…to spread it system wide. I needed their help and asked them for it. Then…I trusted that what I was saying was being received. I did this a lot…over and over again.

2. Encourage your system to co-operate within itself. This is really important…especially if you are a time loser. When a younger, or more vulnerable, alter is out, it is very critical that a more mature, stronger alter always be listening in and ready to take over if there are any signs of danger. It takes everyone working together to stay safe.

Most systems I have met have alters who range from the extremely suspicious to the extremely trusting. While that presents an obvious challenge to the healing journey, I have found that the greatest danger seems to come when there is an alter out who is totally alone (or accompanied by unsavvy alters)…when there is time loss. It is in that total switching and losing of time that reconnecting with the cult, self-injury (and other risky behaviors) and being abused in the present can take place. This is why it is so important to work on developing a co-operation between alters and also on stopping time loss.

I encourage you to make sure that you (and everyone in the system) know what kinds of things to watch out for…what things might be indicators pointing to something being wrong. It is also important to have a well thought out plan of what to do if you suspect or see something is wrong. Remember, even when a very trusting alter is out, if there is another more mature and safety conscious alter watching over the interactions taking place, the system can remain safe.

To be continued…

The first post for this article is here.

h1

Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 2

February 14, 2010

Losing Time and Littles

The greatest risk appears to be with those who lose time, especially when littles or cult alters are out. Never assume, though, that because you do not typically lose time that nothing can happen. This is especially important if you have a cult background…as I found out the hard way. The breaking of trust can happen in so many different ways…with, or without, the loss of time, as you will see in this article.

I have heard it said that littles are the heart of the system. They hold a lot of the key foundational memories of the abuse. They were often around way in the beginning. As a result, a lot of healing comes from working with littles. I am very wary, though, of anyone who pushes to either work exclusively with littles (ignoring everyone else) or who pushes very early on to have access to littles. Trust should first be established with more mature alters who can, hopefully, discern whether the person is legitimate or just up to mischief.

Who Is Dangerous and Who Is Safe?

I wish there was an easy way to always know who is safe and who is not, but there isn’t. That is why we must always be wary and wise. It does not matter what role a person is playing, or desires to play, in your life. There are no categories of people who are guaranteed to be safe. I will say this, though, the more important the role and the closer they are going to get to you and your system, the more important it is to be cautious and watchful.

I have observed two kinds of people who take advantage of multiples, whether through the littles or in some other way. They are either those who are on a power trip, wanting to control and/or abuse the person for their own purposes or they are cult connected and acting according to their programming and the cult’s orders. Both are dangerous.

Sadly, some of the worst offenders can be professionals…the very people we should most be able to trust…and who we are, perhaps, most likely to trust. I have had some excellent experiences with therapists/professionals…and I have had some nightmarish ones.

To be continued…

The first post in this article is here.

h1

Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 1

February 10, 2010

NOTE: For a single post version of all 13 posts click on *SURVIVOR SAFETY* under “Pages” listed in the right hand column. Or, go here.

I was asked to write an article on safety. I am putting it here in segments. The article (or a shorter variation of it) will also be coming out in print in April. After I finish putting this up, I may revisit some of this in greater depth. I would love to get feedback and other’s thoughts on it.

Intro

I know there are unsafe people out there, but do I really need to be concerned about people I only “meet” online? Aren’t other survivors safe? After all, they have been through horrible things like I have! They understand safety…don’t they? What about my therapist? Can’t I count on my therapist to be safe? Do I really need to be concerned about people who are not my former abusers and/or cult group members? I intend to answer those questions. When I’m finished, it will be clear: you DO need to be concerned, especially if you are a multiple who loses time. However, you do NOT need to be fearful…just WARY and WISE.

I am NOT a professional. I am drawing from my own personal experiences and observations and from the experiences of dear friends and others I have met online. I will not cover leaving the cult. There are many good articles written by people far more knowledgeable in that subject than I. I appreciate that some do not like the term “alter”. I am using the term simply for ease in writing. The term “professional” or “therapist” could refer to any kind of trained person offering help, whether that person is licensed, has a degree or any other type of certification. It could also include someone who has “religious” or “spiritual” training.

Interactions can be an incredibly wonderful tool for healing. Yet…there ARE “horror” stories out there. Abuse can be blatantly obvious or very subtle. Sometimes, in our desire to believe that everything is OK and that the person we are hoping will help us is safe, we can ignore important indicators…or dangerously brush them aside. I hope writing this will help others experience healing while avoiding the possible negative side of personal interactions. It does not matter what role the other person plays in your life: fellow forum member, friend, supporter, caregiver, or even a therapist/professional. There is always a risk and I never want someone to go through any of the terrible things that I, and others I know, have gone through.

To Trust or Not and the Middle Ground

Those who have been abused and made it through trauma seem to fall into two very general categories…the extremely suspicious and the extremely trusting, with some falling in between. Those who are extremely suspicious are less likely to be revictimized; however, they are also more likely to struggle with being able to trust others enough to get help with their healing journey. Those who are extremely trusting seem to have an almost childlike naiveté about them. They just cannot seem to believe anyone would lie to them or present themselves as something they are not. While it is easier for them to trust enough to get help, they are obviously very vulnerable.

The best place to be, if you can get there, is in the middle…what I call “cautious trusting”. We need to learn to test the waters and slowly build trust. Without some kind of trust, we lose out on the benefits of the support of others. With too much trust, we run the risk of being revictimized. Finding that balance can be a real challenge.

To be continued…

h1

United States of Tara

January 28, 2009

I watched the second and third episodes. (Comments on the first episode can be found here.) Still no sign of any child alters, however, they did show her with a therapist. So, perhaps they will get into her processing a bit?

We get a bit of a clue as to where Tara is in her healing journey when she says the alters are not her. Many multiples, in the earlier stages of healing, cannot accept that everyone together makes a whole on some level. Alters are splits off of the main person, so they are altogether, in essence, one person. The one presenting…the host…is rarely the original person. The host is most often an alter, too. The original person is usually buried deep within and is usually a child. Of course, she may simply be expressing that her alters are not the “Tara” part of the system.

I really want to watch it so that I can see what the “world” is being presented with as far as the subject of DID goes. Yet, I also find myself feeling very torn about watching it. Not only is it stirring things up that I need to look at and process, but I find some things about the show very annoying and distracting.

Personally, I think they have mixed too many issues in one show and I think the parenting really stinks. Regardless of what is going on, no one should be allowed to be disrespectful. Parents are parents for a reason…and these parents don’t seem to remember that. They allow behaviors that are clearly not appropriate…and certainly not helpful to their own children. There does not seem to be any kind of real boundary setting. It is like they cave in to the childishness. It makes the show very annoying and all the extra drama is distracting. I am not saying the children should be perfect little angels…give me a break…is ANY child? However, they don’t need to mix so much extra into the show. I think the DID can be interesting enough, if it is handled properly.

The parenting isn’t the only thing that makes the show difficult for me to watch. I am disturbed by Buck and Max’s use of porn. Porn is degrading to women and is something that an awful lot of us RA/SRA survivors had to go through. Even if watching porn has nothing to do with being with another person physically, you are with them in “heart” and “mind”. To me, that is as much adultery as going out on your spouse…which also happens to be what Yeshua/Jesus taught. I know how porn can impact a family and marriage. It is not helpful…it is ultimately destructive.

I noticed something else in the show. The sister mentions that the children might be acting out due to the trauma they are experiencing. While the sister incorrectly identifies it as schizophrenia, she does make a valid point. It can be traumatizing and unsettling to have a parent who keeps becoming different “people”. That can cause children to act out in frustration over the chaos and the powerlessness they feel. More than once in the show, both children expressed a desire for their “mom” to come back.

I really felt for Max when he looked longingly for Tara in Alice. He really missed his wife. That was a very poignant scene…and very well done, I thought.

Alice presents an intersting dilemma. She wants to take over and be out full time. Whoa! That seemed to really unnerve the poor son…as it should. Hmmm…trauma?? You bet! He does not wet the bed for several years. Mom goes off her meds and her alters are showing up again. He wets the bed. Anyone else see a possible connection here?

Sadly, it is not unusual for there to be an alter that wants to take over full time. Alice, for all her quirks, is at least somewhat benign. What can be really scary is if an alter that is not so benevolent wants to take over. This is especially troublesome for an SRA survivor who has an alter who is still connected in some way to the abusers. If that kind of alter takes over, the person ends up going back…which can be downright dangerous.

Anyway, those are my latest thoughts on United States of Tara. I will try to continue to watch. Frankly, I am not sure I can resist…and not sure I want to, even with all the disagreeable elements of the show.

%d bloggers like this: