Archive for the ‘growth’ Category

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What’s In a Name?

July 31, 2013

My earliest conscious memories regarding my name was of never being allowed to go by a nickname…even to the extent that I was threatened to be in trouble if my mother ever heard someone call me anything other than my full first name. Others did not understand this, nor did I. But it was my reality and the reason for it was more serious than I knew.

I remember coming home in the first grade from school and one of the neighbor girls was teasing me by calling me a shorter name. She wouldn’t stop even when I asked her to. I remember being worried (read that as “scared”) that my mother would hear her. My only consolation was that this girl lived a couple of houses or so before mine and ours was up in the back…behind the main house. Thankfully, my mother did not hear.

As an adult, when I asked my mother about that strict rule, she said something along the lines of wanting to hear my name because she had worked so hard on picking out a nice one. She chose that name and wanted me to be called that name…period. She came across as if she had not been that strict in laying down the rules, but I remember. There is a lot this partial amnesic does not remember, but I remember that. It was programmed into me to NEVER use a nickname. It was not until many years later that I began to understand the truth behind that demand.

I remember struggling as an adult…married with children even…to try to be me. It is like I woke up one day and realized that I did not really know who I was. I did not know what I liked or didn’t like. It was a perm gone awry that turned me onto that. I looked totally different. I got teased a bit for the drastic change, but that is when I looked at myself in the mirror and realized that I really did not know whether I liked it or not. It wasn’t what I wanted. It was drastically different. But did I actually not like it?

I tried to look at the woman in the mirror as if she was NOT me. Would I like that hair style on THAT woman? I decided I did, but I felt a bit of disconnect between that woman and me. That woman was not what those around me expected to see, which got me thinking. I decided that I wanted to become the woman God created me to be rather than the woman I was pressed into being. All my life I was always being what everyone else wanted, but what did “I” want? What did “I” like? And even more importantly, what did God create me to be? So, I set out on a journey of exploration. I wanted to find out who “I” really was/am. And what a journey it was!

Right there in the very beginning I was hit with a strong realization. I use the word “strong” because it was something that I knew for sure, although I could not have explained why or how I knew it. I just knew very strongly that I would never be able to be the me God created me to be if I went by my birth name. So, I decided I wanted to be called a nickname, which was really just a shortened version of my first name…half of it to be exact.

I knew my parents would not like it, so I started with my husband and those closest to me. I remember that some questioned what I was doing. New hair style, which I openly admitted was not my intention, but reassured them (especially since the hairdresser was a friend) that I did like it. New name. What was up? I just kept to myself what my realizations were and what my goal was.

Once I saw that those around me were willing to really try to remember to call me by my nickname, I asked my parents to do the same. Naturally, they did not like it. Thankfully, I did not see my parents nearly as often as I saw my husband and everyone else. And then I noticed it.

I had started to change internally, even if not all that much externally. I started to feel more freedom to gingerly explore, and my sense of who I was altered. I grew stronger, more confident and had a greater sense of my worth. And then my parents would come over and call me by my full name. Bam! It was like a switch was flipped and I found myself struggling to keep the ground I had gained. This happened over and over until I learned to turn it off.

Although I did not know anything about programming or my cult family heritage at that time, I did understand that there was a definite connection to my full name and being controlled and molded. It was one of the key events of my life as I moved toward freedom. I never went back to my full birth name and now have a completely different name.

So, what’s in a name? I think a lot! My birth names were given by my parents. They had really nice meanings and had programming attached to them. My current names have wonderful meanings and freedom attached to them. They were gifts from my Creator…my heavenly Abba/Father. I am no longer bound to programming or to the former names. When someone from way back calls me by that name, I don’t like it, but the effect is no longer there. It is more of just an annoyance.

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What Is Healing?

March 16, 2013

When I first started out on this last leg of my healing journey…the awareness of DID and the realization of some of what had happened to me (which was an “aha-now I understand” time)…I had an idea in mind of what healing looked like. For me, it meant that my hard work (with G-d’s help) was somehow going to reverse all that had been done to me and there would be a complete merging which I called “integration”. I looked at it like a broken bone or a sickness. I wanted to be restored to the condition prior to the break of illness…or to be made even better. After all, they say a broken bone that heals is stronger in the area of the break and will never break exactly there again. I wanted to be like pre-DID and trauma.

Looking back, I would have to say that I was pretty naive, but not in a bad way. I believed what I needed to believe in order to start the journey and do what needed to be done. There were things I did not yet understand about DID and how abuse affects the brain. There were also implications in my view of healing that I did not fully think through…implications that would later change my view of healing…and again…not in a bad way.

Initially, my goal was simply to work on whatever needed to be worked. If I needed to face a memory…so be it. If I needed to reach out to an insider…so be it. Whether it was writing, listening, sharing, art…I did it. I believed that if I just kept doing what I was doing that integration/merging would occur naturally. It would not have to be forced. And it pretty much did happen that way. As I focused on healing, integration and merging seemed to happen almost seamlessly and without any real effort. Some of it happened in huge chunks during several days I spent with a counselor at her home. I stayed with her twice and through days of prayer and working with insiders massive amounts of integration/merging happened.

Over time, I came to realize that not all of healing is as simple as that. Now, I believe that a huge part of healing is to simply live my life…enjoying it as best I can…and seeing the beauty around me in addition to seeing what is evil in the world. I walk in the Spirit of the Creator, trusting Him to show me whatever I need to see and to help me with whatever I need help with. He has always been my greatest Healer…my best therapist. And He has helped me see that my idea of what healing looks like was very faulty.

I know the Creator can do anything and I believe He could even make it like nothing had happened…but that is not real. Like so many others, I had to come to terms with a childhood I simply never had. It was not just a matter of putting the brain back to how it was originally created. All my childhood experiences shaped and affected my brain. Removing the effects of the negative experiences does not replace them with the positive effects of the good things that never happened!

I also realized that all those things that did happen a part of what make who I am today. And even with all my foibles and what I perceive as “weakness” and “brokenness”, I am a pretty awesome person. I am a walking miracle and I am doing pretty darn good considering all I have been through. So, part of healing is also accepting imperfect functionality.

So…maybe…healing is not about restoration (like a broken leg). Maybe it is more about learning to live as I am and celebrating the me I have become and the me I am becoming. Maybe it is more about giving myself the freedom to enjoy life now…without guilt and with less and less impact coming from the past. It is about accepting imperfect functionality. (What is “perfect”, anyway?) It is about learning not to compare myself to others…not my abilities, my weaknesses or my strengths. Every one of us has abilities of some kind; we just don’t all have the same ones. We all have weaknesses and we all have strengths, regardless of how healed or broken we are. It is about not comparing my healing journey to another’s. We all walk on different paths.

I know I still have more to learn, but I carry one thing with me on my learning/healing journey…one very important thing. I know the Creator of all things and I know who I am in my Creator. I know I can trust Him to continue to lead me. Whatever is ahead, He will help me to face it.

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Living Life in the Face of Nastiness…

March 30, 2012

There are people in life who are simply nasty. They are mean, disrespectful and really don’t care how what they do affects others. When confronted with such people, we have choices to make. We can either react to them, wherein we lose ourselves by allowing them to control our lives and determine how we will live. Or, we can respond to them, wherein we maintain our own autonomy and integrity and choose how we shall live. I prefer the latter. That is my choice.

When I am confronted by nasty negative people I choose to remember that I, too, have had my “moments” of being nasty or ugly. It may not have been intentional. I may not have even been aware of how I was coming across. Or, I may have realized it as it was happening, but did not know how to “fix” it. Or maybe there was no fix…the damage was already done. Any way you look at it, I have had a negative impact on others at times in my life. So, I believe it is worthwhile to remain humble toward others, recognizing that I am certainly not perfect, either!

I also try to remember that everyone is the way they are for a reason. For good or bad, we have all had negative and positive experiences in life that have helped to shape us into what we are today. Sometimes, the balance between positive and negative was fairly even overall. But for some of us, one heavily outweighed the other.

For those whose positive experiences heavily outweighed the negative it can be difficult to understand those of who whose lives were the opposite. We may fumble where they do not. We may react to things that do not faze them one bit. I think it is good when each person can believe another’s story and try to imagine living in that reality. It can help us to be more empathetic toward others.

For those of us who weigh heavily on the negative, and some even in the extreme, it can be difficult to imagine life without that. We see the way others live and struggle to comprehend how they can do that. It just isn’t even on our radar.

Thankfully, though, there can be some good experiences even in the midst of craziness and evil, that give us some positive skills for life. For me, knowing my Creator made a HUGE difference. It is part of what helped to shape me and, I think, to temper how the abuse affected me.

I still deal with the physical effects of trauma brain and I can still experience flashbacks that are part of PTSD and getting  triggered.  However, I have learned over the years how to cope and work around the aftereffects. I know what I can do and what I cannot do and I no longer feel guilt or shame over what I cannot do…even when others do not understand. It is frustrating at times when people look less favorably upon me for what I cannot do. They cannot comprehend how even the simplest of things can be overwhelming at times. But I have learned to live with that and simply accept that there are things they simply do not know and, even if they did, might not be able to understand.

Life is good…even when it is hard. I am OK with that. My heavenly Abba/Father/true Daddy walks with me. So does my Messiah…Yeshua. Their Ruach/Spirit lives within me and that strengthens and comforts me…especially when life is hard.

I refuse to give up. I refuse to hold grudges. I refuse to not forgive. I choose to walk in freedom with my head held high…even when I am shaking inside.

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More on Assumptions…and Getting Free…

February 6, 2011

I started talking about assumptions in a previous post called Yours, Mine & ????… Now I will give another bit of the story.

I left off with my parents living in our house. They had manipulated their way in and there really was no end in sight. As we found out, they were not really serious about finding another place to stay. We gave them a break by not charging anything other than a token amount for food and utilities, but they saved no money. Once we finally figured this out, my hubby confronted them about it. Still…they were there and they had no money saved. That was a tough realization.

They were on the waiting list to get into an affordable place, but they were nowhere near the top. That meant they assumed that they would get to stay. Wrong! It did not turn out that way. G-d did a miracle and got them into a place way ahead of other people. Of course, there is also the possibility that they lied to us in the first place and were closer to getting in than they had let on. They did know someone who lived there who was recommending them, so that might have helped, too.

I think it is important to share a dynamic that was taking place before they moved. Although there it a lot still buried in the depths of amnesia and dissociation, I have very good reason to believe my mother was my trainer. She could trigger me so easily…a lot of knee jerk reactions. I will give an example.

I was going nuts with my parents being there. My mother would say something like “I know it is hard on you to have us here. If you need us to move, just tell us. We will find something…somewhere…somehow.” You get the idea. The old knee jerk reaction would hit. “Oh no, Mom. It’s OK. Really.” And I would walk away wondering why that would automatically come out and I could not just stay quiet. Opposing my parents was simply a no-no. And that was one of the blatant examples. There were many more subtle ways that I was being played and manipulated…even as a married woman.  That is…until Darlene came along. She was part of the beginning of my freedom.

Assumptions. My parents assumed they would continue to be able to control me…to trigger me for their evil purposes. Again…G-d had a different plan. I could not break free on my own. They were living in my house. They were setting off all kinds of programming. I was in danger. My son was in danger. Only I did not know that at the time.

My parents moved in during the month of August right not too long after my son’s fourth birthday. Talk about a vulnerable time. My husband started traveling…something very unusual with his job. A month after they moved in, I finally went to talk with my pastor and the worship leader with whom I was close. Although I was not “suicidal”, I did keep having suicidal ideations. I wanted to die…a lot. They convinced me to talk to my doctor about giving antidepressants another try. They also talked me into seeing a therapist. G-d used all of them to help me stay alive and get through the whole thing.

The first therapist (P) I saw for only one appointment. I couldn’t afford to continue with him, but he was someone to see until I could get into a different one. This is another way that I see the hand of G-d. I had left messages with several of the therapists, but he was the first to respond. As it just so happened, he was very knowledgeable about DID and had even written an article on it.

What he saw in me really concerned him. Knowing I would not be coming back to him and being afraid that I might have a suicidal alter trying to take me out, he shared his article and said to read it and think about it. He was very upfront about what he thought might be happening. He said that he, ordinarily, would never do that, but he was afraid for my life.

I took to heart what P had said and read his article. At first, I did not really relate to any of it, but the more I read, the more the light started to go off. I saw things he described that explained some things I had noticed in my life…things I just shrugged off as being who I am. Although a bit skeptical, I tried to keep an open mind and look for truth. I also prayed for truth…a LOT! I was very cautious about being “led”, but could see more and more of myself in some parts of the article. Bear in mind that I still did not have any clear SRA memories yet. I was very cautious…not wanting to assume and not wanting to be deceived…whether in my own mind or by anything in the spiritual realm. (Yes, I do know that demons exist.)

I started seeing B the next week. I told him what P had said and that I thought I might have DID. He just said, “we’ll see.” So, I just started paying attention. It was minor stuff really, but it was there. He remained unconvinced…so he told me. I was almost upset with him because I was pretty sure I had it, but wanted some confirmation…something he refused to give. I did not want to assume anything. So, I just kept observing and sharing. Then, one day in February, something happened.

I had been struggling to hold my own in my own home. A girlfriend came over…someone who had DID and was a cult survivor (although I don’t think I knew that about her…yet). We were talking about repressed memories and how they can come up. I shared about someone I had known a few years previously who had witnessed, as a child, her father murdering his mistress…the mother of her best friend. Years later, as an adult when she was safe, she started to have memories and PTSD surfaced big time.

Suddenly, my mother agreed with us. She said that she knew that could happen because she had memories that had come to the surface. I had to fight to keep my jaw from dropping. I looked at my girlfriend who knew that my parents had denied my memories. Or, at least my father had. I had to fight to keep from saying, “Mom…how can you say that and not believe me?” But I stayed quiet. I was floored and needed to process this.

The next night, I was kneeling on the floor of the kitchen digging something out of the corner cupboard. My husband was behind me facing the other counter. My father reached over me for something. Suddenly, I felt something hit my rear end. In retrospect, I think my father had something in his pocket and his jacket, which was very large and loose, just swung forward and hit me. At the time, though, it felt like my father had patted my rear end and I reacted immediately. I was instantly triggered…seriously triggered. I was in shock at the thought that he would actually pat me like that with my husband standing right there.

Somehow, I got up and made it to my room. I had my own room for art, computer, sewing, etc. It was my sanctuary. I closed the door behind me trying to figure out what to do. I was losing it. The next day was Valentine’s Day and we had a special day planned. I did NOT want to blow the day…for my poor husband’s sake.

As I started to sink to the floor, knowing I was completely shutting down, I said something. I don’t know if I quietly said it out loud or if I said it in my mind…but I know I did say it. It was something along the lines of, “please, I don’t know if you are there or not, but if you are, I really need your help because I cannot do this.”

At that point, I slid into the background and someone came forward. It was Darlene. I just watched and listened at that point. It was a very odd sensation…as if I was in the backseat or something.  I felt no emotion. I was impassively watching and hearing everything, yet was removed from it. When I went back out of my room, I could hear “myself” talking and see everything, but Darlene was in control.

Darlene was very key to my freedom and survival. My parents assumed they could get me out of the way, but they could NOT. They assumed they could get total control over my son. But they could NOT. And the best thing…Darlene had been created during my first marriage. I still do not have the details of that event, but this I know:  she was NOT trained by my mother and was, therefore, impervious to her triggering. She was very “unimpressed” with my parents and did not like them. I came to realize later that she had also been side by side co-present with me for about 18 years by that time…all unknown to me.

I find that, even after all this time, I am affected in the telling of this. So, I will stop for now and continue again later. I hope there are no spelling or grammar errors. I need to walk away from this and not reread the whole thing right now.

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More Art Up and Moving Soon?

September 30, 2010

Well…I got a few more pieces up on the art blog. At some point, I will probably go back and add more commentary to some of the pieces. For now…I am just pleased that I actually got more pieces up. There are many more to go.

A place to live is slowly coming together for us. It does give me hope that we will be out of this tiny space in time for this winter. There is still SO much to get done. I am so hoping for it. I know that the one who is in charge is really pushing hard to help us out.

I actually talked to my parents on the phone. THAT was an experience. I am still processing it. Phew! Father did not really say much. Mother and I mostly talked. I have NO idea where this will go, but so far…it is OK. I am proceeding cautiously and keeping my boundaries up. I won’t pretend, but I am willing to work around things as much as possible.

They do not know where we are and I feel NO obligation to tell them. In fact, it feels really good to not feel I MUST share anything with them. It used to be that my programming would kick in and I would feel as if I HAD to share whatever it was I was being asked about. I was an information machine. Not any more. My mother asked me about my location and I was silent. I moved on to a different subject.

She brought it up again later and, at the same time, said she would not ask again. She said that, since I had not answered the first time, that she would not bring it up again if I did not answer the second time…that it was obvious I did not want her to know. She went on to say something about how she was not going to come to my place or anything…not that she even could. I just did not bite. It was really cool because it HAD NO EFFECT! I was not triggered! I did not feel manipulated. I pretty much just responded to her and shared cautiously.

It did take me a while after the phone call to process things…but that is OK. Although I do not know what is coming, I feel pretty good about where I am now…about how strong I am. Woohoo!

I am finishing up this post by sharing that I can see two beautiful deer out my window. I love it! I have also seen some chipmunks lately.

Until next time…I hope you are all doing well!

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Cruelty and Healthy Boundaries…

September 17, 2010

What my mother has done is cruel. I keep trying to empathize and to understand her pain. But not matter how much I empathize…no matter how much I forgive…it still hurts like hell. I am the unwanted daughter. I did not step up to the plate. I did not take over. I stepped out of line. I left. I have no desire to be a princess other than in the One True Creator God’s kingdom.

I will never live up to her expectations. Her expectations (and his) lead to death. I have chosen a different path. If they do not want me…they can forget my son. I was actually willing to let them talk to him on the phone, but if they don’t want me…forget it. That is not being selfish…it is being real. It is not being vindictive…it is setting boundaries…healthy boundaries.

Boundaries are not OK in the cult. My whole life I had no boundaries. I did not know where I ended and other people began. I was trained to be a chameleon…to anticipate others needs/wants. Those in the cult who knew the trigger words and actions could get anything they wanted. NO MORE!!

I was accessed by a “Christian” therapist after we moved here. He had experience with cult clients. Little did I know that he was not only cult himself…but that we had met many years ago. It ends here…and now! I will not kowtow to my parents. I will not kowtow to anyone but my Lord…and He does not ask me to. He lifts my head to look into His eyes so that I can see His healing love.

I hurt. I am angry. I do not deserve to be treated this way. Even IF I had been the worst daughter on the planet…rather than simply and imperfect one…I do not deserve this. I have reached out via email for a year and a half. It has gone nowhere. I tried. My conscience is clear. I have done what I can. It is their loss. They can blame me all they want…but they have a part in this. I am an adult. I will not submit to them or to their control. I will not go back to the way things were.

So I will continue to mourn what was and I will mourn what never was. I will mourn the dream of having a somewhat regular family. I will keep my heart open until there is nothing left…and at that point…I will mourn for what will never be. I have dreams. I have always had dreams. Many of them are just broken dreams…turning to dust beneath my feet. Oh, well.

I have survived. I will survive. Nay…I will thrive! In spite of how hard my life is right now…I have more freedom than I ever did living under their control. The Creator has given me the gift of who I am…all of me. I am His…and no one else’s…no one’s.

I hope we can make peace before she dies…same with him. But if it does not happen…I refuse to beat myself up with guilt that is not mine.

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Letter to My Parents

June 24, 2010

Back in July of 2008, I sent my parents an email after my mother left a message on my in-law’s answering machine with a new phone number. I got a one word answer. Thus started some VERY sporadic, mostly terse, email communication with them. I was not really expecting anything…just testing the waters.

Well…here it is almost two years later. I felt it was time to write a summarizing email. I really hate loose ends…so I am tying a knot in one right now.

Here it is:

I really thought a lot about whether or not to write this. It almost ended up being a coin toss…seeing as how that is about how much I believe I mean to either of you.

Oh, I know…I can hear it now…how I am the “big bad daughter” who “used and abused you all those years” and who “lied to you” and who “hurt you deeply”, yada…yada…yada.

Well…I didn’t do all those things and I don’t really buy the whole thing about how “terribly hurt” you. You see…you don’t really behave as if terribly hurt. What you behave like to me is more like you are angry because your covers were pulled and your plan did not work. You did not get what you wanted…and you still aren’t.

You, mom, wrote some real heart things. That actually gave me hope (silly me) that you actually wanted to communicate…for real. Yet, when I answered you…you did not respond. Oh, OK…I get it. You can be “real” and express your “truth” and your “hurt”…but when I do likewise…forget about it.

As for you, dad…all you seem to be interested in is what I remember. The feeling I get is that you just want to debate the validity of my memories. Well…I am not going to share with you…for reasons already previously stated. And even if I were to share with you…I will not debate anything. I know what is true.

Well…if that is all you really you want…that’s OK. The few communications we have had in the last year or so have basically confirmed to me what I had already suspected was most likely the case…that nothing has really changed. Well…that is not entirely true…I have changed. I am no longer the weak woman/child responding to your manipulation cues.

I also know it is not really about me. It is about my son. He is the only one you are really interested in. You don’t want a relationship with me…only him. That is all it has really been about since the beginning.

I know about your plan to move in and gain total access to him while manipulating me and attempting to push me over the edge. Thing is…it didn’t work. I have to admit…you did come close. But you didn’t allow for the Holy Spirit knowing what your plan was and revealing it to me. He is bigger than anything you can come up with. He is the One who thwarted your plan…not me. He is the One who led me to the truth…and to real help.

I can’t vouch for your relationship with our Creator…but mine is real…very real. I have actually seen Him protect me. And others…who knew nothing of the situations I was in…actually saw angels protecting me.

Now…I want you to understand something. I am not angry…although my email may sound like I am. No…it is with something more like resignation and sadness that I write. Sometimes…that is just the way life is.

I pray for you. I hope that you will find real peace and healing as I have. Have I totally arrived yet? Of course not…not until Yeshua/Jesus comes back. But I have come a long way…and I pray for you, too, to find that before you die.

In a way…this email is really about saying “goodbye”…at least for now. I am not really locking the door shut. I am too persistent of a dreamer to do that…in addition to the fact that I believe in honoring you both. I know…you are probably rolling your eyes and choking at that one. It doesn’t matter. The truth is the truth whether you choose to accept it or not.

Anyway…here’s the deal. I will respond to whatever you write…IF…you show me that you really want to communicate and work through some things as a family…and IF…you don’t attack me. I will NOT stand for being attacked. The truth can be spoken in love.

If you don’t want to…I am OK with that…sad…but OK. If you don’t…you are welcome to write me and tell me so…or not. If I don’t hear from you I will simply take it that you are not ready to do that. Perhaps…in the future…you will be. Just remember…none of us knows just how much “future” we really have. Any one of us could go on any day…and with your ages…that is even more likely with you two.

So…yes…this is a sort of “goodbye”…or perhaps more accurately…an “until later”. Ever the optimist…I will keep hoping. As for being a realist…well…I will let my heavenly Abba take care of that.

Go with G-d…the L-rd and Creator of the Universe…YHWH…Abba, Yeshua/Jesus and Holy Spirit.

love,

(first name)
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Sometimes…

May 7, 2010

I love to take photos. I also love to add encouraging messages to them. Here is the latest one. I hope it blesses others. I am working on a way to make them into cards.

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Poem and Filing a Complaint

April 22, 2010

I wrote this in November, 2009. At the time, I was seriously working on a complaint against KB…the unethical therapist I wrote about previously in my blog. I ended up putting the complaint aside…not because I did not think I could win. Actually, I probably could. I have the benefit that she was not actually my therapist…having had only one phone call with her. Most of my interaction was through her online forum with a few emails. She did things that are easier to prove than if I were actually a client.

No…I pulled back because I figured it was not worth it. At first, I drove myself because I knew others were filing against her. I felt that I had to do this to help keep her from hurting others. I was told that Ross, too, had filed against her on behalf of some of her former clients. Again…I pushed myself, figuring that I would add my voice…you know…weight in numbers.

Then I got to thinking about it. I was paying a price in trying to write it up. It had to be done carefully. I am a very busy person with enough of my own stuff on my plate. As survivors, we each have to learn to protect ourselves. I cannot be a protector for others. I can support them. I can point out what to watch for…which is why I wrote the article on internet safety for Many Voices. The longer version is on my blog starting here.

I want to help others find ways to stay safe…even from unscrupulous therapists…through my blog…through articles…through being here to answer questions. KB will answer to G-d someday for all she has done…just as I will for all I have done in my life. I pray that she gets it together and stops hurting people. I know who I am. I know the truth. So does she and so does G-d. For now…that is enough.

Anyway…part of what I was experiencing, too, was a taking back of who I am. This poem is part of that process.

Flower

I am Flower!

Standing tall.

Standing strong.

Bending in the wind,
but not breaking.

I am Flower.

Speaking truth.

Offering peace.

Sharing hope.

I am Flower.

The delicate scent of my joy
may be temporarily
misplaced by the storm,
but it always returns
to be wafted along
upon gentle breezes.

I am Flower!

Beautiful.

Delicate.

Enduring.

I am Flower.

Blooming.

Growing.

Healing.

I am Flower!

©2009

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Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 13

February 15, 2010

General Safety

1. Do NOT share your password with anyone. If you must, (like when you need someone to help you with a technical problem, change it as soon as that person is done! A friend of mine needed help with her email. She gave her password to a “trusted friend”. That “friend” then started sending emails in my friend’s name. It was a nightmare, especially since she was a multiple who lost time. It took awhile to figure out what was going on and who was doing it. But it was even worse than that because my friend also did not follow the next rule.

2. Never use the same password twice and always change your passwords periodically. My friend was also a forum owner. Since she used the same password for everything, this person had total access to every level of her forum. Not good! Some people even use the same password for banking. You can see how bad it would be if one of your accounts was compromised. If you used the same password for everything else, then ALL of your accounts would also be compromised.

In conclusion, I cannot emphasize enough to ALWAYS have someone overseeing ALL interactions. I know this list is not all-inclusive, but I hope that it helps others out there. I plan to continue to write about safety as I can and post it here. You are welcome to come by and read and do a search for whatever you are interested in. Who knows? Perhaps, I have written about it.

End of article.

The first post in this article is here.

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Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 12

February 15, 2010

8. Supporting your professional. Be very careful if a professional is sharing his/her personal issues with you. I had one therapist who opened our appointment times sharing his struggles. Granted…I did inquire as to how he was…in a general sort of way. It is a way to break the ice and can be a simple common courtesy. He, though, took it to an unhealthy level. It became very awkward.

I could not really complain about the time being taken because he was rather generous with his time. I always got my “hour” and oftentimes even more. However, the boundaries became blurred and I found myself feeling like I needed to help him feel better. His sharing made it difficult to view him as someone who was helping me rather than as a needy person himself. I am not saying that professionals cannot have needs or need support. After all…they are human, too! What I am saying is that they need to go elsewhere for support. It shut down my sharing during appointments. Without sharing…there is no work really being done.

9. Wanting to see or touch parts of your body or talk in a sexual way. I know of one therapist who would intentionally trigger the littles of some friends of mine to come out. Then he touched their bodies inappropriately in the guise of doing healing work. Littles don’t know what is legitimate healing work! What he did was sick and caused a lot of damage and hurt. Again, I cannot emphasize strongly enough the necessity of doing whatever you can to insure that littles (or any other naive alters) are NEVER out alone or unsupervised.

To be continued…

The first post in this article is here.

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Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 11

February 15, 2010

6. Secret tellers and confidence breakers. Be very wary of anyone who breaks a confidence. You can pretty much bet if they are sharing about others with you, then they are also sharing about you with others. If someone is in any real danger, it can be valid to break a confidence. However, you need to ask yourself if you are really in a “need to know” position with the person being shared about. Is there anything you can really do? Put yourself in the shared about person’s perspective. Would you be comfortable if it was you being talked about? If not…you can pretty much bet a boundary has been crossed.

It’s bad when “friends” share confidences. It’s even worse when a professional does it. There are strict guidelines given to professionals regarding confidentiality. It is NEVER OK for a professional to share with one client about another client. It doesn’t matter if the clients are both members of the therapist’s forum or if they know each other in person. If there is no signed consent form, it is NOT OK.

I am not talking about things like…“I once had a client who had a similar problem and this is what helped him/her.” That is different. And, even in those cases, you should never have enough information to enable you to figure out who that other client is. It should always be a general sharing.

It is also not OK to post private communications without permission, even if it was written by the professional. An online therapist who has a for-pay forum openly posted something that she wrote to me in private. When confronted about it by someone else, she merely changed who it was addressed to and left it up. This was very unethical.

7. Meeting in unusual places…or uncomfortable places. I’ve heard of clients being asked to meet in a therapist’s car or in restaurants, sometimes even with other clients in the same room! This is NOT OK. One therapist I know had an office with no windows and all the other offices on that floor were unoccupied. The building itself was rather isolated and his office never did feel comfortable…and rightfully so. He accessed my alters there and used them. His office setup also made it easy to not recognize the time loss.

To be continued…

The first post in this article is here.

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Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 10

February 15, 2010

4. Alters suddenly becoming afraid of someone you know, regardless of who they are. There is a reason for sudden fear. You need to get to the bottom of it. In our case, the imposter was telling littles horrible, scary things (as me). This person knew what kinds of things would hurt my friends the most and what was most likely to trigger programming. What made this situation extra dangerous was the imposter had her own relationship with my friends…apart from me. So she fed the fears and kept pointing to me as being dangerous while offering no real proof. No one caught it until it was too late. It is SO important that the system always have someone ready to step in watching over ALL interactions. Even if my innocence could never be proven, at least they would not have been so hurt. The friends who were affected were all ones who lose time.

5. Listen to your “gut”, your insiders and others you trust. This is a tricky one. While you know yourself better than others, it is possible to be blind to something that is going on with you. Sometimes others can see things you are unable to see…whether it is about you specifically or about your relationship with someone else. If one person were to tell me something, I would pay attention and check into it. Unless I could find some way to confirm it, though, I probably would not be very concerned about it. However, if several people were to tell me something about me, or about someone I was close to, I would really dig hard to see if it might be true.There are times when others can see things that we are blind to…things that we need to see in order to stay safe. Whether it is coming from insiders, or from people we know outside, pay attention. Check it out.

If you keep getting the feeling that something is wrong with an interaction, whether online or offline, please do not ignore it. I was seeing a therapist who was accessing my programming and using me. I did not find it out until after I stopped seeing him that we had a prior cult connection. The whole time I was seeing him there were flags waving. I had “gut” feelings. I just did not know how to interpret them at the time. My insiders were trying to get my attention, but I could not hear/understand it. If I had simply backed out for a while, perhaps my insiders would have been able to break through with the information I needed. I did finally hear them about three months after I stopped seeing him. Needless to say, I was floored. This is an example of not being an overt time loser, yet getting accessed anyway.

On the flip side, when I was told that “I” (or someone inside me) was doing these awful things to others, I went straight to my therapist who had at that time about 25 years of experience working with cult survivors. She had been carefully watching me from the time we first met to see if there might be an alter inside who was capable of such behavior. She had read hundreds of pages of journaling and had seen no indications. My husband, who was home almost all the time, also saw no indications. I took what I was told to those who know me best.

To be continued…

The first post in this article is here.

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Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 9

February 15, 2010

2. Sudden change in the behavior of a trusted online friend…whether online or over the phone. Another thing to watch out for is if a known “friend” suddenly starts behaving differently. Littles and very trusting alters won’t know what to make of it or how to handle it. They will assume it is still their friend they are communicating with. They most likely will not recognize that they are dealing with an imposter. This is especially the case if the imposter knows both them and their friend fairly well, as was the case with my friends and me. She had enough information to even cause some older alters to think it might be me, although they had their doubts. Sadly, littles are very easy targets.

Many systems have alters with the same, or similar, names. This can also create vulnerability as an imposter can call or write them and legitimately use the same name as a friend of theirs. There are also those who simply outright lie, calling themselves someone they are not.

3. Someone calls you that you don’t remember giving your phone number or you receive something in the mail from someone to whom you did not give your address. I have also seen this happen. The one who impersonated me also knew my friends, so she had contact information from them I did not even have. When my friends asked “me” how I got their contact information, she told them her littles (or someone else in their system) had given it to “me”. My friends heard things and received thing that were hurtful and dangerous to them. They did not know my voice because we had never spoken with one another. The impersonator (as herself) told the only one who had met me that “I” had phoned one of her littles. Since she was not “present” during the phone call, she could not know if it was my voice or not.

To be continued…

The first post in this article is here.

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Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 8

February 15, 2010

Other Things to Watch Out For

1. A difference, however subtle, in someone’s IM and email ID used. If there are ANY differences, carefully question it. Even if the answer seems to make sense, be cautious for a while until you make sure it really is the same person with a new ID. I really feel a need to emphasize how vulnerable littles are with this one. Littles, like any other young child, can be easily tricked. They will not pick up on things that older, more mature alters will. This is why it is SO important to work on getting your system to make sure there is a mature alter who can watch, listen and step in, if need be. If a little receives an Instant Message (IM) ID or email that is very similar to one used by someone they know and trust, they most likely will not notice the difference. Sadly, this, too, is where I (and some very dear friends) can draw upon some personal experiences.

I had a very specific screen name that I used…one no one else would be likely to take. When I decided I wanted to get a Yahoo IM to match, I could not get it. Although it seemed odd at the time, I finally came up with what I thought was a possible reason for it. I’m going to explain that reason and give an example because I believe it is important that you see how something so simple can cause problems for the unwary. I also want you to see how easy it can be to confuse even an older alter, let alone a young or naive one.

I have a paid Yahoo email account that allows me to pick something for a repeating base for creating disposable email addresses. I had used my screen name for that base, so I just assumed at the time that Yahoo would not allow any disposable email bases to also be used as regular emails and IM’s. I realized too late that I was wrong. At the time, I decided to use my screen name with an added digit at the end. The following example shows what I mean.

I am using a randomly made up screen name and email addy. (My apology if someone is actually using this.)

Screen name = renkenfork14

Email = falderally@yahoo.com

Disposable email base = renkenfork14-

Disposable email addresses are used to protect the main email address from spam. They are typically used when signing up for things. It also allows the convenience of the different disposables coming into the same email inbox instead of having to check a bunch of different emails. You add different things after the dash according to how you are using that particular one…such as:

renkenfork14-forum@yahoo.com                       or         renkenfork14-crafts@yahoo.com.

There is no IM connected with a disposable…only with the real email, so the IM is falderally NOT renkenfork14.

To get the renkenfork14 IM, you have to create a renkenfork14@yahoo.com email address to go with it. If renkenfork14 is already taken (as it was with my screen name), you can do what I did…double the end digit to keep it as close as possible to the actual screen name. That gets you renkenfork144 as an IM connected to an email with the same name.

See how easy it would be to miss the difference between renkenfork14 and renkenfork144. Even if you only used renkenfork14-forum@yahoo.com to email people and falderally for your IM, chances are, they won’t notice if they suddenly get emails from renkenfork144@yahoo.com and IMs from renkenfork144. That is what happened to my friends and me.

How did we figure it out? One day, a friend apologized to me for not responding to my IM earlier in the day. Yet, I knew I had not IM’d her. We almost got into an argument over it. I keep my archiving on and I was not losing time. There was nothing in the archives to her that morning. If her archiving been on, she could have gone back and double-checked the ID. At the time, we both wrote it off as the other one being a bit nutty that day. There was nothing unusual in the IM’s themselves to cause us to give it any more thought.

Later, when I ended up being accused by others of writing things I never wrote (and calling people whose phone numbers I never had), we both remembered the incident. Emails sent to that ID did NOT bounce back. It became apparent that the real reason I had been unable to get my screen name for email and IM was because someone else had gotten it first. That ID was used to impersonate me.

The imposter initially targeted littles. Littles would not notice a change in details. So this allowed the imposter to both email and IM others as “me”, even though I never used that particular email account for email. I always used my disposable one. The friends who were affected were also all ones who lose time. Do you see the importance of working on stopping time loss and on building cooperation in the system?

The imposter said mean, hurtful things to my friends…things that were also very triggering and very dangerous. She took advantage of things she knew were already going on in my friends’ lives…and blamed me for them. Some of my friends were seriously and dangerously hurt. Because of the natural fear of survivors, I lost some friendships. Others became strained, as they did not know what to make of it. Everyone agreed that it did not line up with what they knew of me, but someone at the forum played upon their uncertainties and kept telling them privately that I was dangerous. I had no idea what was going on until I was banned from the forum. By then it was too late. The damage was done. Several friends were deeply wounded. Most of them did finally realize the truth, but not all. It was…and is…heartbreaking to think of how my friends were so deeply hurt by this and of the loss of friendships, some of which are ongoing.

I know of other instances where littles were taken advantage of…both online and in person. So, PLEASE, make it a priority to keep a watchful eye over ALL little interactions, regardless of whether on line or in person and regardless of who the other person is or seems to be.

To be continued…

The first post in this article is here.

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