Archive for the ‘therapy’ Category

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‘Treat Anxiety with Computers instead of Drugs’

June 14, 2012

‘Treat Anxiety with Computers instead of Drugs’.

I found this to be an interesting article and thought you all might appreciate seeing it.

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Feeling out of touch…

June 4, 2012

Ahh…here it is!

Life can be difficult enough as one who has been through serious trauma. Add to that the changes that take place in day to day life and it can be difficult at times to find my footing. It is helpful to have things I can do to help ground me and bring some continuity into my life. Most of the things that really help me, though, are still out of reach.

For example, a regular routine would be nice, along with some alone time. My hubby is finally back to work, but his schedule is as frustrating to him as it to me. His days off and hours worked on those days are always changing from week to week. He never gets two days off in a row. It makes it hard to plan when you don’t know his schedule more than a week or two in advance. They don’t even post the schedule on a consistent date.

Our son is home educated, which is fine, but he is so far behind that he will be schooling through the next couple of months. That means he won’t be able to take days off to go work for someone here and there doing odd jobs. No real alone time for me. Plus, I need to be available to help him with his schooling although, thankfully, he is able to do most of his work independently. (One bright spot, though…he will be gone for about a week sometime this month.)

I really miss being able to soak in the bathtub. I call it “cheap therapy”.  What a wonderful thing to be able to just sit behind a closed door and soak away the stresses of this life and this healing journey. It has been seven and a half years since I had regular access to a bathtub and, boy, has that been felt. I miss it SO much and, even now, just writing about it makes me want it. We have the bathtub, but it isn’t finished to the point of being able to use it.

Then there are the regular times of meeting with someone. I miss being able to just go in every week and know that I had one hour in which to talk about anything I wanted/needed to talk about. No judgment. No lack of understanding. Full acceptance. Unconditional love. To just be able to have a sounding board for the events of my life and how I was handling them. It wasn’t even about “therapy”. We both agreed that I pretty much did that on my own. It was just about being able to put my thoughts and feelings into some sort of order and be able to articulate them to someone who really cared and understood and who had the expertise and knowledge to put things in perspective.

Journaling helps, but it really does not help nearly as much if someone else isn’t reading it. In other words, writing for myself is not as effective and helpful as writing for someone else. I started journaling because life’s events were happening too fast for me to be able to share with my therapist without taking the whole session time each week. So we agreed that I would journal and email it to her so she would be caught up by session time. That really helped because she knew what was going on and she knew how I was handling it. She gave me feedback, if she felt I needed it, during the session and we could work on anything of concern. In fact, many times, she was going to bring something up, but found that I had already handled it by session time. It was important to know that someone was reading what I wrote and keeping an eye on my progress. I really miss that. Blogging is sort of like that, but not really. People may or may not respond and there is no real continuity. Plus, I don’t typically go as deep with blogging as I would with private journaling.

When I first moved here, I tried doing phone sessions. She agreed to it because we had worked together well for some time. But it was awkward. So, I tried to find a local therapist while she and I continued to talk a couple of times a year. Working with the local therapist turned into a nightmare. Even if I had the money, I am not sure I would ever work with a “local” one again. I put local in quotes because there is no such thing as truly “local” where I live. The closest ones are about an hour and half away.

I recently left a message for my former therapist to talk with her again. I have NO idea how I will be able to afford it, but I am asking her about the cost of maybe a once a month time of talking. I really feel as if I need to be able to check in with someone on a regular basis and I just don’t know of anyone like that around here. Naturally, I prefer face to face, but phone will have to do. Although, after reading the post by Dr. Kathleen Young that I shared two posts back, now I am wondering if maybe she has Skype. It would be SO nice to be able to see her, as well as talk to her again.

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This Is the Week…

June 13, 2011

I start the grief group. The first of six meetings is in two days. Emotionally…I am all over the map. Body memories I was hoping I was done with have come back.

Our living situation does not help. There is a LOT to do and only us (mostly hubby and son) to do it. He (and I) are feeling a bit overwhelmed. We are no longer in the old place, and yet not completely in the new one, either. We have to do laundry at the old place still and we are paying for two power bills…which really hit when I opened the mail today. We also have things that keep going wrong…like a persistently leaky shower. Thankfully, we think we finally have that one figured out. And then there are the tools that either stop working right or quit altogether.

Our son has been staying in the extra room while his room is finished. Hopefully, he will be moving into his room tomorrow…which will give me access to the office room. Once it has a door installed it will be the one room where no one is to walk in on me. It will be the office, the counseling room, the art and craft room, the guest room. It is not very big, but it will do.

I figured that being in a much bigger place where I can actually have some privacy to process would start bringing things up. I believe that most of what is coming up is related to my parents…specifically to my mother’s condition. As the body memories raged yesterday morning, I found my focused on my mother. It was mostly nonspecific…just a sense that it was connected to my mother.

I expect there will be lots more coming up once I have that room and things are a bit more settled. Not only will there be issues surrounding my mother (and father), but I am sure all kinds of things that have been shut down due to our previous living situation will start to open up. Randy Noblitt says he thinks my system is totally shut down. We will see how correct he is.

As for mom, I have already done a lot of grieving over the years for what was and what wasn’t. Now, there is a new level of grief…just like when my sister died. Grieving over the finality of things…over what will never be a possibility of happening if she dies.

One of the things that is difficult is that I don’t know who is really calling the shots. Is it him? Is it her? Is it both? He wrote to rail at me and she has been silent…unresponsive to my emails.

I guess what is most frustrating is that it seemed almost as if we were on the verge of a breakthrough of some sort. My last contact with her was on the phone. My father had interrupted the call to let her know that she had to get going for her oncologist appointment. She said that she loved us all and I told her I was glad to hear her say that because it seems like it has always been about our son and that I was being pushed aside. She actually told me then that I was RIGHT! She also said that there was a reason for it and that she REALLY wanted to share it with me. She even repeated herself that she really wanted to talk to me about it. After that…nothing.

I emailed her to tell her to tell when is a good time to call her as I did not want to wake her if she was resting. No response. I have emailed her a few times…just simple things like letting her know that I still love her and reminding her that she said she wanted to talk to me. Nothing. Is dad reading her emails and deleting them? Is she just giving me the silent treatment? Is this just more of the manipulative head games they try to play?

My dad says that the only way they will consider reconnecting (since I left them – HA!) is if I let my mother talk on the phone with our son for as long as she wants without interference. That is very interesting seeing as how she lost phone privileges in the first place due to her telling my hubby that he had no right to correct our son when he was on the phone with her…that she was in charge. And this was after she blatantly did not respect the boundaries we drew for our son.

So, I get to check what a grief group is like and see what I can do with all this stuff. It is important that I face it…not run from it. I sure wish I could talk with a therapist who has experience with cult survivors…a SAFE one! Even if I had the money and transportation, I just don’t know if I am ready to trust that again.

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Grief Group…

May 31, 2011

A therapist I went to for a while is having a free grief group. I am not sure why it is free…perhaps the church it is being held at is paying for it. Or, maybe he is just giving something free out of gratitude for how blessed he has been in his practice. I just know that price is right and I am signed up. He needs a minimum of 5 people and I hope he gets them.

So…why am I going? Because of my mom. There are so many issues I am facing surrounding her death. I may not even be told that she when she dies…although I think my father probably would tell me by throwing it in my face. Actually, I can see him writing and telling me that I need to call him in order to find out how she is doing. I just cannot believe he won’t pull some kind of power play.

Her death will mean the finality of so many things…a loss of little girl dreams that never really do die. There are so many levels of grief. Grief that I am not being kept up to date. Grief that I will most likely never be able to have a connection with my mother. I can live without it, but I do want it.

On another level, her death will mean a releasing. There will be no more chances to think about or even try for. It will be time to grieve and move on in a different way than I have moved on so far. There is a separation and yet a connection right now. Like it or not, she is my parent. Although I am not holding my breath, I cannot ignore the hope that we will be able to at least talk about some things.

I have thought many times over the years about how I would respond to news of the deaths of either or both of my parents. It is one of those things that I think you just cannot know until it happens. Their deaths will mean the loss of so many possibilities…so many things that could have been. The fact that they were among my abusers does not change that. I have found freedom and I so wish they could, too. I have heard of such things happening and I know that nothing is impossible with G-d.

So, I think it will do me good to be able to voice some of this in a group. At least, I hope it will. I also hope we can afford the gas, but I will just have to trust my heavenly Abba for that just as I do for everything else.

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Processing Through Artwork…

March 1, 2011

The latest pieces I have been putting up have to do with a therapist I worked with for a short time online. I had met him in person, but later, when I started to actually work with him a bit, he was different from what I remembered. I am grateful that he did give me back one thing…my art.

Because of my living situation…a situation that still exists, I was not able to do art. He told me about doing collages in MSWord. I am SO grateful for that. However, then what happened between him and I devastated my system and kind of messed us up. This latest batch of art reflects that.

In addition, I had been accessed by my local therapist and that was just starting to come out…another factor in things. That accessing is reflected in the some of the other pieces I recently put up…the ones tagged RM. Of the three therapists with whom I had negative experiences…thankfully, only one was actually my therapist. One I knew from her forum, KB. One I worked with a bit online and on the phone, JM. One was in person local, RM. I had left KB’s forum in ‘o5. I had met JM in person in ’05. I saw RM in the last quarter of ’06…during which time I dissociated his accessing me. Then I worked with JM a bit online and by phone in ’07…during which time the memories of the accessing started to surface.

It took another local therapist…one with no SRA client experience to help me work through the accessing and to break the hold JM had on me. I kept trying to break it off with JM, but every email he sent to me had a hook in it that I felt I had to reply to. Kind of like KB. I tried to work things out with her, but she was really good with the hooks.

So, the latest pieces are processing RM and JM. RM is cult. JM…well, let’s just say that there are some inside who believed at the time that he most likely was. Either that or he just got one heck of an ego thing going and it affected his ability to really hear people. I don’t know.

I really miss meeting with a therapist, but unless I could get back to my CA therapist, I don’t know that I could trust an SRA client experienced one again. Someone I really trust would have to recommend him/her…preferably her. And it would have to be a follower of Yeshua/Jesus…not a religious person…but a real disciple…even though two of these three therapists were “Christian” and the third said she went to church.

In the meantime, I have what my CA therapist used to call my “real therapist”…the Holy Spirit. He has guided me in many ways in my healing…and He still does.

 

 

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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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Yours, Mine and ????…

January 2, 2011

What am I talking about? Assumptions! Regarding: Experiences! Healing journeys! Therapy! Plus any other number of things that many of us go through.

So many times I see people making assumptions based upon their own experiences. They take what has happened to them and then project it onto others.

For example, I have run into some bad therapists. Based upon that, I could make the assumption that all therapists are bad. However, I know that is not the case because I was blessed to have had some good ones first. But what if the bad ones had been my first ones? I might never have even given a good one a try.

The reverse is also true. Before I ran into a bad therapist myself, I could have made the incorrect assumption that all therapists are good. Thankfully, I  knew better than that for I had heard of bad ones before I ran into any.

Another example of assumptions has to do with what happened with my father. When I was in high school, I kept getting a gut feeling that something had happened between my father and I, but I had no memories at that time of anything specific. My life was a mess, but I refused to allow that to cause me to assume anything specific had happened (as a way of explaining why I was such a mess). I wanted proof.

For several years I battled that feeling and grew weary of it. So, I told the L-rd that, unless He gave me the memories, I was going to shove aside my gut feeling…which I did. I pushed it aside and refused to even consider it. I was actually rather successful at it.

Later, when I was trying to get help, I was confronted with that gut feeling again. So, I prayed for the truth. I wanted to either have the memories of the incidents causing the gut feeling to be revealed or, if there were no underlying incidents causing the gut feeling, to have the gut feeling go away. I refused to make assumptions about my father and I.

As it turns out, the person I went to for help…for prayer help…was a mess himself. However, there were some things in my life that stopped after being prayed for. G-d did use him in His own way to help me. I used to have “visions” of walking into my apartment and seeing my husband and sons slaughtered and blood all over the place. That stopped. I used to “see” myself driving off embankments or being “pushed” down stairs by invisible forces. That stopped.

I also had four memory flashes while working with him.  Two were of molestation. Although I did not really want to believe, I knew they were true. And even though I could not see who it was…I “knew”. In my heart of hearts I knew, but I did not want to deal with it. So, I shoved it aside. I did not want to assume it was my father…not unless I clearly saw his face.

The other two made no sense to me. They were ritual abuse in nature, but at that time I was not familiar with ritual abuse and I had no inkling that I had that background.  He interpreted the flashes as non-memory. He said they were some kind of generational thing passed down from prior generations. That did not sound right to me. So, I just set them aside for the time being. I did not assume they were non-memories. I did not assume they were memories.

Later, it kept bugging me. I suspect it was because odd things were happening between my father and I…as an adult married woman. I just kept feeling like I needed to stop shoving this under the rug. So, I went to a woman who specialized in a prayer ministry. We prayed a lot and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I was able to see more of the memory…enough to see my father’s shirt…and his face.

As it turns out, this woman was abused herself. I think that caused her to push me to confront my father…perhaps before I was ready. It was something I felt I needed to do…even though I was really nervous about it.

When I did confront my father, with my mother by his side, he never denied a thing. He only said that he did not remember doing anything like that. I thought that was an odd response. My mother readily agreed that something had happened to me. She was just wondering “who it could have been”.

I pointed out something my father had been doing in the more recent past that was boundary crossing. It was part of the oddness that had been going on between my father and me and had to do with kissing me on the mouth against my wishes. I had been ducking and making it clear with my body language that I was not comfortable with it.

My father acknowledged that he knew I was uncomfortable with it, but said that body language  was not enough. I had to verbally say it. My mother was furious with him at first, but then got quiet.

My father, when confronted with my memories, assumed that the counselor must have suggested them to me. As she pointed out to him, I had them before I came to her. He then assumed that I must have gained them via hypnosis or psychotropic drugs. I was never hypnotized and had not taken any psychotropic drugs. Then he assumed they were planted there by satan to try and break the family apart. Mind you, my family was never close anyway. The only thing it could break apart were the manipulations going on.

He gave me a whole stack of articles that he “just happened” to find in people’s houses that he was cleaning. He said that G-d had led him to them. They all dealt with the false idea of False Memory Syndrome…something never proven and not in any of the DSM’s.

I don’t think he really believed any of those things caused my memories. However, I did start taking a look at them. Nothing in those articles applied to me. Nothing. Nor I did fit the typical FMS profile of that time. I did not sue my parents. I did not file a police report. I did not go public. I did not act in any kind of vindictive way.  I did not even keep my sons from visiting with my parents. It simply became the subject not talked about…until about four years or so later.

When my youngest was three, my parents started to manipulate their way into living with us. Even my pastor, when he heard about the situation, thought it was very odd. I became very unstable and started to have suicidal ideations. I prayed and fought and it got better…until they actually moved in.

Then it got really bad. With my father up early and my mother up late, I had no time alone other than in my special room. They ended up spending more and more time with my son while I was being driven further into instability…an instability they were actually causing. They created a problem and then were there to “help”. I could take a whole book to share the kinds of manipulations that were going on.

It was not until they had been out of the house about a year that I got a more complete understanding. It was all about them having access to my son. They moved in the month he turned four. They assumed that they could eliminate me…either by suicide, hospitalization or simply my shutting down…and they would have complete access to my son. But G-d had a different plan!

More to come…

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Anger Is My Ally and Having a Voice

July 15, 2010

I always used to be afraid of anger. Anger could get you in trouble. You weren’t supposed to be angry. So, if you were you darned well better hide it! Ack! So, what to do with anger?

I remember meeting with a therapist right after my separation from my then husband. I had started to see her for other things, but she switched us over to dealing with my marriage (or lack thereof) when I separated. My assignment was to write down all the things I wished I could tell him. Boy was that a tall order…but I did it.

When I brought it in to her she looked at it and then wanted me to read it. I just looked at the list and at her and could not do it. She insisted. I refused. I could not give voice to what I desperately needed to say. She would not let it go…so I got angry and threw it down on the floor. I find that choice interesting. I could have destroyed it or hidden it, but instead I threw it on the floor where I knew she could pick it up…which she did. She then started to read it again…only out loud this time. She gave her voice to what I could not give my voice to.

Listening to her read that list was incredibly hard. I don’t remember much more about that appointment, but I do know two things happened. Her saying out loud what I could not…even though he could not even hear it…was validating. I don’t know that I consciously thought of it that way at that time…but it was. To hear someone else saying what I wished I could say…was hugely validating. She did not think anything was stupid…or exaggerated…or insignificant…or anything else that some people might have tried to do with it. This woman was my voice when I did not have one and she began the process of setting my voice free. There were things on that list that I felt uncertainty or even embarrassment over. Her treating that list as she did took that away.

It was just like during another appointment (or perhaps it was later in the same appointment) when I described something he had done and she said, “So, he raped you.” I just burst into tears when she voiced those four simple words. I had always “felt” the word “rape” regarding those times (it was more than once), but I could never actually attach it. I could never out loud or consciously call it that…for a whole variety of reasons better left for another post…if I remember to do one. (OK…I just went and titled an empty draft to remind me.)

To hear someone describe what happened to me as “rape” was SO validating. I just sat there and wept. She confirmed my reality and she gave me my voice…both in the reading of that list and in calling what he did to me “rape”.

The other thing that happened was that I got in touch with a whole lot of pain and emotions that I had been stuffing through all those years of marriage. I was flooded with a world of hurt as she read everything on that list. Hearing it from her made it even more real. These were not things in my imagination or in my own head. These were real things. Real events. Real feelings.

Anger also started to rise. It had always been there in one form or another, but I always tried hard to not express it. There was one point toward the end when I actually threw some things at my ex. I felt really bad about doing it, but I was desperate to try to do something to hopefully get him to see what he was doing. I was hoping that my taking an action that was so out of character for me would shock him into actually listening to me for a change. It didn’t phase him one bit. I think I just gave him some fuel for the lies he was already telling me about me. Or…maybe it wasn’t all lies? Could it be that I was switching and did not know it? I don’t recall losing time. Any more, though, there are a lot of things I am no longer certain of. I do know that I was reacting to things he was doing…and he did not like it…nor would he acknowledge any responsibility for it. He was manipulative…very manipulative. If I tried to point out that I needed something from him in order to give him what he wanted from me I was accused of trying to blackmail him. He refused to accept the way things work between people. Sadly…everything that he was…he accused me of being.

As I look back on my life with my ex (something I try not to do any more than necessary) I think that my anger did come out in some ways. I would say that I was probably passive aggressive to some degree. I don’t remember it being a conscious thing. It wasn’t like I said to myself, “Self…if he won’t this then I will that.” Oh, no…that would have been SO wrong in my worldview at that time…and it still is. I was a good cult girl and would never consciously stoop to such manipulations. But I think it was slipping out from inside anyway. In fact, it is entirely possible that I was switching without even realizing it…that someone inside was trying to somehow protect me and make things better. But nothing ever got better. It only kept getting worse and worse. There comes a point where you can only stuff for so long before it starts coming out one way or another. One sad thing is that I know my children took some of the brunt…not that I was consciously abusive…but I was harsh at times in my perceived helplessness and frustration.

Anger can be such a powerful emotion. It can give us the energy to make changes that we really need to make. It can help to strengthen our resolve when there are tough things that need doing. It can also be scary. I was always terrified of anger…both the anger of others and of my own. I was always afraid of losing control and I was raised to always be in control. So, I continued to stuff a lot of my anger, although I think I did start expressing it more.

I wasn’t in therapy very long. When I finally got back in many years later, I was still afraid of anger. I was afraid that, if I started to let myself feel it, I would be like a volcano that kept spewing and spewing. I was afraid that I would explode and not be able to regain my illusion of having control over it.

Anger…helpful…scary…necessary…protecting…hurting…punishing. So many things can be involved with anger. I think the biggest thing I learned about anger, though, is that it is typically a cover-up emotion. Anger is not the real issue…it is whatever anger is covering up. The anger indicates some other emotion. It could be fear, for example. I am afraid, but I don’t want to admit I am afraid…do I feel anger. Fear requires acknowledgment of something and possibly having to take action. Anger can be a blind feeling of agitation that does not really require an action…other than to perhaps rage. I feel afraid of abandonment…but instead of acknowledging that and dealing with that…I cover it with anger over something completely unrelated.

Once I read about anger being a cover…I started to look deeper…to look underneath the anger to see if I could figure out what was there.  As I did that, I was able to start taking more control over my life…bit by bit…which made me feel more empowered…and less angry. Anger started to become determination…resolve…energy for the actions I would eventually need to take. Learning that about anger helped me a lot. I learned that anger is my ally. It is my indicator that something is not right…either with me…or with something happening to me or another.

I hope this made sense. I have a lot to do and wanted to get some thoughts out here. So, I have not taken much time to “polish” it up.

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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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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.

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