Posts Tagged ‘therapy’

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

February 15, 2010

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

The first post for this article is here.

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Staying Safe As Survivors In Our Interactions With Others…Part 5

February 15, 2010

Messages to Watch Out For – these messages may not be openly spoken, but they are underlying the interactions.

1. I have the key/knowledge/expertise, etc. to help anyone/everyone. There are many ways to heal in this journey called “life”. NO ONE has the only right or best way! There is NO one method for everyone. NO therapist who is a good fit for every survivor. NO forum that is a good fit for every survivor. NO survivor who is a good fit for every method or therapist or forum. We are all different. What works for one may not work for another…or it may work, but not be the best for that system. It is devastating when things don’t work with you and then, instead of re-evaluating the method, you get blamed. Someone who insists they can help everyone is typically unable to accept it when they find someone they cannot help. So, they place blame instead. They might question your commitment to your healing, for example.

2. My way is the only way. Be very careful of anyone, even a professional, who insists that the key to your healing is doing things a certain way…especially if you are not comfortable with it or don’t know enough about it. If someone refuses to consider a method that you have found helpful in the past (perhaps with other therapists)…watch out. I am not the only one who has run into therapists who believed this way. It limited their usefulness and, in some instances, the method they wanted to use/used was actually harmful to the system.

I had an online and over the phone therapist who insisted that he had made breakthrough discoveries upon which his methods were based. He said that to use any other method was to go backwards and “why would anyone want to do that?” The implication was that I was holding back on my healing. He was disrespectful and would not answer my questions, which leads to the next thing to watch out for.

To be continued…

The first post for this article is here.

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

February 15, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

The first post in this article is here.

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

February 14, 2010

Working With Your System

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

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

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

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

To be continued…

The first post for this article is here.

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

February 14, 2010

Losing Time and Littles

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

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

Who Is Dangerous and Who Is Safe?

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

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

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

To be continued…

The first post in this article is here.

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

February 10, 2010

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

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

Intro

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

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

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

To Trust or Not and the Middle Ground

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

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

To be continued…

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Finally!

November 9, 2009

I ran into a therapist back in 2005 who was very unethical. Between her and her clients, I was put through hell on her online forum.

Well, I found out a couple of months or so ago, that some of her clients were filing complaints against her. And not just her clients, but even another very reputable therapist is filing a complaint on behalf of several of her former clients. Apparently, they went to him after they left her and what they shared with him about her methods so concerned him that he felt he had to file.

I was asked to write something up to at least include with their complaints. I was not sure about it at first, but I did finally start working on something. I think I finally have it finished now. I still need to fill out the forms, get it copied and mail it in. It has already been emailed to a friend who was a partial witness to make sure it makes sense.

Truth always wins in the end. Even if it does not reign victorious right now…eventually it will. She will either answer in this life or the next for what she has done. It is my prayer that she will get her life right with our Creator and that she will stop harming people.

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Sharing and Grounding

October 31, 2009

I just read a post called: Trauma Therapy Tools: Grounding. It is on The Survivor Manual blog done by the Angela Shelton Foundation. This particular post is written by Dr. Kathleen Young.

Boy, did it hit home with me. She writes about how to learn how to stay present…especially in doing healing work. This is especially true of when sharing our stories. While we need to share our stories, how and when we do it can be either a positive thing or a negative thing. Telling before developing coping skills can lead to retraumatization.

One thing she wrote that really stood out to me is this:  “In fact, some trauma survivors are able to tell their stories easily, but in a dissociated manner.”

I have noticed how I can often talk about being a ritual abuse survivor without it effecting me. Sometimes, I can even describe some of it (in general) without it effecting me. I can sit and let my mind wander back over it…and just not be all that bothered. If I am not careful, it makes me wonder if what I remember is even real.

Then there are those times when I will allow my mind to wander a little too closely. As I really start to think about what happened, I find the dissociated emotions starting to kick in and reconnect with the visuals. I find myself choking up. At times, this can even lead to more memories.

I want to be able to talk to someone about this…yet…talking does make it more real.It is as if…by not really talking about it…I am able to keep it to the side…within the realm of “maybe it is not real”. If/when I start to really talk about it…one of two things happens. I either push it farther away and feel almost as if I am trying to deceive someone…or the emotions come closer…making it more real.

It is like this tug of war…less real vs more real. Typically, I stay somewhere in the middle of it all…caught between not wanting it to be real and wanting to reconnect it all together because I know that it is real.  I want to be able to have the freedom to actually talk about it…to describe the bits and pieces that try to float through my consciousness. Yet…when I try to grab those bits and pieces…I think I tend to automatically dissociate it away.

Everyone has to do healing in whatever way works best for them. For me…to do life…pretty much means to present in a mono-minded fashion. It also means to not talk much about the RA or allow it to “effect” me. Dealing with RA means dealing with those parts of myself that hold the memories the closest. I have no real avenue for doing that. I wish I did. I wish my environment at least allowed me to do it with myself. I don’t even have that.

There is power in the spoken word. There are things I can barely even write about (unless I do it in that unphased state — dissociation). Even less can I verbalize about them. Speaking it has power. It makes it real. It is validating. It starts to reconnect the emotion to the event…which is probably why I find myself so distanced from the emotions. It is probably also why, when I do start to speak of it, my mind tells me that I am being deceptive…that it could not possibly be real because of the lack of emotion.

A Catch-22. If I speak…the emotions can come more easily. The emotions are validating. My mind…in order to protect me…instantly holds the emotions at bay…keeping them back. The lack of emotions feels like deception…so memories must not be real. What a circle:   Speaking brings the emotions. Mind holds emotions back. So speaking feels like deception. So validation turns into subtle denial.

Reading that post led me into this train of thought. Dr. Young has a more complete post on her blog. I am going to go read it:
Staying Present During Trauma Therapy: Grounding Techniques and see what else comes up.

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Working Things Out(?) and Odds and Ends

April 24, 2009

Well…things seem to be working out OK at the congregation we fellowship with. The leaders want us there. I don’t know about everyone else, but I guess that will work itself out. I am not going to go into details here. It is too complicated and I am tired of even thinking about it.

I am very grateful that our leaders have stepped up to the plate, desiring to do things Yahweh’s way, unlike the leaders that Dr. Margaret Jones’ describes that she had to deal with. Boy am I glad! I would never wish on someone the things she experienced. You can read more about what she dealt with in her book which I reviewed here.  She also has a blog here.

I am not going to my therapist at the moment…sort of taking a bit of a break. I am OK with that.

Communication with my parents is as wierd as ever. I was really hoping that maybe things had changed, but I see no sign of that. How very sad. I really pray that they will find true peace and healing.

I don’t believe in holding grudges. Not against my parents. Not against those who have hurt me in and out of congregations/churches. Not against my ex or his family. Not against anyone. They will all have to answer to Yahweh for what they have done, just as I will have to answer for what I have done. I don’t know about all of them, but I know that I am covered by the gift of what Yeshua (Jesus) did for me. I am grateful for I know that I am so undeserving of any good thing. My sinfulness precludes that in a huge way.  So, I am grateful.

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Benefits of Journaling in Healing – Private Journaling

March 20, 2009

I have found journaling to be very helpful in my healing. It allows me a way to get my thoughts out where I can see them. This sometimes helps me to make sense of the things that go swirling around in my head. It helps me to process through things I am feeling or experiencing…things I am going through.

Oftentimes, too, I will write one thought only to have another one triggered. This has led me down trails and into all sorts of insights about myself. I am often amazed at what I can learn…simply by journaling.

I like to do free flow writing in which I just start with whatever is on my heart and mind and write whatever flows out from that. I like to just start and see where it goes…without being concerned about grammar and spelling and all that.

My journaling has taken many forms. In the beginning it was simply a pass coded document on my PC. The main reason I started it was because my family and I were getting hit so hard and so heavily that it was taking most of each weekly session to just catch my therapist up on what had happened since we had last met. So, when I suggested journaling and emailing it to her, she said to go for it. This freed up valuable time with her during my sessions.

Another benefit is that it also gave her a chance to see my heart…to see just what all was going on inside. I wrote a lot and I was able to share way more with her that way than I could possibly have done in sessions. I really owe her a lot. She read volumes of journaling from me, in addition to seeing all of my artwork (which is a subject for another post). It gave us a place to start from in sessions.

It also gave her a lot of solid information about me so that, when some horrific accusations were leveled against me, she knew me better than anyone…perhaps even better than I knew myself. We were able to work together, building on that foundation, to get down to whether or not there could be any truth in the accusations. In other words, could it be possible that someone who does not lose time could actually have a dark alter who persistently came out and made phone calls (that did not show up on the phone bill) and wrote Instant Messages and emails (neither of which showed up in the archives) that intentionally contained trigger words for the express purpose of hurting friends who trusted her…without her, her therapist or her husband (who was off work, oftentimes around and a light sleeper to boot) to not have even an inkling or clue of? I am so grateful for that foundation of journaling while I was trying to unravel what was happening at the time.

The whole thing raised so many agonizing questions about myself. It really shook me to think that it might actually have been possible. As it turns out, my therapist had been watching all along for any signs…any indications…that there could be a side of me that we did not know about coming out. She had been watching during sessions and watching in my journaling and artwork. I did not consciously know she was doing that as we never discussed it until the whole issue came up. However, I think I did recognize that she probably was because it makes sense for her to do that. Thankfully, she never saw any indication of any alters doing anything that I was not fully aware of, which also meant that there were no dark alters surfacing.

In my next post, I will get into another form of journaling.

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Life

August 28, 2008

Life has definitely been a challenge and a struggle. I have to admit that there are times when I sure don’t understand what God is doing…or not doing, as the case may be.

I have been writing poetry and having double sessions. I am so grateful to be able to have those double sessions. I seem to be able to get in touch with a lot more than I can in the singles. Singles are better than nothing and it is not like they are unproductive, but I seem to be able to get much farther with the doubles.

My therapist asked me on yesterday…on a scale of 0 – 100, with 0 being “in a hospital” and 100 being “like someone I truly admire for their faith…someone who represents to me the best way to live in faith” (or something along those lines)…where was I two years ago, one year ago and now.

That kind of question is always hard for me to answer. I always see too many variables. Plus, never having been in a mental health hospital and not knowing what it would really be like…and having heard both horror stories and yay stories about hospitals…did not help. However, I took a stab at it.

I thought back to what I was going through and experiencing two years ago and one year ago. I guessed somewhere in the middle…40-50? Then 30-40? Now…0-15/20?

It is hard when I just don’t see myself really doing much better. Now, to be fair, I have been hit with some really hard things in the last 8 years…really hard. Our living environment is not helping…nor is a lack of hands on in person “church” support. I also have to take into consideration how well I actually AM doing, in spite of all those things.

Still, it feels like I am drowning. I have been feeling overwhelmed. I don’t really know what to do other than to just keep on plugging along…pushing ahead…one foot in front of the other.

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Another Old Message and Therapy

August 21, 2008

Well, I am mixing two subjects here, although, perhaps they are actually related?

Last night, I thought of another old message:

I am not worth spending money on.
Others, and their needs, are more important than me and mine.
I cannot justify spending money on my needs/wants, especially if we have debts.
I should not expect others to go out of their way to help me.
I am not deserving of any more help than any one else. If anything, I am less deserving…or even not deserving at all.
I should not expect that anyone will inconvenience him/herself for me.

Well…that was obviously more than one. More came to mind as I was writing.

Again, thankfully, I am pretty much past these now. However, I definitely do struggle with some of these. Of course, struggling does not mean giving in. It just means that I have to push through to get to the point of doing what I need to do, in spite of what may be going through my head.
I know that, when my therapy appointments are not covered by insurance, I do tend to struggle with the idea of spending that much money on me. That is one reason why the two subjects can be connected.

My therapist has to keep having phone sessions in order to keep my appointments coming. I see him every week. Since I also do double sessions a lot, my allotment of “approved” appointments runs out a lot faster. That means he has to call more often. I feel badly about that. I know he would probably say that I should not feel badly. It just is what it is. However, I DO feel badly. It is hard not to. He is already being nice about working with me in relation to my copay…why should he have to do anything more?

It is just like his reading up on anything related to me. On the one hand, I want him to read SOMEthing. On the other hand, I feel I should not expect him to read ANYthing! We both knew, going into it, that he did not have experience in my areas. Yet, I don’t really have any other options. There is no one in this area who really does. In addition to that, he is a follower of Yeshua/Jesus…a real one…and that is important to me. I need someone who can relate to, and understand, that part of my life.

I also need someone who really cares. Hmmm…that is also where it gets a bit tricky. To me, if someone really cares, they will do at least something to try to understand more about his client. Yet, the fact that he is willing to see someone like me shows he cares. He could have said “no”. Someone else did. So, how does one “measure” caring? The lines seem to blur for me. His seeing me shows me he cares. His willingness to work out my copays with me shows me he cares.

He has stuck with me at times when I know he was scratching his head and wondering if I would ever be able to move forward. He has helped me a lot, actually, even if not always in the ways that I wanted. He really does try and he does not pretend to know things. He is honest about his “ignorance” of some things. I appreciate that. At least, I have some idea of what I am working with. I can’t say that about my previous therapist. But then, he was a horse of a different color and a subject for a different post.

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Therapy and Moving On

August 13, 2008

T went really well today. I feel like I accomplished more than I have for awhile. I got in touch with some feelings that I have been needing to get in touch with. He gave me an assignment. I have to answer a question. I have no idea what I will answer. It is one of those things where you have to seek the answer…as in I need to pray and ask for help.

I think I also made a decision today…to find a way to get out of here. Being in this place is holding me back in some things…and not just me. It is time. We did what we came here to do. It is time to move on…or perhaps…to move back. I don’t know. Where are we supposed to be? We are praying for wisdom on that one.

I want to be in a place where I don’t have to couch what I say to others. Where I don’t have to be concerned about someone else’s job…although he says not to be concerned. He says to be me. Yet, that is hard. I don’t really feel much freedom to be “me”…not here…and maybe not anywhere. Well, there is one place where I think I would feel it…but he does not want to go there. It would take an act of God…literally. So, I must let go of that desire. Although, I still hope it will happen…but I must not set my heart upon it. I must let go of that dream. If it is meant to be…He will bring it back…in reality instead of in my heart.

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Had Therapy Today

March 12, 2008

I talked with my t today. I was so frustrated with my insurance company that I wrote them a letter explaining just how I felt. When I showed it to my t today he thought it was excellent. I told him he had my permission to read it to the whomever he was going to have a phone session with at the insurance company. He said he thought it would have more impact if I sent it in directly from me. So, I signed it and he is faxing it for me tonight. I don’t know if it will do any good, but it does feel good to voice my thoughts and feelings…to at least try to fight for what should rightfully be mine to have!

I am not some whimpering little child who has to be lead by the hand. I have survived horrors beyond belief. I can do this. I deserve to be respected, honored and heard! But even if they do not respect, honor and hear me, I know who I am…a daughter of the Most High God. Bat El ‘Elyon! And He will not permit anything to slow my healing down. All goes according to His greater plan and purpose!

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