Saturday, November 12, 2011

How to Believe a Multiple

I'm running into this in my personal life and thought it might be helpful or relevant for others- how to believe someone with multiple personalities, with contradictory stories being told with the same mouth.  I wrote this out as a sort of guide for interacting with alters.

With many alters, my story will change, or be told from different points of view. They may be panicked or not know the exact cause, because they frequently have different information blocked from them at different times, I can never see the overall picture at once. It is a system designed to keep alters unaware of the others, unable to share information, even if or especially if something is wrong. It is a system not designed for our safety so much as our silence, especially when there is a problem.

I can understand how frustrating it would be to be running after each alter's story. I prefer and recommend that you step back and view situations for yourself. However please understand that when anyone says something is wrong, something IS wrong. Even when they are panicked, it is never just 'in their head' or a bid for attention. Because of their nature of secrecy, I don't think any of us would ask you for help unless we desperately needed it and had no choice. Asking for outside help is always a last resort. They may be telling you everything they know, which is only one piece of the whole story. It is truth, but it may not be all of it.
You do not need to take orders from them, but you do need to take them seriously.

The most important thing for any of them to ever know is that they can trust you. They will need to be reassured of this repeatedly, but don't say it unless you know you mean it. Don't ever go along with something just to placate or humor them, be honest about what you think. Try using open sentences for this. If what they are saying seems suspicious or incomplete, tell them you'd like to get more information before deciding anything. Or "I'd like to take a break, but I'm not shutting you down. Can we come back to this later?" should be fine. The best thing is to show that the subject is still open and you are still believing and supporting them regardless of what is going on.

Closed sentences like "No", "I don't believe you" "Stop" are very frightening. It is difficult to ask for help or admit there is a problem, and they are usually very desperate when they do. It is generally safe to assume that if they are asking for help, it is a big problem. They rarely ever ask help for little things that they could find a solution for themselves. Hearing closed sentences feels like a rebuttal for asking for help, and makes it sound like they should just forget about asking for help no matter how desperately they may need it. It also sends the message that you do not support them, even if that was not your intention.

One thing to do to get the whole picture might be to write down the different stories you hear, then we can sit down and look at the whole thing. I am often surprised or alters in my head are surprised to hear you quote me on something I don't remember saying or thinking or knowing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

DID/MPD and the Root Chakra

     I was introduced to the world of auras and chakras about 6 years ago, around the same time I got very ill and the system my alternate personalities had collapsed.  I had always been a bit sensitive to vibes from the animate and inanimate, but now it was overwhelming.  Some alters didn't (and still don't) believe 'such nonsense' existed at all.  But eventually we have all had to accept that something is happening on an energetic level whether some of us don't believe in it or not.  It is a continuous debate and struggle between those who do and those who don't, but all have been affected.  This is written primarily from the perspective of my intuitive one.

     Going out in public became a nightmare.  I could feel emotion and mental chatter coming out of people in waves, and I had nothing to keep those waves of tangible thickness from pressing against my skin and being absorbed right into me.  I felt so fragile, trying to conserve my strength, only to go to classes to feel it washed away in a tidal wave of other people's emotion; their anger, wants, competition.  These harsher emotions I found difficult to deal with, unlike peace and happiness which I found soothing but far more infrequent.  I would go to my dorm and spend the rest of the day curled up trying to regain my shattered sense of self.  I did not only sense the state of others, it was physically taxing on myself. 
     I learned to reach out to the energy of trees, go to the park and sit against one, and feel myself instantly aligned with the roots reaching far into the earth, grounded, calming, and the branches reaching high for the blue Montana sky, the pulse of the tree itself racing up and up.  I grew up in the Idaho mountains with trees, and I realized just how much nurturing and protection I had gotten from the earth there.  There were no mountains here, hardly any trees to keep the energy grounded.  You had to learn a new way of connection, a new way of living.  The energy on campus was like an electric buzz, always jumping, nothing to hold it down, full of life and questions from all the young adults pushing and testing every limit they could find.  It was not bad, I was just too raw.
     Crowded places like airports and malls were particularly difficult to navigate.  I found myself seeking out calm people with strong shielding to use as shelter from the cacophony of  everyone else.  Yogis were the best, of course.  The perfect find for the frazzled sensitive.  They glowed.  So did the proverbial pregnant women, incidentally, although not nearly as much as their rounded bellies, which radiated life and color like a jukebox blaring out music.  Other than the unborn, age seemed to have little difference on a persons energetic state.  A twelve year old could have more calm and confidence, wisdom and 'age' than a 40 year old business executive. 
     Telling other people who were energy sensitive of my problem usually only got me one answer: learn to shield.  The most common wisdom on how to do that was "surround yourself with bright light" which irked me to no end, having tried it repeatedly with no effect.  Finally I talked to a woman, a Reiki Master, who had written an article about empaths who take on the energy of others.  I told her I had recently been diagnosed with DID/MPD, which thankfully she knew something about.  Finally I got an answer that made sense:  Your root chakra is damaged.  Chakras intake and outtake energy, and any damaged chakra will negatively impact the well being of a persons' energy body.  The root chakra is connected to a sense of safety and plays a large role in grounding and filtering input of energy.  Any trauma severe enough to cause DID/MPD will damage the root chakra, possibly even cause it to stop functioning altogether.  A person with a damaged root chakra will have extreme difficulty getting grounded (feeling a solid connection with the whole body and the earth and reality, "down to earth").  As their ability to intake energy is impeded, they may often not or barely have enough energy to function.  
     I have noticed that the strength of a persons' shield seems to correlate, (not surprisingly), with their ability to set and keep personal boundaries.  As I have started to integrate I have felt more unified and whole - and stronger, simply because the resources I have are now more pooled together and united as one front.  My ability to defend myself and set boundaries may be pithy compared to a completely whole and healthy person, but for me it is a marked improvement because it is there at all.  My aura has also strengthened considerably, and what shielding I can do comes as naturally as breathing, as I suspect it does unconsciously for many people.  It requires little to no effort on my part, whereas before I started to integrate shielding was not possible, no matter how much effort I put into it.  (I believe a multiple setting and keeping boundaries is a valiant feat, as they generally have little to no resources, encouragement, or experience to do so.  Whether integrated or not, multiple or not, setting boundaries is a significant sign of healing for someone who was never permitted to have them before.)
     If you have multiple personalities, and one or more of you feel vulnerable to the energies of others, you will need to take extra precautions to shield yourself.  There are many articles online about shielding methods, using crystals, essential oils, homeopathic drops, etc..  You can see which ones work best for you, but remember you will need to use more than one at a time to create a temporary shield until yours can be healed.  I have found Bach's Flower Remedies Rescue Remedy to be excellent, along with oils and stones which help some.  Good self care is vital.  For me the number one has been eating nutritious food and keeping my body temperature warm.  Walks in nature, yoga, meditation, these are all very helpful.  As a multiple it is difficult for me to keep track of my body and see that it is cared for, and regular medical check ups and health care are important to remember if at all possible.  The physical body affects the energy body.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sin by Silence

I found a fascinating website today about abused women convicted for killing their husbands.  Introduces challenging questions and a look into the justice system.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Supernova 3 "Born Bad"

     In the process of discovering I am a survivor of incest, severe abuse, and that I have multiple personalities, I looked around at any other people in similar situations and thought "I must be a poor choice for someone to live this life".  Other people seemed so calm and decided in the choices they made.  I was surprised to hear of abuse and incest survivors deciding to stay with people who were obviously still hurting them.  I was equally surprised to hear of people who seemed to have no conflicting emotions about the people who were hurting them, the ones who simply walked away.  In the face of all that had been done to me I could not help but feel seething hate, which I feel no compulsion to hide or condemn, certainly not to smother in an attempt to make what I lived through any less horrific than what it was.  To me hatred is pain that has yet to heal, and in this case the pain went so deep I could not imagine it ever healing.  I wanted that hate, or possibly indifference, so I could walk away and move on too.  But I couldn't move on, because at the same time I loved.  I loved too much.  It seemed an impediment, to love too much and see too much, so I could never drop it and move on.
     I have alters that have been trained to withstand torture and trained to give it, experts in breaking a persons' will and molding them for a specific purpose, alters who turn off or are separated from all feeling, and are ruthlessly hard.  While I have never killed anyone I have the suspicion that these alters have been physically, emotionally, and mentally prepared to do so.  Conversely I have alters who are so gentle and fragile they could cry after witnessing a fly being smashed against a wall.
     The process of healing and being able to see at the same time these radically different personalities, which are all part of me,  demonstrates the complexity of the human psyche, the human heart.  People can be many things at once but I know with every fiber of my being that pain, which can turn into hate, or be mistaken for 'evil' is never the end of the story for anyone.  Or the start.  I trust that instinct because I have learned to trust myself, but for others who may not I think science and psychology are starting to back up my theory.  That is, for those who care to honestly and objectively pay attention. 
     I was once shown a drop of my blood under a microscope by someone who studies blood for a living who described the white blood cells as the protector cells.  They patrol the bloodstream destroying, or "eating" any substance that may be harmful to the red blood cells.  When a white blood cell comes across a substance too dangerous even for it, it sacrifices itself by eating the substance anyway, letting itself be killed along with the foreign matter.  When this happens, other white blood cells come along and surround the dying white blood cell, touching it on all sides and staying with it as it dies  Compassion is inherent down to our very cells.
     On every level humans are astounding.  Not only under a microscope but to the naked eye in everyday observation -because of the intricate functioning of matter and spirit but more so because of how incredibly poignant and loving every vulnerable human is.  To think of someone as an evil monster associated with great crimes makes one question where they fit into humanity, unless we decide to make it a simple matter by rejecting the idea that they are really human or the belief that love is inherent to all humans.  But I do not think it is a simple matter. 
     Concerning child molesters, nearly all those interviewed who have molested children admitted to also being molested themselves as children.  Every aspect of the crimes they carried out were reflective of the crimes that had been done to them.  Science has shown that sexual assault in childhood wires the brain to connect sexuality with violence.  Science has also shown that exposure to violence in early childhood maps that exact form of violence as a subconscious reflex, unless the issue is consciously addressed whether by talking about it with a helping adult during childhood or during therapy as an adult.  Therapy is one proven way to change the 'mapping' of the brain, but few people choose to face childhood sexual abuse and attend therapy unless they are forced through circumstance, this includes victims of childhood sexual abuse that have grown into adult perpetrators.
     By themselves these are a statistics, facts, and figures but what do they show?  Certainly that no one was 'born' with a predisposition towards committing violence, or sexual assault.  To ignore the severe injury done to the bodies and minds of children and the correlating similarities to crimes committed by them as adults is a grievous error, even more so to accuse the now-adult of being "born bad", "born evil", or "born angry".  As if accusing an infant of malicious intent would put the responsibility of evil on the infant and not on the grown-up suggesting such things.  Skipping a lifetime of choices, actions, cause and effect - skipping to the conclusion of evil - makes it simple to think that a criminal is not human just like us.  That they had no mother who wiped away their tears, that they had no school crush, that they had no heroes or let-downs or heartbreaks.  That they were never vulnerable, or beautiful - or lovable.
     To be honest and admit that they have and are all those things that we are, makes them not so different from us.  So what is the difference?  They were not born evil, or with a 'bad gene'.  They likely were victims themselves, but many people are victims without becoming perpetrators.  Is it a simple choice?  What is the difference between victims who choose to fight crime and those who choose to repeat it?  Should that even make a difference to their victims?

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Emperor's New Clothes

Coming from an abusive family and trying to set yourself right is akin to being the child in The Emperor's New Clothes.  Everyone can see it, but you may be the only person who points it out.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Integration: Gaining and Losing

     When I first heard of integration, I was quite against it, as were my alters that I heard from.  How could we possibly fit into 'one' person without losing vital parts of the rest of us?  If Jack* is tall with red hair and hates green beans, but Lucy* is short and round and loves all vegetables, how are they supposed to become one person without one of them losing who they are?  Everyone was so diverse, so different, and so very important all on their own that none of us wanted to lose another or be lost.  My therapist told me that integration is sometimes a natural by product of healing, but was not something we needed to focus on as a goal, much to our relief. 

     Since I was focused on healing, some integration has indeed started happening on its own, and as we had feared, some loss is inevitable.  Whereas different alters can become aware of the existence of others with different pasts memories and beliefs, and respect that, if there is a merge there would be the problem of some of them losing their past, their beliefs, their identity to who they are.  I think some of us put off any possible merging until we could accept that.  Because they are right, they are going to lose that.  We have always tried to honor each others extreme varying views as they come.  With merging, there is less of a dramatic 'switch' now, less headache and extreme loss of memory.  Like first looking into a pair of binoculars when two individual circles of vision start to merge into one.

  One of my alters with the good memories panicked.  They were being lost as that grip on reality merged with one completely opposite.  We wanted to make a collage of her 'good dad' to honor all the good memories she had and let her hang on to that.  We knew she had whole reserves of good memories tucked away.  But when we went to get ideas, all we could remember was 'my dad makes really great chocolate chip cookies'.  The rest was a total blank, we could not remember much of our previous life from her perspective.  So we got out a picture book to find pictures with him and us doing happy things; Disney land, vacations, etc. always smiling for the camera.  They were from her memories all right.  But now we saw them differently.  Now we remembered those events from a different point of view, the shut out parts that she hadn't remembered, the not so good ones.  Every picture brought back new/shut out memories, every picture saw him smirking, hiding his secret.  Now her belief of this separate perfect world is gone.  Her world, her past, her life is gone.  Now 'she' is more connected to 'I' and we can't switch out to her world to take a break from that hard life.  This is our life.  I believe she made that choice to accept this, bravely let go of her perception of the 'perfect world' the 'perfect dad', and instead honor all of us as a human being with the truth.  It is incredibly painful, but it is healing.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Honestly: a day in the life

     I filled out government forms applying for assistance this week, and again had to push myself to be honest.  To tell the truth about things that I had so carefully hidden my whole life, about what life with DID is like.  It's important for myself to speak out about it because silence has been such a destructive rule my entire life.  Hiding that secret was taking the burden of that on myself, and it was not something I should have ever felt the need to stay silent on, then or now.  My form questions went something like this;

     Describe your day  I know that I wake late, eat and care for myself, spend time on the computer emailing, researching, watching shows.  I know that I spend time each day cooking and usually exercising.  However I can never remember one day all the way through.  At the end of the day I can remember snippets, but I am never sure exactly what I did, so I can't tell you, because I don't really know.

     Do you have any trouble grooming, washing, feeding, bathing, using the bathroom?  I try to be dressed and groomed each day.  Usually other alters come out in the morning so it is often 2-3 hours before I can get around to that.  Showering is considered a waste of time to alters struggling to get some much sought "out" time, so between 38 alters showering usually happens every 2, or often 3 days, and even then reluctantly.  I am sometimes not in control of my body when another alter is "in front" so to speak, and many times cannot feel my body.  At these times it is difficult to have the awareness and control to do things like eat and use the toilet in a timely manner, or put a jacket on when cold, etc.

     How does your illness/condition affect your ability to sleep?  The more tired I am, the harder it is to keep control of my body.  Different alters come out at night and are unaware or don't care how tired the body is.  I often only get any sleep after the body has collapsed from exhaustion.  PTSD makes it difficult to sleep at night.  No matter how tired I am I have been unable to fall asleep before 2a.m. for the last year.  Because some alters have been conditioned not to be around other people, I have trouble feeling safe enough to sleep soundly if there is anyone else home.  I often sleep early in the day when no one is home, it is the only time I can sleep soundly.  One alter keeps me unconscious after I try and wake if there is someone else in the house.  This always lasts 2-3 hours no matter how I fight it.  Switching sometimes causes headaches and sleepiness, making it difficult to feel fully awake throughout the day, regardless of how much or how little sleep I have gotten the night before.

     Does your illness/condition limit your ability to drive?  Because of constant switching with alters that do not know how to drive, including child alters, it is unsafe for me to drive.

     How does your illness/condition affect your ability to work?  I cannot drive to work.  I cannot predict how much I will be capable of at any given day or time.  I cannot reliably remember information or scheduling for work.  I have trouble focusing or understanding verbal instructions.  I cannot prepare and bring food to work to take care of my food allergies with constant switching.  Because of some alters' conditioning, I have severe difficulty being near or interacting with other people.

     List any hobbies or interests you have.  I have 38 alternate personalities of all ages and genders, they all have their own interests and hobbies, ranging from martial arts, yoga, coloring books, guitar, cello, violin, penny whistle, harmonica, drawing, crafts, fashion, painting, boxing, watching shows (all kinds), reading (all kinds), studying french (other various languages), rollerblading, belly dancing, running, herbology, emergency medicine, alternative medicine, playing dress up, lunastix/fire dancing, photography, throwing knives/throwing stars/archery.

     How well or often do you do these interests or hobbies?  Sporadically.  Alters are rarely out frequently enough to spend much time on their hobbies unless it is shared by others, so few are at an advanced level.

     How does your illness/condition affect (speaking, talking, movement, memory)?  When another alter is "in front" I am often unable to speak, talk, move, sometimes see, to varying degrees.  Sometimes I can do these things as monitored by them by what they allow, ex: able to speak but not about a certain subject.  Often when someone else is speaking to me I find myself inert and unable to respond.  DID appears to make me very forgetful, not because I am or any of my alters are, but because they each have their own individual memory, and information is not always shared between alters.

     How well do you handle stress?  Considering that I live with quite a bit of stress in my day to day I suppose I handle it quite well.  I do have PTSD and panic attacks, and things that would seem normal to others, such as going out in public, can be quite frightening to me.  However I  am making good progress and expect to continue to do so.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Supernova 2, Is Anyone Worth Giving Up On?

     I have heard people say that all child molesters should be shot, that they can't change and so should be taken out of the picture.  The general sentiment seems to follow this.  No one knows how to "fix" child molesters and most people acknowledge the severity of the crime with seething hate towards those who commit it.  Maybe because of this so few accept how prevalent this crime is.  I don't think people wishing death on child molesters realize they are talking about a significant percent of the grown human population, or that they are talking about some of the most well respected and prestigious people in their life.  It is hard to find solid statistics on a crime so infrequently reported.  Speaker Angela Shelton calls the hidden prevalence of sexual abuse in America an "epidemic".  According to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, child molestation is one of the most under reported crimes, with 1-10% cases reported.  They also state that "In almost half the child molestation cases, the child was the convicted sex offender's son, daughter, or relative".  In her article "Does Incest Hurt Worse Than Grief?", Cendra Lynn reported that in her work as a clinical psychologist an estimate of 50% of men as child abusers is low.  RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network states in its statistics that 60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police, that 15 out of 16 rapists will never spend a day in jail, and that 2/3 of assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.
     We like to think that rapists and child molesters are unfathomable monsters and distance ourselves from them as much as possible.  Few people can accept knowing that someone they love has committed such a crime because we call those people monsters.  And yet an overwhelming percent of our population are child abusers, child molesters, and rapists.  Of these, a significant amount, at least 25%, of perpetrators are trusted family members and friends.  Any sexual harassment, molestation or assault between family members is by definition incest.   1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, 1 in 6 men.  The high rate of victims is no less stunning than the high rate of perpetrators.  Where does this come from?  Is the human race made up primarily of heartless monsters committing unthinkable crimes?  Is the desire to rape and harm innate?  Was well over a fourth of our population "born bad", or "monstrous", or "without a conscience"?


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Love Still

     I am so relieved and so happy to know that I love my family absolutely, and nothing takes that away.  I don't love them any less than I ever did back when I still thought of us as a fairly normal family.  Sometimes I hate, and hurt a lot, but the most triumphant thing in healing and working through everything is to discover that I am made of love and the most hateful, hurtful thing in the world does not lessen that.  The most hateful, hurtful thing in the world does not lessen my love for others.    I had not lost myself.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reclaiming My Humanity

     The biggest secret of my life was that I was sub-human.  I had limbs and skin and a nose like everyone else but I was too shameful and disgusting by my mere act of existing to warrant respect or love from anybody.  The core message of every terrorizing, bullying, violation, brainwashing, and sadistic game by my father was humiliation.  I brought out his disgust.  I was given this message repeatedly all my life, along with the message that I should be exceedingly grateful to him for loving me anyway, and to be careful not to let anyone else find out or they would sneer and reject me as he had often done.  And I was.  Very grateful.  I worshipped the ground he walked on out of desperate gratitude for loving me, and in return I was loyal to a fault.  I did not question his assessment of me.  I did not even think about it, just accepted it as I accepted that grass is green, I was shameful.  More shameful than any other human could possibly be.  In public we both played along as the good family, and I dissociated enough to buy it whenever we were, but any compliments I received or good qualities I had were just window dressing, and we both knew it.  I never forgot that.
     I have heard any promise or oath a child utters becomes embedded in the mind deeper every time they repeat it, until it becomes a part of their psyche.  Mine certainly was.  Being near people was a trigger to bring out that alter who had been ingrained with the believe that she was abhorrently disgusting.  It was too dangerous to be around people, who might find out what I truly was and break the big secret, that horrible secret that they would hate me for.  With her out around people, I was usually extremely tense, and often started to shake and get extreme stomach ailments.  These were only treated with revulsion as proof of my nature, so that I could have no doubt.  Only dad and I knew my secret, and we never spoke of it, although the reminders of what she was- of what I was- were frequent.  I was only completely safe alone, and mostly safe around him because he was the only person who would accept and love me for what I was.  "I am not good enough to be around people", had been thoroughly ingrained, and following that, "I cannot be around people" became a rule of my psyche.  An impenetrable wall that was never ever to be questioned.  
     Even without conscious awareness of the rule, severe tension and stomach ailments still enforced it, until I became the most devout prodigy of solitude and silence.  I have gone to extreme lengths to obey it.  I avoided any group activity or extra-curricular program.  I avoid long trips other than by myself.  I avoid restaurants.  I do not date.  I do not go out in large crowds.  I never enter a room without an escape route.  Lately my bed-room has been under remodel and I have tried sleeping in the yard, the garage, and the car to avoid being too close to people.  Looking back through friends photos and albums I realize how much I have missed out on growing up, in high school, in college, because I was not allowed to socialize because of that inner rule that I could not voice to anyone.
     I forget about it when it is not a problem.  As if my mind deliberately discards any memory of it when it is not an issue.  So I can forget what a problem I have.  So I can forget that the person I was closest to treated me as lower than dirt, and conditioned me to be incapable of normal social interaction.  So I can pretend to be human along with everyone else and ignore that I have one big, huge secret.
     Perhaps the most important thing I have learned in therapy is that psyche walls can be broken.  They take time and patience, but no erroneous belief is ever set in stone.  I cannot just tell myself that I am as good as everyone else and believe it, but with time I can break the beliefs that say otherwise, and no longer live by hidden rules that prevent me from living my life.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

my blue hair. her blue hair. our blue hair? The Blue Hair.

     New therapy technique for multiples: hair dye.  As I become better informed about various alters they seem to work better, or some start to merge.  Letting them pursue their own interests and leave their mark in my life helps to solidify their presence, since everyone is reminded of them more frequently when they are gone, and helps to incorporate them into daily life.  Letting one alter go ahead and dye part of our hair works great for merging since everyone will see that part of her every time we look in a mirror.  Letting the exuberance spill out into everyday life shares it with everyone else, to make it a less volatile package when it does arrive.  It also lets that alter be out more firmly with other alters present, to merge with and pick up on their grounding and calm.
     Seeing as I don't leave home often, this seemed the perfect time to get that blue hair I/we/she's always wanted.  Now I can fulfill that goal of going grocery shopping with blue hair (Weird I know.  But I'm a little obsessed with food.  Now maybe I can move on to bigger things).  And it won't end with blue.  We've got a little list of wild colors stored up that we've always wanted.  The rotten part is that we get so set on what we want it's a bit hard to adjust when it turns out differently.  What I wanted to look like dark blue ended up more like looking like sea green.


     But oh well it's still good.  I think every one's reaction from seeing themselves in the mirror with blue hair so far has been excited to amused to indifferent.  The facial muscles they use are drastically different for some, so that I've started recognizing who is in the mirror, or even in photographs.  They use different expressions in the face and in the eyes.  So much so that it almost looks like a different set of eyes, indeed a different person looking out at you.  Having colored hair takes the aspect of one alter and fixes it to every alter, so even though it is not their own they are very aware of it.  It raises co-consciousness for them and helps to put everyone on the same level of awareness, which helps merging or at least working together go better.  Next on the embrace-alters-and-start-to-merge-with-enthusiasm list: take up boxing.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Supernova 1: Pain

     The effects of sexual assault is nearly indescribable pain.  It is called soul murder, because it is the most efficient way to kill some one's spirit without killing their body.  It is so emotionally painful and difficult, I don't think I have heard of a single person facing it unless they had no other choice.  Recovery from incest has been the most unexpected and painful thing of my life.  Difficulty breathing at any point in the day from sheer emotional pain happens all the time.  I didn't know pain like this could exist.  People always painted a vague picture of my life down the road, and they forgot to mention the huge ravine that opens up unexpectedly out of the hazy horizon and swallows you up, the hot dusty trudge out of infinity after having tumbled to the bottom.  It is common after having experienced violation to think "that did not happen", or even as it is occurring, "this is not happening".  It is not on our list of possibilities for what life could have in store.  I remember as a child seeing it coming, and waiting for someone to save me at the last minute because what was about to happen and what did happen was impossible.

     Dealing With the Impossible.


     That is what recovery from sexual assault is.  Doing an impossible thing.  Surviving after soul murder, and in some remarkable cases, doing more than surviving after soul murder.  It is not something you could ask someone to do.  It is not something you could expect them to do.  The huge problem with people expecting survivors to move on, or forgive, is that it minimizes their pain.  As in mistaking a ferocious tiger in the room for a soft tiny kitten.  It cannot be ignored, it requires your full undivided attention, and you can only hope for everyone in the room to escape alive while realizing that the hope that everyone will get out unscathed is unattainable.  Anyone who expects another to get up and move on from that pain does not understand it.  All you can do is sit with them next to the pain, hope for them, cry with them, and be astounded if and when they overcome.

     The problem for those that want to forgive and restore old relationships, and a fair number do, is that in order for it to work the abuser would need to change.  The only cases of perpetrators changing are the ones who were accused and proven guilty, and forced into therapy.  I have never heard of a sexual perpetrator freely choosing to stop hurting his (and sometimes her) victims, ever.  Many of them say they will, and there are many stories of victims agreeing to stay and try to work things out, only to be hurt repetitively until they cut off the relationship and leave.  If they survive that long, as sexual crimes often accompany or include violence, and many are not that lucky.  If after that they escape the ranks of those survivors killed by severe depression and suicide, they are indeed tough.  I say tough rather than fortunate, because the life of a survivor of sexual assault is only a good one if they make it so through sheer will, as many remarkably do.

     I hardly need to go on about the pain of being victimized in sexual crimes.  Any Internet search will overflow with blogs, journals, and forums.  Every person who reads this will be well acquainted with a survivor of sexual assault and PAIN written in their eyes, in their skin, in their life, whether the reader realizes it or not.
     Society has only begun to recognize and acknowledge that pain.  Coming to a point where they can fully grasp and face that amount of pain seems years in the future.  A point for society to take an honest look at the lives of the perpetrators who caused that mass pain seems eons in the future.  Not to cover it up the issue as we are doing now, but to really look at it and strive to understand it.  Nothing can be fixed unless you understand it.  And concerning sexual crime, I don't think America or the world realizes the magnitude of what needs to be fixed.