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.