April 20, 2007


Where Am I?

Where am I? Good question. I seem to be getting lost in a sea of parts. I'm too overwhelmed to do it now, but one of these days, I'm thinking it might be a good idea to kinda map them all out.

Right now I'm dealing with a kind of cluster of parts. It's an urgent need. I have to try to work with these parts in order to stay physically safe. I'm not going to go into the triggering details, but I've had a return of some self-injury issues lately. Damn! It had been over three years since I've SI'd! Now I have to deal with that again.

Apparently there's a part who is convinced that I/we/somebody has to be punished. Oh goody. Like I didn't already receive enough punishment from my parents.

What really freaks me out is this part that I've discovered who is really identified with my perpetrator parents. She's especially identified with my mother. I've heard of this and read about this type of thing before. I just can't believe I'm doing it. I feel very frustrated and disgusted about it. Not to mention scared shitless.

About three weeks ago, after I got triggered really bad, I had an SI incident, but it didn't feel like it was me. For one thing, he didn't do it right and was doing it for entirely different reasons from what I consciously did it in the past. In the past, it was in a trance state--kind of a form of dissociation itself--and actually made me feel somewhat better because afterward I would think, "See, I'm alive. I matter at least this much."

This time it was a punishment for supposedly being a bad mother. This person (who felt male) thought he needed to inflict pain as punishment. My therapist and I have been calling this part "The henchman." Apparently, he works for the woman who's identified with my mother. In therapy, she didn't want to be bothered to talk to me or my T, but at home I had one scary encounter with her.

After running into the bathroom and locking the door (which I often do when I'm triggered and switching all over the place). I was having a conversation with DeeGee (as in D.G., which stands for "Doom and Gloom"). She tends to be a very black-or-white thinker and is usually very "Woe is me" negative. She was claiming that we never get a break with my son and I was begging to differ with her--things have been much better with him this school year.

All of a sudden, DeeGee quickly retreated and I got this terrifying feeling and visual. I don't usually get any kind of visual with my parts. I usually sense them, hear them, or they just kinda push me aside (to the back, whatever) and take over. This was like a palpable, terrifying presence in the room. You know, the kind that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. It was like some evil creature rising up out of the black deep. Then she spoke. Yikes, she sounded like my mother! She said, "You don't get a break. You don't deserve a break!" Aaaahhhh! I got out of there right away. My bathroom was no longer a safe place at that moment.

I was trying to figure out who this character reminded me of. Yes, a character; someone from a story. I have a boy who was not born until 1997. But, somehow I remember a character from the Disney movie, "The Little Mermaid." I had to Google her. Her name is Ursula, the octopus-type evil sea witch. Good grief! I've got someone like that living inside me? Lord help me!

Mercifully, I don't seem to be aware of her out and wreaking havoc very often. On the other hand, her henchman comes out whenever I think I'm a bad person and get triggered in that way. He wants to bash my head in. Enter another part who keeps the body still so that can't happen. I've been calling her Serena. She's not exactly serene, but she does seem to be successful at keeping everything calm. It's an eerie calm, really. An outside viewer would think me downright catatonic when she's out.

It's not that I'm depressed when I'm in this state. It's just that I don't move. The other day, my husband came home from work while I was sitting in a chair in this state. He finally asked, "Am I speaking to Marj? Where's Marj?" Serena spoke only seven words: "I'm here because I can stay calm." That about sums up her role.

Just the other day--when the urge to be physically violent was particularly overwhelming--Serena got very assertive. She stated very firmly and clearly that we were not permitted to look at anything, hear anything or think about anything. She said that I/we/the body could blink, swallow and breathe. And that was it. Period. My husband and son were arguing at the time and the sound was triggering me badly. So, I reclined on my bedroom floor right next to my humidifier. I clicked it on. It was able to drown out all sound. I stared at the blank, white ceiling. I must of stayed there for almost two hours.

Every time I started to think, "This is stupid." or "This is extreme and unnecessary," and started to get up off the floor, I realized the method to the madness. Anytime I started to think about anything, I got the strong urge to injure myself. So, instead of fighting it, I've just let Serena take over at these stressful times.

I'm starting to feel really ganged up on and out-numbered. But, I'm trying to remember that each part was created for a reason and plays a role. My T asked me if there was a part inside who believed they needed to be punished. I guess it makes sense for the punisher to have a punishee, doesn't it? We've been working on that this week. The pain is immense. I think the depths of the pain scares me even more than the horror of the evil.

I feel like some swimmer who thought she was strong and could take on the crossing of the English Channel. Only, now I'm out here in the water all alone and I realize what I'm crossing is vast. It's a vast sea of grief, pain, terror and horror. What I'm really attempting to cross is the entire Atlantic Ocean. I think, "Of my God! I should never have attempted this! I've got to turn back!" The problem is, I'm halfway across now and it would take just as long to go back as it would to continue on.

Here's the other thing: I have to do it for that little girl who is so convinced that she has no value whatever and deserves all the abuse she gets. She's lost there; scared and alone. I have to sacrifice whatever it takes to finally save her. She deserves that much. I deserve to rescue myself. Even if I have to swim an entire ocean to reach her...to reach the safe shore of my true self.

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You are going through so much. It's been a while since I read it, but I recall "Toxic Parents" was helpful for me at a similar time in my life.

The little girl may be alone and scared, but I don't think she is lost for long. You are doing some amazing (and hard) work.

Dear Marj

We can identify with some of what you are going through and Lord knows none of it is easy to decipher and then handle. You are right, all of your parts have a purpose as do ours, some though are so very much like our parents and why we have never figured out. Figuring out who and what they do and why now is some of that mapping you may want to do, we have done that in the past and it did help see it on paper in front of us.

Peace and blessings

Marj...have you heard from any protector type? Serena may turn out to be one, but I am not sure of that. One thing I would suggest is to try talking with Serena and see if there are some other things that she thinks may help to keep you safe from SI. It is great that she is able to do that the way she is, but it would be even better if there were some way to do that and have you still be able to function. That may not be possible at this point, but it is worth trying to find out.

We have one inside who is all of the bad things of one of our abusers, and none of the good. We have had to contain him because it is not safe for him to be allowed to roam free.

I know it doesn't feel like it to you, but you really are doing a great job of identifying different ones and communicating with them.

To Marj and All:

I am just getting caught up with this blog. Sorry, I have been quite busy.

In response to my comments to Marj on her post of March 20:

To those of you who assumed that I have no personal experience with extreme trauma, I say this:

I was repeatedly molested by my grandfather from age 7 until at age 9, he raped me.

I was also severely abused, aka tortured, by my brother, who was mentally disturbed. My parents were in total denial, and to this day, my mother is still in denial. (my father,who died in 1998, finally came to some sort of acknowledgment just prior to death.)

I have been diagnosed with PTSD and Dissociation. I know what it feels like.

I also lucked out in having one of the top psychiatrists in the US in the field of Dissociation and PTSD, and he believes DID does exist in extremely rare cases. He has seen it. But he would be loathe to actively suggest to any patient/client that he/she may have DID. And the greatest thing he helped me with was living in the present, not splitting apart and living in the past.

Marj came back from the Colin Ross institute with a diagnosis of DDNOS. Then all of a sudden with a new therapist, she suddenly has DID. I question that, but only because I care for her. Yes, I know you will all disagree.

I also recall quite vividly how many of you flamed me with hateful, vitriolic rantings when I published an essay by Dr. Paul McHugh, Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins on my blog PTSDToday. The essay was critical of the diagnosis of MPD/DID. Simply because I enjoy reading all sides of an issue, many of you said very nasty things to me. And to those of you who did, I say, you obviously have other issues than DID.

I welcome all sides of a discussion.

S: don't worry, just take good care of you. Thanks for thinking of me. I think of you often and wish you healing blessings. I selfishly wish you were still actively blogging so I could keep up with all you're up to. :)
Dr. deb: Thanks for the thoughtful response. I read that book years ago. Havent looked at it in some time...maybe I'll have to pull it back down off the shelf.
Ooops! S's comment was on the "Shattering the Silence" post--I'm doing it again. I just can't keep things straight lately. gee, maybe I have a dissociative disorder or something. ;)
Thanks for the support and validation, guys. I just gotta keep on swimmin'.
Okay. One final response comment today from me.

WW: I appreciate that you need to be heard. I also appreciate your concern for me, I really do. However, you're mistaken on several facts here, as they relate to me.

Let me make this clear, EVERYBODY: I DO NOT WANT TO TURN THIS INTO A DEBATE FORUM. WW, I will e-mail you and we can talk that way. Thanks.
Still waiting for an email.

I don't believe you, that you don't want a public debate. Otherwise you would not have published my comment.

its sucks having perpertrators inside, like you are messed up all over again. Actually come to think of it we are messed up anyway :P
Marj - I'm thinking of you. And hoping Serene does a good job of keeping you safe. Try to honor your need to do nothing but breathe and relax. YOu need times like that. stay safe.

WW: I thought a lot about whether or not to publish your earlier comment. The reason I did is because I sensed that you desparately wanted and needed to be heard, especially about your own abuse.

You will have an e-mail from me within the hour. There, I will ask you to no longer come here and comment. I just really need support and validation right now, not arguing. I'm just trying to make it day by day here right now.

I do appreciate that the other commenters have honored my request and gave me support, rather than choosing to argue with you.
Something that may help: Thank that scary part for helping to keep you safe. And then explain that there are better ways NOW to be safe. There are better ways NOW to grow and change. That working together all of you can do it better than that one part could do alone. Tell it that it doesn't have to carry any longer the burden of figuring out the rules and making sure they are followed. That part doesn't have to carry the burden alone any more of being an adult. Maybe imagine that part of yourself being free to laugh and play and ask it if it would like, just for a little bit, to be able to lay down the burden it has carried for so long. Big ((((((((hugs)))))))).

Wow, April. that sounds really good. I just need to "feel the fear and do it anyway" and have a dialogue with her. Maybe it will go as well as it did with Sentry. It's just scary and hard to think of these "persecutors" as "protectors."
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