March 20, 2007
Broken to Pieces
I'm going to be out of town for Spring Break next week. I had a new part emerge that scares me to my core (way more than Sentry did in the beginning). I think she's very identified with my perpetrator parents. I decided to put working with her and my therapist on hold until I get back into town. I just don't want to be left hanging in the middle of something huge and scary while I'm out of town and away from my therapist.
So, yesterday, at my T appointment, I ran this past my T and we moved on to "lighter" topics (are there really any light topics?). I decided to run a few physical complaints by her. I've mentioned these to mental health providors in the past and never really gotten anywhere with it. I think I've mentioned these trouble makers on my blog. One is the annoying problem of not being able to swallow food sometimes (unfortunatley, this has not led me to become thin).
My other physical problem is really causing me to lose sleep lately. When I sought advice from a medical doc about it, he wanted to do surgery so I walked out of his office. It's the old complaint about my arms falling asleep and going dead on me again. When I think about the assaults where my arms were pinned down, I can't help but think that this complaint has a trauma component. I seemed to get some relief from this for about two years when I was going to another therapist twice a week and doing a lot of trauma processing. My current T suggested that I inquire within myself as to what this symptom was trying to tell me.
So, this morning after about the millionth time that the rest of me was awake because my arms were asleep, I asked for the message. What came to me was loads of grief--not fear as I would have suspected.
We've all had our hearts broken at least once, right? I know I've been through that kind of "lost love" grief more than once. But, how do you mend the broken heart of a child? How do you pick up the pieces after the ultimate betrayal by the parents who were supposed to love and care for you?
I feel like the proverbial Humpty Dumpty. My heart is broken to pieces, as well as my mind. And all the king's therapists and all the king's doctors will never be able to put all my pieces back together again.
March 02, 2007
The Dissociative Twilight Zone?
A couple of posts back, I told of a fight I had with my husband after one of my T appointments. I think a part came out who is particularly "gloom and doom." My husband has been warned that this part of me can not be reasoned with--no logic gets through. But, alas, he tried in vain and ended the fight getting in my face a bit with a strong, "You're wrong!"
At that, I got completely hysterical. He tried to hug me and I screamed, "Don't touch me!" and ran upstairs. After my husband left I seemed to switch again and proceeded to rage at his picture for hours. YIKES!
I recognized the style of the speech. This is someone who looks at me in the mirror and says the cruelest things. Since this part scares the ever-lovin' shit out of me, I decided to bite the bullet and have a journal conversation with it. I've decided that this entity is androgynous. I can't refer to this person as "he" or "she" because it seems to be both or neither. Anyway, here's the conversation, lifted out of the paper journal:
(Note: when I am talking, the font with remain the same. When this newly-conversing part is talking, I will use all caps.)
Me: As suggested and advised by Karen, our therapist, I am speaking to the one who raged at my husband's picture on Monday afternoon and called him a "Dumb Ass." This is not to blame or condemn--only to differentiate.
I thought about calling you "The Intimidator," but I'm sure that's selling you short. It appears to me that one of your major roles is to help us avoid humiliation....THANK YOU!
I know this was a BIG factor in our childhood abuse, so this has been an important role. Yet, I am sure you serve other functions as well. Would you like to tell me about them and/or give me a name you would prefer I use when speaking with you?
I WANT SOME RESPECT. I DESERVE AT LEAST THAT MUCH FOR ALL I'VE DONE!
Yes. That's true.
YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN STUCK BEING A GOOBER ALL YOUR LIFE IF IT WEREN'T FOR ME!
I agree that you deserve respect and appreciation. I thank you for all the times you saved me from public humiliation and more social mortification. I'm sorry that my fear has kept me from seeing your positive role and appreciating you.
I AM TO BE FEARED AND RESPECTED.
I'd like us to agree, though, that we will all show more respect to each other. When we attack each other it is very counter-productive.
If we all agree not to tell you, "shut up!" or call you a "raging maniac," could you agree not to call me "ugly" or "stupid" or call my husband a "Dumb Ass?"
WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME? I DON'T CARE. I'M NO CHUMP. I'M NOT STUPID ENOUGH TO CARE ABOUT THAT SHIT!
I think you do care. That's why you've taken your role so seriously and been quite diligent about it. I respect your hard work and courage.
BUT WHEN THE PEOPLE I PROTECT TURN ON ME, I HAVE TO PUT THEM IN THEIR PLACE!
I would prefer that everyone inside decide their own place and then communicate that with me. But, you could be in invaluable asset to everyone if you helped me by sharing your vast intelligence and information. You could be a light for those still in the dark. Would you be open to that?
WHAT DO I HAVE TO GIVE UP IN RETURN?
You, and everyone else--including me--need to commit to following the rule of no name calling. There is no one here now, February of 2007, in this house, in this community, in this state, who calls us names any more. We no longer need to avoid intimidation by intimidating back.
BUT YOUR HUSBAND GOT IN YOUR FACE AND THAT WASN'T RIGHT!
Yes, and he felt bad about it and apologized and we talked calmly about how he could respond differently next time. We're all learning and he is willing to learn, too. He was just scared.
I'M NOT SCARED!
Well, maybe you're not, but there are a lot of people here who are. And your name-calling and yelling scares the little ones and me, too, sometimes. I appreciate you talking to me calmly now and helping me not be so scared because I can think better this way.
WELL, IT'S HARD NOT TO THINK OF THAT KIND OF STUFF AS JUST WEAK. THE WEAK TURN INTO VICTIMS YOU KNOW.
So, is that your role, too, to help us from ever being a victim again?
YOU GOT IT!
You were there when that creep was following us on the street in Chicago years ago weren't you?
YEP. I SCARED THE LITTLE CREEP AWAY!
That was amazing! I'm grateful and very impressed.
JUST MY JOB.
Well, how about we agree that if we're ever in any real danger like that again--danger of being mugged, etc.--you can use whatever swear words you want and be as intimidating as you like (unless they have a gun on us or something and mouthing off would get us shot)? We need to differentiate between whether there's real danger or not.
What do you think about hanging out in a light house? You re so observant and have such keen instincts. You could spot danger right away and shine a light on it and alert us all so we can stay safe. (This was an idea I came up with after my T suggested that I urge this part to go into the "safe place" visualized sun porch that most of us use as safe sanctuary. I didn't feel that this part would feel comfortable or desire to go there.)
YEAH. I GUESS THAT COULD WORK.
Will you think about a respectful name we could call you?
YEAH. IT'S GOT TO COMMAND RESPECT. I'LL THINK OF GOOD ONE.
Thanks. And thanks for talking to me and being open to some new ideas. It's very helpful and I feel better.
IT'S ALRIGHT. I WANT US TO BE ON GOOD TERMS.
I appreciate that and I'll talk to you later.
Later, we agreed on the name, "Sentry." Now, Sentry hangs out in a lighthouse and oversees the safety of little ones playing on a beach. So, now we have another "safe place" visualization environment that works for several parts. It's a win-win situation. I felt an amazing sense of relief after doing this exercise and opening up this line of communication. Marlene Steinberg, M.D., who wrote The Stranger In The Mirror, calls this part of "The Four C's" of working with one's parts. I agree that comfort, communication, cooperation, and connection--these "four C's"--are going to be very important in my healing. I'm working hard right now to get some of these established.