February 22, 2010
New Host: 30 Posts!
What I wanted to tell you about is how impressed I am with IK over at Issue Knitting. She's a first-time Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse host and she's done a fabulous job of organizing 30 submissions for our February edition. The theme is birthdays and it's IK's birthday, too! So, go on over and click on the links, do some reading, leave some supportive comments and say "Happy Birthday" to IK, won't you? Thanks for your support and survivor solidarity!
February 17, 2010
A Part Is Born
TRIGGER WARNING! Some examples of dissociative outbursts and child abuse ahead. Please stay safe.
But, I had what felt like a set-back the other day. I got really triggered and reacted violently. I spent almost a whole day disparaging myself and even had some self-harm return. I tried so hard to pull myself back, but felt so out of control. I pulled out every grounding trick in the book. I did grounding exercises I haven't even thought of in years. But, it still took me about 24 hours to feel like myself again.
I was really disappointed because I allowed some behaviors to come out that I thought I had contracted against with various parts. I've discovered--and begun to work with--two new parts in the last few weeks. Maybe this is yet another new part who has no such contract with me. I'm not sure.
This got me wondering. Just how is a part "born" anyway? Mine seem to have come about for a whole plethora of reasons. Some are like full-fledged personalities and have tried to run away and start their own lives or have pushed me aside and tried to live life their own way with me out of the way, so to speak.
Some parts have very well-defined roles. Many of these roles are quite dysfunctional for my life now, so I've had to define and assign new roles to some parts. Other parts are what my T refers to as "partial splits," without much of a fleshed-out personality of their own at all. These splits seem to have come about for very specific, time-limited functions designed to keep me alive in my childhood's life-threatening situations.
For example, the first part I ever heard of by name--this was three years ago--was Nina. I was told she "comes out when we're in the shower." If you've ever read the account on my dot com site called, "A Fear Of Plastic Shower Curtains," You can understand why my helpless child self might have wanted to create a part just to take over when I need to take a shower. I haven't worked specifically with Nina via any kind of dialogue, but I have done EMDR on the shower torture incidents and I've done a lot of comforting and self-care work in therapy around this daily hygiene challenge.
In the very first chapter of The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook, Deborah Bray Haddock explains, "In systems where extreme splitting occurs, clients report a host of personality fragments created to do specific tasks, such as cooking, cleaning the house or going to school. Once the task is performed, the fragment becomes inactive."
In the book, The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization, the authors talk about "a fragment that has only a minimal set of response patterns to stimuli, life history, and range of emotion/affect but has knowledge for a short period of time." They go on to say that the actions of some of these fragments are very specialized. "Some...have a very specific purpose during traumatization."
In my case, I have another split or fragment, that I don't have a name for, who came about for the sole purpose of helping me hold my breath for a long time when my father would try to drown me in the bath water. I don't know much about these partial splits or fragments, but it makes sense to me that they would not be very developed if their survival purpose was quite distinct and unique to specific situations that I don't repeatedly come across throughout the day as I go about the business of life.
Then, I have some parts who I have named--or labeled--to match their functions. These functions are more broad than the two I've just mentioned, but still don't lead these labeled parts to control the body for any great length of time. There's Sentry, who I first started getting cooperation with in March of 2007. He was a great help to me when some creep followed me on the streets of Chicago once. Sentry is not afraid to get in any one's face in order to protect me. Unfortunately, he was getting up in peoples faces in inappropriate ways that didn't match present-day situations. So, I had to contract with him to stay located in an internal lighthouse and only "come to the rescue" if some stranger approaches me in a dark parking lot, or something like that.
I have another part I call Serena. But, she's not so much serene as she is still. That is, literally, her role: She keeps the body still so that there can be no self-harm or suicide attempts. I haven't felt her around much lately, but I sure coulda used her the other day when I slapped myself in the face seven or eight times. Luckily, I was able to stop myself rather quickly and vowed to engage in no further self-injury, even without any obvious help from Serena.
Whether my part splits are currently helpful in my day-to-day life, or the actions of these fragments are now dysfunctional for me as an adult living in a safe environment, I'm glad I'm learning about them. For a while, I was convinced that unless I found a part who had a high degree of autonomy and emancipation, I wasn't dealing with dissociated pieces of myself. This is one of the reasons why the "Man, I must be crazy" attitude persisted with me for such a long time.
If you are a dissociative child abuse survivor who is uncovering less complex personality fragments and doubting your diagnosis (or your sanity), I encourage you to read the two books I've mentioned in this post. There's a reason why even your smallest, simplest parts were "born" and you very well may be alive today because of them. So, even if I don't have a name for one of these partial personality fragments, I still make it a point to thank them. They helped keep me safe, they helped me stay sane.
February 10, 2010
New Hosts Make The Carnival Go 'Round!
I want to introduce you to a new host for our Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. She will be hosting for February at Issue Knitting. We call her IK and she's not only hosting this month, she also celebrates her birthday this time of year. For this reason, we will be using a birthday theme for this carnival edition.
Here's what IK says: "As this month is the month of my birthday, I am suggesting birthdays as a theme. Birthdays are a reminder of our entrance into this world. Thus, birthdays may have an effect on abuse or the healing from such abuse. For me, birthdays have a bittersweet impression because of this. Additional tension and conflict during birthdays, resentment and guilt doled out, and a gratitude for being alive are all associated to birthdays for me. By no means is one required to submit something birthday-related. All are welcome!"
As usual, we still have our regular categories for submission as well: Survivor Stories, Poetry, Art Therapy, In The News, Healing & Therapy, Advocacy & Awareness and Aftermath.
But, I gotta tell ya, I really started thinking about this birthday theme. I think it must have been synchronicity; I go for months on end without attending church and then this past weekend, I not only went to a church retreat for women, but I also did a reading on Sunday morning. The topic Sunday was eugenics. The reason I was appropriate to do a reading is because I was one of the people attending church the day they asked for volunteers who had a parent who was diagnosed with a mental illness before they had children. This topic really got me thinking about what it would be like if I had never been born. So, I'll be writing a post about this and submitting it for the carnival.
Won't you please submit something, too? It doesn't have to be anything related to the theme, nor does it have to be a newly-created post. Just find something and send it in, won't you? I really want us all to support our new hosts. If I was limited to participating bloggers who have so generously hosted multiple times, we'd all have quite a bit of work to commit to each year, with twelve carnival editions to publish. New hosts are the lifeblood of this carnival. They do, indeed, make our Carnival Against Child Abuse go 'round!
The deadline for this month's carnival is Wednesday, February 17 and IK will have the edition up on Friday, 2/19. You can link to the submission form here.
February 03, 2010
I'm So Vain, I Probably Think This Blog Is About Me
Often times, I find that people are linking to me and they've never left a comment on my blog before. So, in the early days, I would look up my links, then I'd give a reciprocal link back and build up my blogroll. This was back in the days when you could get a lot more, up-to-date, specific information about your blog links over at Technorati and before Marketleap started charging fees for their services. I have to admit, I was pretty excited, back in 2006, when my blog was in the top 50,000 blogs for a brief period of time!
I also have to admit that my blogroll got so long, that I really didn't pay it much attention for a while. Couple the huge blogroll with the fall-into-winter therapy marathon that just ended, and I think it's fair to say that my blog (and my dot com site) were a bit neglected for a while.
Well, I decided to go over to Survivors Can Thrive! and do some updating on my dot com site, and I also decided to update some things on the template of this blog. At the same time, just for the heck of it, I decided to look at my page rank for the first time in a long while. I'm not gonna lie to you: I was pretty disappointed to see how far my blog's rank has fallen. I'm a bit worried--to be honest--that it's threatening to fall off the bloggy radar altogether.
I know how fast things change in the cyber world. Folks just stop blogging all the time. Folks change their blogs and start up new ones. I know there are some blogger folks who I've linked to for quite a while who don't have links on their blogs--no blogroll. I knew that I wasn't getting any link popularity from those folks who weren't linking to me (duh! I'm not that much of a cyber klutz). But, what I didn't know until recently is that, when I link to a blog that does not link back to me, it actually "drains" my blog rank, so to speak. Here's an article that explains it. It's pretty complicated, but there were a few things I got that really stood out and that was one of them.
In case you're interested, here are a couple more links that you can use to research your page rank and link popularity for your own blog.
I still don't think I'm going to put a site counter on my blog--that would just make me too crazy. But, maybe I am just vain enough that I don't want to see my blog completely fall off the bloggy radar. So, I have taken some links off my sidebar to blogs who aren't linking to me. If you find that one of these is your blog, please don't take it personally. I will still follow your blog with Google Friend Connect, if you have that feature. I will follow you over at Twitter if you ask me to, invite you to The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse, visit your blog and comment there. If you are listed over at BlogCatalog, or Technorati, I will certainly fave you or add you as a friend. Just ask.
Oh, and another thing: I have a lot of links in the Resources section of my dot com site, as well. My dot com site is another story. I do have a tracker over there that comes with the paid-for, monthly web host service. (I try to stay away from it as much as I can, but look at it occasionally.)
In the link department, I've got some biggies listed there. I've got book titles linked to Amazon, and I've got websites like the Sidran and EMDR institutes, ChildHelp USA and so on. These big agencies have never linked to me, so I guess that's why my dot com site has never ranked high. I'm not so concerned about that; I just want it to be available to anyone who wants to use it as a resource. And if you have anything that you think would be helpful to link as a resource under my pages of Books, Survivor Support, Advocacy & Abuse Prevention, Treatment & Research, or Survivor Issues, let me know and I'll look into adding you there.
But, here at my blog is where I run The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse every month. So many of us have been involved in this important awareness-raising carnival since 2006 and I want it to stay as visible as possible. So, please don't chalk it up to vanity that I'm looking at my page rank and making some adjustments. And, please do let me know if you get a link up to me and I'll be happy to reciprocate, as usual. And one last thing: If you see that you don't have a link on my sidebar and you don't know why, don't be shy; ask me about it. I may have had a dissociative or plain ol' spacey moment and it might just be an oversight.