For First Time Visitors

If you are a first time visitor to this blog, I invite you to start from the beginning, especially if you are unfamiliar with the potential emotional impact of long-term child abuse.

Trigger caution to unhealed survivors!

Understanding the Incomprehensible

Children of incest or long-term sexual abuse grow up to be wounded adults with complicated emotional issues. Unfortunately, some symptoms are misinterpreted or often dismissed as "crazy", only serving to maintain a tormented victim status. We, as a society, have the power to change this dynamic. Each of us can make a difference.

Oct 27, 2008

Fight, Flight, Freeze, Split, Shatter

The mind/body has three main responses to danger: fight (resist), flight (run away), or freeze (stay still). For a child constantly in fear of being hurt or killed (because of threats) and whose body is being invaded, escaping the mind/body becomes the "flight". Maybe I should say "float".

Those with DID, learned to be out of the body for an alter to bear the abuse. Typically survivor memories include watching their body being hurt from the view of looking down from the ceiling. Because it is the intention for many pedophiles to create dissociative states (alters), the child is deliberately terrified into a state that the child or alter can no longer bear causing another split (or alter to be created).

For some events planned for the child, the abuse or terror is so horrendous as to cause several new alters to be created. I call this shattering. Sometimes a survivor will realize many alters are the same age which might have been caused by such an event. I likely had at least three such events in my life by age 16. Shattering can be from a series of events created around the child to ensure several or many new alters are created. One way to do this is to provide the child with an impossible choice. Faith from the Blooming Lotus blog describes having to make a choice between a sibling and a beloved pet--which one was to die. She then had to witness the killing of her pet. This is horrendous emotional torture.

In the memory coming up for me now, I have gotten previous messages. What I'm getting now is more of that story. It's not done processing yet but I'm fairly certain I had to choose between my life or my sister's life. Obviously they didn't kill my younger sister but they made me believe they did. This happened Halloween of 1956 or '57. My sister was only a year old. I was 4. I'm getting that I shattered then. Because these sophisticated pedophiles know how to create what they want the child to have as an internal world, they used this split to create another confusion that would cause me to constantly be in a state of cognitive dissonance throughout my life, thus helping to maintain the dissociation.

I've had this story before, but, for some reason, I need to know that this was the time and place when the official split was made inside me. The male/female split. Trigger caution from this point on. I want to make sure I get to tell this to the world because I think it goes with survivors from the 50s and 60s. I also believe it is still used for reasons explained below.

Of course I came into the world as a girl. I was born pretty much directly into perp hands. It is my belief that I was always treated as a boy in the dissociated world...from the time I was born. In my conscious world I was the good little girl. In the subconscious world, I was treated as a boy and punished for not conforming to responding as a boy. I have very confusing images and messages about boys and penises. I understand now that was to explain that not all boys had a penis and I was one of them (one of their lies that a child will believe). So I had one world where I was punished for being a girl and another world where I was ostracized if I didn't act as a proper little girl. That tends to wreak havoc on one's mind. It also explains why I changed my name legally twice to a feminized male name. (Changing names is a symptom of DID.)

Tyler (the little boy I write about in Believe the Children) had some of these messages. His perps had not been sucessful in causing him to dissociate, but they were successful in creating much confusion. His little sister was born after I began to work with him to heal from his abuse. At one point he told me that his little sister did not have a penis. I acknowledged that was true. Recalling my own memory, I asked him if he had seen little girls with penises. He said that he did. For me, that's proof this gender confusion is still part of the "tried and true" method of creating a split. I explained to his parents that he knew his sister had no penis but needed reassurance that all little girls did not have a penis. Had I not known of that kind of extreme emotional stress, I wouldn't have thought to ask him the question to find out if that was his belief.

The rule in inducing dissociation is everything to extremes. The child does not need to be physically or sexually abused for a dissociative split to happen. It is known that during a state of heightened fear, susceptibility to suggestions for alternate thinking is heightened. For me, the trauma of believing my sister had been killed because I had chosen my own life over hers was used to shatter my belief system that allowed me to believe I was a boy in that world. Wow, I think I just gave myself the final piece to my own memory puzzle by writing about this today.

The good news is that whatever they did can be undone and healed eventually. I had the first pieces to this memory in late 1997. For some reason it was time for this other chunk to fall into place. I am no longer shattered. The male/female split has healed. The internal confusion about gender was resolved a few years ago. I know survivors who have gotten stuck in the gender confusion. Maybe some reading this blog will not have to go through the craziness of the memories if they realize that it was a desired outcome.

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