For First Time Visitors
Trigger caution to unhealed survivors!
Understanding the Incomprehensible
Sep 25, 2008
I'd also like to take a moment to address the belief that people would choose to fake DID. The only people who might gain from such a charade are criminals wanting an excuse for a crime. ("Joe" killed that person, not ME.) DID is not insanity, although defense attorneys have tried to claim so. You will always get a defense attorney claiming insanity with psychiatrists supporting the claim while the prosecuting attorney proclaims the opposite with his or her own expert testimony.
Aside from that, people with DID in treatment learn that having DID is not an excuse. One body encompasses all the dissociated selves and that body is responsible for all of its actions. I taught this to children with whom I worked. They understood. An adult understands too.
If someone wanted to fake a diagnosis (for whatever reason there could possibly be beyond protection from prosecution for a crime), they would certainly choose something easier than DID. I'll use an example (a composite of several survivors). Alter Janie is 5 years old and appears as terrified with a soft spoken voice. She twirls her hair constantly and never maintains eye contact. Everytime without fail.
Lola is the promiscuous adult who recalls being "sexy" for the father beginning at age 5. She sits in a provacative position, has a husky voice, laughs in a flirting way, and cries as soon as she is asked about her feelings about the father. Corky is an 8 year old boy who loves to play. He bounds out and wants to jump up and down on the sofa (which he is not allowed to do) or play pirates. He talks endlessly about his favorite cartoon shows with barely a breath. Corky's job was to be happy no matter what was happening to the body.
Whenever any alter presents, s/he can recall exactly what we were talking about the last time they were "out". A person without DID would be hardpressed to remember who is what age and exactly what unique identifying characteristics go with each consistently over the course of regular treatment.
Lily is an adult who holds hopelessness and is extremely depressed. She also holds constant thoughts of self harm and suicide. She appears at the beginning of a session and begins to work with me when she is suddenly interrupted by another alter. (I work with whomever is there unless I know it's intentionally disruptive to certain work. Then I will set up an appointment time for that part to be heard.) The client is subject to switch frequently. At the end of the session when it's time to ask for a "safe driver", Lily appears completing the sentence where she was abruptly interrupted an hour earlier. She has no awareness there has been a blip in time and is frustrated to learn, once again, that she didn't get enough time with me.
Anyone want to volunteer to do that three times a week for several years? Actors playing someone with DID get retakes to get it right and consistent. DID would be nearly impossible to fake over a period of time. I would imagine that those on trial for crimes have plenty of time to rehearse how they will spend their very limited time with a psychiatrist and attorney to play one or two other roles.
I'm not sure how The Netherlands manages to gain funds for their wonderful research for DID, but I'm glad they do. Several researchers have done groundbreaking work which has been published in the literature recently. One study shows that at least two separate areas of brain activity in someone with DID can exist at the same time. This translates to findings that each dissociated self may have it's own blood pressure, heart rate, vision, and various other characteristics. More research is being done in this area. This is a component that someone trying to "fake" DID would not be able to imitate.
Admittedly both having and/or witnessing someone with DID noticeably switch can be disarming, bizarre, and fascinating. What we need to remember is the survivor is first and foremost a human being who dealt with tremendous trauma at the very least for several years prior to age six. The person deserves our utmost respect and understanding. For those who have some misinformed fear, unless you are threatening the survivor, no part of him or her is going to hurt you or anyone else! If you are known to the host--the survivor who has been your friend or co-worker or spouse and you have been safe in the person's life, it is highly unlikely any part will come out in fighting mode. If anything, there is likely to be a "Who are you?", in which case you can explain you are (name of survivor)'s friend.
In fact, a support person is critical to help the survivor heal. She is not going to know when some other part comes out to talk to you until co-consciousness kicks in. A helpful hint on this topic: If an alter speaks to you and you feel uncomfortable, simply say, "I need to speak to (name of survivor)." Or call the survivor's name and say you need to speak to her. That is okay. It works. Maybe not immediately but it is usally all that is needed in a non-triggering environment.
Remember that having DID is as disarming to the survivor as it is to you in the early stages of awareness and healing.
Sep 24, 2008
Let me count the ways society prevents survivors from seeking and/or getting qualified help.
The well-fed propaganda machine that tells the world that delayed memories can't be trusted and those who claim to have such absurd memories are liars or crazy. Rather than focus more on the group promoting the propaganda, I'm providing a website that can guide you through the ways the False Memory Syndrome Foundation misleads.
Wikopedia provides this as part of their definition: The FMSF coined the term false memory syndrome to describe their theory that some adults who belatedly remember instances of sexual abuse from their childhood may be mistaken about the accuracy of their memory. The term does not have wide scientific use. From this, the Foundation hypothesized that the so-called false memories may have been the result of recovered memory therapy, another term coined by the FSMF in the early 1990s.
When memories first begin to surface, survivors are inclined to jump on the internet and see what's going on. Don't we all do that for symptoms of diseases? When I did this for myself, I kept running into false memory information and how some therapists did not believe memories surfacing at a later age. Add to that information that some people trained to be therapists have another allegiance--to report people who are healing to organized pedophilia so actions can be taken to attempt to bring the healing individual "back into the fold". I was terrified to seek help, which I have mentioned before. Thankfully my fear subsided within two years to seek a qualified therapist.
Many resources that were available to those with DID ten years ago are no longer available. The FMSF has taken it's toll. Highly respected experts have been successfully sued and many facilities to help those with DID (beyond what an outpatient therapist could provide) have been closed. I'm sure there is a statistic somewhere, but the number of survivors who actually sue their abusers is quite low. Ethical therapists working with survivors have the goal of healing--not preparing a client for legal action. Yet that is the focus of the propaganda machine.
Another roadblock to healing is the diagnosis. Why weren't there more with DID prior to the "surge" in the 70s and 80s? Mainly because of lack of training to diagnose as well as misdiagnosis of schizophrenia. Hearing voices was schizophrenia and the poor survivor was placed on very high doses of medication that impeded healing. Research is available on this misdiagnosis if you care to research. The latest new diagnosis for DID is Bipolar Disorder. It definitely can appear that a survivor is bipolar because they embody the extreme of every possible emotion. What appears as bipolar may be switching. In addition, there is a higher reimbursement from insurance companies for a diagnosis of bipolar versus DID. An easy to administer screening for level of dissociation is available but not widely used among the greater medical/psychological community.
In the same light, a diagnosis of DID warrants fewer sessions per year typically by insurance over a diagnosis of major depression. Healing from DID initially may require outpatient visits 2-3 times a week and possible hospitalization for survivors who require more than outpatient care. Nationally, there is a lack of education for hospital staff, including psychologists and psychiatrists, who acknowledge or are aware of DID. Because of the reduction of facilities nationally to less than five, that is rarely an option. Medications have limited impact on DID. Other than anxiety and depression, medication doesn't help. Some very small dosages of some potent antipsychotic medications can help stabilize someone with frequent switching, but too few psychiatrists are knowledgeable in such information.
Another Catch 22 to having been abused as a young child to the point of DID, is survivors are as likely as not to have a past history of hospitalizations, emotional turmoil, erratic behavior, and long-term therapy, all of which create a "witness lacking credibility". The pedophiles win no matter what. By virtue of the abuse, they create a human being whose testimony is likely to be dismissed by the U.S. judicial system.
While a war wages on memories of survivors (which only serves to invalidate a survivor's healing), a war has already successfully been waged in the insurance realm. Trying to gain approval for a survivor to gain appropriate care for DID is a nightmare, to say the least.
This is how society treats those children who were horrifically and sadistically abused by sophisticated pedophiles and who managed to survive through DID. How can this be? What is that saying about when good people do nothing? If you didn't know before, and you are a good person, please spread the word. Speaking out--taking this out of the realm of secrecy--is a good first goal.
It is likely you heard of the Jane/John Doe case where John Money performed a sex change operation on David Reimer (then a toddler) advising the young boy's parents to raise him as a boy and disregard feminine proclivities. David Reimer wrote his own story, As Nature Made Him, of his torturous life which ended in his suicide as a married adult.
In a 20/20 interview, David Reimer (who had reversed his childhood sex change operation beginning as a teen) and his twin brother, as adults, independently recalled follow up visits to Dr. Money as children. The brother's presence was requested purportedly to compare developmental stages. The twins stated how they hated the visits and begged their mother not to take them. Not divulging why they hated the visits, their mother told them they had to go. David said in 20/20 that "Money sexually abused him and his brother during superfluous photo shoots."
This was John Money's view of pedophilia (again cited from Wikopedia but feel free to research on your own): John Money was critical in the debate on pedophilia. He felt that both sexual researchers and the public do not make distinctions between affectional pedophilia and sadistic pedophilia, including infantophilia (occasionally referred to as nepiophilia), pedophilia and ephebophilia. For Money, affectional pedophilia is about love and not sex.
The focus of my blogs is intentionally inflicted horror and sexual violence on children. Money's view is just as harmful. A child raised to believe that sexual expressions of love are acceptable is still a child of incest. Imagine what it does to a child's psyche when they believe they "willingly" engaged in their own abuse.
John Money was one of the "prestigious" experts who served on the board of the FMSF. He abdicated his position after granting an interview to a magazine devoted to pedophilia. (Interview: John Money. PAIDIKA: The Journal of Paedophilia, Spring 1991, vol. 2, no. 3, p. 5.)
While this example does not involve dissociation, it is a clear example of how pedophiles are at every level of society including the medical field. Who doesn't believe Johns Hopkins isn't one of the best hospitals in the world? Because of my knowledge of this story and following it for more than a decade, as well as my personal history which includes male doctors, I'm wary of any male in a position of authority. Fortunately, now I have my therapist skills which allow me to be assertive and make logical and instinctual decisions about safety. Most survivors have a sixth sense about a person. Some might refer to this as reading another's energy. Bad people have bad energy. I have no other way to explain this ability at the moment.
If you explore the FMSF website, be sure to look at their Scientific Advisory Board of PhD's. One was a colleague of John Money at Johns Hopkins. There is also a note referring to the Wikopedia information, calling it "hostile and false". Please heed advice to have a statistics expert evaluate the validity of any research funded by any member of the FMSF.
What is most frightening is how far the FMSF has permeated the top levels of society. Elizabeth Loftus, a prolific researcher and member of FMSF, has appeared on Oprah. I'm still waiting for Oprah to address the survivors of sophisticated pedophilia. Recently she has been quite vocal about internet pedophiles for which I applaud her. But I implore you to ask her to give time now to adult survivors and experts in the field who treat the survivors. My requests alone are not going to make a difference.
If you have been primarily entrenched in misleading information about DID and delayed memories, please initiate your own balance of information by following links here and at my related blogs for publications by the experts in trauma and dissociation. It is easy to see the hidden agenda of a group whose main commonality is being accused by their children of childhood abuse or those having an affinity for engaging in illicit activities with children such as in the John Money example.
John Money's reach was global. As a renowned researcher at Johns Hopkins, his research went unquestioned (and unretracted long after David Reimer's story became known). The magazine devoted to pedophilia in which Money had granted an interview was also global.
Paidika: The Journal of Paedophilia (1987–1995) was a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal published by the Stichting Paidika Foundation, a Netherlands nonprofit organization. Articles drawn from it are available from a number of pro-pedophile activist websites. Its editor was Joseph Geraci and the editorial board included scientists and authors such as Frits Bernard, Edward Brongersma, Vern L. Bullough, and D. H. (Donald) Mader, some of whom campaigned in pro-pedophile activism. Being a peer-reviewed scholarly journal, Paidika was subscribed to by the British Library and by the Library of Congress. Wikopedia
The past damage caused by the prevalence of skewed and incorrect information about survivors of abuse at the hands of pedophiles can't be undone. We can begin to correct the situation though by allowing the truth to prevail to include embracing adult survivors into mainstream society. Their voices deserve to be heard. Their voices need to be heard to end the plague of pedophilia.
Sep 22, 2008
Children who have DID grow up as the most wounded of the wounded. Yet, because of their unchosen coping mechanism in childhood, their coming out of that state of amnesia can appear as anything from sudden mood changes to not even visible to anyone except one trusted support person. It is rare that a person becomes an ever switching person, going from alter to alter. Most can relate multiple personalities to the movie Sybil. While Sybil's story was an accurate depiction, it condensed years of treatment into a two hour movie. A few things I'd like to clarify about people with DID.
Switching (changing from one dissociated state to another and/or from consciousness to a dissociated state)
Prior to a survivor entering treatment with a therapist, it is possible others may have never noticed. It is generally with a safe person that a person with DID may begin to have dissociated parts come forward. Generally, when a survivor "switches" (think of changing the channel on a television), something has just been said, heard, or seen that triggers the dissociated self out. People who switch frequently are the exception. Someone who is triggered, however, may begin to switch suddenly and rapidly until the PTSD level of adrenaline calms down.
How many do you have?
Dissociated self states (a/k/a alters, parts, ego states) develop differently in each individual with that coping mechanism. Numbers are irrelevant. If a child has one self state who takes over when the host child is angry, that one self state may have that job for the entire life until healed. In another person, their mind might create a new dissociated self state for each trauma memory. Often several self states recall a single trauma but healing would still be the same. Yet another child may create anger self states at various ages. It is not uncommon to find the name of one self state at various ages. In addition to being irrelevant, someone with DID really doesn't know how many are inside. They only know what they know. In other words, DID has the component of amnesia. A person may be substantially healed but find themselves still occasionally working with a self state that surfaces.
I've been using the terms self states, dissociated states, dissociated selves, alters, and parts interchangeably. The literature is not consistent and some argue that there are distinctions among terms. As a therapist, I always asked my client his or her preference for a term. And that's what I used. Sometimes a little humor added to a very serious topic can help give the reader time to catch his or her breath. In that vein, to quote a certain fast food commercial from about 20 years ago, "Parts is parts." At least for purposes of this very broad explanation of a very complex process, the terms are interchangeable. Someone who has DID as the result of a main caretaker (and possibly one or two other family or relationship perps) is going to have less internal turmoil than someone abused from a very early age by many to intentionally induce dissociation. The process of healing alters is the same with some added complexity. But it can be done with a dedicated therapist and a survivor committed to healing.
As for the survivor, coming to terms with having DID can be daunting. While some find it easy to embrace that all parts of themselves did their best to help her survive, others fight it with denial which tends to cause more disruption. For people who have successfully healed, there has been a slow and steady journey of creating an internal world of cooperation and safety. Once that is established, identifying and working with new self states becomes mostly a pattern of allowing the part to speak and to be acknowledged—and especially to see that there is no punishment for telling or crying. Since most parts are dissociated from each other inside, each needs to hear the same messages of current safety. Sometimes, there are families of alters or pairs or groups. In my experience they also heal as a group.
It is important to know that most with DID have the capacity to heal and develop strong coping skills over time to stay present (not switch) and work with assistance from inside rather than alters having to take over externally. There are various phases to healing. I prefer not to label them because I’ve learned even those are different for everyone. The goal is to be functioning to where the survivor is back in control of his or her life rather than having dissociated selves disrupt existence.
Whether at the hands of one or many, the emotional impact is very damaging. Some of the damage is healed as internal parts heal. What remains after functioning returns is learning to work as a unit in a healthy way for interacting with society and in relationships. Realize, those with DID have had different thinking processes and only have known one way to process information. It has been proven through the work of Ellert Nijenhuis and others in The Netherlands that brain connections that disconnected through the dissociative process reconnect in healing. The transformation of a healing survivor is incredibly beautiful.
Unfortunately, while healing survivors have amazing courage and would like to share with their friends and greater outside world, we learn very quickly it is a taboo topic. People would rather not hear or know, some preferring to disbelieve. We hate the people who do this to children and then silence the adults who braved the years of abuse and came through their trauma to heal. It's a very unjust world in this respect.
Sep 19, 2008
And then you start drawing pictures or creating collages like this:
WTF? And there it is. The wtf factor for every memory. One puzzle piece at a time. The above collage had no meaning to the survivor but it is disturbing. One can only imagine but that doesn't help. Because whatever was done by organized pedophiles to intentionally create trauma is impossible for unperverted minds to conjure. That is why we can't make this stuff up. What totally baffles me is how these perverted men for generations and generations have had discussions of the best ways to intentionally induce the worst possible trauma without killing the child and leaving no scars.
The emotional havoc to one's mind and body from remembering bits and pieces of trauma is indescribable. Especially when that first memory ekes out from a world inside that the survivor never knew existed. It may begin in a nightmare and continue when wide awake. It may begin when wide awake and the experience will be terrifying and disorienting. The art the survivor may have been producing or begin to produce might be filled with images with no meaning--some seemingly mundane, others clearly of something awful. When meaning comes to art, it's another whammy. It's not as much an "aha" moment as a "wtf" moment with a bout of terror.
Flashbacks are pieces of frozen trauma playing like a disjointed movie preview. Or the survivor may begin to hear different voices or different noises inside. Other parts screaming or crying internally, heightened senses, a constant state of PTSD for days or weeks at a time are all examples of what a person might experience. It's different for everyone. The common theme is that it sucks. Also, this past trauma surfacing does not feel like it belongs. I initially remembered father abuse as opposed to graveyard things. My first memory with a graveyard was my "wtf" moment.
Survivors don't want to belief it either. It's not like we have these nightmares and assume it happened to us. Once the amnesia begins to leak, it doesn't stop. The best that can happen is a survivor can learn containment and coping skills to better work with the content. It's easy to deny. Especially when the outside world says cults don't exist and people in robes and chanting and graveyards come up again and again.
I had personally set out to prove that what I was remembering couldn't possibly be true only to find information that validated it. Knowing something that awful happened is not accepted easily. So when a survivor says "I was abused by a cult and made to worship satan", it's as incredulous to the survivor as to anyone else who hears it. During my early healing period when I had connected to other survivors for support, we had all figured out on our own there were bad people who were dressing up as something scary in rituals. Realizing we were not alone in our "craziness" was a relief. Something dastardly was going on nationally and globally.
For anyone who has DID, through organized pedophilia or a single pedophile parent, remembering is awful. Finding a good therapist to help is a frightening proposition thanks to the efforts of the people who would have you believe anyone who claims to have been abused in childhood (including a child) is lying or has vastly distorted memories that can't be believed. Actually, that's not the issue for the survivor. The survivors of abuse, for the most part, just want their life back. They want treatment to heal from the emotional devastation and to heal their internal dysfunctional dividedness. Remember that division of self was extremely functional during childhood. It only becomes dysfunctional in adulthood.
No one can attest to the validity of another's memories. Sometimes a survivor has proof for some things. Many have memories that are so accurate as to names, locations, and/or landmarks that it would be absurd for law enforcement not to tap into that knowledge. Survivors remembering sufficiently to get to those other layers is a way to transform the years of suffering at the hands of these disgusting people. Survivors have fought a war. Their bodies have been the battleground. Their minds have been raped. They don't deserve society's scorn when their truth becomes known.
Sep 18, 2008
It may take years to have the complete memory to understand the layers but eventually answers come, to include the charade. Survivors have the capacity to "see" when they were tricked. A term used among survivors is "screen memory". The "screen" is when the organized pedophiles intentionally provided the initial "extreme horrific trauma" scenario in hopes it would cover what they are really doing. Perhaps it was a kiddie porn shoot but hidden beneath a layer of something heinous--the layer that would likely first surface and the survivor would be dismissed as preposterous.
Another type of layering is when an alter believes someone was killed in a despicable manner while another self state may see the charade. Usually a little is called out to witness the horror, real or made-to-appear-real because the little's terror and belief will help disguise whatever the next level is. Here is a series of a survivor's collages showing the same memory stripped down to the charade. We don't have to know what everything means. The common element appears to be someone's heart was isolated from the body.
This would be the horror as seen through images recalled by a child self.
The next layer strips away the scary ceremony and seems more clinical although the placement of the man as upside down indicates something awry.
What's important on the next collage is the image in the upper right. It may be difficult to see in this format, although you can click on it to make it larger. The hand fallen down to the right is hiding what appears to be an IV showing he is not dead. No hearts were harmed in the making of this memory? The survivor's memory is clear that she is being shown the death was "smoke and mirrors".
What does this mean? It means it all goes together. At the highest level of sophisticated pedophile, the elements of all the other lettered survivors are included. The pedophiles are the masked "satanic cult" are the doctors are the soldiers and officers of military bases and whatever else is remembered as frozen in trauma by the victims. No one could make this stuff up--and be consistent with what survivors around the world recall.
Because of the nature of dissociated memories, it is impossible to know exactly what happened because it comes up like a puzzle and each puzzle piece may go with the same puzzle or may go with completely different puzzles. This is what I view as a safety mechanism for healing. If an entire horrific memory were remembered all at once, it might be "too much". Whatever is missing is never something a non-perverted human could ever figure out logically. So that first memory of someone being killed is definitely horrid to remember and to process. It's also possible that down the road, trickery may be revealed.
This is not false memories. This is remembering all the tricks used to deceive the victims. Survivors who remember the entirety of the charade are hoping the perps never anticipated our minds could do that. It might be several decades since the abuse occurred, but it is exactly what is still going on today.
Sep 16, 2008
Since it typically takes three to four decades of a person’s life before remembering dissociated early childhood abuse and beyond, the first survivors “en masse” globally began to surface in the 1980s and 1990s. Therapists were cited as being overly generous with a diagnosis of DID when, in fact, survivors of abuse from the 1950s and 1960s were beginning to wake up.
Large numbers of survivors had horrific (unbelievable) memories related to the military, government, and other high profile locations. Those survivors acquired the letters MC as victims of mind control. In spite of similar elements to the abuse worldwide, this group of survivors was claimed to have high fantasy quotients or very distorted memories or memories implanted by spurious therapists. Apparently these therapists conspired globally to implant the same memories in thousands of survivors for unknown motivation.
Prior to the “epidemic” of DID in the 1990s when the FMSF had to swoop in and sue therapists for causing clients to falsely accuse innocent parents of unfathomable abuse [excuse me while I roll my eyes], there was the category of extremely rare occurrence of DID in survivors claiming to have memories of devil worship and bizarre, unbelievable ceremonies.
These survivors were given the letters SRA for satanic ritual abuse and also claimed to be liars and fabricators and have therapists who were somehow all secretly trained to implant a lifetime of false memories in a client. A history of ceremonies and masks and similar worship goes back to Pagan times but no perverted mind would ever think, “Hey, there’s a good way to abuse children in horrific unbelievable ways and also be able to have our pedophile sex parties with no one bothering us”...or would they?
And of course this type of abuse also occurred in unlikely places such as graveyards or church basements or in buildings where pedophiles gathered under the guise of community organizations. So all survivors who remembered such places had memory that was highly questionable.
The last group of lettered survivors falls under the letters RA for ritual abuse which is abuse of a ritualized nature (religious based or not) but without the satanic elements. Again, survivors worldwide have similar memories of experiences at the hands of pedophiles in this category. I’m advocating that we stop with the letters and simply categorize all abuse of children who remember group activity as under the heading of organized pedophilia.
What I see are different levels of sophistication (technology and knowledge of pedophilia)—not different categories of abused. It doesn’t matter what a survivor remembers because we know it was made to be unbelieved by the pedophiles. We need to look past what gets seared into a child’s trauma memory and hear they were abused in a group setting. I also highly suggest that those not familiar with trauma memory refer to the work of Bessel A. van der Kolk whose research in trauma is renowned and respected in the psychological/psychotherapist professions worldwide.
As survivors are identified and healed sufficiently to take a survey or speak with law enforcement assigned to investigate pedophilia, information can be gathered. Area law enforcement would be able to see similar locations, descriptions, abusers, etc. to know where a particular group gathers (and it would be more than one location in a community). Think of survivors as resources to be treasured. They have knowledge of the pedophile rings from a perspective no one else on this planet has. They also have knowledge of how they were used in the organized pedophile community as they became adults and were manipulated in dissociated states. That insight would be quite an eye opener for the country, I’m sure.
A large percentage of survivors who recall groups of abusers have kiddie porn memories and startle responses to cameras, clicking noises of cameras, flash bulbs, and more. This is the common denominator. Pedophiles are using the children in their rings to earn huge sums of money marketing kiddie porn and beyond (when adults in dissociative states continue to be drawn into the ring)...not to mention fulfilling their perverse proclivities.
No more ABCs. We all need to acknowledge that pedophiles have various levels of technology, knowledge, and access to various populations. Children could become prey to any group of pedophiles—and pedophiles at different levels exchange knowledge and techniques so many similar elements will be found across all groups. It’s time to take the blame off the survivors and realize they would not have DID if they hadn’t been repeatedly traumatized prior to age 6! Children don’t acquire DID in a vacuum. Something happened. Something very very bad.
Sep 15, 2008
You might not categorize what you hear inside as "hearing voices" but they are there. When you reach for that second piece of cheesecake, you might hear "You know you're going to have to pay for that" or some other critical message. You might also hear "Go ahead. You deserve it. You haven't treated yourself in awhile." You might categorize that as a thought. Either way, it's a message you "hear".
In the medical and psychiatric community, anyone admitting to voices was likely diagnosed as schizophrenic. While there are some similarities, a main difference is someone with schizophrenia will describe voices outside of the self telling him to do something (from the television, from aliens, from demonic voices).
An objective of therapy is to change the messages to something positive and supportive--not to get rid of the messages.
Anyone with DID is likely to describe her experience using different words. Those of us who have had that moment when the first horrific memory leaks through is beyond description. As depicted in one of the collages, "It sucks". It's like falling into a black hole. "It feels like my head is going to explode". Dizziness may overwhelm the person.
Responses to knowing there are other aspects of the self inside vary from terrified to feelings of reassurance. Many have initially described "a lot of noise" inside. For someone with DID, hearing a voice is good. It means a self state is crossing over into consciousness. Healing can't occur until a trauma becomes conscious. Trauma becomes known to the healing host when it is conveyed by one or more self states who experienced the trauma. The message may come from telling of the trauma, writing the trauma, conveying the trauma internally on a "movie screen" (less intrusive than a flashback), through art (real or metaphorical images), flashbacks (which appear as a "real" moment of trauma happening in the mind) where one or more senses engaged in the original trauma might re-enact images, pain, and/or position of the body as well as the emotions including terror. Flashbacks are intense.
All of my abuse feels like it was told to me by someone else. It has never felt "first person". I've had validation for some important information to know that at least some elements were true. I can never know how much was real or a very well orchestrated environment to make it appear certain things happened. Whatever happened--and something happened or a trauma would not have been stored--needs to heal. The self states who recall a trauma may come together to relay the memory or the host might receive the same memory from several parts at different times on the healing journey. The images shared in this post are two views of the same memory by alters of different ages.
Because of the fear to tell, sometimes drawing or collaging can feel less intimidating to the self states, all of whom were constantly threatened if they ever told. An advantage to art is it provides an outlet for the self states to process memories that the host may never need to know. She just sees images that have no meaning or may come to have meaning further down the healing path. The mind is incredible when it comes to watching how others have the capacity to heal. Several of the excellent survivor blogs I follow present art therapy. It's a wonderful tool. Art is telling in a different way.
This is such a complex topic and the purpose of this blog is to simplify the complex so readers can get a good feeling without all the details. Know that an objective of healing is for the host to embrace that she is multiple and work with her selves, as they become known, to heal. Are there scary insiders? Yes. But they all have the capacity to heal. And often the scariest parts turn out to be a very young scared child "made to be" mean or scary. They are so relieved to be rescued.
It's rare that a healing survivor does not discover protectors. Protectors can be a stabilizing, reassuring voice throughout the healing journey and beyond. Protectors come in various states of being, at various ages, with various jobs. Some might encompass very loving and nurturing traits much needed by littles who have never known safety in the outside world. Some may become internal friends to the healing adult. I often describe the major part of healing as becoming very internal. The survivor may well withdraw from her external world except for therapy and other support or responsibilities such as wife and mother.
On the far side of healing, either the host makes a natural transition back to the outside world or, in my case, protectors push you out because it's no longer healthy to be inside as much. Healing from DID is similar to watching a flower bloom. The host opens one petal at a time and learns how to maintain growth and nurturing and self care to continue blooming. It's an arduous process. Having those internal friends is a blessing. Knowing those selves protected us from the horrors is difficult for most to imagine. It allows for an element of internal trust to guide the healing when the survivor is not knowing who in the external world is trustworthy. It is for those with DID who have been so shattered that they constantly fear what is happening inside in addition to not trusting the outside world that self harm thoughts and attempts are increased and healing becomes extremely challenging.
People with DID grow up being silenced in every possible way. How tragic they awake to a world that continues to silence the truth and treats them so cruelly. Ignorance is not bliss for the world. Please open your minds to all of the voices trying to speak the truth.
Sep 14, 2008
Apparently it is not uncommon for abuse survivors to change their last name to dis-associate from a perp parent. Most anyone would laugh at my name history. I couldn't believe it was on the incest checklist. (Most with DID would score extremely high on the Secret Survivor checklist.) Outside of that, I could see that I always had a very intense internal world. I created a "safe place" with protectors when I was 5. I met several survivors who had done something similar. I would "pretend" that certain television characters were my real relatives--loving, protective, safe. I had inside imaginary friends. I loved to nap and sleep because I liked being inside more than outside where I was sad and lonely.
The others with DID who had done this absorbed one particular television show with a healthy family and that was their pretend world and family. Some did have very memorable external childhood imaginary friends (in addition to or in lieu of).
Until that first abuse memory hits though, and that amnesia barrier begins to crack, people with DID usually have no idea they were abused and can't imagine having been. We all say, "I would have REMEMBERED THAT!" Well, no. If you have amnesia, you wouldn't remember. People with DID, where the amnesia is in tact, are clueless about the reality of their childhoods and any present danger.
There is no typical way someone will behave if they have DID but not identified as such. It is as invisible as the pedophiles for most and usually misdiagnosed many times even after clear symptoms present. If a child or young person begins to remember while still in that organized pedophile community, that community will use all of its resources to try to stop the remembering. If the person goes to therapy, in my experience with two people still actively being abused, the person becomes a greater target for abuse and the therapist does as well in hopes one will be too afraid to continue.
I was aware of my client's perps because I don't dissociate my environment any longer. I realized how *I* (the one holding the conscious memories of my life) never saw my environment. At the time I began to heal, I realized I missed years/decades of news and had/have virtually no name or face recognition skills. It was all tuned out without realizing such a mechanism existed.
If parts of me knew about others around me who were part of my abuse, *I* never knew prior to the memories. It felt like a life. I had worked through most of the issues in therapy on some level which, I believe, gave me an advantage over many survivors. Depression, anxiety to include panic attacks, full blown Post Traumatic Stress responses to known and unknown triggers, all require the development of coping skills. DID, by necessity, takes coping skills to a new level.
No one knew. Aside from some odd habits which I now understand, I thought my life was normal. Being diagnosed with DID and remembering just a piece of the abuse can be life shattering. Who was I that I lived a life not knowing of such harm? How could this have happened? Maybe it only happened once. Initially there can be very strong denial. Who would blame someone for not wanting to remember a horrific past? There is no going back though.
Likely all survivors have a moment (or two or three) when they wish their minds would just go back to not knowing again. It was so much easier that way. But at what cost?
One method very easily available to those wanting to cause a child to dissociate is one vehemently denied by even some who work with survivors. I'm not sure why it sounds so absurd. Do you recall ever being spun around by your hands or a hand and foot by a playful relative because you thought it was fun to be dizzy afterward? In such cases, the child can yell out if it's too much and the adult can (hopefully) gauge when fun crosses over into scary.
A child spun around with the intention of disorientation becomes frightened by the "spinning" alone. Unfortunately, there is usually at least one other element to overwhelm and terrify the child. Survivors worldwide have recalled being spun seemingly endlessly on devices similar to playground rides where someone will run around to spin the others seated on the ride (a roundabout?). A large circle on a spinning device--think very fast merry go round--or even a swivel chair can be used. It doesn't have to be sophisticated. Being dangled upside down in a variety of ways is both terrifying and disorienting. Add dunking in water, bright lights, insects or snakes and you have a trauma situation. Further add a drug that causes another element of disorientation and blurred vision or possibly hallucinations, and you can assure the child will have to "leave the body" to endure what is happening.
I would ask why this is so unbelievable. Possibly the disbelief is in the element of intentionality. My point is that intentional dissociation is the main objective of organized pedophiles. There are many names "out there" for what is done. The names given to such a simple act of torment causes people to dismiss the entirety of what is said. The reality is that "spinning" can be connected by very sophisticated pedophiles to certain memories and even perpetrators. It works like this: the survivor begins to have memories surface about an incident (place, date, perp, some tiny detail) and the survivor immediately is overwhelmed with strong feelings of dizziness, nausea, and other factors to take the attention off the memory and onto what is happening with the body. We don't have to understand how this is done. Frankly, I don't want to know that much.
As a survivor, I had to wade through many memories where an element of "spinning" had to be processed to stop the horrid feeling. A very traumatic memory connected to spinning can cause a survivor to be down (incapable of functioning) for days or even weeks at a time. Apparently barns are popular sites for abuse to include spinning. It is a common element in the memories of many survivors at least in the United States. They have lots of room in a protected environment. They are also nice and isolated.
Spinning is one way a child may try to tell a safe adult--turning around frequently until losing her balance, doing somersaults endlessly, wanting to be spun around repeatedly. Messages can only come out in indirect ways if the child has dissociated. And what about babies who have no voice or ability to act out?
We all know about shaken baby syndrome. Someone could spin a baby around in any number of ways to the point where the baby was overwhelmed. The baby can't tell and it leaves no marks. This is the pedophile mindset. It's very gritty. Toughen your senses so we can obliterate it. Please.
Sep 13, 2008
The following information is a culmination of my own recollection of abuse, my personal research, knowledge shared by other survivors both in person and online through support networks, and my experience as a therapist with recovering clients and colleagues who treat dissociation. To cause an infant or child to dissociate, various techniques are used. I’m only going to offer a brief view of two of the most commonly recalled techniques by victims at all levels of pedophilia: bombarding the senses or depriving the senses with a “special” twist.
Overwhelming the senses is when the child is subjected for long periods of time to:
Listen to loud music, bells, or other ear piercing sounds
Eat extremely foul tasting substances
Non-stop talking (usually taped or broadcasted messages of loyalty under threat or subliminal instructions for “x”)
View extremely graphic video/movie
Have glaring light shine into eyes (eyes held open with tape or other means)
Several people constantly touching exposed areas of skin
Sexual abuse in conjunction with any of the above
Placement in very cold environment (tub, large freezer) or very warm/hot environment
Repeated submersion in water
Usually each sense is overwhelmed by at least one method.
All senses overstimulated simultaneously causes a child’s coping mechanisms to be too overwhelmed to “stay” in the body. This is where many survivors will describe viewing the memory from “floating on the ceiling” or standing next to what was happening. You might recall the scene in Conspiracy Theory where Mel Gibson is subjected to bright lights while repeatedly immersed in water. That's a bit of insight for what happens to children.
Remember when Michael Jackson had a sensory deprivation tank for calm and relaxation? Okay I’m giving an age clue. Absence of sound or light can be very soothing when desired. When forced upon a child, however, there can be emotionally damaging consequences.
The following are common elements of abuse that fall into the category of sensory deprivation (see, speak, hear no evil combined with no taste and no smell):
It’s not just the elimination of the senses that causes the trauma for intentionally perpetrated sensory deprivation. It’s the one element that introduces terror while the child has no ability to defend or even scream. This would be memories of being “buried alive”, closed in a box, or otherwise shut off from light, ability to speak, ability to move arms or legs. The terror element is intentionally inflicted. The unbelievability factor definitely applies here. It's something most normal people cannot possibly imagine and so it is difficult to hear and easier to dismiss than believe pedophiles are capable of such harm to a child.
These are examples that have surfaced worldwide for survivors: pick an insect—any insect—crawling around on the child, snakes placed in the container or room. I’m afraid that’s all I will divulge here. It gets worse. Think CSI, Bones, Dexter.
Can a child be made to believe certain things are on her when eyesight cannot confirm? Of course. The Halloween “fun house” where you place your hand blindly into wet spaghetti is an example. I can safely state that most survivors cannot even fathom allowing themselves to enter any “fun house” on purpose. We like to know exactly what is what. No tricks. A young child is very impressionable. It doesn’t matter if the terror element is “real”. The child believes it is real. They are told it is real. The validation for survivors is when seeing ants or snakes or spiders or (fill in the blank) causes an over-the-top startle response. When a child has no ability to physically escape or defend, the only alternative is to “leave the body”—otherwise known as dissociation.
Sensory deprivation can be used effectively by a single perp with a single child to induce the desired dissociative response. It has been used for centuries passed down through the generations by incestuous families and is a proven method for organized pedophile rings.
Sep 12, 2008
Child Abuse Statistics in the USA
- Children ages 0-3 are the most likely to experience abuse. About 1 in 50 U.S. infants are victims of nonfatal child abuse or neglect in a year, according to the first national study of the problem in that age group done by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention along with The Federal Administration for Children and Families.1
- 1,500 children die every year from child abuse and neglect. That is just over 4 fatalities every day.
- 79% of the children killed are younger than 4.
Sep 6, 2008
Sexual abuse most commonly occurs by an individual known by the victim, parent or other family member (intrafamilial). Rarely is the abuser a stranger. Children who become brave enough to overcome the threats and coercion to remain silent may decide to recant accusations of abuse due to fear of retaliation by the perpetrator or other family members. They may also recant out of fear of losing contact with the perpetrator who is commonly a family member or close friend tied to the family by various social means. (The double bind of "I love you"/"I hate you.")
Incest victims are mostly unreported so are not included in the statistic for reported abuse. Of reported cases:
33% of sexual abuse victims are under age 6
33% are 6-12 years old
33% are 12-18 years old.
In 1995, local child protection service agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse.
- Of these, 75% were girls.
- Nearly 30% of child victims were between the age of 4 and 7.
Data from 2002 National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) indicates that approximately 4.6 million children were reported to child protective service agencies as purported victims of child maltreatment. Of that number over 88,000 children were documented as sexually abused.
At the community level, epidemiology studies of adults have found that 15 to 33% of females and 13 to 16% of males were sexually abused in childhood.
Different studies use different methodology for their statistics. The statistic found to be most on target in the community of therapists who treat survivors of sexual abuse, is 1 in 4 women are victims of sexual assault. Even for adults, rape is more often someone known to the victim.
The entirety of incest victims will always be unknown because of the secrecy factor. A statistic cited in this blog's second post is:
Some estimates show 20 million Americans have been victimized by parent incest as children. (Jeffrey Turner, 1996). As cited at the website for The National Center for Victims of Crime.
...it is estimated there is one pedophile for every square mile in our country, everywhere from big cities to small rural communities.
Given the enormity of the prevalence of incest survivors and abuse statistics for those under age 12, it is more probable that DID exists in closer to 1 out of every 10-20 incest survivors. In populations such as those seeking counseling through YWCAs and other survivor centers, the statistics are prone to be higher for a therapist to have someone present with DID.
While many therapists claim they have never seen a case of DID, it is more likely the therapist is not trained to identify symptoms and therefore "does not see". In addition, because of lack of training, even if someone did see signs of dissociation, the treating individual might be inclined to treat the person as if dissociation were not present. For those therapists who recommend the patient see someone who does treat dissociation, there are insufficient numbers of therapists in many areas of the country to treat the number of survivors.
Kudos to schools open to education to identify dissociation in children, which is relatively easy to spot in the classroom. Again, however, the societal problem is lack of qualified therapists to treat the child. Part of this unwillingness of therapists to be trained to assess and treat dissociation are the efforts of the media and groups such as the FMSF who have targeted experts in the field for lawsuits and shattered their lives and careers.
On the positive side, excellent training is available through organizations such as ISSTD. Sometimes therapists who first encounter DID are willing to learn as they go. A therapist willing to learn on behalf of the client is how many enter the field of dissociation.
For survivors unsure about whether they might be dissociative, Marlene Steinberg's book, Stranger in the Mirror, has an excellent section of self evaluations. It's a good safe start, although admittedly disarming if you score in the range of likely dissociation. Remember that symptoms may not mean dissociation or DID for you. Symptoms may go with another issue. Don't make any immediate assumptions about yourself until you are able to speak with a qualified therapist.
Sep 2, 2008
Fear is not a sufficiently strong word for situations in which a child is placed to create terror. Terror is a necessary factor to ensure dissociation. Terror is also the means for creating the trauma memory that locks in components of the intentionally bizarre and incomprehensible abuse. Fear of telling is so embedded into the brains of victims, the level of panic when the abuse is remembered brings up more terror than most can possibly imagine. What may appear as paranoia to someone who wakes from a life of amnesia from years of abuse is coming from threats and horrific experiences where the victim may have tried to tell or was placed in to reinforce what would happen if she told.
It doesn't matter whether elements were real or not real. Organized pedophiles have access to extreme technology. They were using virtual reality long before it was known to the greater world. If you have ever experienced virtual reality, you can understand why a child would believe they just witnessed something "real". This is not to minimize any survivor's memory of actual horror. As a survivor, I'm saying I really don't know what was real or manufactured to appear real. What is absolutely genuine are the emotions of tremendous fear of a perp (if recalled), fear of perps coming to lock up those who remember *and never get out because whatever you tell they will think you are crazy*, fear of an abuser showing up on your doorstep and killing you. I probably spent several months in that heightened state of fear/paranoia and have residual PTSD after many years of healing.
A therapist's job is to help provide the client with coping skills to work through the emotions and provide new messages of current life safety and view the child messages "through adult eyes". Healing from the terror is the main objective. Imagine not having ever felt safe in your lifetime. Many survivors have no crossover of fear into their conscious lives. The best scenario is that the fear/anxiety/panic attacks do crossover so the individual seeks therapy. Learning coping skills for anxiety is helpful for survivors when that tremendous fear wells up if/when they begin to remember. If that component isn't in place, it is difficult for a survivor to *hear* coping skills while in a state of panic.
For many, a compassionate therapist knowledgeable in working with that level of fear becomes the first safe person. The therapist's office may become the first safe place. Becoming that first connection to safety is an honor and also essential to healing.