On Dissociation: Part Two (Svali Blog Post)
This information was mirrored from https://web.archive.org/web/20050909211245/http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/ritual_abuse/39909
Survivors Speak Out: On dissociation, part two:
Frank, a male survivor of ritual abuse both in the U.S. and Canada, shares what being DID means to him:Being DID has made me feel distrustful of people at times. There was so much hurt to me, and that’s why I dissociated, so my protectors don’t trust a lot. It has made me hate God at times, too, since I wonder why I have to have this inside, why I have to deal with it. It isn’t always easy, trust me.
One good thing: at work, I can work longer and harder than most people, because there are more of me! I work outside in the hot sun, so that helps. Also, I have lots of interests, more than you would expect, since so many inside people like different things. It’s never boring, never, inside. I have always had a valley inside, since I was little, peopled with animals, dragons, and people that comforted me when I was going through the worst times.The animals inside still have trouble believeing that they are part of a human being; they protected me through so much that it was easier pretending that I was an animal than a person.
Abigail, a survivor of ritual abuse, discusses the effects of being DID in her life:We were preliminary diagnosed with DID in 1993 and then officially in 1995. Up until diagnosis, nothing made much sense. We would have what we called circle days where you start your day doing something and at the end of the day you’re right back where you started. We suffered more from the lack of knowledge and understanding and were the target of much verbal abuse, loss of friends, lacked defenses against abuse to even recognize it, extremely low self esteem, couldn’t account for time or things said or done or not done and suffered much verbal degredation and recrimination for ‘mistakes’. What couldn’t be explained was taken on as something that was our fault.
After the diagnosis, alot of this has remained the same except, now I recognize abuse and will fight to get to the position to stand up against it. When I’ve lost time, etc. internal communication helps me put the pieces together. We (me and my others) don’t regularly work cooperatively together but we do more of that now and days go much smoother for the most part. Circle days are becoming rarer, especially as integration takes place. Self esteem is at a better level but not where it needs to be to be called healthy…but it’s getting there.
Strategies to cope/help are making sure I listen to my others and communicate with them. Making time for my others to orient with the present and find or fulfill a dream of theirs before they integrate. Notes and keeping calendars especially. I keep a calendar on the wall in my room…those write on kinds. I keep a small calendar with me to write appointments in when I’m at therapy, drs. etc. I keep an organizer to keep track of everything, calendar, lists, phone numbers, expenses, etc. and I keep a calendar and note pad in my car. At the end of the day or beginning of the day, I review all these to update them and then list out what my day holds even to the most minute detail such as 6am – take a shower.
My struggles are identifying boundaries and maintaining them. I have a very demanding husband and very demanding children who are adults but living at home. I struggle with the perception of everything having to be perfect and perfectly done because I fear punishment, rejection, verbal abuse, emotional detachment, etc. from others. I’m like a tightly wound clock just about every day. I can’t think of any joys being DID outside of finding people through the internet that are like me and we can share and identify with each other, encouraging each other as we heal. Humor? Well after my diagnosis and telling my husband and kids about it and what it means. About a year later, my son was cleaning his closet and decided that he didn’t have enough room, nor did he want any of his friends to see that he had a couple of suits in his closet. So he put them in mine. Learning some of the signs of multiplicity, varying clothes being one of them, you can imagine my expression and reaction at finding a couple of men’s suits in my closet! I was completely flabbergasted! My son, seeing my distress, quickly told me what he had done and why they were there. That provided some relief except for a male alter about my son’s size took a real liking to the suits, shoes included. I have more female alters so out in public, we over power his desire so we don’t look completely out of whack. :o)
Svali, a survivor of ritual abuse, discusses her DID:I have been working hard to bring everyone together. I admire what my people took for me so much. If they hadn’t been there, I would never have survived, I would be a blithering idiot or psychotic. I have told them thank you many many times. It’s hard, though, when parts who were so invested in the cult, in working for them and thought they had moved up the ladder, got pissed at me for leaving. Or when untrusting parts try to sabotage therapy, or friendships, because some of them to this day don’t trust ANYONE and probably never will. I am co-conscious with most, if not all, of them, though, and they cooperate so I can work and be a Mom. I think some of them are really cool, especially Brogan. He’s my favorite, he has an Irish accent and is really smart and helps me out if I need good advice. It’s neat to be able to ask myself for advice when I need it, and get an answer!
Not all survivors of ritual abuse dissociate or become DID. In response to the question “If present, how has dissociation affected you” Eric responds:N/A. Although the cracks are there, I never fragmented in a significant way.
Ian, an eleven year old survivor of ritual abuse, shares a younger perspective:My protectors are cool. When I was in California, Jason, one of my inside people who was taught to fight by the cult, could beat ANYONE in a fight. I got into lots of fights at school, because if someone teased me or upset me, Jason would come out. Now, I don’t fight as much, I get along with people better. I’m the one who goes to school and does stuff, and he doesn’t have to step in for me. But I worry that I’m getting weaker, that I can’t fight as good since he doesn’t come out as much. I also have someone inside, Mei, who can do karate. It is awesome when he comes out, because I never learned it, but he sure does. He won’t let anyone ever beat me up.
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