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Archive for June, 2010

After I returned home, Irate stayed out. I later learned that this state of consciousness is called “co-consciousness.” Both Irate and Faye were kind of “sharing” the decision-making. Of course, as Irate’s name suggests, this was an angry alter part, and I stayed angry for weeks. Hub was very confused. He knows how annoying my mother is, but he thought I was really overreacting.

I started having “conversations” in my head with Irate. By this, I mean that I would “think” a question or statement, and I would experience a “loud thought” in response that did not seem to originate with me. I had read enough about dissociative identity disorder (DID) in passing to understand what an alter part was, but I was baffled as to why I would have one. After all, outside of some spiritual and emotional abuse, I had no memories of any “real” abuse. I was truly baffled.

I did some online research and learned about a term called dissociation. I could relate to the description, such as the “floaty feeling” I experienced whenever I was around my mother. I also felt dissociated when Irate was present and taking charge. So, I decided I did not have DID but did have some sort of dissociation issue. I would learn about it and “fix” myself.

I read the book The Myth of Sanity by Martha Stout and learned a lot about dissociation. I learned that it runs on a continuum with normal dissociation on the left, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the middle, and DID on the right. Between PTSD and DID were the dissociative disorders, which I assumed that I must have to account for Irate’s presence, but I was convinced that I did not have PTSD because that was “serious,” and nothing I had ever been through was “that bad.”

I read horrific stories of Dr. Stout’s patients that explained why they developed alter parts. I was so confused because I was certain that I had never suffered from any sort of abuse and certainly not sexual abuse. After all, I was a virgin for my husband, and being a virgin in my teens and early twenties was such an important thing to me.

I knew that if I had suffered serious enough physical abuse to cause DID, then there would be some sort of medical record, so I had to consider the possibility that perhaps I had been sexually abused. I worked up my courage and called my sister. I asked her if she had any memory of me being abused in any way as a child. She said, “I don’t know for sure, but I have a very bad feeling about mom.” The second she said it, I re-experienced the oral sex flashback that I had experienced the year before. In that moment, I knew that my mother had sexually abused me and that I was opening a Pandora’s box.

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In 2003, when my son was two years old, my mother had surgery and needed someone to take care of her at home for about a week. My sister and I decided to split the time. I really did not want to do it, but I believed it was my duty. So, I drove my son six hours to her house, where my mother’s friend had just dropped her off from the hospital.

The house was beyond disgusting, with spider webs on the light fixtures and lots of dust everywhere. I have dust allergies and developed a severe sinus infection within two days of being there. She made no preparations whatsoever before surgery. There was no food in the house, and I had to blow up my own air mattress to have somewhere to sleep.

I was so angry. My mother would fall asleep and not make any noise, and a part of me joyfully hoped she had died. I (my host personality) was appalled by these thoughts. I was a complete emotional wreck spending 72 hours with my mother under her roof again. I thought I was going mad.

My mother awakened me at 2:00 a.m. and told me I had to go to the 24-hour Wal-Mart to pick up some medication for her. She lives in a rural area, so that meant I would be driving alone on unfamiliar country roads to drive 20 miles just to buy this medication that could not possibly wait until the morning. My son was fast asleep, so I left him in his portable crib.

When I returned about an hour later, my mother told me that my son had awakened while I was gone (something that rarely, if ever, happened) and that she had gone into his room. An alter part (Irate) immediately took over, but Faye (host personality) did not go away. I felt like I was pushed to the side of my consciousness – like I was watching myself from the right corner of my head. My body was moving and talking, but I was not the one doing the moving or talking.

Irate grabbed my son, brought him into my room, and then slammed and locked the door. Irate kept saying, “Did that crazy woman hurt you? Mommy never should have left you alone with her.” My mind was flooded with fear that my mother had sexually abused my son, and I (Faye) was baffled as to why I would be experiencing these “loud thoughts.” These were thoughts racing inside of my head (not external voices), but they did not feel like “my” thoughts.

The next day, my mother asked me to leave, even though my sister would not arrive until the following day. I didn’t wait to be asked twice and peeled out of her house as quickly as I could move. She never even thanked me.

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Photo credit: Hekatekris

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*******trigger warning – sexual abuse*******

Throughout my young adulthood (twenties to mid-thirties), I knew that I was powerfully f@#$ed in the head: I just didn’t know why. I had obsessive compulsive disorder, an eating disorder (binge eating), suffered from nightmare and night terrors, had phobias, struggled with intense anxiety and depression, and had regular panic attacks. I thought these were all unrelated issues.

I would also struggle with getting lightheaded anytime I was around my mother, and I had trouble remembering our time together after the fact. I also knew that I hated my mother, but I didn’t know why, and other people would tell me I was a horrible person for hating my mother. I also battled my faith because, while I was drawn toward a faith, I didn’t want anything to do with any being who saw my mother as a “godly” woman.

I read numerous self-help books, but I could not untangle my own psyche. I simply was not ready. I kept journals about my dreams because they were so vivid and disturbing, but I couldn’t understand what they meant.

In my mid-thirties, I became aware of having an alter part. As I lay in my bed at night trying to fall asleep, I would feel someone “step into my face.” I could feel the shape of my face physically change. I would race to the mirror but could not see a difference.

I remember crying heavily one night and begging myself to understand why. I told myself that I was ready to remember, whatever it was. I had my first body flashback: I could feel someone performing oral sex on me. I forced myself to see the person’s face. I assumed it would be my father because that’s how it always goes in the made-for-TV movies, but it was my mother’s face I saw. I shut it all back down because I simply was not ready to deal with that. I had no memory of any of this the next morning and did not recall it again until a few years later.

I knew that I needed therapy, but I feared that I would lose my baby (who I had adopted) because I was “crazy.” I was so fearful of being crazy just like my mother. I had no answers until the fateful night that my son and I spent the night at my mother’s house. That’s when my healing process began, changing my life forever.

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Photo credit: Hekatekris

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*******trigger warning – sex*******

As I shared before, my host personality Faye truly believed that I was a virgin until she gave herself to hub shortly before our wedding. I had built up in my head that sex was the be-all and end-all of the universe, and I was sorely disappointed. I felt an enormous amount of shame, which I attributed to being a “slut” for having intercourse with my fiancé three weeks before our wedding. I completely “dried up” on our honeymoon, and we had to buy lubricant to keep him from hurting me during sex.

This didn’t end. Hub was very frustrated at having waited 2-1/2 years to have sex with me, only to have my body feel like it was “fighting him.” I had no libido at all. I faked it for years. I heard that sex got better with practice, but it never did. Hub has gone through phases over the year of being down on himself to being angry with me for not being attracted to him, etc.

On top of this, we couldn’t get pregnant when we tried to become parents four years into our marriage. On top of sex being unenjoyable, now it was a full-fledged chore where everything revolved around fertility timing. This went on for 4-1/2 years until we finally adopted our son.

I was actually thin when hub and I dated. Moving to another state to get far away from my mother did wonders for my figure, and I had a nice trim figure for years. Then, we moved back to my hometown, where I had to see my mother on a regular basis, and the pounds started creeping up. The infertility treatments put me over the edge. Not only did I not have a healthy mother-daughter relationship; now life was denying me the opportunity to have a mother-child relationship on the other end.

I stumbled upon the connection between very sick fantasies and sexual excitement long before recovering any memories of the sexual abuse. I would feel nothing at all until I imagined that 20 people were standing around watching. Then, my body would respond, resulting in an orgasm that made me feel empty, sick, and filled with shame. I also found that particular positions that repeated the sexual abuse would excite my body but result in extreme self-hatred afterward.

Sex is an area of my life that I still have not healed. I have made very firm boundaries about what I am willing to do, and I have banished repeating the abuse in my head, even if it means that I never “enjoy” sex again. I wish I had more words of wisdom in this area, but this continues to be an area of pain and struggle in my life.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I went to graduate school after college. I got into my dream school, and my mother offered to pay in full (including living expenses) if I went there and turned down three full scholarships to other schools. That kept me wed to her for another three years. Big mistake.

My sister, who was now 18, was my roommate. My mother told me she was doing “tough love” with my sister and would not pay her half of the living expenses unless she went to school. Meanwhile, she told my sister that she was giving me lots of money to support both of us and that I was keeping it all to myself. It took my sister and me years to unravel the lies of our mother pitting us against each other.

My mother randomly decided not to pay my car insurance as finals were coming up. One week before finals, I received an insurance cancellation notice. I called my mother to ask WTF?? She told me that she was not going to pay it because I was irresponsible. Of course, I had no way to raise a few hundred dollars when I was in the middle of finals and had no job. I felt backed into a corner, and that is when Irate (a protector alter part) came out. That was the first and only time I confronted my mother, even though I (as Faye) had no idea what I was really doing.

I told my mother, “You already f@#$ed me as a child. You are not going to f@#$ me as an adult!!!!” She hung up on me. I called her back in a complete rage, and she hung up again. I have since learned that she got out a gun, loaded it, and almost blew her head off. She wrote about the incident in a self-published “book” she wrote. In her version, I called her up and was “nasty” to her. She says she does not remember why I called or what the argument was over, only that she was suicidal after we hung up.

I married a man I met in graduate school. I suspect a big part of the timing was to get the h@#$ away from my mother. He could protect me from her. My mother slept in the same bed as me on the night before my wedding. Not surprisingly, I was awake all night.

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Photo credit: Hekatekris

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*******trigger warning – sexual abuse*******

I had a couple of traumatizing incidents in college that I have since recovered through flashbacks. I suspect there is another one from high school because I am aware of the lost time, but I guess I am not ready to deal with that one yet. A girl from high school feels very bonded to me (even up to the last high school reunion), and I have no memory of her.

The first story involved a party. I have always remembered that I was going to go on a double-date to a party and then to a picnic. I was friends with one of the guys (S). He was going with a woman (B) on my hall in the dorm, and I was going with one of his acquaintances. We decided go to a party together as a foursome and then to a big picnic the following week.

Here is what I have always remembered – We went to the party. I had no memory of the party. We returned. I said, “I guess I will see you at the picnic” to S, and B was giving me a dirty look. My date was not there. S said, “I don’t think that would be a good idea.” I didn’t know what he meant, but I agreed. S stopped dating B after that. B hated me after that night and even got the entire hall to pick sides – her or me. B would leave mean messages on my door. I even tried asking her what I had done to offend her, and she said I knew d@$# well what I had done. I was completely baffled.

Through a flashback, I filled in the blanks. Short version – someone at the party either knew me or knew how to trigger me. I switched and was the compliant victim again. He took me to a back room, and I performed oral sex on almost every guy at that party. S found out what was going on, told all the guys that they were @$$holes, and removed me from the party immediately. He was always very nice to me up until I transferred to another school after my freshman year.

Story #2 happened at a different school. I have always remembered that my boyfriend R dumped me for refusing to have sex with him. (I, as Faye, believed I was a virgin.) He wanted to get back together, but I didn’t. I remember going to his dorm room to talk, leaving and feeling pain, and being surprised that my period was early. However, the blood went away after one day and then my period came two weeks later. I was confused, and I was fearful of being alone with R after that.

I started dating someone else I wasn’t into (a pattern) as protection from R. R spread rumors that I was pregnant with his baby but trying to pass it off as my new boyfriend’s baby. I was baffled because we had never slept together. Through a flashback, I have recovered the memory of R raping me in his dorm room that day.

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Photo credit: Hekatekris

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*******trigger warning – suicide & religion*******

From the perspective of Faye, after my father died, I went from sleeping all the time to having terrible insomnia. I would be awake until the wee hours of the morning and barely able to function at school. I also started having severe suicidal urges.

Feelings of suicide were not new, but this was different. The feelings were much more intense, and I knew that I had to die in a very particular way. When I dabbled with suicidal urges before, I thought about swallowing pills. However, this time I wanted to use a knife or razor blade and “watch the lifeblood flow out of me.” I also knew that I wanted to die in my mother’s bathroom.

I waited until I had the house to myself. I took my mother’s razor and locked myself in her bathroom. She had a large sunken bathtub in the middle of the bathroom that I could walk around, and I paced around it for a long time, crying and begging God to give me one reason not to go through with it. The suicidal urges were overwhelming, and I just wanted the pain to stop and to be with my dead father.

Something deep inside of me (God?? An alter part??) fought back. I had “loud thoughts” that said, if I could just hold on a little bit longer, I would be okay. In my head, I knew that I only had to survive a few more months, and then I would leave for college. However, the urges were so strong. I could see myself slashing up my arm and watching the lifeblood flow out of me until I died. Somehow, I found the courage to fight my way out of that bathroom, and I made a life decision that, no matter what, I would not end my life that way.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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