Archive for March, 2011

A reader asked if I have ever written a blog about how to deal with having been pregnant by your abuser. The answer is no, so I am going to write about this topic today. I am infertile, so I (obviously) have never gotten pregnant through rape. This means that I cannot talk about what it feels like firsthand. However, I can share a few insights that I have picked up along the way from other people who have either gotten pregnant by rape or were conceived by rape. I hope that others who have gotten pregnant by rape will post supportive comments.

I know one child abuse survivor who became pregnant by rape in her teens. Her abuse started when she was around eight years old, so she did not split into alter parts. She always remembered numerous abuses and assumed that she remembered all. Recovering the memory of having become pregnant by her abuser and being forced to have an abortion was incredibly traumatizing for her. The rapes, the pregnancy, and the abortion were all three different levels of trauma for her.

I read the story of another woman who became pregnant by rape. She chose to give birth to the baby (rather than abort) and place the baby for adoption. While her growing belly was a constant reminder of the rape, she also recognized that the baby was also “half her,” and she loved the baby despite the baby’s beginnings. She wrote her story from a place of peace – of seeing her baby as the good that came out of such a horrible situation. She also felt good about the happiness that the baby brought to its adoptive parents.

I have spoken online with adult adoptees who were conceived by rape. (They absolutely loathe the term “product of rape,” so don’t use it.) Most of them were placed into adoptive homes, but they struggle to come to terms with knowing that their conception was through a violent act. They also struggle with knowing that half of their DNA came from a rapist.

No matter how you approach the topic of pregnancy through rape, it is going to be painful. The conception and birth of a baby should be a wonderfully joyous occasion, but conception by rape changes that dynamic. I cannot imagine the horror of having a baby growing in my body as a constant reminder of the rape(s), and I also cannot imagine having to face a crisis pregnancy with all of the decisions and possible stigma by the people in my life.

As with any other trauma, different women work through pregnancy through rape in different ways. Some choose to abort – some regret the decision while others are grateful for this option. Some choose to place the baby for adoption – again, some regret the decision while others find peace. Some choose to parent the baby. This comes with its own mix of joys (the love of your child) and struggles (seeing a physical resemblance between your baby and your rapist). Crisis pregnancy is never easy, and a crisis pregnancy through rape is even more challenging. My advice is to talk with a therapist about a crisis pregnancy through rape and talk through your feelings as well as all of your options.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I am reading the book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson for my Book Club. I had no idea that sexual assaults would be part of the book, much less such a graphic sexual assault. If you are in a bad place, do not read this book. However, if you are in a good place, you might find the book to be quite empowering. (Keep in mind that I have not yet finished the book.)

There is more than one rape scene, but the one that takes place in Chapter 13 is especially disturbing, particularly if you endured similar abuses. (This is a rape of a woman in her twenties who is a “ward” being attacked by her guardian.) The reason I am writing about it is because I felt so empowered about how she fought back in the next chapter.

*** spoiler alert ***

She was, of course, surprised by the first rape. The second time, she came prepared with a hidden camera, not knowing that the second rape would be much more brutal and sadistic. On her third visit, she uses a taser on the her abuser, handcuffs him to the bed, does a few other things to him, and then tattoos the following onto his chest in large letters: I AM A SADISTIC PIG, A PERVERT, AND A RAPIST.

*** end spoilers ***

Can you imagining having the opportunity to do that to your abusers? Oh my gosh – the empowerment of vicariously living through this character as she does to her abuser as I would love to do to my own, although I never would have thought of that particular strategy. There’s more that she does to ensure that he never rapes anyone else again, but you’ll have to read the book to learn about that.

It was empowering to see this sadistic abuser having to be put in his victim’s shoes, although it is not the same because she is fighting back, not seeking to victimize anyone. It is also empowering to see a victim take her power back from her abuser.

I know this is just a work of fiction, but I really enjoyed the way she fought back and wanted to share it with all of you. I might have to add some of her tactics to my visualizations the next time I am working through another round of anger toward my abusers.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

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This past week has been an incredibly intense and empowering week for me. After dealing with feelings of despair in the prior weeks, I decided to fight back. I went to the gym every day this week. I did yoga and meditation four days. (I would have done five days, but my son’s school sent him home for an alleged fever although he had no cold symptoms whatsoever at home.) I did my Bible study. I took an afternoon off to rest and nap. (I try to take a full day each week, but I was too triggered and wound up to take the morning off. However, I did still go to the gym.)

My experience this past week has been being triggered and fighting my way back to calm. Triggered…fighting…calm…triggered…fighting…calm. I feel like a Weeble Wobble that keeps getting knocked down but then still winds up in an upright position. I decided to write this blog entry while I am in a calm place. I don’t know how long it will last, but I plan to savor it as long as it lasts.

My therapist told me that I will never “get over” the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Instead, I will learn how to manage it better. Instead of being triggered for weeks, I will recover within hours or days. I found that very hard to believe in therapy, but he was right. I think this is why some of you have commented that my blog seems much more hopeful that what I write when I am in my dark places. While in the dark place, it feels like I have always been there and always will be. However, the bad times really don’t last that long. I don’t think I give myself enough credit.

Through this recent experience, I have learned that I simply cannot skimp on my healing tools. I must go to the gym at least three days a week (and preferably five). I must do yoga and meditation as close to daily as possible. I need to be doing Bible study at least a couple of times a week. I also need to get back to playing the piano. (Thank you to the reader who reminded me of the beauty of playing a musical instrument!)

It all gets back to the battle of the wolves going on inside of me (and inside of each of us). I have to feed my good wolf. I do this by taking care of myself, being compassionate to myself, and bringing joy and rest into my day-to-day life. It is so easy for me to buy into “The Voice” in my head that repeats my abusers’ lies. The more I take care of myself, the easier I find it to fight off The Voice. However, the more I skimp on my tools, the louder The Voice becomes, and it drags me right back down into the well of darkness and despair.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I had two really good days in a row, so my ratio is improving! Then, I got very triggered by back-to-back situations that triggered the little girl inside. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I was so triggered. I just respected the fact that I was triggered and tried to pull myself through it.

The first thing that happened involved my husband. He is one of the pickiest eaters on the planet. I made a new dish (first new dish in years), and, of course, he didn’t like it. He wouldn’t even try the Spanish yellow rice because it “looks like it has cheese in it.” Despite my assurances that there is no cheese in Spanish yellow rice, he would not even try it. Then my son, who had been sampling the filling for the burritos all afternoon, followed suit, saying that the beans made him sick.

About the same time, I received an email regarding my new part-time job. This is for a well-known and respected company, so I am aghast at the extremely poor process involved in training new employees. My training was scheduled six weeks ago and is supposed to start in four days. I emailed my manager in the morning to ask if training was moving forward because I had receive no information whatsoever about it. She sent an email right at dinnertime that included the training materials and a laundry list of things that I need to complete before training. By this point, that only gives me three days to complete a lot of steps that I could have been working on over the past six weeks!

The email also said that I am required to observe a four-hour class next week without telling me which day. I emailed back that I will try to make it happen, but this is very short notice, and I need to know what the options are. I didn’t get into it in the email, but I have another part-time job, two blogs, and a child to juggle, not to mention other personal things that matter to me. Finding four hours of childcare, including finding someone to pick up my kid from school, feed him dinner, deal with his homework, and get him home to his father is not something that I just do with a snap of my fingers.

Yes, I know that both situations would be annoying to most people, but I doubt that most people would react with a panic attack. It made me feel like there was something “wrong” with me. I finally realized that the one-two punch of my husband’s reaction and the continued chaos with completing training at this new job triggered the years of being the “good little girl” but never “good enough” to avoid being abused because the demands that those in authority placed upon me were unreasonable.

For me to feel safe, I need to have clear and reasonable expectations. I can even handle steep expectations as long as I can achieve them through working harder and smarter. However, expectations that are illogical, constantly shifting, and/or unattainable (i.e. chaos) trigger the little girl inside and make me feel like something horrible is going to happen to me (more abuse) because it is not possible for me to meet shifting or unreasonable expectations. If I perceive (even subconsciously) any sort of authority combined with chaos, I have a panic attack. This awareness makes me feel a little more “sane” even though I am still dealing with being triggered. At least there is a logical explanation for my “overreaction.”

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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A reader sent me the following link. I am thrilled that such a large pedophile ring has been broken!

Police say international pedophile ring smashed

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Hi, everyone.

If you have sent me an email in the last few days or are waiting for a comment in the moderation queue to publish, please bear with me. This is an insanely busy week for me, and I have 27 unread emails/new comments waiting for me in my inbox.

~ Faith

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On my blog entry entitled Recovery from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), a reader posted the following question:

Can you explain terms like ‘core host personality in more detail? ~ Jolson

I got the term host personality from Chrystine Okasana’s book Safe Passage to Healing. Here is an excerpt from that book (page 115):

Some survivors develop an alter to function more or less steadily in day-to-day life. This self typically has no awareness of the abuse and may be known as the host. The host, too, feels overwhelmed. In the November/December 1992 issue of The Sciences, Dr. Frank W. Putnam writes:

“Typically, the host is depressed, anxious, rigid, frigid, compulsively good, conscience-stricken…and suffers any number of physical symptoms, most often headaches. Host personalities usually feel overwhelmed by life, at the mercy of forces far beyond their control. In many cases a host is either unaware of the alter personalities or, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, strongly denies their existence.”

I was not overly wild about the term “host personality,” but since this is terminology known in some DID circles, I have adopted this label for Faye, who was my host personality.

The term “core” is all my own, and I used it because I have not yet found a label used in DID circles to describe what I mean by this. If anyone is familiar with a commonly used label for what I describe below, please let me know.

My experience is that I had numerous alter personalities and personality fragments (well into the hundreds) who “hid” behind the “mask” of the host personality. However, there was still a continuity within my spirit, which is what I call the core. My “switching” was always seamless with the appropriate alter part coming out at the appropriate time to handle any given situation. I believe my core was the glue that held all of these parts together.

As I began integrating these formerly “frozen” parts (which I define as loving and accepting each part as “me”), they “melted” back into one “body of water” inside. That body of water is what I refer to as my core. My host personality “melted” into this core, my inner child Annie awakened and melted into the core, and numerous other alter parts also “melted” into the core. Today, I feel like the majority of myself is in this core, with numerous formerly separate parts now interwoven and working together as one (like pouring a bucket of salt water back into the ocean). My core is now the part I view as “me.”

I still have alter parts that I need to “melt” through love and acceptance. They hold frozen memories and emotions that I have yet to process. As I heal them, those parts will join the core. If I live long enough to work through it all, then all that will be left inside is one core – nothing is lost, and all parts are now part of one big ocean.

Photo credit: Amazon.com

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