In early April, I became very triggered by a message over at isurvive (a message board for child abuse survivors) in which a member shared a story about someone with dissociative identity disorder (DID) who was manipulated and harmed when an abuser triggered a dormant programmed alter part. Also earlier this year (I think it was around the same time, but I do not remember which happened first), I received a letter from my mother/abuser (momster). My reaction to momster’s letter was different from my typical reaction to contact from her.
I can’t remember if I blogged about my reaction to the isurvive story or not, and I want to get this out now, so I am not going to take the time out to do the research. Short version – Someone wrote about a situation in which someone with DID was in a place that she thought was safe. An abuser took advantage of her guard being down and triggered dormant programming, causing the person with DID to enter into an abusive situation. Long story short, the re-abuse triggered this person so badly that she committed suicide. I was very shaken by reading this story.
I did not record the date that I received this first letter from momster, but it was around the same time. I can place the date of the isurvive triggering based upon something else that happened right before it, and that was around the first week of April. The letter from momster came in the March/April timeframe, so I do wonder if I received it before reading that post and if that was the cause of the triggering.
Regardless, my reaction to receiving a letter from momster was the same as always. I get triggered when I see her handwriting on the letter. I feel like I have to open and read it, but I also fear how I will react to it. While I logically know it is an option not to open the letter, in the moment of unexpected contact from her, I do not feel like I have a choice, so I have built in the safeguard of telling a friend first.
I used to tell my ex-friend about the letter and give it to her. She would tear it up in front of me and then take it home and burn it. She is no longer in my life, so when I received the letter, I asked a different friend to screen it for me. She read through it (about a one-page letter) and said there was nothing concerning in it to her – that it was positive and pleasant. So, I read the letter.
To be continued…
Photo credit: Hekatekris