Posts Tagged ‘processing memories’

Safe Passage to HealingToday’s topic will likely be most meaningful for people with dissociative identity disorder (DID) or other forms of being a multiple, but I hope it is helpful even without that diagnosis. I’d like to talk about how to process the same memory from different perspectives.

As an example, I recovered a memory of my mother sexually abusing me. My first pass at this memory was what happened in a linear fashion. It started with what I was doing right before the abuse, went through the event, and then continued through my reaction to what had happened. I viewed most of this from an out-of-body perspective. I later recovered memories of this same event from different perspectives. One memory held my anger, and another held the sensory stuff (smells, taste, etc.).

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with this. I didn’t understand why this one memory was coming to me in pieces like that. I have since learned that children with DID (or other forms of being a multiple or dissociative disorders) split apart what they cannot handle at one time. That one event was simply too much for my two-year-old brain to process, so the one memory broke off into pieces.

In the book Safe Passage to Healing, Chrystine Oksana calls the process of putting all of the pieces back together “associating” the memories. I wrote about that topic here. Healing the one event might involve several passes and connecting back the different pieces.

Where it gets trickier is when you have/had conflicting feelings about what happened. For example, my father (the “good” parent) was coerced into abusing my sister while I watched. (It was part of ritual abuse. He was blindfolded and drugged.) A part of myself loved him and saw him as my “savior” because he stopped my mother from sexually abusing me once he found out about it. This part was in direct conflict with another part that was angry and hated him for abusing my sister. The adult me sees that he was a victim of evil people, which is reinforced by the fact that he never took a sip of alcohol again after that night for the rest of his life. The challenge is finding a way to honor all of those feelings, even the ones that directly conflict with each other.

Experience conflicting feelings is something that is foreign to many people with DID. It certainly was for me. If I felt conflict, I simply split it into two parts – problem solved. Healing and melding back into one core part has been challenging because I have had to learn to deal with conflicting feelings.

Friends without DID have assured me that everyone feels conflicted about something and that it is part of the human experience. It’s a new experience for me, though. Just knowing it is normal helps.

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As I shared yesterday, this has been a rough week for me emotionally. I knew I needed to talk about the memory, but I had one reason after another not to. I also had a tough time finding the time and freedom to talk it throughout the week with my husband or child at home.

Yesterday evening, my son kept triggering me. He has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), so he can come up with some random and weird behaviors. Yesterday, it seemed like everything he was doing was triggering a ritual abuse memory.

The final straw was when my son threw “slime” into my hair. It was old slime, so it didn’t come out. I had this foreign substance stuck in my hair and dripping off into the carpet, which triggered memories of my sister’s “blood.” I was extremely triggered and turned to wine to calm me down.

After dinner and having some time alone upstairs, I realized that I absolutely **had** to talk about the memory. Yes, I had blogged about it, but there is something empowering about physically using your voice to talk about the memory and in being physically “heard” by someone in your day-to-day life. So, I called one of my best friends and bawled my eyes out as I told her.

That’s really all I needed. I didn’t need her to do anything other than listen. She said a few encouraging things, which was sweet, but I didn’t need them. I just needed her to listen, which she did.

I actually slept last night without needing to take a Xanax or a sleeping pill. Even though I am not back to 100%, I can tell that I am healing. It made such a huge difference to **talk** about what happened, to be believed, and to be supported.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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Yesterday, I shared that I had recovered a traumatizing ritual abuse memory that you can read about here. I have not had much time to process the memory yet. A few of my friends have been dealing with some big issues, so my focus has been on supporting them. I had hoped to talk with at least one offline friend about the memory, but that hasn’t happened yet.

One thing that I have been really focusing on is seeing the “forcing the child to kill” ritual from a different perspective. I have shared before about processing the memory of believing that I had been forced to kill a child. From the adult perspective, I know that it was all a ruse. However, the nine-year-old child inside did not know this, so it was very painful to heal that memory.

So, now I recovered this memory showing the same event but from a different perspective. This time, instead of being the child with the knife in my hands, I was standing on the sidelines watching the same ritual and believing that my sister was being sacrificed. This event happened roughly a year before the time that I was forced to participate in this ritual.

This new memory has connected some dots for me. I have known in my head that ritual abuse is systematic, but I guess until recovering this memory, I kind of saw it as happening to me as an individual. This memory has helped me recognize that this truly was systematic ritual abuse. I was moving down the conveyor belt in the mill. First I saw what was ahead on the conveyor belt, and then I was a part of it a year later. As a fragmented child, I did not connect the dots. As an adult, I see that this was a systematic way of “grooming” and traumatizing children.

This is also my first confirmation that my sister and I were, in fact, drugged. Again, I have known this for a long time, but I had no concrete memories to support this fact. This memory showed me my drugged sister, which has made the reality of my having been drugged by my abusers feel much more concrete and “real.”

Like I said … I haven’t really been able to process it all yet. I am doing OK. Because I did so much work healing the last memory, this one doesn’t have anywhere near the emotional punch that the last one did. However, I do still feel “off” today and probably will for a little while. That was a big “little dog.”

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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****** sexual abuse triggers **********
I have been writing this week to process my feelings over recovering the memory of my first vaginal rape. I have had such a difficult time dealing with this memory that I have been sick for six weeks. I have decided to sit in front of the computer and blog through all that I am feeling so I can heal and move on with my life. You can read about the event here, the physical manifestations here, and my anger about it here.

I am now going to give my wounded little girl a voice through free association writing:

It hurted. It hurted so badly. Make him stop. MAKE HIM STOP!

Why? Why are you doing this to me? It hurts so bad. It hurts. Please stop. Please, please, please, please stop.

Why? Why? Why? Why are you doing this to me?

I can’t leave! I can’t leave! I am stuck. He inside, and I can’t go!

I want to die. I want to die. Just let me die. Please let me die. Die, die die die die die die die. I want to die. I want to go away and never come back. Please let me die.

I hate him. I hate life. I hate me. I hate it. I hate it.

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Please make it stop. Just make it stop. I can take it. I can’t bear it. It hurt too much. It hurt too much. Help someone help. Why no one help? Why no one care? Why no one care? No one love me?

Just want to die. Please let me die. Die Die die

Other than cleaning up typos, I have nothing more to add to this. This is all I can handle for now in this sitting.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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****** anger and sexual abuse triggers *******

As I shared yesterday, my life has been pure h@#$ for six weeks, and it all centers around the memory of my first vaginal rape. To put it all into context, the vaginal rape is what caused me to go from having dissociative disorder – not otherwise specified (DD-NOS) to dissociative identity disorder (DID). Up until the rape, I could handle the abuse from my mother and her “friends” by splitting off into fragments. After the rape, my inner child no longer wanted to exist. She split off and went to sleep. I awoke the next morning not knowing who I was because “I” had been replaced by a host personality that had no identity yet.

I am so f@#$ing angry about the rape. Yes, I have recovered memories of other rapes, but none of them carry the punch of the first – the first time having this pain experienced inside of my body. Up until this point, I had experienced all sorts of tortures and traumas, but they existed outside of my body. I was only six years old. I didn’t even know what was happening.

One minute, I was a little girl who believed that abuse happened outside of my body. I could escape it through dissociation. I could flee to the ceiling and be “safe” while my body was harmed. However, this was different. An explosion of pain happened INSIDE OF MY BODY! There was nobody there to explain what was going to happen or what was going on. Nobody told me how another person could reach inside of your six-year-old body and damage it in places that I did not know existed.


I was a little girl with an intact body, and some f@#$ing pervert paid someone who had no right to my body to steal this from me. MY BODY WASN’T ANYONE ELSE’S TO SELL. MY BODY WASN’T ANYONE ELSE’S TO TAKE.

This was MY body to be shared when I was an adult and chose to share it. I never got the chance. By the time I was old enough to appreciate what it meant to “share myself” with another person,” it had all been taken – my hymen, my innocence, my dignity.

And nobody ever gave a s@#$ that I would live my life in the shadow of this one night. Nobody gave a s@#$ that I would spend my life hating sex, running from it, dreading it, unable to “give” myself to my husband and causing decades of rifts in our marriage because I DON’T WANT SEX. I don’t want it.
For ten minutes of one man’s “pleasure” and another’s man’s pocketbook, I lived a lifetime as a multiple. I haven’t been able to connect emotionally with my husband. I cannot “enjoy” sex because it is nothing but a reminder of being raped and sold like a whore. Ten minutes of “pleasure” and a check, and I have lived a lifetime of repercussions.

It all F@#$ING SUCKS!!!!! And there is not a D@#$ thing I can do about it. The die was cast 34 years ago. The “thrill” of the orgasm is long-since over, and the money has long-since been spent, but I continue to live with the aftermath of two amazingly selfish @$$holes whole simply didn’t give a $&#%. I hope they burn in hell. I hope they rot in hell, and I hope they suffer from the most painful and dreadful disease imaginable before they get there.


Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I have not being doing well lately. It has been one h@#$ of a six-week period, and I need to write about it so I can pour the poison out of my soul and heal. I will probably write a week’s worth of blogs in one sitting, so rest assured that I will probably be feeling much better by the time you read this week’s worth of installments. However, in the moment, I am not doing well at all. It’s all part of the healing process, I guess.

All of the insanity of the last six weeks of my life centers around this memory. This was the first time that I was vaginally raped. My virginity was “sold” to the highest bidder when I was only six years old. I had already recovered and somewhat healed that piece of it. Experiencing the first rape was another story.

My life has been pure h@#$% from Memorial Day through Fourth of July. I don’t know why I “chose” this time to process this memory. Perhaps the rape happened on a holiday, or perhaps I was just ready to heal it. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I have been very sick. I came down with a cold over Memorial Day weekend that went into a sinus infection. As soon as that healed, I dealt with a week of overwhelming anxiety followed by a week of feeling so depressed that I wanted to die. From there, I went into another sinus infection that spread to bronchitis.

By the time that the very strong antibiotics and steroids should have cleared up to the illnesses, I started having trouble breathing. By this point, my family had gone to the beach for the Fourth of July weekend, and I thought that being at the beach would help. Instead, I experienced three straight nights of insomnia (taking two to five hours to fall asleep each night) and difficulty breathing to the point of feeling dizzy and lightheaded. I thought I was going to faint. I also kept coughing.

I went back to the doctor (third trip) and received a surprising diagnosis – There was nothing wrong with me physically. The infections had healed up, and I had no virus. The reason I was having trouble breathing was because I was hyperventilating. (I did not know you could hyperventilate without being aware of it.) I was gasping for air, which was the exact opposite thing that I needed to be doing.

The doctor told me to breathe into a paper bag (it really works!), take Xanax, and try to calm down. He also prescribed Tussionex, which never fails to calm me and help me sleep. The doctor was right – By following his advice, my breathing and overall health improved rapidly.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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