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Since I have relocated to Chehalis, Washington, from Portland, Oregon, about two months ago, I have discovered that my being here has been triggering symptoms in my daughter.  Before I moved here, I asked my daughter if she thought this might happen, and she was certain that it would not.  Well, I know now that her certainty was premature.  It’s not that she and I spend all our time hashing over old stuff.  We don’t.  But sometimes one of us will ask the other a question about that dark time thirty-some years ago, and then we remember.  

So when she told me the other day that she had been really depressed a few days ago for no apparent reason, I listened but did not comment.  When I questioned her yesterday about this, though, she admitted that the flashbacks, the nightmares, and the other nasty PTSD symptoms which she thought she had conquered had, indeed, been popping up with a lot more frequency since my arrival.  What to do?  

Luckily, yesterday I had an equine therapy appointment.  I didn’t get to work with the horses, but my daughter, the therapist, and I managed to accomplish something more important, the formulation of a plan to help my daughter.  When we left the therapy ranch, my daughter and I felt that a plan was in place and help would be coming.  In other words, my daughter now has hope that she will get the help she needs to alleviate her symptoms.  

In the process of formulating a plan to help my daughter, I told the therapist that of the two of us, my daughter’s help was more important than mine.  She agreed; in fact, she looked at me and said that I was really doing just fine.  As she said, for personal growth, therapy is always a good thing, but at this point, my daughter’s need is far greater than mine.  Okay!  I’ll go for that!  Let’s do it!

The problem is that helping my daughter get the help she needs and deserves is not going to be easy because she is on Social Security Disability and has just Medicare as her insurance.  She has no backup insurance to cover what Medicare doesn’t cover, and she doesn’t have the money to make up the difference.  Does this sound familiar?  I’m sure that my daughter’s situation is not unusual.  The therapist who does the equine therapy does not take Medicare–not because she doesn’t want to do that, but because her particular license is not one accepted by Medicare.  And because my daughter has no backup insurance to pay at least part of her therapy, she cannot afford treatment.  Dead in the water?  

In this case, there is hope, thanks to the fact that this wonderful and dedicated therapist is willing to help us figure out a way to get my daughter the help.  As it stands right now, we are all doing our research.  We will come up with something, and just that thought helps give my daughter a reason to see the situation as a glass half full rather than the reverse.  

I, however, am having trouble managing my anger!  Those of us working so hard to help my daughter, including my daughter, should not be using our time, energy, and life doing this!  Why not?  Because the abuse that has caused her all the misery should never have taken place!!  We all know that!  At the very least, the perpetrator of the abuse should be paying to repair what he so remorselessly broke!  I say “remorselessly” because a few months after I turned him over to the police, he chided me for “overreacting” to what he did.  “Overreacting??”  When he used that word, I realized then that I had been married for twenty years to a complete stranger, a person I did not know and a person who had a totally different set of values and a view of life that he had kept secret from me.  Hearing him accuse me of overreacting, I felt sick to my stomach.

Unfortunately, the statute of limitations for my ex’s crime has long since lapsed.  In addition, several years after his hearing and after he had “copped a plea” and had finished his probation, he was able to get his case dismissed, as if what he had admitted to doing had never happened.  Also, unfortunately, my daughter sued him during the mid-90s, won her suit, and then signed a paper saying she would never take legal action against him again.  So we are left now to regroup and figure out a way to get her the help she needs and wants.  Yes, I’m angry!  

I’ve learned, though, that anger cannot be an end in itself–not for me, at least.  I must harness that anger energy and make it work constructively.  I’ve done that a lot in the past.  Now I need to do it again to help my daughter heal.  As Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers sing, I have “One More River to Cross.”  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPeCFEv6sfs)

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Dear Readers,

I know I promised you a post on integrating personality parts, and I actually wrote such a post.  It did not make it to this blog, though, because as sometimes happens, I clicked somewhere I should not have clicked.  And I was being so careful!  The result of the errant click was that I lost the entire post, and I have no clue as to where it went!  However, I offer you the following thank you, the beginning of my post, the part that did not disappear into the black hole: 

A Heartfelt Thank You!   

My thanks to Cat’s Meow and her blog (http://livingwhilehealing.wordpress.com/) and also to Sidran.org (http://www.sidran.org/sub.cfm?contentID=73&sectionid=4 ) for inspiring me to write a post on integration of personality parts.  I’m so thankful to be part of the community of bloggers addressing the topics of PTSD, C-PTSD, and DID.  I’m also grateful to the people who blog about domestic violence and child abuse, and I truly appreciate those who blog about the causes of these social problems, especially positivagirl whose blog is called “Dating a Sociopath.”  The more information we share, the more we learn, and the more we learn, the more effectively we can help victims become survivors. 

Having expressed my gratitude, I will say that since I have relocated to this small town, I have felt so much better than I did when living in the big city.  By this, I mean I have more energy and feel less stressed.  I feel more “together” than I have felt for a long time, and that may be in part because since I have been here, I am experiencing the integration of my personality parts at a more rapid rate than in the past year or so.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I have even experienced the return of my female sexuality, a part of myself that I did not believe would return.  I figured I’d go to the grave without welcoming that part of myself home, in fact.  Not so!

I remember when I was a little girl, about the age of eight or nine, I more or less booted my sexuality out of my psyche.  After all, why would I want to be a little girl when my being female had led to so much pain?  When I was about four, my parents had forced me to pose nude for their guests, and the neighbor woman had fondled me and had sexually assaulted me.  A few years after that, boys chased me into the bushes on the way home from school and shoved sticks up me.  All that pain because I was a girl!  Get rid of the “girl” in me, and nobody would hurt me, I reasoned. 

Image

Age Eight

I was about the same age, eight or nine, when I decided that I was on one side and everyone else in the world was on the other side.  In my mind, I became a tough little asexual being determined to survive even if my survival meant struggling alone against everyone else in the world, a tiny blade of grass determined to break through the concrete all by myself–as Malvina Reynolds sang in the 1960s:

God bless the grass that grows through cement.
It’s green and it’s tender and it’s easily bent.
But after a while it lifts up its head,
For the grass is living and the stone is dead,
And God bless the grass.  (Stanza Three of “God Bless the Grass.”  Malvina Reynolds wrote this song in 1964 after the assassination of JFK.)

Here I am, then, age 75, and I’m finally “getting it together.”   The old cliche “Better late than never!” works for me! 

So with the above in mind and feeling energetic, I attended Mass this morning.  For some reason, simply being in a church, no matter what variety of church it is, helps me contact the right side of my brain and allows me to have insights or ideas I might not otherwise have.  Today’s church experience was no exception.  I entered the church empty-headed and exited the church with an idea:  I’ve decided to take my long essay which I titled “Fallout” and modify it so that it becomes a monologue script. Once I have done that and have refined the monologue so it feels comfortable when I perform it, then I plan to contact churches and appropriate organizations and offer to do performances in exchange for donations to the local agency that helps survivors of domestic violence. 

I have all the ingredients for success in this venture:  the already-written personal narrative, the personal experience of abuse, the experience of standing or sitting in front of an audience, and the sense that God has blessed this idea.  And rather than ask myself why on earth I would want to do such a thing, I have asked myself why on earth I would NOT want to do such a thing.  No reason comes to mind.  Over the years, and with God’s help, I’ve learned the technique of turning a half-empty glass into a half-full glass–a very important skill!

So now I see a new task in my future, that of raising funds for the local Human Response Network.  To that end, after the pressure of participating in the big fundraiser coming up in mid-March, I will begin serious revisions of “Falloout.”  If you would like to read that essay, simply find the search engine in my Google blog, healingabusecausedcomplexptsd.blogspot.com, and type in “Fallout.”  I divided the essay into four installments originally to make them easier to read on the blog, so if you find the essay, be sure to get all four parts. 

It’s Sunday afternoon now, and I’m going to kick back and relax and wait for tonight’s installment of “Downton Abbey”–one of my pleasures in life!  Got to relax and recharge before the next busy week begins!  Namaste . . .

ImageOne aspect of my life that keeps me going is the fact that I never know what I’m going to do next!  Or, rather, I never can be entirely certain if I have it together.  By that, I mean–Am I all here??

As you know if you have been following my blog, I am on the downward slope of treatment for Complex PTSD and for the accompanying DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder, once known as MPD), the fragmentation of my personality.  This happens to people who have been abused as small children, for scientists know now that the personalities of infants and small children are fragmented; their ego states have not yet come together to form the adult personality.  That “coming together” happens, generally, when a person is in his or her twenties, according to modern brain research.  For me, this information shines a new light on the expression, “I’ve got myself together” or “I’ve got my act together.”  Before I began having the flashbacks and PTSD symptoms that led me to seek help, I thought I had my act together.  Now I know better, for I’m still healing, still bringing my ego states together.  For more on this, see http://www.esti.at/index.php/about-ego-state-therapy.  Also, if you want to know more about my personal experience with ego state therapy, please see my Google blog, healingabusecausedcomplexptsd.blogspot.com, and click on the topic in the list of topics on that site.

So here I am, now, living in Chehalis, Washington, after relocating from Portland, Oregon, in December.  If you have read my previous post, you know about that.  You know, too, why I’m here–I want to help the people in the this community who are trying to help the victims of abuse and domestic violence.  The agencies involved in this work here need all the support they can get–financially and in any other way!  The situation here regarding batterers and abusers and their victims has not changed much since I turned my husband in for child abuse in 1981.  I was shocked to learn that, but now I am more determined than ever to help where I can.  Now that I have said that, I can also say that returning to this area is helping me, too, as I heal and continue to unite my ego states.  Wild and wonderful things have been happening within me!

You may remember that I chose to work with my ego states in an imaginary equestrienne arena.  All my ego states live there and interact, and the arena is where the action has been–all 1,450 pages of it.  I chose to work with my ego states outside the therapy sessions and then read each installment to my therapist so she could witness progress.  In the process of doing this, I have alleviated my PTSD symptoms and have also quieted the battle that has gone on inside me since I was a child.  From the time I was a little girl, I felt that a war was taking place inside me.  I could feel it and hear it!  My ego states, as I know now, were fragmented, split off from one another, unable to communicate, and I seldom experienced inner peace.  Now, I do.  For the most part, my ego states are now closer to one another and working in harmony for my well-being.  I have worked long and hard over a thirty-year span–but especially in the past four years when I have had competent help–to bring about this state of inner peace and harmony. The struggle has been worth the effort–more worthwhile than words can tell!

So now I’m here in Chehalis, trying to help support the work done for victims of abuse.  And now a stranger has entered my arena, a new part has arrived upon the scene, a part that I thought was completely dead.  I’m talking about my sexuality!  Here I am, age 75, and I’m becoming aware of my sexuality!  How peculiar is that??

Yes, I was violently sexually abused multiple times as a child by various people, none of whom were my parents, and I told nobody when the events happened.  Thus, I received no help to process the assaults.  The memories and the trauma energy stayed in my right brain and were compounded, intensified during my twenty-year marriage to a man who, during the last few years of my marriage, took pleasure from performing sadistic acts upon me and laughing at my screams.  In the years before those last years, he simply used me to “do his thing.”  I let myself be used because I didn’t want to be the object of his temper if I said “no.”  So my history of being a sexual human being is not a happy history.  “Sex” has been a negative word my entire life.  I never enjoyed participating in the sex act, and over the years, I have relegated that part of me to the garbage bin, the dustbin.  I’ve considered myself to be “asexual,” a woman with a missing part, in other words. 

But just last week, I began to believe that the sexual part of me has begun to find her voice and, like the potted crocuses and iris I bought a few days ago, has begun to grow and show promise of bearing gorgeous blooms.  Maybe nobody outside myself will ever see or know those blooms, but I will, and that’s what counts.  So what, I ask myself, has brought this on? 

As part of the fundraising effort to support the agency that works with victims of abuse, a community group is giving a performance of a play titled “The Vagina Monologues” written by Eve Ensler.  The purpose of this piece is to raise people’s awareness of violence against women and children and to help women understand that their bodies are not any more “hush hush” than a man’s body.  In other words, once a “secret” is busted, it’s not a secret anymore.  People talk about it.  Women can say “no,” just as a man can, and women can tell somebody if they are assaulted and victimized.  Being raped or molested does not throw the spotlight of shame onto the victim; it puts the spotlight where it should be–on the victimizer!  Well, those are my takes on the play.  Younger women may see this differently. 

After I spoke to a domestic violence support group last week, the Executive Director asked me if I would like to participate in this year’s production of “The Vagina Monologues.”  Astonished at myself, I said “Yes”!  I did that!  I said “Yes”!  I couldn’t believe myself, but I agreed.  And here I am, an old lady who to this point could scarcely utter the word “vagina” let alone consider participating in a play about vaginas. 

When I arrived home after speaking, I booted up my computer and read the Wickipedia report on the play.  After reading that, I wasn’t sure I really wanted to participate because it struck me that the monologues would be likely to trigger people if they had past bad experiences that they had not processed.  Then I read a few versions of the script.  And I thought about the whole matter.  I was born in 1939, and this is now 2014.  Young people in this generation do not perceive sexuality and sexual matters the way I do.  I decided to attend the first rehearsal for the play and see how the participants perceived the monologue contents.  I did that, and afterwards I felt comfortable with my decision.  I’ll do it!  I have been assigned the “old lady” part, the one titled “The Flood.”  I have not had the experiences described in this monologue, but I can relate to the woman whose story it is.  It’s sad, very sad, and I can relate to “sad.”  That’s easy!  “Sad” has definitely been part of my life experience!

So now a new part is entering the arena of my ego states.  She is not well-defined yet, and she has not met my other ego states, but she will.  I sense that she will be greeted with open arms and relief, relief because she has found her way home.  Relief because she, like the vibrant green and red rhubarb plant that I found castoff and thriving on a pile of chicken manure long ago, has endured the neglect and has flourished.  Is flourishing!  Soon she will introduce herself to all the ego states at the arena.  More on this later!  In the meantime, here is an ancient Scottish prayer for peace within your heart .  .  .

                Deep peace of the running wave to you.
                Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
                Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
                Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
                Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.

Adapted from – ancient gaelic runes
(http://www.fife.50megs.com/scottish-blessings.htm

As you know, on December 28th I relocated from Portland, Oregon–a major U.S. city–to Chehalis, Washington, a very minor U.S. city.  By that, I mean I’m now living in rural America, where the sign on the nearby Laundromat says, “No horse blankets, please.”  If I had not lived in this area previously, I might experience culture shock, but since I lived here in the 1970s and 1980s, I can remember the experience, and the memories cushion the shock. 

For the most part, I love being here.  I’ve led too sedentary a life for the past six or seven years, but that’s mostly because I could not walk to the places where I needed to go and took public transportation, instead.  However, the fact that I’ve been recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes adds to my sense of having come to the right place to live.  I’ve been walking a mile a day–when it’s not raining too hard.  I’m hoping to reduce my A1C score and avoid taking medication, but I’ll see .  .  .  

So what does all this have to do with the purpose for my blog, to spread the word that people can heal their C-PTSD and PTSD and to give people hope for a life without the symptoms of PTSD?  As I’m discovering, this relocation is opening up a whole new part of my healing and is leading me into new experiences connected with the mission of my blog.  Thus, in the near future I will have more to write about and more posts to publish on my blog!  And that means that maybe you, my readers, will find more useful information and inspiration for healing.  This is what I hope will happen.  You will judge for yourselves, of course.

To begin this new part of my life, I spoke recently to the women in a domestic violence support group, telling my story.  Since much of the spousal abuse I endured and the sexual abuse of my daughter took place in this local area, my audience was immediately interested in what I had to say.  I, in turn, was interested in the changes within the local legal system regarding the crime for which I reported my husband in 1981.  I learned, for instance, that had I reported him for the same offence today, he would certainly have served time in prison.  In 1981, he got off with three years’ probation and court costs of $60 for the damage he did to our daughter.  Now, that’s quite a change!  During the past thirty years, there have been a few areas of progress here.  On the other hand, the services here for domestic violence victims and survivors are still woefully underfunded, and that’s the area in which I hope to help bring about change.  I aim to do what I can here, anyway.

For starters, I have tentatively agreed to participate in the production of “The Vagina Monologues” in March, a fundraiser for the local domestic violence agency.  The first meeting regarding this production is at 2:00 P.M. today, in fact.  I am going to attend and make up my mind if this is something I can or want to do.  It’s a tough call, for “The Vagina Monologues” is pretty intense stuff.  Some of it I can relate to, and some I cannot.  I’m not sure how I feel about being a part of it.  But I’m going to check it out and then make up my mind.  I certainly DO want to support the effort, but I’m just not sure I can do it this way.  More on this in my next post.  

Have you ever felt “called” to do a thing?  Well, I realized the other day that I felt called to come here and work at trying to bring about change in the way the system here deals with domestic violence and the victims of domestic violence.  When I left this area in about 1987 to go to graduate school, I thought I had left for good, never to look back.  But I know now that was a mere illusion.  I know now what I didn’t know then, that I was supposed to return one day to try to make things better than they were when I left in 1987 and better than they are now.  Right now, the help for victims still has not evolved to the state where it needs to be in order to give victims the most chance to get their lives back and have hope for their futures.  I had that chance because I got out of here and searched for the help I needed and found it. 

My goal or calling is to play whatever part I can in making it possible for victims to have that chance and find the help right here in Chehalis, Washington.  More on this in future posts!