Posts Tagged ‘AWARENESS’

Dissociation: Who are We? Who am I?


Who am I? This quandary is much more complex for abused kids.

I still do not know who I am, there are multiple people inside me.

Is this the Internal Family System on steroids?

Am I the shamed, worthless child, beaten and ruthlessly criticized, or the athletic star, or another one of my damaged personalities?

Our dissociation does not have a psychotic break, creating Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiples), but we have a big dissociation issue.

Even the athletic star’s self-worth is created by performance not intrinsic worthiness.

Every game risks loss without permanent gain, only temporary escape.

Safety and worthiness are fleeting, performance-based, they only last to the next challenge.

Worthiness and safety have never been permanent.

Some of us have never felt at peace, worthy of love, whatever love is.

The problem with these characters, none feels worthy or at peace.

I have no memory as a child of feeling safe or worthy, there is not a solid core or foundation of attachment. My childhood has quicksand as a foundation.

Trust does not flourish inside an abused child, we lack the basic ingredients for being part of a community or being happy.

We isolate, an inner battle of trauma carries on besides normal life, we live a different existence.

Regular life takes a back seat from time to time, PTSD can dominate everything.

My younger days of high-energy distraction with constant work and play are gone.

My body cannot exhaust my PTSD symptoms anymore.

We are the harshest judge of ourselves, we mirror our caregiver’s (abusers) judgments.



. . Knowing things does not always translate into healing


Knowing things does not always translate into healing Takes action and our inner world recognizes the effort.

My opinion: I have a PTSD ego, an ego that is a survivor, wounded but able to achieve, and my true self.

My PTSD ego had to be twice as good as everyone else, my dad demanded.

This ego has endured and suffered some ugly shit, a dark soul.

Unworthy, not good enough will be on his headstone.

This mini-me will not accept or forgive the damage done.

Lately, while meditating, that safe, calm feeling returned.

How do I describe this: it could be I am closer to my true self or another ego that does not have to be anything special is emerging.

To feel that inner peace once again was wonderful.

I get lost, angry, depressed, and helpless for periods.

Giving up is not an option, when hopelessness arrives.

Our trauma has cracks, we need to observe, then exploit these vulnerabilities.

What a crooked path we travel.



Holiday gatherings may not mix with our PTSD


Childhood abuse makes Holidays a minefield for many. Our abuser may be part of the gathering.

Some families exert great pressure on an abused member to show up, making the family look functional and loving.

Resist the guilt trip and make your safety number one.

PTSD needs to override any family manipulation.

If sexual assault is part of your childhood abuse, you are never required to be in the same room with an abuser. Never, ever.

The family’s job is to protect you and chastise the abuser or exclude them.

Your safety and wellbeing are number one, others can try to make an abusive family look respectable.

Awareness becomes our utmost skill around the holidays.

Limit the time the mind meanders or ruminates, mining for destructive thought is not productive.

Review the gratitude you have earned on this healing journey.

We will be fine and safe with our decisions around family this year.

Establish boundaries, manipulation is outlawed, let them know that if you decide to participate.



Criticism from others


We all have our paths (journeys) specific to our childhoods and personalities.

My strengths may be your weaknesses and vice versa, what works for me may have no impact on you.

We have to ignore judgments about our path from others.

I have been told I have given up and do not desire to heal.

Let it go, keep up your daily actions, there will always be detractors and erroneous judgments.

In blunt terms, they can kiss my ass.

Yes, I have shared that feeling with a few.

Very, very few people have truly understood my journey, my abuse or its impact.

What we do not need is more unwarranted criticism.





Excerpt from “The Sweet Spot” the pleasures of suffering and the search for meaning:

“In one study, subjects were given experience with a painful electric shock and then asked how much they would pay to avoid getting the shock again.

Then they were kept by themselves for fifteen minutes, with the shock machine in the room.

Even though they said they would pay to avoid the shock, many of the subjects chose to indulge in the pain. (There was a big sex difference here. Two-thirds of the men shocked themselves—usually just once, though one man shocked himself 190 times—while only one-quarter of the women indulged.)

This is yet another source of benign masochism—pain to escape boredom.

One reason why doing nothing is so unpleasant is that our thoughts, unfettered by distraction, take us to uncomfortable places.

Boredom is the opposite of BDSM: instead of escaping from the self, you’re wallowing in it.

We are starting to get a sense here for why boredom is a poor candidate for benign masochism.

Unlike other masochistic pleasures, it doesn’t capture our attention or our interest (indeed, it does the opposite).

It doesn’t lead to escape from the self.

It might set up a contrast with future experience—something interesting is probably more interesting if it was preceded by a period of boredom—but apparently the contrast isn’t so great as to make the choice worthwhile.”



Ptsd is the dummy

Walter the Y2K Expert and Jeff Dunham on December 21, 1999


Ptsd is a separate entity from that normal guy (regular me) trying to recover these damaged parts.

The ptsd me (the dummy), has lived in control of the ship many more years than the normal (unabused) part of me.

That dummy symbolizes our Ego, that created self, mine was formed under violent threat.

The only place that ego can not go is the right hemisphere of my mind.

That side has no knowledge of the past or future, he lives in this moment entirely.

In my ventriloquist life that dummy has harbored pain and suffering.

We have a split personality, or like DID (dissociative identity disorder, multiples) with only one alter, that ptsd dummy.

Not many understand our challenges.



Ventriloquist The Great Lesterwith Frank Byron, Jr. on his knee, c. 1904



Habits formed and practiced since childhood


My PTSD lay dormant until my mid 50’s, unbeknownst to me, subconscious habits formed.

How does a child know his ego is deformed, abuse hardwired my brain in survival mode.

How was I supposed to know, to value attachment, touch, hugs, and closeness over the safety of isolation?

Violence and criticism elevated my ability to survive over all other mechanisms.

Making friends at school was a waste of time. Dad destroyed most of them anyway.

My dad wanted total control, he tried to steal my thoughts also.

I hid my thoughts from him, I lived inside my head, the only safe place as a kid I owned.

Who was that child going to trust? Who mirrored trust for me in childhood?

I have healed an enormous amount in the last decade, my PTSD habits persist through all of this.

My room is my invisible prison or panic room, depending on your perspective.

I trust other abused kids more than normal people.

Being realistic, healing will not make me a happy-go-lucky guy.

If you offered me a meal out, tickets to a big game, invite me to a party, no desire appears great enough to leave my room.

My betrayals have left permanent scars, I do not care what psychologists opine.

We are not changing what was hard-wired throughout brain development.

We can navigate better, happy go lucky or trusting will never happen.

I am a loner because of 70 years of reinforcing my childhood abuse.

What habits have you formed?



I do not like being touched




I do not like being touched.

My only touch in childhood was a paddle, there were no warm and fuzzy attachments.

My mind is hardwired to defend, to protect not attach, or trust.

I have no memory of desiring to be hugged.

How did I miss out?



We respond to differences, not absolutes

Pixabay Alexas_Fotos


Excerpt from “The Sweet Spot” the pleasures of suffering and the search for meaning

We respond to differences, not absolutes, and this means that something can become pleasurable not because of any stand-alone properties it has, but rather in contrast to the experience of the past.

As one neuroscientist put it, “Because the brain grades on a curve, endlessly comparing the present with what came just before, the secret to happiness may be unhappiness . . .

the transient chill that lets us feel warmth, the sensation of hunger that makes satiety so welcome, the period of near despair that catapults us into the astonishing experience of triumph.”

If this all seems vague, consider the research of my colleague Robb Rutledge and his collaborators.

In laboratory studies, they asked people to go through a series of financial choices that were either certain or risky, and every few trials they were asked,

“How happy are you right now?”

The main predictor of reported short-term happiness wasn’t how much the subjects were making;

it was how much they were making relative to their expectations.

Momentary pleasure and pain are, at least in part, relative experiences.



Is Surviving always the best outcome?


Is Surviving always the best outcome?

I have been through worker’s compensation and SSDI debacles for six years, visiting hospitals, doctors, evaluators, federal judges, and lawyers.

Many times in the hospital wing for spinal injuries, I witnessed lives that would be better served if they did not survive.

It is easy for those who have not suffered a serious spinal injury to value life in some romantic way.

How much suffering is to much?

At what point does it cross that line?

Many severely abused kids have a life of misery ahead of them, jail, injury, cancer, mental disorders, addictions, alcoholism, prostitution, etc.

How about them?

What advice would you give them?

A hard question for me after the toll childhood abuse has taken on my life.



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