Not able to name my perpetrators

I have been struggling a lot lately with the idea of naming my abusers, or even publicly claiming my abuse.

I realize I am still holding overwhelming shame and fear about the abuse I suffered. With every mention of child abuse on my Facebook page, I worry what my mother would do to me if she found out I was telling anyone. What would my oldest brother do to me who is a narcissistic, psychopath living a seemingly proper life?

I have more abusers than I could actually name if I wanted to. I did name one recently who was a very public figure, and now I am being asked to help others take him down in a very public way (he is actually dead, but still has prominence in the world). Not sure what I will do about this situation.

My abusers did a really good job in keeping me quiet. Even at my very adult age I still fear naming those I could name.

It is complicated for me. Every day it is a struggle to keep my fragile mind intact with regards to the severe trauma I endured during my childhood.

My brain was so fragile before age 11 that I truly cannot remember most of my childhood. I mostly remember snippets of abuse, but I can’t remember hardly any “normal” or good memories.

Most of my abuse happened before age 11, but still lots of abuse happened after age 11, too. Once you get branded with the invisible “V” on your forehead to let the predators out there know you are a victim, new predators can find you easily.

Because my child abuse was severe and happened when I was so young, my mind did not come together the way it should have through proper development. Instead, the trauma caused me to develop Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which can still wreak havoc on my life today.

My mind is a jumbled mess of brokenness.

My emotions, memories, capabilities, and needs are broken into separate parts of myself. Though I can appear very strong, there are many days when I am at my breaking point and no one outside of myself even knows it.

I know I must stay functioning and strong for my children. They need me and are more important to me than anything else in this world.

Sadly, I don’t even feel a need for justice toward my perpetrators by naming them.

I barely survived my childhood, and still struggle to survive in my adult self.

Just about every kind of abuse has been done to me, including mind control. And I am weak because of this.

So, forgive me if I am not in a place to name my perpetrators. I believe I would do it if I knew of someone in imminent harm by one of these people.

One day I will be stronger, but that day is not today.

Is my overwhelm just an excuse for laziness?

I am confused at the moment. I continue to struggle with who I am. I mean, I know who I am and what I believe usually, but the other pieces of my identity don’t always back me up.

My family really needs me to work so our children and the adults can get all their needs met. We are struggling financially, and not too long ago I was bringing home a good paycheck.

These days, I feel like I can’t work. I am working at getting through the days and taking care of my kids, making major changes to my health, and keeping myself emotionally stable.

The fact that I am functioning by getting out of bed and going out into the world, and actively taking care of my kids everyday is a miracle that didn’t exist 4 months ago.

Yet, there is increasing pressure from my spouse, myself, and our mounting debt to get myself back to work in my old job so I can bring home that money again.

At the same time, I still find myself getting overwhelmed by little things from my old life that were easy then.

Today, my major accomplishments were to make myself breakfast, pick up my son from camp, take him to a park for an hour, and check Facebook a few times. Those few things literally took up my whole day and felt like all I could do.

I hear inside my head “you are so weak. Quit complaining and stop being lazy and get back to work.”

I never considered myself a lazy person, but maybe I am. Maybe the overwhelm I constantly feel is just an excuse to get out of work.

I like giving my family money so we can live a good life. I just don’t know if I can put myself back into that position of doing what I do to make good money.

I am good at this work when all parts of me are working together, and anxiety doesn’t hang close by. Sometimes I miss it, so sometimes I secretly dip my toe in the water and feel overwhelmed like I can’t do it. Then I feel completely inadequate.

Who am I? Am I this smart, talented, strong woman who is a good provider for her family, or am I this pathetic, damaged, weak woman who gets overwhelmed when a door slams too loud?

I don’t know. It seems like this is my fate to be on a polar opposite pendulum depending on the moment.

One moment I am feeling healthy and strong with the health changes I am making in my life, the next I am falling down my stairs again and re-injuring myself, and feeling depressed about the state of my health and the hopelessness of not getting help or answers from the medical community.

I was thinking earlier today maybe the medical community is just writing me off because I am 50. I feel like I am 30 in spirit, so it is confusing to be thought of as old.

My life is frustrating and good. I am smart, but cognitively impaired sometimes. I am strong, but easily hurt. I feel really healthy, then chronic pain consumes me again. I am super stable, and then utterly disabled by the chaos in my brain.

The only thing I know for sure is that I am usually a really good mom.

Other than that, who am I?

The unloved child

Lately, I have been discussing in therapy the fact that I grew up in a loveless home.

My therapist wants me to grieve that my parents didn’t love me.

I haven’t been able to do it as my immediate response is that I feel nothing toward them.

I do not feel love to, or from them, or even want to be loved by them. I feel nothing.

Empty. That’s what I feel the most when I think of them.

My mother was drunk as an alcoholic all through her pregnancy with me. My dad on more than one occasion laughed saying “I don’t know why you don’t have fetal alcohol syndrome given as much as your mother drank.” He always followed it with, of course, they didn’t know about fetal alcohol syndrome back then to make an excuse for her.

When I was born, my mother didn’t let up on her drinking. Both of my parents were alcoholics, and living in a middle class fantasy world. It seems almost every adult that came to our house was an alcoholic, which was weird statistically.

Our minister wasn’t an alcoholic, but I can remember him at the house sometimes to clean up some type of domestic mess.

Like the Catholic Church, our minister served to keep this chaos, violence, and abuse hidden behind closed doors.

Neither of my parents were affectionate with me in a way to communicate they loved or even cared for me.

In fact, it took my mom 50 years to utter the words she loved me. By then, it fell on deaf ears.

My father, who was nicer to me than my mom, never told me he loved me his entire life. I wanted to believe he loved me because he was kinder to me once he stopped drinking. But, as I sat with him for months on his deathbed, I heard him tell others he loved them, but never me, the only one who was loyal enough to see him through his death.

Growing up without love is a hard thing to work with as an adult. The only loving behavior I received was when I was being sexually abused. Otherwise, I was invisible in my world.

I once had an African-American maid who worked for my family in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her name was Annie, and she had a son who went to school with me named Tommy (he ways my friend until he was taken away from me). Annie tried to look out for me and my brothers. She would try to make sure we had food and other things that children should have. Though she was strict, she was kind to me, and gave me a few moments of stability.

As embarrassed as I am that we had a maid, I am grateful God put her in my life for a brief reprieve of some of the horror that was happening to me. I was so sad when she was gone.

It turns out you can grow up without love, and not always turn into something horrible. But the price of that admission is to walk around feeling empty, not getting too close to people, and not needing anyone outside of myself.

Interestingly, the main place I feel strong love is with my children. I love them with every ounce of my being, and I know they love me. I don’t know how I learned how to love them like this since I never saw this in person. I am grateful that somehow I have this inside of me when it comes to them.

I don’t feel lonely, which is strange for someone who doesn’t get too close to people. I think I am so used to living on my own, and in my head that it is comfortable this way. When I am alone, I don’t have to worry about someone hurting me.

I don’t know how to get close to the grief my therapist thinks I need to experience to heal. I suppose my intuition believes my world will come to an end if I touch on this type of grief. Maybe I am better off staying numb to it.

Suicide Cloud

When I look to the sky it can seem sunny and blue, and then without me noticing the change, the next time I look up the sky is gray and cloudy. I wonder to myself how long it has been that way and I just didn't notice the change. I am present, and then gone, and then eventually back again and the sky is not the same.

Today, I moved from one Airbnb to another in sunny California. The new home is much nicer. There is more light coming into the unit, it is in a great walkable neighborhood only 10 minutes from the beach, and it actually has a view.

When I arrived here, I felt as though I could breathe better than the last place, as the first place was like living in a box and had one view of a literal concrete wall, and another view of an overcrowded apartment complex. I felt anxious outside that apartment, so the safety of this place in this location has reduced my anxiety some, which is always a plus.

But, just as I wasn't watching the blue sky turn to gray because I was somewhere else in my head, I didn't understand the drastic change in my mood.

I went from happy to suicidal without really knowing why or how it happened. I panicked and started looking for therapists online who meet with people on Saturdays (apparently, that's a common thing here in California). I didn't end up connecting with one, so just did my best to pass the time to put this day behind me.

But for the brief moments when the distraction didn't work, I could imagine myself hanging dead in this new beatific apartment. Or, I would look at all the pills I have with me and realize I have enough to kill myself.

This is my life with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I have no one to turn to. I know better than to call the treatment center I am currently enrolled in Monday-Friday. Even though they have someone on call for after hours, I couldn't bother them or put myself in the position of being too suicidal or just too much for this treatment program also.

Just tough it out my insiders say. Do what you are good at. We don't need anyone. People suck and they just hurt us over and over.

These changes in mood, especially the severity of the changes when I have no idea what is happening is so maddening. Maybe if I stayed more present more of the time this wouldn't happen, or at least I would understand why.

Who am I kidding. Staying present sucks most of the time. I have been missing in action my whole life, so why would I want to change it now.

My life is mostly total shit. Why would anyone want to show up and be present for that?

I realize this attitude doesn't help my recovery journey, but it is authentic for where I am in my life today.

The Box


My being lives in a box. It is the size of a box of matches. It is really small because I was meant to be small no matter how big the human body becomes. It is hard to breathe and move and be human in this box.

People sometimes want me to come out of this box. They don’t understand how hard or impossible that is for me. They want me to be bigger. To live bigger. Or something like that. They don’t understand the box is all I know. It is all I am allowed to know.

I am safer in the box no matter how uncomfortable it seems to other people. It is what I know. It is what I am allowed to keep me from getting killed.

The box doesn’t allow self-expression. That is very wrong when you live in the box. When you live in a box you are expected to be invisible, with as little life force coming from you as possible. Breathe small. Speak small. Move nothing.

When your mind lives in this tiny box, there is no room for joy, play, happiness, or even sadness. There is just self-acceptance that you belong in the box, and are to take up no more room on planet earth.

It doesn’t matter that I did not choose the box. It is my life. God’s plan. It is my coffin for while I am still alive on earth. I guess there is solace in knowing I have a place to lay down in the box, no matter how cramped it is.

I hate that people try to get me out of the box with forced behaviors. They don’t realize how painful it is for my little being to expand against nature. My brain breaks down like an old car when this is forced upon me. They think they know better than me. But, I have lived my life, and I know how to survive it.

Though it is always questionable why I continue to survive this life.

I can’t expect anyone else to understand. They do not live in the box. It is only my purgatory. Not to be shared. Not to be fixed. It just is.

The indifferent therapist who ruined me


There is a woman who lives just about a mile from my house who I have so far allowed to ruin my life.
She is not a lover, or anything so exciting as that. She was my first therapist after my 13 year hiatus from the mental health community.

From the first moment I spoke to her on the phone about a possible appointment with her, she touched my mommy transference button. Not because she was so nice, but because she was indifferent as to whether I came for help or not.

I came in to meet this woman for a ridiculous fee, and she told me I wouldn’t succeed with the first therapist I picked because my DID was too much of a problem. When we talked about me possibly seeing her, she was again indifferent. My mommy transference was triggered again.

I ended up coming to see this woman as my therapist, and it was the craziest, most emotionally dysregulating relationship in my adult life. She saw her indifference as empowering me. It destroyed me instead.

I had always been a person who didn’t need anyone. I can go to the movies or dinner alone and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I love being alone. But she was different.

Her indifference throughout our relationship of whether I was dead or alive propelled me so far into transference land that I couldn’t let go. I needed to do this “mom do-over” correctly, so that she would care about me, or at the very least care whether I lived or died.

As each day passed on, our relationship became more destabilizing to the both of us, though she probably wouldn’t admit that.

She has a need to be the perfect, expert DID therapist in town, so she would never want anyone to think she was less than perfect. Neat, orderly, perfect, and sometimes cold as ice.

I was still obsessed with making this relationship work, even though I started going to an anonymous bar after every therapy appointment with her. I felt suicidal most days over feelings I had toward her, or perceived feelings she had toward me.

I became obsessed with her abandoning me. Sometimes paralyzed by it. We spent endless hours talking about the subject, so I became very clear about her rules of when she would abandon me. She said she would have to abandon me if I ever tried to kill myself, which is kind of a ridiculous rule to have for someone who is DID, but I agreed to it.  She promised that she would never abruptly abandon me, and that if it ever needed to happen, I would know far in advance and it would be a slow, gradual transition to a new therapist.

My protector parts had much more insight than me and my younger parts because we were so attached to her. They listened to exactly what she revealed about herself as her weaknesses, and acted on them.

We were suicidal and we told her we needed to go inpatient. She told us she would help, and she didn’t. The next session we told her again, and begged her to call the admissions coordinator, and she didn’t. This was interpreted by us that she wanted us to kill herself, and we couldn’t bare the callousness of her not caring. What other rational explanation could there be.

That evening when we had given up all hope that she was going to help us, we went to a bar and had two beers. We spoke to her on the phone and refused to tell her where we were because we didn’t want the police to show up in our small town. I offered to walk home since I wasn’t far from it and live in a fairly safe area. She wouldn’t allow it. I ended up driving because I was really ok to do so, and couldn’t leave my car in the parking lot.

She had told us before that she had no tolerance for people who were drinking, and people who were seriously suicidal. The therapist became triggered.

I flew out that night on my own, from my own decision, to a treatment center for people with DID, and spoke with her the next morning. I asked her if she was going to leave me over this, and she promised she wasn’t and that “it is nowhere on my radar screen.”

After entering the treatment center and more and more time was going by and I hadn’t heard from her, I knew she had lied. I knew she wanted out. She didn’t have the courage to tell me this herself. She finally came up with this long list of nonsense that were new requirements to continue treatment with her. She knew my protectors would never go for the list as it was just too ridiculous.

At first my protectors rightfully said no thank you. Then I panicked in a huge way and begged her to stay, and agreed to all her conditions, and she wouldn’t allow it. She told me I needed to listen to my protectors. She gave us three referrals and that was it. Only one of the referrals agreed to see me when I got back into to town, but after she spoke with this previous therapist, she literally backed out of agreeing to see me.

I must have interviewed 20 therapists who said they treated DID. At least half were nut jobs, and the other half were either not good fits or nice people who were extremely inexperienced.

I received in the mail a certified letter from the therapist containing all the SuperBills from the year before that I had requested the year before, and the 3 useless referrals. In other words, she was trying to cover her ass.

I called her and wrote her and begged her to either talk to me or help me find a therapist. She never talked to me again. She left me for dead, which is actually meant to be literal. She is no different than my biological mom.

In my entire life, I never begged someone to act like a human being and just help me by doing something as simple as calling me so I could understand what happened.

That was 17 months ago. And even though I did find a good therapist, and realized my relationship with the first was extremely bad for me for various reasons (primarily because we were triggering each other nonstop, though she would never admit that), I haven’t been able to leave my bed other than to go to an appointment for 17 months now, and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. I have also developed several health problems over this 17 months.

Today, we do see her across a parking lot from time to time. Depending on the day, sometimes I think of running her down, other days I realize she is just another imperfect human being and care nothing about her. My little ones inside still want her to be their mother, even though we try to explain why she wouldn’t be a good mother for us.

Some days we still cry over the loss of her, and more often, for what she did to us. In the end, we didn’t mean anything to her, and she didn’t care if we lived or died as long as she was clear of any potential law suits. She truly had become my mother in many ways, but when you are mental health provider you have all the power to ruin someone by simply saying they are borderline and extremely difficult. Doesn’t matter if that has any basis in reality. It enables her to protect her do-gooder image, no matter if it destroys me.

I don’t know when, if ever, we will be functional enough to get out of bed and live our lives again.

We know we shouldn’t let this severely less than perfect person wreck our lives, but we truly feel ruined and have no insight on how to move out of this condition. It is so hard to forgive someone who betrays your trust on this level, and then makes it your fault. Narcissism.

I am all for therapists taking care of themselves, and if she needed out, she needed to get out. But, this should have been balanced with my welfare, my chance at survival, and maybe an explanation for what was happening. I am actually a fairly reasonable and forgiving person to those who know me. I don’t know that I will ever forgive her, not that she cares.

So, this has left me bedridden and missing out on my life. I am sad about this tonight, but I haven’t been able to figure out what to do to make it any better. I guess my horrible luck in life continues on.

There are days when I want to kill her, but those are rare and I choose to think of killing myself instead. Either way, without a doubt, she has killed an important part of me already with no remorse. Yet, another very difficult fact to accept into my life.

It is scary to think sometimes the helpers are sicker than the patients. Ah, but to admit so would be bad for the profession, so no one will be admitting that here. The helper is always right, no matter how much baggage she secretly carries.

Please pray that one day I will find my way out of what has become a very imperfect life for me. I deeply appreciate the stranger therapists, who were in the business for the right reason, and tried their best to help me because they cared about human life.