okay, I'll start

Some of us had perfect happy bunny rainbow ice cream childhoods. Some of us had childhoods that were reasonably okay. And some of us were abused. Much as I'd like to pretend it has nothing to do with my life now, I know that those old issues can rear their ugly heads. Not to mention coping with the judgmental tone a lot of the "healing" literature takes about S/M, let alone the disciplinary stuff.

okay, I'll start

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Thu Oct 18, 2007 10:23 pm

I think a fair amount about the ways that this thing we do is not only different from abuse, but ALSO has a great potential for helping (some of us) to heal from abuse.

I got a spanking last night, for one of the rules that I know perfectly well is solely for my own benefit, and which should be entirely reasonable and possible for me to follow (that I have to eat three meals a day that are at least marginally nutritious).

And it, like several of the spankings I've received lately, was, for W, a pretty hard spanking.

Afterwards, I was thinking about it, and realized that even though it was a hard spanking, it wasn't nearly as hard (in terms of force) or long or overwhelming as the spankings I received as a child. I only vaguely remember the ones I personally received, but I witnessed enough delivered to my siblings to have an idea of what they were like.

And even though I wrote in my blog that it's all in the context, it occurs to me that there's more to it than that. If it were ever appropriate to hit children (let's not open up that debate, though, please), I cannot conceive of how it could be appropriate to hit a five year old harder than I, a consenting adult, get hit now.

Which means that I get a sense of... oh. Okay. I guess the stuff that happened when I was a kid really was bad.

And discipline, more than spanking-as-(fore)play, helps me to grasp that the discipline I craved as a child was totally different from the abuse I received. It's not just that now the rules are consistent and spoken. It's not just that W isn't angry. It's also that her goal is not to vent her rage on someone powerless.

Of course, thinking about this does bring up some strong feelings. Because it's not like W gives me especially wimpy spankings (they are a *little* wimpy, maybe, but not especially so). And thinking about the fact that much, much worse was routinely given to toddlers and young children in the house where I grew up... thinking about how I, as an adult, get to know ahead of time what the rules are, and why they exist, but as children my siblings and I were just supposed to "know" what they were, and were punished without knowing for sure how we could avoid punishment in the future....

Yeah, not a fun thing to have to confront. Not a fun thing at all.
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Postby Rose » Fri Oct 19, 2007 12:19 pm

And discipline, more than spanking-as-(fore)play, helps me to grasp that the discipline I craved as a child was totally different from the abuse I received. It's not just that now the rules are consistent and spoken. It's not just that W isn't angry. It's also that her goal is not to vent her rage on someone powerless.


I know exactly what you feel (I think). My sister and I were talking about this kind of thing recently (although she doesn't know I get spanked). We talked about it in terms of simply having an argument with our husbands. We get angry, may raise our voices... but that's it. And then we talk about it, work things out, and move on.

When I first got married, this confused the hell out of me. I think I fought harder with him because I was trying to provoke the really bad reaction that I had been taught to anticipate. I just wanted to hurry up and get it over with, but it never came. For some weird reason, it was really unnerving at first. I didn't know how to have a healthy disagreement.

For my sister, she is continuously amazed by watching her husband and their daughter interact. It is so different and strange to us to see... We had no idea what a "real" family looked like.

I still go through this to a small extent. I suppose that there may always be a tiny part of me that expects all hell to break loose when my husband and I argue... And with our discipline structure, it is something that he does for me, instead of to me. Every day I'm with him, I learn to trust him a little more. The more I trust him, the more I realize that I've never been able to trust anyone (particularly men) before. It is his unshakable trustworthiness, and his consistent reasonableness (in disputes, discipline, rule-making, etc) that has helped so much to heal my old hurts.

The funny thing about my husband is that he seems to think that he knows next to nothing about discipline. But he doesn't realize how much he has already taught me.
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Postby JigsawAnalogy » Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:44 pm

And with our discipline structure, it is something that he does for me, instead of to me.


Yes. I guess I knew that somewhere, but that's definitely (at least one place) where the difference sits. That it's something done *for* rather than *to*. And that even though W benefits from me being more stable and calmer and better able to manage myself... the primary beneficiary is me. I try to trust that she would be willing to do this even if there were no benefits for her in it. And at least lately, she has been keeping up with it, even though *I* haven't been doing the greatest job of keeping up my half of things. I guess it's all a process. I just wish that I could be perfect, and not *need* the actual consequences....
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What we have survived and another question

Postby Cammy » Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:00 am

I am not sure if what I want to say and what I want to ask belongs in this thread, but I will trust that it will all work out in the end.

I have such an incredibly hard time being able to say that what happened to me was really "all that bad," and I have little to no feeling connected to either recalling or telling folks what happened throughout my childhood. (And lest I forget, it really was bad.) What to do with the disconnect? Do we survivors discount what happened because we are able to sit here (read: still alive). Do we discount what happened because we have no proof (video, corraboration, etc)?

I have started seeing a new therapist after having not seen one since 1994. The last one I saw was the only one I had been able to really trust in order to do significant recovery work. It is not possible to work with the previous therapist. Anyway, I am feeling the need to talk to the new therapist about a most recent previous relationship which had some D/s DD dynamics and that that is what I want in the long run with another woman.

How do you do this "telling" with a therapist? How do you tell that DD is a dynamic in your relationships?

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Postby JigsawAnalogy » Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:12 am

I wrote about W and me telling our (to our knowledge non-kinky) therapists at my blog. So there's the option of just coming out to your therapist, regardless of what they may or may not say about it.

But there's also Kink-Aware Professionals, which is a referral service that will give you the contact information for therapists, doctors, and lawyers in your state.

I guess the main way to come out is just to make yourself do it. My belief is that if you have accepted that this is something you need to discuss with your therapist, and you're confident in your choices, either the therapist will go with it and not spend time telling you that it's sick and wrong, or you will be empowered to see a new therapist. You're not required to keep seeing a therapist who isn't able to accept you.

I have such an incredibly hard time being able to say that what happened to me was really "all that bad," and I have little to no feeling connected to either recalling or telling folks what happened throughout my childhood. (And lest I forget, it really was bad.) What to do with the disconnect? Do we survivors discount what happened because we are able to sit here (read: still alive). Do we discount what happened because we have no proof (video, corraboration, etc)?


Yeah. I have this issue too. A lot of it is because I was constantly told, during my childhood, that things weren't that bad. Minimization is a powerful coping skill, because it lets you put off dealing with the enormity of what is happening until you are in a space where you can process it. The down side is that it becomes a habit, and keeps you from processing things once you get the chance.
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What we have survived

Postby Cammy » Mon Oct 22, 2007 8:41 am

Actually, I do not think my new therapist would be terribly surprised, and she made reference to another client (no names, etc of course) who had an addiciton to porn and her comments were not judgemental. I just don't know what I am ready to tell. I do think that this is a therapist I can work with and she can work with me, so I think that this will be ok. I think that survivors issues and my disconnects are probably more important to me than her being kink-aware (like on an approved list somewhere).

I used to feel more confident that my need for DD was not connected to childhood sexual abuse, but I am not so sure right now.

When I tell people (close friends or a therapist) what I have been through, they tell me that it is just amazing that I am doing as well as I am, etc. And I don't know how to take that sort of comment/compliment. I think it is like people don't know what to say.

I hate feeling like I am too much to handle.

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Postby JigsawAnalogy » Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:12 pm

Yeah, there is something about that comment about how "well" someone is doing that never quite... works for me. Particularly since my particular response (extreme dissociation) is pretty much designed to make it seem as though things are utterly okay when they are very much *not*.

I used to feel more confident that my need for DD was not connected to childhood sexual abuse, but I am not so sure right now.


In my case, I know that my need for DD is probably related, but it's related in a way I'm okay with. I need to experience what it's like to have consistent, reasonable rules and structure. Or maybe it's just inborn, now that I think of it, since I remember wishing I could have that way back when I was, oh, six or so. But the spankings... those are just what works, not some twisted repetition of abuse.

I find that in the absence of clearly stated rules and structure, I start walking on eggshells all the time, feeling worried and sick about knowing W has expectations, but not knowing what they are, or what will happen if her expectations aren't met. Oh, yeah, and I start to spin out of control in the realms of things like self-care, because of all of my issues around "well, if no one cares enough to take care of me, then I won't bother, either, because it's not like I care...." :blush: Not a mature response, not in the least. But I know it's got little to do with W, since I did it even when I was single and living far away from anyone who cared about me. Just really bad habits on my part, I guess.
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Postby Cammy » Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:00 am

Jigsaw

In one other relationship, when I would be paddled, it became clear to me that the dynamics were a re-creation of the abuse from my family and I could not separate what I was doing as an adult to what had happened to me as a child. So, that was not a "good thing" as Martha Stewart might say.

Many years later (and now. this is recent), after many years of recovery, the need/the desire for spanking was gently and delightfully rekindled, and I was able to benefit from this and I felt no connection or rekindling of what had happened to me as a child. That relationship has ended.

Now, I am finding that my abuse history is taking a front seat and needing to be on the front burner for attention and I have reentered into a therapeutic relationship with a new therapist. As you know, establishing trust is an ongoing process, and I "think" I am safe to lay it all out there on the table, but just like my sexuality, I do not want this (spank, DD, D/s)questioned or stolen and relabled without my consent, but I am unsure of what it is (is it a rekindling of childhood sexual abuse? Am I simply a spanko who happens to have been abused as a child? Do I want DD with firm boundaries and expectations and someone to show me that they love me when I mess up AND when I am obedient?)

Too many questions, too little time. I am appreciative of your comments.

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Postby Rose » Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:00 pm

I wrote a long, thoughtful response to this yesterday, and when I hit "submit," there was a computer error and it disappeared. *Sigh*

Anyhow...

I have such an incredibly hard time being able to say that what happened to me was really "all that bad," and I have little to no feeling connected to either recalling or telling folks what happened throughout my childhood. (And lest I forget, it really was bad.) What to do with the disconnect? Do we survivors discount what happened because we are able to sit here (read: still alive). Do we discount what happened because we have no proof (video, corraboration, etc)?


I can totally relate to this. I remember sitting down with one of my many therapists. It was a "first visit," you know, the one in which you have to give your whole ugly life story in a nutshell? Well, when I finished telling him mine, he said, "My goodness, you've had a bad life." And it surprised me. It kind of upset me too, because up until he said that, I'd been having a pretty decent day.

Sometimes I question myself... what I went through does sound awful, and yet I so often feel like I've got some one else's memories... That I remember it, but it didn't actually happen to me, you know? And I worry about telling others about it because, since it seems unbelievable to me, why would they believe me either? I wish I had some kind of proof to go back to, to prove to myself that it did happen, and it happened the way that I remember it. After my first stepfather went to prison, someone from the courts gave me a copy of the transcript of my testimony. I wasn't ready to have it then, though. I didn't know how to process it then, so I just wanted to get rid of it. I destroyed the transcript, as well as the journal I had kept during the years that we'd lived with him... Now I wish I had them back, because I need the reality check.

As for the "well, I'm still alive," thing, that is me entirely. I've always said to my husband, "so long as I'm still breathing, everything else is managable." Usually I just mean that about the mundane stressors of life, but it really does seem to have been how I've approached life entirely. I survived all of the abuse I went through, so... could it really have been that bad?

Anyway, I think you should tell your therapist about it. If you feel comfortable with her, and feel she is someone that you can trust, you should go for it. Your therapist will only be able to help you more, the better she understands you.
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Postby JigsawAnalogy » Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:46 pm

I remember sitting down with one of my many therapists. It was a "first visit," you know, the one in which you have to give your whole ugly life story in a nutshell? Well, when I finished telling him mine, he said, "My goodness, you've had a bad life." And it surprised me. It kind of upset me too, because up until he said that, I'd been having a pretty decent day.


Oh, me too. It's like it's somehow a surprise and really disturbing to hear other people say things were "horrible" or "traumatizing." Especially because I was raised by someone who is definitely up there on the dissociative scale, and who also approaches upsetting things by minimizing the heck out of them, so I would get in trouble for being upset by things, and learned to stop doing that.


Now, I am finding that my abuse history is taking a front seat and needing to be on the front burner for attention and I have reentered into a therapeutic relationship with a new therapist. As you know, establishing trust is an ongoing process, and I "think" I am safe to lay it all out there on the table, but just like my sexuality, I do not want this (spank, DD, D/s)questioned or stolen and relabled without my consent, but I am unsure of what it is (is it a rekindling of childhood sexual abuse? Am I simply a spanko who happens to have been abused as a child? Do I want DD with firm boundaries and expectations and someone to show me that they love me when I mess up AND when I am obedient?)


Yeah, things take time, and it is also perfectly reasonable to put things onto the back burner, or take them off the stove entirely. With a good therapist, you've always got the option to say, "I am trying to work out what this means, and how I can understand it." And they should be willing and able to respect your interpretations, even if it's not what they think.

My therapist is helpful this way--she'll state her interpretation of something, but clarify both before and after that it's her opinion, and might not necessarily be what's true for me. That's really useful, because it helps me to hear what she's saying, but also to make clear how I'm experiencing things.
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Postby Cammy » Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:25 am

And so today, I was having a hard time and a miserable headache. I have not had a headache like this in ages. But the headache has to do with stress, emerging memories that I have put away on a shelf, because I did not need to deal with them. Body memories are re-emerging and I am so scattered. So, I made an appointment with my therapist and saw her. For me to see her twice in one week is telling to me that I am not doing so well. (Brilliant, aren't I?)

And today she told me what I had suspected, but I always called it something else. She said that I was DID. And she told me "who" she had already seen or heard and I could not disagree with her in anyway, shape or form. I rememver Jigsaw when you first posted in another forum when you first got that diagnosis. I cannot disagree with her, but I just called it "scattered," or "splintered in pieces." So, I sit here a little scattered and wonder now what to do with this new disgnosis. And know that it does not change a thing. It does not change a thing. I am thinking also that since this is a new therapist to me and if she saw what she saw and heard what she heard in such a short period of time (I started seeing her after Labor Day and we mostly talked about issues with my daughter and not about me), I am thinking that this will be ok and I have chosen to work with someone who can help me, but I don't know where these scattered pieces will go.

My former therapist and my new therapist are going to be talking in the next few days. It was my suggestion and at my request that they do so and both agreed to it, so I am just waiting for that to get over so I can know what is known and where to start explaining things. Does that make sense?

I did broach the subject that some of the things that were done to me as a kid are things I enjoy as an adult, but now I wonder with a diagnosis of DID, from her standpoint if she would see it as the adult enjoying it. Ok, now I know that I will be understood in my posts here, but it is hard to sort things out.

Thanks for listening,
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Postby JigsawAnalogy » Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:07 am

Ooof. Much as I think there are far worse things to deal with than DID, it's still a hard dx to deal with.

On the other hand, I think I've made way more progress in therapy over the last year, knowing what it is that's going on, and how to address it, than I had in the ten years previous, so that's a good thing.

As for how your therapist interprets things... I think that's just about communication, on both your sides. You need to be able to communicate internally to be sure about who wants what, and why, and your therapist needs to be willing to trust what you know about yourself (since, in the end, you are the expert).

Good luck with all of this.
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Postby Cammy » Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:19 am

Thank you. I know I was not surprised by the diagnosis. I was somewhat surprised that I was in pieces in front of her sooner than I expected (it seems so soon to be in pieces, if you know what I mean). I am having a hard time and I am needing some down time, so I think that that is why the headache. And the headache is because I have been soooooooooooo busy trying to keep the memories from re-emerging. I feel like they are all trying to resurface and I am feeling harassed and overwhelmed by the body memoires and I just want to be held to know I am safe and there is no one to hold me and no one to be here with me.

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Postby JigsawAnalogy » Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:24 am

Depending on the type of headache, it may also be related to different parts trying to communicate. I have noticed that particular headaches I get (pretty much migraines, except they don't necessarily respond to migraine meds) were very much alleviated by better communication between parts. I used to get them pretty much daily; during a good stretch, it would be just a twinge every couple of weeks; lately, it's been two or three times a week.

One thing that kind of works, but only kind of, is to make a deal with yourself (or with the part who is having memories) to put them into some kind of container, and only take the memories out during very specific, limited times. It's not perfect, but it can take the edge off.

The weirdest thing I've found with this dx is that, the more my parts are distinct from each other, the more functional I get, and the fewer problems I have. Counterintuitive, at least for me, but it does seem to be helping (just so long as the parts communicate with each other!)
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Postby Cammy » Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:44 am

Thanks for your observatons about what has worked for you so far. I will definately make note. I think that I have only noticed the headaches and headaches-from-hell as being related to memories emerging. And they are so tiring. It has been a long time since I have had these so I am also scared. I am afraid that I will not be functioning well. Before, when I was in therapy, I was working parttime, had no child, and had a partner who managed things (meals, bills, and the like), and I was in a town I knew lots of people in. Now, I am working fulltime, am sole parent to an almost 6 year old, and live near infirm parents, far far away from knowing lots of people. I have lived here about 17 months. I don't have friends who are buddies who would see me through thick or thin. I do have one couple who help me out considerably and I know that without them I could not function. My daughter is with them right now because of this headache.

(Good news: I went to the redicare type ER and when I told them I had a migraine and when it started and what I had done for it, and that it really had not abated, they did not give me a rash of crap about reducing stress and did not treat me like I was some drug seeking maniac and gave me what I said would work with a lot of TLC. This was much different from the last time I had one in 1999 and I was down here (TX) and they treated me like I was a drug seeking idiot. That place treated me like I was an idiot and needed to use imagery to get rid of the migraine, etc. )

I do not have the resources I had when I was going through this the first time, but I am lining up what resources I have so that I can keep me safe and employed and I can keep my daughter safe and happy, etc. I am employed fulltime, and that must remain intact. It is a much less stressful job than I have had, but no job is stress-free and to others my job as a hospice nurse would put them over the edge. I like what I am doing.

I have resources that do not make me dependant on another person which is what my situation was before and I did not have the resources to leave when I was coming to know that that relationship was quite unhealthy for me. It was unhealthy for both of us, to be sure.

Since I have not had body memories and flashes of memories in many years, I am feeling more frightened about what is to come than I am by having a body memory here and a flash of a memory there. To me it signals a falling apart and I not only don't like how that feels, I also really do not want to imagine that there are more nasty memories inside of me that I did not already know about. Thus far, each body sensation I have had I know what it means and I know where I was and I know about how old I was. I am really being fearful that there are more memories that did not emerge before. Am I really ready for this F&^*ing roller coaster ride?

I know I was not surprised by her diagnosis of DID. I know I leave, but I always come back, so I figured I could manage things. I am not sure what changes on the outside for my therapist to see, but I know I have trouble talking sometimes. I guess we will figure this all out sometime, but the ride I am thinking I am getting on is a really tough one for me. (Like I think this is easy for anyone! LOL) I must remain employed. I must remain a mom. And I need to maintain some friendships. I just need to keep my goals very simple.

Or I could stop seeing this therapist, and get this body to shut-up and just block this stuf from emerging............. Ok. Ok. Ok. I really am not in control here. And I want to be a good mom and I want to learn to thrive again instead of simply survive.

Thanks
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