This weekend is often a difficult weekend for trauma survivors with dissociative identity disorder. First, there is Father’s Day (for those of us living in the USA), and secondly, it’s the Summer Solstice. Anytime the difficult days get stacked on top of each other, it’s going to make for a complicated time.
On days when the issues seem to surface in layers, what do you do to cope?
**This blog article is about difficult topics so it could be triggering – please pace yourself carefully and keep yourself safe.**
Father’s Day has many of the same emotional complications as was written about on Mother’s Day. The days proceeding are often full of painful memories, heartbreaking loss, fear, conflict, and upset. The vast majority of DID survivors have had abusive fathers, so the idea of celebrating fathers typically stirs up great turmoil.
The first day of summer, or the first day of winter, like all season changes, have relevance to those who have experienced difference forms of Ritual Abuse (RA). Many of the dark church organizations celebrate the seasonal changes and these so-called “celebrations” are full of trauma, abuse, gross activities, icky messes, scary events, etc.
Survivors of these ordeals are often flooded with flashbacks, emotional distress and internal conflict during the times of season changes.
When you put the two of these highly emotional events together, dissociative survivors experience a lot of overwhelm.
Some of the difficulties can include PTSD symptoms (nightmares, flashbacks, depersonalization, body memories, difficulties sleeping, irritability, feeling distant from others, etc.) and anxiety symptoms (panic attacks, excessive fears, heightened startle reflex, nausea, trembling, heart palpitations, headaches, obsessions, chest pain, etc), self-destructive thoughts, self-injury behaviors, suicidal ideation (pervasive thoughts about wanting to die), depression, tearfulness, or detached numbing. It’s probably been a miserable weekend for a lot of DID survivors.
Fathers that participate in dark church rituals are often not the kind of fathers that you find written about in Hallmark Cards. These are the kinds of fathers that prefer abusive activities, or that like sadistic pain, or have freaky and perverse sexual interests. They are difficult men who have caused a lot of hurt and pain for a lot of people, especially for their children.
And yet, even so, there are nearly always those parts within the DID system that feel loyalty and a deep bonding with the father figure. These parts are typically parts that have adopted some level of acceptance of the traumatic activities, and have long ago learned to tolerate the abuse or to even define it as anything but abuse.
DID survivors often manage abuse by their fathers by creating a father introject within the internal dissociative system. Father introjects are internal system parts that remember the father so well that they look-feel-sound-act-appear to the others inside as the same as the actual father. An internal introject may do the same kinds of abusive behaviors to the other parts of the system, recreating the same abusive patterns and feelings that the external father did. Since the internal world is so real to DID survivors, it can feel like the father is still there, still controlling things, still making all the decisions, still threatening harm, still causing harm.
And in many ways this can be true.
It can be difficult to separate who the external father is from the internal father introject. They can very much feel like mirror-images of each other, shadow replicas, and the child parts of the system will not be able to tell the difference between them.
But father introjects are NOT the actual father, no matter how much they may claim to be so. Father introjects actually belong to you. They split from you, they came from your mind, and they originated with you. They are actually part of you, and not part of the father. They may have been taught by the father, but they are actually yours.
However, they will be powerful parts of the internal system though so their power and influence is not to be ignored or minimized. It is more important to work with these parts, and reconnect their loyalty to the survivor person instead of to the father figure. This is an absolutely crucial part of the DID therapy process, and if you haven’t yet gained a safe working relationship with your father introject, you will need to do so.
Father Transference Issues
In the therapy process, male therapists will have many of the same kinds of transference issues regarding father issuesj as female therapists have with mother issues. In fact, it is often difficult for some female dissociative survivors to work with male therapists because of the kinds of trauma, abuse, and controls associated with their father. Male therapists often have to address transference issues of being seen as the abuser, controlling male, dominant owner, sexual pervert, etc. So many trauma survivors have issues with men — and even more have issues with their fathers — that it makes being a male therapist for female trauma survivors particularly difficult.
Other female trauma survivors are so used to be led by men or connected to men, especially their father, that they feel more at ease with men and less comfortable with “neglectful, abandoning mothers”. (Female therapists tend to get more of the abandonment transference issues, while male therapists tend to get more of the abuser-male dominance transference issues.) The relationship between survivors and their parents will very often dictate which gender of therapist is a better fit for them.
Typical Father Issues
Father issues are not easy to work through. They often take years of time to sort out, and they are very painful. Many survivors truly feel bonded to their fathers, even if some of their relationship involved sexual activities. Sometimes feeling sexually connected to the father felt better than being emotionally abandoned by the mother. When this is the case, there are numerous emotional complications to process during your healing.
- Do you understand the role your father has played in your life?
- Do you experience system switching, feelings of fear, or flashbacks when you are in the same room with your father?
- What would your father do if you said no to him?
- What would your father do if you chose a lifestyle very different from the one he chose for his life?
- Are you allowed to live separately from him? Have you been allowed to move away from his neighborhood?
- How much control or influence does your father have over you life in the current day?
- Are you safe when you are in the same room as your father?
- Does your father still abuse you or any of your younger parts? Does he still exert a level of sexual dominance over anyone in your system?
- Would you be betraying your father if you refused to let him touch you in sexual ways?
Remember These Truths…
If your father is an abuser, you can get distance and separation from him.
You don’t have to stay bonded to abusers.
You don’t have to stay connected to violent relationships.
You don’t have to be abused to be accepted.
You do not have to be sexual to be accepted.
All men are not abusers.
I’m sorry you were hurt so much….
And I really do wish you the best in your healing journey.
Copyright © 2008-2022 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
Its after midnight on fathers day,
We made it.
Clumsily and not great, but we still made it through this tough day,
Inside our head it sounds like a war because tomorrow is fathers day. So many upset kids and so much yucky stuff.
And mae always panics the day after the longest day of the year. The longest day of the year, and building up to it, she is so excited. But the day after, she crashes, its like she jumps off a cliff. Because now we are on our way to winter, which is a horrible date for her.and now it’s inevitable, its COMING. Never mind that its SIX months away. The day after the first day of summer is OBVIOUSLY the best day to panic. 🙄
Tomorrow, i am planning to go swim laps in the morning. And, probably rent kids movies for them the rest of the day, and have them work on crafts or something. Its going to be a tough day.
It feel like a giant ball of fire
And a giant ball of aching pain
Too much to take in at 1 time.
We want so much to self injure but we cant let ourselfs do that anymore.
But some times the ache feel like it be crushing us.
We been trying to do lots of things to distract ourselfs but the ache come back right away.
It feels so big. Like climing a mountin or trying to take a breth under water.
We feel so dum and emberast and ashamed.
Fathers day dont be the only hard day. There also be having to deal with you fathers brithday. That be a rally hard day to.
One word stood out from your post like a beacon: graduation. It’s well attested that many kids facing abuse cannot cope with the additional stresses of education and drop out, and no disrespect to them whatsoever. But you stuck with it and, to me and I’m sure to others, that speaks volumes about your strength. Well done and congratulations. Take good care of your grad pics: they’re material evidence of a major achievement. And even if your dad was strict about education, your graduation is still YOUR achievement, not his.
Incidentally, I’m guessing that, bar organisational difficulties, dissociation may actually help with education, providing a way for the abused student to leave their problems outside the classroom door. I’m going to search now for a discussion of such issues…
Kathy Broady says
Reblogged this on Discussing Dissociation and commented:
I’m a little behind in posting something about Father’s Day and the change of seasons, but I figure that many of you will still be thinking about these things. I hope you find the ideas in this article to be helpful. Thinking of you all and wishing you gentle peace and genuine healing.
Stupid fathers day is coming again. Have to get a good present. Have to find the perfect damn card. Have to talk on the phone.cant get away from the ridiculous ads on the tv and the radio. And in the stores. This is the stupidest holliday thre ever was. Theres no way to get away from it.
Stupid fucking goddamn worthless holiday
Hate this fucking shit
Al these fucking cards and commercials and happy father shit all over the place
Stuped day comeng agan 🙁
No tv so we dont see them dum ads for dads
Fathers day be comeing rel fast agan. Stuped day. It be here evrey yere. We dont like this day 🙁
Here it go agin 🙁
Wish it be over:(
yep… right with ya.
Poor Pilgim 🙁 and no one to answer you. I can’t even get into the support section now… But i thought about you and everyone on that date that you wrote about. :/
stupid freaking “holiday”
this and mothers day
i am tired of seeing the joy of all the happy father-child things on tv and stores and everywhere
it makes the inside kids sick to see dads and their little girls together
what is going to happen to the little girl when they get alone?
it always leads to all these stupid freaking flash backs
we lernd we be stupid and werthliss and bad no matr waht
and we cant do nothing rite
we lernd that nobudy evr going to love us or think we be good
we hate it wen pepol say the werd daddy
cos that mens bad things 🙁
sory for ritng bad stuff
this be a bad day
this hole thing this holiday need to stop
and spehsally not be rite now
we be so switchsy we be dizzy
and are stomak ake wont go away
stupid fathers day is back 🙁
it is in 6 days
at church they keep talking bout it
there be speshal church servises and a party thing
and selebrate fathers
on tv and on the radio there is all the ads bout how grate fathers be
this hole comeing wekend is 1 of the werst of the year for us
stupid stupid holiday 🙁
I love that you watch TARA. I think every trauma therapist should.
just found your blog. I am a 33 y/o mother diagnosed DID in ’07 in active therapy. You have very interesting views so I am subbing, looking forward to more 🙂
Kathy Broady says
Hi Amy –
Welcome to Discussing Dissociation! I’m glad you’re here and having a look around.
Feel free to share your comments and ideas as well! 🙂
And… one of these days, I’ll write more about US of Tara – I tend to have many comments after each episode…..
Have a good day!
Aeria, I am so sorry. Of course you hate your father, he exposed you to a convicted rapist. Ok, so maybe he didn’t believe the charges but the judge/jury did. He is guilty of not protecting you; he is guilty of blind allegiance to his brother. The least he could have done is pay attention to what has happening in his own house. You are not bad; you are not wrong for hating him. A child has the right to expect safety in her house. You should have been loved, nurtured, protected. Please do for your self what was not done for you as a child.
You feel guilty maybe because accepting responsibility for the abuse is sometimes less traumatic than accepting the fact that our parents didn’t protect us and our home wasn’t safe. You need to put the guilt where it belongs: on your rapist, and on your father — he should have taken better care of his precious, precious child.
Our father didn’t actually abuse us. As far as I know.
But he let his brother (a convicted child sex offender) stay with our family a week after he was released from doing time in prison for s*xually abusing his step-daughter. Our father refused to believe his brother would do that, simply because the guy pleaded “not guilty” at trial.
The uncle went on to r*pe us every day for the time he was there (I think it was 2 or 3 months).
I hate our father for putting us in that situation. Is that bad? He didn’t technically do anything to hurt us, maybe hating him is wrong. Maybe the whole thing wasn’t wrong? It had happened before then, maybe that’s what we were there for? We feel guilty, I feel guilty. I don’t know why.
This has been a difficult weekend. I hate holidays and high days.. I hate not feeling safe!
Thank you for bringing up the topic. It is rather difficult. I had a hard time reading it. In fact I think it’s now the fifth time reading it and I still struggle with it. It does give me some comfort knowing that these are things that other people struggle with as well.
I don’t think I have transferred my father outwardly. Inside definitely. I did not realize how much control he (my father introject) had over my life until I started answering some of these questions. He is just as real as any other father; maybe controlling more of me than I would like to admit.
***Pligrimchild*** light and safe hugs to you if you want them.
Mona, thanks for the hope of safety! I too wonder if I will finally feel that safety when he has passed away. 20 miles is just not far enough, though he even tracked me when I was abroad – like the world wasn’t big enough for us both.
Thanks Kathy – and wouldn’t you know – I just found my grad pics in some totally random bag when looking for angel pictures. When they want to keep something from me, they’re quite skilled at it.
You know, Kathy, I have felt separated from Father’s Day and father’s birthday this year. He used to call and guilt me about not calling him or writing. My youngest son used to guilt me about not keeping in touch with my dad (but he doesn’t know about much of the abuse.) I allowed myself to feel bad. But since he was put in a nursing home about 18 months ago (against his will) I realise that I have felt safe from him for the first time–ever. And this is a good feeling. I am not ready to connect to the issues yet, maybe when he dies. But I am glad I at least feel safe. 2,000 wasn’t enough ( he lives in Ireland, I live in America) but now he is locked up and cannot drive. So…I wanted to tell other victims that it is possible to feel safe, and it is possible to stop feeling controlled by fear and guilt. Stay strong.
🙁 hard days
Thanks Kathy – been waiting for this post all week (sheepish grin).
“anxiety symptoms (panic attacks, excessive fears, heightened startle reflex, nausea, trembling, heart palpitations, headaches, obsessions, chest pain, etc), self-destructive thoughts, suicidal ideation, depression, tearfulness, or detached numbing.”
Yep – but I hadn’t put it together. Again. Somehow we always forget these things.
“These parts are typically parts that have adopted some level of acceptance of the traumatic activities, and have long ago learned to tolerate the abuse or to even define it as anything but abuse.”
Yeah. And been struggling with ‘do we send him a pic of our graduation… do we not…” we’ve not spoken in 4 years. ‘can i send a blank card with the pic?’ – well, we lost the pics. i guess that means ‘no’.
**”Do you understand the role your father has played in your life?”
Not sure I understand all of them. He had many; tyrant, sex abuser, manipulator, occasionally loving father which was really confusing to us…
**”Do you experience system switching, feelings of fear, or flashbacks when you are in the same room with your father?”
When I used to be, yes. Fight or flight majorly kicked in.
**”What would your father do if you said no to him?”
First he’d act like I was kidding, then he’d explode with anger and get physically dangerous. Been down that road a number of times – even after the parents separated and I was an adult.
**”What would your father do if you chose a lifestyle very different from the one he chose for his life?”
In essence, told me I was worthless and that he’d help me if I chose his path. He married someone just like him – a lethal team.
**”Are you allowed to live separately from him? Have you been allowed to move away from his neighborhood?”
Disown me (YAY!!!). That has happened – and yet, we feel guilty, ‘the bad daughter’, ‘we hurt him’…. And even if i had stayed – i’d not get my “inheritance” of a downpayment on a house until i had a career he and his wife wanted for me, and lived where they chose. i escaped!!!
**”How much control or influence does your father have over you life in the current day?”
Father introject within the system. Plus the fear he’ll find out we told, we’re in therapy, we’ve discredited him with some people he knew. Fear if we run into him, he’ll still kill us or try.
**”Are you safe when you are in the same room as your father?”
No – never was, not even at 29 yrs old. That’s when I “left him”. Why does it feel like I’ve cheated on him? Abandoned him?
**”Does your father still abuse you or any of your younger parts? Does he still exert a level of sexual dominance over anyone in your system?”
If I were still in contact with him, he would still have abuse over me financially and would manipulate me. He does still try to wield information about me from his mom and mine. I don’t think he would sexually – other than considering me to be a slut. Mind I’ve never to this day chosen to be sexual with anyone. But any touch from any male feels sexual -even in the last picture with him that Easter where he put his hand on my shoulder and our protector turned on him, hissing “Don’t!!”
**”Would you be betraying your father if you refused to let him touch you in sexual ways?”
This question makes us feel very young. Thankfully we don’t have to answer (aka we’re not in this situation any more from any male).
Our own therapists didn’t address this (again as always) so I am really glad you do. Kiyacat
Kathy Broady says
Hi Kiyacat –
I’m glad to see that you were looking forward to my next article – thanks. 🙂 That’s really kind of you to say. 🙂
You’ve clearly done a whole lot of healing work, and you’ve had to make some difficult choices in order to get freedom from abuse – that’s really good work. Getting safety has cost you a lot, but it also sounds like you are making really good progress in that area. I can see that your insiders were communicating with you while you were writing your comment. It’s good that you can talk to each other like that. There’s just soooo much to say to each other……
Keep up the good work!
Thanks for reading, and it’s good to see you back. 🙂