It’s Father’s Day. Father’s Day is all about those endearing, positive, caring fathers. But what about the abusive fathers?
Yep, fathers are as difficult a topic for dissociative trauma survivors as mothers.
Fathers often are heavily involved in the trauma history for dissociative survivors. Most DID survivors I know have far too many painful memories involving their fathers.
I decided I would recognize Father’s Day by writing briefly about a few of the common but complicated topics connected to fathers. These are difficult, agonizing, stressful father-related issues for DID systems.
I can feel the shuddering going on already.
How difficult are these situations for you?
A. Saying no to your father
According to childhood rules, it’s really not allowed, typically, for DID survivors to even consider saying no to their father. It’s a scary topic. This is a “rule” that gets taught very early on, and takes years of time to challenge. All too often, this very idea is tied to trauma, and abuse, and a whole lot of fear.
And yet, it really is okay, especially as you become an adult yourself, to make your own decisions about your life, and about what you’ll do (or not do). The older you are, the less say-so that your father should have in terms of making the rules for your life. Easily said, but oh so very difficult to do, especially if you have the type of father that doesn’t want to relinquish that position of power and authority.
But still, your life belongs to you, and at some point, it really is okay to claim that for yourself. You don’t have to believe what your father believed. You don’t have to spend your life following his rules or his directions. You don’t have to put his teachings above what you want to decide for yourself. It is okay, and important, for you to become your own person, and to establish your own sense of self separate from your father. To do this, means that at some point in time, you will likely have to say “No” to your father and his preferences.
For many trauma survivors, the healing process is very dependent on you gaining more separation from your father, and being able to make decisions about your life based on what you think, not on what your father thinks.
B. Having an Abusive Father
What about the trauma survivors whose fathers were their perpetrators?
What is your father is still one of your perpetrators?
Boy oh boy, it’s very difficult to think anything positive about Father’s Day when your father was (or is) one of your abusers. It becomes a day of pain, heartache, body memories, flashbacks, fear, and anxiety. Trauma city!
Being hurt, betrayed, and abused by either of your parents creates some of the deepest wounds, and some of the deepest splits within the dissociative system.
- There will often be parts in your system that completely agreed with and supported and even helped the father carry out abuse to various people in your system.
- There will be others in your system that were and probably still are terrified of the father.
- There will be others in your system that have absolutely no awareness of any abuse done by the father, and will defend his innocence with a vengeance.
- There could be others in your system that don’t even know that the father was their father – they will see him as some generic “man” that hurt them.
- There could also be others in your system that only remember the father as a good man, a decent person, a fun and caring person, a good man in the community, and any other variety of being good, just, and kind.
Having such extreme and varied views and experiences with the father creates a ton of internal conflict, making the necessity of splitting into different selves much more understandable. Having different parts, each containing their own experiences, and then keeping these parts separated from each other, is often an effort to minimize the turmoil caused by loving / hating / fearing / admiring the same person. It makes sense. How else would someone manage all the extremes?
C. Being Abandoned by your Father
What about the fathers that simply abandoned their children?
This is a painful topic as well. It leads to feelings of nothingness, low self-esteem, anger, self-destruction, and confusion. Not having a father creates a hole in the heart – an emptiness that just doesn’t go away. To become used to this emptiness can create a type of apathy towards people that can lead to other types of problems in life and relationships. It can lead to addictive behaviors – drinking, drugging, sexual promiscuity – and any other behavior that tries to mask pain with impulsive “I want to feel good” options.
It’s almost impossible to understand how a father could leave you without struggling with thoughts about “am I bad?” or “it must be my fault” or “I made him go away”. Children internalize blame onto themselves, and many dissociative survivors grow far into adulthood before becoming able to shift this responsibility back onto the father instead of absorbing it into themselves. Not taking the blame for your father’s poor behavior is an important task in the healing journey.
Father issues are not simple, and yet, very often, for trauma survivors, sorting out your father issues are very central to your healing. It’s difficult to understand or choose or create healthy family relationships when your whole life experience has been with a dysfunctional or abusive father. Fathers, even the absentee fathers, are very prominent in shaping your very sense of yourself. Your father isn’t nobody. He has had some very significant impact on your life.
When you were a child, you had very little say so about that.
Now, when you are older, and more adult, and more resourceful for yourself, now you can make new decisions that can redefine that relationship and its impact on you and your life, and the lives of your insiders.
Even if it is scary to address these topics, for your own healing, your health, and your well-being, it’s essential that you do.
I wish you the best in your healing journey.
Copyright © 2008-2022 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
Like things arent difficult enough right now we realized stupid fathers day is next week so now we have that crap to deal with on top of everything else. Stupidest holiday ever. Its like we are buried under an avalanche and no one even knows.
Hello from Jasmin.
These things are big issues for me too.
With fathers day coming, I feel this big ache in my chest that I cant hold in. Its loud inside my head which gives me headaches from some kids who are doing bad. I cant escape them even when i go to my quiet room inside. My headaches make it hard to think.
Fathers day is very painful. I cant wait til its over with. It brings up many many issues.
I am jealous of those who have good relationships with their mothers and fathers.
Its the worst day of the year for us.
Its so complicated.
Yup Jasmin – “complicated” is the word….we are sorry that you are dealing with this, too…..but glad that you came here…..we “hear” you……
We identified a lot with the part about not recognizing him as “father”…..we spent our childhood “disconnected” from him – on guard around him…..we didn’t know what the word “father” meant – vague brain ideas of what it was “supposed” to be – but never could “feel” it….”father” was only a word – like Tom, Dick, or Harry…..we could not put him anywhere near the category of what he was “supposed” to be – it would just cause WAY too much confusion for us……..
the closer we get to fathers day the more off the chain we get 🙁
WE HATE THIS STUPID HOLADAY!!!
Missy have gone down farther in age. asher and judah be a mess. all them been having such bad flash backs. we be a total reck cuz of this stupid stuff. we feel like we losing our mind. we dont been sleeping. we dont be abol to eat. we need to talk so bad. but its so hard to talk about!!!!
o no it com🥺
mi tumc b sic
some day mabey i will be good enuff.
i hate fathers day.
Just wanted to say that you are good enough just the way that you are right now and you always have been. If someone told you differently, like maybe daddy, they were wrong … very, very wrong!
You are beautiful, precious, perfect Rachel.
thank you for saying that. it be nice to say. but you dont no me. and relly i be a nobody. i domt be good enoff for any one. but it do be nice of you to say and i think you are kind.
Was reading over Rita’s and everybody’s comments again…..still working on my stuff……still feeling the “It” syndrome…..trying to figure out what I should have done when I was with my ex…..was extremely petite (looked and felt more like a “boy”) but knew “technically” that I was a “girl”….but I didn’t like either direction – I “failed” at being a boy – and “failed” at being a girl……preferred to dress more “boyish” but could shift into “dress” mode when required – as for “church” times when I used to go – that was what was expected of me in those days……but I REALLY didn’t like it……
My ex was almost 21 years older than me – (I was in my mid 30’s at the time) and I took care of his cows when he was away teaching….. I LOVED taking care of the cows and the horses and was told by neighbors that they were amazed I had no problem in keeping up with their teenage sons in bucking hay bales …..
I really TRIED for a while to do the “looking and acting like a wife” thing with my ex….but there was little response from him – just a lot of confusing mixed messages……one point he told me that he was just needing a “ranch hand”…..another time he told me that he was always wanting to know what it was like to have a daughter (he had 2 grown sons and had had a vasectomy so there would be no more children)…..I went into massive confusion not knowing if I was supposed to be a – a “ranch hand”, a “daughter”, or a “wife”……..I couldn’t figure out what I was or who I was to “be”…….
One day he said I needed some new clothes and took me into the small town to go “shopping” in an agricultural co-op store…..he decked me out in a cotton plaid work shirt that was too big and the sleeves were hanging below my hands….also a pair of men’s jeans that were WAY too big and didn’t fit right…..when I tried to protest, he said I could hold the pants up with a belt and I could cut the sleeves off and sew a button onto them…..told me “NOW you look “good” like you are “supposed” to look…….” I couldn’t figure out if he was “right” or “wrong”….or if I REALLY wasn’t “supposed” to be bothered by it…….
When we were pregnancy checking his cows, he “head-gamed and manipulated me” (think I realize that NOW) into going “topless” (even though I looked very boyish) to get some sun that I “needed” and to not get my clothes dirty (didn’t matter that he could keep HIS on) ….and then he stood there and snickered at me because I DID it (good thing we lived out in the boonies)… He also later delighted in telling his lady friend how I had ACTUALLY done it (which made HER day!)…….with me standing there listening to how he was talking about me……but I STILL couldn’t figure out if I had done “right” or “wrong” in obeying him……
I was SO, SO lost….couldn’t figure out “what” I was supposed to be…..what “role” I was supposed to be playing……what the “rules” were in those roles…..was I a “boy” ranch hand….a “daughter” in his bed….or a “wife” who couldn’t measure up in anything……. or ALL of them at once……
So I guess I had some measures of “gender” confusion, or Identity crisis AND a complete inability to recognize emotional abuse……..I did finally leave him after I looked at him one day and said, “I know you don’t love me (whatever THAT means) – but do you need me?” (Being “needed” was better than nothing – I guess)…..He snickered and simply said, “If you want to be needed – then go find yourself another man, get pregnant and have a baby – THEN you’ll be needed”…….. I left……When I went to file for divorce from him – I found out I was never even actually married to him…..I really thought I was……
When you try so hard to “be” what you are told you are supposed to be and you can’t get it right, it can be so confusing……I guess Identity crises make you a really easy, gullible target if you aren’t careful………
Sooooo, I bounce between “It” and “boy”……”brain logic” says I am “girl”…….being “head-gamed” when you are a child is one thing (although REALLY, REALLY bad)…….but to be so “head-gamed” like that as an “adult”…….makes me wonder WHAT is WRONG with me???????
There is NOTHING wrong with you. There is EVERYTHING wrong with the people who abused you as a child and adult. Period!
When you were abused as a child (I am assuming abuse here and not some other trauma – forgive me if I am wrong – in either case, someone(s) failed to take proper care of you) a pattern of abuse was set. By this I mean that, when we were abused, we did not learn the skills not to be abused later in life. Abuse leads to psychological chaos because nothing makes sense anymore. That includes our gender identity, sense of self as physical/sexual beings, safety, caring, love, respect, self-care, care from others … and the list goes on. Everything is turned upside down and distorted. We cannot see others or ourselves clearly through the lens of an abusive childhood.
It is not at all surprising that you were confused about who you were or what was a reasonable relationship. And, I think that predators (your ex being one in my mind) have a sixth sense for finding vulnerable abused souls to prey on and further abuse. That is exactly what your ex did. What he did to you was horrible, hateful and cruel. That is entirely on him.
I won’t go into details, but I have had a similar kind of experience. I felt genderless throughout my teenage years. I gender identified as a boy when I was younger but puberty destroyed that image of myself so I reverted to no gender. I thought that I was safe there. A predator controlled my life for about a year in my early 20s much like your ex in terms of head games, gas lighting and abuse. He eventually raped me twice and the game was over. I blamed myself and how stupid I was to let the abuse happen. The thing was that I did not have the tools to keep myself from being abused. He used the paralysis of my fears from childhood to control me. I begged him to stop but felt no power to walk away. He convinced me that his evil behaviour was my fault.
I tell you all of this not to jump on to your pain here MissyMing but to tell you that you are understood and not alone. Childhood abuse destroyed your/our sense of self-protection and self-worth. Being victimized again as an adult is a direct outcome of what happened to us as children. We do not need to beat ourselves up for what we missed out on in our childhoods. We can learn from those experiences to never have that happen again.
Sending warm, positive thoughts and (((hugs))) your way if you are okay with that.
Missy Ming, you are so brilliant. How insightful the experiences you noticed and the questions you raise.
I don’t act like an adult very often. T says every week: people see me as an adult male (I have a beard this year). I feel like a kid emotionally and socially. So I wanted to validate that as an adult (in age), it makes sense that we can still be confused about so much of our identities.
I don’t blame you or see shame at making mistakes. Age for multiples seems tricky.
I was talking to my T today about a concept I remembered from college called “hailing.” Gramsci, an Italian Marxist philosopher, I think, said how people “hail” us—what they treat us as—can influence how we see ourselves. Advertising hails us as consumers, even when we don’t wanna buy anything; we just wanna watch X program. A teacher may be hailed as an expert even when she doesn’t know the topic. So people and groups hail us frequently, which can confuse how we see ourselves.
I may be seen and treated as a middle-aged man, even if I have purple toenails, a camisole, and eye makeup and feel like a 12-year-old. Confusing!!!
I want you to know I feel compassion for your confusion in how you were treated. I think how others see you isn’t the real you unless you say it is. I don’t know if I’m right. And I still want to give you permission to decide identity questions from how you feel and not how others hail you.
Seems today as though I hear gender and sexuality described by my T on continuums. And multiples may have me’s who individually are on continuum and so maybe the questions you’re asking about identity are very complex, which makes it understandable that you could feel confused.
You are an amazing survivor still on an exploration of who you are. I support you.
Your friend, T.Clark 11/28/18
Oh my, Me+We and T.Clark! Thank ya’ll for your responses…..I just looked back over at what came out and thought “Oh no! I went into “processing mode” again….” Stuff bubbles up and it feels like it HAS to come out so I can see where I am at…pieces coming together that are part of the picture……I am SO, SO glad this is a “safe” place to do stuff like that….MOST people would not get it….but ya’ll obviously do…. I see I can be so bottom line “blunt” in my ramblings…..”Objective” processes “facts”….not so much as to whether something ought to be “too embarrassing” to say….. Our end perspective is “It is what it is……”
Me+WE….I agree that abusers seem to have a “sixth sense” for finding those who have gone through abuse and are “gullible” for more…..not because we “want” it….it’s because we have very little understanding of “boundaries” in our behalf – we seem to feel like we are not allowed to have any because our voice was not heard when we tried to……so we lost sense of it……I totally get your description of thinking that “no gender” was the only “safe” direction…..but when you have to “be” something as far as the Outside World is concerned…..you just end up bouncing around and can’t figure out if there will ever be an end result……..I “function” as a girl who prefers to dress like a “boy” but FEEL like an “It”….Makes life interesting…….Thank you for all your encouragement and validation…..
T.Clark – thank you… Especially for the “no blame…and no shame for making mistakes”…..I read what I wrote and can’t figure out how I “let” that all happen to me..why couldn’t I “see” it……but I think all the “outward processing” was just letting me “remember” how SO confused and powerless and lost I felt then…..that my inability to “recognize” abuse was ACTUALLY a symptom of having gone through abuse…..I still get confused about that because we never ended up in the hospital from anything he did ….. so that makes me wonder if I was just blowing things out of proportion because I was “too sensitive” and “made things up”…….No wonder we go in all these different directions of identity…..we were probably just trying to find a way to get away from where we were at…….if I didn’t like the end results of being a “girl”…then I will “be” a boy….when we are young…we have little say about what we experience in life….we just do what we can to get through…..
Thank ya’ll again for being there…..for letting me be “blunt”, “vulnerable”, and able to just “process” like crazy…..for letting me “explore” what I have walked through…..I know that the potential of my father’s anger created an environment of fear….fear that left us “subconsciously” wondering when something we did would be bad enough that would cause him to maybe lose control and we would all die….but according to all the “weird” flashes my sister and I have had….there MUST have been “other things” that happened as well…..we just don’t know yet what all it was……Yes….this is an “exploration”….a confusing and gut-wrenching one…..but a necessary one……..
Missy Ming, I agree we, as Littles, had little say and just survived what we had to, how we had to.
Talked to T about that this week. It’s so interesting how survival methods worked then and seem to be killing us now. We in this body are in a space where we still have all the old coping mechanisms and some new ones—so it’s overload city inside.
Trying to live gently, and. Not. There. Yet. 12/1/18
“I “function” as a girl who prefers to dress like a “boy” but FEEL like an “It”….” I feel much the same way even though I am married and have a life as a woman. It can be very confusing sometimes but mostly challenging because I do not feel that I fit into any of the boxes of what I “should be” as a woman and wife. Yes I gender identify more as a woman although my childhood was spent as a boy. But, he is a very strong influence in my life now and I am comfortable with that. Actually, I like that part of me very much.
I guess that I am learning to just relax with that way of being. Why do I have to be like other women? Why do I have to fit the box of what a “woman” and “wife” are? Who made those rules? Gosh … more rules … how many of us learned the painful lessons of changing rules at the whim of our abusers?
MissyMing – you are beautiful, perfect you just the way that you are. I so value all of your “processing”, thought “bubbles”, “explorations” … well, just wonderfully vulnerable, open, blunt and honest you. By sharing your truth you inspire me, challenge me and enlighten me. Please keep sharing your journey with us!
With sincere regard and gratitude, your friend,
Thanks Lori or am I…..What you said makes sense to me…helping me to see more objectively….that perpetually bubbling undercurrent of trying to find a way to “feel” safe can make life rough in the present….it oozes over into everything and can make life feel so, so hard….trying to fulfill others’ expectations because of a gut level fear of “unknown consequences” if I don’t…..it is so sad how some people will sense that and tend to take advantage of it….
Also – for some reason – this sense that I don’t have a right to whatever is perfectly OK for everyone else….that for some reason (coming from a sense of worthlessness, defectiveness…????) I have to live by a different set of rules than everyone else…that others can do what I am not allowed to do….it causes such huge confusion in me…..
I even see it in my adult life….co-workers get away with things I am not allowed to do – I am held by superiors to a high level of accountability and yet I watch others move in deception and compromise and I am not allowed to say anything – which triggers off internal Rage and these now surfacing smidgens of the horrors and the confusion of the “Don’t tell” realm…..I often have to swallow Internal Rage when at work – yet when I am at home I think I “imagined” it all or totally blew it out of proportion because there is “something wrong” with me…sometimes I feel like I am losing my mind…..wish I knew where all of it is coming from……
Thanks for helping me to be able to process…….Taking deep breaths….I am OK…….
Thanks Me+We…..sorry, I felt all over the place with my last comment….a lot of internal frustration going on….bouncing…..sometimes I feel like a pinball machine Inside (is that BPD??? – don’t know what I am)….the neuter gender thing still freaks me out at times….sometimes I will look at my face in a mirror to see and try to figure out what or who I am…but the “disconnect” seems to override everything…..
I have been married for almost 25 years – no kids – and have yet to feel a “connection” to my role as “wife”….I think even the term scares me – I cannot explain something to my hubby when I can’t even understand it myself…..besides…I don’t want to trigger anything off in him and end up putting more on my plate to deal with……..
Anyway….thanks for your response….school opened a week ago and I am back to trying to get through a day (ie – evening) of work of dealing with even more people…….Inside I just want to collapse and not move anymore….Outside I have to keep meeting expectations so I don’t have more piles on my plate both Inside and Outside to deal with ….makes it rough…but I somehow keep going…….
I REALLY need a “vacation” (ie – away from people – and a chance to just “vegetate” if I want)…..but the Internal panic about failing to meet expectations and obligations gets so bad that it over-rides the fact that I have a lot of vacation time built up….vacation time that i don’t have the nerve to put in for…..why are there so many Catch 22’s with us??? I just don’t get it…..others have no problem putting in for their vacation time….why is it so hard for me????
I am babbling again….just trying to figure out where I am at….sorry…..gotta go to work……
Lori or am I says
I Thank the need for perfection comes from, if we are good and do it right We will not be punished. In the reality we are adults and we shouldn’t be punished for mistakes anymore. Somehow our fragmented brains cannot comprehend that. I feel that if we ask for something for ourselves The record player turns on and continues to play the sounds of how selfish it is to want something , or toneed something . I can’t speak for others but I do know that was told to us Several times a day.
Being all over the place is just fine. I often feel that I am a hamster on an endless run around that darn wheel in my cage. I jump off and one of my insider hamsters jumps on. Then sometimes a bunch of us are on at the same time. ARGH!!! The chaos of DID and managing our herd of hamsters.
You know, after 39 years living with my husband I still do not know what it is to be a “wife”. According to my husband’s mom I was to have kids, serve him without question, bake him endless desserts and hand knit his socks. By that definition of wife I am a resounding failure. But, that it just fine with me.
I am my husband’s best friend, soul mate, muse, confidant, love and lover (when I have had that part of me together). He knows that he can rely on me to be honest, caring, open, and always there for him. And, he also knows that I come with complications but, then again, so does he. We are human. And being human means that we are complex and multifaceted.
I see no need for him to adhere to a rigid definition or role of what is thought to be male nor does he see me needing to be confined to a rigid definition or role of what is thought to be female. That is always how we have seen each other and framed our marriage.
Now I am so sorry that work is so tough right now. Try to find some down time for yourself and do things that are soothing, restful and fun.
Gender confusion….hmmmm….what if you feel more like an “it”….don’t want to identify with “male” because that puts me in the same “category” as “daddy”…..don’t want to be “female” because that means you are treated like you are worthless……what does that leave??? I know there are some “female” parts – but they are young and wear pink….I HATE pink….Rage also triggers when I have to say the word “woman” or anything like that – it gets stuck in my throat…..I know there are some “male” parts but I don’t know how to “be” them in the way that I wish I could because my physical body doesn’t have that strength…..I keep being in between……or bouncing……Neuter is safer…..
Somebody said something about father’s day cards….I try looking sometimes and end up getting disgusted in the card aisle – they are way too “squishy” – and end up spewing a lot of lies…..I feel like a volcano standing there looking at all the lies and end up walking away…..I don’t send him anything…..
One part will call him and say the words because I am supposed to – but they are only words to me…..I feel so disconnected – don’t know what “father” is supposed to mean…..concerning him – I am either numb or rage is crawling up my throat…..maybe one day I will know why…….
WOW MissyMing … just sssoooo very much to take in here in your comment. First of all though, I must say that I chuckled when you said – “but they are young and wear pink….I HATE pink” because I have the same thing going on. Some times a lot of negotiating has to go on so that everyone is comfortable (especially the boys). I am lucky though because most of my insiders do not have a vested interest in me looking a particular way on the outside. There are a few little things here and there but most of them just have a very specific sense of themselves inside and feel no need to express that on the outside except in very modest ways.
Now gender neutral is certainly a way of being. My one insider is definitely gender neutral. I often feel more neutral then female even though I am married and live a female identified life (whatever that is). What I like about being a multiple is that I have no sense of myself having to identify by any gender. It seems rather an unusual concept to me in some ways. There are days where I am more female and others when I am more male. I tend not to struggle with that concept in my head even though my body is female.
Hum … father’s day cards … my concept of family is based on heart not blood. And, I certainly do not feel any obligation to buy into a corporate notion of what is family based on a marketing strategy. So, simply protest against the corporate marketing of “love” and free yourself of any perceived obligation to acknowledge these artificial holidays.
Now, choosing to have time and space for your father is a whole other kettle of issues. You have to do what feels right for you being mindful not to let any harm come to you. That can be really tricky to do. Just know that you do not have any obligation to anyone else but yourself.
Take good care.
Mr. D says
We had to make a compromise we have agreed to wear no underwear. The females I share a body hated to see boxer briefs on them. They prefer Lacey. But in all fairness I do not like Lace on my male body.
This was one of our first things we worked together on. When pants are worn 90% jeans. I am not present a lot in the outside world. When I am I want to feel like I’m a man I’m not have gender confusion. When people Look at me. Sweatshirts are Want to try to hide bodies breat.
I No UR Name Is Rita says
Hi Kathy, Wow..what a response! I want to say thank you and I apologize because I was indeed being impatient. I know you are busy and rightly so. Your response was well worth waiting for and I appreciate every word.
I want to say, I/we have been needing to hear a response like this for 50 yrs! Your reply is that of life changing words…words that open cell doors and unlock chains that have been locked for decades. I hope you can fathom what this means to my/our life. Your answers to my questions and the available options you offer for our life are so vastly freeing to the future that it is almost scary! And I know that is because change, even for the better, can be uncomfortable. I/we will be weighing in on these options for quite some time to come. And yes, we are a system of 20+ and still counting. Yes, there are little boys, girls and ones that are called “NGS”, non gender specific. Father was not the only perpetrator: also hospital staff, church clergyman, school bus driver, older brother, uncle, etc. Was not protected as a child; violence, alcoholism and drugs were factors in abuse/everyday life also.
I did not intend to misrepresent myself here. I am not new to this blog. I have been around here for years, I guess. There is a person named Rita on the Testimonials page…that would be me. That was quite a long time ago, I guess. I say “I guess”, because time eludes me. I think I got lost for quite some time. It happened in the real life too. Time slips away and it’s like I’m not sure where I’ve been. It’s been this way since I had what I call “the big bang”. That would have been when my husband passed and I would guess that all these things I’ve been hiding from myself…a trauma filled childhood/life, came rolling like ocean waves, or tsunami, into some sort of awareness. I liken it to the earth being knocked off it’s axis.
I have posted here before, Kathy. I have spoken with you on Twitter. We had a conversation about your very important client,
Annemarie. I have been around enough to know what a valuable resource this site is and what an irreplaceable advocate for dissociative survivors you are, Kathy! I have always thought highly of you. You are a fighter for people who deal with dissociation, as well as being the one thing we have all lacked…that one person who is on our SIDE!! You provide a listening ear and guidance in a direction of healing and peace for adults and children who may have been hurting for decades!! You have given words where there sometimes is no voice. I have watched your videos enough times to recite them. On my darkest days, I have watched them to see your face and hear your kind voice while I was hanging on by a thread.
My system appreciates all you do, Kathy! Thank you, thank you for your dedication to DID and the souls that it affects <3
Hi I No UR Name Is Rita,
I have read your various posts and I am so glad that your brought your question forward here. Sorting out how we were abused and the crazy cocktail of lies, threats, degrading characterizations, etc. that our abusers tried to brainwash us into believing was our truth makes for a really tough time sorting out our systems. I really hear that in your postings and I respect the hard work that you have done/are doing to unpack your reality.
I did not endure the kind of gender abuse that you did. My father, however, rejected my female body and shamed it in a lot of very cruel and hurtful ways. Although he spoke about being happy with his daughters, I was unquestionably tagged as his son. I have two male alters that were just that. In many ways I was happy to comply because dysfunctional attention seemed better then no attention at all. And, somehow I thought that if I was my father’s son, my sexual abusers would not mess with me anymore. A very mixed up rejection of my female body in a lot of destructive ways that I still have not sorted all out.
I know that it is not the same as what you are describing here I No UR Name Is Rita but just a reminder that gender is fluid for us DID folks for as many different reasons as there are multiples in this world. From what I have been learning here – nothing is impossible and the improbable is our reality.
Great to hear your voice here.
I No UR Name Is Rita says
I really appreciate your response to my comment!! Thank you so much! You bring up a lot of good points. And I am truly sorry for how you were also treated unfairly by your father. Though it is not the exact situation, it is still the same idea…the body not being validated for what it naturally is. And that is a deep wounding offense.
It makes perfect sense to me, to use being male as an opportunity for defense against abusers. Being female ‘can be’ seen, and felt, as being weak(er)(est). I have felt that in my own life as well.
I love your statement about gender being fluid for so many DID folks! What an awsome and accurate way to describe the gender issues that are a reality for us. I must say, after reading your response, ME+WE, and getting Kathy’s reply, I no longer feel like I have had this “disease” that no one else has contracted!
ME+WE, I hope you can read Kathy’s knowledgeable response to my question and use some of the info for your own benefit. I’m sorry for the hurt you have also suffered. Please take care and thanks again 🙂
I No UR Name Is Rita
Hi I No UR Name Is Rita,
Thank you for your thoughtful and kind comment. Yes indeed I read Kathy’s response to you. I take so many insightful nuggets away each time I read the comments on these pages. And, so much hope that there is understanding and compassion out there in the DID community and with singletons like Kathy who sincerely want to help.
To expand just a little on “gender is fluid with DID folks” I just want to affirm that I feel that that is one of our super powers as DID folks. The reason that this came about may be born out of the horrors of abuse but the way that our brains used all of the resources that it did is simply brilliant as far as I am concerned. We have broken down the barriers of what gender is and what it is to be female or male. While we may be housed in a container that has gender-specific attributes, our insiders let us explore the multiple dimensions of existence as both genders (assuming that you have insiders of both genders). Instead of pushing this reality of ours away, I seek to embrace it as an essential part of myself.
So nice talking with you I No UR Name Is Rita. Take good care.
Mr D says
Even though I am a male in a female body. I can still pee standing up. Like other males . Lori yells at me sometimes when she bounces in and she looking at the wall standing over the toilet peeing. Then sometimes says “ how talented we all are”
Lol, we are 8 males and 1 female in a male body and we mostly pee sitting down! SJ painted her toes yesterday. Purple! Being spiritual in a universal sense would seem to include masculine and feminine. We were abused by both genders, so maybe that contributes. Agree with ME+WE that gender fluidity arises sometimes in DID. Of the dozen folks last time we were in-patient, 2 were transitioning physical gender. We get confused easily and sometimes use incorrect pronouns with others. We hate to make anyone sad. It’s hard to remember. 8/28/18
One of the things we do that’s Neutral is wear no underwear. We use to but the females that I share a body with hate when boxer briefs are on In stead of pretty lace . I will also say the same , I didn’t like seeing that on me either. So a compromise Was made . Nothing it is.
KenKen to SJ says
Purple toes!! We love it! We have a deep purple bedroom!! No kiddin’. Our bathroom is a light lavender color, too. Love purple 🙂 I’m glad you’re getting out and having some fun with painting da toes and all. I know yous all are having a real rough time right now. We hope you all start to feeling better real soon.
Take Care of Yous!
Thanks. Love you
You can call me/us Rita 😀
Yes, I agree, we have super powers, or many talents as I would say. This female body has been a mom, grandma, preschool teacher for over 20 years, wife, and cared for an ill and dying husband. I do auto mechanics, including rebuilding engines, auto body work, building, owning, and driving classic cars, riding motorcycles, dune buggy riding, scuba diving and I can ride a unicycle 😀 Oh…and I do all my own house maintenance stuff too.
Before I knew I had DID, I just thought there was something wrong with me. I always thought I was living as a fake…a fraud…living a lie. And I didn’t know why. I felt someone was going to find out. I tried to hide “it”, whatever “it” was. I went to many counselors and could never talk about “it”. Well, I found out what it was when my husband died and all these walls came crashing down. Surprise!! I’m a “we”.
Thank you for reminding us all that many folks with DID are very active, capable, caring, productive folks. Sometimes it is hard to hang on to that reality when our past reality seeks up and smacks us into understanding that sometimes Dorothy is not in Kansas anymore. I am a wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, meditator, dedicated contributor to my community and creative individual. Oh, and I also have DID.
When DID comes knocking at your door, no matter what has driven it to your doorstep your understanding of the world changes. It is a darkness that seeps under the door while you try and keep it out. It is scary and painful and out of all reasonable expectation of what should be happening in your life … yet there it is. There is no stopping it from its relentless rush to get in into your space.
As hard as it is to do, open the door and let it in.
Keeping the door shut does not discourage it or keep it away.
Opening the door a little bit at a time lets you see it for what it is. The more that you let it in the more that you will find the darkness dissipating into the light of who you truly are. The darkness does not need to last forever.
BTW – “I do auto mechanics, including rebuilding engines, auto body work, building, owning, and driving classic cars, riding motorcycles, dune buggy riding, scuba diving and I can ride a unicycle” — way to go girl!
I No UR Name Is Rita says
Hi MultipleMe !
I really appreciate your response and the welcoming feelings…thank you so much 🙂
I’m afraid I won’t be getting a response from Kathy and that’s ok. I’m thinking now that she would suggest that I pay for a consultation with her to get my questions answered. And I most certainly would if I could.
Your words to me are very kind and mean a lot. The recent unfolding of ‘large scale child abuse’ in national news lately, has caused quite a stir on my inside world. First the horrendous immigration policies and now the Catholic Church Abuse, which has touched my life very personally. Everything feels pretty “raw” right now.
I look forward to speaking with you again MultipleMe, and I wish you the best.
Thank you again 🙂
I No UR Name Is Rita
Kathy Broady MSW says
I’ve just been busy! I’ll respond to your original question directly below it, so there’s less confusion re: finding my answer, but of course, folks who send in a Consultation Request get first dibs on my time, as it should be. And I respond here in the Comment Section, as I can, when I’ve got a good thinking brain in place, ha.
Consultations allow for a much more thorough and deeper response, and there’s time to really discuss the topic, so they are always a better option for big questions, but even so — you’re pretty new here to writing comments, so yes, yes, of course, I’ll get back with you. It just takes a bit of time…. 🙂
Thanks for your patience, and thanks for writing.
I’m glad to see Kathy wrote you and gave some good information and helpful ideas and things. I just wanted to add that we have been in a constant state of upheaval due to the mess that’s been going on in politics and churches lately, too. I’m so sorry yous been going through it. I keep hoping we will wake up one day and we’ll all be like “was that a terrible world-wide shared nightmare, or what!?” It’s been horrible. Horrible for us in that every time we see the news something else huge is triggering our past. Be it the churches or the president’s mess.
I No UR Name Is Rita says
Thank you for replying to my comment. Yes, Kathy gave me VERY good info and excellent ideas for the future!!
Sorry this is late…I did read your reply when you sent it though. Sometimes I have a hard time writing. But it was very nice to hear from you 🙂
Here’s hoping that we can handle all the chaos and triggers that are bouncing around out there and keep ‘ourselves’ feeling safe and secure !
Take care Kennedy
I No UR Name Is Rita says
Is there such a thing as gender abuse? I posted this comment elsewhere, but I believe it is more fitting here. I am asking, through all of your yrs of experience, have you heard of a circumstance in which I explain in this comment?
《Trigger Warning! Was wondering if anyone has had, or heard of, a similar circumstance…a perpetrator was not satisfied with the gender of a child victim and so called that child the opposite sex. For example, a girl was called a boy. This is what happened to my system by Father. He was a victim of the Catholic Church Abuse in the late 1920’s…priests and nuns. He was also in WWII and received a gunshot wound, so he most likely had PTSD from that. Never the less, he was not a well man.
Being called a boy while the body is female, was not the end all. The child was forced to agree and repeat, “You’re my little fella, aren’t you?!”. There was also the boys clothes, the expectation to have the actions of a boy and sexual abuse with details I am not fully aware of yet. He was also a violent alcololic.
I want to add that Father was not simply just wanting a boy when he had a girl – he had sons. He was needing this female body to be male for his own sexual preference and desire. That is very apparent to me now. Sexual abuse in itself can cause issues with body image and to have this happen to a child from about age 2 on, is like an added abuse – gender abuse. Little girls want to please their fathers.》
I would appreciate any feedback on this. Thank You
Hi I No UR Name is Rita,
I just wanted to say before Kathy responds that I’m awfully sorry you had to go through what you did. No one should be told what you were told and treated like you were treated. You are worth way, way, WAY more than that.
I hope you feel at peace and at home here.
Kathy Broady MSW says
And yes, of course, what you are describing could absolutely be called Gender Abuse. And in the context of what you are describing, it could also be called Emotional Abuse and Sexual Abuse and Mind Control. Whatever name you call it, it’s a definite form of abuse, no doubt about it. It wasn’t okay, those would have been horrible traumas to endure, and your father was not a well man. I absolutely agree!
And sadly, yes, I have heard many times where perpetrators have had their own twisted or intentional reasons to treat the child-victims as the opposite gender. That most certainly happens. Boys get treated like girls, and girls get treated like boys. Yes, it most definitely happens, and I’m sorry it happened to you.
It sounds to me like your father could have been re-enacting his own childhood abuse upon you — replaying / re-living his experiences as a young boy being abused. He may have been seeing himself as the child (more than seeing you as the child), and he may have been acting out his own flashbacks / memories with you and your brothers.
Even so, no matter what, that’s not the way to address trauma, and his behavior was certainly inappropriate, distorted, offensive, and abusive. He had no right to do that to you or to anyone else.
I would assume, Rita, that you have parts in your system (assuming you are a system!) that still see themselves as boys. That’s okay — it’s not their fault. At the time, there was no option but to comply, so they did the right thing. And those parts can still be boys, if they want to, or they can work on their internal bodies and consider becoming girls, if they’d rather. It’s completely their choice now because they can decide for themselves. Nowadays, no one can tell you that you have to be a “fella” (or have to stay a fella) if you don’t wanna be.
Main thing is — in your healing, you don’t have to please the father anymore. You and your insiders can decide what is best for you, and make decisions in your life that benefit you. You get to be your own SELF, and not what or who anyone else tells you that you have to be.
It sounds like you are doing some really good healing work — keep going!
Thanks for being brave and sharing your question.
todae be a bad day
all us not good
we wish we has a otsid prsin to tok to
T. Clark says
We are a father. Did you know our body was male? Does it matter to you? It’s okay if it does. We have made colossal mistakes as a parent. We try to be better. To help the outside family. So far, this is benefiting them because we yell less, and we now have the litany of diagnoses that so poorly names our pain.
We have living so much. It’s unreal how much it hurts hour to hour. We’re so stubborn. Yet we so far refuse to inflict the pain on our kids of killing us.
For Father’s Day, spouse and children and we went to our favorite BBQ place. Haven’t been out to a family meal in eons. Didn’t see own father. Don’t want to. Sent an email that said only, “Happy Father’s Day.” He replied politely. He tries to be stoic. Maybe we do, too. We have distanced ourselves from everyone! Spouse, kids, Ts, you all here. Less pain when we’re so far away. And almost no enjoyment.
The thread about being nice to your insiders is the most useful thread to us ever. Those of you who have posted there, especially those who have described your compassionate internal communication, you actually create our version of “hope.” Can it be real, we think. We are happy for you. It feels like you climbed to the moon, like you can control the weather, like you can speak all the world’s languages. We are in awe of you. Thank you for sharing those successes. 6/17/18
You are an inspiration yourself. Happy belated Father’s day to you. Keep up the good work. and “no,” we didn’t know you were male. It matters only in knowing you better. And survivors like me who had mostly male abusers, I feel, always benefit in knowing good, trustworthy, men… and women too, for that matter. Anytime we can meet someone who isn’t the generic, stereotypical, person who makes up the over-culture, we all benefit.
Glad you are not staying away. I appreciate all you share.
Hi T Clark, I think this is the first time I’ve heard of another guy being DID. I’ve found this to be an incredibly lonely road as I’ve not been able to either post comments or read others for a guys point of view. I dont mean this to offend any of the ladies who post. It’s just feels like being male with this is an incredibly lonely journey. Everything seems opposite. My wife’s the string one often even supporting me cause I can’t work so it’s goid to hear from you T Clark. I’ve got two kids in their late twenties but they have no idea about my DID. It would be too much for them. We’re realky close, i just can’t tell them. Anyway hope this post is ok.
Yes, the post is good. My wife also supports me. I have been on this particular path for almost 2 years. I live with my kids and so when life crashed 2 years ago and I had to go away for therapy for 5 weeks, the kids needed at least a rudimentary outline of dad’s traumas.
They have been wonderfully supportive, and I wish sometimes they didn’t know so that I wouldn’t burden them.
I am grateful they know and accept me. I think I would feel similarly to you if my kids didn’t live with me. The parents of me and the sibling of me have not understood DID well. I would untell them if I could.
I’ve told only 1 friend about DID, and he accepts me unconditionally. For him I am grateful.
I used to be a great parent. I’m still loving and can be effective. Living with people is very hard for me. Therapist says it’s like I have no skin—so sensitive to life, so empathic. Now that I’m learning what mindfulness is (has taken 2 years to start to understand), I’m more confused. 11/27/18
Thanks for your reply. I’ve been on this journey 20 years and it started with a six month hospitalisation. My kids were 5 & 7. There has been some space on occasions in that 20 years but full on none the less. Having loved my sons so passionately and unconditionally I can’t fathom what switch is flick that causes people to be so abusive to little children, and then also how unprotective my parents were. My wife and I had no idea about the extent of my abuse but we’re protective of our kids from the beginning. Anyway. It’s good to connect with another guy and hope you are having a good day. Take care and remember one day at a time. Well that’s what people tell me!!!!
I am not sure when this dialogue began (been a bit out-of-touch) but wanted to support you and your courageous sharing of your journey as a male and father with DID. I also want to give a shout out to sdfr. I can only try to understand trying to deal with DID as a male when so many of us here seem to be women (although I am not at all certain of everyone’s gender here – I was born female).
I guess that what I really want to emphasize here is that – it does not matter what gender you were born or identify as. There is one wonderfully powerful and beautiful aspect of being in a community of multiples – we are all just that – multiple. That means that we are a mixed bag of all genders, sexual identities and orientations, beings, aliens, inanimate objects … whatever we need to be. We do not necessarily define ourselves by gender although we may present in a gender-specific way to the outside world. Here, at Discussing Dissociation, we do not have to do that. We are free to be who we are here.
I hope that you do not read this posting as not respecting any gender-specific challenges, struggles, experiences that you might have/feel. I understand that each one of us has a unique path and histories. Being abused as a young male child will have trauma memories and struggles that I might not understand from experience. But, abuse is abuse. DID is DID. I know that. I understand that. I live with that.
What I am awkwardly trying to say here is that, I want to hear and support your path whether you are male, female, transgender, Rover, Tinker Bell or Zilax from Mars. I value you all and am not at all concerned how you wish to identify yourself. What matters is that we are all survivors and that we all share our unique way of coping (DID).
I get some of what you are saying about us all being multiples. Which I kind of agreee with. I guess my core identity is and always has been male and some of the time I really like being male. I also like being married and am indebted to my wife for being so incredibly supportive, compassionate and unconditionally loving. It’s just a tricky journey for me and us (wife) and I to navigate partly because of social constructs around gender roles. Normally it’s the husband or male partner supporting the wife or female partner. I’m not saying you’re wrong, it’s just there is a sense where I feel upside down because I’ve been supported so incredibly by my wife. I just wished by now the tables would have turned so that I could care and support her without the chaos of my parts, who I am trying to love. recently new parts have surfaced who don’t know her and they are therefore hostile towards her. This breaks my heart because they don’t know yet how trustworthy and tender hearted she is. So it’s like 2 steps forward and 5 back. I’m tired, exgasted and really just desire some inner solitude to love my wife without having to negotiate inner noise. We’ve done this together for 30 years but she’s probably been my carer for nearly 20 and from a 50+ perspective that sucks. And I don’t say that directed at my parts. It’s just a fact. Hope this doesn’t offend anyone and that it makes sense.
I certainly do hear you here. Yes, we are all bound by social conventions of how we should be. That really puts pressure on us when we just need to be accepted for who we are. And, certainly I appreciate that you may have differing issues related to being male. I was just trying to welcome/invite you to express whatever you need to without worrying about being judged here. And, if that is male-related stuff, well I am very happy to hear that too.
BTW – I am in a rather unconventional relationship myself. Been living with my husband for 39 years, married for 35 (yes “lived in sin” as I was told back then). We have never been a “conventional” couple. There have been times when my husband has been the main/sole support and other times when I was. I have been his boss, we have worked together for years and I was even the one who proposed. We have friends who are the same (i.e., do not fit society-dictated gender roles). So, I do understand the pressures to “fit the box”. But, life can be wonderful and successful out if that box.
My husband has had to navigate a lot of tough stuff with me. There is no doubt about it – living with a multiple is not easy!!! But, as my husband once told a friend, “there never is a dull moment”. My husband does not complain even when I feel that he should. I am sure that your wife has her moments but she obviously loves you unconditionally. How wonderful we get to experience that kind of love in our lives.
I hope that you keep talking here. I so appreciate your perspective and thoughts on life.
Thank you so much for your reply. It is very encouraging and supportive. This is the first time I ever joined a blog and so I’m very new, particularly raw emotionally at the moment so don’t want to offend or be seen as being rude. Thanks again for you encouragement. It’s grateful appreciated.
I am so happy that you have felt comfortable enough to join in the discussions here. I hope that you will find that we are a very kind, open and respectful community who simply want to hear and share with one another in whatever way is right for us. No judgments, shoulds or things that cannot be said. So many of us have been alone and silent with our DID all of our lives. So it is very special to find a place where others just know what we are talking about and feeling because they have all been there in one way or another. Oh and … wow … I certainly understand being raw emotionally. It is like having your whole body – inside and out – scrapped raw and exposed to the elements. Every little puff of life and emotion send you into painful spasms, flashbacks, crippling feelings and dissociation. Don’t worry – we will take gentle care of you here. ☺
All the Jill People says
I guess our other comment wasn’t suitable. 😢💔
All the Jill People says
So.. All the Jill People once again feeling left out and not understood.
Father’s Day is particularly difficult for us on a realm far different than any posted here. Our daddy left, guess that would be classified in the abandoned category. It wasn’t his doing as he was killed.
Our past brings back those bitter memories.. and the lump of Loss surrounds us.
We see once again how people “quit talking” to their parents. We need to say once again how it feels to be on the receiving end of the silent treatment. It really hurts.. even though we totally understand the reason for not wanting to have anything to do with us.
We aren’t saying that anyone should talk to their parents. We are only stating that it is a very difficult thing to receive. Being shut off without any communication really sucks!
So right now, we cat celebrate Father’s Day. Not even with our own children. They have chosen this.
Our daddy is dead and we miss him terribly. Every year we have complicated feelings because many dissociative survivors don’t want to remember… we would give anything to see our daddy one time!
It hurts to loose a daddy.. and to have littles stuck in the aftermath of all of that.
We miss our daddy….
And have no children to claim us this year as parents..
Thanks, All the Jill People. We hear you. Your perspective is very useful for us. When you speak your truth, we hear frustration and bravery in your words.
Sorry you lost your daddy.
Silent treatment is painful, and so we wish your kids would claim you as parent right now.
You matter. 6/18/18
All the Jill People,
I’m so sorry for your loss… that you lost your daddy. Death is a very, very, difficult thing. Best not to compare death to living relationships. The living have choice. The dead do not. The survivor has no choice either. I know about death, at least, about surviving death, and being a survivor. And, many of us, have no parents. Take good care of yourself. Nurture yourself. Nurture your little ones. You can be mommy and daddy to them. Some of us would have been better off, without the mommy and/or daddy we had. We all have to make do with what is, and do the best we can for ourselves, NOW. Life can be better with lots of love, kindness, compassion, positive attention, caring, nurturing and gentle, gentle, gentleness. Curl your sad part up in a blankie, stuffed animals, something yummy to eat/drink, a good storybook, soft music, a candle, a movie, whatever touches your little ones’ heart and soul. Give yourself what you are missing, as best you can. Your daddy would want that. <3
I cant do this anymore. I am too messed up for everywerhre including herer.
maybe well be back somday
take care of yous
I do not imagine that you will see this message (I can only hope) but I want you to know that you are cared for here and that we will be here for you if you decide to come back. Take good care of yourself.
With sincere affection and regard, your friend,
KenKen, sounds like you are triggered a lot right now. Do you feel at the mercy of others?
We just read an emotion regulation technique today:
1. Ground (feet on floor, name things by using senses).
2. Know that you are not the emotion; you are separate.
3. Know you don’t have to act on the emotion.
4. Remember a time you didn’t feel this emotion, a time you had a different emotion that was less intense.
5. Remember a time you overcame the emotion you are feeling.
With due respect, I’m gonna have to disagree.I dont want to feel bad for feeling bad. I cant do the things you say. I can barely keep my head above water, i cant force myself to pretend to be happy and appreciate anything of myself, these days, this life. Fathers day and mothers day remind me of how worthless and unwanted i am. no sugar coating. F-day and M-day are dates on a calandar that bring up huge amounts of pain. unbearble pain after loss after loss after looss then we are reminded how much this universe gives a f about us. That tells us how worthy we are. Isn’t it the parents that give people how to feel about themselves. my parents hated me, used me, abused me, then threw me away just like the garbage daughter that they treated and trained me to be. I cant pretend thats not true. I live it every day knowing and avoid and ignore and push away and pretend like it doesnt matter. These dates make it very difficult to bury my head in the sand and pretend that none of that is true.
I hope that you are still reading on the website. I want to clear up something here if I may about my posting. I was not trying to say to anyone not to feel bad or that you are bad for feeling bad or to disrespect the struggles that my friends are going through today or to try and sugar coat anything about the pain that folks are going through.
That was certainly not my intent and I sincerely apologize if that is how my posting read.
I was trying to offer choice … perhaps a pathetic collection of words in trying to do so. I was trying to detrigger a date on the calendar. Rather like … what would you feel about today if you lived in a country that did not have something called Father’s Day? I was trying to offer an alternative to suffering by making the day just another day. That was not in any way intended to take away the pain that folks may feel about their fathers.
Actually I am rather devastated that my posting might have been read in a way that caused any pain. I would not do anything to disrespect or hurt any of my friends here. I hope that you know this Kennedy (and anyone else who may have been offended by my posting). That certainly has not been where my heart has been in my postings on the DD website.
I feel gutted and on the edge of insanity and self destruction each and every day myself. I struggle to just wake up every morning knowing that I am going to have to face another day of uncertainty, panic attacks, flashbacks, depression and a whole lot of inner chatter and turmoil. I have BIG issues with my mother and deceased father that I am trying to sort out in therapy all the while trying not to destroy myself physically … a battle that I have been loosing the past eight months to the point of wanting to give up. Oh and yes my heart and mind are tattooed with parental messages of worthlessness, shame, disgust, and abandonment.
And still I long to feel hope even if the words sound impossible. I have to feel that there is hope, compassion, some measure of control and another way of living then the hell that seeps through every pore of my body. Otherwise what is left for me?
Kennedy, B (for the Collective, C4B, KenKen, ALL of your parts),
You don’t have to feel bad for feeling bad. Although some part of you is VERY practiced at doing that. You definitely have some amazing parental interjects. I have to commend them. They are as good as, or I should say, as bad as your mom and dad, stepdads. They had to be. They had to be a step (or more) ahead of them, so they could put you down, and make you feel like hell, even before your mom or stepdad said or did something to you. They knew that way, it would hurt a little bit less. You’d be prepared. If you feel worthless and like hell, then it’s more understandable why another would treat you that way. You can have understanding and feel more in control of something so chaotic and out of control. You know the score. Your parts are very, very, very, intelligent. They knew what they had to do to survive. Problem is, what they used to do for you to help you live, is now causing you more problems. It’s isn’t helpful anymore. It’s actually extremely hurtful!!!!
You don’t have to pretend to feel happy when you feel like crap. That would be a lie, and we all are very versed at living lie after lie, year after year. We owe it to ourselves to live in truth now. But living in truth doesn’t mean we have to wallow and drag ourselves through the mud, quicksand… self-flagellation, self-criticism, demeaning comments, emotional abuse, etc. etc. Kennedy, actually, I think these parts of you got so so so so good at helping you survive this way, they don’t know when to turn it off. They need your help. They are child parts. They need an ADULT. (Finding that adult can be tricky. It sure is for me, sometimes, because when I switch, I am in a child part, and there is no one else. “Help. Help!” I say. I cannot find mySelf.)
IFS (Internal Family Systems) believes we all have a SELF that is untouched by trauma, is connected to the Universe, I don’t remember how they say it. I have always believed the same. I know I have a part that is divinely-connected. I know we all do. I know that is how so many of us feel so close, so soon. We KNOW one another. We are all connected. IFS talks about how easily the parts take over the ship. They throw the captain (us) overboard. They don’t trust in us. They did it all themselves when we were younger. AND THEY KEEP DOING IT TO US, UNTIL WE SHOW THEM WE ARE CAPABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY TO TAKE CARE OF THEM. That takes a lot of time and effort, day after day of proving ourselves to our kid-parts that we DO care about them, that we CAN take charge.
That’s what I see that ME+WE was saying, that we can TAKE CHARGE and decide, CHOOSE, what we will think about Father’s day or Mother’s day, etc. Of course, you can’t choose if you’re not, at least, co-conscious. The child can’t choose. It’s got its pattern of choice (like drug of choice). S/he will continue to do what s/he does best. I would like to see you working on getting to a place where you can stop a part from emotionally abusing you. Speaking of which, I haven’t heard how it went with your new t. Maybe that’s why you are [parts are] so intensely negatively active right now. Hard. Hard. Hard to be where you are now. You need MORE compassion, kindness, validation, nurturing, all of that.
Your parts WANT you to get control of them. They will fight you the whole way, like teenagers, trying NOT to let you get control. They will test you, test you, test you! You have to show them you’ll work, work, work, every day to show them you (your adult) WILL continue to work at it until they start to see, believe, allow, start bonding with, and then trust you. It’s kind of like making friends with a wild wolf (like in Dances with Wolves). It takes time, persistence, and perseverance. I’m speaking from experience of my own, and lots of hard, hard, work. Every day. Every week. Every year.
I know you know all this, Kennedy. I hope this reminds you of what you already know. I hope you can find your adult. You have to want it more than anything! It’s easier to give up. I cannot do that to my inner kids. It’s been done to them, and I promised them I would never, never, give up on them. BTW… when we are giving up, when we care-less, it’s because we are in a wounded child part. The true divinely guided adult Self, would never have such dismal thoughts. It’s like you know how the sun is always shining above the clouds, even when we can’t see it? The adult Self is always connected to Source and always feels Clarity, Compassion, Creativity, Confidence, Courage, Calmness, Curiosity, and Connectedness (the 8 C’s). If “you” feel like hell, sad, confused, dissociated, suicidal, depressed, etc., etc., you can GUARANTEE you are not in your adult SELF.
I hope you are reading and haven’t completely isolated. I care about you and felt very sad when I read your last post. When you hurt, we hurt too, and miss you. I am here, we all are, when and if you decide to come back. I hope soon. It takes a village to raise a child, you know. This is your village, our village. Your child parts need help. It was her/him talking earlier, not “you,” your adult self. Remember what I said. Take good care.
p.s. There is no shame in coming back, sooner rather than later.
I am feeling the tensions about tomorrow being Father’s Day. I just wanted to remind you about Andrea’s brilliant quote in reference to Mother’s Day …
“Treat yourself with love. Know that whatever the calendar or Costco says about today, it’s just Sunday.”
This is not to diminish your pain but to tell you that you do not have to heap suffering on to your fragile selves just because of some Hallmark holiday. You are in control here and you do have a choice. You can buy into suffering because someone in your system has told you that you need to beat yourself up and relive all of your pain because of some artificial calendar date attached to the role of father. Or, you can choose to say, “I am not participating”.
Do something nice for yourselves folks. Make it … I appreciate me and all of my insiders day.
“What about the fathers that simply abandoned their children?
This is a painful topic as well. It leads to feelings of nothingness, low self-esteem, anger, self-destruction, and confusion. Not having a father creates a hole in the heart – an emptiness that just doesn’t go away. To become used to this emptiness can create a type of apathy towards people that can lead to other types of problems in life and relationships.
It’s almost impossible to understand how a father could leave you without struggling with thoughts about “am I bad?” or “it must be my fault” or “I made him go away”. Children internalize blame onto themselves, and many dissociative survivors grow far into adulthood before becoming able to shift this responsibility back onto the father instead of absorbing it into themselves. Not taking the blame for your father’s poor behavior is an important task in the healing journey.”
The two above paragraphs I wanted to talk about regarding our own situation.
My bio-dad left us when I was 1 or 2. We met his parents when I was 10. He didn’t bother showing up at their house at any time during the two weeks we were there. We asked his mother about him and she told us he wasn’t coming and basically not to ask any questions. He didn’t want us. He left us with the mother never looking back. But, that was when we were a baby. Our mother left us when B was 16. Total abandonment. On purpose. Although we tried to talk to her, we tried to apologize many times for cutting and being put in the hospital and making her look bad. She blamed us for her leaving. She moved to a different state while we were in the hospital, I stood between her and the doctor when she told him she didn’t want me anymore and ‘they’ can have me. Even though we tried to say sorry and take all the responsibility for everything that happened, she used what we did (cutting) as a reason for her to throw us away. So, no father from almost the beginning. And no mother since 16. It leaves painfully deep scars of how we know we are worthless. We have two stepfathers. The first we thought of as a father figure. When we were in the hospital at 16 he came into the room, the morning after we were sent there, got up on the side of the bed and started choking us. Said if we ever come home, he’d kill me himself. That pretty much sums up stepfather #1. Stepfather #2 was a violent drunk and was in and out of mother’s life as she went back and forth between states in the US, and the two men. Stepfather #2 mattered in only that we knew for sure and for certain that every single adult in our lives made sure we knew we were nothing. We never mattered. But, the worst. The longest and most terrible pain was mother throwing us away. It was an on-purpose, knew it would hurt us and made sure we knew she knew, flat-out rejection and abandonment. And blame. It was our fault she left, she told us, because of the “attention seeking” (her words) we were forcing her to help us. She refused. and threw us away instead.
The second paragraph about it being impossible to understand. That is 100% true for us. We don’t understand what we could have done so wrong that our bio-dad threw us to the wolves unless the correct answer is is that we truly are worthless from birth, it is us, we deserve to be treated in all the ways we were because we were born bad. We believe in many different parts of us that the mother was right. We are worthless. She left us in the hospital at 16 and never saw us again. Her choice. We tried to contact her and say how sorry we were for cutting and making her have to deal with us. But no. She never forgave us. And there are parts that say that all of that is backwards. She left us. She was the adult. She had the ability to reason and see more clearly. But no. It was me. It was always us. We are bad. Both her and stepfather #1 called us worthless, no-good-for-nothing, useless piece of shit. We’ve heard that so many times we know its true. Upside down, backwards, useless, worthless, coward, stupid, no brains, etc etc.
Fathers Day is just like Mother’s Day. A 24 hour dose of remembering how worthless I am. We are.
I want to give a big shout out (and hug if okay) to his #1 daughter, Sarah D., Kennedy, and all who are finding this day so difficult. As much as I want to be a cheerleader and tell everyone not to buy into punishing yourself in the name of some made-up holiday, I know that it stirs up a whole lot of pain. My father died three years ago. I have not cried yet. I am stuck between anger and grief. Neither emotion has broken free from the dissociative numbness that keeps me surviving. I fear the torrent that awaits this emotional release but know that my heart, mind and soul will not be truly cleansed until I surrender to this happening.
I want to respond to Kennedy’s posting more specifically because I feel so heartbroken that she is struggling with the horrible actions of her mother and fathers. I understand the soul-crushing feelings of worthlessness all too well although I must say that I did not endured such a blatantly horrendous display of inhumanity that Kennedy did.
I know that in your heart of hearts you understand that you are not everything that your mother and fathers tried to make you believe about yourself Kennedy. They are worthless, selfish, cruel, useless, and despicable ones. If you were cutting then yes you were seeking attention. That is nothing to apologize for Kennedy. You wanted someone to see what was happening to you, what had happened to you. And, you did so in the only way that you and your insiders could think to do. You deserved to be heard not abandoned.
You have been the innocent victim of a lot of horrible, cruel actions of others Kennedy. I am heart sick that you have had to live with this legacy of abuse. And, I want you to know that there is NOTHING wrong with you. You did NOT DESERVE to be treated the way that you were. You did NOT DESERVE to be abandoned. You are PERFECT just the way that you are.
I know that our community here cannot erase the hardships that we have all endured. But, we are allowed to own them here; to shout out our truths; to put the shame, worthlessness and disgust on those who deserve it … our abusers; to speak to others who truly understand and hear; and to find some comfort and compassion in the virtual arms of folks who sincerely have each others’ best interests at heart. There is something so healing in the warm embrace of community. Let us all take a moment to thank our insiders and our community here for helping us to survive each and every day and stay the course on our path to healing.
Your humble friend and fellow seeker of life lived whole in the vision of true self.
Sarah D. says
This is the first Father’s Day since my dad’s funeral.
In my early childhood (0-5), my father was absent due to his military service.
He sacrificed our attachment bond and did not protect me from trauma.
In my mid-childhood, my father was absent because work consumed his time and energy.
In my teen years, my father came to a track meet and watched me win.
In my early adult years, my father brought me to drug treatment when I asked for help.
He gave my daughter her first barbie doll.
In my adult years, my father was glad to see me and I was happy to see him.
I miss him sometimes.
his #1 daughter :( says
extra complicated this year with him being in the hospital.. WE HATE FATHERS DAY😡🙁😔 Makes everything inside a thousand times worse. and we are already feeling like a volcano about to blow up woth all the damn stuff trapped inside our mind.😠
Jill Summerville Sparks says
For us, Fathers day is difficult because we lost our “daddy” at a very young age in a difficult and violent way. We suppose that for some, this would be considered “abandonment”. We even had one person who was trying to help us say that we needed to feel angry toward him.
We feel extreme sadness and miss our daddy.
The mother figure in our life continued to put daddy down and hated him for his actions. Yes, daddy made some mistakes but we just don’t fault him for his actions.
In the end, he tried to save us. He tried to do the right thing. So.. There is no anger there for us.
Instead there is a whole that no one can fill….
missss u dad
frum us litles
guess what damn “holiday” is right around the corner again? like mothers day wasnt impossible enough this year. now we got this one looming over us again
Father’s Day is a very difficult day for me as my Father fell in the second category described above. It not only affected me for the entirety of my own life … my own inability to deal with own complex PTSD conributed greatly to my having destroyed most of my other family relationships, including that with my son.
I am left with a tremendous amount of regret.
we wish we culd make fathers day go away 🙁
it geting closer and closer
oways 1 of the werst days of the yea r
Fathers day is even worse than mothers day.
I wish we could make all these dathers day ads disaper. There everywhere.
I cut off communication and all ties with my father one and one-half years ago. I wanted to do it for years and a particular event occurred giving me the perfect opportunity to do so. I do not miss him. I do not feel guilty. He is nearly 86 years of age and has cancer. When he dies, I have decided I may attend his funeral and go directly home. My siblings do not agree with my decision but do not have the abusive history I have. I have never observed Father’s Day. It is just another day on the calendar. My feelings toward him are hidden from me and dissociated to my insiders. When they are revealed, I will work on them in therapy. Currently, I simply hate being anywhere near him.
Art Cathartic says
Father’s Day was especially difficult for us thie year. Glad it’s over.
This hole thing feel just like us kathey .
It did be a real bad day. We be hapy its over.
Trigger alert. For Mona. I’m sorry today was so hard for you. I have lost both my parents now. One was 6 mths ago. I have a hard time with both the holidays. I’m wondering who’s idea it was to create these days & why. We sure don’t find greeting cards that say ‘Thanks for f*****g my life ~ you are a real treasure’. I would like to write a few cards like that! I think there are far more people like us that were miserable about this holiday than otherwise. Our revenge is to heal & stop the hurting. I was a cutter too but I don’t have to cut anymore. We can heal. It’s our life now. Re your grief – it is very very screwed up when they die. I’m sorry for your pain. I get it. We mourn & heal together. There is no getting over it. We just get more used to it. It doesn’t get better … It just gets known. On many levels. Glad we have a place like this to come to in the middle of hard nights.
Thanks … It does help that you understand. I lost my mum in October so … Yeah … Both parent days sucked more than usual this year. But as you say … We learn, we know more, we move forward. Next year it will be easier if I do the work I need to do.
Thank you for your insights today. My father died in April and I have been numb until this past week. Nightmares about unidentified penises and sudden “insignificant” memories popping into my head, like seeing my dad in his underwear.
I know my father was complicit in bringing me to one of my abusers, the priest who had also abused him since his teens. My father drove me over to this priests house and let his housekeeper babysit me overnight.
I have very mixed messages from my inner parts, fear for decades, and now guilt for not taking care of him. Lots of feelings tumbling around and struggles with self harm. I inadvertently cut my legs while shaving this past week. Didn’t know I had until I saw the blood. Made a mess.
So yes I’m struggling with this Fathers Day more than ever before. And I’m glad it’s over.
Sorry if this is too much…feeling shitty.
each June we scribble out the print that says what this day is. couldn’t read the second senario – just got out of hosp this week – having what you described; body memories and so forth. not a fun day. i keep trying to ignore the day, but i guess it’s not gonna work. slept most of today which seems like good coping. still glad you acknowledged US (your readers) on today. 🙂
There is a book called Father Hunger thats really good. We read it many years ago.
This is one of the worst days of the year for us. Thank you for writing this.
Am I hearing that it’s my Fathers fault for my 50 years of a dysfunctional life? I know that I am responsible for my actions & my healing, but he is the bottom line of my depression & my work to free myself? For the first time … I feel enraged at my dead father. It was far easier to direct my anger at my mother all of these years. I don’t know why. I now hate this day too. Signed ‘confused & pissed’.