DID Survivors — I have a question for you about fathers.
It’s not Father’s Day everywhere in the world, but this weekend has been Father’s Day for the Discussing Dissociation readers in the USA, United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Peru, Netherlands, and Philippines. I’ve mentioned these countries specifically because it’s absolutely amazing to see these areas in the Top 10 Countries for DD readers. Wherever you are in the world, thank you for reading!
For the readers in the other Top 10 Countries — Australia, New Zealand, Germany — I know your local Father’s Day is a different time of year than June, but you might be hearing the influence of many of the other areas of the world who are focusing on fathers right now.
So yeah….. it’s Father’s Day.
That was the fun bit — listing out the current Top 10 Countries who have folks who read at this blog.
The harder bit — what on earth to say about fathers on Father’s Day.
I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile. What to write. What to present. What to say….
While I was thinking about it, I had a look back at the Discussing Dissociation Father’s Day posts from previous years, and I felt a little disheartened. Of course, so many of the father-related issues for dissociative trauma survivors are connected to father-trauma. Trauma, abuse, perpetrators, and violence. Yikes. They are a heavy load, those father related posts.
And yet — I’ll be honest — of the hundreds DID survivors I have spoken to on an individual basis, I can vaguely recall only 2 or 3 situations where the father was helpful, as in genuinely helpful for their child’s healing process.
That’s just the saddest thing. Maybe my memory is failing…. But I have been thinking about this for several days, and I’m just not remembering any further examples to pull from.
So that started my thinking……
Where are the helpful fathers?
I am most definitely open to hearing from anyone who has DID and who also experienced a genuinely kind, and helpful father. Please feel free to comment with your story — I would be glad to hear it.
I also understand that some really good men who were wonderful fathers may have passed away, or become overtaken by severe illness, and their absence left their children with less protection and in more danger. This loss would have been devastating, and while father-absence is heartbreaking anytime, it would be even more traumatic for the loss of a good father to create vulnerability for abuse from other less honorable father-figures stepping in afterwards.
I’ve known a few fathers to contribute to the financial costs of their dissociative child’s healing process…. And while that is “helpful”, this of course, came with many, many strings attached. So even in these situations, while the financial support provided a certain element of helping, it also added different layers of control, domination, intrusion of privacy, and emotional enmeshment. In these situations, the abuse still felt current and active, via the bank account. In my experience, there hasn’t been a financial gift that was genuinely “string-free”.
I’ve been trying to remember situations where the father wasn’t part of the abusive, traumatic history of the DID survivor. And while I know of situations where the dissociative survivor at first thought their father was innocent, I’m pretty sure that in all those situations, as the survivor had the strength and courage to listen to the whole of their system, the father ended up having a role — even if it was a behind-the-scenes role — but still a knowing and a complicit active role in the abuse that happened to their child.
This is just staying sad. Sad. Sad.
Very sad about dads.
Breaks my heart sad.
I wanted to write about the redeeming characters of fathers, and bring something positive into this day.
But I am honestly struggling to remember a situation where a dissociative trauma survivor had an innocent and helpful father.
This is a very very very very different statement than referencing dissociative men. I’m not talking about y’all — the dissociative men who are invested in their healing. Please don’t lump yourself into the group I wrote about above.
I know of some very sincere men, very dissociative men, men with DID who are very very invested in their healing, and are wonderful fathers. And I say “Good for you guys — really well done!” , because I bet’cha you had to learn those positive parenting skills all on your own, without much help from your own father’s role model. My hat goes off to you, and by all means, please keep up the good work you’re doing!
Let me go back to my original dilemma.
Do YOU know of any DID survivor whose father was genuinely not involved in their abuse in some way, shape, or form?
And let me qualify this question.
Because as I mentioned above, many dissociative survivors may START their healing process believing they were not hurt by their father. I’ve seen that a zillion times.
And remember this.
There will always be DID parts of every system who are not aware of the abuse, and those parts will adamantly insist they weren’t hurt. And likely — as a member of a system — THEY were not the ones who were hurt.
THEY are the ones who are not supposed to know about the abuse. They have strong dissociative walls between themselves and the trauma memories, and these parts were there to help keep the secret about whether any abuse was occurring or not. They are an important part of the system, even if they didn’t experience the abuse themselves.
They are the ones who are supposed to look happy, and be smiley, and be able to act as if everything and everyone was okay. It’s super hard to do that once you KNOW abuse is happening, so for those parts of the system to do their job, they really had to NOT know.
I get that — it makes perfect sense as a helpful way to survive the trauma — and to function okay the next day.
For these parts it can be a shocking surprise to learn that there was trauma. It usually takes a lot of effort for them to hear the rest of the story. They need to spent solid amounts of time connecting with their system, and listening to layers of the people in their system….. Their denial might be very very thick. They might not have experienced the abuse in first-person, but behind those dissociative walls, it still happened to the overall person-self.
All this leads back to my original question once again.
Do you know of dissociative system who hasn’t had some version of father trauma ?
I don’t exactly know where I’m going with this thought.
It just hit me like a ton of bricks this weekend, and really and truly saddens my heart.
It’s sad because fathers are actually really important people. They are someone who is supposed to be there to help you and guide you, and give you a solid step up in the world. They are supposed to be on your side, and not someone who took pleasure in or payment for your being hurt.
Fathers are supposed to protect you from the bad guys — not BE one of the bad guys, and not hand you over to the creepy guys either.
So for you who had a father who didn’t do his job as a father in providing safety and protection or you, I am very very sorry.
Please don’t internalise your father’s weaknesses, and inabilities, and poor choices, and angry violence, and mistake that for something you ever deserved. Please don’t think that he was ‘right’ to do this to you.
YOU DID NOT DESERVE TO BE ABUSED. NOT NOW. NOT THEN. NOT EVER.
Even someone as important as a father can be a person who makes bad mistakes.
And if YOUR father abused you, then HE made a mistake. A very very bad mistake. He made a horrific decision to be mean, and it’s not okay and not right that he did so. Most of the abuses that occur to children are actual crimes of violence or neglect so if your father hurt you, then his actions were not only wrong, but very likely criminal.
This is not okay.
You were young, innocent, powerless, trapped, with nowhere to go but to be subjected to this trauma. You had no choice but to comply, endure, and find ways to get through it as unscathed as possible. The trauma was seriously not your fault, and you are not bad or worthless or valueless for having survived such horrific violence.
In fact, you are the hero now.
Instead of the father getting to be the hero, you are the hero, the strong one, the pure one, the beautiful one.
YOU are the miracle person — the one who is amazing.
You may have been trashed, or abandoned, or hurt, or beaten, or maybe you experienced any horrific version of physical-spiritual-emotional-sexual assaults….
But no child EVER should be treated with such hatred, violence, disdain, and disrespect. No child EVER should wear the crimes of grown men. No child EVER should be made to feel shattered or destroyed by their very own father.
None of that was okay.
And shame, shame, shame piled upon the men who hurt little children. They were never ever ever supposed to hurt you or ANY child.
You don’t gotta stay there.
You can get far away from those terrible places and the traps, the blockages, the squish-downs, and the squash-aways that happen in those places.
Let’s move you out of that place of horror and trauma.
Let’s help you focus on your own healing, and your own strengths, and find some goodness that you can hold onto today.
I want you to also remember, or hear, and learn, that not all men are bad. I can promise you that, a million times over, because I’ve met some very good men who would never ever hurt a child.
So yes — absolutely, yes — there are respectful, kind, compassionate good men in this world.
And while you might not have anything much to celebrate about your father, maybe you can think of some man you know today who showed you kindness or respect. Maybe there is a man who helped you, or offered you a tissue if you needed one, or helped you not fall in the mud.
MAYBE you can think of something good and valued in your father, and just for a moment, focus only on that compartmented section of him.
What can you do to feel gratitude, and appreciation, and thankfulness for those moments of male kindness you experienced?
What can you remember that warmed your heart?
For me — today, one of my favorites memories is having homemade pancakes made by my father. My dad makes the best “pan crepes” in the whole world, and for many years, Sunday morning pancakes were my most favorite breakfast of the week.
So today — just to honour him — I had pancakes. They weren’t as good as the ‘cakes he makes, but they were as important. Because they warmed my heart, and reminded me of an unrelenting kindness that a very strong and busy man showed to a house full of kids every Sunday morning for years of time.
To remember something good, I re-lived that memory today, re-creating a positive experience that had a lifelong impression on me, for the positive.
And I had me some pretty good pancakes too!
What’s a beautiful memory that you have?
What kind of positive, helpful, or kind tradition can you create for you and your system based on the kindness shown to you by a compassionate man?
You might have to think for awhile, but I bet you can find one.
Bring that good experience from your past into your present. Let your heart be warmed by something that was meant for kindness and compassion. Let your heart, and your system people, remember some of the good that happened, no matter where it came from.
It’s okay to give yourself some of the everyday bit of beauty that we all need.
Three cheers for starting a Pancake Day at your house too!
I wish you the very best pancakes ever in your healing journey.
Copyright © 2008-2022 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
David judah tuck says
I just be typing this for david and judah so i poligize for the bad words. They be super grumpy werser than usual. Tuck 🦖 This be there words not mine.
[ IN OUR EXPERIENCE…..].
There dont be no such thing as good dads
Or good men
It was all a lie. it wuznnt true at my house
Pepol who told us they knew any good men be fkng liars. none of them were good guys
We hate this hole damn holiday thing
Like men deserve some sort of honor.
This hole damn month sucks and keeps geting worse and now we got this stupid holiday hanging over our head to and no 1 gives a shit cuz its suposed to be such a great day
Fathers day makes me want to do all sorts of bad stuff
Not men or dads thats for sure
And not women becuse they be controld by men
I hate pepol
Dads do shit like sell you
Dads make sure you feel guilty for brething or eating or taking up space or bothering pepol and tell you how you make every one mad and disappointed and youre a brat and selfish if you ever ask for any thing
Dads make sure you want to die
Dads have Pepol have sex with you
And make sure you get left alone for a long time
And make sure your mom forgets about you
And make sure you dont get no food cuz you done some thing bad
And do stuff on perpus to burn you or hit you or make you fall down and then make fun of you if you get hurt
Yah hapoy fathers day. Sure.
Go ahead and put our names its judah and david who cares
Fathers day was way worse this year because of what a couple of our little guys are going through. I really sorta thought this year would be better because several of us our learning to think more clearly about the dad stuff. But it was way worse. We cant stand ourselves. We feel like all we do is screw up. It feels like we have a bomb inside us about to go off.
kayden not leah says
How come the school year lasts forever but it seems like every time we turn around its fathers day again?? How does that happen??
we just found out that fathers day is this coming weekend.
we are trying to figure out how to prevent out annual nose dive from happening next weekend. Stupid holiday. It shouldn’t bother us this much. Its just another day. Or it should be.
This morning i tried calling my dad just to talk a bit but he didnt answer the phone.
Fathers day makes us want to do all sorts of bad things to handle it.
But of course we cannot do that.
What we DONT want is to be flooded with feelings and flashbacks. Especially the feelings part. No thanks.
We have to figure out how to be numbed out in a healthier way this year.
Already just knowing its coming is bringing up a ton of yucky stuff.
Stupid f***** holiday ☹️
my daddy was a good daddy and never ever hurt us like mommy he didn’t know she was hurting us and she never hurt us when he was home but when he went to work she would hurt us so he never knew what she did he is a good daddy and loves us and would never never hurt us!!!!!!!!!!
Trueth make pepols haerts ake.
We just called him yesterday because it was Memorial Day…..we found a book about some battles that took place during the war that he was in and we have been reading it….so we got to talk to him about some of those battles and those generals…..it was so weird how it felt “safer” to talk to him about his war memories than it does to talk about “us”…..we felt “parts” running and hiding and just an “objective” “book-reading” one stepped up….it was sad that we felt those parts hiding……we don’t know how we are supposed to “be” with him…..we wanted to “cry” afterwards….sad that “we” could only “connect” to him when talking about war…..sad……
It just be so complacated 🥺😞
We love our daddy so much
But he did mean things
And he did bad things
We already be getting the worser flash backs and body memeries
How do we ever make this stop? How we make the hole month of june stop being bad?
We need to figure out a way to let 1 holaday not have such a big impact on us
Like we got to squeeze it down to be smaller you no?
Like 1st make it only be 1 bad day in june
And then only 1 bad hour
Then make it a minute
Then make it smaller than that.
We just got to figure out how.
We need to make him stop being so big in our head
We need to work harder on this in therapy probaly.
And we need to work harder together
The cruddy father’s day commercials and ads have started 😢 It is way way worse than mother’s day. We hate this stupid “holiday.” It gets worse every year. 😞
We forgot it was coming….haven’t seen any yet….haven’t sent him a card in years because we can’t find the “right” one…one that is OK with “everybody”……IF we did – it would just be a “joke” one….we couldn’t even bear to get near the “how great you are” ones in the card rack…..it makes some of “us” feel “bad” that we are like that because we are “supposed” to be a “good” daughter…..sooooo – we DO give him a quick call to say “Happy Father’s Day”……but we are “numb” as we say it…….it’s sad that we are in this “boat”…..we try to “forgive” how he was with us…but when “parts” are stuck in the pain….how do we “forget”?……
My dad playd foot ball with me wons in the back yard
It did be so nice
Some times he made ice skating ponds in the yard so we culd ice skate ⛸
I did like it so much
I tried….I really wanted him to teach me how to wood carve when I was in my teens….I tried to go “numb” enough so I could stand near him in the shed for him to teach me….but it didn’t work very long…..my “brain” couldn’t hear or grasp what he was saying….besides – he was “watching” me weird……he felt way “smirky” to me – like he knew “something” – something bad – about me that I didn’t know…..I HATE that feeling…..it REALLY scares me….and I don’t know why….Besides, I knew my “brain block” would make him lose patience with me – and he didn’t have much to begin with…it was better to get away from him…..
I REALLY wanted to learn…and he was good at it…..I lost my chance to be “good” at something because my “brain” wouldn’t work……
My father and his father were our first abusers from birth to age 3. I have only seen my father twice since I was 3 (when I was 23) and he denied the police reports and CPS reports of the abuse. I tried to reconnect with phone calls since we were 9 hours away from one another. But the second visit to see him, I woke to him abusing me. I haven’t seen or talked to him since. But my step-dad… he was our biggest abuser. Our relationships with him was so complex. He knew we were multiple, and played on that, abusing us similarly and also differently. Everyone was emotionally /psychologically abused. But who my stepdad was to each of us is our biggest internal conflict. To many father issues to even get into.
I my step-father (later adopted father) was my abuser. I didn’t meet my biological father until 19 years old. We have reconnected over my adulthood but he knows very little of what went on and isn’t an active part of my recovery. I sort of made a descision not to tell him due to guilt issues he may have. He actively tried to see me as a child; however my mother (who knew about the abuse) ignored court orders and such. It was a different time in the ‘70’s and 80’s. Parental abduction wasn’t a crime then…
well our dad was not bad guy either. he did work all of the time at 3 jobs so we can live nice in this country they moved to and he can help some other family people to come here too. one of the family people was our very bad guy. he lived in our house sometimes and sometimes some where else but he was bad all the time. we were afraid to tell our dad because I think he would have killed that bad guy and it will be all our fault that our dad goes to jail. then he got sick and he died and thats why he isn’t a bad dad. he was nice to us and took us places and teached us music. he made sure every day we had food to eat or we can go to the grandpas restaurant. when he was at home nobody hurt me and I could sleep. fromelizabeth
This is appalling, truly. Our dad was a good man and in no way involved in our abuse. If his crime was not knowing what was going on, then that becomes our fault for not telling him. How was he to know what went on when he was working away? Normally we love your articles, but not this one. Who are you to tar the only good person we had just cos we have DID?
Kathy Broady MSW says
ooooooh dear, hi Dino,
Thanks for having the courage to write that — I appreciate hearing from you.
And, I’m always always glad to hear about positive and good parents! Believe me, I wish there were lots n lots MORE good parents, so hearing that your dad was a good man is a wonderful thing. That’s great news, and as I was asking in my article, I am happy to hear about parents who have had a positive impact on lives.
AND… with that being the case — with your father NOT involved in your abuse — then this article was in no way about him. Not at all. I wasn’t saying that ALL fathers are bad. That could not possibly ever ever ever be a true sentence. I know fathers can be good men — I have a wonderful father of my own. I certainly am not accusing your father of doing anything he didn’t do.
Did you see this sentence in the article? From what you’re saying, and the absolutely-next-to-nothing that I know about your circumstance, I would guess that your father could fit in this category:
Because, as you’ve said, your dad was away. He was a good man, but he worked somewhere else and due to that, he was away, and therefore, unable to help as much as he might have done had he been more physically available, or aware of what was happening.
And Dino … there are LOTS of reasons why abused children don’t tell their safe parent (or anyone) about the abuse they were experiencing. I don’t know that this was “your fault”, because that whole topic of telling / not telling / who to tell / how to tell / when to tell can be extremely complicated.
And of course, your father could not see what was happening while he was away. I don’t know if there were any hints or signs that he could have picked up on, but it’s also possible that the abuse that happened to you was specifically kept hidden from your father. That type of situation certainly happens as well. In my experience, I hear of abuse being hidden from the mother more frequently than I hear about it being hidden from the father, but the same premise applies.
Obviously, Dino — I don’t know your life story. I don’t know your trauma history, and I don’t know anything about your father other than what you’ve written in this single comment here. I’m sorry that you were offended by my article, and I hope you can understand that my intent was not to offend you or to insult your father in any way.
I hope that helps clear the air, and thank you for reading!
I must say my father did his very best to protect us. Every morning he would say good morning beautiful.
My mother was very abusive to us all and my father too!
My mother caused our head Injury when we’re 2.5…. Verbally, phydically, and emotional abusive too..She told lies of the truth to everyone.
A lot of the abuse happened when Dad was not home. She would tell him Lies about our behavior and how we. got busted lips, and bruises.
Dad always had a hug and plenty positive to say. As an adult my mother was still abusive and he tried to stop the fights and abuse.
He moved out of state with my abusive mother and my contact was limited because she controlled us both.
One day, when she was away, he told me he loved me and did his very best but did not how to get us help!! He admitted he could not help himself …
He is now with the angels 😢 but we know he watches over us every day.
I was extremely lucky to have, after a whole decade being raised with my “biological father” for my mother to have left. We had a year spent by ourselves and distancing us from him. On my birthday, my mother met a man who was kind, compassionate, and was respectful. He is going to become my stepfather legally on October 27th, but he might as well be my real father. We have the father-daughter relationship I did not have before, and I am so thankful for that. I feel so… sad is too basic to describe it, but just sad that so many people went through the same if not worse than what I did.
I feel like I have no concept of “father”……my earliest memory is sitting frozen on a sofa and my feet straight out and not even near the edge of the seat cushion….frozen because my sister and I had accidentally knocked over a small bookcase…..terrified – not because of the bookcase – but because he was getting home soon. My mother was amazed that I had that “memory”….she remembered it….I was 18 months old…..she said he didn’t beat me then – just laughed and said, “Looks like she’s been punished enough” and walked on…..and left me there……
Sometimes I wonder if the frozen me was ONLY because of the “shock” of the bookcase falling – and that I must be making everything else up – but there is too much fear, too much confusion, too much rage……more than should be just for a bookcase falling over….unless I am all wrong and THAT is ALL there is…….Some parts feel like I have it ALL wrong….some parts feel like they know more than I know…..which ones are right?……I don’t know…..
I can’t remember ever seeing my father as “friend” or “protector”….IF he was “friendly” acting – I didn’t know how to trust it – or “relax” in it. Even in my teenage years still at home – I could not (did not even know how to) – see him as “father”. I only saw him as a “man who happened to live in our house” – and I wished he lived somewhere else……When I saw him – all I felt was deep, deep, massive gut-level confusion and fear – and a deep volcano of rage – so I just blocked off any feeling of emotional connection to him at all. Except for “on guard” fear – it is only “blank”…..Some parts wish I had a “father”…..other parts say “NO WAY!”…….
I wish I could think of a situation where I have actually “felt safe” with a male….somebody who would be able to counteract all the gut level fear….but not sure what that is even supposed to “feel” like.
I guess I went in a direction different from what was being looked for – probably so – soooooo…….sorry…..just saying – I am “looking” – wish I could find something……I live far, far away from him……..my siblings say he is different now – that throws me into confusion……..
nbde :( says
and dadys gif muny $ to bad ppl to hrt yu 😞
then hiyd awa the tras kids
tras kids haf to hiyd bcs no1 want to see thos kids
Oh my … that is just so wrong, wrong, wrong what dady did. And bad, bad, bad too. Please hear that NO little person is trash. Little people may get treated like trash by bad big people but that is not right. Little people are perfect just the way that they are. You are perfect just the way that you are. And, maybe the big people in your life did not value you but the big people here do.
in my experience and in my real life and what I saw as a kid and what my daddy showed me was:
helpful fathers dont be real
nether do helpful mothers
thats just tv
thats just father knows best and little house on the prairie and leave it to beaver.
in real life there dont be such thing
daddys and mamas for real dont care about there kids
they tease them and laff when the get hurt
they leave them by the side of the road
and them traps them
pr push them down and get mad at them for falling
that what men do
that what womin do
everyone that pretend to be nice probaly be a trick
in real life no one care if you got hurt
nobudy ask if you be ok
nobudy care if you got burned or cutted up or fall on you bike or brake you arm
in the real world pepol dont notis kids
they just think kids shuld be seen and not heard
thats how it was for me in real life
thats how it was around my father
My daughter has DID and she has. Wonderful father. Unfortunately, my father was the one who abused her repeatedly when she was a small child. While I obviously knew my father to be a controlling narcissist, I had no idea he was capable of child molestation. I would allow my parents to babysit frequently. The guilt and shame I feel for this is massive.
I also wonder whether I might have repressed memories of abuse. I have many of the symptoms of a child sexual abuse survivor but no memories of it.
All that being said, I am so grateful that my husband is able to be so supportive of both me and my daughter through her journey as a DID system. She has made tremendous progress at a young age (19) and her therapist credits the fact that, after contact with her abuser was cut off, she felt safe enough to start to recall some of the abuse and to acknowledge her many parts. Good fathers do exist, and I wish more of us had them.
Lisa of lis et. al. says
My father was my main perp…but it is something that ran in his family, as 2 of his brothers, possibly 3, were involved in one situation. I am amazed at how well my insiders kept the SA from me for so long! I was aware of the PA, and had always downplayed it. But the SA was something that I had no clue about until the flashbacks started in 1995 (age 32). Before that, I had held onto the few good memories of time with him that I remembered. Now those things mean nothing. Not when balanced next to the years of abuse. Luckily, I have had a male therpist and a male psychiatrist who both were fathers and who treated us with the utmost respect. and kindness. So we do know that there are some fathers out there that wouldn’t hurt children, and would protect them. It just didn’t happen to us. And it is still really hard to believe that it’s not because of something being wrong with us.
This past Father’s Day, we chose not to go to church, cuz we didn’t want to hear all kinds of nice stuff about fathers…cuz that wasn’t our experience, and all it does is make us mad and jealous.
Thanks for providing a space where we can talk about this with others who understand, Kathy.
lis et. al.
This comment hit the nail on the head for me. I am one of those people who didn’t know about the abuse and have many wonderful memories of my father. He taught me I can do anything if I put my mind to it. He taught me strength, especially physical strength. He would tell people that his “girls” became men before his boys did. Here was so much pride in that statement for him when he would say that. He would tell me that there was so many things in this world that will knock you down on your ass but you need to pick yourself back up and brush it off and come out fighting because “shit happens”. For me, he was one who taught us about nature and all the beauty in it, he would take the time to show us things and encouraged our curiosity. He played with us in the water at the beach and showed us how to make a sand castles. To me he was this very strong teddy bear who would always protect his family.
When those strong dissociative walls started to crumble, it was completely devastating to me. I had absolutely no idea who that man I completely and truly loved with all my heart could do the things he did—I fought it every step of the way until I couldn’t anymore.
I believed that the world was this great big beautiful place with so much to see and do and full of adventures. But now it just full of darkness and pain. And having that knowledge of what has happened has changed me and the system within. It is like there is no chance of ever feeling happy again. To find out everything in your life was a lie, completely destroyed me. It filled me with so much shame, distrust, fear and anger. It makes you question everything and not believe anything that comes out of someone’s mouth. I don’t understand why that dissociative wall was so important to destroy, when all it brought to us was more pain and devastation and sucked the ALL the beauty out of the world.
Kathy Broady MSW says
Hey Savannah !!
It’s so good to hear from you again. I’m glad you wrote, and it’s good to know you’re still out there reading.
And yeah… ouch, ouch, ouch. You’ve touched on a super painful place. I’m so sorry. Having your bubble burst would be utterly devastating. I can hear how much this hurts for you, and I wish I had words to ease your pain.
This kind of conflict will take lots to work thru’, but the world IS also still full of big beautiful adventures. That doesn’t have to be gone for you. I know you are devastated by the pain and betrayal you feel — that is very very real as well. The truth is — both sides exist. The darkness, and the brightness. Neither was the full story of what happened in your life, and hopefully, the darkness will recede as you heal from your trauma, and you’ll be able to let a little light and joy back into your life.
I don’t know your father – I don’t know if he was split himself. Or maybe he was just very good at living a double life. It wasn’t okay for you, and I’m sorry he was like that. I have to believe, that on some level, there is genuine healing in knowing the truth of the WHOLE story of your relationship with him.
And yes, while it devastates you in the here and now, this information now allows for HEALING for those parts of you who have known about the trauma for all these years. AND this new freedom from that prison of secrets allows those insiders to get to experience the fun, beauty, beautiful, and exciting adventures that you’ve known about.
The overall goal is for ALL of your system to be allowed to have fun and experience beauty, AND safety, AND comfort. Yes, right now, you all need to heal from the pain you experienced, and healing will come. And… then….. then the adventures back into the beauty of the world will happen again.
Hold tight, Savannah. I hear you. I really do.
Thanks again for writing, and I hope that you know we are here for you, and we value your participation in this community.
Sending very warm, gentle, comforting thoughts to you ….
Devastating deception by father to Savannah. We have so much compassion for you.
We don’t even do memory work because rewriting the past is too life sapping. We practice trying to get into Now. Practice will be measured in months and years.
And that is our path.
Yours will be yours, and everyone on DD can imagine how hard it is for Savannah. Gentleness. 6/24/18
Thats an interesting question about fathers. it’s been fathers day here in the netherlands too and quite honestly it didn’t affect me that much. mothers day is far worse for me. mainly because i have some awful memories about things that happened on that specific day. when i learned about the others inside i did started to ask questions about my dad. he felt really absent and i just wanted to know whether that was true of whether i felt that to protect myself from other memories. i found out that it was a bit protection but he also never really hurt us. he just couldnt cope with my mothers mental problems so he went to work, building his career and wasnt home that much. every morning when he went out he told me to take care of my mum. i dont think he really knew all the stuff that i endured whilst taking care of her and my brother. but he didnt want to know either, so is that an abusive father.. maybe but not because of what he did, the opposite, it was everything he didnt do.
but.. one question stil remains with me. do grandfathers count as well? i had one really abusive one, the father of my mother and i think that he traumatized her as well as he did me. but i also had a really loving one and i believe that he saved my life. i grew up without any emotional support, any words of kindness and i endured a lot of abuse. but there were also these moments. when my mom didnt want us, me and my brother in the house she would drop us of at my grandparents house. both couples only lived a few streets from another but they were so different. i always hoped that i would be dropped of at the nice place but the abusive one claimed me a lot so the chance of that happening was rare. but even while it was rare… i still remember how he and my grndmother made a huge difference in my life. i still remember how he sat in his chair, reading a newspaper or a book. sometimes he would lit the fireplace and he allowed me to just sit at his feet doing nothing. i cherish those moments because in those moments i felt loved and wanted and more over.. life was so simple for a moment and for me .. those were the moments that i could breathe and rest. he sadly died of cancer when i was ten. i truly believed that one day he would come and rescue me from my home and allowed me to live with him and my grandmother forever. that loss hit me so hard that i blocked all the memories i had of him. i simply couldnt live without those rare moments where i could just sit at his feet. this fahers day i found a small jewish candlestick at a fleamarket, exactly the same one he had at his home. all i have left from him is a small photo and now this beautiful candlestick. it makes me smile every time i look at it.
I finally escaped my horribly abusive father in January of this year. He was so abusive in every way. People don’t understand why I maintained a relationship with him for 41 years, well like Kathy said, the reasons were hugely financial. When I was working, I chose to do social work, which pays nothing, but I genuinely wanted to help others. My fathers HUGE financial contributions allowed me to do a job I loved while maintaining a pretty comfortable lifestyle. Well, I escaped his abuse in January. There is no more money, but I’m making it on my disability income right now. I no longer own a nice house, drive a nice car, have anything I need, but what I gained was emotional freedom, which is worth more money than I could have ever been given. I encourage anyone trapped in abuse because you feel you need the money that is provided to run away and fast. It’s NOT worth enslavement for money. A life that is free of torment is worth it. It definitely hasn’t been easy on any level, but I know I will NEVER go back!!
Kathy Broady MSW says
Hey elisabethspals —
Welcome to Discussing Dissociation — it’s so good to hear from you.
Gosh… wow, thanks for sharing that. I have to agree with you — torment and abuse is not worth the money, and heavens yes… the sooner you can have the courage to get out from under the grips of any abuser, the better. It sounds like you feel much more free, happier, and obviously safer, even tho’ your income has dropped down. And that seriously makes sense.
Good for you for getting away from ongoing abuse — I admire your courage and your strength to do so !!
Well done, elisabethspals. You can have a much happier life when you are in charge of it and not under the control of an abuser. You’re doing a great thing — keep up the good work!
I also hope you keep writing and reading here at DD.
Kathy Broady MSW says
Hey Y’all —
Excellent conversations are happening in this thread — really appreciate your participation. Keep going — it’s good to talk about this stuff, and to let the conversations meander out to wherever they go…..
I do wanna add one thing re: this post, just to be more clear.
I really wasn’t writing about all men in general — I was thinking about a very specific subset of men (or a very specific subset of parents) — and in this case, specifically about the FATHERS of DID survivors .
I know LOTS of beautiful men — lots ‘n lots of them. So yes, just being male doesn’t mean anything terrible for me. Not at all.
But if someone is the father (or mother) of a traumatized child, and they don’t help their child, and instead…. they continue to hurt them, or stand by and let other people hurt them …. THAT creates a big problem for me.
Hope that helps. !!
The whole notion of a parent possibly being a positive influence in a DID person’s life is not something that I can comprehend. If one has DID then necessarily they have had serious trauma in their childhood. Other than DID being caused by experiencing war or perhaps natural disaster, I cannot see how there would be any case where a parent would be a positive factor in a DID person’s childhood history (not talking about any cases where some resolution was attained in adulthood with a parent since the individual already has DID — no reversing that). Even in cases where a parent is separated from a child there would be some due diligence expected. It is also my understanding DID is less likely in children who have been traumatized if there is secure attachment with the primary caregiver(s) and where said caregivers are responsive to and helpful in the healing process of their traumatized child. Hence a part of the explanation for why not all children who have experienced trauma develop DID. So by necessity having a diagnosis of DID suggests that the parent/child relationship was dysfunctional in some way even if the parents were not the underlying cause of the trauma.
My father and mother were not my physical and sexual abusers nor did they know about that abuse. Actually, most would say that my father was quite exceptional in the attention that he paid to me. I was my father’s best pal (read son he never had) up until puberty when my body betrayed my male insiders who were in control for much of my younger years. I struggle with thinking and speaking negatively of/about my parents. I know that they loved me in their way. But the reality of our relationship is far more complex then that. I can tell you a lot of great stories about me and my father. As I explore the roots of my DID, however, I am having to also acknowledge his failings. How one measures this in terms of my father’s role in my DID I do not know.
Perhaps I am not understanding the question here Kathy?
Sarah D. says
It is amazing that DD blog is so widespread. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to DID survivors!
I am a DID survivor. My father? Mostly absent, with some good tucked in between.
I know that it is possible that my father was a perpetrator. If that truth lies within me, it has yet to be revealed. I have been working toward healing my system for 5 years and there are still a lot of amnesic barriers.
I come from a large family. There are 14 siblings in my family all from the same mother and father. My father was a military man and when he was stationed abroad, our family was too large to accommodate, so we stayed in the U.S. with my mother for the first 5 years of my life.
I did not feel attached to my father and only knew him as a man that would visit sometimes and bring gifts from faraway places. I am not sure how old I was when I understood that he was my father. I had thought my oldest brother (9 years older) was my dad. My father retired from the military when I was 8 years old.
To provide for our large family, my father was gone, working a lot. He had 3 or 4 jobs to make ends meet. We were poor, yet we had the basics.
When my father was not in the house, I experienced various abuse from my mother and older siblings. When my father was home, the family seemed to be nicer to each other and put forth “best behavior” in dad’s presence. My dad would respectfully resolve problems and conflicts. My mother was a different person when my dad was around. It seemed that he quieted the chaos. I remember feeling safe from harm when he was around. I never talked to my father about abuse that was happening to me because I was ashamed and thought he would reject me.
Our family took vacations together in the summer. Glacier National Park was my favorite. We went there several times. We would go to a campground on Saint Mary’s Lake and my siblings and I were able to spend quality time with dad. Our family even called Wild Goose Island “Dad’s Island” because he would rent a boat, and in shifts, take the siblings to the island and back. He was also an artist and liked to draw and paint. He painted Wild Goose Island and his painting was displayed in my house growing up, reminding me of good times.
It is hard to believe that my father did not know about the rampant abuse that was occurring in his absence. Three years ago (many years after abuse ended), my father openly wept when he was faced with the truth about the abuse my siblings and I endured at the hands of my mother. He said he didn’t know how horrible and cruel our mother behaved toward the children and became considerably depressed as a result. I don’t know what he would have done if he was faced with the truth earlier in our lives. I would like to believe he would have done something to separate us from it.
My father passed away in 2017, after a long battle with cancer. With his death, I felt a shift of safety deep within my system, like a foothold went missing.
I miss the feeling of comfort each time I would see him. I believe my dad was one of the good guys.
My husband was a awesome father to his 4 daughters.He new he had a long road a head of him. Before we got married I told him about what a hateful family life I was given. We did not talk about details,and he did not know that I was more then one. Until much later on in our marriage. He was not going to let my distorted think of men get in the way of loving his children.
he was not a perfect man, but he was not untrustworthy either. he was the one that showed us the good people do exist as time went on we learned to except his father as a good man also. unfortunately. both have passed away. within 1 year and 4 month of each other.
I have been blessed with several wonderful men in my life including a couple of male friends and my husband (my rock and my best friend who makes me pancakes BTW). These men have redefined what it is to be a man for themselves and are not afraid to live their own unique vision of manhood. They are also very comfortable with their feminine side and are respectful, caring and supportive people. They are not perfect but they are trying and certainly would never hurt anyone ESPECIALLY children (actually, one is a children’s entertainer). I wish that I could share them with you all so that you could experience the good in some men as well.
Since I cannot do that, I just want to give a shout out here to a man that we do share collective friendship with … T.Clark. I do not want to put any pressure on you T.Clark and you certainly do not have to represent all men here. That is not my intent. What I do hope is that our female friends here will read your postings and see that all men are not bad and that some are victims too. T.Clark is a man AND one of us. He has offered compassion, loving expression, insight and caring on the DD website and has spoken courageously of his own struggles and his commitment to his children. He has certainly earned my respect and admiration for his dedication to his own work and his generosity here in our community.
With humble regard,
Having read many of T. Clark’s posts, I can only assume he’s awesome, and I never meant to imply that all men are bad… and certainly I’ve met many men with DID. I guess I put them in a different category, which isn’t a very good thing to do.
I guess what I haven’t had is a relationship with a straight cisgender man as family or close friend that felt truly safe, or felt like it had to the potential to be that at least. Maybe I will someday, although I don’t really make friends very easily (or really at all).
T. Clark says
HazleE, thanks for saying those nice words about us. Talking here can allow us to be friends if you want to see us as friends. If you feel safe with our words, then maybe you can know we are a safe man to know. We have a girl part, who helps facilitate inside and outside communication because she trusting and trustworthy. Her name is SJ. 6/20/18
I did not read your post as really hating all men HazelE. Sure is hard to feel safe around men though. I really understand that. Two weeks ago, I was super triggered by a man at the place where I see my T. Sent me into a big switch in the waiting room (only have done this twice before) and a tumultuous session. The poor fellow could very well have been a really nice guy but not according to my little ones. All he did was walk too fast (for my little ones) towards me in the hallway!
So I really hear how hard it is to trust. I have been fortunate to have a husband who has taught me to trust some men. It has taken him 42 years with me to get me to that place. I do not think that I am a slow learner. It is a measure of the depth of violation in the sacred trust that children have in all people that we live with as survivors of abuse.
We don’t know what it would be like to have a safe father. Sometimes we feel scared of all fathers, and sometimes we see one and really wish we had one like that. At least, some of us do… others hate all fathers and all straight cisgender men. There are probably some good ones somewhere, maybe, but we haven’t met any that make up for all the bad ones.
Father’s Day is awful and we heard my dad’s voice in our head and saw his smile and it made us feel crazy.
Kathy Broady MSW says
Hey HazelE –
It sounds like you’ve experienced so so so much abuse from your father, and I am so sorry to hear that. I understand that your experience makes it hard to know that things can be different in other places, or with other fathers / men. And if your father is anything like the “typical” abusive person, their “friends” or social group may also have been abusers, so it ends up making the abused child feel like “everyone” is like that.
It’s really not like that EVERY where. Yes, there are certainly pockets of abuse, communities full of abuse, families full of abuse. No doubt. But just as there are abusers, there are also not-abusers. For real. For true. Not “perfect people” — just folks who aren’t interested or motivated by hurting others. I genuinely hope that someday you’ll be able to find someone who shows you that sense of safety and comfort that you didn’t get from your father. Everybody deserves that kindness in relationship, including you.
HazelE — have you read the articles about introjects? You could have been experiencing PTSD, memories, body memories, etc, but also — since you were actually hearing your father’s voice and seeing his smile…. have you looked inside to see if you have a father introject? That just may be a valid option, so have a closer read of those articles to see if that applies.
Also — it sounds like many folks in your system were overrun with memories. Check inside, and help those insiders to come back out to the current day, and to come out to connect to the here-and-now. If they are lost inside, reliving what happened, you are going to feel a lot of trauma happening all over again. Help those insiders to move away from those abusive landscapes, and help them connect to places where you feel safer, and further away from danger. They need a lot of comfort, and tender care, and help to overcome their wounds… so the more you can tend to those hurting ones, the better you all will feel.
I know it’s a lot. Like a lot a lot. But you can do this. Little bit at a time….
Keep on reading here, and by all means, post when you have any questions or concerns. There are so many many people here that know exactly what you’re struggling with — you are definitely not alone. We’re here with you.
Oh… thank you. I didn’t expect you to have kind words for us.
Parts say that there were lots of men involved, you’re right. A whole group of them. But my father was the scariest one. It was hard not to feel like it was everyone because we were pretty much kept separate from lots of the outside people who might ordinarily help kids, like we didn’t go to school so there were no teachers or other parents who could notice that something was wrong.
Other parts say that nothing happened to us at all, and we are making all of this up for attention. We’re trying not to listen to those parts quite as much because our T tells us that we need to listen to everyone.
We went and read the article about introjects. We probably definitely have them, although they don’t look like him exactly… at least, not as we saw him on Father’s Day. I think that was just the kind of memory that feels less like a thought and more like another version of reality… a flashback, maybe.
I am trying very, very hard to do a better job with the parts who are hurting. I wish we could do it with less guilt and fear, but my T also says that it will help everyone if we listen to them so it is in everyone’s best interest. So we’re trying… but we seem to be really bad at it.
What we wanted to say was thank you for taking a few minutes to be kind to us. It was surprising and also helped us to feel seen. So thank you.
Cindy Roll says
My father raised me, there was no mom in the picture, she left when I was an infant. The evil step-mother did exist then and we got the brunt of it. Now I know she had schizophrenia. Joe, the father, was a ladies man and he did not hide his affairs from anyone. I grew up with the shame of his women, and he treated women and his daughters awful. We were never allowed to have friends over or go to other peoples houses. It was a violent home because of him, I hated him, he hurt me in every way possible except sexual, beatings till I bled, talk to us like we were dirt. I got out when I was 17, and never looked back. It was 20 years before I spoke to him again.
Oh wow … I am so sorry to hear that you were hurt so much by your father and step-mother. Simply an impossible, hurtful childhood. I am glad that you got out but that must not have been an easy thing to do. Thank you for sharing with us.
For us, both parents were very much actively a part of the abuse. Unfortunately, I have to agree with you, Kathy, because I do not know anyone who is DID who has not been hurt by their father. When I was a child, I had no one I could go to. I tried, we tried, but even when being brave enough to share with a teacher about what was happening, we weren’t believed. Many of us wanted to be taken away, even if it meant being “in the system”. No one helped and we grew to fear men especially. I would, however, like to share a little about an amazing man who has been there for us in more recent years.
About six years ago, we got to know an older man, who became a good friend. We knew his wife a little but didn’t have much opportunity to get to know her better before she passed away. Anyway, he was the first person to really see us. He didn’t see a whole bunch of problems to be fixed. He saw us for who we are. He was kind and gentle and supportive. It wasn’t what any of us had planned but over time, he became Dad to us. He spent time with us, read stories, answered questions, made us laugh, taught us things we’d never learnt. He showed us what it means to really be loved.
He was a good and compassionate man, and even though he’s not biologically related to us, he will always be Dad. He died about a year ago, unexpectedly, and it hurts every single day. We wish we could have had more time with him but we hold on to and treasure our memories of him. Among many other things, he showed us that we do not have to fear all men and that some can be the most wonderful fathers. He showed us that we can be loved. For all of it, we will always be so grateful.
we dont know any good men. the men we know from our life
and frum our places be bad,
i dont gona grow up to be a man.
1 time he played foot ball with me in the back yard.
i asked him a long time and finoly he did wons.
i wish he wuld of done it again.
but he always is bizzy.