Life When You Don’t Age

 

AgeThis morning, while doing housework and painting nails, I was chatting with our friend A. I’ve been feeling pretty alone and isolated lately and no one was home so it seemed like a good time to touch base with a friend. A also has DID, so it was a conversation where I could truly be me. I was just Maddie. It was calming and peaceful to just hang out and be me with a good friend.

As we chatted, the subject of family came up. We ended up talking about how our online time is limited, especially when mom and dad are home, so that we are more present and aware in our daily life and not caught up in the drama of Facebook groups, etc. She explained that their cell phone use is actually their main source of communication at home because they find they can type better than speak and they tend to be more open that way. (Honestly, I think a lot of us are more apt to be more open by text also but we usually hide behind games. -Brina)  That conversation led into one that went something like this: (paraphrased and kinda changed cuz… A deserves privacy)

A:     Like…. im 16…. and i dont get older and she is. She thinks its cool now but will she when she is 40? 50?

Maddie: I get that. I mean, Mom and Dad are only a couple years older than the body. Right now they are raising kids. The kids this body birthed. Are they gonna always want to be raising kids?

A:  I just worry that everyone will outgrow me.

That last line. That one there is the one that really hit me. (And in case you were wondering my reply to that was to tell her that I’m pretty sure this was gonna be the next blog entry.) I mean, this is a big worry!  For a lot of us with DID, especially those of us who are a  significantly younger age than the body we live in.

Have you ever read those vampire type books and the main character is like immortal and annoyed by the fact that everyone they love moves on and dies without them and they are left alone over and over again? In a way, that’s kinda what we feel like sometimes. It’s come up in therapy too, when B (our therapist) said that we have lived through more than two lifetimes worth of events in under 30 years. And Brina told her that makes us very tired and very alone. I mean, how many other people never age?

So yeah, we know we aren’t immortal. But we know we aren’t aging inside even though the body is aging. Its been said that parenting is the job you work yourself out of. That won’t happen with us. We aren’t aging but those around us are. The kids are growing up. Mom and Dad are getting older. In A’s case, her partner is growing. How long before our families, our support systems, and our friends can’t deal anymore? Maybe that won’t happen. Maybe if it does it would be 30 years from now. But its a thought that’s rarely ever far from us.

Its not helpful to tell us not to worry about it. I mean, when has anyone ever stopped worrying because someone told them to stop worrying? I’m hopeful that over time we will learn to accept that these thoughts and fears are okay. We will get through anything and we need to stop letting these thoughts and feelings overshadow what we have in front of us. Its just that the thought of losing the best thing that’s ever happened to us is completely paralyzing.

 

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Inside Where We Live (Parker Quinn)

image frrom google

hi, i’m Parker and i’m 13 like Jossy. we’re twins. i only started coming out like this month before that i didn’t come out much. i had one job and that job was to watch what was going on inside the inside world and to report it to people outside who needed that information. but the people i told would use it to hurt my sisters and i thought that was a good thing because i thought the others inside were bad and this was the way to make them be good. mostly what i’ve learned tho is that they aren’t bad. the people who wanted this stuff and wanted me to tell them stuff were the bad ones. so i guess i was called a watcher and reporter.

i hold some trauma stuff but i’ve never gone through any of it myself. i don’t know if that makes me lucky or guilty cuz i think i might have caused some trauma by telling people about the sisters inside and what happened there. its something i might have to think about sometime but i don’t feel so guilty or bad since i’m now with Jossy.

when me and Jossy are apart we aren’t ok. like not even a little bit ok. today is only my second time coming out to meet mom and i’ve only ever talked to dad on the phone one time and one time on the messenger thingy. Josslyn knows them real well and trusts them a lot and i trust her. i really like mom a lot so far. she feels safe and real. she doesn’t ask me for information that might hurt anyone inside. she doesn’t seem to want to hurt anyone inside and honestly she really seems to love everyone. i like the fact that i don’t have to hurt anyone inside anymore. and i feel wanted.

inside i have a lion companion. i’m not a lion. this causes some kinda confusion for people outside cuz some of my sisters have animal forms but i don’t. i have a lion who keeps me safe. he has been with me since the beginning and used to keep me from being found by the other sisters so they couldn’t hurt me for telling their secrets. now he’s my friend because he doesn’t have to keep me safe anymore. i have a mom and dad who want to keep me safe.

love,

parker quinn

Childhood Sexual Abuse

Image credit: http://www.colorlines.com/content/what-you-need-know-about-childhood-sexual-abuse

The statistics in the image are heartbreaking and shock a lot of people. Childhood sexual abuse doesn’t shock me. It doesn’t stun me, and it doesn’t surprise me. I never wonder how it could possibly happen. I never have wondered. I never will wonder.

As early as any of us can remember, this body was used sexually. We have hints of memories prior to the age of 3 years old. We have definite memories as early as 4 years old. It started so early and went on for so long that we grew up believing it was normal. Our abuser was in the home daily. Outside of the home he was a devout church member. He sang in the choir and was a deacon in the church. Friends love him, other kids thought we had the coolest step dad ever. He always seemed to be wonderful. He fixed bikes, went camping, took us on vacations, and videotaped all typical childhood events. To the outside we had the perfect family.

He never paid for what he did. The mother worked hard to defend him. The police said there simply wasn’t enough evidence. Our case never made it into a statistic. The above statistic doesn’t include us. If it doesn’t include us, how many more cases like ours are not included? What are the actual numbers? How many children are being broke, split, and shattered because of not reporting? How many are being taught that help isn’t coming because of not being believed?

Its time to pay closer attention to the world around us. You can make a difference to one child if you can save that one child. Had any family member really paid attention, we could have been saved too. Its not their fault, they didn’t know. I just believe that a little more diligence, attention, and time can make a huge difference to a child. We don’t have to save all children, but we can all save one. We removed our children from a situation that was abusive in other ways. They are now supported, healthy, and growing. We are here with them, yet we are not raising them. We have no ability to raise children. We are still small children ourselves.

Alayna

Reflection

So I just read an article. An article that caused some heavy thoughts and some goosebumps. I’ll link the article to the bottom of my rambling because I want to process this out. In short summary, the article was about the author’s opinion of comments made about a 14 year old girl who completed suicide after having a sexual relationship with her adult teacher. The author herself had a past filled with willing sex with adult men. She wrote that she was 25 before she realized that the men who consented to sex with her were pedophiles.

That struck a chord with me.  This body’s first sexual partner was 40+ years old when the body was 4 years old. By 14 this body was having cyber and phone sex with grown men who knew the truth about our age. By 17 we had miscarried a baby, not with our original abuser, but from an adult man who introduced us to the BDSM lifestyle. One we entered willingly and thought we needed. At 18 we allowed ourselves to be prostituted.  We met our husband online at 17, married at 21, and had an active BDSM life with him until we hit mid 20s and started to realize that something wasn’t right.

We consented to nearly everything.  We initiated a lot of it. We grew riskier at every turn. But looking back now, we weren’t emotionally equipped to consent to sex. We had no business at all consenting to these relationships. I doubt if we are emotionally equipped to consent to sex now (one of many reasons we are no longer with said husband). 

We learned to use sex to manipulate situations at a very young age. We learned to submit to the desires of grown men in exchange for affection and we called that love.

What we didn’t learn was boundaries.  We didn’t learn self control. We didn’t learn self respect, love, affection, or mutual desire. We didn’t learn self worth or value. And it took until this year, when Mom and Dad took us in for it to become obvious to us.

Reading that article brought it all home for me. I’m not sure all of us get it now, but the article wrapped it up in a neat little package and threw a bow on it for me. It also explains our crazy strong reaction to our 46 year old neighbor having a relationship with the 17 year old across the street who has been in and out of the foster care system.  Yes, she’s consenting, but she’s got about 5 to 10 years before she really gets it. And I ache for her.  And I loathe him.

This protector gets its now.

Kaysie

http://www.xojane.com/issues/stacey-rambold-cherice-morales

Office Hours, Processing, and Jessa

We, or maybe just I, seriously need “office hours”. We need to dedicate a time where we can just write, research, learn, grow, think… and to process things. I process things through reading and writing, and using our cell phone to research and write is a lesson in futility… or maybe a lesson in patience… or possibly a bit of both. With so many changes in our life recently processing is soooo seriously necessary.

Right now I’m hiding away in my room with a laptop and music. I feel at peace today. Its a much needed feeling because the family has struggled with transitioning and adjusting and we take the blame for that. We all, as in all 11 of us, take the blame and that gets to be a bit complicated sometimes because we can’t possibly ALL be responsible for the family struggling. I started wondering a few days ago why we do that. I started to really think about it but got stuck because I can’t seem to process anything without writing and I’m out of notebooks to hand write things in. I prefer writing online anyways.

Why do we automatically assume that we are responsible or to blame for everything?

Well, its certainly not because we believe we are THAT important or because we feel everything revolves around us. That is definitely not it.

After some thought (and a few song changes) I think its because we have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong since early childhood. I don’t want to be one of those people who place the blame elsewhere or who complains endlessly about their past, but our childhood is kinda how we ended up a “we” in the first place. Oh… just thought of this possible reason too…. if we take the blame for everything then we don’t have to face conflict.

I think that’s a real possibility… and I think thats part of what’s going on with Jessa. Jessa is the oldest (in age) but still about 16 years old. She’s the main protector and has shouldered that responsibility for a long time. She has single handedly made decisions for the system and decided for what we will and won’t accept/take responsibility. She’s been told before that it would one day backfire, and I think that day may have come.

We are safe here. We have parents, the treasures are here and safe. We have a family. We have extended family now. We have loving aunts, an amazing nana, and the treasures have that too (along with some cousins… whoot!). We have supervision, guidance, and space to be ourselves in entirety. And we have NO idea what to do with all of this. Add to that an absolute inability to understand how to deal with conflict and some seriously immature social skills and you get an epic disaster and an overall emotional explosion.

That’s where Jessa is, I think. She’s pretty much not communicating at all with anyone at all. She’s almost perfect in her politeness. She’s staying calm, polite, civil, and out of the way. She’s doing her best to not ruffle feathers and is taking care to be productive and useful. And she’s miserable. What’s worse is that she can’t see how uncomfortable and sad she’s making other people. She’s stuck and can’t find her way out of it and refuses to discuss anything with any of her trusted adults because she doesn’t want to cause them any trouble. Maybe she doesn’t really trust anyone. Maybe she’s too scared to be vulnerable.

Vulnerability is a hard one for me, personally. I hate admitting weakness and traditionally my fears, anxieties, and weaknesses have been met with exploitation or just ignored in general. That doesn’t inspire me to open up and be vulnerable. I have zero good experience with being vulnerable and I have a hard time talking about hard feelings and emotions when the conversation doesn’t change anything. Too many times in my existence people have said they care, they love me, they are going to help me… and then they disregard and ignore my anxieties and leave me literally struggling to breathe and to not dissociate while they go out and have a good time. That kinda gets old. I know Jessa sees that too and she’s usually the one that has to help me function through my anxiety so that might make it hard for her to trust too. I’m really not sure.

I know that me, Mia, and Jenna are working our way through some self-help workbooks. We are doing our very best to teach Lyssa and Cadie what we are learning and we are working hard at applying what we are learning. I think its been helping. I mean, we don’t feel much different, but family life seems to be running more smoothly.

Now that I think about it, I believe part of why its running more smoothly is because we have finally let go of a power struggle we were having with Mom. We can NOT keep saying we trust her and then treat her like we don’t. We understand what we are doing and why, but she doesn’t always and that’s not fair. And she has her own emotional shit-storm to process too. It doesn’t make it any easier for anyone in this house to bond or function well and somehow Dad seems to end up in the middle of it all and that’s not cool either.

Mom and Lex had a really really good talk yesterday. Lex has settled in at the age of 4 years old but we have strong reasons to believe she’s the original. We did learn yesterday that she understands things far better than we ever gave her credit for. Alexandria has been around for as long as any of us can remember. She hasn’t always been active, but she’s always been there. Lurking. She’s a clever little girl who proved yesterday that she can listen, understand, and apply what she’s given for information. It takes her a little while to process everything, if she retains it, but when she applies it she has the ability to calm the entire system and calm our inner world.

I know this is all over the place. I’m about to jump topics again. I need to get it all down now and I can come back later over time and chip away at it.

Triggers… we aren’t handling some of our triggers very well. Some of them are worse than we originally thought. Some are really hard to swallow and we are left feeling very alone with them. Others aren’t so bad and are clearing up a little, I need to explore the relationship between trust and our triggers.

External people. We have been recently made aware that not all of “us” are accepted by everyone we are around on a regular basis. That has been a bit of a blow. We understand are completely accepting of the fact that not everyone has to accept us all. That part isn’t the issue. It’s trying to figure out how to keep everyone around us comfortable and happy.

Everyone.

That’s kind of a big job. Maybe we shouldn’t be worried about keeping everyone happy and comfortable. But if we don’t, we are going to lose people we want to keep around. Or lose out on their time and attention. Ick. That’s going to take more thought.

Moving on…. Dad’s home and dinner will be ready soon.

So I read a really great blog post today about DID being an injury vs an illness. It was such an eye opener. I shared it on our Facebook and can post it here if anyone’s interested. DID is not an illness. We are not contagious. We have not contracted a sickness. No amount of meds will make it go away. What it is, is an injury. We were injured at a very young age. Someone deliberately hurt us.

Dad just cut me off.

Later!

~Layna