The Other Side of the Rules

The Other Side of the Rules

When I was growing up, the rules didn’t make any sense.  I didn’t know this was part of the plan.  I thought there was something wrong with me.  I thought I just hadn’t figured them out yet.  I thought the adults knew the rules and I was too young, too stupid or too inadequate to know them.  I always felt like I was really close to ending the chaos and abuse.  I needed a little longer, a little more information and I would be able to follow the rules.  Everything would be better then. But that was a defense mechanism.  In reality, there were no rules.  The only rule was there were no rules.  If I figured out a rule, it would change the next week, so it no longer applied.  This was a part of the control.  This was a part of the manipulation and gas-lighting.  I was supposed to remain confused and disoriented.  But I didn’t know that. I looked for ways I could figure out the rules.  How can I live with less chaos and confusion?  There must be a way.  One of the places I found rules that made sense was in school.  I thrived in the school environment (despite my intense dissociation which certainly made learning more challenging).  I loved the rules.  I thrived because I always knew what I had to do and when to do it.  I could fight through my traumatic responses and meet the deadlines and the requirements to excel.  It was the only place that felt safe.  I knew what to expect and when to expect it. The black...
Commit to You

Commit to You

During the past few weeks, I have experienced several instances of “social commitments gone wrong”.  Plans I made with others fell through (or almost did) and it wasn’t because of me.  And based on my reaction, I can sense that at least one inner part isn’t handling it well.  I have been unusually upset.  I can hear the angry rants bubbling up to the surface.  And of course to some extent, it’s valid.  People should honor their commitments.  But I also know this comes from my past experiences. I was not a priority in my family. I felt that in every way.  Nobody cared how I felt or what my experiences were.  If something more important came up (and almost everything was more important), it took the top spot.  It rarely mattered what I had going on.  I learned to fend for myself.  I learned that if something mattered to me, I better ensure it would happen on my own.  To this day, that belief affects my isolator part and it manifests as rigid independence. My childhood was chaos. Things were always changing.  My very dissociative parents would make plans and forget they made them.  Their addictive behaviors would send them in unhealthy directions at the drop of a hat.  And this kind of change was not the “flow with the universe” kind of change.  It was dangerous change that generally has some kind of new trauma associated with it. I didn’t feel worthy of friends. This message was reinforced everyday by abusers inside and outside my family.  I was sure that friends were only around for a short...
Come Back to Your Truth

Come Back to Your Truth

If there is one thing I have seen as a common thread to a childhood of trauma, it is the invalidation of everything we believe to be true.  Our needs aren’t validated or met.  Our emotions are not validated.  They are touted as problematic.  Our memories are not validated.  Often we are told we are making things up.  And our narratives are not validated, leading to a defensive creation of a false reality just to get through childhood. And if there is one thing that is hardest in recovery, it is learning to validate ourselves.  We usually come to the recovery process with no sense of self.  We don’t know how to trust ourselves or how we feel and we aren’t sure how to get there.  We may get flashbacks and excuse them away as made-up.  We may start to feel an emotion and hear that voice telling us not to be ridiculous.  It is a pattern set deep in our psyches and we are not going to overcome it easily. But as I have become aware of my inner parts, I have learned one very important thing.  My parts are telling the truth.  It isn’t just their memories that are true, but their emotions and beliefs are completely evidence-based.  When I allow my inner parts to feel and to share where those feelings are coming from, they are valid and justified. You may be thinking that can’t be true.  When you are walking down the street and are suddenly in a panic, it is not a valid response.  And from that standpoint, you would be right.  But your...
Love is a Vicious Motivator

Love is a Vicious Motivator

For anyone who has spent time with me over the past few weeks, you probably found it hard to miss my latest obsession.  Recently I discovered BBC’s Sherlock.  I know what you are going to say next.  “Elisabeth, you are 7 years late to that party.”  I know that.  I have never been a big fan of crime shows and I guess I assumed this would be the same.  I never bothered to watch.  But Sherlock is not about crime.  It is, but it isn’t.  It is about something else.  And while I know my inner parts have driven this obsession (because all obsessions are driven by parts), I am just now realizing why.  Sherlock is about inner parts.  It is about trauma.  It is about repressed memories and the way they run our lives.  But most importantly, it is about love. I am not one of those self-development people who touts the all-encompassing beauty of love in the world.  I didn’t grow up in an environment that supported such things.  I never had the luxury of spending time on things like love.  I grew up in hell.  So not surprisingly, my controller took over.  My controller has always been very strong.  My controller was built for survival and lives in the mind.  Vulnerability, emotions and love were never a part of the program.  Love was a mistake.  Love was something to be avoided at all costs.  And there is no TV character who epitomizes the controller more than Sherlock.  He is the ultimate controller But all controllers have one thing in common.  They can’t do what they are...
Maybe It Will Go Away

Maybe It Will Go Away

The impacts of my traumatic childhood cannot be measured.  They are too vast and far-reaching for me to classify, categorize or otherwise explain.  That said, I do try.  My controller hasn’t given up on the idea that I can define it.  This blog exists because of my attempts to define it, so it’s not all bad.  But the reality is too much for any one person to grasp entirely. Over the course of my adult life, I have done my best to be an adult.  But with a childhood of complex trauma and a coping mechanism which took the form of dissociative identity disorder, I haven’t always had the ability to handle life from an adult place.  Sometimes my younger parts have handled things for me and this has rarely gone well.  Sometimes my controller has handled things and exhausted me in the process. But sometimes the paralysis hits.  I don’t know exactly what causes it.  Maybe there are too many parts who want to go in too many directions.  Maybe the powerlessness is too much for the system and the shutdown is inevitable.  Maybe some part believes that if I hide from it long enough, it will go away.  All of these reactions come from my childhood coping and none of them will bring the best result.  But often, I don’t have the ability, awareness and fortitude to overcome it. Recently, I have noticed that my precious computer has been acting in a problematic manner.  I do have an information technology background, but unlike many of my friends working in that sector, I am not a gadget person. ...