Through the Eyes of DID

Yesterday, Grief Diaries: Through the Eyes of DID was published.

I was fortunate enough to be able to share part of my story, as I was one of the contributing writers for this book.

I had a lot of mixed emotions about being a part of this book. I actually changed my mind a few times before finally deciding to go through with it.

I still carry a lot of shame and guilt for what happened to me. I still believe, in some ways, that my childhood was my fault. I thought, if anyone reads this, they are going to think I was a horrible child. They are going to believe I am a horrible person. How bad a child I must have been for my own mother to treat me like that. How weak of a woman I must have been for allowing the abuse to keep happening. How crazy I am with this diagnosis.

It’s not like I haven’t spoken about it all before. I’ve been vocal about my trauma in social media. I write publicly about my disorder on my professional blog, under my real name. I write about everything on here, under not-so-anonymous anonymity. But this was something different. This was my life, attached to my real name, printed in a book, available across the world for anyone to read.

And then there was the issue of protecting the people who hurt me. I felt bad for labeling my abusers. I could have just said someone abused me. I didn’t have to name names. But who was that helping? Who was that protecting? It wasn’t helping me. It wasn’t protecting me. It was helping and protecting my mother. It was helping and protecting my father. And I didn’t owe them help or protection. I didn’t owe them anything.

I’ve held so much anger against the people who failed to protect me from my mother, and here I was doing that same exact thing — protecting her. The woman who stole my childhood. The woman who took away my innocence. The woman who broke me again and again. It’s bad enough to be abused, but to be abused by your own mother, the one person who is supposed to nurture, love, and care for you — that is a whole other level of pain. It’s a pain I want people to know about, because I want them to realize that it can happen to anyone. I want people to know that mothers can hurt their children, just like anyone else can.

So I did it. I admitted my mother abused me.

My biological mother was my main abuser. I call her my biological mother because it’s difficult to call her mother sometimes. I acknowledge that she gave birth to me, but her motherly qualities stopped there. For simplicity, I will refer to her as my mother, but I’d like to believe that real mothers don’t abuse their own children.

But that was not my only struggle in writing for this book.

In collaborating with the other writers who also had DID, I realized that I am just not at that level of acceptance yet. The other writers were so okay with announcing how many parts they had. They knew all their parts’ names and what purpose they had in the system.

And then there was me. How many parts do I have? Too many to count right now. What are their names? I don’t know. I know a few. But not all of them have names. I don’t keep a tally. I don’t keep an attendance sheet. Just the other night, I was kept awake by a voice inside that kept saying Sadie wants to color and all I could think was who the FUCK is Sadie? Because I just don’t know. I don’t know my parts. I don’t know me. I am a failure here, among all of these perfectly organized and knowledgeable people with DID.

I’m not going to lie. Seeing what others wrote made me feel like shit. I thought maybe I shouldn’t be writing for this book, because my DID is as chaotic as my life is, and that’s not the image that anyone else was portraying.

But then I remembered that I’m not supposed to be perfect, and my DID sure as hell doesn’t have to be perfect, either.

So I wrote my reality. I wrote of my shame in having more parts than I cared to admit. I admitted I didn’t know everything that was going on, inside and outside my head. I told of my struggles with drugs and alcohol, my suicide attempts, my fears about turning into an abuser. I wrote about how afraid I was of losing control and of losing my life. I opened myself up in a way I hadn’t before.

And now it’s all out there. The life I hid for so long. The parts of my life that I am still hiding. The denial. The failure. The fear. The struggle.

I don’t want to hide anymore. I shouldn’t have to.

You know me as Kyra Jack, but I’m also Crystalie.

I have DID.

I am a human being.

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Mother-Yourself Day

I woke up Sunday morning to a card, a bouquet of flowers, and gifts wrapped with a bow.


They are gifts I gave to myself. They are the gifts I would have given on Mother’s Day had I had a real mother. But I never had that, so I had to improvise. In many ways, I had to be (and continue to be) my own mother. And I’m accepting that now. As much as I long for a real mother, the opportunity has passed. It’s my job now.

I went to work that morning with Courage by my side. He comes with me whenever I’m going through difficult times or doing something I’ve never done before. I didn’t know how my day would go, so I brought him just in case. He was a good coworker-for-a-day. I was able to keep myself together. I text an old friend Happy Mother’s Day without getting upset. My therapist sent me a text and it reminded me of my importance, to myself and to the world. I was okay.

After work, I changed out of my uniform, into a nice shirt, and took myself to an early dinner. It didn’t matter that I was alone. I knew I deserved something special. I knew I deserved to eat. I was going to treat myself, and I did. Surrounded by families celebrating the holiday, I sat at a table by myself, with Courage sitting in the chair next to me. I didn’t have to force myself to eat. In that moment, all of the conflict I usually experience around food was gone.

I sat and read the card I wrote to myself the night before.

K,

You are your own mother. I know it’s hard because the woman who gave birth to you did not know how to be a mother, or maybe she just didn’t want to. The reasons don’t matter. You have had to parent yourself. You protected yourself when no one else would. You are learning to take care of yourself in the ways your mother should have (but didn’t) take care you.

I know it hurts. It hurts in your heart. It hurts in your mind. It hurts in your soul. A pain you can’t explain, because your mother isn’t dead. But she might as well have been dead, because she was never really there for you, ever.No one ever taught you how to love because your mother never loved you. No one taught you how to take care of yourself because your mother didn’t any worth in you.

But here you are. Surviving. Trying to love yourself. Recognizing your worth. Seeing all of the things your mother refused to see in you. You’ve done a great job keeping yourself alive. You got out. You mustered up all of the strength and courage you could, even when no one agreed with you or understood, and you left your mother for good.

And now you need to keep mothering yourself. It’s time to take care of you. You deserve to be cared for. Whatever that woman told you was a lie. All of those times she hurt you, that had nothing to do with you. You were just a child. It’s not your fault that she could not be a mother.

Now it’s your chance to be a mother to yourself. You can do it. You deserve it.

This Mother’s Day was the first time I didn’t break down. I didn’t dread the day, because I made it about me, not the woman who gave birth to me.

Sometimes we have to break traditions. Sometimes we have to bend society’s rules a little bit. I am my own mother now. That other woman just gave birth to me.

 

Mothers Abuse

The majority of child abuse and neglect cases involve a female perpetrator, most often the mother of the child. The majority of cases. That means over 50%.

Yet, what type of person is consistently portrayed as the typical child abuser? A creepy-looking male stranger.

No. Just no. Between 80% and 90% of child abuse and neglect cases involve a perpetrator that is known to the child. Most often, parents or other family members are involved.

Part of my struggle growing up, and also attempting to seek help in adulthood, was the flat out refusal to believe that females would abuse someone, let alone that a mother would abuse her own child. But they do. So often they do. And they get away with it because no one wants to believe it. But the facts are there. They’ve been there all along.

I was told I was just confused, that my mother loved me, that what she was doing was out of love and protection, that my mother seemed like a nice person so they didn’t think she was an abuser. One counselor, after learning my abuse history through hospital records and some of my own admission, handed me a book on attachment disorders and said “I think you have an attachment disorder. Read this.” In essence, I had the problem

Way back when I first started this blog, I wrote a post on mother-daughter sexual abuse: The Elephant in the Room. I will copy and paste it here as well.

As we head into Mother’s Day weekend, the majority of my posts are going to be mother-related. This is a difficult time for me, and for survivors of mother-perpetrated abuse. But we are not alone.

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January 30th

January 30th is no longer my mother’s birthday. It is now a day for me.

I contemplated how I could turn this date into something different. Part of me wanted it to be the day my mother died; not her actual death, but her death inside of me. I wanted it to be the day I completed severed our relationship. I wanted to become an orphan. But I realized that wasn’t the right thing to do. I know I am not emotionally ready to make that full disconnection. I also know that wouldn’t be fair to my parts, some of whom are still bonded to our mother. Killing her, even though it would have been just emotionally and psychologically, would have traumatized and confused my younger parts even more. They don’t deserve that.

Another part of me wanted to send her shit (literally) in a box. But I’m not even sure she is worth the effort and the $14.95 it would have cost to ship it. I wanted to write her a letter, telling her all of the amazing things I’ve been doing. But that wouldn’t even matter. She wouldn’t care. It wasn’t worth the effort of writing or typing it out.

I didn’t know what I was going to celebrate, but I decided that morning to just roll with it. My therapist sent me a text that morning to remind me that it was MY day. So I decided I would get out of the house and see a movie. As I was walking from the bus stop that morning, I got a notification on Facebook. The PAFPAC Facebook page had reached 100 likes. Now, I am not a person that takes “likes” seriously, I never have been. But I couldn’t help but find the irony in the timing. Of all days, it happened on my mother’s birthday. My mother, the very woman that symbolizes everything I created the organization to fight against. My mother, a child abuser. My mother, a female perpetrator.

I felt a rush of emotions come over me. I actually laughed at first, because I realized the irony right away. And then I started to cry and had to dart into the nearest bathroom. It wasn’t really tears of sadness, but rather tears caused by the realization that I’m doing so much more than she had ever planned for me. I calmed myself down in time to get to the theatre, but even as I was watching the movie, my mind was bouncing back and forth with thoughts and feelings about my mother and about what I’ve done with my life.

When I came home later that afternoon, I made chocolate cupcakes. My roommate made buttercream icing from scratch and frosted them for me. And they were delicious. And I didn’t have to share them with my mother. So it was a double win.

This morning, as I was talking to my coworker about my day yesterday, I realized something that I hadn’t noticed before. I made it through yesterday completely sober. I knew it was going to be a difficult day, and I’ve always responded to difficult days in negative ways. But I didn’t drink. I didn’t turn to drugs. I didn’t hurt myself. I made it through the entire day completely unharmed, for what is likely the first time ever.

That in itself is an amazing accomplishment for me. I thought about that for the rest of the day. I thought about how I made it through that day unscathed. I thought about all of those other times that I ended up in a downward spiral into the dark place and struggled to get out. But this day was different. And that in itself made it a special day.

Silenced in shame

I tend to be a very open person. I tell my therapist nearly everything on my mind and in my heart, good and bad, happy and sad. I’ve shared my thoughts and experiences with others by writing this blog.

But something came about last week that I could not talk or write about. The memories left me confused, angry, and ashamed. I hated myself. I hated the world. And I couldn’t tell anyone about it because I feared that would only make it worse.

When I went to my therapy session on Thursday, I tried to deflect talking about everything I was feeling by denying everything. And by everything, I mean everything. I told my therapist I had a good life, no trauma, and no problems. I didn’t want to deal with any of this shit anymore. But denying it doesn’t make it go away. I could’ve said I had a good life until I was blue in the face, but it wouldn’t have changed the fact that I was seething on the inside.

I finally admitted to my therapist that I was full of anger, but I could not tell her why. It’s not that I didn’t know; it’s that I didn’t want to talk about it. She traced back the last few days trying to pinpoint when and where my feelings originated. I went over each minor detail of my life starting with Thursday morning and working backwards. Eventually I muttered “I checked Facebook.” That was when it all began.

I didn’t expect to feel anything when I checked Facebook that time. Then, I read a status that came up in my Facebook memories from six years ago about being admitted to the hospital. I instantly realized what happened in the days after I wrote that status. I felt as if I were right back in 2010, going through it all again.

My therapist asked me what happened and I burst into tears. All of emotions came pouring out and I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t even tell her all that happened. I told her that I cried for help and no one helped me. No one knew what had just gone on just minutes before the nurse came in my room. No one could translate my cries of desperation. No one could feel the pain I was in, the disgust and shame I was filled with. No one. I was completely helpless. I was entirely ashamed.

I remember laying in my hospital bed day after day just wanting to go. I couldn’t even eat. The numerous visits from nutritionists could not take away the sickness that was eating away at me from the inside. I was so disgusted with myself. I felt so unclean. I couldn’t shower for weeks, which only magnified how gross I felt. I wanted to scrub away the dirty. But no shower would have been enough. Nothing would have been enough.

It was at that point, after that incident, that I realized that nothing would ever stop my mother. She was sick; sicker than I had ever imagined. In my most helpless state, she took complete advantage of me, all the while putting on an Academy award-worthy performance of a concerned mother. No one knew how badly I needed to be protected from her. Instead, they inadvertently helped her terrorize me. I was completely alone. Despite the numerous flowers and gifts, and visits from coworkers and friends, I felt isolated and alone. Physically, my heart was trying to give out on me. Emotionally, my heart was already dead.

Despite my realization that my mother was (and still is) sick, I blame myself for what happened. I could have told her to stop. I could have gotten away. I could have told the nurses. But I didn’t do any of that. I let it happen. That’s all I could tell my therapist. I let it happen. As if I could have done anything to stop her. I had an oxygen mask, a heart monitor, and numerous IVs, but yet I expected myself to, in some way, fight back or resist; something I had never done before when I was in much better physical condition.

My therapist reassured me that there was no way I could have stopped her. I did what I could in that moment. It wasn’t my fault. But part of me was still angry. Part of me was still disgusted and ashamed. I left session that day wanting to destroy the world. All of that anger I was holding on to for so long was trying to get out.

But I couldn’t direct it at my mother. So I directed it at the branches I passed by on my walk home; the branches I ripped out from the bushes and broke into pieces, much in the same way I felt my heart had been ripped out and broken into pieces. I smoked, but not even 100 cigarettes wouldn’t calm me down. I drank, but no amount of alcohol would wash away my disgust.

It was only in today’s session, nearly a week after my memories and feelings resurfaced, that I was able to tell my therapist a piece of what happened to me that day. I still find myself overwhelmed with shame. I still fear that other people would not understand. I still fear that other people would think it was my fault. My therapist asked if there was anything she could do to lessen the shame. But I don’t know. As much as I know I need to talk about it, I can’t. Not even to the person I trust the most. I remained silenced in shame.

Pardon me while I rant

There’s been a story going around on social media about a woman who makes her son take her out on a dinner date and pay as a way of showing her son how to treat a woman.

The story bothers me for a few reasons. One, I don’t think it’s right to impose expectations of sexuality on a young child. She is telling her son he has to grow up and take women out on proper dates. What if he doesn’t want to date women? What if he is gay, or even asexual? She’s not giving him that option; only that he must date women and treat them this certain way.

I could go on. But what bothers me the most about this story (and others) is that focus is centered on teaching boys how to respect women. We don’t teach girls how to respect men. Instead, we teach them what to expect from a man, as if they deserve something greater just for being female. Respect is not gender-specific. We should be teaching children to respect other people, regardless of their gender.

Most people ignore the fact that just as many women perpetrate domestic violence against men as men do against women. Or they say that men are stronger, so their violence is obviously much worse than what a woman could do.

This sentiment makes me want to put my head through a wall. Yes, I’ll agree that in general, men have the capacity to be physically stronger because they can develop more muscle mass. It doesn’t mean they all are. And it doesn’t mean that women are weak little creatures that couldn’t hurt a soul. I can easily overpower most of the men I come into contact with on a regular basis, and I (unfortunately) have before.

I watched my mother beat my father. I watched her hit my brother. I, too, was a target of her violence more times than I could count. It doesn’t take much strength to stab someone, to set them on fire, to beat them with a hammer, or to shoot them with a gun. My mother used her hands, paddles, pans, or even rolled up magazines if she was desperate (though those were mostly for beating the cats and the occasional whack to the face). She wasn’t gentle. She caused damage. My mother is not a fit person by any means. She hadn’t exercised in all the years I knew her. But she hurt. Just as badly as any man would hurt. Angry people like her find strength wherever they can pull it from. She didn’t need a penis.

Outside of my family, I’ve come to know many male victims of female-perpetrated violence. Very few of them ever admit in public what happened to them. Why? Because of that sentiment I mentioned earlier. Men are strong. You can take it. It was a woman. It couldn’t have been that bad. Suck it up. You’re just a wuss. Meanwhile they suffer in silence, not only from the physical damage, but from the psychological damage initially caused by the female attacker and perpetuated by society’s gender-biased views.

This exact sentiment and attitude pours over into female-perpetrated sexual abuse. It was a woman? It couldn’t have been that bad! I bet you enjoyed it! She was probably gentle. Women don’t do that. You just misunderstood. It couldn’t have hurt. You should feel lucky. I could go on, but I don’t have to. If you don’t get it by now, you won’t get it at all.

I can only speak of my own hurt from my experiences opening up about the abuse from my mother. Some therapists ignored it entirely. Other therapists outright denied my experiences as abuse. “She’s your mom and she cares about you, you’re just misunderstanding everything.” Yep. That’s it. I just misunderstood. All mothers should bathe their children into double digits and have special nighttime sessions. My bad. If I said it was a man doing it, or my father, EVERYONE would say “that’s abuse!” before I’d even finish my sentence. But for some reason, when a woman is involved, people automatically jump to the gentle, nurturing view of women and deny the legitimacy of the abuse. It was aggravating, disheartening, and saddening to have my reality denied by other people for years. I can’t even begin to imagine how others, including men, feel when their experiences are denied.

Woman continue to get away with domestic violence and abuse because of the attitude that women are weaker, more gentle, and less violent. I am telling you now that women are just as fucked up as men are. Stop letting women get away with crimes that any man would be imprisoned for years for. Stop making victims feel ashamed for being victims of :gasp: a woman. It happens. Let’s acknowledge it. Let’s deal with it accordingly. Because if we continue to teach girls what to expect from others, they will continue to feel entitled to things they don’t necessarily deserve. And if we don’t teach boys AND girls respect, women will continue to think they can get away with whatever they want to because they are a woman.

Perhaps I should have been a man, because women are going to hate me for this and see me as anti-woman. I am not. I am for equality.