Who Lit the Gas?

Gaslighting. What is it? The Encyclopedia Brittanica describes it thus:

“an elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation, usually practiced by a single deceiver, or “gaslighter,” on a single victim over an extended period. Its effect is to gradually undermine the victim’s confidence in his own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from appearance, thereby rendering him pathologically dependent on the gaslighter in his thinking or feelings.”

The first time I experienced this type of abuse, to my knowledge, was within the context of my second marriage. Not only did my second ex-husband attempt to convince me that what I was experiencing wasn’t real, but he also constantly lied to my therapist.

The lies told to my therapist and Branch President of my church by my second ex-husband caused emotional turmoil that I am still working on resolving. Enough can’t be said about the damage it has done to my trust of the opposite gender. Well, I can say this, it has been over two years since my divorce was final and I have yet to even entertain the idea of going out on a date with anyone. I’m not certain I ever will.

When I hired a caregiver (my third try at hiring someone to assist me) this last week, I didn’t even comprehend that abuse of any type could be inflicted upon me by someone who was paid to take care of me. After all, I’m a fairly coherent (when one of the ‘littles’ who is less-than-verbal isn’t fronting) and I’m very intelligent and connected. Let’s face it, I’m usually online in one form or another.

Let me say this RIGHT NOW — not one of those things prevents abuse.

I do understand the realities of abuse. Or I should. I have experienced it enough. That hasn’t prevented parts of MEs from abusing others. Admittedly. I am still coping with the abuse parts of MEs have inflicted upon my own children. The realities of mental illness are not comfortable.

When I interviewed this caregiver whom I will call “Jackie,” she made a point of explaining she had extensive experience with people who were not neurotypical. She pointed out she had worked in a group home and in a couple of other situations with challenging clients and she appeared compassionate. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Jackie started on a Wednesday evening after I returned from a very stressful eye doctor appointment in Seattle that a friend from church had driven me to. I was exhausted and handed Jackie the checklist and asked her to help me to prepare for bed.

She seemed helpful and cheerful and I was excited to see her the next morning when we would prepare lunch for my mom and my daughter who would be visiting with my baby granddaughter for lunch.

When the next day arrived, Jackie was pleasant and helped me prepare a quiche after getting dressed. She finished up the dishes and I asked her to take out the bathroom trash. She took the trash from the kitchen into the bathroom and said she was adding the bathroom trash. I saw her take a bag out on her way out to her car as I was visiting with my family.

When everyone left, I went into the bathroom. There, in the center of the bathroom was the bathroom garbage. What was missing from the laundry closet was a quilt I had pointed out to her was waiting to be taken to the laundry. Okay, it could have been a mistake… after all, the quilt was in a bag also. Maybe she forgot about it and accidentally grabbed it.

When Jackie returned a few hours later, I questioned her about it. She adamantly stated, “I would NEVER do such a thing!”

Even when I stated I was sure it was an accident, she replied, “Absolutely NOT, I knew that quilt was there. I didn’t accidentally take it out. Someone else must have taken the diaper garbage out of the dumpster and put it back in here!”

What?! Was I hearing right? I called my Case Manager and explained what I just heard, and put her on speaker. Suddenly, the story out of Jackie’s mouth changed, “I didn’t say anything like that. I said it was an accident and I would get it out of the dumpster.”

I was dumbfounded. Did she SERIOUSLY lie to my case manager about what she had said to me? Okay. Wow.

Jackie retrieved the quilt from the dumpster, where she had stated it wasn’t on the first check. Then, when I hung up the phone with my case manager, she proceeded to attack me, accusing ME of taking one bag out, untying the kitchen trash and exchanging the diaper garbage for the quilt and returning the diapers to my bathroom.

I demanded that she leave.

She argued in the type of voice you use on a three-year-old. Then my protector alter, Nicki, came out. She’s a teenager and has absolutely no desire to please. She was blunt.

“Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.”

Jackie responded with “wow,” but didn’t leave.

Nicki told her to “get the F@CK OUT!!” Then, she screamed it.

Jackie still didn’t leave.

Then, George (another protector alter) threatened to call the cops.

She finally left.

So far we have spent one hour of therapy discussing this situation. I am certain there will be many more.

I can’t believe the overwhelming feeling of vulnerability that caused us all to experience. We don’t EVER want to feel that way again. EVER.

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“I heard you said…”

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As a woman whose body is shared by many different personalities, every single one of my social nightmares begins the same way:  With someone approaching me as these words coming out of their mouth, “I heard you said…”

It really doesn’t matter what comes next. The words will all fade out no matter what they are. My heart starts palpitating, I start shaking and panic ensues. What did WHO do NOW?!

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After over a year of intensive therapy and feeling pretty good about where I was in the management of my complex PTSD and DID in spite of another bout of depression raising its ugly head. But apparently, something went terribly wrong.

This isn’t the first time in some twisted way one of my alters has messed with my life. One or more of my “protectors”, it seems, have been determined to “protect” me from some responsibilities that were feeling overwhelming for a short time, so they did their level best to make certain I won’t be afforded the opportunity to BE overwhelmed. Yikes. Decepticons within.

I had an inkling of a feeling. There was nothing, yet something. I just “knew.”

So, I discussed the possible results of such a betrayal with Dr. S. We talked through those things I needed to do for self-care while the world tumbles down around me.

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Now to pour as many of my selves into my studies in Lit Theory as possible… we need an escape. The world as we knew it is no more. Because of the nightmare of “I heard you said…” IT. WASN’T. ME.

And yet.

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A grandma’s nightmare.

I hate D.I.D. But yet, we don’t.

Sigh.

The littles are sobbing. They miss the GrandTwins.

Giving them all to God.

Nightmare.

On to Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche… for Literary theory, that is.

I hope your day is free of nightmares.

The Enterprise, A Suicide, and A Multiple Romance

Screenshot_2018-02-13-00-40-32.pngI have been working with my new therapist, Dr. S., for almost four months now. The idea of a log progressed to a different app which was very versatile as well as easy to use, but my inner people decided it was too invasive and have stopped using it. All except for Boo, who likes to talk inside of it. However, we have found MyLogPro to be VERY effective for logging body symptoms as well as self-employment tasks.

Enough of the old, on to the new.

The Enterprise

I have been a “Trekkie” since I was just a little girl. My father built a diorama with a model of the Enterprise from the original series in the 1970s. The box that was mounted on the wall and controlled by a few switches, was complete with stars and phasers and a light-up enterprise. I loved it.

When my therapist asked me to choose a word to describe my “inner family” or the group of personalities that make up my whole, as it were, I said, “it’s like the Enterprise, complete with Tribbles.”

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StarTrek.com

 

That is how I think of my brain. I even have a “brig” for those parts that are not behaving towards the good of us all. My Enterprise’s “Prime Directive” is a bit different than Star Trek.

The primary reason a “multiple” brain creates different personalities is to protect the psyche of the person, of the “multiple.” Therefore our “Prime Directive” is “DO NOT HARM THE BODY “(which includes the brain). When an alter (otherwise known as a member of the crew) violates this order, they are shielded from “The Bridge”  or having control of the body. If they continue to harm, they are confined to “the Brig” inside my brain and shielded from all contact with anyone inside or out.

Dr. S seemed amused at the metaphor that described the inside workings of my head.  I was thankful to be able to have the tools to describe how my brain works!

A Suicide

This morning when I woke up and checked in with my business group, I was met with the information that one of our very small number had passed away at his own hand. My history of suicidal ideations combined with my family history caused a bit of a post-traumatic reaction to occur… so I went into “self-care mode” disconnecting from the interwebs, medicating, and listening to General Conference talks after reading my Scriptures; all in an attempt to quiet my mind and center. PicsArt_02-12-01.13.48.jpg

I was left with a feeling of emptiness and was impressed to share a quote from one of the talks I had been listening to. The act of creating the meme with the quote forced me to read and absorb it for myself.

A Multiple Romance?!

PicsArt_02-08-03.08.37.pngMy divorce has been final for a year today. Since the demise of my second marriage, I have resisted all romantic contact completely. For 18 months, my heart was alone. Truth be told, it was alone for much of the 2.5 years previous as well.

The personality “Maggie” did fall for the second ex-husband for a short time. But only Maggie. The rest of a core of what is being estimated as over 50 “crew members” (including “Tribbles”) did NOT. In fact, many of the other personalities actually disliked that husband in an extreme fashion. However, “Maggie” became co-dependent and fell into victim mode which included giving him public excuses for his behavior and not standing up for herself.

The more that she created an environment that was dangerous for us all, the angrier other “crew members” became. Finally, when the worst happened, our tongues let forth a litany of abuses we had witnessed by him. He walked away yelling and cussing. That was the end of my marriage in June 2016.

While talking with Dr. S. today the primary personality “Marti” who is finally healing enough from my first divorce to begin coming forward again, not only admitted that she never liked the second ex-husband, but today came forth with the fact that she is in love with our boyfriend!

Yes, we have a boyfriend. Although I had stated several times that after getting involved with two abusive men over the internet, I would not be looking for or dating anyone online, I actually met someone online… but one difference is this man actually comes with excellent references. He has an opposite personality from the other men I have dated in the recent past; I’m in love with the person he is and what he stands for.

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A digital mash-up since we have not met in person yet

 

I… what a funny word for me. I …Me… pronouns of the singletons… We, US… more fitting pronounces for a crew in an Enterprise ship that is my brain and my mind.  No matter the words, we are in love… or it feels that way to many of us. Others are unsure and scared. But who wouldn’t be after our history?

One element of our new relationship is distance. This paradigm fits for my circumstance. For his as well. We both have business to take care of. One of my pieces of business is to keep working on my brain… Scotty has much work to do on this Enterprise, we don’t want her failing any time soon!!

Happy? Holidaze

It feels like I am in a daze. Much is happening that I can’t and won’t share. Not mine to. But it all has an effect. Two days before Christmas, it feels nothing like a holiday.contemplative my hair looks blonde in the sun

I made a mad dash from Arizona to Grand Junction, Colorado, then to Washington, to deliver my dog’s litter to their new owners. I made a priority to home the pups where they would do the most good, not asking for any re-homing fees and taking upon myself to provide all but $40 of the gas required to get us where they were to be delivered. That trip took a tremendous financial tole.

All in all, I think I incurred about $250 JUST in bank fees for the privilege of outrunning 3 storms coming two different directions on my way from Arizona, then Colorado, to Washington during the end of November. The storms took my alters in places of anxiety and fear that had me shivering and crying on more than a few occasions. The ride in the dark valley from Price, Utah in a blinding storm had me praying out loud constantly when the wipers froze to the windshield after the heater fan died on the poor Volvo.

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Xena, Camo & Mr. Pringles – All in Mr. Floyd’s care

Today I got the paper in the mail confirming that my request to appear by telephone at the divorce hearing was denied. Who knows why, it wasn’t included. My soon-to-be ex-husband is happily celebrating all the holidays with his new girlfriend and her family. I’m not sure if he has completely abandoned my animals out at his mama’s property in the bitter cold and storms, but I can’t afford, emotionally, to think about that now. He had a restraining order to keep me away from the animals I adopted and loved… while he poisoned and neglected them… now to leave them die cold and alone. It will be a long time before I trust again.

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Life is Always Clearer in the Rearview Mirror

 

And then there are the comments from friends and family. All of the “I never liked him” “he said for years he was planning to take advantage of the Mormons; he has talked about how they are an “easy mark” for years” “we saw what he was doing to you, how he was treating you was not okay”…. ad nauseam.

It does help, in some ways, to hear that I am NOT insane, that I was “gaslit” and taken in by a complete and total fraud. But I am ready to be done. I am ready to begin healing. I am NOT ready for a holiday. But the holidays are here, and the divorce hearing won’t be until January 19th of next year. Now, to plan my trip back to Arizona.

I am thankful to be in the company of friends right now. I fear what would happen without them. And the gentle counsel of my Bishop. This is a tough time.

 

Waiting for the End

I sit here, welcomed in a friend’s home, waiting to hear from a court to find out if I may appear telephonically at my divorce hearing.

The last six months have been eye-opening. Crazymaking it is called, when a person se0118151643i-mixts out to abuse another by causing them to believe they are “crazy.” This can be complicated when one partner has a mental illness. According to very reputable and supportive friends and professionals around me, I have been made a victim by a fraud who wanted everyone to disbelieve me, due to my “craziness.”

I long to be free of every bit of that relationship. The end was punctuated by me being confronted with the fact my husband had taken upon himself to begin another relationship with a single woman, calling her his wife to members of the community that didn’t attend our church after declaring himself “single” when I went on a preplanned trip to visit grandchildren.img_20160804_163237565

I am thankful that Heavenly Father showed me the person who was beside me before I had invested any longer in the relationship. The fraud he perpetrated was punctuated when it became apparent he attended therapy with me for the sole purpose of learning my triggers for his own use. That felt like the ultimate betrayal.

I sit here, waiting for the divorce hearing. Then, perhaps I can get on with the rest of my life. I look forward to that day. I want my last name back.

Then, I need to find a partner therapist. Soon. Very soon.

Confronting Drama with ALL of MEs

Breaking up is NEVER easy.  When one spouse has been diagnosed with a mental illness, it becomes extremely easy to use that illness as an excuse to treat that spouse with disrespect and humiliation. Unfortunately, that is what my soon-to-be ex-husband has now stooped to.

When I reacted to him not understanding that I meant “no” when I said it, with him on top of me… even though it took FOUR iterations of that word… the NO word… for him to get off of me, my husband left me. As a multiple rape survivor, that incident and the actions he took (or rather failed to take) set me off emotionally when I awoke the next morning. The “attack” I alluded to in the post I made while we were attempting a reconciliation, was an alter of mine standing up for me (verbally) and getting off the eggshells we had been walking on for the majority of this ill-fated marriage.

IMG_20140214_164003_503In January 2013, when Keith proposed to me, it was after he had his hands on my head in church to perform a Priesthood blessing. I didn’t know at the time that he had NEVER been ordained, and he did NOT have the authority to do so; he lied to me and the elders in The Church.

Upon learning about his deception about the Priesthood, I attempted forgiveness. It was difficult. Since Keith had lied about being ordained to both the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthood, it also meant that he was not eligible, nor would he be for many years, to go to the Temple. That broke my heart. But I persevered.

We have been married for almost three years. Every month I lived with my husband, he went through both of our medicine supplies by the 10th of the month. The rest of the month he spent digging out the hidden stashes I had and complaining and begging his mother to send him money. Which she did on several occasions.

This last spring, I was fed-up with not having plants growing when he had promised me that we would. So, I soaked some seeds and planted them. Mr. Floyd’s Farm AssiIMG_20160614_151449581.jpgst followed a month later with a few seeds of his own. I asked him to do the favor of tending my plants while I was gone, and he accepted. Apparently his yields aren’t as good as mine usually are, the entire yield for the plants in his care was 5 measly buds. I have never witnessed any plants my husband has grown that haven’t been covered in bugs or mold or both, so frankly I wasn’t surprised. I was very disappointed.

Disappointed and sad is how I feel about this entire relationship. The fact that he has stooped as low as he has, and I as low as I have, tells me that we are not paired well together. I only hope and pray that we are able to finalize this divorce and go our separate ways without hurting too many people in our wake.

May your life be full of Love and Lighte: That is what I seek.

 

Debriefing after a Break

Last week I lost it. Just completely and totally lost it.

Yes, there were triggers. BAD and horrible triggers. And I was unmedicated. Then, my therapist quit me.IMG_20150929_064655321

So, more and more triggers. Then, an absolute horrific result: my husband left. Adding to all the triggers. Or did it?

When it became apparent that his absence was not a trigger, but a relief, there were many realizations.

One of the most profound was the fact that in order to get to a better place psychologically, I must be alone to do it.

3664539207876A few of my “alters” are “protective.” They only come out when some weird primal part of me decides I need protecting. That happened this time. Two of them came out and attacked both my husband and my male therapist. My husband and I are working on a formal legal separation while we both work on personal matters now, and my therapist quit. Doing a lot of praying for a female specialist in DID who’s practice is nearby. I hope I can start again with a female.

Reacting to males is normal for me. Or it used to be. It is difficult to have relationships of any form with a gender that has been deemed as “attackers” from my psychi. I was victimized by males for most of the first 45 years of my life. As I go forward, I am hoping that I can learn how to develop relationships that won’t be the subject of attack by parts of me that remain scared, but to do this I can’t be helped by a male.Contemplative

In the “debriefing” process of the break many things became apparent. One of the most important parts of the debriefing process was to align myself back with the will of Heavenly Father. To this end, I received a Priesthood Blessing, then I went to my normal Friday shift working in the Temple. My supervisor and I spoke, and he suggested I take in a session instead of working right away. It was just what I needed. I prayed to Heavenly Father, and listened intently for His answer. It was more than I could have hoped for. I was reminded of His gift to us, The Holy Spirit. The comforter. My peace.

IMG_20130406_161137_cr-001Life is much different today than two weeks ago. It’s much different than one week ago when I was in the middle of a break, crying out to a therapist who couldn’t help. But life feel right. It feels peaceful and full of Heavenly Father’s love. I am at peace with it all.

The Look

If you have ever told anyone you have a mental illness, you probably know “the look.”

It happened to me yesterday, where I volunteer. The lady who gave it is a sweet and kind soul and probably had no clue it was even on her face. But it was. She gave me “the look.”

I’m not a quiet person. Lies and secrets complicate life, so I try to Again my crap his supermanavoid them. Unfortunately, that usually means I tend to tell many people things they couldn’t care to know. For some reason, stuff just falls out of my face (and off of my fingertips).

Yesterday a sensitive subject came up in the office. I wasn’t feeling very steady, so rather than allow myself to be triggered, I took a short walk. I had the opportunity to look at portraits of Christ. I steadied myself and returned after just a couple of minutes. By the time I had done so, the sensitive conversation was over.

I did take the opportunity to explain myself and my actions to the person who is my supervisor in the office and who was engaging in the conversation. Unfortunately, I also disclosed my own abuse background as well as the fact I have been diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.).

1489950724523The moment the words came out of my mouth, I wanted to pull them back in. I don’t know what made me say it, but I wanted to unsay it immediately. “The look” was all I could see. It was on her face. I wanted to unsee it. I wanted to unsay it, but I couldn’t.

She overwhelmed me with apologies that were neither needed or wanted. I just wanted the topic to be over, and for it to have never happened. Since we have a week between seeing each other, I now have several days to contemplate the questions she is considering.

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t so open. The more genteel parts of my brain cringe when someone looks at me with the combination pity/entrancement that can come with people learning about my history of abuse and my brain.Looking up at the trees that look like home to me

It’s not that I don’t welcome questions, I do. I am even writing a blog about it (HERE!), but it’s the pity/entrancement look that feels past uncomfortable, but disturbing. Like all of a sudden you’ve been transported back into a carnival side-show of the 1800s, and YOU are on the stage with everyone staring.

These are the times I want to retreat. But I can’t. I have a talk to give in church tomorrow. So, no “mental health days” here. But I really want to take one. “The system,” My MEs, needs a day off. I need a cell away from everyone and everything where I can just take a day away and process all of it.

Perhaps someday.