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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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!!

What is This Disorder: D.I.D.?

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We have been writing on this site for almost a year about the realities of living with Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.), but we never really got into the diagnosis and what we are fighting against every day when we choose to live. Why do we say it that way? Because every moment that we don’t listen to the temptations to escape this world we are choosing to live. We are choosing to exist. But we know it is a choice every single minute.

While researching this disorder, I came across this quote, “DID is arguably one of the most misunderstood and controversial diagnoses in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). But it is a real and debilitating disorder that makes it difficult for people to function.” OH HOW we agree with that statement!!! Although previously thought to be a rare disorder, it has been found that 1 to 3 percent of the general population actually meet the criteria for diagnosis of D.I.D., making it just as common as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Also, not all personalities are obvious changes, it isn’t like the movies or TV shows that have been produced about multiples.

The most comprehensive description that I could find that really explained D.I.D. was on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website:

Dissociative disorders are characterized by an involuntary escape from reality characterized by a disconnection between thoughts, identity, consciousness and memory. People from all age groups and racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds can experience a dissociative disorder. Its estimated that 2% of people experience dissociative disorders, with women being more likely than men to be diagnosed. Almost half of adults in the United States experience at least one depersonalization/derealization episode in their lives, with only 2% meeting the full criteria for chronic episodes. The symptoms of a dissociative disorder usually first develop as a response to a traumatic event, such as abuse or military combat, to keep those memories under control. Stressful situations can worsen symptoms and cause problems with functioning in everyday activities. However, the symptoms a person experiences will depend on the type of dissociative disorder that a person has.

NAMI also lists the symptoms of dissociative disorders:

Symptoms and signs of dissociative disorders include:

  • Significant memory loss of specific times, people and events
  • Out-of-body experiences, such as feeling as though you are watching a movie of yourself
  • Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide
  • A sense of detachment from your emotions, or emotional numbness
  • A lack of a sense of self-identity

The symptoms of dissociative disorders depend on the type of disorder that has been diagnosed.

Our particular diagnosis is D.I.D. which includes this explanation on the NAMI site:

Dissociative identity disorder. Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, this disorder is characterized by alternating between multiple identities. A person may feel like one or more voices are trying to take control in their head. Often these identities may have unique names, characteristics, mannerisms and voices. People with DID will experience gaps in memory of every day events, personal information and trauma. Women are more likely to be diagnosed, as they more frequently present with acute dissociative symptoms. Men are more likely to deny symptoms and trauma histories, and commonly exhibit more violent behavior, rather than amnesia or fugue states. This can lead to elevated false negative diagnosis.

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Some of the littles

The way OUR diagnosis was explained to us was that we began to “fragment” or split into “alters” when we first underwent trauma as a baby. My physicians and therapists agree that we were under 6 months old when this happened. Because we have a very intelligent and creative  brain, the way that our psyche coped with trauma was to create other sections that didn’t have to remember the trauma. When a trauma reoccurred, there was an “alter” to take the abuse, the main personality had little or no memory. The more traumas happened, the more alters were created. It is still our brain’s way of dealing with trauma: We split, creating another alter. One more name added to the long list.

In the last 18 months since the diagnosis was confirmed, we have discovered the names to no less than 28 alternate personalities or alters. There is an overwhelming feeling that there are more that exist.

We have started a project, asking our “system” of alters in my brain what photos of ourself or relatives that they identify with, attempting to give myself and my therapists a visual aid. This has proved difficult, but it is cathartic. It helps to look at a photo with the age that alter claims to be and see who those personalities feel they look like.

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Some of “The Littles”

We are about half-way finished with the ones with which we have any co-consciousness (we hear them to any extent).

Here is a representation of “the littles” or small children in our brain:

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The only alter who has chosen a photo representation that was not a photo of us (so far), has been a “protector alter” named George. He wanted to use the photo of my grandfather, George R. Slighte. So, we allowed it. We just want to know what THEY think they look like. It does explain why some of my little ones always get bruises on our arms: They think they are still little kids!

As we progress in therapy and in this process of recovering from the trauma we underwent as a human, not just a child, we will be sharing more when we learn it. We appreciate your support and your interest. Thank you.

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.

 

Twin Tears

The trip to return to my home state of Washington was full of setbacks, until I actually hit the Arizona border. From there on out, it was smooth sailing. 1334009706095

That’s not to say that I didn’t experience my share of anxiety; I always do when driving. However, the drive was also full of time for me to constantly conference with my MEs. We had a long talk. Actually, several of them.

I arrived on the afternoon of my twin granddaughter’s birthday. My mother (who I’ve been having a rough time with) was just leaving and was shocked to see me. I was glad I wouldn’t have to share my time with the girls, with her, considering the current rough state of our relationship.

3727423539945Our visit carried on into the evening with me promising to return the next day. I attempted to get photos of the girls with me, but there was a bit of contention in the air between the twins, and the photo idea was scrapped when they wouldn’t stop pinching and hitting each other behind my back.

When I returned the next day, I gave my extra wi-fi only camera phone to each one of the girls to capture pics or videos of themselves or each other. The girls LOVE to look in the mirror, so I figured having them make selfie-videos might be right up their alley. 1405134202423_cr

Unfortunately, not all the adults were on the same page. Their Poppa thought that one of the girls had taken his camera without his permission and responded with angry words and grabbed it out of her hand. He realized his mistake before only a few moments had passed, and returned it to the upset twin.

Her tears and big gulps of air as she tried to stop crying were all captured for perpetuity in digital. Yes, this Grandma saved it. However, we had to move it to an archive due to the empathetic triggers that it caused.

Just watching the video that my dear precious granddaughter recorded brought back so many memories of my own tears that I can’t bare to watch it. But it seems important to keep.

3665625995045He didn’t hit her. He just barely raised his voice and grabbed it out of her hand. A quick jump to the wrong impression. Easy to do. It happens every day.

But her big tears on her little face and a tiny voice that kept whispering, “mama” when I know her mama isn’t one, but she is being raised by her other grandma, broke my heart. And the littles inside cried with her.

 

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.

Triggers – Can I Control Them?

Do I have ANY control of this “system” as my therapist calls my MEs? Can I control who comes out?

I have been pondering on this idea for a few weeks.

How to control which one of ME is in control.

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Random Pigeon walked up, Luckily NOT a trigger

How do I do that?

Can I “trigger” myself?  

Can I, myself, trigger a different personality to come out at will? I don’t know.

I get mixed signals back when I put it to the system. Apparently, that is one of the “benefits” or “side-effects” of my medication of choice.  According to “the system,” cannabis enables me to compel the more “rational” and less angry and “affected” personalities to come forward.
Just a bunch of me I am trying to figure out whatI have wondered about the possibility of experimenting with this theory by perhap abstaining from my medication just previous to therapist visits, so that he may be able to communicate with some of the “angrier” and “more affected” personalities.1263847552085

On second thought, perhaps that should wait until I don’t have impending plans that could be catastrophically effected by the wrong personality having control over my body.
(Those times when all forms of electronic communication should be hidden, if you know what I mean.)  

There are times when I can’t access medicine that I need. Just that fact, is enough for anxiety to build. When I can’t control whether or not I have medication; I am even more anxious about controlling what goes on inside of my brain.

Then, what goes on inside my brain, effects how the personality in charge (depending on what age that person is, and how rationally or irrationally that person views the world; through what tint of abuse-colored glasses) reacts to each and every situation I am in. Those situations can be a replay of a memory in my brain, spurned on by a simple otherwise innocuous word on the radio… and then all of a sudden I am reacting as if my life was the hell that it was as a child.

0325151845cThese are some of the reasons I do my best to control the outside. I absolutely DETEST being in the same area as random-input devices: radios and televisions that play broadcasted material. Topics can come up a radio show that just by the drop of ONE word… my day is ruined: a trigger has happened.

What are “triggers?” They are those situations, internal or external that cause a reaction. Usually a swift one.

Internal triggers can be feelings: Physical pain, fatigue, hunger or even the urge to urinate.

External triggers can come from movies, radio, social media or live social situations. The more a person interacts with the world; the more potential triggers they are exposed to.

This is probably one of the reasons being alone is comforting to me.

Most of my MEs get along with each other. Sure, we have arguments & some of them do and say things I don’t agree with…. But they are safer to be around than the rest of the world. 

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A tiny bouquet from hubby

There are times, especially since I have started trauma-recovery therapy, that my husband would rather walk out than trigger me once more. These are times when it seems that every word or action of his seem to trigger a memory or a feeling…. These are the rough times.

But can I trigger myself, on purpose, to bring out a personality to handle working on school work? Why hasn’t my system decided that there is one that can do it? Why do others still keep coming out and messing up my work?

Frustrating questions. And I am only six months into therapy. This is all new to me. I have much to learn. As I learn, I will share; that’s just who I am!

My Me’s

Back in 2010, I started a blog called “The Me’s” intending to take everyone with me as I explored the many personalities that I was being told by my then boyfriend, that I was displaying. That boyfriend and one after him are gone. The one after him attempted to use my diagnosis as a weapon against me and that fact (as well as the fact that he was otherwise abusive) added an additional few years on before I would seek help, and a diagnosis.

I waited to seek help until I had been married to a husband for a little over two years. He pretended to be supportive. However he spent the time with me at the therapist’s learning my triggers, then would use them constantly against me.  When his choice of therapist supported him when the husband attempted to rape me, it was time for a divorce and a female therapist. 3453268246234

Now that the diagnosis has been made, I am trying again to start a place for me to keep the insights I am making. For me. And for anyone who chooses to join me.

Dissociative Identity Disorder. Multiple Personality Disorder. Disorder. Am I a Disorder?  I don’t think so. I do believe that my life has been made a challenge by the method my brain chose at a very young age, to deal with trauma.

My therapist, and I, together have identified over 20 different identities. Twenty. More than twenty.  And a few days ago I remembered a new name. Another.

Why am I writing about it? Because that’s how I deal with things. By writing about them. The harder the subject is for me to deal with, the more I write. This is something I know I am not alone in, so I decided to share it with others.

I have named this blog, My MEs. When I was a child, I had the initials “M.E.S.”, and I was constantly told that meant “mess.” As the many personalities that I have are coming forward, I came to the conclusion that they were just mispronouncing it all my life: It should have been pronounced MEEEz!

Laugh. All joking aside, lost time & absent memories are not cool.

wp-1487879827228.jpgNow I embark on my journey to discovering just how many “MEs” exist, and how they came into existence. This will involve uncovering all the abuse and trauma that I have survived. From the level of PTSD I exhibit, from incest and multiple rapes,  I have a tendency to believe this will be a long road.

You are welcome to join me on this journey. For now, this blog is semi-private. How it will be in the future, is anyone’s business.