Ever looked down the barrel of a gun and wondered when the pain of the bullet would come?  I had that experience a few hours ago.  Have I mentioned my father had some ‘interesting’ friends who aren’t exactly fans of mine.  I push forward, and they push back.  The thing of it is, though, I know I have to push harder until I’ve pushed through completely.  And I know I *will* push through.  No questions.  That said, I’m fine.  I have a very small cut and bruise where the barrel of the gun just slightly scraped above my eye.  Every scrape, every scar, and every broken bone.  Every scream, every moment of terror, and every ounce of shame can be a motivator.

They push, but  I will *always* push back harder.


The Sunrise Week So Far

This week I’ve watched the sun rise every day.  It’s a very peaceful thing.  My house-mates tend not to be awake early, so it’s a bit of time I can spend without being bothered.  It’s my time for meditation, journalling, or whatever I feel like doing just then.  It’s a way to begin the day from a more grounded position.  I’ve found that, if you’re working from a base of peace, everything seems better.

And that brings me to my next point– it’s interesting to distinguish victim from survivor.  I think I’ve moved from one role to another without even noticing the change.  To me, victim indicates someone who feels powerless and can therefore be abused more and more.  It’s so hard to break away from an abusive situation if you feel powerless.  I remember that pattern and still fall into it on rare occasions.  Overall, though, I do *not* feel like a victim.  The statement that people can only hurt you if you let them used to make me feel like I was being told that what happened was entirely my fault.  Now I understand that it’s about empowering yourself.  I’ve only recently grounded myself in the knowledge that my life is mine and, although I can’t always prevent my own perps from affecting my life badly, I *can* evaluate my response to things.  It’s a fine balance.

My Very Essence

Earlier this week my best friend had his first meeting with a cult-loyal alter.  Until now we had been able to make sure he wasn’t affected by any of that.  Lily refers to this set of alters as the ‘Number People,’ and I know who their real-life counterparts are.  The role they play both internally and externally is not good, to be euphemistic about things.  They speak a language composed of numbers, and they work quite alot with biometrics.  My best friend noted that they even sounded robotic.  They asked him questions about defining human interaction and wanted him to explain what makes me *me,* as in what separates who I am from who other people (external) are.  Apparently they even used the word ‘essence.’

When we moved to the US all those years ago, I was basically forced to give up the essence of me and take on the characteristics that the cult wanted me to take.  It’s very difficult to try to change yourself in order to fit someone else’s design, and the toll it takes on your psyche is hard to describe to people who haven’t been through it.  Dissociation is a natural process.  However, when the cause is severe trauma, DID develops.  That’s not at all new to anyone reading this post.  DID isn’t a charade (in spite of what some people think) that you have to work to maintain.  What I dealt with in terms of fitting the profile the cult wanted me to fit was a conscious and ever-present effort to display on the outside the person they wanted me to be.

No more.

It’s not like merely being told to act a certain way or speak a certain way destroyed the essence of who I am, and I refuse to keep working under that guise.  Part of getting to know my internal folk and piecing together the bits of my life has involved this sort of reclaiming of self in the larger sense of the word.  It’s been about learning to assert my right to be who I am instead of who I’m expected to be. This has been an incredibly long process, and it certainly isn’t over yet.  It involves some external stuff as well– there’s quite alot of paperwork involved in changing my name back to what it was before we moved and meshing together records from both sides of the pond.  With every little obstacle that we overcome, though, I feel happier and more settled.  It’s definitely been the long way round, but at least I’m finding my way back.

A line from Sting’s song ‘Englishman in New York’ seems appropriate here– ‘It takes a man to suffer ignorance and smile.  Be yourself no matter what they say.’

Here’s to being yourself, then, even in the face of those who wish to destroy that concept.

Sinking In

This is a short but important post.  I’ve spent this week in the place I fully intend to call home soon, but the internal voices and external influences have been trying to pollute all of it.  More on that in another post.

Tonight, as I drove from my friends’ house to the extended stay place I’m currently calling home, it sunk in.  I was driving from one place that felt safe and happy to another place that feels safe and happy.  I’ve made alot of contacts as far as job hunting goes, but more than anything else I’ve learned alot on this trip about myself (plural) and my perceptions of the world.  The magic wand has not been waved, and I have not been relieved of all my problems.  There is, of course, no magic solution.

Tonight, though, driving the bit back to my hotel from my friends’ house, I felt safe and happy.  There was a warmth inside I hadn’t felt in a long time, and I smiled.  Regardless, that has to count for something.

The Great Motivator

I wrote about the difficulty of expressing anger in another post.  It does, however, have its positive side.  Anger is a great motivator.  I’ve volunteered at shelters for abused women and children in England and here in the US, and I’ve heard that phrase used loads of times.  It wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I actually understood it.

As of lately, the focus of this blog has been on moving away from abusive relationships, as I am in the process of doing that.  I’m sort of chronicling that process in hopes that someone else might stumble upon this and get some help, or at least some inspiration, from it.  Almost eight years ago I thought I was completely free from the cult.  Two years later I came to the realisation that they were still in my life.  I trusted my father’s assertions that he had left and let him back into my life and my mother’s life.  Not long after that it became obvious that he was still very much involved in his old role.  While I am absolutely *not* playing the role I was supposed to take, the cult members are still very much a presence in my life and still have alot of control over me if only though my fear of them.  Consequently, I’ve spent the past six years trying to break free completely.

But back to anger.  I’ve been making solid plans as much as possible, the largest of which has been working out my financial situation and searching for jobs.  Soon I will be spending a few days in the place I’ll be moving to and will do some in-person job and apartment hunting, solidifying things even further.  For me, this is important.  I need to know that I’m not leaving chaos to enter even more chaos.  I’ve done what I can to build even loose connections from here so that I can make my short time there as productive as possible.  The book entitled ‘It’s My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence’ by Meg Kennedy Dugan and Roger R Hock is an excellent source of ideas and a great way to keep your thoughts together about such an enormous undertaking.  Even if the relationship you’re leaving isn’t one of a romantic nature (mine certainly isn’t) the book can be helpful.  It’s available through Amazon’s private booksellers, and I’m sure it can be found many other places as well.

Yesterday I sent an email to a dear friend of mine telling him the next steps I’ll be taking towards getting away from here.  It was only in writing that email that I realised how angry I am with the people who have hurt me and at myself for staying in this environment.  Until now, fear has played a large part in keeping me here.  Now, I’ve accepted the fact that I might always have little ‘visits’ from these lovely people, and that they’ll always be a bit of a presence in my life if only because they’ve had such a great part in shaping me.  For years I’ve been telling my best friend that I’m tired of running, and tired of always looking over my shoulder.  So I stopped.  I’m not running from these people any more.  I’m moving out in plain sight.

Because of them I’ve lost my entire family.  I’ve experienced and seen horrific acts, and I’ve come out of every bit of it alive and at least functioning.  I know the tricks.  What more can they do?  There’s a somewhat trite cliché that applies here– hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.  I know that if I absolutely *have* to make it in my current situation, I can.  However, in thinking about all the things these supposed people have done to me and my family, I can *feel* the anger I’ve been ignoring for so long now.  For the first time ever, I truly feel human and can state out loud that these things shouldn’t have happened, even to me.  I owe it to myself to build a better life, and I’ve learned the hard way that it’s ok for me to focus my energy on myself for a bit.

That’s the first step– realising you’re *not* some horrible excuse for a person who deserves to be abused forever.  You’ve got to allow yourself better times.  Life outside feels good, and spending as much time as possible outside your situation while trying to break free completely will help you keep that in perspective.

Move Away Jimmy Blue

The title to yet another Del Amitri song that I love.  Part of the bridge to that song goes ‘Wet feet visit the same old places.  Finding nothing new.  It’s a bin full of tissues from made-up faces in a town full of nothing to do.’  That’s certainly ringing true for me these days.  I am clawing my way out of my current living situation, and I don’t care if my room-mates read every word of this.  It’s not like my efforts are new, or even secretive for that matter.

Recently, I had a conversation with a dear friend who said some things that upset me at first but that, when I’d considered them more deeply, motivated me.  This friend and his family have really tried to help me move on from my past and the not-so-pleasant present.  They’ve also watched my plans fall through, some from my own actions and some from other circumstances, time and again.  But, as I hear constantly, change comes from within.  And as my friend would advise, you only hear things when you’re ready to hear them.

Let’s forget about the SRA bit for a minute and look at this from a ‘normal’ abuse scenario.  People who are abused sometimes find themselves repeating the same patterns or keeping themselves in the same environments.  In other words, we sometimes look for perps and chaotic lives.  It’s what has become normal to us, and we don’t have to worry about when the next instance of abuse will occur if we keep ourselves in that situation overall.  Already, there are patterns and history to get past.  There are major lifestyle changes that, although they will lead to a better life, are very frightening and feel incredibly risky.  Trust never comes easily for survivors, and taking a leap out into the world certainly requires having faith that things will work out.  Not easy.

Back to the SRA bit.  As I talked about in another post, SRA involves programming, some of which is put in there to keep the person from leaving the cult.  I’ve been both fortunate and unfortunate to have learned how to disable some of my own programming.  Fortunate because it’s a really difficult thing to do.  Unfortunate because I only learned that stuff by being really high up in the cult’s ranks.  With this moving away from here bit, I’ve hit a block of programming that I can’t quite locate or diffuse, although I’m getting closer.

For any SRA survivor out there who has found him/herself in a similar situation, my best advice to you is to move toward your goal of getting safe without stopping to ask questions.  Use the cult’s mentality in your favour– act, don’t think.  Work first and then analyse later, when you’re in a safer spot.  *Much* easier said than done, as I can say from in the midst of it.

Back from Home

I spent last week with my FOC and was reminded, as always, of the great difference they have made in my life.  I met my brother-of-choice in an online group for significant others of people with DID, while trying to find information to help my DID mother.  It has been my honour and pleasure to have met his immediate family since then and to have been accepted as part of them.  His lovely wife is my sister in every way other than biologically, and his parents felt like parents to me from the first time I met them.  As I think I said in an earlier post, they are the people who taught me what family should be, and I’ll always be grateful for that.

The reality that is my daily life does not make sense when I look at it in terms of what being with my FOC feels like.  I’m stuck in a situation that is incredibly like my less-than-great past, and I know this isn’t where I belong.  However, I cannot seem to break away from the pattern I’ve fallen in, and that is the most frustrating situation I’ve ever faced.  It’s odd– you find a place to belong, people who love you, and an environment that makes you feel safe.  Then you do everything you can to make sure you don’t allow yourself to start a life there.  Makes sense, right?  Argh.

This is common for trauma survivors in general, and my SRA background adds a complication.  I’ve still got some nifty little programming in there that’s preventing my moving forward, and I have absolutely no idea of where in the system it’s located or what specific type of programming it is.  In other words, I’ve hit a mental speed bump.  It’s absolutely up to me to find the things I need to go forward from here.  It’s also up to me to allow myself this path.  But in the meantime, as a friend of mine says, this sucks out loud.

Here’s to moving on.