Looking through the window, you would think you were watching a family.  Two people are playing video games.  A baby is walking about with toys, showing his cars to everyone who will look.  Folks are gathered around the table, still strewn with dishes.  All of the people are related by blood or marriage.  Family.

Then there’s me.  The lone person in the room who isn’t actually attached to anyone.  This is the Thanksgiving celebration of my best friend’s father and family.  To some extent, I feel out of place.  A Pagan vegan amongst diehard Christian carnivores.  I used to think of myself as easy to throw away.  No divorce needed.  No separating the family in to factions.  They could just point me toward the door and send me on my way.  Little by little over this past nearly two decades, I am changing.

This year is different.  This year, I am trying to connect.  I’m trying to drop my well-honed guard long enough to let these people in.  And I am bloody terrified.  Immersing myself as part of the family feels dangerous.  The more people you love, the greater chance you have of being hurt.  The greater the chance for betrayal and pain.  Is it worth it just to be part of a family?  I’m still trying to answer that question, but I’m leaning toward ‘yes’ these days.

We have plans for most weekends in December.  Family plans, and it’s just assumed I’ll be there.  These people don’t consider that I won’t be part of family situations anymore.  It’s so odd.  I have no biological family, but I seem to have acquired a great deal of family somewhere along the way.  I sit surrounded by these people, terrified that they’ll see whatever it is in me that those who hurt me saw.  And then my best friend’s father nearly crushes me in a warm hug, telling me he loves me.  Part of me loosens a bit inside.  Part of me enjoys that.  Who would have thought a girl with no family coming from a history of SRA and garden variety abuse would find herself surrounded by the love of a family someday?

So t his is my struggle this holiday season.  I want to be present in the celebrations, rather than so mentally-guarded that I miss out on things.  I want to talk with people, even when I feel they’ll just judge me anyway.  I want to function as part of the family, comfortable in the knowledge that that’s how they see me.  I want to take this chance for once and hope things don’t come crashing down.  My past says this will end in heartache and loss.  My current mindset dares to hope it won’t.  Here’s to trust!


Even Now

My best friend and I, as I have mentioned before on this blog, text every night.  Between 8:00-10:00-ish, we talk about our days and anything else that happens to come up.  It’s a great time, even when the subject matter is dark, because we are together.

Tuesday night was different.  Tuesday night found me unsure of his feelings toward me and terrified that I’d done something to push him away.  He wasn’t joking around about anything.  He wasn’t laughing, so to speak, via text.  He was simply answering me in terse phrases.  I was scared.

I asked if he was ok, and he answered in the affirmative.  A few texts later, I told him I felt like I was texting an acquaintance.  He said he didn’t know what to tell me.  Through the rest of the conversation, he had to assure me time and again that he was fine with me and fine himself.  I’m sure it tested his patience, but he stayed right with me.  I love him for that and many reasons.

This conversation makes me angry, now that time has passed.  Within the confines of the cult, I learnt that no one would like me other than my ‘family,’ those responsible for my training.  I was taught that the people who profess to love you would leave any time they wanted.  I avoided getting close to anyone, because I knew they’d leave anyway.  And it was always me.  I wasn’t good enough, strong enough, fast enough.  Or I was too good and punished for showing up the others.  Whatever the reason, love brought pain.

Now, many years later, I find myself falling in to that trap of not trusting people.  Trust is so hard.  For a while, it was impossible.  I met my best friend in January 2001.  Almost 17 years later, I had such a hard time trusting him that, in one conversation, I assumed he was ready to end our friendship.  This is SRA.  The systemised method of breaking down your natural sense of trust and rebuilding it with a sense of suspicion toward anyone you were not programmed to love.

I often wonder what happens next.  Will my lack of trust run off my FOC sometime?  Will I ever be able to relax enough to accept that they truly do accept me?  SRA is so damaging on so many levels.  Even now, some 17 years after escaping, I bear the scars, and I am devastated to know these scars affect the ones I love the most.

Broken Trust

About two months ago, the therapist I’d been working with for 2.5 years told me she had decided to go in to private practice. She was working for a subsidised clinic that I have to go to in order to get financial help with meds. We had started working on the really difficult SRA memories, stuff I had never told anyone before. So when she decided to go in to private practice, she checked on things to make sure we could still work together. She found out that, as long as I see her for trauma and the subsidised workers specifically for bipolar symptoms, we would still be able to work together.

I scheduled an appointment with her for tomorrow. This morning, she called to tell me she had changed her mind and we could no longer work together. As a dear friend says, good thing I don’t have abandonment issues. I’ll add trust issues to that mix, as well.

The internal damage is hard to describe. It’s total chaos. We allowed ourselves to open up about the details of SRA and were told that we could keep working with the therapist about that trauma indefinitely. She told us she was comfortable seeing us. Then she changed her mind. Even if we worked it out to see her again somehow, we don’t trust her. We can’t trust anybody with this stuff now.

The protectors have gone in to hyper mode. The teens are terrified that the cult is punishing up and that this is only the start of it. Little Peoples feel like they’ve been bad for talking about things. I just feel like this is a fear realised- we trusted someone, they saw the ugliness, and they went away just like we always feared.

No more SRA therapy, perhaps ever. Based on the level of internal chaos and absolute fear and pain, it’s too risky to try again. I’ll take some time and look over my options, but for now, the therapy bit is over.


I got a text message from my best friend tonight.  This is not unusual, of course.  What *is* unusual, though, is my missing a text from him.  This did not go over well with Lily.  Or with me, really.  I guess it’s an abandonment/major losses thing– whenever I miss the small things that happen in mine and my best friend’s friendship, I panic.  It’s the small things that make a difference.  He and I have shared some absolutely amazing adventures.  We’ve travelled a bit, tried unusual foods (see: Bertie Bott’s vomit beans 🙂 ) and done some local touring that turned out really well.  We’ve also spent cold, rainy nights watching bad DVD’s, lazy afternoons just hanging about, and warm summer evenings walking beside the Riverfront.  Those little moments make all the difference.  So when I miss a tiny little text message that was just a small joke from a movie we watched last night, I panic.

Lily, who was supposed to be in bed, popped up to absolutely yell at me about not having the phone near so that her M Body Person could talk to her.  That woke Timmy who began to cry because Lily was crying.  And that attracted the attention of Mairead, who has taken over as internal caretaker of the children since the former internal caretaker became what Mairead refers to as a CAB– Crazy Ass B*tch.  Ah, love among the alters.  Just as things started to get absolutely maddening, my phone buzzed.  My best friend texted, completely unexpectedly since it’s a bit late, and all was calm.  Immediately.  With one text message, my best friend was able to calm the entire internal core group.

And I am terrified.

I’ve never trusted someone so deeply in my life, nor have I ever let anyone get this close.  Now we’re at the ultimate in trust– I recognise that my best friend could absolutely crush me in just a few words.  I’ve lost so many people, either to death or otherwise, and losing my best friend would be my complete downfall.  I couldn’t withstand that.  For someone as wonderful as him, though, it’s worth the risk.


Our lives are made in these small hours

These little wonders, these twists and turns of fate

Time falls away but these small hours

These small hours still remain

— Rob Thomas, ‘Little Wonders’


I haven’t felt much like blogging lately. I haven’t even journalled anything substantial. There are *things* in my mind, obviously, that someone doesn’t want to surface. Twitter is the only thing that isn’t overwhelming. 140 characters can be written without tearing open the thin layer of the hole that recently tore open all on its own. Trauma damages you in so many ways, mentally, physically, and spiritually. It’s not fair to the people in my life that I bring along trust issues that keep me a bit afraid of them even after they’ve been in my life almost 10 years. It’s not fair to any past or future significant others that they will have to live with what was done to me, even though they were not responsible. Life isn’t fair, though, as the trite cliche goes. I try to accept that and move on, but somedays it doesn’t work.

Trust is such a difficult concept for trauma survivors. I feel like I can’t trust myself; there are, afterall, alters in there who I haven’t met, and I’m sure there are some I’m not even aware of. Trusting a part of your brain to function autonomously in your favour is difficult, to say the least. Trusting outsiders is more difficult, to some extent. Years ago, if I hadn’t heard from my brother-of-choice in a few days, I automatically assumed he was out of my life forever. A similar thing is happening with my best friend now. He is moving on to bigger and better things, and the majority of me feels like he’ll see he deserves so much more in a friend. Nah. No trust issues at all.

Much moreso than the mind of a trauma survivor who has DID, the *life* is fragmented. I love my FOC and can’t imagine what life would be like without them. On the other hand, a voice in my head sometimes tells me I should prepare myself for them to ask that I bugger off for good. My best friend means the world to me, and I wish him the absolute best in his life. He’ll do amazing things, even though he can’t see that at the moment. The back (and sometimes front) of my mind tells me he’s dangerous now, though. One of the ‘protectors’ has been trying to push us away. She told my best friend and I both that our severing ties between us now would save us both pain in the future.

Fragmented minds leading to fragmented lives. There’s so much more I’d like to say, either here or in my journal. The dizziness and blackness that surrounds my mind when the hole is about to open is starting, though, so I’ll just stop writing before I am consumed again.

Little Messages

The child alters among my internal folk are divided into three main groups– Little Littles, Littles, and Middle Littles.  The smallest of all are, appropriately, Little Littles.  They are very new discoveries, and the oldest is two at best.  They’re structured a bit strangely, and they don’t communicate often.  Littles and Middle Littles, however, *do* communicate often, both inside and to my best friend on the outside.

Today Littles and Middle Littles were working on something.  Mairead was helping.  For all of her attitude and general teenage rebellion, she is *excellent* with the kids.  Kathy and I are both thankful for that.

Mairead announced to me that Littles and Middle Littles had something to say to my best friend.  Willow, one of the Middle Littles, acted as spokesperson for their little group and sent my best friend this text message:

We, Lily Timmy Lucy and Willow, want to say the you are the best outside person we know.  You love us and don’t hurt us and you tell us about outside stuff.  That is why we want to tell you that you are our best friend too!  We love you!  🙂

I am so proud of them for saying all of that.  It’s a leap of faith on their part to trust someone that much, and it’s further tribute to how wonderful my best friend is that they were able to trust him.  Things just work out so perfectly sometimes.

The Unthinkable

My best friend and I went out for a little celebration yesterday.  It was his birthday, which is definitely worth celebrating.  He is, as I’ve said many times and will likely say many more times, one of the few truly good people in the world.

He helped me through a *very* difficult time last week and told me we’d get through it together.  He didn’t say *I* would get through it.  He said *we* would.  That let me know he really means it when he says he won’t walk out of my life.  Yesterday, I felt myself relaxing into that knowledge, but one of mine popped up immediately  with a warning that that would only make us more vulnerable.

I feel like my best friend has a great amount of power over me.  We discussed this, he and I.  He, more than anyone, could break me apart.  He’s seen every flaw and every weakness.  He’s seen me shaking with anger, drawing back in fear, and sobbing with pain.  In other words, he has seen through to the core of me, and I mean that in a DID sense.  He was let in to the inner circle.  Kathy, one of the two most important members of my inside group, explained that to both of us last year.  My best friend has seen the absolute darkest of me.  It’s a great honour to be in his presence, and my absolute pleasure to be his best friend.

Trust issues are difficult, though.  I wish I could say I trust him completely, with absolutely no hesitance, but I can’t say that.  He could break me.  He chooses not to, but the thought that he *could* break me keeps some of mine from relaxing completely.

The point of this post, then, is to provide a ‘public’ thanks to one of the most amazing people and the greatest best friend I’ve ever known.  It’s also to help others out there who have these same kinds of trust issues.  I love my best friend with all of my heart, and I feel horrible about the hesitance some of mine feel.  We’ve heard that sort of ‘I’ll never leave’ talk before, though, and have been hurt many times by people we trusted.  Being on guard is a way of life for trauma survivors, *especially* for SRA survivors.  The ground was pulled out from under us far too many times.

And that’s the other reason I’m writing this post– I want to tell others who are friends and loved ones of SRA survivors that the random switches and fear that sometimes pops up in us does not mean we don’t love or trust you.  It just means that some of ours see you as a threat, simply because of the past.  It’s not fair, but it’s reality.  The closer we get, sometimes, the further some of our insiders try to drive us apart.  It’s so hard to believe that someone would like us, much less love us and want to stay in our lives.

So thank you, for putting up with all of the stress that comes along with being in the lives of SRA survivors.  Thanks for talking us through the tough times, reminding us that the cult was wrong, and showing us what love and family really means.  Thanks for your protection, even when you don’t know you’re giving it.  🙂

And most of all, thanks for being the people who have made us think the unthinkable– that we are good people, not evil throughout, and that there are people who love us in spite of all the layers and puzzles we bring along.  Those of us who are SRA survivors *have* to deal with the effects of our pasts.  Those who love us take it on, even though they’d likely never had heard of that kind of horror if we hadn’t come into their lives.  I can’t speak for all SRA survivors, but I can say that I’ll always be amazed, grateful, and honoured to have people like my best friend standing beside me.

Taking the Time

I fell right out of the world last week and am slowly making my way back.  I’ve been dealing with things that are only remotely related to SRA, and sometimes the ‘regular’ stuff gets worse than the abuse stuff.  I’m not good at stepping back and letting others (external) do the work for a while, but that’s exactly what happened this past week.  Everything except my job got shoved aside, and my dear best friend let me know he had my back all the way through it.

Progress is slow.  I still can’t seem to make it through a day without taking some time off, so to speak.   I feel so empty inside that it’s like I don’t even exist.  My therapist keeps telling me that, even though I feel as though I’m not, I truly *am* living life.  She doesn’t understand this sort of half existence.  To people who haven’t dealt with trauma or extensive loss, one either lives or dies.  So many of us know that isn’t true, though.

Life gets difficult sometimes.  I’m not the least bit suicidal.  Just a bit overwhelmed.  With my best friend at my side, though, I’m digging through.  He is such an amazing person that I won’t waste space in trying to find the words to describe him.  Things are so dark right now, and I’m caught up in the darkest of times.  My best friend just takes me by the hand and tells me we’ll get through it.  That doesn’t seem possible sometimes, but knowing that he believes it to be makes it easier to fathom.

Thanks, best friend.  Words are inadequate.


I’m feeling a bit out of sorts today.  It’s one of those days when everything seems to swirl about and take me down in some sort of magnetic spiral.  I feel like the sum total of the bad stuff in me outweighs the good by a great amount.

There are two sides of me– the person who functions in day-to-day life with a rewritten, relatively average history and the person whose family lineage traces back hundreds of years in what is quite possibly the most evil cult in the world.  Those two lives don’t often mix.  I wear a mask that protects me by distancing acquaintances from the SRA in my past.  It gets heavy, though, and sometimes I just want to throw it away.  In the past few years, I *have* dropped the mask a bit more than usual, and it’s caused negative repercussions in my life every single time.

Latelty, though, I’ve remembered why I need to keep people at more of an arm’s length.  I’d become a bit more trusting.  I’d given people a glimpse at my emotions and my faults.  I thought that perhaps I’d come to a point in my life where being guarded all the time wasn’t as necessary.  As it turns out, though, given my history and the leadership role I was to take, staying distant and on guard should be lifelong.

New people who come into my life will never hear about SRA.  For the most part, they’ll not know about my childhood trauma at all.  I *knew* being more open about what is behind my mask was a bad idea, but I did it anyway.  It’s hard to trust, and it’s hard to let people get close.  For SRA survivors, though, sometimes it’s safest not to let people in that far.  I’m so fortunate, as I wrote a couple of posts ago, to have wonderful people in my life who know my background well but love me anyway.  That circle isn’t likely to grow soon.  I’ve been reminded quite recently of the reason I built that mask in the first place.


The cult in which I grew up is organised so perfectly that even when things at the leadership level went horribly wrong, a new plan was put in place quickly.  It wasn’t as good as the original plan, of course, and it has caused years of repercussions that aren’t likely to slow up soon.  Still, when one of the top few gets pushed away and someone else slipped in in a matter of hours, the group shows its structure.  Looking at it from a completely dissociated space and taking away all of the instances of pain and danger, the cult system is incredibly efficient.  It’s just the minor bits about torture and programming that stop the system being good for mankind overall.

It was always funny to me when teachers called me a perfectionist because I knew the genesis of that characteristic.  It can be a good thing, motivation to do your absolute best.  It can also be a bad thing, motivation to keep up the appearance of perfection all the time.  I know I’m far from perfect, but I try to hide my flaws at all cost lest someone use them against me.  I guess this is the more eloquent version of the previous post– even around safe people, I try to hide my flaws in order to protect myself.

Emotions aren’t flaws.  I’d tell this to anyone, but it’s not something I can quite apply to my own life at the moment.  My emotions still feel like breaks in my armour that allow people to see in to the spots that can be easily damaged.  There are times when I feel like shoving every bit of protection aside and showing fear or anger or sadness for whatever it is, not just an extremely filtered version.  Sometimes I *want* to be out of control, only for a minute or two, just to signal that I really do need help from time to time.  I keep everything so neatly tucked away most of the time so that I don’t burden my FOC with the intensity of my emotions.  Lately, though, I’ve needed to just let go of my restraints for a bit and let whatever happens happen without trying to immediately bottle it all up again.  That takes appearing less than perfectly in control of myself, though, and I can’t seem to get past that particular block.  Part of me doesn’t feel deserving of such indulgence.  Part of me is just terrified to let it happen.  I still apologise for the one time in mine and my best friend’s relationship when I *did* let go rather completely.  It’s been a while since that happened, and the thought of having done that still embarrasses and terrifies me.  I feel like a lousy friend for putting that much weight on my best friend’s shoulders.

The best way I can think of for dealing with this is to find safe times and places to release emotions bits at a time, whether alone or with safe people like my best friend.  At the moment, though, so much has built up in my body and mind that it seems all of it wants to burst out at once.  It’s not likely to, which probably really is a good thing, as I’m not sure when I’d be able to shut it off again and life does have to go on in the meantime.  I just need to find a compromise between the control I try to keep and the release I seem to need.  Should be about as simple as bringing on world peace.