Finding a Safe Place

Treeoflife 130 When the woman turned around and started walking back to the house, Molly starred at her in disbelief. She wanted to call out to her ‘Don’t leave me here, please Mammy, take me with you’, but she couldn’t make a single sound. Caretaker had quickly put his hand over her mouth and hissed ‘Quiet. No sound.’ He knew the punishment would even be harsher if she protested. Although Molly was glad that she was not alone in the garden, she was unable to stop her little 3 year old body from shivering of fear and of cold. As she tried to put her arms around herself she noticed that she was tied to the tree. She looked around in panic to find her friends. ‘Where have they gone?’ Her eyes tried to penetrate the darkness in the hope to make out the familiar faces of the other Tree People. 

Continue reading

How To Have A Happy Childhood – Afterall!

J0411818 One of my favourite sayings is “It’s never too late to have
a happy childhood”. This is particularly true for survivors of sexual abuse. When
you are a survivor and you struggle to function in daily life, you missed out
on the vital ingredients to a happy childhood: emotional support, care,
respect, appreciation, and age appropriate challenges, which all together can
be described as the ingredients that make up love.

 Love is the most
important building block for the building of the self and for having a happy
childhood. Indeed, when love is missing, human infants go into distress because
they can not self-regulate their physiology.  Through mother’s love and
care they learn to regulate breathing, body temperature, heartbeat, digestive system,
hormonal system, and growth. Having a happy childhood then involves providing
emotional support, care, respect, and appreciation to yourself. It is so
important for recovery, because supportive and caring experiences will create
neural processing networks that integrate affective states, sensations,
behaviours, and consciousness into functional cortical circuit.

Recovery from a neuro-physiological perspective has to lead
to the building of new neural structures that enable positive affect regulation
and biological homeostasis. The pathway to recovery is in experiencing
stimulation, complexity, new knowledge, and the learning of new skills through
stage-appropriate, optimal challenges.

Providing emotional support and care for oneself is shown in
a caring stance of self-evaluation and perceiving all the different aspects of
the self with empathy. It involves respect of the different needs that may
arise at any given time and learn to negotiate different needs or looking
laterally at meeting these needs. Appreciation, on the other hand, involves
accepting understanding the different ego-states as important for a successful,
satisfying life.

Most of all, having a happy childhood means that you take
time to cater for the child-ego states. Allow the ‘free child’ within to have
room to live and be expressed. That can happen most fully when you deal with
yourself and your needs and wishes with the stance a caring, nurturing parent
would have.

Coping With Crisis: Blog Carnival April 09 Edition

Welcome to the April 2009 edition of recovery from childhood sexual abuse.
This edition was dedicated to exploring how survivors of
abuse cope with crisis. After I did a google blog search and a technorati search myself, I was surprised how little 'hands on' information is available about crisis management. As always, a
special THANK YOU to all readers for their contributions. I trust you
have an interesting read and I am looking forward reading your feedback
if you have any!

Survivors Going To The Hospital posted at Multiple Voices. saying 'I have been asked by a few readers to comment on how to increase safety for these moments when you have to go to hospital. I will share some of my thoughts and experiences in a moment. However, I believe that there are so many capable survivors out there. I would love to hear from you all what you do to make a hospital visit safe for you and your system.'

Continue reading

The Leap Of Faith When Starting Therapy

Multiplepersonalities Trusty
knew better than to waste time when he traveled to the little seaside village
of Shelly Bay. His dark eyes concentrated on the narrow road winding down the
hill that enclosed with loving arms what was once a little settlement but had
become a township with many new houses, businesses, and shops. He didn’t notice
the little pearls of sweat running down his forehead or the breath-taking heat
in the car. He concentrated on the traffic because the worst thing that could
happen would be having an accident or being stopped by the police. The panic it
would cause the Tree People would be horrendous.  He was glad traffic has not been as busy as
it was in the city. He hates it when people compromise his safety by driving too
close or cutting in  in front of him. 

Continue reading

The Ebb and Flow of Integration

Girl heart Anna has been in therapy with me for 3 years when she and I came
to understand that it would not be necessary to come weekly anymore. She had
been diagnosed with DID many years ago. Some of these years she’s been with
other therapists, some of them barely surviving (in) the public mental health
system. That has all changed now. Indeed she was doing brilliantly. ‘I would
never have thought that I could ever feel this good’ she shared with me with a
wide smile on her face. She was quite eager to prove to herself, her family, and
maybe to me that she could manage without our weekly sessions. And manage she
did. Long forgotten are the times of nightly support calls, emergency
admissions to the hospital, crisis team visits, or days in respite care. ‘It
feels unreal when I think about how that was’ Anna starts her session.

Continue reading