I have been asked how people get over childhood stress. In my mind it is a question of recovering from whatever stressors have been present in people's lives. Because it's a generic question and not specifically aimed at DID, I posted it on my therapy blog. It's the first article in a series of two that explains the physiological processes involved in being affected by childhood stresses such as abuse, neglect, or other forms of trauma. If this topic interests you, pop over and read on ….
You might find it helpful to try out the relaxation exercise that I have just posted on the 'Gudrun Frerichs' blog. Click on the symbol at the right hand bottom of the screen and you'll have the video on full screen. I found it really relaxation. What do you think?
There comes a time in everyone's recovery – whether you are a multiple or a singleton – where you have to become your own best friend. It always amazes me to see how much head ache is caused by the fact that survivors of sexual abuse go way out of their way to 'be there for others', helping family, friends, neighbours, or colleagues while they run out of time to attend to their own needs. They don't have time to get the rest they need, the relaxation, or the fun. They practically don't get any 'me-time'.
I just saw the last comment by ….. to the first post of confronting the abuser. You wonder why you weren't able to stop the other kids to hurt you because you were the same age. Let me explain the concept of learned helplessness. Its a hideous dynamic that leads to a sense of helplessness and giving up.
It has all to do with knowing that you have control over the outcome. They've done heaps of research with humans and animals whereby the research subject has been given electro shocks independently from what they did, whether they completed a task successfully or not. The subjects learned that whatever they did or didn't do, nothing would prevent them from being hurt. They had no way of controlling whatever happened to them. As a result they gave up, became passive, and did not make any attempt to protect themselves. They have learned no matter what they did, they wouldn't be able to affect the outcome.
There is the myth floating around, that previous centuries were all wonderful and many people dream of living in the ‘Jane Austen’ world of carriages, dances, and fine needlework in the free time between cucumber sandwiches, lunches, and supper. Can you hear a violins playing some lovely baroque tune the background?? Aaaahmmm, yes, wasn’t it wonderful? If only ….
Going to the hospital is for many people something they don’t do that often. However, survivors of (childhood) abuse have a much greater need for medical care – that’s what research is telling us. (Arnow, 2004; Arnow et al., 1999; Kolk, 1994; Kolk, McFarlane, & Hart, 1996; Rothschild, 2000). That means if you have a history of child (sexual) abuse, you probably have a higher need for medical care and hospitalisation than the ‘average’ person.
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.
For most people it's quite difficult to know what to do when someone discloses something that causes them great distress and pain. May that be a serious illness, a life changing loss, or a traumatic experience like sexual abuse. In a recent conversation with a group of nurses I have been asked how specifically do you give emotional support and care to someone who discloses sexual abuse. Following are responses that help survivors in their recovery:
Grouping Together is understood here as those actions that brought the personality system into a working mode of co-operatively aiming for a mutually desired and agreed upon outcome. Grouping Together was a pivotal step in the COMING TOGETHER stage that directed clients towards integration. It described interactions of self-support where clients did for themselves what previously was provided by others, for example communicating directly with other parts.
The trauma of sexual abuse is most harmful to a person’s self-development because it signifies the severing of intersubjective connections with caring others. Honneth (1995b, p. 132) understands sexual abuse as the withholding of recognition through love that deprives a person of “…The successful integration of physical and emotional qualities [which are] subsequently broken up from the outside, thus lastingly destroying the most fundamental form of practical relations-to-self, namely, one’s underlying trust in oneself”.