To Tell or Not to Tell

One of the most stressful things about sexual abuse, besides the abuse itself, is the taboo against telling someone. Abusers tell victims (children and teenagers), that they must not tell anyone, and that they will be hurt badly or killed if they tell. The abuser also may tell the victim that a loved caregiver will hate them because they are so bad.

Often the victims of this crime grow up with a terrible secret knocking constantly at their consciousness. It’s like throwing a ball against the wall and catching it. You wish you had someone to catch it, but you alone keep catching the secret and throwing it back into your mind, because you believe you will suffer grave consequences if you tell.

According to psychologists, eventually the secret abuse settles somewhere in the child’s sub-conscious and cannot be retrieved. Sometimes the secret remains hidden years after the abuse is over. My secret, the sexual abuse by a maid, was not revealed until I was middle-aged. I went to a mental hospital and my therapist helped me remember my abuse. With that came the realization that I had wanted to tell my mother very badly at the time, but did not, because my abuser told me she would kill me with the butcher knife if I ever told anyone.

Therefore, these secrets, the secrets of sexual abuse, eventually hid in my subconscious. Along with that, I developed alternate personalities that didn’t even know about the abuse. It was only when I had the courage to tell my therapist that the stress of hiding the secret was released.

If you are suffering from abuse, it is very important to tell someone. Telling is a key to healing.

My story has been told, but there are millions of stories out there that have never been told. Every year the Children’s Advocacy Centers in the United States help over 100,000 children who have been abused. These children may be battered, beaten, starved, locked up, berated, or forced into having sex with an adult or sibling. This is not acceptable in our American society, where we value each life. We must pass stronger laws to stop it.

We must address the needs of girls who are being abused by their fathers or step fathers. Often the first thing they do after being assaulted is tell their mothers. Unfortunately this disclosure is often met with retaliation and disbelief. How many young girls have been slapped in the face, yelled at and told they have dirty minds. They are accused of lying. If Mom won’t listen, I strongly advise these girls to tell a teacher or responsible caregiver about this incest. To tell can lead to release from this situation.

A little known fact is that mothers are committing a felony in most states if they don’t report the abuse and do something to stop it.

If YOU are being abused or you are suspicious that a child is being abused, please call the Child Advocacy Center or Children’s Services in your area. It is their job to investigate and RESCUE ABUSE VICTIMS. Their phone numbers are on the internet. Or you can call 1-800-4-A-CHILD, the national number for reporting abuse. My prayers are with you if you decide to tell.

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Protecting A Child from Sexual Abuse

Was this child abused?At this time child sexual abuse is rampant in our society, but we are learning how we can protect our children from abuse. When a baby is first born, we mothers are usually ecstatic to see our precious newborn and to hold and protect it. We feed the baby conscientiously and care for their every need. We almost become obsessive in our efforts to protect the child from harm.

Unfortunately, when it comes to sex, many parents remain mute, and figure they will discuss it when the child enters puberty. This Victorian idea is a mistake, and keeps the child vulnerable to abuse. We need to start explaining sexuality as soon as the child can understand, and over time hopefully we can defeat much child abuse and incest.

A group called RAINN has published a blog about teaching your young child about sex and sexual abuse and I believe if we begin to follow their suggestions we can eventually turn the tide on abuse.

Here is a list of the things RAINN suggests we do to protect our children, with a few additions:

1. TALK to your children openly and directly about sexuality. This teaches them it is okay to talk about it.

2. Teach children the CORRECT NAMES for their body parts, so they have the language to ask questions and express concerns about their body parts.

3. Teach children that some parts of their body are PRIVATE. Let children know that other people should not be touching or looking at their private parts unless they need to provide care, such as by a doctor. Let children know that a trusted caregiver should be there too.

4. Tell children that if someone tries to touch those private areas or wants to look at them, or if someone tries to show the child their own private parts, they should TELL A TRUSTED ADULT as soon as possible.

5. All children should be told that it’s OKAY TO SAY “NO” to touches that make them uncomfortable.

6. If someone is touching them in uncomfortable ways, THEY SHOULD TELL YOU OR A TRUSTED ADULT as soon as possible.

7. Talking openly about sexuality and sexual abuse also teaches children that THESE THINGS DON’T NEED TO BE “SECRET.”

8. Tell the child that THEY WILL NOT GET INTO TROUBLE if they tell you this kind of secret.

9. DO NOT PUT ALL THIS INFORMATION INTO ONE BIG TALK ABOUT SEX.

10. When you EMPOWER YOUR CHILD TO SAY ‘NO’ TO UNWANTED TOUCH and TEACH THEM THAT THEY CAN COME TO YOU WITH QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS, YOU TAKE CRITICAL STEPS TO PREVENT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE.

For more information go to:

RAPE, ABUSE & INCEST NATIONAL NETWORK, http://www.rainn.org

 

Child Abuse – Symptoms

Here is a list of some of the Symptoms of Child Abuse:

1. Dramatic change in behavior. If a child who is normally outgoing becomes withdrawn, or a quiet child becomes loud and aggressive, that child may be experiencing child abuse. A normally bright child may become unresponsive, or a calm child becomes frightened or jittery. It is the change that may signal that the child is being abused.

2. Observable injuries. These are easiest signs to spot: burns, bruises, broken bones, bite marks, swelling and discolorations of the skin. If you notice these on a child, ASK them about it. It is polite in our society to ask. Does the answer seem plausible? If not, further investigation may be needed.

3. Fear of their abuser. All abused children have one universal symptom. They will be AFRAID of their abuser. They may become fearful of a parent, relative, neighbor, teacher or caregiver. My abuser used a carving knife to scare me and keep me from telling my parents.

4. Defensive stance. An abused child may avoid physical contact with others. They may hold their arms or hands in front of their body, as though someone might suddenly hurt them. They may also shy away from being touched by anyone. They may flinch at sudden movements, appearing watchful and alert, as if waiting for something bad to happen

5. Return to earlier behaviors.  These include thumb sucking, demanding a pacifier, soiling themselves, wetting the bed, fear of the dark or strangers, loss of acquired language, stuttering or memory problems. Have a serious talk with your child if you notice these symptoms.

6. Lack of personal hygiene shows neglect. A child may look like their parents forgot to give them a bath or change their clothes. This may or may not be linked to abuse, but it is neglect. The other possibility is that the child is purposely trying to look unattractive to ward off an abuser.

7. Poor School Attendence. Children may come to school early or stay late, in order to avoid an abusive parent. They may seem preoccupied and their grades suddenly plummet.

8. Risk-taking behaviors. If a child no longer feels safe and his self esteem has been taken away, he or she may have no reason to be careful. The child may run across the street without looking or jump off the top of the jungle gym. This can be a silent cry for help.

SIGNS OF SEXUAL ABUSE MAY INCLUDE:  

1. Difficulty walking or sitting.

2. Torn clothing and/or bloody underwear. A child with this symptom should be examined by a doctor to verify injuries

3. Pain and itching in the genital area.

4. Inappropriate sexual behavior. An abused child may attempt to victimize a peer or a younger family member.

5. Explicit language. A young child who suddenly spouts sexual language may have heard it during abuse by an older person.

Signs courtesy of Dreamcatcherforabusedchildren.com, The Joyful Heart Foundation, Children’s Advocacy Centers, and childhelp.org.

Sarah Gets Her Own Room

SarahI have been in therapy for multiple personalities since 1992. During that time I have discovered more than 13 alters in a system I call the Vortex. This is a circular system in my mind that organizes my personalities, so they can be remembered and accessed. My therapists and psychologists have identified and spoken to most of my alters, and we knew about Sarah but she had never revealed herself except during hypnosis in 1993. She is four years old.

At my most recent therapy session, Dr. Foster suggested we have a conference for all the personalities, where they come out and talk to each other and try to solve their problems. Everyone agreed with this idea, except Sarah.

“No, no, no!” she cried. She squeezed into the wing chair, and hugged the side for protection and to make herself seem smaller. She writhed in the chair, as though she was being attacked by snakes.

“Who are you?” Dr. Foster said. At first she would not identify herself, but after whining for several minutes she answered. She is carrying a lot of shame.

“Sarah!”
“What’s wrong Sarah? Why are you so upset?” the doctor asked.
“Because I don’t want to go to a conference.”
“Why not?”
“Because I don’t want anyone to see me.” There was a long pause.

“Why?” the doctor asked.
“Because I’m so ugly.”
“I don’t think you’re ugly Sarah,” the doctor answered.
“I am ugly. I have to live in a black hole so no one can see me.”
“Tell me about the black hole,” he said.

“I had to go in there to get away from the Green Girl (my abuser). She made me all slimy and hated me, so I disappeared. I went into the hole so she couldn’t abuse me any more. I need to go there now, so no-one finds me.”

“Sarah, the Green Girl can’t find you because she is dead. And, I think Nancy is looking for you,” my therapist said.
“I don’t care. I don’t want anyone to see me, because I’m so ugly and sticky,” Sarah answered. “I have slime all over me from the Green Girl.”
“You still have slime on you from 68 years ago?” Dr. Foster asked. Sarah thought about that. It has been 68 years since my abuse.

“Yes, it feels bad. And my hair looks awful and smells bad,” she said.
“Doesn’t it look like Nancy’s hair?”
Sarah was really thinking now. She said, “No it’s black and kinky like pubic hair.”
“Are you sure about that?” asked Dr. Foster. “It looks to me like it is brown like Nancy’s hair.”

Sarah relaxed a little in the chair, realizing the doctor was right.
“It’s not black and kinky?” she asked.
“No, it’s pretty like Nancy’s hair.” There was a long pause, while Sarah thought about her self image.
“I still don’t want to be around people,” she said, “because my skin is so sticky and slimy.”
“It doesn’t look sticky or slimy to me,” said Dr. Foster. “It looks like Nancy’s skin.”
Sarah looked at her hands. She straightened up in the chair and said, “Do my hands look like Nancy’s hands?”
“Yes!” Sarah relaxed even more and she started accepting her position in my body. “You’re saying I look just like Nancy?”
“Yes, Sarah, yes!”

After a long pause my therapist said, “Would you like to live in a room like everyone else instead of going back to the black hole?” All my alters have rooms in my imaginary house in my head.
“Yes!” Sarah was getting excited about having her own room. “And I want a pink ruffley bedspread.”
“Okay. You have it.”
“And I want a big blue elephant in the room with me.”
“I don’t think there’s room for an elephant in your room, do you?”
“No. I want him to be stuffed!”
“Okay.”

Dr. Foster and Sarah talked about her new room. The doctor said she only had to come out if she wanted to and he gave her a little square window in the door, so she could see if anyone came to see her.
“What if someone comes that I don’t want to see?” she asked.

“I’ll give you some cannonballs. You can shoot them at the window if someone comes who you don’t want to see.”
Sarah smiled, perhaps for the first time in 68 years. “I know,” she said, “I can have the elephant shoot the cannonballs at people through his trunk.” She laughed about that. Sarah was feeling much better.
“I’d like to play,” she told the doctor. He got out some crayons and some paper and gave them to her.
“I’m going to draw my new room,” she said, with enthusiasm.

 

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Radio Interview

My radio interview is now available online. I have installed a link to it on my home page, and I’ll jot it down now for those who want to go to it immediately:

http://namiathensohio.org/radio-program/

When you get to the page, sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), you will see Conversations from Studio B. Scroll down to the box that says Nancy DeLaval Miller. Click there to hear the interview.

I’ve received many compliments from those who have heard it, and I’m planning to do more speaking on the subject. I am proud to be able to shed light on dissociative identity disorder with multiple personalities. It has been a mystery for too long.

I also was able to talk about my Savior, Jesus Christ, who delivered me from many of my symptoms and led me to the psychologists who discovered my personalities.

Thank you for reading itsmindbloggleing and I really appreciate your comments.

 

Multiple Personality Disorder Case Report

This description of MPD comes from a paper by A. Salama Abdel-Aziz, M.D., published in the Journal of Islamic Medical Association of North America in 2005.

“Kathy is a 29 year old white married female who, after having taken an overdose of sleeping pills in her home, was discovered by her husband and admitted to a hospital. This overdose was attributed to her inability to cope with her responsibility as a wife and mother. The husband reported that several times he had found food burning in the oven. On one occasion the patient was saved from a fire in the home but was unable to recall how it started. The patient also denied ever having had a sexual relationship with her husband, although she was the mother of his three children.

The patient’s early development was uneventful except for temper tantrums and nightmares. The nightmares began at about age three when the parents would entertain in their home leaving the child to cry for hours. She would eventually fall asleep only to wake up frightened and screaming.

At age four she had her first traumatic experience. One night she found her father naked in bed with her five year old neighbor. She said that she was stunned with fear and surprise and ran away to her room. Her father followed her and gently persuaded her to take off her clothes and to join him and the other girl in their sexual play. Later,  alone in her room, she felt guilty and cried for several hours, denying to herself what had taken place, and only got relief when she attributed what had happened to someone else, whom she called “Pat.” The second day when approached by her father and the girl, she insisted on being called “Pat.” Also, she continued to engage in oral sex with the father, for nearly five years.

At age nine she experienced her second traumatic event, when her mother caught her with her father. The mother became angry with the father, wept for some time and insisted on taking her daughter in her bed every night. After a short time the mother became attached to her daughter sexually in what the mother described as a safer relationship. “Kathy” could not accept this, denied to herself what was happening and attributed it to a new person, “Vera”, who continued the relationship with the mother for another five years.

At age 14, she suffered her third traumatic experience. This was rape by an older man, who was her father’s best friend. “Kathy” became very depressed, called herself “Debby” and slept away from the mother. At that time, she was described by the parents as being very miserable. She became mute and was admitted to a hospital.

According to the hospital records, she showed a mixture of depression, dissociation and trance-like symptoms, with irritability and extensive manipulation which caused confusion and frustration among the hospital staff.

Following discharge she was seen by a therapist to whom she became very attached. He showed marked curiosity about the different personalities and became fascinated with her case. He suggested hypnosis as a treatment for her condition. His hypnotherapy sessions focused on the rape incident. He felt that “Debby” was the strongest of the personalities. Instead of concentrating on “Kathy”, he encouraged “Debby” to dominate the therapy sessions and talk about “Pat” and “Vera”, reinforcing their roles as dominant personalities. It was at this period, she terminated her therapy and began to call herself “Kathy”, “Pat”, “Vera”, and “Debby” at different times.

At age 18, she had her fourth traumatic experience. “Kathy” became very attached to a boyfriend in town. Her parents opposed the relationship and refused to allow her to meet with him. Her mother was constantly warning her that men could not be trusted, pointing to her own marriage to her father. The patient became scared, unable to trust either of her parents, and ran away from home to another town. She could not find a job, and her need of money drove her into prostitution. She began calling herself “Nancy”.

“Debby” rejected “Nancy” and forced her to overdose on sleeping pills. She was then admitted to a mental hospital where she met her husband, who also was admitted following a suicide attempt. This time the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder was confirmed.

The Iron Cage

I often dream that I live in a giant cage made of iron bars. Inside the cage is a circular iron staircase, and I start climbing. Step by step I ascend the stairs and as I climb I can hear the sounds of people moving around and talking. I climb higher and stop at a landing and look around. If I look down I get dizzy and I realize that the iron bars aren’t very stable and that I might fall at any time.

There is a wooden door on the landing, so I knock and soon Nola Peters answers the door. Nola doesn’t like me. She thinks I’m dirty and spoiled, and she hates me when I scream.

“Please let me in, I’m afraid I’ll fall,” I say.

“Okay, come in, but watch out for all these boxes. I’m unpacking.” She waves her hand around the room, which is filled with dusty boxes piled on top of each other.

“What’s it like to live up here inside the cage?” I ask her.

“Oh, it’s not bad. I have lots of friends in here.”

Soon I remember that I have a purpose in climbing the stairs. “I’m searching for a way out of the cage. Do you know the way?”

“No, sorry. I just got here,” she answers and turns back to her boxes. “If you look through the bars you can see Bonnie across the way. Maybe she knows the way out.”  I looked hard and realized that Nola’s room didn’t have any walls, just bars around it. A few yards away, past another room, was Bonnie, my old friend from college.

Suddenly, without walking or climbing, I am in Bonnie’s room.

“Nancy, come in,” she says. “I’m sorry I’m very busy sorting the clothes in my closet.”

Bonnie likes me and talks to me about serious issues that affect our lives, like grades and what we will do after college. I think she may know the way out of the cage.

After a few minutes she says, “Would you like to see the sky?”

“Yes, I would love that.” It seemed like I had not seen the sky for a long time. I guess I forgot to look up.

“If you come over here and stand on the chair, you can see it,” Bonnie continued. She holds the chair and I climb onto it and I am thrilled when I look up through the bars of the cage and see blue sky with puffy clouds moving along slowly.

“It’s so pretty,” I say. “It makes me feel good.”

“Me too,” she says. “That’s why I am going to be moving,” Bonnie told me. “I am getting an apartment a few blocks away.” I am astounded that she will be leaving the cage.

“That is very exciting,” I say, “but I’ll miss you.”

“Why don’t you come and visit some day for lunch?”

“I would love that,” I answer, but I am wondering if I can find a place that is outside the cage.

I suddenly realize it’s time to go, and I run back down the iron steps to the ground floor and wake up. I am not in the cage anymore, but I feel like part of me is still inside.

 

AFTERWORD: The iron bars symbolize the place where my abuser lived. She was a juvenile delinquent and lived at the Gumbert School for Wayward Girls north of Pittsburgh. My parents took my sister and me to see the home one day when they had an open house. The school was home to many girls and had a tall iron fence around it. To get to the house we had to park far away and walk through a very tall iron gate.

Today I am wondering what my dreams would be like if my mother and father had not chosen to hire one of these girls to move into our house and babysit for my sister and me during the summer of 1946. Would I still dream I’m in a cage made of iron bars?

 

 

 

 

 

New Federal Commission Will Fight Child Abuse

This is a copy of a February news report from Teresa Huizar, the Executive Director of the National Children’s Alliance.
Just a few days ago, the 12 member, federally-appointed Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF) held its first meeting in Washington, DC.  The commission is charged with making recommendations, to be presented to the President and to Congress, regarding how to reduce fatalities from child abuse and neglect for federal, state, and local agencies, and private sector and nonprofit organizations, including recommendations to implement a comprehensive national strategy; and to develop guidelines identifying what information should be tracked to improve interventions to prevent fatalities from child abuse and neglect.  It’s a first step, but an important one, and it couldn’t have happened with the support of all of you in the field, in our communities, and right here in Washington, DC.  With your help, we will find a way to end child abuse deaths in America.
As always, thank you for all that you do.
Warm regards,
Teresa
The National Children’s Alliance works with local Children’s Advocacy Centers to help with finding, identifying and stopping cases of child abuse and neglectHungry boy.

Today is Multiple Personality Day

March 5th is National Multiple Personality Day. Here’s a suggestion for having a good day:

Tell someone you trust about your diagnosis. The first time I told a dear friend, I was really worried she would freak out and never speak to me again, but I was wrong. She listened intently, wanting to know all about it. Of course I also had to tell her about the child abuse that caused me to invent my alters, but I didn’t dwell on the dirty details.

Once I had told her, it cleared the way for me to enjoy a wonderful close relationship with her. Since then I’ve told another friend and another and now I’ve written a book about my abuse and my alters.

I encourage all of my internet multiple friends not to be afraid to tell someone. The worst thing they can do is say:

“You’re crazy,” which you already know.

The best thing they can say is:

“I’m sorry to hear it. How did you find out?” Believe me they will be very curious to learn about it, and most close friends will be supportive.

What happened to you when you told the first person about being a multiple?

Are Multiples Confused, Conflicted or Both?

I have Dissociative Identity Disorder and I have multiple personalities. I was violently sexually abused at the age of four, which is the main cause of my disorder. I became confused about who I was, and I have a theory about how child abuse causes a person to become a multiple.

The original definition of the word confuse means to make embarrassed, or abash. It also means to make ashamed, which is how it became connected to child abuse and then to Multiple Personality Disorder, one of the major effects of child abuse, especially sexual abuse.

During the abuse, I couldn’t stand to be present, so I pretended I was someone else. I allowed confusion to help me pretend I was also somewhere else, doing something besides being abused. All this confusion helped me avoid the feelings of shame and anguish and forget that it happened. I developed five childhood personalities or alters.

I was creative enough to form alternate personalities, but not mindful enough to push them aside when I was not being abused. I developed a proclivity for inventing alters, which carried into my teens and adulthood. During high school, my friends would wave their hands in front of my face, trying to get my attention when I was dissociating, and wanting me to tune into reality as they saw it. I became conflicted. My alters wanted to come out, but people didn’t recognize them.

If all this is true, I am now conflicted and confused. My personalities don’t always agree about things and they argue with one another and get angry at each other. In a way I am fighting a battle inside me. I have Dissociative Identity Disorder or Multiple Personality Disorder.

Most of you who are multiples are probably aware of these theories and I encourage you to speak out on March 5th, which is MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DAY. Recognize it. Acknowledge it and celebrate it. It’s good to have so many survivors of child abuse.

Another terrible story of child abuse

I read a terribly sad story this morning about child abuse in Florida. Although the story is seven years old, I had never heard it before today, so I’m putting the link out there for any interested readers.

http://www.tampabay.com/features/humaninterest/the-girl-in-the-window/750838

My question is was this child born with these malfunctions or were they the result of the neglect of the birth mother? What do you think?

Mother’s Choice

Our society seems to have an enormous problem with sex. Our children become sexually active at a very early age, TV shows are overrun with sexual content, and marriages are crumbling because of sexual sin.

One of the things that is most prevalent in our ‘over-sexed’ society is sexual abuse of young girls by their father, their mother’s boyfriend or second husband. The men who do this are surely dysfunctional and have no conscience. How do they conclude that having sex with an underage daughter is okay?

This is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to a family, signaling the downfall of that family unit. The mother feels betrayed by both her daughter and her husband and then must choose between them. The father’s sin has been found out and he is disgraced and ruined. The daughter is drowning in shame and disgust from the pain and agony of abuse.

I’m glad I never had to choose, but I believe that if your daughter tells you she is being molested by your mate, believe her.

This problem is aggravated by our socio-economic system here in the US. Since women bear the children, they most often win custody of the children in a divorce. Then they must somehow fulfill the duties of nurturing, caring for and providing for these children, and hold down a full time job that often pays next to nothing. I think most of these women feel desperate and if they can find a man who will join them in this difficult situation, they will often marry the first man who comes along or sacrifice marriage for a live-in boyfriend or lover.

It is no wonder that many women can’t handle it when her teenage daughter tells her that Mom’s boyfriend is molesting her. If the mother accepts the accusation and kicks the boyfriend out, how will they survive financially? And how can the mother have any self-respect knowing her new husband/boyfriend is not sexually faithful to her and would rather have sex with her underage daughter than herself. It is much easier to deny it, and, unfortunately, many women do exactly that. They scream at the daughter, telling her she’s “a disgusting liar,” and refuse to believe her.

Trusting and believing your daughter is the right choice in this situation. If you accept your daughter’s accusation, and do something about the abuse, you will save your daughter’s self-esteem and the hurt and shame of further sexual abuse.

You will probably lose your mate, but how can you be happy living with him any more, now that you know he has uncontrollable sexual urges, he’s been unfaithful to you and he’s a liar. Who else has he been with?

Your daughter will always be your daughter,  but your husband may someday be your EX.

If you do not believe and help your daughter you will regret it for the rest of your life. Who else can she turn to? She will soon leave home to escape the abuse, and without a place to sleep, or food to eat, she may accept money for sex in order to live. It’s a lose/lose situation for her.

Mother & Daughters

In my lifetime, I’ve been divorced three times, but I still have a wonderful relationship with my daughters. They are both nurturing and helpful to me, and I love them and care deeply for them. Here is picture of me and my daughters, celebrating Easter many years ago.

Confusion can be an effect of Child Abuse

How well I remember the embarrassing situations of high school. I was often called crazy, scatter-brained and flighty, although I didn’t really think I was any of those things. It was not until I was fifty years old and diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, DID, (originally known as Multiple Personality Disorder, or MPD) that I realized I surely did deserve these descriptions of myself. I was not only confused, I was thirteen times more confused than normal people, because I had thirteen personalities.

During my therapy, I found that confusion was at the root of creating my alternate  personalities.

The original definition of the word ‘confuse’ means to make embarrassed, or abash. It also means to make ashamed, which is how it became connected to child abuse and then to multiple personality, one of the major effects of child abuse. If a child is being abused, the confusion can help him/her to believe they are someone else, doing something else, in another place. The confusion becomes an ally for the child so they won’t have to feel the shame, pain, nausea or anguish of the abuse.

Having sex with a child degrades the child to such an extent that the child may create an alternate personality to deal with it. That way he or she can imagine themselves as someone who is not being abused. They can also imagine that their secondary personality is somewhere else, doing something relaxing and fun. The stronger their imagination is, the greater the chance that they will create another personality, or even several, to take the abuse. Their confusion becomes a way out. It is one of the ways I dealt with sexual abuse when I was four years old.

If my mind can jump around from one idea to another, it is not hard to believe I can jump from one personality to another. I’m not sure if sexual abuse causes children to become more creative or if creativity comes to their rescue by inventing an “alter.” What do you think? Have you been abused? Have you been diagnosed with DID?

From my heart

My husband’s cancer is gone and he is fighting his way through six months of strong chemo-therapy. It is so hard on him. His body is hurting and he is nauseated most of the time, but he’s very strong and I have no doubt he will pull through. He’s a fighter.

As much as it hurts to see him in this condition, I am excited because I’ve decided to go out into the world and speak about child abuse. Having been sexually abused as a child gives me a unique ability to discuss abuse. I am happy to say I have a date to speak to a church women’s group in November. The topic will be “Recognizing the Signs of Child Abuse.”

I was very happy being a writer and I think I could write all the time and still love it. However, every time I read the submission guidelines for a proposal to an agent about MULTIPLE, the agents want a list of my speaking engagements.

“What speaking engagements?” I ask. I spent weeks trying to figure out how writing a memoire would enable me to speak in public. Who would want me to come talk for an hour about me?

So I did what I usually do in confusing situations, I prayed. Sure enough, over the last few months the Lord showed me what I can speak about – child abuse. As I thought about it, I realized there is a market for this information in our society right now. Mothers are scared their children will somehow be abused and they won’t know about it. So I am going to help them by telling them the signs of child abuse. They will find out how to recognize child abuse and how to talk to their kids about it.

I feel so good. I actually have something to say! It was just a matter of looking at it from a different point of view. Thank you Jesus!

I would like to continue blogging, sometimes being silly and sometimes being serious. I’d like to keep writing and I’m hoping you will keep reading. And if you’re a believer, please pray for me. I also want to thank Jane Friedman for her guidance about blogging.

Film “We Are Mary” documents Multiple Personalitiy Disorder

In Athens Ohio we began our celebration of Mental Illness Awareness Week, (October 6 – 12), with the viewing of a new documentary, We Are Mary! The film is a thesis movie by Julie Wiles for her master’s degree at Ohio University. The film documents Mary Clarise Robinson’s life and mental illness, and is stunning and thought provoking.

Mary’s story is one of sexual abuse throughout her life, beginning with her father and continuing with various perpetrators into middle age. The documentary explains how Mary dealt with the abuse – she formed alternate personalities – more than twenty of them. At the beginning of the movie she says that she lost her original self too early to have any memory of her. That in itself was so painful to hear, and by the end of the film, when Mary’s many personalities had been explained, I was deeply moved.

Mary is now an older woman and she has had years of therapy documenting her many personalities. However, modern technology requires her to say she has Dissociative Identity Disorder not Multiple Personality Disorder. I think this is a big mistake made by modern psychiatrists and I think it needs rectified. If we have multiple personalities, could we please call them multiple personalities?

Julie is quite a colorful character too. She spent almost four years making We Are Mary, and is now back at Ohio University as an instructor. I am proud of Julie and Mary for their devotion to making this film, and their hard work and enthusiasm. Julie did a great job directing the film, giving us all the information in an understandable sequence. The camera work and the sound editing were also sensitive and well done.

Julie Wiles is on Facebook and is planning to polish-up We Are Mary in hopes of entering it  in documentary film festivals around the country and in Europe. She is also seeking donations to continue to show the film to as many people as possible, and spread the word that living with DID is extremely confusing and difficult.

I commend Mary for her bravery in allowing her mental illness to be documented on film. Her reward is that she is now a MOVIE STAR, and is also on Facebook.

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If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them