Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Puzzle pieces: my parents, memories of abuse etc.

I think I developed Dissociative Identity Disorder partly because my mum has a dissociative disorder and I have sort of learnt/inherited it from her. Maybe her variability was a factor in my insecure attachment to her. She was at times affectionate and caring, at other times unavailable and my needs weren't met. At other times she was unpredictable and frightening. But there were other factors too. The 'church' I grew up in, that my father lead, my father, family issues, siblings, school and other things.

My father was often distant and scary. He could be fun at times and would have spent time with me; he liked to tell me things, like imparting wisdom. That was the main way we interacted when things were OK: him educating me about useless facts he knew and me being interested/acting interested for the sake of having his attention. He could be funny too. He had a good sense of humour at times. He mostly saved that for people outside of the family but at times we had banter in the family. And he was good at cooking nice meals. He'd do a Sunday lunch regularly in my teenage years, I remember that. He hated Christmas but he'd often get into it once the day arrived and cook a great feast. 
He was variable about affection when I was small. Sometimes if I'd try to hug him he would welcome it and give me a hug and scruffle my hair. At other times he seemed repulsed by me. I'd often climb up onto his knee when he was talking to other people to try to get attention or affection or both and he'd get annoyed and push me off. If he didn't get annoyed he might say: “How did you get there?!” after a while, like he hadn't noticed. I'd pull at his skin. He had very elastic skin on his face and arms. I liked pulling his cheeks and touching his face. He'd get angry and tell me to get my filthy hands off him and he'd say goodness knows where my hands had been. I remember asking if I could sleep in his bed with him when I was about four (I think my mum was there but she was to be away or something) and he said I wasn't allowed to because little girls aren't allowed to sleep with their daddies. I remember being confused about why I couldn't because I would get into bed with mum and dad sometimes if I had a nightmare. I didn't understand why it would be any different. 
He would have what I now know were phases of depression, that lasted a long time. Possibly actually longer than the periods where he wasn't depressed. He'd be very angry. 
Most often I remember being ignored by my dad in the extreme. He just refused to acknowledge I'd spoken to him. It seemed like he would go out of his way to make me feel ignored. He'd talk over me and just not respond when I spoke to him. When he was not in good form (most of the time) I would avoid speaking to him as much as possible. Sometimes it would make me feel really sad that I was in the same house as him but he acted like I wasn't there. Then after a time he would notice me, but because something I said or did, or didn't say or do would infuriate him. Usually it was something I could have in no way prevented or done differently, I just infuriated him by being there and he would shout at me. He had a very loud, deep, horrifying shout and a glare more fierce than any scary thing I'd seen. He rarely needed to do anything except glare at me (which he did most times he looked at me) for me to feel hated and afraid. He was not often violent. At times when I was small, he did hit me hard. I remember thinking I was playing a game with him and I ran outside and hid behind a tree. He came out of the house and hit me so hard; he hadn't thought it was funny that I was playing a trick on him. I remember being asked about bruises on my legs by my teacher but I made up an elaborate lie as I thought she would punish me if she knew how bad I had been to deserve to be hit. 
I don't recall him hitting me as a teenager. I think he would have if I had dared to challenge him and maybe he did and I don't remember, but I did everything in my power not to aggravate him, so the glare was all it really took to keep me in line. My dad did not like being the butt of a joke; I only realised that looking back. The tree incident was one example. One time he was looking in the bonnet of the car and I beeped the horn as a joke to scare him. Again, I did not predict his reaction but I don't know what words can describe how angry he was. I think it would have been easier if he didn't sometimes have a good sense of humour. I probably would have figured out sooner not to try to do anything fun. 
I don't know about other stuff, I mean other kinds of abuse. I have some images that come into my head frequently. Some are really blurry and don't make sense and if they are memories of sexual abuse, some of it was when I was a baby. One was when I was about three and only the first part is there, where I was in the bathroom naked and a man came in and was looking at me but I have no idea what happened; he may have just left again. It just stops. There are other things I remember, like being naked at the beach as a baby (I know I must have been one and a half to two because I could walk but not speak and I walked very late) and crying because I felt so exposed. There were men there and I felt so naked in my baby skin. I wanted to have clothes on but I couldn't tell anyone. I remember clearly how distressed and helpless I felt. Why did I feel that way at such a young age?

I remember several incidents from the age of five to nine, where I tried to get my playmates to take their clothes off. In one or two, I forced them to take their clothes off. I remember feeling powerful despite the child being upset. I remember that I was sexually abused by my sister. I don't know about other people. Some of the images I get in my mind that cause me to dissociate or feel so bad and have physical reactions are adults. Some of the images are of my mother. These are the most confusing and painful to remember. These are confusing because it is surely impossible. That's why I dissociate. It is too hard to think about that and I'm sure my brain has gotten confused somewhere along the road and created stuff that has an innocent explanation. 

As a teenager I was often afraid at night also. I had an irrational fear of someone coming into my room during the night. I'd wake up in the mornings feeling exhausted, like I'd run a marathon. Sometimes I'd wake up with no clothes on but not recall taking them off. I don't believe these things are related to anything sinister, but I'm saying them so I don't know. Mostly I just don't believe I could have been abused other than the things I do remember. Like my sister. And I was sexually assaulted by a stranger and I remember more than my fair share of other incidents with various men: men in my church perving at me in my home; a stranger following me home when I was eight, trying to get me to come with him so he could show me 'something exciting' and give me money. And there was an older man who became obsessed with me. He tried to force himself on me; I managed to push him off but I can still feel his tongue on my neck when I think about it. And a friend, a man, who took things too far whilst playing with me (I had a boyish side to me in my teens) he pinned me to the floor, breaking my ribs. I can vividly remember the feeling and the sound of the popping as my ribs broke and his breath in my ear as he held me there and every hard inch of his body on top of mine and the sense I got that it was a power thing. I think I only fought with him because I wanted to be strong and be able to prove I could fight off a man. 
Sometimes I can't remember anything including all I've told you. Other times, I am told I remember more than I've told you... or other parts/alters remember. I am quite separate from the parts lately. Sort of in denial of them I suppose. But this is what I remember today.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Self protection by repressing libido

This is something I was hypothesizing about this week...

Maybe my low libido is my way of protecting myself from the difficulties of dealing with my super high libido. I had a really high sex drive until my early twenties which caused me a lot of hurt (and rejection from Adam as we weren't married). I was so driven by it, not in a way I wanted to be. Then almost overnight, about a year before we married, it changed so that I didn't have much desire for sex at all. It happened after a build up of rejections from Adam. Our religion didn't permit us to be intimate and I had trouble with this. We both did, but a lot of times, it was me trying to tempt Adam. Of course, I'd feel awful if he was strong and said no. I think it just got to a certain point where the benefit of trying was not significant enough to outweigh the damage it was doing to me to feel rejected and so not consciously, but so suddenly that I did consciously notice it: I stopped wanting intimacy at all. Sex was very difficult when we got married. It took several years before I was able to enjoy it without pain and I never felt in the mood for it. In fact we barely had sex at all four about four years. Nowadays it's better in that we have sex more regularly for the most part but it still has issues for me and I know it's not as often as Adam would like. I know a lot of it is to do with my own trauma history; of course sex can be very difficult because of the memories it triggers. But I think it's not just that. When I first started therapy, T asked me if I was 'punishing' Adam by not wanting sex. I was horrified at the idea that I would be so cruel. I rejected that theory but I didn't acknowledge that it was perhaps not 'punishing him' but 'protecting myself from rejection'. Of course, it doesn't make sense that I'd keep feeling the aversion after marriage when I can now have sex as much as I want, if I want. That is where I begin to hypothesise about the libido theory.

If I subconsciously allowed myself to start enjoying sex again, my libido would perhaps increase to a level that even Adam wouldn't enjoy. If I was to realise my high libido and Adam wasn't able to meet my needs, I would again feel frustrated and rejected and probably other things, so on some unconscious level I have to switch off those feelings. It used to be 100% of the time: I would have happily never had sex again, so being able to masturbate and have sex nowadays is actually progress. About a year ago things started to improve with my feelings about sex; before that the idea of masturbation was about as appealing as the idea of licking a toilet seat. But when things started to improve and I started to enjoy sex, it felt really good. But then it got that I felt sex was so intense that my arousal lasted afterwards on into the days following; which I couldn't handle. I mean, my body remained in a state of sexual arousal right into the next day and days afterwards no matter what I was doing. I couldn't be satisfied. It was very difficult to feel that way especially around family. It meant I was getting triggered so easily as well. Feel aroused when not wanting to be, around someone who abused me... worst feeling ever... nightmare begins again. So I had to shut it down again.

Sex with Adam also now makes me feel worse about our relationship problems, as we haven't been getting along too well recently. If we have sex and then fall out in the day afterwards, it feels worse somehow than if we hadn't had sex. So it's just easier not to want sex. I suppose in a way I could be quite content about how things are now. Adam initiates sex most of the time. I often don't want it, but I can enjoy it once it happens, provided I am not dissociated into a part that hates it. I can't enjoy sex without fantasising about scenarios that I don't see as 'healthy' for me though but that's an issue for some other time. It may not be healthy, but it helps me to enjoy the physical feeling of sex.