Recently in Carnival Against Child Abuse Category

Welcome to the February 26, 2011 edition of Carnival Against Child Abuse.

The purpose of the Carnival is to share important posts with others who may not be frequent readers of an author's blog, and expose one's work to a wider audience. There are so many wonderful bloggers who are contributing to the cause of ending and recovering from child abuse. If you, as a reader or author, know of other blogs that you find helpful, please encourage them to submit to an upcoming issue of the Carnival Against Child Abuse; and please bookmark that page so we can continue to receive high quality submissions from a wide swath of bloggers.

Here are the submissions for this month, and while we have a section for the theme made in the announcement, you will see that many others in different categories also speak to the theme of "truth."

Truth Theme Submissions

Castorgirl from "Scattered Pieces" presents My Truth. She wrote: "I was hoping for a non-controversial post, but apparently not possible. Here it is anyway. It's for the theme section. It was meant to be a post to help me to believe in my reactions, and move away from the need to analyse a diagnosis or autobiographical memory." This is a great post because the art image shows the dual realities of how we can appear "normal" to others, but inside the reality can be quite the opposite. And the text explores many common controversies.

Katie from "Sharing our Spaces" presents Truth. Katie made a wonderful statement about truth here, and as I said on her blog, I identified with what she wrote in that "truth" is not some static entity that represents, say, historical record. It represents more about who we are and that is constantly changing.

Astrid from "Astrid's Journal" presents My Truth on Dissociation and Childhood Trauma. Astrid brought up many of the core issues associated with memory and DID, for example exaggeration of trauma effects and the validity of DID. Her statement at the end that children who experience trauma are constantly being taught that their experiences are not trauma (i.e., that their truth is a lie) is one of the most troubling aspects of healing as an adult. When we get these messages as an adult, it only serves to reinforce those old invalidating experiences. Somewhere along the line we have to break the cycle.

Puzzled Hat from "All the King's Horses" presents It's Not My Fault. Puzzled Hat shares with us a music video "Fragile" by Ten Shekel Shirt that's been circulating around that addresses the effects of child abuse.

Paul from "Mind Parts" presents Multiplicity and Truth. I have talked about many of the issues related to the validity of dissociated identities and memories in the past. But, for me, this piece has really been an evolution that I never would have been able to write at any time in the past. It is interesting that I wrote this in the midst of a breakdown. And, actually, I ended up for a brief time in the hospital in part because of conflicting reactions I had to it. Regardless of those reactions, what I wrote here still represents my truth and my job is to hold onto that.

Art Submissions

Paul from "Mind Parts" presents Expressive Arts Carnival No. 8: Your Truth. The Expressive Arts Carnival is a monthly event and is open to all survivors. Our next Carnival activity will be posted March 1 at Expressive Arts Carnival or email paul@mindparts.org to be added to our anonymous mailing list for announcements and occasional discussions.

Healing Submissions

Katie from "Sharing our Spaces" presents Remembering. Through an exploration of an anniversary, Katie is able to explore her truth and grief by trusting herself.

Shen from "Reunited Selves" presents Smoother Ground. Shen shares with us how she started on her healing journey that I am sure many can relate to, and how her journey has led her to a much better place.

Hope from "A Hope for Trauma" presents Just Keep Swimming. Echoing the comment I made on her blog, to be able to say to ourselves "just keep swimming" is a powerful statement of perseverance. I think it is also acknowledge how important it is to share experiences with people we trust face-to-face. I am not saying that the online blogging community is not helpful, but rather that having real life connections are an important supplement.

Advocacy & Awareness

SwordDanceWarrior from "May We Dance On Their Graves" presents Car Crash - or what PTSD is like - novel. She wrote: "A lot of people have told me that this post really captures what having PTSD is like." SwordDanceWarrior shares some excerpts from a novel she is writing. It is a difficult read but she relates experiences of accidental trauma in vivid detail and contrasts it with experiences of child trauma. She explores process, pain, and truths.

Sarah from "Cult of Deception" presents A Struggle. She wrote: "I've learned... the best revenge is to live my best life." Sarah shares here what many survivors understand too well; that we are so determined not to recreate abuses and hurt others, but instead turn them onto ourselves. In the process, she finds her truth and healing.

Poetry

Rick Belden from "Poetry, Dreams, and the Body" presents Poetry on Video: "Body Memory". He wrote: "This is a video reading of my poem "body memory" with background and commentary." It is a very interesting use of video and audio to share expression. I admire him for doing this, and it gives me some things to think about in terms of how I may want to evolve in how I share my experiences. Be sure to check out the rest of his blog for many more poems and a link to his book "Iron Man Family Outing."

Tracie from "From Tracie" presents One the Verge. She wrote: "I find it much easier to share the truth of my childhood, the truth of feelings long ago felt... than it is to share the truth of what I feel in the moment. Recently, I allowed myself to type exactly what I was feeling and hit publish. Without second guessing my feelings or the truths behind them. It was very freeing." Tracie's poem shares some difficult feelings. I find it courageous when survivors share feelings in the moment. This was a very deliberate effort and I often find when I do pieces like this that they are freeing just like Tracie said it was for her.

Shen from "Reunited Selves" presents Invitation. Shen shares a poem of acknowledgement in the context of having been recently struggling with memories.

Aftermath

Patricia from "Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker" presents Anger, Fear, Sadness And Hurt - How They Interact - Part 1. She wrote: "This post is about a big ah-ha moment about the interaction of feelings and messages learned from being abused as a child." Patricia shares with us some of her thoughts on a post she read on another blog.

Patricia from "Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker" presents Anger, Fear, Sadness And Hurt - How They Interact - Part 2. In this second part, Patricia shares additional comments from reading another blog post.

Hope from "A Hope for Trauma" presents Styles. Hope contrasts her traumatic and chaotic experiences with some others she sees as supportive. It scares her to be a parent, wondering if she will break the cycle.

Survivor Stories

Clinically Clueless from the self-titled blog presents Hidden Pieces, Sexual Abuse,The Beginning. She wrote: "As I read this post in selecting what to use, I know that it is true, but I still can't integrate this... it really wasn't that bad. Denial!!" Clinically Clueless shares some traumatic explicit memories and I cannot help but feel empathic towards her. Yet I know that minimizing and denial is such a common way we cope. I hope some day she will be able to integrate what happened and gain healing.

Shen from "Reunited Selves" presents The Twelve Year Old. Shen shares a tragic story of her as a 12 year old on a road trip with her dysfunctional family that turned bad.

Shen from "Reunited Selves" presents An Eight-Year-Old's Perspective. Shen shares another story from her dysfunctional family as an 8 year child.

That's all folks! Thank you all for the honor of hosting this month's Carnival and for your wonderful submissions. You are all truly inspirational.

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is maintained by Tracie and is a monthly event. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse. All forms of abuse—physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, verbal—are discussed. We highlight blog posts, from child abuse survivor stories and their art & poetry, to child abuse as a topic in the news media, as well as PTSD, dissociation and other areas of the abuse "aftermath" that adult survivors are forced to deal with. We link to hopeful posts about therapy, recovery and healing from abuse. All forms of child advocacy and awareness are included.


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Multiplicity and Truth

| By Paul | | Comments (36)

There has been a debate for at least two decades concerning the diagnostic validity of the dissociative disorders, in particular dissociative identity disorder.  Anyone who struggles with pathological dissociation has seen this, probably firsthand. On its face it is not hard to appreciate why there is such controversy. Some just dismiss the disorder outright because far out experiences like having such widely varying personality states (often with their own names even) seems implausible.  For others, they believe it is either therapist misleading or patient collusion to exaggerate symptoms much like an actor is required to perform for a scene, and there is some historical evidence of this.  Many talk about the validity of the experiences, sometimes referred to as the "Swiss cheese" of consciousness, but believe they should be subsumed under other diagnoses.   

I talked about this subject a year ago in Is Dissociative Identity Disorder Real? I want to come back to it today.

While I talk about dissociative identity disorder fairly regularly here, I do not generally like to treat it so separately from other forms of dissociation.  That is not to say that I do not think dissociative identity disorder is not a valid diagnosis. I absolutely do. For one, I think much of what we have to contend with is similar (though on a different scale) to what many others have to contend with.  I think many appreciate that dissociation-like experiences are widespread in the world, if we include things like avoiding difficult situations or being disconnected from our families or not being aware of what we are doing. Of course, most people's experiences do not rise to the level of being diagnosable dissociative disorders.  There are billions of people who seek more awareness and deeper connections in their lives, which at its core, is what healing from dissociation is all about. And, while dissociative identity disorder is usually singled out, those who are recovering from childhood sexual abuse and have been diagnosed DD-NOS, PTSD, Complex PTSD, Borderline, or nothing at all also have a challenge to find more wholeness in their lives and heal dissociative tendencies.  So, I always try to use language that applies broadly. This is the main reason why I often avoid much of the parlance of the disorder, because the label is much less important than the experience.

Since dissociative identity disorder is an elaboration of what all people experience, this leads to a bit of a "Catch 22." It is a problem because this is the argument many detractors use.  But it is also an advantage. Personally, I want to struggle with something that, on a fundamental level, is normal to the human condition. That gives me hope for healing. If dissociative disorders are on a continuum, then I do see healing as finding a way to move down the ladder of that continuum. For me, that makes it all much more manageable. Yes, there are many times when I feel utterly not normal. When I am at my most fragmented. When I have bitter wars inside. When "I" do unsafe things that I would not possibly agree to in any rationale or grounded state.

If we focus on the messages that detractors use, there are usually two outcomes: becoming defensive and succumbing to denial. For me, I find that I start with the former and end up in the latter. But this is dangerous ground. Becoming defensive tends to push one towards a rigid stance that does not appreciate "both sides" or seek a middle ground. And denial can be hugely destabilizing. While some denial is part of the natural healing process, it is not part of the overall solution. I know that firsthand. For several years I was "well enough" to flee therapy, appear well, disavow parts of me and pretend it all did not exist. But I also know that during that time I was not paying attention to what was happening in secret.  There was an upside: I ended up quite functional in certain very public areas of my life. But, that came at a severe cost, as I was quite dysfunctional in other areas. For me, that "position" did not stick. It was not in line with what I needed to do for healing. For some people, and I am one of them, multiplicity is very real and part of the fabric of who we are.

I now know I need to have acceptance for the "multiple" way my mind works, though I struggle with this a great deal. This acceptance has helped me change; to be more whole and heal. The goal of good therapy for dissociative disorders is to become more whole. Period. To move from what is more like "Swiss cheese" to what is more like "American cheese." The route is through increase in awareness, which is proportionally difficult to how elaborate the dissociative walls are.

Another issue that is often brought up in any discussion concerning perspectives on multiplicity is Sybil. Sybil defined late 20th century multiplicity. But dissociation is experienced on a continuum. It was a mistake for many therapists in the 80s and 90s to think that everyone was in the Sybil mold. There is vast understanding of a continuum of experience now. Good treatment now does not involve abreaction, regression and purging of memories. That was a lesson learned a long time ago. But rather it is to promote a more whole way of living that holds one's self accountable for actions and teaches grounding and other techniques to quell what are very real, and sometimes extreme, internal conflicts and disparate views of self.  And as far as memories go, good treatment does not make them a focus but does not shy away from them when they become an issue. Good treatment works towards containment so that survivors can deal with issues of the past while also learning to navigate through life in the present.

While therapists have a responsibility in the treatment of dissociative disorders, survivors clearly do also. I firmly believe this. Anyone who uses their multiplicity as a means of scapegoating behavior, or puts their whole life in the identity of a multiple, or only identifies as a victim, is putting up an enormous barrier to their own healing and doing themselves a disservice. Survivors (and therapists) need to know there are no guidelines for being multiple. It is recognized that multiple systems are very different for different people.  People with any dissociative disorder should not be pushed, by themselves or others, into a belief system that says you have to have X parts, or have this level of trauma, or that you have to have these types of parts, and they have to behave in this sort of way, etc. In other words, we must be driven by our internal truth and not by external pressures.

I believe that if we are guided by truth, we will achieve more clarity. I have found that I have fewer internal conflicts, I am more whole, I am more functional in the world, I am able to feel more, etc., when I accept what I know to be a reality of how things are inside. That is another way of saying I accept my truth.  When I do not accept what is real for me then nothings fits together.  The bottom line is that everyone has to come to terms with what their reality and their truth is. That acceptance should be respected by others. And that acceptance is the basis for change, growth, and healing.  

I will expound upon the subject of truth that I brought up at the end of this post in a subsequent post. Truth is the theme for both the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse and the Expressive Arts Carnival this month, both hosted here. I welcome writers and artists to submit to both as I think truth is a crucial topic that can benefit from several different perspectives.

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I am pleased to host this month's Carnival Against Child Abuse.

This month's theme:

The subject of "your truth" is an important one to survivors. For many, we struggle accepting our truth, doubting our truth, and even knowing what our truth is.


Submissions are due by Thursday, February 24th and I will publish on Saturday, February 26th.

Submit an article at: Blog Carnival Submissions

Why a theme? There are a lot of blogs and it's hard to keep up with all that we want to. Many have different takes on the same issue. So, it's nice to bring them all together. Think of it like a mini-magazine with a special topic.

Don't have an article related to the theme? That's okay. Because like any good magazine, there are other articles too! On the submission page you will be asked to pick a category of: Advocacy & Awareness; Aftermath; Art Therapy; Healing & Therapy; In the News; Poetry; or Survivor Stories. Also, your blog itself does not need to be about child abuse, just the post you are submitting.

If you are going to submit to the "Art Therapy" category using the theme of "your truth," I ask that you consider submitting it to the other Carnival I am hosting this month, Expressive Arts Carnival Activity No. 8. This month, I will be publishing both Carnivals separated only by a couple days, and they share the same theme.

You can feel free to submit older articles as there is no restriction on them needing to be new. In fact, sometimes it is nice to get reacquainted with what has come before. And you can submit more than one article.

I hope you submit an article (or two)! The blogging community has a lot to contribute on the subject of child abuse and healing. Let your voice be heard.

Again, to submit an article, click to: Blog Carnival Submissions

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at paul@mindparts.org or add a comment to this post.

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse is maintained by Tracie and is a monthly event. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the serious issue of child abuse. All forms of abuse—physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual, verbal—are discussed. We highlight blog posts, from child abuse survivor stories and their art & poetry, to child abuse as a topic in the news media, as well as PTSD, dissociation and other areas of the abuse "aftermath" that adult survivors are forced to deal with. We link to hopeful posts about therapy, recovery and healing from abuse. All forms of child advocacy and awareness are included.


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Independence and dependence come with the territory of us as social beings. But as with many of life's properties, they exist in delicate balance. When we are very young, we long for a parent's care. Yet, it is in our biological makeup to seek independence as we grow older. And we all very quickly learn that there really is no such thing as unfettered freedom.

This is why boundaries exist seemingly wherever we look. Oftentimes we are not even aware of them since we are usually taught them from so young. Boundaries are the necessary "checks and balances" we learn if we receive a proper upbringing. The society we live in imposes a set of boundaries we generally must adhere to. Parents are supposed to teach us many of the other necessary boundaries. In doing so, they instill in us a moral compass. They are supposed to model good behavior. They are supposed to teach us how to properly treat others. They are supposed to correct our bad behavior and reward our good behavior.

If parents are smart—and we know many are not—they understand that boundaries are connected to independence when raising children. Being mature adults, they help us navigate these delicate waters by granting us increasing levels of independence while at the same supporting us in areas where we need it most. In this way, they help us develop awareness.

Even in the best of cases this is all hugely difficult. It is not easy for kids and it is not easy for parents. If you are a child that is being abused, the task becomes nearly impossible because the rules of the game are different for the abused child. Boundaries have new meanings. Needs—a measure of dependence—are unmet in various ways and to varying degrees.

I was not abused by my parents, not in the least. Being the oldest child, I was assuredly the most "over-protected." I seemed to be the last person in my neighborhood to be allowed to cross the street alone. My mother was, and still is, perpetually worried about safety and health. I think, for me, that I was somewhat smothered for a long while and was not able to practice the boundaries I was being taught by being granted any measure of independence.

For me, personally, as I was being abused over the course of many years, I was hugely conflicted. I was taught good behavior. But somewhere I must have known that the abuse was not good behavior. Given that much of my abuse happened in the context of religion, there were layers and layers of conflicts. It is no wonder, when you think about it, how parts of a child end up being stuck in the past. Frozen in time. In this way, dissociation makes complete sense.

Everything was conflicting because as I was granted independence, it meant I was more available to be hurt. And part of me longed for dependence and safety. I wanted my parents to save me, yet I could not form the words to say clearly what I was going through. I acted out. But was so dissociated that when asked what was going on, I believed the made up answer I gave them.

I ended up taking the hard route to learning about independence and dependence. In college, I used my independence and freedom from my abuser to act out and lead a somewhat reckless existence. Right out of college I got married. But it was a co-dependent relationship and did not last.

Then came the hard early 90s years. I worked on myself long enough in therapy to understand some of what was going on inside. That budding awareness led to some healthy attachments. When I got married to the mother of my children in 1997, things started to fall into place. When we had children, I somehow learned (I think through osmosis) how to properly raise children and strike the important balance between independence and dependence. I learned that the dependence children most need is emotional. They need parents to listen to them. Really listen.

I am still very much learning boundaries I was supposed to learn long ago. I am still mourning that I did not have aware parents. I am still mourning that I had to be independent in a dysfunctional way. I am still mourning that my needs for dependence were not met.

But the most cherished independence of all is one that we already have: the freedom to heal.

This post was specifically written for the July 2010 Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse with this month's theme being "independence."

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Welcome to the January 29, 2010 edition of Carnival Against Child Abuse. The purpose of the Carnival is to be a place where important posts are shared with others who may not be frequent readers of an author's blog. I, myself, have realized that I cannot follow all the blogs I want to follow, so the monthly Carnival gives me a chance to see what else is out there. There are so many wonderful bloggers and you are all doing a wonderful service not only to yourselves, but to the cause of ending child abuse and recovering from child abuse. My sincere thanks to all of you.

If you, as a reader or author, know of other blogs that you find helpful, please encourage them to submit to an upcoming issue of the Carnival Against Child Abuse; and please bookmark that page so we can continue to receive high quality submissions from a wide swath of bloggers.

Healing Submissions

Kerro from "Kerro's Korner" presents 10 good things about falling apart. In keeping with the David Letterman "Top 10" theme, Kerro shares with us one of my all time favorite posts and she leads off the Carnival this month. Her post is helpful, encouraging, and validating.

Kate from "Kate1975's Blog" presents A Bliss List. Kate creates wonderful lists that I come back to time and time again. Her "bliss" lists are so encouraging. To see all 12 of them, click on her Bliss List Category.

Dr. Kathleen Young from "Treating Trauma in Chicago" presents Shame and Self-Blame After Trauma. Dr. Young addresses head on one of the most difficult topics for survivors. This is a post you may want to bookmark and come back to when you are brought down by shame and self-blame. She concludes her post with: "No child (yes, that includes you reading this!) is ever to blame for the abuse inflicted upon them by others."

Hope from "Hope for Trauma" presents One Year Strong, saying "It's about my Journey throught my first year without being inpatient. The search for trust, support and acceptance." It's a peek into what hospitals are like, and a commentary on how a therapist who specializes in trauma work can lead survivors in a new and different healing direction.

Ivory from "Shades of Ivory" presents All in the Telling, saying "Telling is the most difficult 'start' to healing." In my comment to her post I wrote "I am so sorry that you have lost so much in your journey, for your 'telling'. But I am sure you realize that if you didn't 'tell' there would be other consequences, and perhaps you would not have survived those." Thanks for telling Ivory!

Sarah from "A bit of this, a bit of that" presents If I'd Known Then, saying "Although this isn't really a survivor blog in the way that many of the blogs that submit to the Carnival are, I am a survivor, and that does affect my writings. This post has received such a powerful response from my friends that I wanted to share it with a larger audience." Her post speaks of a wonderful book where authors write letters to their younger selves. Sarah herself wrote one in her blog post. It's a wonderful technique, and personally I'd love to do that someday.

Shhh from "My Shush Blog" presents elephant in the room. Shhh writes about her experience with a "transitional object". If you don't yet have one, you would do well to consider one. I have several.

Innocencestolen from her self-titled blog presents Bikini Season, saying "I wrote this post based on my own frustrations with my body and realizing how alot of my problems with myself have all stemmed from my mother." She touches on the trouble many of us have with body image and how lessons from long ago still stay with us today.

Cornnut32 from "Picture of Experience" presents Pooh's grand adventure. This post speaks to the power of interacting with children in a healthy way.

Marj aka Thriver from "Survivors Can Thrive!" presents Trauma Processing, Therapy & Counseling, saying "In this post, I talk about my experience with therapy for my dissociative disorder, trauma processing and counseling. I also lament a bit on the fact that I have never been able to find a therapist who could provide all three of these things for me as I navigate the healing-from-abuse journey." It's a personal account of some of her healing journey. Thank you, Marj, for sharing what is obviously so personal to you.

Mike from "Child Abuse Survivor" presents Healing Isn't a Smooth Timeline. Mike reminds us that there are ups and downs in the healing journey, that we can make huge progress in a short time, and make little progress over a long time, and everything in between. This is good to be reminded of, because many of us have high expectations of ourselves (added also to outside expectations).

Temperance from "Crackers & Juiceboxes" presents Dear Trauma Therapist.... Tempy has done something here that few of us think to do or are able to do. She made a clear statement to her therapist about who she is, what her limitations are, and a commitment to healing. This reminds me of Elia Wise's poem "For Children Who Were Broken"; if you have not read this poem, I suggest you look it up.

Art Submissions

Shen from "Reunited Selves" presents Anger Work. Her work goes through a whole process of inner communication. She uses a left- versus right-hand technique to help her communicate inside, and it's something worth trying for those of us who have trouble with that issue.

Paul from "Mind Parts" (me) presents My Symbol, my most recent art therapy post.

Advocacy & Awareness

Katie at "Sharing our Spaces" presents False Memory Syndrome, saying "I wrote this about my recent research into whether or not FMS is valid." It's a very good look at some of the current debate on a hot topic.

Paul from "Mind Parts" (again, me) presents Is Dissociative Identity Disorder Real?. I've been meaning to address this for a while, and so here goes... I take on the ongoing debate on the existence of DID because there has been much discussion on blogs about this topic recently.

Paul from "Mind Parts" presents The Burden, a wonderfully done campaign video to end child abuse.

Patricia from "Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker" presents Ask About Incest If You Suspect It Is Happening, saying "I wanted someone to ask. I needed someone to ask. If you know a child that you suspect is being abused ask them. It may be what they are waiting for." As survivors, especially, we cannot turn a blind eye. Thanks for reminding us Patricia!

BloggerT7165 from "What about when MOM is the abuser?" presents Female sex offenders and their victims: Reference materials and scholarly papers. This post presents a comprehensive bibliography on the topic of female sex offenders.

Poetry

I deliberately don't provide commentary on poems. I feel as though they should stand on their own

Mary from "Nippercat's Home" presents The Boogieman.

Little Sheep from "My (getting better) story" presents scrubbing it off, saying "It's so worth it in the end!"

Little Sheep from "My (getting better) story" presents poem.

Jumping in puddles from "Sharing private moments through poetry" presents Don't find me.

Aftermath

Patricia Singleton from "Spiritual Journey of a Lightworker" presents Inspiration, Denial and Incest, saying "This post was written in response to a previous comment on my blog that told my readers who were survivors to just get over it and get on with their lives. Abuse doesn't stay in our past. It very much affects our today." I think it's important for readers to realize that survivor blog posts aren't all about inspiration. Blogs are heartfelt attempts to find ourselves, and many posts will be dark or about losing hope; they should be looked at from a global perspective. Thank you Patricia for pointing this out.

Colleen from "Surviving by Grace" presents Taking Care of Myself. Colleen has struggled like so many of us have about learning to take care of our bodies despite years of being neglected from abuse. Thank you Colleen!

Colleen from "Surviving by Grace" presents Sisters. Colleen takes on survivor guilt and comes to the healthy conclusion that "It was not my fault".

Kate from "Kate1975's Blog" presents Survivor’s Aftereffects List #1. Kate has posted a wonderful list of aftereffects from the book "Secret Survivors". The full list can be found in the Aftereffects Lists Category.

That's all folks! Thank you all for the honor of hosting this month's Carnival and for your wonderful submissions. You are all truly inspirational.

The Carnival homepage can be found at Carnival Against Child Abuse. There you can find current as well as all past editions.

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I am pleased to host this month's Carnival Against Child Abuse.

Submissions are due by Wednesday, January 27th and I will publish on Friday, January 29th.

Submit at: Blog Carnival Submissions

A blog carnival is a collection of blog articles (or art or poetry) hosted on a single site for the purpose of bringing readers and writers together.

There is no theme this month, in part due to time being short.

Don't have a blog or need help? Send an email to paul@mindparts.org and I will help you. In particular, if you don't have a blog, I will be happy to receive your article by email and I will host it here as a "guest" submission with byline credit given as you specify. This is a great opportunity for non-bloggers to make a statement and "test the waters" so to speak.

On the submission page you will be asked to pick a category of: Advocacy & Awareness; Aftermath; Healing & Therapy; In the News; Poetry; or Survivor Stories. There is a new category titled "Art Therapy", so please feel free to send in your art! Also, your blog itself does not need to be about child abuse, just the post you are submitting. And you can submit older articles and more than one article.

I hope you submit! The blogging community has a lot to contribute on the subject of child abuse and healing. Let your voice be heard.

Again, to submit, click on over to: Blog Carnival Submissions

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Blog Carnival for October 2009

| By Paul |

The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse for October 2009 is up. It's hosted by Lynda from In the Best Interest: Child Advocacy Law.

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Thanks to everyone who made submissions for this month's "Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse". I have yet to fully digest everything that's been submitted and I look forward to following all these wonderful sites, many of which are new to me (and perhaps to you too).

Relationship-Related Submissions

Shen at Reunited Selves submitted The Hole in the Soul. It's a beautifully written story about a young boy who was not well cared for and suffers headaches. It's a story about relationships, because it talks about the dynamic between a couple who has their own pain. It talks about loss. It talks about personal responsibility. It talks about healing. It leads off the carnival because it is to me one of the most beautiful, sad, and compelling stories I have ever read.

Castorgirl at Scattered Pieces submitted Once upon a time... Her story, which I am certain was difficult to write, reflects on an abusive relationship. It shows a deep understanding and a yearning to heal and change. It ends with a video titled "A Journey Through Domestic Violence" which is extremely powerful, heart-wrenching, and yet so full of hope.

Marj aka Thriver at Survivors Can Thrive submitted Can you fathom a family? Marj shows her ability to speak out against what was done to her in the context of her family. It's a story of hope. She writes: I am also happy and rather proud that I have the chance-and I am taking it-to break the multi-generational cycle of abuse. I can end the legacy I was born into. I've been able to create my own family with my husband and my beloved son.

Rick Belden submitted Fused at the wound, a poem about a love relationship. It's a rather sad tale and speaks to the complexities of holding onto healthy relationships in the midst of pain and struggle.

Dr. Kathleen Young submitted Relationships After Severe Trauma: Making Healthy Choices. Dr. Young relates some of the unhealthy aspects of relationships she has seen as a therapist. She offers some very practical advice.

Jumpinginpuddles at Lifes Spacings submitted What abuse can do to siblings and their relationships. She retells of her horrible abuse by her mother and how that changed forever her relationship with her sister. Note: this was left off the original publication because of a clerical error.

I submitted Q & A on the Carnival Theme in which I talked somewhat openly about the struggles I face in my healing as they relate to my family.

Advocacy and Awareness Submissions

Colleen at Surviving by Grace submitted Just try to shut us up, a heartfelt public statement that many victims of abuse need to tell their stories. I bookmarked this post and have used it as a "pep talk" to myself. Maybe you could do the same.

Jumpinginpuddles at Lifes Spacings submitted Expelling the myths of MPD/DID. She explores some of the common misconceptions about being multiple in a very direct way. Note: this was left off the original publication because of a clerical error.

Miss J at Media Misses submitted Failure to report vs. false allegations. She presents real-life cases of abuse and explores the real difficulties faced in finding justice and protecting children.

Atheist Revolution submitted: Catholic lobbying group opposes Child Victims Act. The Child Victims Act was to extend the statute of limitations by five years and add other victim protections in the state of New York. It was lobbied against by the New York Catholic Conference. Unfortunately, the Child Victims Act (A.2596) was pulled from the calendar on June 23, 2009 after Assembly leaders decided the bill did not have enough votes to pass.

Attorneys Betti and Franks submitted How to stay safe during a protracted lawsuit involving your childhood sexual abuse. They offer some practical tips based on their experience of prosecuting cases.

Healing Submissions

TheSameSky submitted Learning to Lament. She helps us understand that grieving is an integral part of healing and that denial and repression are not sustainable solutions. She writes: Feelings must be spoken. When they are, when feelings are no longer buried and our pain is heard by another... it becomes real, and this paves the way for healing.

Colleen at Surviving by Grace also submitted Roots, a wonderful story about a childhood safe place that stayed present with her into adulthood. If you use safe places in your healing process, this is a very uplifting story.

Dan Hays submitted Independence Day - Little Danny Set Free! It's a remarkable story, full of hope for what an adult man can do to heal a wounded boy through the power of visualization.

Kathy Broady at Discussing Dissociation submitted Do's and Don'ts for Singleton Friends of Multiples; a list comprised by an anonymous group of multiples.

Wanda's Wings submitted My Life - Short Version in which she tells of horrible abuse and also her salvation through God.

Thank you all, and especially Marj at Survivors Can Thrive, for the opportunity to host this month's carnival.

You are all truly inspirational.

The blog carnival for this month was announced here and contains some helpful information about what the carnival is all about.

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I have been meaning to write a thoughtful article concerning this month's blog carnival theme (which I'm hosting) on significant others, spouses, families and parenting. That hasn't happened.

So, I thought I would do something simpler by answering some of the questions I posed when I announced the carnival.

I realize some of my answers may sound naive and may not all resonate with you. They are my answers and present my reality. I didn't want to go into details or long analyses. Of course, it's far more complex than what I'm writing here.

Here goes.

How does your spouse handle your healing? Or your symptoms?

This has varied over the years. And it seems that as time goes on it's harder to her to maintain patience. Like many of us, she wants this all done yesterday. And, while healing to us means being more aware of inconsistencies and dealing with them, she does not generally view that as healing. If I'm doing really well for a period and then have a collapse, it's very hard on her. She cannot really predict when the collapses will happen or to what degree and this makes it very hard for her to count on me in a whole host of ways. I do get very symptomatic at night sometimes. These are the times when the younger parts will have flashbacks and I will be in crisis. She handles these times extremely well. She's incredibly supportive there. I sometimes think that she wants it to be how it was before, when I was more "functional" and not showing outwardly how much pain I was in. Unfortunately, I was not healing much back then. And when I make the true statement that healing is messy, it's not just messy for me, it's messy for those who love me. But from her perspective, she has needs too. And they are being unmet because mine are "more important". I don't want that to be the case. She grapples with questions about whether I'm being selfish. These are tough for me to hear and some source of conflict. She thinks I can "toughen up" and sometimes sees where I'm at as a personal weakness. So, all in all, it's a complicated matter.

How do you talk to your spouse about your abuse or current place of healing?

Younger parts talk about these issues at night. During the day I try to be more protective of her. I really have a hard time explaining to her that I'm actually better now than I was a year or two ago. She understands that I have, to a large extent, been able to keep myself safe and she understands that is important. But she doesn't understand the scope of how unsafe I was. She sees this as a quality of life issue and thinks years are being wasted because I'm not healed enough. But usually we don't talk that frankly about my healing.

How do you talk to young children versus older children about your abuse or healing?

My children are 8 and 11. Both girls. I was symptomatic well before they were born and before I met my wife. I had a stability period. Then I became symptomatic again when my youngest was turning 1 and I was frequently in the hospital. So, it's been a long 7 year period since. I tried to keep my struggles as protected from the kids as possible. And what we said to the kids was mainly tied around the hospitalizations. We explained it as "Daddy has bad headaches and that's where they help get them better". This is how we explained some of my "having to sleep" or withdraw situations too. To a large extent, this is still how we explain it to them. However, about two years ago we had started to have more serious discussions with the children. I told the older one something about the abuse and how it's something that I struggle with and that my problems are more than just headaches. This came up because there was an abuse scandal in our town that my daughter became aware of. I couched my explanation of my abuse in terms that she could understand and then we talked about safety. I cannot honestly tell you if I've had a conversation with my younger daughter about the abuse. I think I haven't. But I have told her about my being "sad" sometimes.

What are the strains on the family and how do you cope with that?

I fortunately have good control over acting out behaviors at home. My kids accept me as me, even if that means I may act differently at times. And some of that is even desirable, like when younger parts can be young and play with them (while I do try to maintain a presence so that it's safe and appropriate). I would say the major strains are caused by my inconsistent ability to participate in what the family does. My wife ends up overcompensating some and resenting this some. But some of that has to do with differences between my wife and me. I am much more content to spend time with kids at night, reading and playing. And she is more content going out and doing things.

How do your child abuse experiences shape how you raise your children?

This is perhaps the most important outcome of my abuse. First, I don't let what happened to me force me to isolate my children. Quite the contrary. One of the things I am aware of that happened to me because of the abuse was that I withdrew and didn't have healthy experiences. So, for me, it's important that my children get to experience what being a kid is supposed to be. I want them to make friends. I want them to feel carefree. I want them to think the world is safe. That is how kids are supposed to be. Of course they are supposed to know good touch and bad touch and stranger danger, but I don't want to scare them. I don't think that's right. Second, I have taught my kids to express their emotions. I also know this was something I was unable to do. I want them to cry, laugh, and get angry. But most of all I want them to be able to find ways to tolerate bad feelings and move through them. Not alone. Third, I shower my kids with love. I tell them all the time how much I love them and I really try to show it to them. I hug them and kiss them. I fall asleep with them at night. I read to them. I scratch their backs at night. Fourth, I teach them. Constantly.

If you would like to chime in on the questions I raised, I'd be happy to hear your comments.

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I am pleased to host this month's Carnival Against Child Abuse.

Submissions are due by Wednesday, September 23rd and I will publish on Friday, September 25th.

Submit at: Blog Carnival Submissions

The theme this month is significant others, spouses, families and parenting. (I'll elucidate on the theme below).

Blog carnivals are new to me, and may be to you too. So, I'll provide some background.

What is a blog carnival? A collection of blog articles (or art or poetry) hosted on a single site for the purpose of bringing readers and writers together.

Why a theme? There are a lot of blogs and it's hard to keep up with all that we want to. Many have different takes on the same issue. So, it's nice to bring them all together. Think of it like a mini-magazine with a special topic. I chose the theme of "significant others, spouses, families, and parenting" because I have met many in the blogging community who struggle with these issues, myself included. I was thinking of how complicated healing can be in the context of these relationships, plus the impact on others.

Some possible questions to explore:

  • How does your spouse handle your healing? Or your symptoms?
  • How do you talk to your spouse about your abuse or current place of healing?
  • How do you talk to young children versus older children about your abuse or healing?
  • What are the strains on the family and how do you cope with that?
  • How do your child abuse experiences shape how you raise your children?

Don't have a blog or need help? Send an email to paul@mindparts.org and I will help you. In particular, if you don't have a blog and want to post on the theme, I will be happy to receive your article by email and I will host it here as a "guest" submission with byline credit given as you specify. This is a great opportunity for non-bloggers to make a statement.

Don't have an article related to the theme? That's okay. Because like any good magazine, there are other articles too! On the submission page you will be asked to pick a category of: Advocacy & Awareness; Aftermath; Healing & Therapy; In the News; Poetry; or Survivor Stories. Also, your blog itself does not need to be about child abuse, just the post you are submitting. And you can submit older articles and more than one article.

I hope you submit! The blogging community has a lot to contribute on the subject of child abuse and healing. Let your voice be heard.

Again, to submit, click on over to: Blog Carnival Submissions

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