Boundaries: Enacting Them With Empowerment

Boundaries

It’s no secret that I have a tumultuous past. From time in jail to extreme sexual misuse of my body to behavioral problems, I have run the course of self-destruction, projection, being attached to petty dramas and other avenues of self harming, trauma based personality traits.

I am purposefully open about my past.  I want people to know they are not alone. I want people to know they do not have to live in shame.  I want people to know they don’t have to let anyone reverse them to the skin they have shed through healing. So, there is nothing which can be hurled toward me in regard to my past, nothing rooted in truth anyway, which I will not acknowledge. Part of my healing journey has included learning to stand in my place, not with shame or regret, but with empowerment.

I get to choose what to discuss or not discuss. I get to choose what to accept or not accept. I get to choose, period, and that’s that.

I also used to have a deep need to defend myself, explain my side and try to make everyone see and understand ME. I have associates who could tell you story after story of the times I lamented and recycled the same situations until I crazy-made my own mind. I was often in a negative-based mental space.

I felt owed. I felt people should adjust to me. I sometimes felt discarded, shunned and unaccepted, even by my own friends. Until I realized it wasn’t true. I was literally creating a negative storyline in my head that wasn’t fully rooted in truth and acceptance but instead, in my own self-based perception. There was some behavior from people which made me back away but concerning me, in retrospect, I churned those situations far too long and too much.

When we are in that state of mind or have friends who are in that state of mind, where we are churning instead of growing and learning, we can hold space and listen. I don’t mind listening. If you, the reader, don’t want to listen to others situations or can’t hold space, you also have the right to say, “I don’t have that to give to you right now.”

Sometimes it’s difficult to be in the space holding position. I have had friends tell me how frustrating it was to watch me churn petty problems instead of figure out solutions. So, I get it now. I’m an experiencer of this negative thought patterning.

I have a major boundary when it comes to being in the listening position, and that boundary is enacted when someone’s struggles are thrown at me like darts, and I am suddenly in the scapegoat position.

Writing on this subject was inspired by waking up today to a very long message from a friend explaining a situation that we had already discussed just a day ago and seemed, to me at least, had been lain to rest. Okay. I accepted that some things might still be unresolved for them. So, when I began to read, I was open to listening until I arrived at this phrase:

you have written a book and working on another about your torment and pain that some may dismiss as drama.”

Ah. Now I see. Because this person is attached to adult drama, they had the audacity to compare it with my childhood trauma. What I was reading was a projector’s mindset. I was being crazy-made.

I even further realized I was a target when I continued reading and arrived at… “All the times you schemed, planned, and even asked me to be involved. Or carried on without me, I never said a thing. Yes I was angry.”

At that moment I became slightly alarmed.  My mistrust meter went up to level red.  I began to search my brain. When did I scheme with this person? When did I ask them to be involved with a scheme that made them angry? My brain could find nothing. I attempted to call them to openly discuss it so I could understand more clearly what they were even talking about. They didn’t answer.

Then it hit me. If they were actually really referring to every person who has schemed and planned with them, but they couldn’t aim their anger at the actual person, it was being aimed at me. I was dealing with a deep projection.

This is where I advise not to take everything someone says to us literally as if it refers directly TO us.  If we cannot connect it to a specific event, most likely it really is not rooted in us.  However, we should not allow anyone to speak to us in ways which disrespect our growth and the ethics we work to maintain.

By that time, I was angry. How dare they speak to me this way. How dare they imply such things to me, that I’d ever schemed or been a petty person with them. How dare fabrications be thrown my way. How dare they not have the respect to answer the phone and actually talk to me about it.

By that time, I knew that I was done. I knew that I needed to separate from the recurring theme of this person’s personal life and being in the projected position. I realized this person was just being plain malicious and mean to me. At least that is how it felt.

I realized how hurt I was in that moment. So many times, I’ve been the only one listening to them; the only one understanding; the only one protecting. I sat on my bed, looking at my phone and realizing this was the crossroad we are at, and I had to choose to turn. That doesn’t always feel good.

I sit back now, writing out this emotion and decision to cut ties. I am hurt, confused and irritated to even have pettiness infused into my day unexpectedly. I also understand this really doesn’t have anything to do with me personally. I am being scapegoated. When I am feeling like that, I take my leave for my own spiritual safety. I always wish well, even as I wield a verbal sword when I slam the gate shut, in my heart, I always hope for healing and eventual accountability.

These are the times it hurts to cut ties with people we have been there for and truly care about in regard to their well being. This decision, for me, is rooted in the fact that this person has no respect for my own mental health, in that they found it alright to disrespect me. This person has now chosen to impede on my peace and mental health. That is a strong boundary for me now.

I write about this to both expel the negative energy that it created in me and to really drive home that we get to choose. I used to HATE when people said that to me. It pissed me off because I wasn’t ready to change my self-defeating behaviors. I had excuse after excuse. Everyone else was the problem. While yes, others had issues too, I needed to learn how to just focus on my own and not allow them to project theirs onto me. I had to also learn how to not project mine onto others.

I could list out the various physical and mental impairments I generally positively live with on a daily basis. I could demand everyone comply to my needs in regard to them. What I’d rather do is tell you that instead, I made the choice to create an environment which is conducive to my own well-being. I created it by building boundaries and standing mostly quiet in them, only raising my voice when it needs to be heard very clearly. It changed my whole life for the better. Any situation or connection which is not contributing to my greater good can be released or even taken a break from.

Once, one of my sons and I took a break from communicating because things were tumultuous between us. As a mom, I felt crushed. I spent many a night crying and lamenting until I finally realized that I was part of the problem. I needed to learn some different parenting skills, became accountable, listen more and stay rooted in my own safety boundaries. I started focusing on how I could do better, and our dynamic grew into a better and more loving space. I needed to lead by example in that situation.

I don’t expect you to compare any situation you may be having to my own. I share these examples because when I chose to own my own life and stand in what felt safe and comfortable for me, it changed everything. When we choose to heal the triggers which once rocked us they aren’t as daunting anymore. We remove the trigger and live from a state of self-care.

Until we choose to put our own peace of mind first, which can also, unfortunately, include pissing people off to do so, we will always be in the negativity zone. Becoming an empowered person means putting our own well being first.

Release unneeded worries. Cease churning negative situations. Create safe boundaries for yourself and adhere to them without fear of backlash. Most of all, accept that we are the only ones who can choose to protect and put ourselves first in our own lives.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of Cult Child and the hostess of Survivor Voices Show. She is an advocate, poet and artist.

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A Moment In the Mind of a Mother With DID

I stand still in my slippered feet. The girls are at the table coloring. My youngest son is visiting from college and is recalling a childhood moment with me.

“You took me to watch The Grinch, remember?” He asks. His eyebrows are furrowed.

“I did?” I am flipping through the years like micro film, trying to bring up the memory.

“Oh my gosh, mom! How can you not remember that?” He exclaims. I drown in his frustration.

I am on the spot standing in shame. How careless I must seem to not remember an experience that is so obviously a fond memory for him. What kind of mother would not remember that moment? What kind of mother doesn’t remember special memories with her children?

A mother with DID. I want to say this as he continues on, his brother joining him, but they don’t pause to let words in, and they’re certainly not seemingly interested.

“You DO know who the Grinch is, right?” My eldest asks.

“Of course I do.” I reply.

And they go on to tell me of the movie, and I remember Jim Carey’s antics and sparkly green fur. I just don’t remember seeing it at a theater.

But I can’t say it right now, with granddaughters happily coloring away in their coloring books and my sons in their own energy, laughing and remembering.

I can’t say how I will claw away at the particles of blank spaces trying to find this moment. I can’t let out the lump in my throat that outside of those who understand my cult aftermath, I will stand judged and misunderstood more than not. There will be no room for explanation or conversations that open doorways to understanding.

I can only quietly walk away and wish I could switch minds with them for a day. Then maybe we could understand each other. I could see myself from their perspective. I could understand them more if I could see me like they do.

It’s not their responsibility, but it’s mine to remember. I walk away wincing the ache of failure. How can I ever explain to them the maze that is my brain? How can I draw out blank spaces, pain and the exhausting  strain of remembering?

I accept that only those who have suffered similarly to me can feel with me. Only those who have experienced the fragmented pieces that are the aftermath of a complex childhood filled with physical, sexual and mental torture, can truly understand what we become, who arrives to help us through, and why we stand staring, akwardly on the spot, holding blank spaces in our palms.

Child Abusers Rarely Take Ownership of Their Crimes

If my mother were alive, and you were to ask her if she allowed her children to be abused or if she abused her children, her answer would most likely be (with Bible in hand), “Absolutely NOT!”

She would then most likely go on to tell you what difficult children my siblings and I were to raise, along with a myriad of other excuses to support the gross denial covering the guilt she couldn’t face.   This is what abusers do; blame the child, and all too often, naive adults actually believe it.

A couple of years ago, a friend who grew up in the same cult as me had a conversation with a woman who knew me when I was a child. My friend asked the woman about my time as a child at the second compound I was taken to in Alaska, and the woman said this:

Well, she was quite a boisterous child and was always in trouble a lot.”

She victim blamed a child who she witnessed be abused and yet still, thirty plus years later, the denial runs as deep as the ocean. What should we have expected? That our abusers would admit to their crimes? What a ridiculous notion. Child abusers rarely admit to their crimes unless they’re caught. Given the chance, they will quickly blame the child.  Witnessing child abuse and doing nothing is just as criminal as participating.

Victim blame a child abuse survivor, and that’s where my patience, kindness and association ends.

I do not ever condone a child abuse survivor having to defend themselves against the abuse they suffered. My fellow child abuse survivors, we’re not mentally ill. Our abusers are. Those who would attack your abuse are in serious need of psychological help themselves.

They lack empathy and understanding. Attacking someone’s child abuse is an extremely apathetic action. I feel we must use our voices to stand against those who would deny the atrocities that we endured as children and that children still endure. We have to stand our ground and not allow children to ever be blamed for the neglect and/or abuse they endure.

Tonight I sit in contemplation, knowing where my passions are, and what makes me feel in a space of forward movement.   I am aware of where I put my time and my energy, for my goal is to always be focused on believing and supporting child abuse survivors.

Stream Of Consciousness | 6.18.15

these days attention spans / are so full of lack / there are three seconds / three / yes only three / to get you to find interest in me / as if i could / wrap up a galaxy / in just three seconds / meme / scream / the social machine

all these tips and writing advice / update your blog every week twice / post at certain times to hit your target audience / do this / do that / don’t do this / don’t do that / frick frack / panic attack

most days i’m getting through / there’s a target i wanna hit alright / and it’s not my “audience” / whatever that means / i think they are fellow humans / surviving / who occassionally read me / saying / fuck, me too / i suffered like you

necessary / connection / so easily / turned into affection / he has a pretty smile / she has a pretty dress / they say something senseless / throngs of followers / scrambling for the same power / self devour / its the dysfuntion hour

mimic / critic / solitary skeptic / critically think / the sum of / what we have become / can’t help feed your family / gotta save that / money for drugs / can’t give a hug / might feel too much

apathy / when your sister needs medicine / but you’re broke / next day you’re at the store / what a joke / i take note / this is not / how this goes

empathy / share my last piece / split bread in two / so you can eat too / sacrifice time / for your comfort / my stomach grumbles / the pains i hide / so you dont have to know

they say / if you give / it gets returned / somehow / i keep getting burned / love does come / with a cost / because compassion / cannot be bought / but usery can / at the hand / of the selfish / who prey on the selfless

i see the truth / of what they made you / when was / the last time / you cried / even tried / to heal your insides

i’m here writing / not twice a week / i’m weak / and who invades / the suffering / in their hour of need / who dims the lighthouse / when storms rage the seas / who sees inside me / when the silence roars / they keep scores / who can tread the waters / lonely daughter / wounded father

so you say / let me / sell you followers / and i say / no / im not a caller / no guru / no hero / just my truth / so dont walk in my line / its thin / in between the wind and my skin / and there’s no more room / to let anyone in

I Received a Beautiful Award!

Once a Victim Now a Survivor Award

Award

I’m really honored to be payed forward the “Once a Victim Now a Survivor Award“. Thank you so much, Darque Thoughts

I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my emotional vomiting. If one reader feels less alone, then all the retching is worth it. Thank you guys!

I was asked these five questions as a part of this award and have passed this award forward to five more survivors below.

1. In what ways do you feel that blogging can help people with psychological trauma or mental illness?

Writing therapy is a great way to clear the mind. Instead of bottling up the pain, flashbacks, nightmares and myriad of emotions, we are able to give it to the virtual page. That is a great clearing for me. I call it “language letting”.

2. How has blogging helped you with your healing process or your personal journey?

Blogging has been both a great outlet for me to write my emotions, document my moments as well as connect with others who have experienced trauma and came out on the other side surviving, just like me.

3. When did you start your blog and what motivates you to write?

I’ve been blogging for a while. I started in the days of Live Journal, then to MySpace, and now, with WordPress, since 2012. WordPress has afforded me a great connection with like minds, and I happen to dig their mobile app. What motivates me to write the most is the knowing that I cannot hold all of this inside of me.  It’s constantly pushing it’s way out of my fingertips in some fashion, be it poetry, stories, essays or whatever else comes out. I don’t often blog for the sake of anyone else or with readers in mind. I write to get it out. If someone reads and relates, then that is a great added bonus. If no one reads, I got it out. Either way, I come out ahead.

4. If you could encourage other victims to become survivors what would you say to them?

Learn the skills of coping and soothing. Don’t try and erase the moments that feel overwhelming. Face them head on, and understand that it is okay to cry, to feel, to hurt, to grieve and to know that afterwards you’ll still be able to find that laughter; that some days are really awesome and others really fucking suck, yet what makes us survivors is that we come through. Reach out to others like you; who can understand your pain and don’t let your pain define who you are. You are in control now. Your abusers are no longer running the show. You get to choose what feels right and good for you. Lastly, never, ever, silently suffer for anyone.  Seriously, tell anyone who doesn’t have your best interest in mind, or who doesn’t care about your needs, to take a hike.  It is OKAY to say no now. 

5. Since you started writing, what has been your favorite or most positive personal accomplishment(s) and/or achievement(s) in the “blogging world”?

My greatest personal writing accomplishment is my novel, Cult Child. I’m equally proud of the other publications I’ve published. My favorite moments are always, without a doubt, when someone tells me they’ve read something I’ve written and it made them know they’re not alone. That is the beautiful side of this internet blogging world. Knowing I have touched a heart is very rewarding. Sharing our trauma experiences is an intricate part of our healing process.

Aside from the one who payed this Award forward, here are five amazing survivors I read; who make me feel understood and whom I believe are equal candidates for this Survivor Award.

1. Refractory Ramblings From the Darkside
2. The Not-So Secret Life Of a Manic Depressant
3. Leaving Fundamentalism
4. Healing From Complex Trauma and PTSD/CPTSD
5. Survivorship – for survivors of ritualistic abuse
You may pass this Award forward. Below are the four steps to do so.

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Nominate your own bloggers to pass the award to
3. Post the 5 questions below for your nominees to answer (also answer them yourself)
4. Inform your nominees and post a comment in their blog to let them know they’ve been nominated

The questions:

1. In what ways do you feel that blogging can help people with psychological trauma or mental illness?

2. How has blogging helped you with your healing process or your personal journey?

3. When did you start your blog and what motivates you to write?

4. If you could encourage other victims to become survivors what would you say to them?

5. Since you started writing, what has been your favourite or most positive personal accomplishment(s) and/or achievement(s) in the “blogging world”?

Paying forward our Survivorship is a wonderfully uplifting circle. Thank you again, Darque!

Streams Of Consciousness | 6.25.15

I am here weightless. Ear tuned to every sound. The fireworks are starting. A week filled with the explosions of war. I despise the celebration of generations who’ve been traumatized by genocide. Headphones. I’m trying to stabilize.

Can I float off away from this place yet? Work to do, but goddamn, I’m tired. Inside. Down in the caves where the seaweed waves in water. She, there, that siren; she is tired inside her liquid soul.

Outside, my body pushes. My face smiles, forced because maybe if I push at it fiercely it turns into the real real. The sounds of fans whirring above me. It’s heated evenings with the shades pulled up to catch the breezes.

Life moves on. Can’t do shit to change that except to feel it all. Face forward. Eyes on the prize, girl, eyes on the prize. Actualize. My destiny has arrived.

Which looks like….

A settled sunset in a camp chair around a beach bonfire,

A triumphant glow in the eyes of a child who has escaped the pain and healed,

A human holding accountability softly in their palms saying, “I fucked this up. I deserve to carry this, not you.”

An acceptance,
A sag of the shoulders and
A rest before the next climb.

They say don’t expect too much from people. It gives way to disappointment. I say that goes along with all the other ways a victim is left to carry the blame. No. The shame belongs solely to the asshole who throws away lives without a care. Don’t blame us.

Here is YOUR Diagnoses:

Apathy, Chronic
Envy, Unresolved
Greed, Chronic Satiation, Level OCD
Selfishness, Harmful Ideation

Everything with you motherfuckers is about money. It temporarily numbs the pain like drugs, and when that plug is pulled, what’s left but the abscess to drain endless,

Your chosen mental madness,
Your fucking sadness,
The voices in your head
Telling you that you ain’t shit;
I know all about it.
I used to be a pro
At telling myself no,
Instead of attending
To my precious soul.

Thinking about it makes my stomach sick. I’d rather live a thousand lives of loneliness than ever give in to anyone again.

I say yes to this right here; the silence; the peace; the ability to freely be me. And fuck the gurus and the controllers, the betrayals and the disloyal. It’s a journey of suffering embraced like a blanket and the shit ain’t mine this time. I get to leave it all behind.

So, I am weightless on this bed. Thinking about communion style wafers of white chocolate and laughter that fled at the sight of action and accountability, because standing on your own two feet ain’t never been a strength when you care more about Vera Wang than your own ability to become better and change.

Lying and manipulation is the crutch of your existence,

And me? I’m just weightless. I’m just feeling, dealing and healing. Because that’s what I do. Live my truth. Even if the self hating critics keep the rest of you in prison, I have escaped to never, ever return to that gate even if it grows flowers;

Unless I have a mallet
To knock down the malice.

Forgiveness Is For the Egomaniac

Forgiveness.  Sometimes I get tired of hearing this word.  What does it mean to me?  It feels moot; an unnecessary element in the totality of my growth journey.

I’ve learned a great deal about myself through this journey of therapy.  This host who carries these parts of me, she is intelligent and free spirited, kind and giving, thoughtful and strong willed.

These past few years have been a procession of betrayals, subsequent disenchantment rightfully created, and a slow withdrawal into an even tighter state of mistrust.  Yet, this is not the way I thought I was supposed to live.

I watch my cats closely.  I learn a lot from them.  One element of a cat’s personality is the way they are with people.  Rarely does a cat let someone close right away.  It takes time.  They watch.  They wait, observing.  My lack of waiting or accepting the signs that things with certain people were not right, have cost me relationships and a lot of hurt.

Yet still, I work through the process of these hurts and how does forgiveness play a role in it.  I don’t feel forgiving towards certain individuals.  I feel disappointment.  I feel anger.  I feel betrayed and used.

In what way would forgiveness change those emotions and what does that mean?  It feels plastic to me; passive aggressive, a sweep of the hand over the heart and the soft cliche of “I forgive you so that I can heal.”

That’s not how I feel.  To say that would be a line of bullshit.  I don’t forgive anyone who doesn’t have the humble ability to own their behavior.  I don’t expect forgiveness if someone feels I don’t own mine.  I say fuck off, get out of my life, and accept it if someone feels the same about me.

Forgiveness feels overrated and fake most of the time.  It feels like a way to smooth over or make excuses for shitty behavior and give someone a chance to wear the forgiveness crown.

No, I don’t forgive you.  That doesn’t make me bitter.  I’m just keeping it my kind of real in a “please, with sugar on top, fuck off” kind of way.

In the end, life continues on, and I wish no human any harm.  Forgiveness doesn’t hold miracles or healing for me.  I heal because I choose to.  I go forward because I move my feet.

Forgiveness feels as if it is for the ones who enjoy the idea of hanging as a victim on a cross, a personal self built pedestal, so they can announce to the world “forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Forgiveness is for the ego-maniac.