2 Maya Angelou Quotes

Quotes from Maya Angelou – and a mini rant

*Trigger Warning: This post may contain triggers; read at your own pace*

Disclaimer: this is a place of learning, safety, and hope. Take what you want from the post and forget the rest. Maybe this will help you. Maybe it won’t.

REMINDER: These are my opinions and thoughts unless clearly attributed to another source. Feel free to stop at the graphic if you don’t want to read the rant ūüôā

One of the best days of my high school life was when our literature teacher had us read Maya Angelou’s work, starting with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Back then I didn’t understand why Ms. Angelou’s words resonated deep within me or how I could relate to the story. But I did.

And still do. Relate and resonate with her words, guidance, wisdom (your words here).

My alter personalities enjoy reading poetry and biographies once in a while. But often they read these books after a complete switch, leaving me and some others out of the loop. It’s okay because we all have different interests and want to keep some things only ours instead of shared.

But they wanted me to share these two quotes with you today because they feel relevant to all the changes happening in present time.

Ms. Angelou is like a rainbow peaking out of the clouds when I feel down. Maybe she can help you too.


Mini Rant

And now for the mini rant. I feel so frustrated and am not sure who to talk to or how to address this continuing problem in my life. It’s not like any part of me asked to be wired this way. But certain parts of my sense of self will take longer to heal than others.

Should I have listened to my instincts and cut the person off as soon as they started tingling? Or was continuing the conversation until the inevitable rejection a better option? I don’t really know. But I do care and wish relationships were not so messy or complicated.

If you’ve read past posts, you realize that social media is difficult for me on many levels. I have trust issues and “feeling safe” issues among others that relate to who is “friended” or “unfriended” becomes a “connection” or gets “disconnected” or “follows” and “is followed” on different accounts. Lots of mistakes in the past make me careful about what content I put up and where I go to interact on social media.

The other part that comes up here frequently is my choice to be single and celibate on purpose. Then explaining to people who connect with me on LinkedIn or other other social media places that I am not available without oversharing or overreacting to the trigger.

What is the trigger?

Male or female flirts with me/hits on me/shows signs of sexual attraction

My automatic/instinctive reaction?

Oh s*** he/she/they/it is dangerous and trying to attack/hurt me. Gotta protect myself. Time for the alters to come out and communicate with him/her/them/it.

Yeah, it never ends well for me (and sometimes the other too) once my instincts kick in.

So back to the social media – I am on LinkedIn for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is that it’s supposed to be a professional network for people to connect and support each other’s business and work goals. Not for people to find partners or flirt or set up dates or other personal type connections.

And yet, twice in the past two years I’ve had men connect with me and then use the messaging tool to flirt with me. One time I asked customer support to intervene. The last time, I made a mistake and let it go on too far because of a miscommunication about the word “friendship”. That kept me up late last night and into this morning with all these thoughts:

Did I share too much? Or not enough?

Was I kind in my rejection? Or too blunt as I explained my reasons for not wanting his type of “friendship”?

Should I not have explained about the sexual and physical abuse in my past and how that translates to me being unable to feel or experience sexual attraction for others in the present?

*key point here: my body is healthy and normal (so the doctors, etc. say) and does react to physiological stimuli – my body reacts to attractive males – but the rest of me does not. Instead, everyone else notes the physiological reaction and reacts with “Oh s*** time to protect ourselves again”*

All my counselors agree that this is a defense mechanism developed when I was still a toddler to protect me from the abusers and pedophiles. And some day in the future, when I feel safe and learn to trust a male with those sensitive parts of myself, I will feel sexual attraction and romantic love and all that other stuff.

Key words being “some day”.

Not now. Not months from now. Not a year from now.

And so I still get frustrated with trying to make friends and be friendly without the “sex stuff” – as my child and teen alters call it – getting in the way.

Times like this, experiences like this, make me want to give up and go back to being a hermit who lives in her head. No worries about other people or other beings (my plants). No worries about being kind or considerate of others. No worries period. Just suffering and existing on a routine that keeps me breathing.

But then I get the proverbial kick in the ass from somewhere and realize I’m too selfish to give up the life I have now. I like/love/accept all parts of myself and who I am becoming. I enjoy having people, plants, and wildlife around.

I even find humor in the challenging people sent my way to teach me life lessons.

And this means prejudice, bullies, emotional blackmail, poverty, accidents, deprivation, rejection, or whatever else comes my way. My new neighbors teach me about change every moment of the day and evening. Like Maya’s quote above – I can’t change the people or the situation, but I can change my perspective and attitude about the people and the situation.

2 Maya Angelou Quotes

Plus, living, thriving with joy and prosperity as I roll with the challenges is the best kind of revenge against people trying to tear me down.

Maybe it’s the best kind for you too? Or maybe not…

Either way, I fall into a shame spiral. Fall over the side and drop for a bit. Then pick myself up and make the climb back to the top. But not the same place I fell.

The journey back up always takes me along a different path, but always gets me where I need to be in the end.

How do you handle communication and relationship challenges? If you want to share, please write in the comments. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Thanks for reading.

DID Posts: Communicating With Outside People/apartment hunting/being me

Beware this is a long rambling post…

Being watched – paranoia or reality?

One thing I as the host often say to people is that I feel like people are always watching me.  And no one in my circle of friends really challenges that.  Except for the people in my new home state; they challenge me on this often because no one here really does watch me the same way as before.  And in spite of knowing about my past, they really do believe I am worrying too much about what others think of me.

From their perspective and experience, it’s true. ¬†And without the added trauma history of my past, I’d agree with them 100%. ¬†But, and this is a big BUT, even though my perspective may be skewed (I always appreciate friends helping me adjust perspective and kicking my ass when necessary), the origins of these feelings are real. ¬†I can’t always verbalize these thoughts in a way that makes sense to outsiders.

So both perspectives are true. ¬†And each perspective matches alter personalities in our system. ¬†In general, I lack confidence in speaking to people because I never know what’s going to come out of my mouth. ¬†Then I worry about offending other people (trigger from past experience) with my opinions. ¬†Where I live now, I am not being watched by other people except in the usual sense.

Never Alone, always observed

But, sometimes I feel like I’m being watched. ¬†And in a conversation today, I realized that I am being watched. ¬†Not by outside people, but by my alter personalities who are observing and protecting me as I start to relax and be more myself around lots of people. ¬†They are feeling hyper-vigilant while the adult parts of me are ready to let go, relax, and show confidence in socializing and communicating verbally with people.

Sounds strange right?  But maybe not so much to someone else with DID or who is close with an individual who has DID?  It feels strange that right now I am my own worst enemy towards moving forward.  At the same time, it also feels right and true because the parts of me who are scared and feeling hyper-vigilant are also the ones who were abused, shamed, criticized, and humiliated in public/private/around family/in the community all the time.

They are trying to protect the system (aka us) from experiencing that again. ¬†In doing so, they focus on everyone else’s communication and behavior while ignoring how we are appearing to everyone else. ¬†And my attention as host is split. ¬†Then other alters try to help by taking over and socializing or communicating. ¬†And if many of us try to communicate at the same time? ¬†Well that never ends in a good place either.

Stress of Communicating with Family While also Apartment Hunting

So this week was full of strangeness.  I had to communicate with various family members Рtrying not to play favorites Рand also spent a lot of time interacting with strangers as I went apartment hunting.  In my world Рtalking to people = untold amounts of stress.  I can only do that comfortably for short periods of time after a lot of internal preparation.

But I had goals to accomplish this week.  Lots of them.  One goal was to nail down an apartment I could call home for many years.  Another was to go out someplace new and experience peripheral socializing.  i.e. find someplace outside of my apartment where I could relax and maybe write blog posts or read or research information for the Resources page.  I kind of did both by apartment hunting.

Now my choices are narrowed down to two options:  

Option 1 offers a lot of amenities, but is kind of pricey. ¬†The space is large enough to accommodate my home office and living space while still small enough for me to feel comfortable. ¬†And it’s an open plan studio in a new construction building.

Option 2 is a smaller open plan studio in a renovated boarding house with less amenities and a price well within my budget. ¬†The space is open plan and has built-in shelving to help utilize the space in the best possible way. ¬†I’d have to think creatively and work with the owner, but can definitely fit office and living space.

 

 

Hiding Behind a Shield of Insecurity

I’ve spent a lot of time downplaying my skills and experience, hiding my natural strength and confidence under layers of shame or abuse-induced insecurity. ¬†Slowly but surely, those layers are being peeled away. ¬†But it’s at times like this – when I get wrapped around and twisted inside those memories without even realizing it – that I am holding myself back because of fear.

All I see is the negative.  All I see is how people are reacting to me.  All I feel is blame and responsibility for offending those people with my lack of (whatever) and inability to stay focused on the conversation during the interaction.  I fear miscommunicating Рbeing misheard and misunderstood Рmore than anything else.

DID makes following a conversation difficult sometimes. ¬†I switch unconsciously when I feel safe and comfortable. ¬†My alters and I all share thoughts and speak with the same voice and face most of the time. ¬†Only when feeling scared or angry do physical changes manifest. ¬†So most people don’t know if I am speaking to them or myself, and I’m not even sure sometimes.

It’s like living in a crazy-making world where everything I say is twisted around until I get into trouble. ¬†Past triggers meet present.

If I remember the conversation, great I can cover up alter opinions as thinking out loud or reflecting on information. ¬†The times when I don’t remember or when I switch because I feel threatened during social interaction or conversation are the ones that cause the most trouble. ¬†And also the experiences that cause my alter personalities to “watch” or “react to” everything with hyper-vigilance.

Conclusion

As I settle in to my new home, I find myself more and more frustrated with this insecurity about communication.  For some reason, I feel more scared in the summer than I do any other time of the year.  Yes, I deal with worsening symptoms, body pain, flashbacks, and so on other parts of the year.  But I never feel as scared and mute then as I do now.

I chose to live alone, to be alone.  And I enjoy my current lifestyle.  But I feel so much anxiety and discomfort socializing because of internal expectations I never knew existed.  As my alters share these expectations with me, we all realize that they are the foundations for this fear and insecurity.  Something else to work on in therapy.  Thanks alters for finally opening up.

Thanks for reading today’s ramble.

DID Post: Clarification about POV for DID posts in general and the “DID Post: What does my internal system look like” post in particular

It has come to my attention that the tone and perspective of the posts written in the DID Posts category may be mistaken or misunderstood by guests and readers.

Many of the posts about DID are written by one or more alternate personalities who prefer to use a “locked vault” system of writing. ¬†That means I (the one in charge of dealing with the outside world most of the time) am not directly involved in ¬†the creation and editing of all of them. ¬†Nor am I always the one to post the articles, re-read, edit, or check for potential miscommunications in tense, tone, or point of view (POV). ¬†And the authors do not always realize how their words and writing styles could be interpreted by our guests on ¬†the blog; especially the younger ones.

For this, we all want to apologize for any miscommunications or accidental insinuations that came from the post 2 weeks ago entitled: “DID Post: What does my internal system look like“. ¬†This post was written from the perspective of 2 alters between 10 and 12 years old with help from some of the other adults who related better to them. ¬†One alter is female; the other is male. ¬†They want everyone here to know that¬†the post is written from the perspective of how they used the tools our therapist gave them and the process they used to get around, through, and away from many triggers that caused failure, frustration, anger, and grudging acceptance. ¬†The post¬†is not at all about the approach or method that our therapist uses. ¬†In fact,¬†it is the OPPOSITE of her approach in many ways.

The girl alter and the boy alter explain a bit about why they wrote what they did in that post at the end.

This will happen often with DID posts because writing a post about the DID experience is full of conflicting feelings, perceptions, attitudes, thoughts, and reactions. ¬†For many posts, there will be a “process” or “method” type post written from the perspective of the alter or alters sharing their story that focuses less on introspective feelings and thoughts and more on the steps, strategies, and tools involved. ¬†Later on, after the alters have had some down time to reflect on any changes between then and now, they might write about a similar experience with the introspective feelings and thoughts that show more of the therapist’s approach in offering strategies or homework; what their reaction was to that approach; and why they used that process. ¬†We write our posts this way because trying to incorporate process and feelings into the same post gets too messy and complicated – not to mention LONG.

IT IN NO WAY REFLECTS THE THERAPIST’S ATTITUDE, APPROACH TO WORKING WITH CLIENTS, OR POINT OF VIEW ABOUT THERAPEUTIC METHODOLOGIES.

As a reminder, I will say once again that these posts are written from my or my alters’ point of view and perception of how any one or all of us used the tools. ¬†It in no way reflects/assumes/insinuates/intimates the approach, attitude, therapeutic process, feelings, or intentions of any of the therapists¬†written about here unless specifically noted¬†within the article.

GIRL ALTER’S EXPLANATION OF THE POV: I spent too many years having to nag or repeatedly ask questions or do my own investigations to get answers from any female adults. ¬†The answers they gave me were evasions at best and lies at worst. ¬†Any creativity or intelligence/outside-the-box-thinking I showed got everyone in our system punished with verbal attacks, public humiliation, private beatings, bullying or increased sexual duties on top of doing my homework, by brother’s homework, laundry, housekeeping, and covering for my mom when she went into one of her moods. ¬†So yeah, I was angry and upset. ¬†I didn’t want to do the mapping exercise, but I wanted to know the rest of my family. ¬†I tried and failed so many times. ¬†I got lost in the dark. ¬†I got eaten by the monsters. ¬†I got trapped, stuck in mud holes up to my neck, dumped on, and had to relive every single punishment that came from being creative each time I tried to participate in the mapping exercise. ¬†It wasn’t until one of the other alters was passing by and stopped to help me rescue myself from the flashbacks that I understood what the mapping and communication meant to all of us. ¬†So yeah, I was pissed, angry, upset and confused. ¬†I knew there were more like me inside, but I’d never really “met” them; only hear our therapist and didn’t understand why she never talked directly to me before until I met that alter.

BOY ALTER’S EXPLANATION OF THE POV: I hated being trapped in a weak girl’s body. ¬†I was full of anger and resentment and confused about why I couldn’t be in charge all the time. ¬†I was a boy, much stronger than anyone else (not that I believed anyone else existed at the time) and exactly what mom and dad wanted. ¬†They wanted their first born to be a son not a daughter. ¬†It wasn’t a big deal until the body turned 10 years old; that’s when weird things started to happen. ¬†Instead of the penis appearing like it was supposed to according to mom, the body grew breasts and hips. ¬†And our stomach started feeling weird sometimes. ¬†I heard the therapist in session and always liked listening to her; she didn’t judge or push or force programs and lesson plans on me. ¬†She didn’t pretend I was invisible either when I talked to her. ¬†But I was in charge when I was out. ¬†And I didn’t want to give that up. ¬†I was the oldest, strongest, best and wanted everything to stay that way. ¬†The mapping exercise made the monsters come out more often and gave them ore power over me. ¬†I didn’t want or need help from the other imaginary people in here. ¬†Or that is what I thought until I got kidnapped and forced into reliving the secret rituals again. ¬†The alters who came and rescued me made time to teach me how to escape and protect myself first. ¬†That’s when I learned I wasn’t the only one there. ¬†They let me help rescue the others too; we all made it out safely. ¬†And that’s how I became part of the map. ¬†Grudgingly, with a chip on my shoulder. ¬†So yeah, that attitude was all me, not our therapist.