Denial, Not Just a River in Egypt

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The lights were down, Heilung was blasting on the headphones, and I settled into what I expected to be some romp down through mythological symbology. I even said, “Perhaps a drop from the river Lethe?” But, a little later, instead of being led on a journey, I find myself with a laptop open to a Word document titled “We Need To Talk”. Ah, crap.

The rule in the Word doc was that it not be shared directly with the public, so we could talk without holding anything back. I deleted the doc out of respect for that agreement and won’t give a blow-by-blow here. Basically, FW took me to task, saying that the problem wasn’t just the flashback but that it was making it hard for me to maintain my denial. Ouch.

But, I have to admit, FW is right.

I know, you’d think denial wouldn’t be an issue after all these years. Well, folks, I’m here to tell you it is. Even if we generally have accepted something as a system, that doesn’t mean every one of us has. And yes, every single alter can have separate denial issues. While I fully acknowledge aspects of our abusive past, this flashback brought me into contact with something I have been in denial of for most of my life.

I was built to work. (We grew up in the family business – working has been a thing since childhood.) And, until 3-4 years ago, that’s really all I did. I didn’t have to be in touch with the sexual abuse side of our history, I just had to work hard and bring home a paycheck. Then Janet stepped aside as host, and I somehow ended up with the job. And folks, I’m struggling with it.

For years I’ve held contradictory views in my head. On one hand, I’ve admitted to the sexual abuse history in therapy. On the other, I’ve privately doubted it and only accepted the abuse that I directly experienced growing up. I know, that makes no sense. I’m a trauma holder and I’m part of a DID system. Accepting abuse that happened outside of my awareness shouldn’t be hard. But it is, it majorly is.

But, thanks to flashback magic, it’s no longer outside my awareness. It’s not an academic thing that happened to the system but not to me personally. I FELT IT. Yes, I have had a flashback of sexual things before, but somehow convinced myself it was a fluke. Now I’m really wondering if what my system has said could really, really be true – that we were sexually abused on a regular basis for years. ICK.

At the end, FW presented me with the red pill and blue pill choice, although the red pill was labeled “grow” and the blue was labeled “wither and decay”. Put that way, I chose the red pill.

#denial #flashback #did

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1 year ago

Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing that.

I can relate to denial about abuses, and denial in other general forms. Denial that I am still triggered by things and need to talk it out.

Especially sexual stuff, because as much as I trust my therapist it’s just so hard to work past avoidance and denial.

But the way things were put to you, ‘Red Pill or Blue Pill; grow or wither and decay,’ it’s ever so true.

I hope sharing your thoughts here helped you at least a wee bit.

Something about sharing our truths (as much as we’re comfortable with), and doing the work (not alone, but by talking about it with another) somehow sets us free a bit.

It isn’t always painless or easy, which makes your sharing all the more admirable. I’ve been improving a bit lately, but aware of some areas of stagnance and triggering that are calling to be worked at… But I’m finding it hard to focus on inner work, despite nightmares and anxieties.

But then I become a better outwardly-functioning shell that’s numb, which is the beautiful illusion of my whole problem. And as time goes on, I’m getting more amnesia, depersonalization from my past, and denial about past abuses I have worked on… Which “seems” great, and messed-up, simultaneously. Because as nice as it is to not feel as traumatized, I lose my sense of self/selves and fall into the shell role. Which only works short-term, and never in the long run.

I need balance, or I’m leaning towards “taking the wrong pill.” It’s so hard for me to find balance. I tend to be all-in, hyperfocused one way, or another… Let alone rolling with the waves of life that knock me around.

That’s where routine is critical for me… I need to get back to scheduling journal time, reading a therapy book. It helps with the self-therapy, and knowing what to bring to my therapist to work on. But I’ve been letting it slip.

Thank-you for the reminder. I don’t want to be stuck in the areas of trauma that I am. I just want to be well and not be so disabled by dysfunction. But as things ebb and flow with my mental health/hormones/experiences/etc., I lose sight of ‘the forest from the trees’ (and vice-versa), and kind of wipe out and lose my progress and momentum.

I’m very grateful you shared what you did. I understand the struggling to work (I’ve full-out had to stop). And recovery is taking longer than it ever has from previous lows that took me off work.

Because it’s being more authentic than ever. And the struggle is real. But I need to remember I know what routine works well for me, and commit to putting myself first, properly. Showing myself proper love. Discovering what that is and how it feels, and what it can accomplish.

Sorry for such a long response, I just wanted to share what I got from your post in thanks for you sharing it, since it inspired me. Your gift of sharing this personal stuff is a big part of what I value about this Cafe space.

I know that not having DID means I can’t relate totally as well as I’d like to. I think I may even be now leaning towards presenting as subclinical for OSDD, as I feel more singular than ever… and that I ever didn’t feels kinda foreign to me, but is still an undeniable truth.

It’s still a mission to figure out who I am and how to function holistically for myself. And it’s just good to get a reminder that there’s still work for me to do on myself that I cannot afford to deny any longer.

Thanks again for sharing,


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