We’ve just woken up from nightmares, so are sitting at the computer distracting… As far as I know the nightmares weren’t about the ex-husband, but for some reason we’re sitting here remembering how he used to enjoy our dissociation. It meant he could abuse us further, and he knew when the softer, gentler parts such as Sophie were present so that he could get away with greater levels of psychological abuse.

When we met him he admitted to having been abused by his sister and her friend from the age of 7. It stopped when he said it was to stop, which was when he was about 12-13. It affected him badly, and he was diagnosed with PTSD. But we think he had bigger issues happening in his brain, but they were never really addressed as he never attended therapy for any decent amount of time. When Management said that he was a sick puppy… well he was a sick puppy! The things he enjoyed and thought were beyond the scope of normal “kinkiness”.

Sometimes when we were bad, he would gain attention at his work by telling all his workmates the latest exploits of his wife’s trip up to the local psychiatric ward. He loved having to ring up his boss in the early hours of the morning while we were being assessed to say that he wouldn’t be able to make it to work because we were being assessed (again). This was despite the fact that we often went straight to work after these assessments. So he loved the attention that our craziness could bring… and also he hated work so used us as an excuse to get out of it whenever possible.

One of the things that we just realised… In the later part of the marriage, his time off work was starting to get him into trouble… so the attention he gained there had started to turn negative. This meant he had to try and get that level of positive attention with us. His description of positive attention involved cutting in front of us and the one we hadn’t realised until tonight… he used to mimic our dissociation and dissociative switches. We might be being unkind, but he only started doing it in the last 6 months that we were together, so it wasn’t an enduring pattern that had been with him since the start of the relationship which lasted a very long 8-9 years.

Our dissociative switching is fairly “smooth”. It usually just involves a sharp intake of breath, rapid blinking, slight cough or if there is an internal battle a zoning out for a short time. It was the zoning out, or blankness that he would mimic.

How very odd…

Hope he one day gets the help he needs… We don’t think he will as he refused to go to the court ordered family violence courses that were part of the Protection Order we were awarded against him. A big part of seeking the Protection Order was to protect other women from him. His final assault involved him attempting to strangle us, we knew from his stories that he’d tried to do the same thing to his mother before we met him. So he was into repeating patterns of violence. He was going to keep on repeating those patterns until he got some help. We’d tried to get him to go to get help for the last four years of our marriage… We gave up on that, and on us near the end.


4 thoughts on “Realisations…

  1. As I was reading this, I remembered something you said about another of your therapists who seemed to “enjoy” your dissociation (I think that was the word you used). After reading this post, I can only imagine how deeply triggering that must have been for you, to feel that a therapist was having a reaction similar to that of an abuser.Thank heaven you managed to get away from that marriage. And how generous that you can realize your husband’s cruelty was sparked by cruelty that had been done to him.My therapist has told me several times that when children are repeatedly traumatized, they either develop a dissociative disorder or a personality disorder. She says that even though they’re incredibly difficult to deal with, dissociative disorders are preferable, and more open to healing … because the core self hasn’t broken, whereas with a personality disorder (such as narcissism or sadism) the core self has been broken and needs to be reconstructed in an elemental way.Funny to think we might be the lucky ones. Many people with personality disorders never seek help.

  2. Yes our previous therapist seemed to enjoy the dissociation a little too much. It was in different way, but it was still unhealthy – she would put toys out if she thought Aimee was coming; said that listening to the different parts tell their story was a “privilege”… So it wasn’t the sort of enjoyment that the ex-husband got from it, but still felt very uncomfortable at times. Also made us worry about making the dissociation worse that it already was.Yes the ex-husband was definitely wounded severely by his childhood. We realised just how extensive that wound was too late. We just hope he would get help. But I fear that you are accurate in that he has a personality disorder, and will never get assistance for it. When we were tested for the personality disorders we showed him the test, he was open about how many of the questions he would have to answer in the positive too. Including many of the ones we would never have guessed would apply to him.He is a consummate liar and fools many of those around him… We’ve just heard back from the contact given by Susan (from ISST-D)… she’s another lovely helpful person. Things are looking more positive ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I’m so glad that you’re making more positive contacts! I continue to hope that the right person will come your way.That does sound a bit creepy, re: your therapist, though it is common for therapists working with DID clients to keep comfort objects in the room for young alters. I had the same worry, when I started therapy and discovered six other alters of whom I had not been consciously aware … I was concerned that bringing them out would make things worse. At least in my case, it didn’t — it helped them to understand that we shared a body (which several of them didn’t know) and that we were living in current time. I did find that I became much more sensitive to who was being triggered and when, which has been uncomfortable, but also useful to learning how to un-do certain kinds of triggers. Of course all of this varies hugely from client to client, and the important thing is to have a therapist to whom you feel comfortable speaking your concerns, so that they can be addressed with information, or soothed by a change of procedure.

  4. Hi David,Yes we had a couple of soft toys and a piece of fabric that were left in the previous therapists office for comfort. But this went beyond that… She was really nice, and had lots of experience with trauma. But we were her first DID client and sometimes she enjoyed that fact… Someone commented once that we felt like a specimen that she was studying and helping her to gain a reputation as treating “one of the oddities”. She would’ve been VERY happy to answer any questions via email :)Even if the email contacts don’t come to anything with these other therapists, at lest it has given us some hope and a bit more fight! The one who lives closer to us wanted to know if we could travel to Auckland for therapy – considering send her a copy of our entry about the trip up there for work ๐Ÿ™‚ That should assure her that the answer to that question is a “No”!!Take care…

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