Emotional Abuse

The Emotional Container of Abuse

Verbal abuse

Emotional abuse.

This is a complicated topic.  It’s a topic I’ve tried to explain to many dissociative trauma survivors many many times.   The concept of emotional abuse can be hard to grasp.  This is because the trauma survivor often internalizes the perpetrator’s offensive verbage, believing it to be true.  But it’s not true.  Not at all.

In this article, I will describe one example of the dynamic of a verbally abusive offender inappropriately dumping his (or her) rage onto another person, with the survivor responding by taking her power back, and refusing to internalise the abuse that had been directed her way.

For the sake of this example, I will use a male offender with a female recipient.  We all know this dynamic can also occur male-to-male, female-to-female, or female-to-male.  For the sake of simplifying pronouns, I’m selecting the male-to-female option.

With emotional abuse, the offender could be an outside person, most typically someone well -known to the recipient.  OR, for trauma survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder, the emotional abuse can come from an internal system part raging at other internal parts, where the offensive insider is often an internal introject of a outside abuser.   Emotional Abuse

For impact, I’m choosing to write in the first person.  I’ve thought about this, and it  may be easier to understand my explanation of emotional abuse and how to separate yourself from that abuse if you read it as if you were the actual recipient and receiver of the emotional abuse.  Put yourself in those shoes.  You’ve probably been there too many times already.  You may very well identify with the feelings of internalizing emotional abuse.

What I’ve written below is an example of how to separate yourself from what the abuser said and did.  It’s a way to keep boundaries around you as you and to recognize what the abuser was doing TO you, not because of you.  For this scenario, let’s assume the verbal assault happened “the other day”.

** Do read this when you know you are in a safe place, in case the first person perspective is triggering. **

Ok, so…. It’s after the explosive event, and you are sitting alone, thinking about what happened, and in response, building an emotional boundary between yourself and the abuser.  You are rejecting the abuse.  You might not yet be able to say these things to the perpetrator, or escape the abusive events in the first place, but if you can start thinking these kinds of ideas, that’s an excellent start.

Here it is, the day after an emotional abusive episode.  Your thoughts, as the survivor-recipient addressing the behavior of the offender could be:


The Human Container

Recently, my therapist told me about people being the containers of emotions for others. It was a confusing idea for me at first.  I understand the metaphor now because that’s exactly what you just did to me.

For me, all that verbal diarrhea you piled on me the other night felt like vile vomit. Literally. Like you were vomiting anger, rage, accusations, hatred, ugliness, darkness on to me. And you were. You wanted me to become the container for all that yuck you feel inside, so you could empty yourself of it, and feel clean, light, free the next day.

I knew, at the time, that your words were descriptions of how you behaved. They were words about your feelings, your actions, your darkness, your mistakes, your failings. I knew you were throwing your emotional self at me, as if I were you. I guess I was the mirror, as you say. A mirrored trash can. You couldn’t see me. You were looking at your own self, convinced I was you. And boy, you were letting me have it about how terrible I was.

Except those descriptions were about your darkness. And gosh, you certainly hate yourself.

I have a darkness too, of course. And a big long list of my own mistakes and failings. However, my list looks considerably different from your list. We’ve done different things wrong.  We’ve had different darknesses. So spewing your dark vomit at me, on me, doesn’t fit. Because I don’t fit that list. That one belonged to you. That’s why I kept rejecting your spews, and kept refusing to accept them. You tried and tried to attach your emotional dark vomit to events in my life, you really worked hard at that, I saw that.

It still didn’t fit. My darkness is not the same as yours. So I continued to reject your spews.

Which of course, made you more angry because you really really needed to unload your darkness. It had become too much to carry, too heavy of a burden. So you dumped with more and more force. I wasn’t allowed to speak, because that creates resistance, and you needed to let the flow force get out of your emotional spirit space. Hence the term vile vomit.   Domestic Violence


Picture one person standing over top the other, with gallons and gallons of vile, stinky, chunky, putrid vomit rushing out of their giant wide-opened mouth on to the head of the other, the one sitting lower. With the force of Niagara Falls, the vomit falling from one, on to the other. Hollywood horror shows come to mind…. They’ve had plenty of scenes where the monster-alien pukes with force on to others.

That’s what it feels like. And if I don’t just take it, accept it, and be the open, willing vomit bag, (the newly assigned container of the vomit), then the violence starts. You’ll pound it into me if the emotional approach meets resistance or if the flow isn’t draining out fast enough for your relief. Or you’ll physically beat me or terrorize me into submission for taking on the vile vomit bag role. “Take the vomit, girly, take it! Take it and like it!!”  Ugh.

The point becomes your need to dump out all that rage, and put it on me to carry for you. You need release from it, and I’m the new container. I’m meant to feel it, not you. I’m meant to hold the negativity and darkness for you. You need me to blame. It has to be me that is the holder and container of the vile vomit.

You need to feel free and cleanse yourself of it. You need space from it.

So the day after, you get relief. I feel shitty. Container mission completed. The yucky emotional baton was passed over to me, from you.

Maybe you don’t know any other way to find a release for yourself except to dump it onto / into someone else.

This way works for you, for a short time. Maybe for a few hours, maybe for a few days. Not for long, because that darkness comes back inside you, and starts filling up your internal space again. Dammit!  I hate it when that happens. Because sooner or later, you’ll feel an overflow inside yourself, and the whole dumping out the vile vomit into a new container-person cycle will happen again.

While it’s gone though…. In those precious few hours you have truly let loose of the darkness within you, in that space, maybe you can feel good. Maybe you can enjoy life for a bit. It’s like a little holiday away from your problems. You can be your better self, the you who is not weighed down by the vomit. It feels good. Freeing. You truly put all that emotional baggage into the other person-container. It doesn’t feel like it belongs to you anymore. It now belongs to somebody else. Ahh, not carrying all that vile vomit feels good. Like how good it feels to puke after a strong hit of heroine.

Except you haven’t actually solved the problem. You took a hit of morphine. Emotional morphine. The darkness creeps back up again. It truly belonged to you in the first place.

It’s not unlike the serial killers you see on tv, in the way that they get their emotional release after violating another person with such intense violence. With a nice chianti. And a beautiful cigar. Until they need to release again.

Except you’re not a serial killer and somewhere in there, you know that violating others is wrong. Even if you need someone to become your barf bag, you know it goes too far, and that you’re gonna have bad karma for doing that to others.

It saddens my heart. Because you really can be a wonderful person.  I know that. I’ve seen the good side of you in there and I’ve cared for you for a long time.  I don’t really want to have to wall myself away from you.

Build a Wall

I don’t know where all your hatred and rage comes from. If I could build a wall around you to stop the flow of vile vomit from entering your spirit, I would. I can see how uncomfortable it is to be filled with such darkness and destruction.

I know you’re miserable when that happens, and I want to help.  I only know what works for me. Maybe it can help you too.  I don’t know what will work for you. I know what worked for me. If you’re interested, I’ll tell you more about that another time.

I really don’t like being your barf bag. IF I thought it would help in the long run, I’d think differently about it. I know it won’t help in the end — coz there is no end with that approach. I know the pressure will build up in you again, and one more drop of water will set it off again.

It’s a cycle, not an end. It’s a cycle, not a solution. And I’m not interested in being a barf bag for life.

So please find a different way to release that darkness. Find a relief that is genuine, not temporary. I’m meant to be a person you treasure…. Not the one who gets vomited on.

Get it straight.          Emotional Boundaries


Can you see how the trauma survivor is rejecting the vicious words said by the abuser person?

Do you see how she recognizes what is hers, versus what belongs to the other person?

She doesn’t accept his behavior as ok.  She recognizes the abuse as abuse and calls it such.

Obviously, getting literal safety and physical distance from any kind of abuse would be an important topic to discuss as well.  The point of this blog is to show an example of how survivors can battle back and refuse to accept and inhale or internalise abusive words.

You define who you are.  And yes, you can refuse to accept the abuse from another person.

Build your backbone.  Be strong within yourself, and don’t accept every yucky thing that gets said to you.

Push it back, and be tough!

You can do it. I know you can!


Copyright © 2008-2014 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation

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Mind Control Programming Basics VIII: Examining Our Own Motivations

Kathy Broady:

This is an excellent yet very challenging article by Rocking Complacency. Please read slowly, carefully, and with an open mind…

Originally posted on Rocking Complacency:

If asked the question directly, nobody who has been subjected to mind control programming would say they wanted to hold on to the effects of that programming. If asked directly, everyone would say they wanted to be free of it – and most of them would mean it.

Then why do so many of us find it so difficult to free ourselves from that influence, even when we really do want to?

As has already been discussed, the programmers contribute their share of obstacles by making it as difficult as they can. Naturally they don’t want all their work and effort to come undone at the slightest touch. They don’t want their work to be touched at all, and they make every effort to surround the programming with protective measures designed to discourage or (as they hope) prevent the dissociative system from being able to undo it.

Their controls can…

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Night Time Mystery Story, with Winnie the Pooh and Piglet too

Night Time Mystery Story


Hello Everyone,

Every dissociative trauma survivor I know has little ones in their system that feel afraid at night.  And they have plenty of reasons for their fear, especially since so much trauma happens at night time.

Because of all that night time trauma, for years and years, their night time fears, and bedtime fears are high.  In fact, it can feel so scary, that even when there is no real harm, the fear can still be great big giant huge huge huge.  Big people may call that PTSD, flashbacks and anxiety — kids call it scared!!

So today, I’ve decided to read a short Winnie the Pooh story that tells of a time when Piglet was afraid during the night.  Little tiny Piglet was too scared to sleep.

I think that probably your precious little ones might appreciate this story.


Take a look at this video on YouTube, Night Time Mystery Story, with Pooh and Piglet


Do your kids relate to that story?

Have they ever felt like that?

Have your little ones needed help to fall asleep at night?

I hope you and your littles find the story comforting.  They may listen to it over and over again if they do. :).


Piglet Finds Peace.

I absolutely believe that everyone needs to be able to sleep safely and peacefully.

What do you do to help your inner kids feel safe at night?

It’s so very important to take time to explore their fears, and talk with them.  Comfort them. Help them.  Address the problems with positive solutions in any way you can.

Do you read to your littles, or let them read?  As you can see, I certainly think that’s a good thing to do with them, for sure.

Cheers for more fun sleepy time stories!




A gentle pretty safe place to read a story.... See that tree log down there at the edge of the sand? That's where I was sitting to read this story. :)

A gentle pretty safe place to read a story. See that tree log down there at the edge of the sand? That’s where I was sitting to read for you.  Just like for Piglet in the story, there were weird trees all around me, but they didn’t get me. :).


This is a pretty place to read a story....

This is a pretty place to read a story….  When you feel afraid, try imagining being at a beautiful beach like this.  Be brave like Winnie the Pooh was when he helped his friend Piglet. :)


Copyright © 2008-2014 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation

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The Layers of Halloween Weekend

Kathy Broady:

For those dissociative trauma survivors struggling with the serious side of Halloween…
Insist on your safety this weekend, and battle to stay far far away from anyone that may want to hurt you.
Don’t go there. Decide to be in a calm and gentle place of your own preference, not in a scary, abusive, or traumatic environment.
Protect yourself and your insiders by finding something else to focus on in your day, evening, and weekend.
Safety first!

Originally posted on Discussing Dissociation:

Don't Make Me Go Back


It’s Halloween weekend.

This is a difficult, heavy weekend for a lot of dissociative trauma survivors.

I’ll say right upfront – and please hear this clearly — that it is NOT a difficult or triggery weekend for every DID trauma survivor.  To assume that every dissociative survivor has experienced the same kinds of abuse is completely wrong, and I will be the first trauma therapist to say that not everyone has gone through the dark sadistic abuses associated with the days most commonly known as Halloween.

If you can enjoy the fun sides of Halloween – bags of candy, apple-bobbing parties, carving pumpkins, or trick or treating in silly costumes — that is great news for you.  Halloween is a non-abusive, non-holiday, safe-on-the-surface level social event for most people.  For these folks, it is not intended to be anything more traumatic than seeing the pretense of gross plastic items…

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Can the Horrors of Halloween Drain Away, Leaving Room for Fun?

Kathy Broady:

Thinking of everyone who is struggling with this weekend…..
Hold tight, and stay safe….

Originally posted on Discussing Dissociation:

Fun caterpillar pumpkins, found on the SJCPL Blog

Fun caterpillar pumpkins , found on the SJCPL Blog

For most dissociative trauma survivors, Halloween is a difficult time.

Halloween is an expansion filled with horrific memories, vivid flashbacks, overwhelming darkness, and uncomforted fear.

Internal systems flip and change, with those typically lodged in the back finding their way to the front, making the usual everyday feel completely different from before. Working with these dark parts is essential for healing. They may frighten you, but they need your patience, understanding, and compassion for having survived the horrors they had no choice but to endure.

Living through the Halloween season with active PTSD and heavy traumatic overtones may be as delicate and sensitive as fighting for one deep breath after another.

It hurts. It’s scary. It’s confusing.

For survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder, and survivors of Ritual Abuse, the pain is real, and the struggles last year after…

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Was it now? Is it then? Will the Abuse Ever End?

Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow, all at the same time.  The plant that knows how it feels to be dissociative!

Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow, all at the same time. The plant that knows how it feels to be dissociative!


Hello Everyone,

It’s getting closer to Halloween, and as October happens, I’m quite sure that many of you are struggling with trauma memories, flashbacks, body memories, and the whole range of PTSD symptoms after experiencing trauma and abuse.

Sometimes it feels like the trauma will never end!

But it does.

I promise you, it does end.  It can end, and it does end.

You haven’t lived forever so the trauma hasn’t and won’t exist forever.  You may very well feel stuck in time, and that’s particularly uncomfortable, and yet, if you are reading this blog today, I can guarantee you that at some point in time, you were able to get away from the most recent trauma episode you experienced in your life.

The fact that you are sitting in the place where you see this blog now proves you were able to get away and leave the place of that abusive, traumatic situation.  You are HERE now. You can remember then, all too easily, but right at this moment, you are here, reading with me.  I am very sure you weren’t reading this article when those bad things happened.  That was then, and that terrible trauma ended.  You left that place, and / or the abuser person left that place.

Make sure everyone on the inside knows this.  Don’t assume they all know this because I guarantee some of them won’t be able to see this difference.  The recognition of time change is crucial for your healing.

Time distortion is a complicated experience for dissociative trauma survivors.  In the inside world, time can stop.  It can be the same time today as it was 10-20-30 years ago.  What happened then can feel as fresh and new as if it happened today.

The time confusion for dissociative trauma survivors continues especially when today feels disconnected, unreal, depersonalized, and distant.

So today doesn’t feel real, but 1973 does.

And you might not remember this morning, but you can remember everything from that bad day in 1987.

Ummmmm….  How confusing is that!

Watch this video called Yesterday Today Tomorrow for more comments on this time distortion, time confusion, and Dissociative Identity Disorder.


Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. http://youtu.be/2il4C-hDV54


Work hard with your insiders to connect them to now.  Without a lot of work on your part, your inside world may always feel stuck in time, and your insiders may stay completely tangled into the reality of the abuse they experienced in the past.  But outside time never stops. Outside world time keeps moving along whether you recognize that on the inside or not.

Help your insiders to see the outside world as it is now.  Help them to see they live somewhere else.  Help them to see new things in the world they’ve never seen.  Help them see that “bad guy” is no longer in the room.

Connecting your internal system with the reality of today is essential for your healing.


Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow . Does this beautiful fragrant flowering plant have Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow . Does this beautiful fragrant flowering plant have Dissociative Identity Disorder?


This is now.  That was then.

That was then.  This is now.

These are extremely important distinctions to learn for dissociative trauma survivors.

I wish you the best in your healing journey.




The beautiful fragrant plant calked Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.

The beautiful fragrant plant calked Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow.

Copyright © 2008-2014 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation


Not Listening to Abusive Teachings

You Are Listening

Hello Everyone,

These quotes are massively powerful in their simplicity.

Think of how they can apply to the healing process of a dissociative trauma survivor —  a survivor of any kind of abuse….. Child abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, domestic violence, ritual abuse, mind control.

I know and I know and I know without a shadow of doubt that horrific, hideous words were said to you during your years of trauma.  It was wrong for your abusers to say those words. Wrong, vile, and unacceptable on every level.

I am sure that those damaging words and phrases still can be heard in your mind, in your internal communication, and probably even in your own speech.  Removing that trash talk from your mind and your life is essential for your healing, your internal cooperation, and your overall peace of mind.

Have a look at these quotes again.  Can you apply them consistently in your life, and throughout your system?

Change Your Thinking


It is critically important for your healing that you no longer believe the negative, derogatory, ugly comments that were said by your abusers.  Those horrific words were not truth. They were violence.  They were meant to harm you.

You are not what they say.  You don’t have to listen to those words anymore.  You do not have to accept those words anymore.  You do not have to internalize those words anymore.

It is essential that you separate yourself from abuse.  You cannot control what abusers say, but you can decide to not listen to them.  You can move away from abusers.  You can leave abusive situations.  You can remove abusive speech from your insiders.

You don’t have to be trapped in their negative mind control.  You are who you say.  You can be your own self.  You can insist on appropriate, healthy, respectful language in your own system.


Know Your Worth


I can’t say it any better.

It really is important to put these truths into practice.  They are simply said, complicated to apply. Now that you are older, you have the ability, the strength, and the resources to make new decisions. You couldn’t remove yourself from the abuse when you were younger, but you can now. Now really can be different from then.

When you are recovering from the abusive things that were said to you, work tediously to replace those harmful words with positive.  Remove the tapes that were given to you by abusers.  Free your mind from the violence they said to you.  Bust the programming.  Move your insiders from their worlds of darkness.  Find your strengths, your interests, your talents, and build on those.

Fill your mind, your soul, your spirit, your life with words of your own choosing.

You don’t have to let their abusive teachings control you anymore.

You can create a beautiful life full of peace and harmony, inside and out.

I know and I know and I know that you can.




Copyright (C) 2008 – 2014 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation

Kathy’s Video Comments: Making a Strong Foundation for Dissociative Healing

Look at what it takes to build the foundation of this tree. Incredible, yes?!

Look at what it takes to build the foundation of this tree. Incredible, yes?!

Hello Everyone,

Silly ol’ me is using a tree metaphor once again to talk about Dissociative Identity Disorder and the very many different areas of healing work to do in DID therapy.  It’s “Tree Tree-ment” for dissociative trauma treatment. Ha ha ha.  :)

This particular video follows along with the article,  50 Treatment Issues for Dissociative Identity Disorder  .

I call this tree a fig tree, but I don’t know that I’m right about that.  It’s a big weird freaky tree. The size is incredible, and the base is massive, hence the connection to all the areas of healing process for dissociative survivors.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the amount of work required to reach safety, stability, solidity, serenity?

There are so very many areas of work needed for healing.  After being so shattered by tragic life events, re-building a strong foundation for  your life and system is difficult but possible.  It’s not easy, but your growth can be as impressive as the tree I’m showing you in this video, Treatment Goals for Dissociative Identity Disorder.


When you watched the video, did you see my puppy dog in the background? She’s not hiding, but you might have to look for her. She’s definitely visible at a few points. Look close to see if you can find her!

The other side of this big ol' tree...  It's just incredible.

The other side of this big ol’ tree… It’s just incredible.


I hope that seeing the benefits of a strong solid foundation, even though it means a whopping lot of hard work, encourages you to do all that it takes for your healing.

If you need some idea of what the treatment goals are for dissociative healing, remember to read  50 Treatment Issues for Dissociative Identity Disorder .


A broader view of the whole tree..... It needs that giant base.

A broader view of the whole tree….. It needs that giant base.


Do you see the similarities with my tree picture and this detailed picture about  Dissociative Identity Disorder?  Amazing resemblance, yes?! (Photo credit: genelin1211)

Do you see the similarities with my tree picture and this detailed picture about
Dissociative Identity Disorder? Amazing resemblance, yes?!
(Photo credit: genelin1211)

How amazing is that picture about how it feels to have Dissociative Identity Disorder?!

I wish you the best in your healing journey with 50  “treement” issues for DID.  :)



Copyright © 2008-2014 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation

I’m Not Gonna Miss You

Falling Over

Alzheimer’s takes so much away.

The person you knew and loved is not there anymore. You can still see them, but it’s not them. They are there, but they are gone.  They are no longer standing as who they once were. They’ve fallen, and become someone else.

Alzheimer’s is such a tragic disease.

Most of us have lost loved ones to one form of disease or another.  Disease, injuries,  accidents, illnesses. All kinds of  troublesome events can take our loved ones away from us.

Loss and grief are such painful emotions.

If your heart is breaking, or has been broken by watching your loved one slip away from you, please have a listen to this incredible song by Glen Campbell, written about his final stages of Alzheimer’s. It has just recently been released, and will be Glen Campbell’s final song.

I think it’s his best song.

This music is just far too powerful and heart-reaching to not share. I’m sure we all can relate to how it feels to lose someone.

I’m Not Gonna Miss You — a heart-wrenching description of Alzheimer’s Disease , grief, loss, and passing.

So beautifully but painfully intense.

I realize that most of the readers of this blog are not here to hear about Alzheimer’s .  However, many of the mental health diseases and the long term effects of trauma can steal people away from each other.  Or prevent relationships. Or interfere with relationships. Or end relationships.  Or block feelings.  Or block emotional connections.  Or create distance between people.

You might understand a whole lot about how this feels.

It hurts.

I hope this song brings comfort to your pain.



Copyright © 2008-2014 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation

Kathy’s Video Comments: Are You Switching in your Sleep?

Lunar Eclipse 2014


Hello Everyone,

How did you sleep last night? There was a big freaky lunar eclipse last night. I went outside to look but I didn’t see it due to cloud coverage. You might have seen it. Was it incredible and fascinating or was it scary for you?

All this busy night time activity reminds me of the 2010 Discussing Dissociation article, Switching in Your Sleep -– Are you Snoozing or Secretly Awake?  It is one of the most viewed articles here at Discussing Dissociation.

Dissociative trauma survivors often struggle with unknown or unrecognized night time activity in their system. There are plenty of reasons for that.

This video comment explains a few of the ways switching and sleeping get tangled together for dissociative trauma survivors.

Kathy from Discussing Dissociation

Kathy from Discussing Dissociation

Are You Switching in Your Sleep?: http://youtu.be/uHqAWf1ndgE


 I hope this is helpful.

Please stay safe!



Copyright © 2008-2014 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation