The Heaviness of Darkness

When darkness comes...

When darkness comes…


When darkness sits on people, it can really sit on them.

And squish them down.

And remove all joy, love, beauty from their lives.

Or for those with Dissociative Identity Disorder, the dark side of the system can completely flip over the top, dominating the other sides of the system.  The dark ones are in control. DID survivors, split and torn by years of traumatic darkness, pain, and heartbreak.

When addictions tromp in, the flip gets sealed in place.  Hold on tight –  the ride is going to get ugly now.

Those dark worlds promise so much in the beginning.  Fun. Freedom. No one tells YOU what to do.  Party on!  Hours, days, weeks of drinking, drugging, anything that alters the state of mind.  Darkness loves raging of any kind. And rage it is.

It might seem fun in the beginning. It usually “feels” fun in the beginning.

Except it hurts people.

It hurts those near you, and it hurts you.

Yet remember….   It came from hurt.  It is hurt lashing out.  Hurt becoming the hurter.

It’s so deeply devastating to watch someone you care about slip into the depths of darkness, consumed in the darkness, sinking further and further.  In your despair, and panic, you may try everything you know to pull them out. It can feel to be an impossible task.

It’s messy. It’s painful.  When you’re involved with someone lashing out that much hurt, you are likely to get hurt yourself.

Hope after Darkness


That depth of darkness comes from a depth of pain.

It’s probably more about emotional pain, heartache, heartbreak, loss, rejection, abandonment, loneliness, isolation, despair, anguish. . .

When covered in the darkness, that person doesn’t care about the hurting of others.  They only feel the lashing out needed from the overwhelm of their own pain.  In that place, it feels better to be dark too.  Lash out. Strike back. Push away.

It’s all so very complicated.

There are very fine lines between defending your own self from the lashings of darkness, and setting limits for what is an acceptable way to be treated. You’ll be targeted in the rage when you get close to that pain.  Strong boundaries are essential, of course.

Yet your gentleness and kindness of spirit is needed too.

To hear the pain, see the despair, and heal the hurt.

Battling away the darkness with a balance of firm yet gentle.  Solid yet soft.  Strong yet giving.

Find a way to reach into that darkness, and connect with the beauty of that person you care about.  It’s there.  They’ve been hurt.  Their beauty will come back out when it sees it is safe to do so.

Can you make it safe for them again?  Will you?

Who Made You Smile


Lots to think about…..

Such a complicated topic….

I wish you the best in your healing journey.



Copyright © 2008-2014 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation

About these ads

Where is Maizy?

Maizy!  Where are you, Maizy!

Maizy! Where are you, Maizy!

The holidays are coming!

Maizy is playing, and she wants to have some holiday fun this year. Maizy and her friends are saying hello.

Can you see her?

Can you see some of Maizy’s friends?

I can! :)


Copyright © 2008-2014 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation


Cats and Dogs and Trauma Survivors

Kathy Broady:

My cats and dogs have been so very important to me…
How about for you?

Originally posted on Discussing Dissociation:



Pets are very important to trauma survivors for a variety of reasons:

A place to express love, affection, and tenderness

Many abuse survivors have difficulties with attachment issues due their extensive histories of trauma, abuse, and neglect.  Because people were the perpetrators, trauma survivors frequently find it difficult and complicated to express caring and affection to other people.  And yet, many survivors can still feel loving connections, and they have the desire to appropriately express that.  Animals and pets feel safer for bonding than people, and because of that added safety, animals can become the positive target audience for the survivor’s feelings of love, affection, and tenderness.  Sometimes it just feels good to be able to hug a cat!


An acceptable substitution for maternal instincts

Many trauma survivors do not have children, or are not with their children, or do not want to have children, or cannot have children, are…

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Happy Jackie Christmas Story

Jackie Boy, wondering and waiting....

Jackie Boy, wondering and waiting….

There once was a funny ol’ bulldog named Jackie Boy. Jackie likes Christmas, and he really likes all the pretty colors of Christmas too. But in the town where he lives, it’s so very wintery cold. How could he go out and see all the pretty colored Christmas decorations if he was going to be shivering in the cold? Brrr.

Jackie didn’t like to be cold! He was a snuggle-buggle. He liked to be warm and cuddly. He was a bulldog, not an icicle!

Oh!! Jackie had an idea! Maybe if he snuggled under the Christmas tree, maybe the tree itself could keep him warm.

Would that work?

Jackie!  Where are you going, Jackie?

Jackie! Where are you going, Jackie?

Hey, what are you looking for, Jackie?

What do you see under that tree?

Is it warm under there?

How are you going to see all the pretty sparkly lights and bright colors  if you’re stuck under a tree, Jackie?

Silly ol’ Jackie was hoping the warmth from the Christmas lights would keep him warm.  He was just too too big to fit under that tree.  Way too big. This was a great idea for a bulldog, but it just didn’t work.


What could a bulldog do to stay warm enough to go out to see all the pretty colored Christmas decorations?

All of a sudden, Jackie’s good friend, Emma, had an even better idea.  Emma is a very clever girl, and she has lots of good ideas.  “Jackie!” Emma said.  What about this?  What about getting your very own Christmas sweater?  It can be any color of the rainbow, and you can be warm AND as pretty as a Christmas tree!

Emma the pug

Emma the pug


What a great idea, Emma!

A Christmas sweater.

A Christmas sweater? Yeah! A Christmas sweater!

Jackie had seen others in their pretty Christmas sweaters but he had never had one for his very own self.  How fun would that be!

Would he get a green one?  Oh, wait. Jackie liked red and blue.  What about yellow? He liked white too — white matched Jackie’s furry feet-socks and his pretty white nose.  Jackie knew that little Miss Emma’s favorite color was pink.  Big Jack knew he didn’t want any of that pink frilly girly stuff Emma liked.  She could keep her fluffy pink stuff all for herself!

What color of Christmas sweater would he get? Hmmmmm. So many colors to pick from.

Then he figured it out.

Wow, Jackie... Aren't you handsome now!

Wow, Jackie… Aren’t you handsome now!

He would get all his favorite colors in his fancy new Christmas sweater!


Isn’t this the best Christmas sweater ever?  You look GREAT, Jackie!

Jackie was so very happy in his snuggly warm Christmas sweater.  It was just perfect! Warm, and full of all his favorite colors!

Jackie was ready to go for his Christmas walks.  Would you like to go with him?

Find your favorite Christmas sweater and come with!

That's perfect, Jackie! Merry Christmas to you!

That’s perfect, Jackie! Merry Christmas to you!



Big ol’ Jackie Boy and little Miss Emma Girl hope you all have a perfect and beautiful sweater to wear too!



Copyright © 2008-2014 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation



4 Happy Thanksgiving Thankful For’s

Happy Thanksgiving!

For fun, I’m picking a few pictures that show you some things I am thankful for.

1.  Things that are beautiful. Nature is so incredible.

I'm thankful for things that are beautiful.

I’m thankful for all the incredible flowers in the world. Flowers are just so amazing!



2.  Memories that make me smile every time I remember them.

Maizy! There are some pretty ponies behind you!  Look, Maizy, look!

Maizy! There are some pretty ponies behind you! Look, Maizy, look!



3.  Funny, unexpected moments that create happiness.

Unexpected happiness, a moment that creates joy when you least Exocet it.

Unexpected happiness, a moment that creates joy when you least expect it.



4.  Animals, pets, lovable creatures, and beautiful critters.

Pinky, the puppy in the videos, loves to climb trees. Isn't she beautiful?!

Pinky, the puppy in the videos, loves to climb trees. Isn’t she beautiful?!


What four things are you thankful for????


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

I hope you feel some happiness today.


Happy Thanksgiving





Copyright © 2008-2014 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation





Thankful for You



Thank you, everyone, thank you.

For whatever reason, there having been record-setting views at the Discussing Dissociation blog this week.  I’ve been thoroughly amazed, and wow.  Thank you for coming here and reading!

I sincerely appreciate your time, your interest, your willingness to participate in comments, your sharing-forwarding-tweeting information about dissociative disorders, trauma and abuse, etc.   The more we unite together, informed, standing firmly against abuse, the greater hope we can offer each other.

Your visits here mean a lot to me, and I hope you continue to find this blog to be a helpful and supportive resource for yourself and your loved ones.

And may you all have a beautiful and generous Thanksgiving week.

Please remember to do something beautiful and kind for someone less  fortunate than yourself.

Many blessings to you all.



Copyright © 2008-2014 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation

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

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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