Friday, August 12, 2011

The Cinderella Expense

I have always walked beside myself.  I never was able to totally put myself back together after that experience of having a bag put over my head and was very nearly killed.  Although I didn't die, I felt as if I did.  After years and years of being silent I have chosen to speak up about certain and a very select few of events in my life .  I will try and explain the devastating effects that such events can have on your life by sharing how it destroyed any sense of self I may have had at one point in my life.  I was under the age of Five when the  "Killing Karen" was the agenda of my sibling and then................  

Walking along side myself is far easier than walking inside myself due to the pain.  Living this way  also helps to distribute the pain out over a greater amount of space to be absorbed.  The difficulty comes into play when you try to get others to accept the amount of pain you are in all of the time.  In general people seem to believe that you can just put things down or get over what has happened to you.  This is not possible when you have split off from yourself.  This has been my greatest and most difficult hurdle to cross.  Therefore I am going to try something new and tell you the story from a split point of view.

I started this entire experience at a very young age.  Ever since that particular time I have been split from myself and unable to get back into my body.  I have never spoken about this due to the sensitivity of such a thought or concept and the disbelief that I know I will be met with.  However before judgment is thrown out into the wind, three years ago I had a counselor speak to me in a therapy session about my meta self.  I did not buy into her conversation  because I felt it would counterproductive and held against me should I agree with her theory or go as far as to admit it.  Contrary to what you would think, this is a truly exhausting form to be stuck in. It is an unending frustration that you suffer silently with for fear of repercussions by those that think its funny or it is not a possibility.  You actually learn to  halt your efforts or your attempts to correct what was happened to you by walking along side your human self..  It is as if you are constantly double checking with yourself to ensure that you are nearby.  Laugh if you will but this is a proven and very complex problem. It's a protective mechanism called up by the nervous system when it reaches its maximum capacity to process stimulation (both internally and externally).  Anger speaks today.  My vice is myself and restraint is a burden I wish to carry no more.

When I was sixteen years old I was watching the 3:30 Movie on Channel 7 in San Francisco, California at my mothers house in West Clay Park.  My brother came into the room with two guns.  One was an AK47 and the other was a pistol.  He proceeded to load the pistol in front me, I froze in terror. ("We experience dissociative states when our nervous system is strained to the limit. We're "too full". In other words, we've inadvertently taken in more stimulation than the nervous system can handle.  Life circumstances can overwhelm the nervous system at any time in our growth or later, for example through physical traumatic events. Unresolved issues and traumas can ignite the dissociative pathways. It's a matter of degree. Think of the operating system in a computer. When its' maximum capacity is reached it shuts down inessential software programs in order to save its resources for critical functions, while ensuring that important files are not lost. In effect, the brain does the same thing. When maximum nervous system processing capacity has been reached, the dissociative mechanism comes on line and shuts down less important systems such as our ability to concentrate. Dissociation is a type of freeze response. To the degree that you are dissociative, will be the degree of impairment in your ability to take appropriate fight or flight responses (e.g. being physically threatened). In other words, you are more likely to move into freeze whether you want  or not (e.g. freezing at gun point during a bank robbery).")  I could not speak, as the memories of him killing me as a young girl flooded my mind and caused me to become spatially challenged within my very being.  I could not move to save myself from what was impending doom from him once again.  The horror of my youth was happening.  With anger and sarcasm my brother pointed the pistol at my head and said, "BANG."  He pulled the trigger, my second self left  instantly, never to return again (Hindsight of coarse being 20/20 in this matter.)   Remaining calm in my actual self, I began to get up very slowly, heading towards the closed door.  He came at me once again with that look in his eye.  I recognized it from long ago as him saying to me, "I am going to kill you now." I sat back down, acting as if this was all no big deal.  The commercial break was over and the movie came back on, "Bang" "Click, " another gasp of breath escaped me. I felt faint as my older brother continued his banter of hatred towards me.  He finally got up off the couch turned away for a moment, I was gone, I disappeared into my mothers house.  My brother took my life on that day. He smashed what I had become into pieces and I have never been able to recover any of it.

As I stand in the place of myself and explain to you your short comings, I hope that you desire the wealth of mind, spirit and body I propose.  This is oppose to what it seems that you require while subject to living your life on this planet.  In a very limited way, I hope that you will open your imaginations to a different path that may deliver to you the enlightenment you are so badly in need of in your lives.  To watch from a distance as people betray one another for self gain, I ponder the value of their existence.  Death delivers the final blow to your perceived reality of yourself and your beliefs.  No one speaks of such things in our Country due to the fear of death itself.  Although splitting, dissociating and near-death experiences are on the rise, the belief in such an extension of life is frowned upon.  These documented aspects of a different and challenging dimension to those that live such things has been greeted with doubt and disdain by the general public.  Sadness for your appreciation of other forms of life, even be it death, should cause you to be troubled in your own minds, for in truth you lack belief.  Not one person will escape the finality of the loss of your life.  The reality and bitter truth of such a thing will eventually greet you as an individual.  You will not have the support of anyone but yourself and your own belief structure to lean upon.  For it is in death and in the separation of yourself from your mortal form that you find the truth about the after-life.

I would believe in my limited knowledge of life itself, that a person would be more prone to investigate all avenues in regards to what will happen beyond your simplistic life on this Earth.  Rather I have found that people shut out what they wish to turn from, condemning it as heresy if brought up in conversation or concern.  And what people at large seemingly turn from in this country is all of the beliefs around the world that believe in reincarnation or as I would like to put it, "We all seem to go around again, somehow."  Because in any reality, altered or not, I feel as if I have been here before.

It is discouraging for those of us that would like to open our minds and our hearts to a different belief due to the horrid and rather severe neglect and abuse that we suffered as a child to be so readily shot down when the subject of difference to belief is broached.  Instead we are told disparaging and negative things about ourselves and our ideas.  In addition we are incapable of exploring new avenues with any of our own ready beliefs due to the fact that this one religion, one belief of only Heaven and Hell has seemingly swamped this country and its people.  Therefore we remain silent and without opinion in order to survive this tragic, yet very real life of disastrous proportion. 

After being tortured by your family that has spiritually and religiously abused your mind and soul, you would think that there would be a greater acceptance of you as a singular person.  You would lean towards believing that upon hearing your remarkable story, the christians would want to encourage you back into what it is they believe, as oppose to threaten you with the biblical wrath of your proposed sin towards god.  I never have seen anything other than threats of "Burning in Hell," as my end all for my disbelief towards what destroyed me as a youth in the city of San Francisco.  You would think that if the christian was so inclined to be absolutely revered that they would give support and be curious, not condemning, of your own personal revelations so that they may alter them in the end. Not so, as I am sure many can profess too.

As I stand today and testify to my own accounts in my life, I point the finger of blame at the parties responsible for ensuring my demise as a human being in my youth and as an adult.  In spite of the lack of belief in this regard, I know that one day soon their (My Family of Orgin) own testimony to the world at large in explanation of the things that I have written will be heard and frowned upon as sad and unnecessary to defend with such degree of malice.  The beatings and the manipulations will only continue to progress towards further negativity and the destruction of who may be in my physical place to take it in my sted.  Once a person has learned to feed off the tragedy of others they never break the habit.  It is an addiction that has no cure because it is difficult to identify.  Most layman would pass such behavior off as a person, "Being mean," or "Unkind" towards other people.  In the reality that you do not seem to live in, people of this caliber (FOO) get worse with age due to the very simple fact that they have never been caught or outed publicly by name.  Therefore evil perpetuates evil under the pretense of christianity in this case.

Looking towards a revolution amongst the people that believe in evil will be paramount in the actual identification of such monstrous human beings.  As long as you turn away from the adults that find the courage in themselves to speak of such abuse in their lives, then the problem will just continue to enhance itself, invading your life soon.  Thanking the latest AT&T commercial for the division in myself once again, I propose nothing but the deliverance of difficulty into all of your lives as the avid readers of others pain and agony.  This is not funny, nor is it a joke.  People watch this National Advertisement along with many children in this country.  By simple disregard for health and well-being this behavior is then replicated, introducing a callous and heinous way to treat young individual.  To put the "Golden Child" and the "Scapegoat Child" out there for all of us to see how it actually works on t.v. is a great accomplishment for the people who would like to breed more Narcissistic Energy in this already selfish country. I know that for me personally this commercial makes me know that there is nothing that I could say to shock or cause dismay on here or in public.  Here is an advertised Malignant Narcissist and her enabling husband, it is a "How to Video, create your own Scapegoat and Golden child in the privacy of your own home."


Causing division amongst the siblings for life; this is the goal of the parents that play such cruel and real games with their children.  The parents have now created the Narcissistic Energy they require to see them through all the way until their own demise or death.  Wow!!  I hope that you suffer at the hands of the Malignant Narcissistic Sociopath soon.  It is so much fun, I can't wait till your the grown boy from this commercial and face the world as I had too, with no support from whom is meant to love you, your parents and FOO. 

I have never expected my writings to go much beyond my expression of horror on this blog.  In the end I will be heard beyond the grave.  Maybe someday a human being will take the time from their own selfishness to read and understand what is written about the people that are bringing an end to compassion and love, just as my family is doing daily in San Francisco to my children.  For in the not to distant future because of ad's like this one, parents will only produce children that have been separated by their parents stupidity in their upbringing.  By depraved indifference the human race will end and find that extinction is  the final judgment of the behavior which it portrays towards one another.  Even in the wild, animals turn to another for the support and encouragement to live free.  In a collective they will run from captors as you see when the Discovery Channel films in Africa.  There is not  one animal that doesn't turn to run with the herds to save its life as men attempt to kill or trap them for study or Zoo's.  Sadly, as in this depraved and gross commercial, children have no place to run to safety for love and the very much needed compassion of a fellow human being after you are told that all you have is a remote.  You cannot tell me that this has not been played out across this country by the stupid people that believe it is so funny.  It is all in the privacy of the homes and being touted as a joke or the infamous, "I'm just playing with you."  This hurt does not leave your person as a child.  And I doubt there are any efforts to undo the sick joke being played amongst the ignorant and cruel adults today. 
FOO - Family of Origin

Intentions of the Wild

Illuminating my desire
through my love I am no liar
can you be what I require?

Does the Ocean wave hello?
Do you know when to go?
Have you been with what is low?

Clever making me alone
never do you show whats shown
can you stop before its blown?

I believe in freedom from
disaster, cruelty don't play dumb
leaving me to suck my thumb.

As I shake off what you have done
Standing up! not running from
watch out for what is about to come.

Voices shouting loud and clear
please get back away from here
it is dangerous, you're not dear.

Emails, letters, tweets I fear
tell a story, the horses rear
saddle up and ride for ............


Define Disappear??

The term "dissociation" arose from the understanding that "memories are brought to consciousness by way of association of ideas" (Braun, 1988). Dr. Bennett Braun describes dissociation as "the separation of an idea or thought process from the main stream of consciousness" (Braun, 1988). This mechanism is used to cope with trauma by "not knowing" about the traumatic event (Braun, 1988). Dissociation, according to Braun, fits on one extreme of a continuum of awareness "running from full awareness through suppression, denial, and repression, to neuropsychophysiologically mediated dissociation" (Adams, 1984). Similarly, "dissociative processes can occur on a continuum ranging from normal to psychopathological" (AGPA, 1993). Most healthy people unconsciously use dissociation to screen out "irrelevant stimuli," thus aiding their "integrative functioning" (AGPA, 1993). Dissociation "may be regarded as a coping mechanism" (Braun, 1988). At the pathological extreme, however, this defense becomes problematic because dissociated memories often surface in ways that interfere with a person's life but cannot be understood and processed so that healing can occur. Two of the most complex dissociative disorders are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), also known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD).

Heinz Kohut describes "two kinds of splitting in the organization of self-experience: horizontal splitting (repression) and vertical splitting (disavowal) (Kohut, 1971). In repression something which would create unbearable conflict if conscious, is pushed into the unconscious. This creates a horizontal split in consciousness (imagine the levels of consciousness from top to bottom: conscious, preconscious, and unconscious). Conversely, dissociation is a vertical split of consciousness. As a result, one particular ego state, or altar-ego, can exist "in depth" with a conscious, preconscious, and unconscious component, separate from the other ego states or from the central ego (Sikes, 1998). Victims of trauma distance themselves "from the terror and pain of abuse by an extreme form of disavowal, rendering that which is unbearable into "not me" experience via vertical splitting" (AGPA, 1993). One explanation for this phenomenon is "neuropsychophysiologic (NPP) state-dependent learning (SDL)" (Braun, 1988). This theory proposes that material learned in one bio-chemical state is forgotten in another. Likewise, the material may be recalled if the original bio-chemical state reoccurs: "something that is learned in one NPP state is most expeditiously retrieved under the same NPP state" (Braun, 1988). Trauma can cause a hypnoid state in which one's entire body and brain chemistry changes. Experiences occurring in this state may be lost to a normal conscious state, but are stored in this NPP state with its own conscious, preconscious, and unconscious existence. The hypnoid state, besides acting as a defense from fully experiencing, also causes learning during these experiences to occur at a particularly profound level that is difficult to influence in the future. The sooner a person can receive help after a traumatic experience, the better.

People who have outside support to help them cope with trauma are less likely to experience dissociation. In fact, most well-supported adults and children can face extremely traumatic events without developing dissociative defenses (Sikes, 1998). Trauma victims need someone to help them see that life is still worth living, regain their self-esteem, and understand what happened. Trauma is defined by some existentially as "the loss of faith that there is order and continuity in life" (Adams, 1994). Trauma often results in a feeling of hopelessness, a feeling "that one's actions have no bearing on the outcome of one's life" (Adams, 1994). Children who were raped by an adult need someone to help them deal with their disappointment in the world, to understand why an adult would behave that way, and to keep them from blaming themselves: "the psychological disequilibrium that follows trauma [stems] from the shattering of the victim's fundamental assumptions that the world is essentially benevolent, that our lives and life events have meaning, and that we are essentially worthy and lovable" (Adams, 1994). Those who have support will probably be able to metabolize the painful experience. Unfortunately, without outside help, especially if traumatic events happen repeatedly, the trauma may be overwhelming and impossible for the victim to process: the "magnitude of exposure, prior trauma, and social support appear to be the three most significant predictors for developing chronic PTSD" (Van der Kolk, 1987).

Often people do not look for assistance or can find none, especially when painful events are inflicted by the parent(s). It is therefore difficult for them to recover self-esteem, correct distortions in perspective, or feel emotions that should be connected to the trauma. These people will most likely dissociate the memories and live with the effects or seek help later in life when it is more difficult to diagnose and treat. When these people present themselves for therapy, it takes time for many therapists to uncover the trauma behind whatever symptoms brought them there: "Depending on the severity of the abuse, the patient may have mild to moderate dissociative pathology hidden beneath the presenting problems of character pathology, loneliness, and difficulties in relationships" (Adams, 1994). Though recently psychologists are more aware of the possibility of dissociate disorders, "Survivors of childhood abuse often accumulate many different diagnoses before the underlying problem of a complex post-traumatic syndrome is recognized" (Adams, 1994).

Some people can dissociate more easily than others. Those that dissociate extremely easily may lose consciousness of surrounding events in response to minor anxiety. Dissociation can be a gift or ability in a living environment of constant negative experiences (Sikes, 1998). In fact, it is hypothesized that not only chemical differences, but the ability to dissociate, separates those who develop a dissociative disorder from those who are schizophrenic or psychotic, unable to protect their central egos from the information of painful life events. Dissociative people are able to separate disturbing events from everyday consciousness so they will not interfere with everyday functioning. However, the memories of these events, though hidden or separated into pieces, do not disappear. They often intrude into the people's lives in impairing ways:

Patients often experience repetitive intrusions of elements of the traumatic experience despite all efforts at denial and suppression; these repetitions may include recurrences in thought (e.g., nightmares, recurrent obsessive ideas) or emotions (e.g., panic attacks or weeping episodes with or without conscious awareness of association with the trauma), or behavioral reenactments of aspects of the trauma (e.g., compulsive verbalizations, recurrent expressions of the traumatic experience through gesture, movement, or artistic production). Adams, 1994

The way people later experience dissociated events partly depends on the way the memories are stored. Those traumatized during adult life, for instance, tend to capsulize a traumatic occurrence together so that if the memory is triggered, the entire memory or coherent parts are reexperienced. Children, conversely, often divide dissociated memories so that only one aspect of an event can be triggered at a time. This defense makes memories, when they surface, less overwhelming but also difficult to understand. Braun describes a model for this type of division of a traumatic memory called "The BASK Model of Dissociation" (Braun, 1988).

The acronym "BASK" stands for four components of consciousness: behavior, affect, sensation, and knowledge. "Behavior" is the physical action associated with an event. If a boy was huddled in a ball during a traumatic experience, he may find himself suddenly in this physical position as an adult without knowing why. "Affect" refers to the emotions one had in response to the event. An adult who felt terror during certain childhood experiences might feel extreme terror in particular situations that are not actually dangerous. "Sensation" refers to the physical sensations the victim felt during the traumatic experience. For example, a child forced to perform oral sex might feel gagging sensations and not understand why. Finally, "knowledge" occurs when the person is aware of the event but does not have any of the associated feelings, affects, or sensations--feeling as if the event happened to someone else. Therapy aims to unite these confusing pieces of experience into the cohesive memory (if the patient has enough ego strength, which will be discussed later) instead of unexplainable memory intrusions: "In this model, mental health is the congruence over time of the BASK components" (Braun, 1988). Either method of storing traumatic memories leads to the simultaneous knowing and not knowing of disturbing information. Clearly, any dissociative pattern has profound effects on a person. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Dissociative Identity Disorder are two resulting psychological disorders.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs when a traumatic experience or series of experiences never get integrated or processed. One way to decrease the likelihood of developing PTSD is to maintain a mental connection to the outside world during the traumatic event(s) (Sikes, 1998). A victim should therefore attempt to think about someone who values him/her during a traumatic experience. In PTSD, experiences are dissociated because the person is unable to integrate them. They therefore intrude into the person's life in more indirect ways and effect his or her ability to function. Dissociated material (like repressed material) acts in opposition to the pleasure principle in that it seems to press to get expressed in unpleasurable ways that can be both disturbing and confusing to the victim (Sikes, 1998). One way dissociated experiences surface is through a repetition compulsion. This compulsion is the need to repeat behavior compulsively to allow a memory to express itself through activity. One of Dr. Sikes's patients found himself constantly sleeping with other men, when he was not homosexual. The patient was confused by this compulsive activity until he began remembering forced sexual experiences with his father as a child, which he had been reenacting. A person suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder may become jumpy and be easily startled. One's general feeling of safety is affected by a traumatic event in which something out of control or unexpected occurs.

A common symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, another way trauma invades the victim's life, is flashbacks. Flashbacks can be whole or partial. A person experiencing a whole flashback lives through a full-blown recurrence of the event. They typically feel as if the imagined situation is actually happening. Partial flashbacks are also felt as a present experience rather than a memory. During a partial flashback a person only recalls certain aspects of the memory (BASK), becoming suddenly enraged or experiencing a choking sensation (from the earlier example). In the case of this kind of flashback, the person has no explanation for his/her experiences and may feel like a lunatic (Sikes, 1998). Many try to justify their emotions, actions, or feelings by blaming them on someone they are interacting with or on any aspect of their situation at the time, though these are usually unrelated to the problem. While this may temporarily keep the person from feeling crazy because his/her experience is out of context, after repeated occurrences he/she may begin to admit that these reactions to particular situations are not appropriate. Therefore, the most common form of treatment involves helping patients with this form of flashbacks to realize they are having memories, not present experiences. This realization is often a relief and comfort to them, despite the difficult past that they must then face. One who has fits of terror, for instance, would finally take comfort in the knowledge that there is no real danger.

Hypnosis is a technique used to help patients recover dissociated memories and put the pieces of their experience(s) back together. When this technique is successful, a traumatic experience becomes a bad memory to work through, rather than a permanent disruptive dissociation. Because of the powerful effect of hypnosis in revealing people's repressed or dissociated past experience(s), in the past many therapists have taken advantage of this technique enthusiastically without considering whether a patient is ready to face the memories that may surface (Sikes, 1998). Because therapists allowed memories to surface too soon, when patients were not ready to properly handle them, outside on-lookers became skeptical of the truth in these "recovered" memories and said that people making these discoveries had "false-memory syndrome" (Sikes, 1998). "False Memory Syndrome" was of course blamed on the therapists. Now responsible therapists are more sensitive to judging the patient's ego strength before starting the flow of what could be an overwhelming number of traumatic memories, and are also careful not to make any suggestions while the patient is in a hypnotic state. Therapists also must not ask leading questions, even when the patients are not under hypnosis, because dissociative patients are highly suggestible and are often in a trance state even when the therapist has not induced one (Adams, 1998). Some of the kinds of "ego strengths" essential for processing dissociated experiences without enormously disrupting the patient's life are "the abilities to soothe oneself, reality-test, seek help, put things in perspective, and understand and accept one's human nature."

In addition to the usefulness of putting traumatic experiences back together consciously and understanding symptoms as stemming from memories and not present experience, patients also benefit from reliving their experiences, this time with outside support. As patients begin to remember traumatic events and therefore reexperience them, putting back together the behavior, affect, sensation, and knowledge, therapists must keep the patients simultaneously present. This technique allows patients to share the pain with another person that they know will understand and help them endure it: "because the core experiences of psychological trauma are disempowerment and disconnection from others, healing derives from the empowerment of the survivor and from the creation of new connections" (Adams, 1994). Without the connection to the present, the reexperiencing of the traumatic event is only retramatizing. The therapist strives to reframe (correct reality distortions) the event as and after the patient relives it. This process of "reliving, putting together the pieces of BASK, and reframing" is called an "abreaction" (Adams, 1998).

From a physiological perspective, "profound alterations in stress hormone secretion and memory processing" are found in people suffering from PTSD. Due to "ascending amine projections," soldiers with PTSD showed the physical symptoms of "flexor changes in posture, hyperkinesis, violently propulsive gait, tremor at rest, masklike faces, cogwheel rigidity, gastric distress, urinary incontinence, mutism, and a violent startle reflex" (Van der Kolk, 1987). Kolb first proposed that "excessive stimulation of the CNS at the time of the trauma may result in permanent neuronal changes that have a negative effect on learning, habituation, and stimulus discrimination" (Van der Kolk, 1987). Dr. Bessel van der Kolk explains that traumatic memories are stored at the "implicit" memory level which changes a person's "biological stress response" to those memories (Van der Kolk, 1987). Because these memories are processed outside of the "hippocampally mediated memory system," they are difficult to "extinguish" (Van der Kolk, 1987). Implicit memories also are different from normal memories, called narrative, semantic, or declarative, in that they are not stored verbally. Because they are so physiologically overwhelming, they bypass verbal encoding and processing and are stored in the more primitive, "somatosensory or iconic," part of the brain as sensations, images, and feelings. These memories are stored as "emotional responses, skills and habits, and sensorimotor sensations related to experience" (Van der Kolk, 1987). "Speechless terror" can be used to describe a traumatic event in which the "emotional impact...interfere[d] with the capacity to capture the experience in words or symbols" (Van der Kolk, 1987). Conversely, declarative memories are formed by attaching to "existing mental schemata: once an event or a particular bit of information is integrated into existing mental schemes, it will no longer be accessible as a separate, immutable entity," contrasted with traumatic memories that dissociate and remain separate from the central ego (Van der Kolk, 1987). The two types of memory stimulate different parts of the brain, as observed on a PET scan. When implicit memory is recalled, instead of being evaluated rationally, the memories are more likely to stimulate a fight or flight reaction. People with PTSD have trouble over-riding their physical responses to memory-triggering stimuli because they have no verbal connection to the memories with which to mediate (Adams, 1998).

One hypothesized explanation for the repetition compulsion, the unconscious desire to elicit from others behavior similar to repeated treatment experienced as traumatic in the past, is that the endorphins released to ease the anguish of traumatic events can become physically addictive after repeated traumas (Sikes, 1998). Dr. van der Kolk reports that "Intense stress is accompanied by the release of endogenous, stress-responsive neurohormones, such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine (NE), vasopressin, oxytocin and endogenous opioids" (Van der Kolk, 1987). These give an organism necessary energy to deal with the stress. Norepinephrine also plays a major role in "memory consolidation" (Van der Kolk, 1987). Likewise, endogenous opioids cause a "relative blunting of the emotional response to the traumatic stimulus" (Van der Kolk, 1987). They also keep the victim from feeling physical pain while defending him/herself. "Serotonin reuptake blockers are effective pharmacological agents in the treatment of PTSD" (Van der Kolk, 1987). These drugs help the person more accurately assess the actual situation during a stress response. Tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO) also improve "intrusive (imipramine) or numbing (amitryptiline)" symptoms of PTSD patients. Fluoxetine is more effective for treating all the symptoms of PTSD and has faster results than the tricyclics.

Another treatment for PTSD, developed recently by Dr. Francine Shapiro, has shown promising research results. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was used to treat war veterans who had suffered from PTSD for twenty-five years without successful help from other therapy. These vets had their symptoms "relieved" after only six sessions of talking about their memories while performing eye tracking (Shapiro, 1997). It seems emotional learning is enhanced if a person thinks about something, noticing his/her feelings and body sensations, while moving his/her eyes from left to right, crossing the midline (Shapiro, 1997). EMDR "assists survivors in the immediate aftermath of violent trauma by breaking through the walls of denial, shock, grief, and anger...allow[ing] for a rapid processing of even deeply rooted memories" (Shapiro, 1997). Because this technique began with eye tracking, it received the name "Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing," but researchers are finding that the technique works for other bilateral stimulations, possibly any activity that brings attention from one hemisphere to the other (Sikes, 1998). The drawback of EMDR is that once dissociative barriers are lowered as the treatment begins, patients may receive more memories than they expected and not be able to treat them quickly enough to avoid great psychological pain during the times between each treatment session, until all of the traumatic experiences are reprocessed. So, as with other processing of dissociative memories in therapy, a certain level of ego strength is essential. No good theory for why this process is effective has been accepted. Some propose that people have an automatic ability to process trauma that can become blocked and that EMDR loosens this block. This process is similar to Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep which is thought to facilitate the processing of trauma in dreams (Sikes, 1998).

Another dissociative disorder, Disociative Identity Disorder (DID), is on the extreme end of the dissociative continuum. In this disorder, memories are divided more by altar-egos than into the categories in the BASK model (Sikes, 1998). As discussed before, state-specific learning can occur in a particular, hypnotic, NPP state at the time of trauma and cannot be remembered in another state. This is one explanation for the formation of different "altars" (well-developed personalities within one person that take turns "controlling" the body and have had only some of the experiences of the actual person). Dr. Kathleen Adams explains, "evolving states of consciousness become increasingly structuralized, beginning as conscious attempt at mastery and gradually becoming internalized into a fixed mental structures (altar personalities) that function with increasing independence" (Adams, 1994). Because similar experiences occur in the same physiological state (repeated rapes), they are linked together and an altar personality may develop. Therefore, one personality may conclude that rape only happens to Jane, another of his/her personalities that formed in the NPP state assumed during rape. According to Bennett Braun, DID is characterized by "The existence within the individual of two or more distinct personality states, each of which is dominant at a particular time; the personality state that is dominant has executive control over the individual's behavior; and each personality state is complex and integrated with its own unique behavior patterns and social relationships" (Braun, 1988).

Altars can also be based on restitutive fantasies that become altar-egos by dissociating because they too have too many painful affects to be tolerated. For example, the girl who is repeatedly raped may begin to imagine that she is an enormous wrestler that can beat up her rapist. Yet, to have this fantasy she is aware of her rape experiences and therefore may dissociate the wrestler into another altar. Dr. Sikes recalls one of her multiple personality patients admitting that her husband did not know he was sleeping with a man. The altar ego that appeared during her sexual encounters could be, for instance, like the wrestler. The extent of the abuse a person underwent correlates with the amount of fragmentation (number of different personalities) that the person may have (Sikes, 1998).

Some alter-egos do not know that other alters exist. When they are aware of each other, however, different alter-egos can, and often do, argue and compete. The alter that wants to stay up all night doing art may not understand or get along with the alter that will get up in the morning for his/her business job. One can imagine the turmoil a person with this disorder must experience. The organization of internal systems varies from person to person. What is universal is that the system (including all of the altars) is created to protect the person. A multiple may lie during treatment to cover up his/her internal fragmentation for extended periods. The alter-ego who originally presents him/herself for treatment is usually the least knowledgeable about the entire system. Treatment aims to slowly integrate these personalities into a single person again, conscious of his/her entire past. At first a therapist must facilitate the personalities working together (Sikes, 1998). Though this process may be extremely difficult, multiple personalities are far more concrete than other people and usually can be counted on to keep a clear agreement or promise (Adams, 1998). This may help the therapist slowly to work out agreements between the personalities that will keep them out of conflict.

A therapist must also help the patient discover and integrate memories and personalities at a rate he/she can handle. Often DID patients vacillate between not wanting to explore at all and wanting to know everything and get it over with in one session. Once memories begin to flow, more than the patient is ready to deal with could surface unless the therapist regulates the pace of discovery. Another challenge therapists face with this disorder is to keep an alter-ego present during the uncomfortable moments. Multiple personalities dissociate so easily that they can give control of the person to another alter-ego if the situation becomes unpleasant. The therapist must teach each alter-ego to stay present and deal with negative emotions and to be aware of when he/she is switching between personalities.

Dissociation can be an adaptive way to forget pain or not fully experience a traumatic event by entering a hypnoid state and by not remembering what is too hurtful to integrate. Though a person may not be able to handle the reality of the experience in its entirety at the time it occurs, and therefore benefit temporarily from dissociation, the memories will then appear in other forms and negatively effect his/her life. Severe trauma must be processed before the dissociative symptoms will subside. People with dissociative disorders should seek help from professionals where they can build up their "ego strength" and develop a trusting relationship with their therapists so that they can begin to face past traumatic experiences and metabolize them.

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