In the comments on Childhood Coping Skills Cause Adult Problems - Part 3 Kahless asked RR, do you need some more questions to provoke some posts? You know I am always happy to oblige!! (which I have to say I really appreciate!
How about on mental backlash. I have explored this a bit with my last T. When I do something which was a big no no from when I was a kid (like stand up for myself) I notice I then have a big mental backlash. Is this common?
I guess I hadn't really thought of it as mental backlash but then it probably doesn't matter what name it gets. It is certainly common for survivors to have a tough time after they have disclosed some form of secret or broken out of their normal victim behavior.
For me I've always seen it as a cycle. We all seem to have them whether or not we are aware of them. A pattern that we repeat over and over. If we stand up for ourselves our inner child reacts with some form of "OMG I'm gonna get it now!" and the result is we beat ourselves up with all of the old negative messages we were raised with.
We no longer need our abuser because we carry his/her messages in our brains. We turn those messages on at the appropriate times and beat up ourselves until we submit and do as we are told. That translates to we stop standing up for ourselves or seeking healing because trapped is really more comfortable than the unknown.
But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. As a child if we did something like speak up for ourself or tell a secret all hell would break lose. We are conditioned to be ready for the axe to fall.
Sometimes as a child, we could avoid abuse for such behavior by abusing ourselves. We learned to become our own abusers as a means to stave off something worse from our offenders.
Once we have begun some form of healing a new step gets added to this dance. We reach the point we realize we are beating ourselves up and listening to that old programming so we pick ourselves up and get back on track with doing the new healing things.
That goes along ok for a bit until we do too much and scare that inner child again. The backlash lets go and the downward spiral begins as we abuse ourselves into the bleakness that we know. How low we get before we realize that we must be the ones to stop this downward trend depends upon our recognition of the process and our support at the time.
In the beginning of breaking free of this abusive cycle, exterior support of some kind can be the difference between a total meltdown or a mild disturbance. Of course, initially survivors tend to not trust that exterior support. It takes time to build up enough trust to be able to stop that downward spiral and being self nurturing behavior again.
When the cycle can be identified, I think that is a big step in getting things back on track. I used journaling to help me see where I was going. I always used dates and times and circumstances that led up to how I was feeling. That helped me to see the destructive cycles I was involved in even within the course of my treatment.
It was interesting to me to see that taking care of myself could actually send some parts of me into a frantic attack of self hatred. Being able to see it as interesting probably speaks to my MPD, but identifying the cycle made it much easier to see where those messages really came from so that I could quiet them.
One of the really confusing things about recovery was figuring out what my inner children really needed and what was there because of all this old programming. It was taking good care of myself to comfort the children when they were hurting but NOT taking good care of myself to avoid telling secrets or doing nurturing things because of their fear. Figuring out which was which could be a daunting task.
However, once I began to see that pattern it was easier to tell what was motivated by unfounded old fears and what was real. From there I could figure out what it was that really was best for me. Stopping any form of self abuse, both physical or psychological, was top of the list to put at end.
multiple personality disorder MPD dissociative Identity disorder did depression