Life Lessons 101: You are Never Alone

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. (Eccle 4:9-12)

Because so many abuse victims have been traumatized by those professing some sort of religion, I have kept overt references to the Bible to a minimum in this blog. But as I began helping my wife thru the healing of dissociative identity disorder or multiple personality disorder, a picture began to develop in my head of what trauma must feel like to the victim. The little girls who entered my life 4 years ago were scared, frightened and Alley was angry. They felt dirty, unlovable and unwanted. These girls seemed to see themselves as cut off and alone from everyone. They had been abused in secret, and then they had been hidden secretly inside my wife without Karen or my knowledge.

On the other hand, growing up I always felt like my parents were there for me. They supported me in my scholastic, athletic and musical endeavors, and at least one of them always attended any special events I was part of. We ate every dinner meal together as a family, watched TV together and spent most of our weekends together until my older sibs grew up. It left me with an intangible sense of never being alone.

My wife never had that kind of involvement from her parents. But now as I live with and love the 5 little girls, I’m providing the kind of support and involvement they never had, the kind that made such a difference in my own childhood. When we are done with this journey, I expect my wife to have the same confidence that I do: one of never feeling alone or abandoned, one that allows her to face any adversity because she knows help is always near. It’s a life lesson that is so important as we help our loved ones heal.

So I began to hammer home to each girl as she entered my life this message: “Honey, you aren’t alone anymore. I love you and want you to be a part of my family.” I began wearing a cell phone so that they could reach me at any time and encouraged them to call me at work. Additionally the first year the girls came out my then 17-year old son was home at nights (while I worked), while I spent my entire morning and weekends with them. They had 24/7 company and care taking when needed. And whenever panic attacks hit them, I would take them gently in my arms while I rocked them and stroked their face and hair as I repeated over and over, “You aren’t alone anymore. I’m here with you. You aren’t alone.”

Even today when the girls get frustrated or upset and I can see them begin to fall back into old habits, I will take them gently in my arms and say the same thing: “You aren’t alone anymore. Honey, I’m here with you.”

Another part of this lesson is listening to them and believing them, sometimes even when they make outlandish claims. Amy used to claim to have been a courier for spies in Europe. For a while I blew her off as a delusional child. Then I finally realized that it was important to her that I believe her. So the last time she told me this story I took her seriously. I haven’t heard the story since, and I’m not really sure what she meant by it. But I could tell it was important to her that I believed what she was saying.

How many of our loved ones tried to tell their parents or guardians that something wasn’t right while the abuse was happening only to be ignored? Disbelief on the part of their guardians caused them to be left alone in the abuse. So it’s important that we listen and believe what they are saying, even if it seems fanciful to us. A little child sees things differently than an adult does and may be expressing the truth in the best way he/she knows how. Factual accuracy is NOT important. Listening and validating each insider’s story is important.

As those who are involved in the healing process, we can literally rewrite the emotional hardwiring of our loved ones. Trauma victims are trained to believe that they are alone and helpless. So I’m purposefully rewriting the program so they now hear, “You aren’t alone. I believe you.” It’s a life lesson that is transforming my girls every day from trauma victims into vivacious and healthy girls.

Blessings,

Sam, I Am

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Keith
    Nov 22, 2012 @ 16:14:44

    Hi Sam,

    I too have wondered about accounts involving fanciful stories, particularly some I read in a book that were later investigated and found to be untrue. In one story the person involved said that they had met the pope!

    One possible clue I found in the book “Ghost Girl” by Torey Hayden. The young girl in this book reported her abusers names as “JR” and “Sue Ellen”, characters form the 80’s soap opera Dallas.

    I have also been amazed at how readily littles engage with play acting and role play. So one option I have never seen suggested before is that it is quite possible that something actually did occur as “make believe”.

    There are numerous other options, but I thought I would mention this one as it illustrates the need for looking at things from their point of view, rather than outright rejection.

    The majority of Doctors treating those with mental health issues, do not believe their patients. They are all too quick to dismiss actual experiences as hallucinations. Incidentally this is how I got into this field in the first place, I started collecting people’s stories telling them upfront that “I will believe you”.

    best regards

    Keith

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Nov 26, 2012 @ 19:47:22

      Hi Keith,

      it’s good to see you again. Sorry it took me so long to respond. It was a long holiday weekend here.

      Thanks for your input. yes, I agree that there are several options about how to view claims that seem outlandish to an outsider, but outright rejection shouldn’t be one of them!

      Sam

      Reply

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