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Got Trauma!

The word “trauma” appears everywhere we look these days. Some people  under-rate the cause of the trauma, like it’s no big deal. This may prevent the traumitized person from seeking the help they need. If trauma is ignored, the victim may not have the opportunity to heal, because others downplay their pain.

On the other hand, some over-rate trauma, which can also keep the traumatized person from receiving the help they need, because those close to him or her may try to keep sweep it under the rug.  As a counselor, I have seen both situations.

Another issue in trauma depends on the make-up of the survivor. Some people are highly resilient, like Navy Seals. I suspect they have to have the right temperament before they are selected for the job. Their lives depend on the whole team working together, knowing their job and doing it well.

Psychologists have learned much about trauma by studying the brain. Dr. David Amen and Dr. Timothy R. Jennings have made great strides in brain research and brain health.

I, on the other hand, have learned some things about trauma in my counseling office, especially in the area of ritual abuse. Years ago I went to an American Association of Christian Counselors conference. I attended a session where a woman had been diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (DID) or also called multiple personality disorder. She had been healed of her alters (alternate personalities) in a short time.

I had never had a client with that diagnosis, but I found it fascinating. So I sought to learn more. I attended another conference, but wondered if I was wasting money. No. Almost as soon a I got home, I realized I already had two clients with DID and another one I co-counseled. It’s hard to diagnose if you don’t know the symptoms. Also I discovered someone in my family dated a person with DID. My psychology teacher in college said we would probably never see a client with this disorder, I have found it to be more prevalent than I thought.

People with DID have experienced horrific trauma in their childhood. It causes them to create alter identities in their minds. This helps them take a break from the pain and pretend to be another person. Many of the identities are children in their minds, because they created them as children. In a sense without knowing it, the host personality pretends to be  someone else, so they won’t have to feel the pain.

People seem to come in two camps when it comes to DID, especially when the client has memories of horrible abuse. They either don’t believe it or they are afraid to learn about it. They sometimes fear the person with DID. People with dissociative identity disorder struggle with life. They may believe they are a five year old child one minute and a sacred teenager the next.

People with DID are wounded souls seeking help, but they may not know where to find it. They are not dangerous. In fact, they are some of my favorite people. As they find someone they can trust, the healing begins. But it can take years for those who have had extensive abuse to integrate their alters.

They will be able to be themselves most of the time. However, depending on the extent of their dissociation, it could take a long time for the person to heal. I have worked extensively with three people with DID and helped with several others. They present as normal people, but once they trust their counselor, they allow their alternate personalities to emerge. Often they don’t know about the alters until they come out in counseling.

My book, What Lies in the Shadows: How Truth Healed a Splintered Mind, chronicles the healing journey of a woman I call Kathy. When she came to me for counseling, she already suspecting she had alters, but didn’t know she had about seventy personalities. As we began the counseling process, she remembered times when her mother taking her to a satanic cults to be ritually abused. She was a small child. Her child alters acted out the experiences on my office floor.

There are several other good books about people with DID, but this one is different. Kathy gave me all her amazing journals, where she and her alters drew pictures and wrote to each other and to Jesus. One by one, she wrote the stories of the child alters as if they were still there. Kathy gave me permission to use her journals to write exactly what she rememberd in my office. The words are those of Kathy and her alters just as she wrote them in her journals, so the words belong to her and the alter personalities.

What Lies in the Shadows: How Truth Healed a Splintered Mind tells her fascinating story of survival and healing. It also tells how Jesus spoke truth to her spirit to dispel the lies of the cult. What Lies in the Shadows is a true story of God’s redemption and love. I hope you will take the time to read it.

What Can Be Worse than the Worst Abuse of All?

Since my last blog was entitled The Worst Abuse of All, you may think I’m crazy. You would be wrong, because if you remember, I ended it by saying, “This may not be the worst abuse of all.” In my opinion, it’s horrible, but not the worst. Spiritual or cult abuse by a parent is worse. Can you imagine a mother who would take her baby child to cult meetings in the middle of the night, just to allow the leaders to drug, rape, shame, and twist the truth beyond recognition?

There were times when I would say I couldn’t imagine such a terrible thing. Then in my counseling office, I met several counselees who experienced such human tragedies when they were small children. The mind of a child has no place to put this type of abuse, so they dissociate it away. It’s similar to creating an imaginary friend. Children who have not experienced those circumstances may create an imaginary friend. It’s normal. In fact, it shows a good imagination. Children who have experienced cult abuse are different. Sometimes the cult leaders trick them to create alters by calling them differenct names at different times. Alters is another word used for multiple personalities, which is now called DID or dissociative identity disorder. God created their minds to use the alters so they could forget or dissociate away the abuse that happened while they were children.

As they grow to adulthood, memories come back. They still may not know why they have such strange thoughts and voices in their heads. At first, the alters help them make it through the day. If the abuse continued for a long time, the adult parts of the person may go for years wondering why they struggle so. They don’t remember that part of their lives. I have read it takes about five years for the psychiatric community to recognize a person has alters. Yet they need help to find their real self, the self they were born to be. They need to remember the past in order to forget the past.

It often takes years for the abuse victim to find the help they need. In the meantime, they struggle to survive. Most do survive, because God has wired them to be survivors. People with dissociative identity disorder are still children at heart, children in adult bodies who feel shame and fear in most circumstances. They need caring people to help them learn ways to manage life. They are not dangerous to others, but they may be dangerouse to themselves at times. If you happen to know a person with DID, please be kind and helpful. Once they trust you, they will do anything to keep your friendship so be sensitive to their pain. They are some of my favorite people.

Misconceptions Everyone Needs to Understand about Sex Trafficking

This blog was written by my good friend, Carol Wiley, who is the director of A Way Out Program that rescues women who are caught in the web of trafficking. She gives them a safe place to live for themselves and their children, counseling, a mentor, and an opportunity to live a free and normal life. Carol is an amazing woman. She shares information we all need to know, especially if you have children, teens, or daughters in their twenties.

1. Trafficking must involve the crossing of borders. Anti-trafficking laws don’t require that victims must have traveled from another country or across state lines. Pimps (Traffickers) often take their women from state to state, for example the Super Bowl is a big draw for their business. They take the girl’s ID’s, Birth certificates, Social Security Cards. They also work with women from their hometown and if they get arrested, they pay their bail and move on to another town and remind the women over and over that if they go home they will be arrested and have to serve time.

2. Human Trafficking Happens in Other Countries More than in the U.S.A. In 2913, TIP report found that human trafficking has been reported in all fifty states.
In 2006 the FBI estimated that the trafficking of humans generated approximately 9.5 billion annually for organized crime.

3. Victims know what they are getting into or have a chance to escape. The read fact is that among the 500 plus women we have helped in varying degrees through A Way Out Program , most all have been duped into it by slick traffickers posing as “boyfriends.” After a period of conditioning they put them put out to sell their bodies. Some victims have freedom of movement, but are coerced to return to the trafficker because they are afraid of being beaten themselves or believe he will make good on his threats to harm their families.

4. Prostitution is a victimless crime. One report from the FBI stated that in over 100 arrests, most of the women expressed that prostitution was not their career of choice. I (Carol) personally can tell you that in all women I have interviewed, not one said that as a little girl they dreamed of becoming a prostitute who sold her body and then turned her earnings over to a controlling abusive master.

Under federal law, an individual who uses physical or psychological violence to force or coerce someone into labor or services or into commercial sex acts is considered a human trafficker. Therefore while some victims experience beatings, rapes, or other forms of physical violence, many victims are controlled by traffickers through psychological means, such as threats or violence, manipulation, and lies. In many cases, traffickers use a combination of direct violence and mental abuse. (Polaris Project)

5. Pornography, stripping, and prostitution are unrelated to human trafficking In a study by Focus on the Family they reported that pornography serves as the market vehicle in commercial sex trafficking. Also, the study done by Shared Hope found that 1 out of every 3 pornography images is of a child and that 55% of child pornography comes from the U.S.A. and sale of the same has become more than $3 billion annual industry.

6. Females are the only victims of sex trafficking. The U.N. Office of Drug and Crimes estimates that as many as 20% of the sex trafficking
victims are males.

This is far from a comprehensive list of myths concerning the sex trafficking industry. The sobering truth is that even though large-scale slavery was abolished in 1863 with the Emancipation Proclamation, there are more slaves trapped in sexual slavery than at any time in history. There are over 30 million worldwide with approximately 80% of sex trafficking being women and children.

Please pay attention to this post. Someone you know might be trapped into this hell. Even if you never know a person who has had to deal with this nightmare, it’s clear someone wants out. If you can’t do anything else, please re-post this. Also please comment. This is an important subject we all should be concerned about. Thank you.