I am so relieved because my psychotherapist is back from her holiday in India seeing her family over the Christmas holidays. It always sends me into a tailspin when she goes away as I have Abandonment Syndrome and Separation Anxiety and combining the two is not a good mix!!! She was gone for two weeks at what is a very difficult time of the year for me anyway. A lot of the abuse I endured escalated around Christmas time each year and I delivered two babies in the early teenage years in December.
As I have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) the younger alters get very upset when she goes away as they don’t believe she will come back. My therapist deals with this by sending a text everyday saying hello to them, counting down the days and saying she is definitely coming back to talk to them. It reassures them somewhat.
At the first session I had with her they all wanted to come out and talk with her. She said that could not happen and they had to take turns. She wanted to talk to the seventeen year old first as she is the one responsible for the self harm and see how she was going. Predicatably she was intent on self harm and was just waiting for an opportunity. She does it for self-punishment as she blames herself for what the abusers did. She believed the grooming stories they told her and totally absorbed all the guilt and shame for fourteen years of abuse and death of one baby and the taking away of the other two by her Mother. No matter what was said to her, nothing could convince her that she was only a child herself who was a victim too and in no way to blame. She was angry that the husband of Erin (the host) was preventing her from self harming. The therapist tried to explain that she and Erin were one and the same. That the seventeen year had grown up into Erin the 56 year old and was married to the man who was trying to protect her. She just found this confusing. Whenever this explanation about DID was given to the alters they just found it plain confusing. They couldn’t understand it. She was told to look at her hands and asked were they the hands of a seventeen year. Obviously she said no. Was that the ring on her left hand of a seventeen year old. No. The therapist took a photograph on her phone. Was that picture of a seventeen year old. Obviously again no it wasn’t. It was just distressing as she could not understand that she wasn’t back in Ireland in 1979 and yet the Calendar the therapist showed her said it was January 4th 2019. So discombobulating. She wanted to go back to her cave she was so distressed and left.
The therapist asked to talk to the
It was a two hour session and the time was up so she didn’t get to talk to the younger alters. They would have to wait. She explained that to them so they understood. They were listening. So clearly I have a lot of work still to do on shame and guilt before the self-harming stops. Luckily I haven’t self-harmed for nine weeks now. My husband is doing a fantastic job on supervision and I’m co-operating as best as I can.
What are grooming techniques that they can be so effective?
Grooming is the process by which an offender draws a victim into a sexual relationship and maintains that relationship in secrecy. The shrouding of the relationship is an essential feature of grooming. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner explains the six stages that can lead up to sexual molestation.
The grooming sex offender works to separate the victim from peers, typically by engendering in the child a sense that they are special to the child and giving a kind of love to the child that the child needs.
Different law enforcement officers and academics have proposed models of the “stages” of grooming. Since there are a variety of these models, it’s best to think of the grooming by sex offenders as a gradual, calculated process that ensnares children into a world in which they are ultimately a willing part of the sex abuse.
Stage 1: Targeting the victim
The offender targets a victim by sizing up the child’s vulnerability—emotional neediness, isolation and lower self-confidence. Children with less parental oversight are more desirable prey.
Stage 2: Gaining the victim’s trust
The sex offender gains trust by watching and gathering information about the child, getting to know his needs and how to fill them. In this regard, sex offenders mix effortlessly with responsible caretakers because they generate warm and calibrated attention. Only more awkward and overly personal attention, or a gooey intrusiveness, provokes the suspicion of parents. Otherwise, a more suave sex offender is better disciplined for how to push and poke, without revealing themselves. Think of the grooming sex offender on the prowl as akin to a spy—and just as stealth.
Stage 3: Filling a need
Once the sex offender begins to fill the child’s needs, that adult may assume noticeably more importance in the child’s life and may become idealized. Gifts, extra attention, affection may distinguish one adult in particular and should raise concern and greater vigilance to be accountable for that adultStage 4: Isolating the child
The grooming sex offender uses the developing special relationship with the child to create situations in which they are alone together. This isolation further reinforces a special connection. Babysitting, tutoring, coaching and special trips all enable this isolation.
A special relationship can be even more reinforced when an offender cultivates a sense in the child that he is loved or appreciated in a way that others, not even parents, provide. Parents may unwittingly feed into this through their own appreciation for the unique relationship.
Stage 5: Sexualizing the relationship
At a stage of sufficient emotional dependence and trust, the offender progressively sexualizes the relationship. Desensitization occurs through talking, pictures, even creating situations (like going swimming) in which both offender and victim are naked. At that point, the adult exploits a child’s natural curiosity, using feelings of stimulation to advance the sexuality of the relationship.
When teaching a child, the grooming sex offender has the opportunity to shape the child’s sexual preferences and can manipulate what a child finds exciting and extend the relationship in this way. The child comes to see himself as a more sexual being and to define the relationship with the offender in more sexual and special terms.
Stage 6: Maintaining control
Once the sex abuse is occurring, offenders commonly use secrecy and blame to maintain the child’s continued participation and silence—particularly because the sexual activity may cause the child to withdraw from the relationship.
Children in these entangled relationships—and at this point they are entangled—confront threats to blame them, to end the relationship and to end the emotional and material needs they associate with the relationship, whether it be the dirt bikes the child gets to ride, the coaching one receives, special outings or other gifts. The child may feel that the loss of the relationship and the consequences of exposing it will humiliate and render them even more unwanted.
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