Trump, Roseanne, and Triggered Abuse Survivors

Tom Arnold was on The Anderson Cooper Show discussing his ex-wife, Roseanne Barr.

Distressed and bewildered by her behavior, he blamed Donald Trump, saying,” Trump is triggering people with mental illnesses” and I agreed.

“I generally believe he thinks black people are dangerous and Mexicans are rapists,” Arnold said. “He believes that. As he perpetuates that fear to America, watch out Mueller is lying; he is after me. And so, Americans are sitting home like Roseanne and her fans, are like, oh my God, what is happening out there? And they get anxiety.” Tom Arnold

 

 

In 1991, Roseanne Barr came out as an incest survivor with DID.

A cover of People Magazine, 1991 with Roseanne Barr on the cover with the caption, I am an Incest Survivor B
Roseanne Barr on the cover of People Magazine 1991

I knew she was telling the truth when I read this:

“It’s like living in a maze. It’s like that old woman who keeps adding on to her house … But the parts don’t get along and some of them have some real strange ideas about how to defend ”  ABC News

When Roseanne Barr refers to her alternates as having ‘strange ways to defend’, she is referring to protector alternates and gatekeeper alternates.

Protector Alternates focus on perceived threats, and often find dependence, emotional needs and close relationships (attachment) threatening.

Gatekeeper Alternates control which alters take control of the body, and when.

Trauma and Dissociation

Pathological Narcissists are lethal to people with DID; I’m talking about dishonest and psychologically abusive men and women who want to control our bodies and minds, who invade our lives with chaos and lies and expect us to love them for it.

Animated Gif/Meme reading, "I think I'm adorable
found on GIPHY

Abusers use our trust to inflict damage on us and never apologize for it.

Abusers don’t want friends or lovers; they want hostages.

Found on GIPHY
Tell me you love me

People with DID share certain primary symptoms but each of us forms a
unique system of alternates.

I have two protectors but one of them is also a gatekeeper.

When I’m not on the Internet, I am someone named Matthew.

Matthew is a devout Catholic who has faith in human nature.

Matthew thinks pathological narcissism is an illness.

Matthew forgives the afflicted.

An animated gif of an ascending Jesus
Found on GIPHY

Another part of me has the opposite view.

That part is Bob.

Bob is the gatekeeper-protector.

Bob ‘took Matthew away’ from a ‘friend’ who has a long history
of lying to us.

‘Matthew’ knows she lies but he ignores it because he likes the
‘good’ in her.

‘Bob’ thinks she’s gaslighting, which he considers psychological abuse.

As Bob said in therapy this week, “I’m sick of this shit. Trump’s used up all
my patience for lying bitches and psychopaths.”

Matthew is morally conflicted.

This is Bob’s attitude toward Matthew:

animated gif found on giphy
found of GIPHY

This week Bob decided an apology for lying is a prerequisite for any
friend or president who wants to interact with Matthew.

He won’t let Matthew out to see his friend or answer her calls.

We didn’t know Bob had the power to keep the current host inside.

This is a new thing.

Is it a sign of health or a triggered response to the Psychopath in Chief ?

Animated Gif comparing Donald Trump and Charles Manson
Found on GIPHY

(c) Rob Goldstein 2018

I do not own the images in this post.

Please note: This post is not a defense of Roseann Barr’s behavior or comments.
Mental illness is not an excuse for bad behavior unless a patient is genuinely
out of control and in need of emergency services.

 

 

The Sleeping Poet

In 1981, I was 28 and someone named, ‘Bob’.

I lived in Honolulu, worked as a travel agent and did impulsive things
like fly to Manhattan for the weekend to visit my Grandmother.

I had a partner, we met eight years earlier in Connecticut; he worked
for American Airlines.

I had bouts of what I called ‘depression’ but life was mostly fun, I was
young and belonged to Honolulu’s community of politically active gay
men.

1981 ended with the late October death of my Grandmother and the
early December homicide of my Mother.

I won’t go into the details of my Mother’s death but I was horrified.

I flew to South Carolina for her funeral, which was when I learned my
Mother was homeless.

Crazy with guilt and shame; I returned to Honolulu.

No one knew how to comfort me, no psychiatrist knew how to treat me,
and I didn’t know how to cope.

I told my partner I no longer loved him and asked him to move out.

I was too stunned to  grieve so I worked out at the gym all day for nights
of dancing and sex.

In January of 1982, I had episodes of waking up on the psychiatric unit of
Queens Hospital without knowing why I was there; by February of 82, I was
unable to work.

I had taken out private Disability Insurance so I still had an income.

Enter Scott Bader.

Scott was a successful young artist who needed a roommate; he had a posh
two-bedroom apartment in the gay ghetto of Waikiki.

I fell in love with the track lighting and moved in immediately.

Scott’s discipline as an artist inspired me to return to writing.

Through Scott, I met other artists and writers in Honolulu’s gay community.

I was a mess, but I was a more focused mess and some of my poetry was
published in the local bar rags.

In November of 1982, Scott got a professional invitation to move to San Francisco.

Scott knew I wanted to go back to the mainland so he invited me to go join him.

By December of 1982, I lived in San Francisco and worked as a Nautilus Instructor at a Gym in the Castro District.

I was becoming someone named, ‘Rob’.

Scott and I drifted apart as we pursued our separate goals.

A box of my journals started as a boy wound up in Los Angeles
during the move and I never got them back.

I assumed they became trash.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Scott Bader who asked if I wanted
sketches he said were mine.

I was shocked; Scott was alive and had sketches from my lost journals.

An elderly man I used to visit when I was 17 gave me eleven sketches from
the late 1940’s, I don’t remember why.

A sketch in the manner of Cocteu of a young man with thick hair
Lad with Blades of Hair, 1947

Scott sent scans of the sketches as well as the scan of a poem I wrote on Thanksgiving Day, 1978.

That Thanksgiving I worked a shift at the now-defunct Yale Psychiatric
Institute
 
in New Haven, Ct.

I went home that day and wrote this poem, which I typed up in 1982 and
gave to Scott.

A scan of a 1978 poem written by Rob Goldstein
Thanksgiving, 1978

The last thing Scott sent was a a copy of a sketch he did while I was ‘sacked out’ on the couch of our apartment in Waikiki.

Scott called it, ‘Sleeping Poet’

A sketch of Rob Goldstein by Scott Bader
Sleeping Poet by Scott Bader

 

Scott Bader is a graphic artist and illustrator who lives
in Vancouver, B.C. where he works in television and
film.

His motto is, “Disregard Alien Orders”

 

(c) Rob Goldstein 2018

“Sleeping Poet” (c) Scott Bader

There are Times When One Must Change One’s Story

This is how life is when you feel weak and helpless:

You lay down and die or you puff yourself up until you
look so big everyone stays away.

But they stare.

One day the puff goes out and you think that maybe you don’t
need it: that there is no one to blame, there is no one to hate.

Bad things happened to me and they still happen; bad things will
happen to other people long after I’ve died.

Weak minds and political opportunists abuse religion; they always
have, and they always will.

All political creeds are open to corruption; all economic systems are open
to abuse, the poor will always be their own worst enemies because violent
poverty causes intense identification with the oppressor.

How does one think ones way out of the hateful violence inflicted by
one’s own people?

Somehow, I’ve thought my way out, but it’s taken most of my life.

My puff is gone.

I don’t need to explain myself, to apologize,  or make myself livid with rage.

I don’t need to incite power struggles.

Not today.

Power struggles are about feeling powerless; the need to fight small battles
is about the need for distraction.

No puff…

No anger.

“Am I dead?”

“No, not dead.”

I’ve never felt more certain of my worth as a person, never more secure
with myself.

Myself.

My. Self.

The puff is gone and in its place I think I see a person; a man whose hellish
past no longer defines who he is or how he will live the rest of his life.

I think I can see my self.

Now everything is new.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2018

First published Sep 25, 2015
Revised May 25, 2018

DID and the Arrow of Time

This is slightly edited SOC:

There are three major types of dissociative disorder defined in the Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association:

Dissociative amnesia. The main symptom is memory loss that’s more severe than normal forgetfulness and that can’t be explained by a medical condition. You can’t recall information about yourself or events and people in your life, especially from a traumatic time. Dissociative amnesia can be specific to events in a certain time, such as intense combat, or more rarely, can involve complete loss of memory about yourself. It may sometimes involve travel or confused wandering away from your life (dissociative fugue). An episode of amnesia usually occurs suddenly and may last minutes, hours, or rarely, months or years.

Dissociative identity disorder. Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, this disorder is characterized by “switching” to alternate identities. You may feel the presence of two or more people talking or living inside your head, and you may feel as though you’re possessed by other identities. Each identity may have a unique name, personal history and characteristics, including obvious differences in voice, gender, mannerisms and even such physical qualities as the need for eyeglasses. There also are differences in how familiar each identity is with the others. People with dissociative identity disorder typically also have dissociative amnesia and often have dissociative fugue.

Depersonalization-derealization disorder. This involves an ongoing or episodic sense of detachment or being outside yourself — observing your actions, feelings, thoughts and self from a distance as though watching a movie (depersonalization). Other people and things around you may feel detached and foggy or dreamlike, time may be slowed down or sped up, and the world may seem unreal (derealization). You may experience depersonalization, derealization or both. Symptoms, which can be profoundly distressing, may last only a few moments or come and go over many years

Dissociative Identity Disorder is the other two disorders plus alternate identities with memories of their own.

“Each identity may have a unique name, personal history, and characteristics, including obvious differences in voice, gender, mannerisms, and even such physical qualities as the need for eyeglasses. There also are differences in how familiar each identity is with the others.”

DID is an uneasy alliance of defense mechanisms.

For instance, Bobby and the Aversion Therapist; I know the story is true,
but I don’t remember it.

From my perspective, it never happened.

The present is the past in the present, got that?

Research is improved since I was first diagnosed in 2009.

In 2015 the National Institutes of Health published research that explains
memory disruption in people with DID.

Normal memory is episodic.

The flow of consciousness across time is necessary to create an experience of the present, (“now”) in the context of a subjective past and anticipated future. Accordingly, under normal circumstances, time is experienced as continuously moving forward. However, traumatized individuals often relive their traumatic memories through flashbacks and lack the ability to live in the “now,” reflecting a key dissociative process associated with trauma-related altered states of consciousness. Such reliving events are in contrast to intrusive memory recall most frequently associated with reminder distress and not involving an altered state of consciousness or a dissociative process but rather represent a state of normal waking consciousness   Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2015


Normal memory is “Back when I was 16,” as opposed to ‘I am 16.”

 

“Episodic memory differs from other kinds of memory in that its operations require a self. It is the self that engages in the mental activity that is referred to as mental time travel: there can be no travel without a traveler …”  Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2015


I don’t remember things, I relive them.

 

“…while remembering an event, mental time travel is “partial” in that the present self voluntarily directs attention to the past self, thus maintaining awareness of the present self in the present time. In this case, the “I” is proposed to exist in the present self, which outweighs the representation of the past self in past time. In contrast, during a reliving experience, mental time travel occurs “fully,” generally not by choice, and is usually triggered by internal and/or external stimuli that bear some resemblance to a past self-state. In this case, the “I” is thought to inhabit the past self, which is thought to outweigh the presence of the present self, thus lacking a mental time traveler and the ability to voluntarily position oneself in the past or in the future.” Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2015

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
A Multiverse of the Mind


Maybe it’s a gift

I discussed my post about the first day of desegregation with my therapist.

It’s a short piece but was hard to write because as I wrote it, I lost most of
my vocabulary.

I told my therapist I was writing like a seven-year old.

She said it was a gift.

I shrugged.

Maybe it’s true.

Maybe telling the ugliness of mindless violence as witnessed
by a frightened child is a kind of gift.

It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse.

A writer is one who writes.

Why do I write?

Why do I give so much of my life to it?

How many poems must one write to be
a writer?

If it’s a masterwork, one.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2018