Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thoughts on the Holocaust...Similarities in Surviving.

Unable to Work by David Olère. 131x162 cm, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, New York.
Inability to work was often an immediate death sentence. In the background of this painting, smoke rises from the crematorium to form the SS insignia.

"Then for the first time we became aware that our language lacks words to express this offence, the demolition of a man."  (Primo Levi, "Survival in Aushwitz" p.26)

Do you ever feel like the words are not in your mind to express the pain you went through as a child?  You have all these memories, thoughts, and pictures extremely vivid in your minds eye, yet you do not have the ability to utter a word.  From my studies about the Holocaust, this is how a lot of survivors feel about their experience.  This is also how I feel about surviving extreme physical, sexual, and emotional child abuse.   I have a strong suspicion that many survivors of childhood abuse have the same problem.  Words do not accurately describe what we feel.  Why?  Because, it was the 'demolition' of a child.  My psyche was demolished.  Among many things I lost my childhood.  I lost 'me'.  I lost 'all'.  "...for he who loses all often easily loses himself."  (Primo Levi, "Survival in Aushwitz" p. 27)

As survivors we were stripped of our dignity.  We were stripped of our innocence.  They took away our very essence.  "They will even take away our name:  and if we want to keep it, we will have to find ourselves the strength to do so, TO MANAGE SOMEHOW SO THAT BEHIND THE NAME SOMETHING OF US, OF US AS WE WERE, still remains."  (Primo Levi, "Survival in Aushwitz" p. 27)   (emphasis added by me).   For people with D.I.D., they did not take away our name as such, but created many more names.   I believe the key to healing is this:   To dig as deep as we can until we find our true self...the self before the abuse.  Some of us will have to go very far back.  Maybe even as far back as infancy.  We have to find the 'us as we were'...the innocent child hidden inside.  Until we do, I do not know how we can begin to heal.  We need to rescue our child.  We need to wage a war against our attackers.  I do not mean this literally, but as a metaphor.  We need to assemble all our inner warriors and defend this child.  Here is where our healing will begin.   Here is where we will find our innocence and free ourselves from blame.  This child will take away our shame.  "The truth shall set you free".  We will come to know ourselves through the innocence of her eyes.  Let your journey begin there.


  1. Hi,
    I am pleased to have found your blog. I love the style that you write in and the way you share. I like your analogies too.
    One thing that helped me a bit in my own recovery from DID was in finding out that I didn't have to go all that way back to find the original me, like I thought I had to but what worked for me was more like I realized the who the original me was as I took back my life (going through the process) and finding out where they shut me down. Why certain parts were created held great clues to all that information. I didn't concentrate on finding me, but rather on finding out what the abuse resulted in in my life and changing the lies that I found at the roots of those events. Those events that told me that I was bad/unworthy/ dirty etc. And then as the process went forward and I got stronger, suddenly the REAL ME began to emerge! I began to feel more comfortable in my own skin! It felt like "coming home" not that I had ever known what that would feel like... but it was the coolest thing.
    I just wanted to share this slightly different twist on how it worked for me.

  2. Thank you for your comment. It is greatly appreciated. I think I understand what you are saying. The lies have been difficult for me to 'un-believe'. But, I realize that my view of myself comes from the abusers. It is not how I want to see myself. I have been working on this, but have recently had a few setbacks that sent me on a downward spiral. I am so glad I found your page. I have been looking for others who have gone through similar experiences for a couple of reasons. 1) To not feel so alone in all of this pain. 2) To find out what helped them heal and to learn from it.

    So, thank you very much for your input. And I look forward to reading your posts!

  3. To just not feel so alone..to know somebody else out there get's it makes a world of difference....I GET it...As always...XOXOX

  4. You know, I never thought about the connection of the two. I am not a real huge fan of history, but I can't seem to get enough of holocaust information. I read everything I can get my hands on. Last week Amazon and Barnes & Noble had a free ebook from a survivor. I stayed up all night reading it. I have never really understood why I had such a fascination with it, now I do.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I am glad I stopped by yours. (and I see we have Bongo in common :) love that lady!!)

    Here is the book if you are interested : Secret Holocaust Diaries :http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Secret-Holocaust-Diaries/Nonna-Bannister/e/9781414330242

    If you don't have a Nook, you can download the app on the site to view it on your PC or other device. Same for Amazon and the Kindle.

  5. Thanks for the link to the book. I am always interested in books!! Thank you for joining my blog! Yes...Bongo is a great blogger!