An Inventory of Sorts

Being an abuse survivor–much less a multiple–has its serious handicaps. This morning I was pondering the many ways in which my multiplicity hinders me from so-called normality. I decided to make a list of the top 5 things I can’t do, and to avoid ending on a note of negativity, I’ll also include the top 5 things I can do well:





  1. Find my way around the block without getting lost. This is a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. I do have memorized the route to the places I need to drive to on a regular basis. But anything beyond that creates pure panic within. As a sub-heading, I could add: things I will never be able to do because of this handicap: drive a taxi or bus, conduct guided tours, be a radio dispatcher for a taxi company, take a group of Girl Scouts on a camping trip. I’m sure I could add many more items to this list, but you get the picture.

  2. Relax around people. No matter who they are or how long I’ve known them, there is always that hated hyper vigilance which keeps me on edge. I understand the reason for it; I get that I have parts who exist solely to protect me from danger and to sound the alarm when needed. Trouble is, what my parts and I consider danger is not always copacetic to the world of reality. Do I try to force my parts to conform to what singletons would consider a threat to one’s well-being, or do I respect their rights to their own feelings, and the reason for them? I haven’t quite figured that out. I don’t want to force my parts to do anything, as that in itself seems rather abusive. It is especially hard for me to be around large gatherings of people. I suppose this is because all of my parts are then put in the position of having to interact within a group situation. Some of them, though, go into hiding on such occasions, and that makes it a little easier for me. But I resent their having to do so.

  3. Remember things. Years ago I worked in an office, and it was sheer hell. I couldn’t remember from one day to the next what the office manager had told me, or showed me how to do, the day before. Taking notes didn’t help much. I couldn’t understand why. I knew I wasn’t stupid, but there it was: I simply couldn’t keep anything of a work related nature in my head. I even got reading glasses, thinking (for some mysterious reason) that the trouble must be my eyesight. I didn’t know then that I had DID, so couldn’t have known that my manager was explaining things to many different parts. Some of them (I realize now) would try to absorb the information, and when they couldn’t and became panic-stricken, would simply never appear at work again. Also, there was that whole group dynamic thing mentioned above. I had to relate to too many individuals at once, on a daily basis. That was in addition to helping walk-in customers. I must say, I’ve never felt so dumb in my life! My life is so much simpler since I’ve quit working. My memory losses these days revolve mostly around mundane concerns such as, now where did I put the coffee pot after I poured my first cup of coffee? or, shoot, I know someone (#2 son? #4 son?) gave me some money to hold on to for someone (#1 son? #5 son?), but beats me who gave me what for whom–or where I stashed it for that matter.

    (Fortunately, I’m always able, just in the nick of time, to find where I’ve tucked away the money. I still have to be reminded sometimes, though, who it’s for.)

  4. Get a good night’s sleep. It’s that hyper vigilance thing all over again. If some of my parts are hyper vigilant during the day, they go into overdrive at night. I figure I’ve been sleep-deprived most of my life. Because much of my childhood abuse occurred during the wee hours of the night, I don’t have a single part who is capable of a deep, restful sleep. I don’t begin to understand people who can fall right to sleep, and when they wake up feel rejuvenated. That’s foreign to me. Another sub-heading would be taking naps. Once in a blue moon I can fall asleep in the daytime, but usually not for more than 10 minutes at a time. And even when I do manage a longer nap, I feel so much worse upon awakening that I always regret my little snooze. (I have a tendency to sleep as close to the edge of the bed as possible, without falling overboard. I don’t know what that’s all about.)

  5. Listen to music on a regular basis. This is a real shame, because I love music. My dad was a musician, and so music has always been important to me. But it’s just too triggering. I never know what emotions or memories it will trigger. This inability to make music a more consistent part of my everyday life really bugs me. There is nothing fair about child abuse or DID, of course, but this seems so totally unfair to me, to have to deprive myself regularly of something I so enjoy. That’s what happens, though, when pretty much every halfway decent memory is tainted by memories of abuse.



  1. Bake bread. Not as well as Austin, I’m sure (hehe), but I can make a mean loaf of bread. There is something so inherently satisfying about making a batch of bread by scratch! I love everything about the process: the smell of the yeast, the kneading of the dough (even though it wears me out), and the way it feels beneath my hands when it’s been kneaded enough and turns smooth and elastic. And the delicious aroma of baking bread–oh, mama!

  2. Interact with children. This is a good thing, since I raised 5 kids and have grand-kids now. I’m sure my ease with kids has to do with the littles residing inside of me. I am about as relaxed around kids as I’m ever going to be around anyone. I’ve perfected the art of maintaining discipline without crushing vulnerable little spirits.

  3. Housework. This seems like a rather sad thing to add to this list, but it’s true. I taught myself as a child to clean thoroughly, and quickly. This was a sure way to buy myself some time outside of our home, and away from the stepdad’s clutches. I learned early on that if I didn’t perform a chore the first time to my mom’s satisfaction, I would be brought back to do the whole thing over again, top to bottom, until I met her exacting standards. Now, even with the handicap of my Chronic Fatigue, I can clean like the dickens and have everything looking spic and span quicker than you can say, “Dust bunnies!”

  4. Reading and writing. I’ve been a bookworm most of my life. I’m the one people come to when they need to know how to spell a word, or to see if they’ve got the definition right. (Not that I’m never wrong, of course. It does depend too on which of my parts responds to the question!) I’ve also been writing since I was 7, and discovered one summer’s day that I was born to be a writer. Here too there is much room for improvement, but it’s something I’ve had a knack for since childhood. (And now I really feel like I’m blowing my own horn, something I’m not at all comfortable with! Why did I start this whole list thing anyway?)

  5. Home decorating. I’ve a good eye for arranging things, such as furniture or paintings and framed photos. It’s something I know instinctively. Yes, I’m one of those souls who actually can’t bear to see something hanging crooked on the wall. I can usually refrain from straightening things in someone else’s home, but the whole time I’m there my fingers are itching to do so.

So there you have it. Thanks goodness I only did 5 items on each list. The THINGS I CAN DO list was especially painful. In fact, it nearly had me in a sweat. This type of list is not something I care to repeat any time soon.


(Mrs. Homebody loves to make bread.)

5 thoughts on “An Inventory of Sorts

  1. its a whole lot easier to make the can’t do list than the can do list, isn’t it?? maybe because all we heard was what we couldn’t do right and very seldom what we could do right? peace and blessings to you


  2. Hello Beautiful
    Yeah… I LOVE making bread from stratch and stretch, hehehehe. I do everything by hand, even kneading. I do have machines that would do that, but… oh no, I love the old fashion way. I haven’t made any lately, but… oh well. Yes, I am also a hypervigilant person in general. I hate crowds too, there is just so much work to be done around lots of people. I do all kinds of work to make people happy around me, yet… I am so uncomfortable, even and especially around relatives. Kiss butt is my nickname… they must be happy with me and my hostess ability. Being positive is sooo good. Love that women making bread… sooo cool.

  3. I really enjoyed reading your little lists….It’s nice to be able to sit and write out things that your good at as well as some that your not just to keep things in perspective. I definately admire your way of being able to disipline kids without, “crushing their spirit” as you said. I am very glad that Isabella has you around her often….You are just a all around great Nana! And about the bread, I think it says enough when you can bake 2 loaves and they are pratically gone by the next day….Honey, you can make a mean loaf of bread!!!

  4. I think I would do better on the list of things I could do than the list of things I can’t do. in my family I was the smart one and the sister was the stupid one. Sometimes my confidence is strong and other times I feel like a pile of dog poo. With someI can talk and think but others like Barney bring the idiot out in me. I stutter and forget words. I can’t think and the predominent word in my conversation is um.
    I think if I were doing this list I’d do better listing what I can do rather than what I can’t do. That doesn’t mean I can’t relate to your list of cants because I have all of them. the reason I don’t listen music it regularly is because it’s too much noise. I have enough noise in my head. The radio and TV is stimulus overload for me so they are often turned off. I clean very well too and for the same reasons. You do it right the first time with fewer reasons to be told how bad you are. Just do it right the first time and do it fast! Lord do I know that one. I couldn’t care less if a pic is crooked but it kills Blossom. LOL
    As far as food do you know what it is that I’m terrible at? I can’t make cookies. My cookies could be weapons. Toss and knock ’em out type choc chip cookies. Just nasty! I’m glad they were not on the final in culinary school or I would have wasted 4 yrs of my life. :-)LOL


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