Dissociative Identity-specific Stuff

Extreme Dissociation-related Stuff You Need to Know 

 
 Dissociative Identity-specific Stuff – INDEX
  • All Alters are Good and Helpful
  • It Wasn’t Your Fault
  • Divvy Up Supports
  • Wholeness, not Integration, is the Goal

 

All Alters are Good and Helpful    

No alter is your enemy!

Every alter is actually your friend and ally because all alters were created for the same specific purpose: your survival and well-being.

Although each alter may have their own specific set of beliefs and understandings about how to survive and what they have to do to stay safe and well-cared for, in a very real sense, all alters are serving as protectors. Alters may sometimes do harm to themselves or others, but their goal is always to survive and thrive as best as they can, based on what they have learned through their limited piece of life experience.  Although you may see some of your alters as a nuisance or even your enemy, the reality is alters saved your life, your sanity, or some other vital aspect of the whole you. As such, they have earned the right to be treated with care and respect, and to be welcomed into the team/cooperative/family, (whatever you call your collective inner healing process).

It is especially important to note that the contributions of so-called “bad” or “evil” alters to your healing will surely prove as valuable as those of any so-called “helper alter.” All alters are helpers, you just need to work with them. This often involves thinking outside the box to find the best ways they can contribute to the betterment of the whole using their particular skills, abilities, talents, interests, and even programs. For example, an alter taught to “keep the pieces apart” may be able to “keep the pieces together” instead, or a reporter alter may be able to report to other alters or a therapist instead of the perpetrators.

So reach out your hand, open your arms, and embrace each and every one of your alters – they truly are your team-mates, best friends and family!

 

It Wasn’t Your Fault

No matter what you were taught or told or forced to do, and no matter how much you believe it, what happened to you as a victim of extreme abuse was not your fault!

It is not possible to do something bad enough to deserve extreme abuse. No human being has a right to inflict abuse on another, and there is never a valid reason for extreme abuse. To me, even the death penalty, anti-terrorist measures, and state or institution sanctioned torture are just as criminal and plain wrong as extreme abuse, torture or trauma inflicted by private groups or individual members of society.  As I see it, no situation exists that justifies causing another person harm, especially intentionally.

If you were a victim of extreme abuse and were told it was your fault, you were being manipulated and controlled. Your emotions and your need to survive, belong or otherwise protect your well-being were used to keep you silent and compliant.  In such situations, you really had no choice, even if they told you that you did! Your most basic driving needs and survival functions simply ensured you made the decision/s being forced upon you. This type of no-actual-choice situation is called a double-bind – the person is literally bound or trapped between two impossible choices, like in the old saying “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

So really, none of it was your fault. You didn’t have any choice. Choice only came when it was possible for you to be out of, or able to function outside of, the control of your abusers – and not until then. Before that, it was simply out of your control and therefore not your fault!

 

Divvy Up Supports

Be sure to “divvy up” the support you seek between as many people and/or groups as possible!

No one person can possibly handle all the aspects of being supportive to someone healing from the dissociative effects of extreme abuse, and no single person or group can possibly meet all of your healing needs. This type of healing is as all-encompassing as the abuse and trauma that created the need to dissociate in the first place! So naturally, you need a variety of supports, in many different forms. This makes it crucial for you to ask for help openly and freely. To quote Oprah’s OWN channel, “We only get what we have the courage to ask for.”

If you can‘t find a specific form of help, seek new ways to intentionally manifest what you need and want. Define what needs you want to focus on, then ask Creator or your higher power to bring you what you need at that time. Ask for a friendly ear, someone to laugh or cry with, a safe person with whom you can express and release your anger. Seek a play, fun, fitness or sport buddy, and someone who can be trusted to meet, support or comfort the little alters.  Join a sexual abuse survivor group and maybe a specific disorder-related group to address common trauma-related dissociative effects. Have a companion to share entertainment with and another to share intellectual pursuits. Connect with a spiritual community that encourages and empowers you in ways that feel good and help you feel your connection to the Divine in yourself and others. Share nurturing time in nature with someone, feel the life in the world around you.

Find people and groups who enhance the quality of your life. Be sure they have clear guidelines and boundaries, so there is safety in you being real even when you don’t yet know the guidelines and boundaries yourself. Then be sure to conscientiously consider those guidelines and learn those boundaries as they arise. Doing so will greatly improve the chances that the people and groups will be able and willing to continue supporting you in your healing as best they can, within the scope of their nature and abilities.

 

Wholeness, not Integration, is the Goal

Healing from the effects of trauma and dissociation requires integration of the dissociated pieces of memory and experience. Contrary to popular belief, though, healing from DID does not necessarily require full integration where all alters merge or join. What healing from DID really requires is a focus on wholeness and healthy, happy functioning in your daily life.

Having a single-minded goal of integration for your alters can actually be detrimental, shifting the focus from your overall needs for healing and wholeness to that of fitting an externally defined idea of what healing looks and feels like. This can easily be as damaging as the original trauma that caused the dissociative splits in the first place, because it repeats the abuse, neglect and negation of your needs and feelings, re-victimizing you in the name of treatment.

Certainly, many people do find all of their alters eventually merge into one stronger and more complete, more whole, person. However, the person often perceives this as a side effect of their healing, rather than the goal. On the other hand, though, many people with DID live fulfilling and rewarding lives with alters, not needing or wanting to merge them into one primary personality.

What this means is that, for the best results, you must be able to address your own particular wounds and needs with the only goal of therapy and treatment being that of developing overall health and well-being. This approach allows you to follow your own path, learn to listen to yourself and to self-care in the areas where the trauma impacted your life. This inner change and evolution facilitates moving beyond the trauma, unlike out-dated and/or ineffective therapies and drugs that treat symptoms but not causes, and therefore do not produce true healing.

So remember wholeness, not integration, is the goal!