July 31, 2010
One of the diagnostic criteria for dissociative identity disorder is experiencing amnesia or lost time. While losing time may seem like an obvious hole in your every day life, it really might not be as obvious as it seems it could be.
For dissociative trauma survivors, the sliding of time is a normal everyday way of life. It just is how it is, and time feels very different for DID survivors than it does for other people. Dissociative survivors may or may not pay attention to the minutes that are gone, or the hours that have slid quietly by. They are very used to the ebb and flow, and unless there is reason to pay specific attention to the idea of lost time, they may not really be genuinely aware of how much time they lose.
Every dissociative survivor I have met has recognized specific periods of lost time in his or her life. Sometimes, multiples think they do not lose much time, but with a few detailed questions, it can soon enough be shown that there are very clear gaps in memory and awareness of regular life events. There will be everyday type things that they know they should know, but they don’t.
Some multiples will notice big chunks of time that seem to be gone. It will be 2 pm, and then suddenly, it’s 9 pm, and the survivor has no awareness of what happened during those seven hours. Those hours are considered lost time because they feel completely lost and unaccounted for. The host parts don’t remember what happened. If they look around, they might get some clues about what may have happened, but for the most part, it feels like time completely jumped seven hours ahead. Time feels lost to them because there is basically no information and no awareness about what happened.
Other times, DID survivors will feel like they are mostly aware of everything that happens through their day, but their ability to remember what happened yesterday, or even to remember what happened this morning, or an hour ago is extremely limited. This is a different kind of lost time in that the recall is so nonexistent that it becomes the same as lost time since the survivor has next to no idea what happened.
In both of these situations, time is being quantified from the perspective of the front host personality. Time loss can include other parts of the system as well, but the questions about lost time are typically addressed towards the host. This is an important distinction to remember.
Because you see, even though time feels lost to the front host personality, in all reality, time is not lost at all.
Yes, you read that right. Time is actually not lost. Time has not actually gone away. The DID survivor’s day is not shorter than everyone else’s day. Time has not disappeared in the way that it feels.
While we use the term “lost time” all the time, that is actually not what happens. In fact, no one with DID actually loses any time at all.
So where does the time go?
Actually, what happens is that the dissociative trauma survivors have switched to another part.
Yep, they’ve just switched.
Switching. Shifting from one part or another. “Transitioning” as US of Tara called it.
That’s all that happened. You’ve switched!
The hours of time can be completely accounted for if you know who was out and what they were doing. Time itself isn’t missing. What is missing is having the awareness or knowledge about who in your system was out doing what.
So when the host or front personalities are completely unaware of life events, and there is no knowledge of what has happened, they have simply switched to someone else in their system who is out and doing all kinds of things. The body is likely up and active, and any number of things could be happening. Someone inside the system will know exactly what happened between 2 pm and 9 pm!
For there to be “lost time”, this switch occurs with parts that are so dissociated and separated from the host personalities that the host personalities are not aware of what happened.
Actually, this kind of time loss / lack of awareness can happen between any part of the system with any other part of the system. Many of the insiders may not be at all aware of what the host personalities are doing either. Part of the reason for time distortion, triggers, and flashbacks is connected to the insiders not being aware of the outside life in the current day, place, or time.
Sometimes the lost time between these parts are just from not paying attention. For example, one set of parts can simply be daydreaming or drifting off, and simply not concentrating enough to be aware. Maybe they were choosing to have an internal nap or be otherwise internally occupied. However, if they actually tried to be aware of what was happening in the outside world, they may fully well have known exactly what happened during that lost time. Or with a little effort, they may have been able to get close enough to the front of the body to be aware enough to see, or hear, or know.
Other times, the dissociative walls / amnesiac walls are much thicker and less penetrable. In these situations, one set of parts does not want the others inside to know what is happening, and the blocks put between them are strong and absolute. Parts from within the internal system are specifically dividing themselves away from everyone else so everyone inside is not aware. If you have parts that are specifically hiding their activities from the rest of everyone else, this is an important issue to address in your therapy.
In my opinion, integration is not necessary for successful stable functioning. But, eliminating time loss and/or periods of unknown switching is important for exactly those reasons. It is ok that everyone within has their chance to do what they need to do, but it is also important to build the communication around what is happening. You all share the same life. Being more aware of what happens in that life is important.
So the next time you want to know what happened during that chunk of time that you don’t remember, ask inside. Ask who knows about it. Ask who was out, or who saw what happened. There will be someone inside that knows exactly what was happening during that chunk of “missing time”. You might need to work on increasing your internal communication with those parts, but once you know the others in your system, that time loss will decrease.
Even if the time loss is happens, but if you know who is out, that can help with knowing what happened. The more you know your whole system of insiders, the less unaccounted for time you will have.
Once again I’ll say, internal communication is the central core of treatment for dissociative identity disorder.
If you want to know what is going on, talk to each other!!!
Kathy Broady LCSW
Copyright © 2008-2010 Kathy Broady LCSW and Discussing Dissociation
April 10, 2010
I’ve been wondering for awhile about what aspect to focus on with this week’s episode of United States of Tara. Then I remembered the last minute of the show.
And I thought more of how very painful and how very real that heartbreak is for Buck.
Throughout this season two, Tara has struggled with the fact that she is in fact multiple – that she does have dissociative identity disorder – that she is switching, or “transitioning” as she calls it – that she has other parts to herself that also want time and attention and a little bit of life space. Tara is upset about having to share her life with her insiders and she has convinced herself that she is the only one in the body who should have a life. She has decided that she “is” the life, and that no one else matters, just her.
Apparently she thinks that she, Tara, is the one and only important self. No one else matters –she is the only one that matters. Tara, Tara, Tara – it’s all about Tara.
Well. I’ve heard far too many hosts present with that kind of attitude, but to the dismay of far too many host personalities, I completely disagree with that concept.
I vote for the system.
Meaning, if I had a vote regarding Tara, I would support Buck.
Buck is as real as Tara.
Buck is every bit as much of a person as Tara is.
Buck has his own thoughts, feelings, experiences, memories, wants, desires, etc. He is as important as Tara is.
Can Tara stake claim as the ONLY part of the system that gets to have time?
Is she really the only one that is important?
I don’t think so.
See – the way I see it – Tara is only a portion of the person. She is not THE person. She is part of the whole person, the same as Buck is part of the whole person. Tara may have the upfront, outwardly social wife and mother role of the person, but she is not the whole person.
Tara is important, there is no denying that. I would never ever say she isn’t important. And she can be considered the leader of the system – I’m all for that idea as well.
But to say she is the only one that matters???
That is taking it too far.
Buck and the others inside are also important. They are as important as Tara. They may have different roles, different abilities, different preferences, different histories, different memories, etc, but they are still part of the person as a whole, and they should get to have part of the life as well.
I’m not saying that I am supporting the idea that Buck has been having an affair outside of the marriage vows. An affair is an affair, and Buck is completely and fully aware of what he has been doing that would be so very hurtful to the husband. He is responsible for the pain he has caused in his family, and like it or not, he is actually already married. Buck has cheated on his husband, and he will have to face the music on that one.
Yes, Buck and Tara have a whopping lot of work to do in order to resolve this conflict but the fact of the matter is, Buck is his own person too.
And part of the current heartbreak for Buck is that Tara has staked a little more claim on how the outward life is managed, and that genuinely leaves Buck not knowing how to be or do what he wants to be or do in his own life right now. No, it really isn’t ok for Buck to go out and have his own affair. Yes, he really is his own person, but his actions still affect those around him. He will need to figure out a way to live happily and fulfilled as himself without hurting others. I don’t know how that will look for Buck, but that is the challenge he is facing right now.
The point I want to emphasize here is that the DID system insiders do count.
They are real, they do exist, they have their own wants and dreams, and they are as important as anyone else. So squashing them out of existence, or refusing to give them time or acknowledgement is not ok.
Cooperation, compromising and sharing are absolutely important – but refusing to let the insiders have their own life-space is bordering on creating a self-centered dictatorship, in my definition.
Buck’s heartbreak about not getting to have the life he wants on his very own is very real. Insiders can and do feel extreme sadness and emotional pain over not being able to have their own bodies, their own separate lives, their own complete freedom of choice. Buck really and truly wanted to have his own girlfriend, and to have his own relationship, and to have his own time in the body. He wants the freedom to be his real self, and to make the choices he would make if he had his very own body.
If it were only that easy….
Sharing a body with 5-10-20-30 or more different insiders is extremely difficult. There seems to never be enough time to do everything everyone wants to do.
It means that sharing the 24-hour day is essential. It means that giving each other time in the body needs to be a coordinated, cooperative, ongoing process.
Finding ways to meet the needs, wants, and preferences of each of the different insiders is really complicated, and it does take a whole lot of work to find acceptable compromises. The key word here, being compromise. Tara can no more take over the life as completely her own any more than Buck can. They have to find a way to work that out together.
Because they are both real.
And they both exist.
And they both can have a say in how life looks for them.
Because they are both important, and valuable, and necessary.
Buck really is as real as Tara. And if he has to prove that, he can.
So to all the hosts out there – be willing to share the life-space with your insiders. Because far too often, if you refuse to do that, your insiders could make a mutiny type decision like Buck did. And that really never works out very well for anyone.
Value everyone in your system.
Use interpersonal skills layered in cooperation, compromise and teamwork.
Be willing to share.
Treat each other with kindness and generosity.
Accept that there are differences between you and the others and find ways to make it work so that everyone can get some of what they need.
Everyone in your system has the right to be happy.
Their lives matter too.
Kathy Broady LCSW
Copyright © 2008-2010 Kathy Broady LCSW and Discussing Dissociation
April 5, 2010
I didn’t have a chance to watch or write about last week’s episode of Showtime’s United States of Tara, so before the series got too much further, I thought I’d bring up the topic.
First of all – it’s now really clear to me what people were referring to as triggering about episode two. The sudden sexual explicitness would be triggering to a lot of trauma survivors. If you haven’t yet seen this episode, beware of the last five minutes of the show.
Tara’s male alter, Buck, sneaks out in the middle of the night, goes to a bar, and develops a sexual relationship with a woman that works at the bar. Tara is completely amnesiac for the hours Buck spends with the other woman, but she gradually notices some clues that she is missing time. Tara runs into the bartender while grocery shopping, initially does not recognize her at all, and is embarrassed by the bartender’s flirty familiarity. Tara eventually has vague recall of who the woman is, but reassures her that they will not be continuing that relationship, whatever it was. Tara and Buck argue about this situation, and Tara says “Absolutely not!” but Buck seems to be winning. He is able to continue his relationship with his new girlfriend despite Tara’s best efforts to squash it from happening.
There are layers of internal system conflicts demonstrated in the situation with Tara, Buck, and the bartender. Specifically from this week’s show, I want to bring up the topics of sexual preferences and sexual acting-out.
Here are some questions I have been asked dozens of times:
If a male alter in a female body is attracted to women, is that a homosexual interest? Or is that a heterosexual interest?
If you had an insider sneaking out of the house to have a sexual relationship with another person, how would you handle that? If this relationship was happening behind amnesiac walls, how long would it take for you to figure it out?
You might think that this story line is dramatic twist, but I have to admit, I have seen something very similar happen several different times during my years of working as a trauma therapist with dissociative survivors.
Sexual relationship issues do surface during the therapy treatment years. Not only does this issue provide conflicting feelings for external relationships, it also can create significant tension, anxiety and conflict between system parts. For example, it is not unusual for male insiders express a very different sexual preference than female insiders. It is not unusual for male insiders to feel like they should have their own options instead of being “stuck” with whomever the girls have chosen. The child parts may have a strong vote as well, meaning that they often want complete abstinence in order to feel safe. This may or may not be acceptable to the adult parts, (or to the adult partners / spouses). The subsequent arguments that can develop between system parts can be intense. Learning to work out conflicts and find suitable compromises can be very difficult in these situations.
Re-enactments of sexual trauma have an impact on sexual interests and preferences. As sexual trauma issues surface, survivors can respond in all kinds of ways. Some of the ways include finding an external relationship that either imitates the traumatic relationship, or finding an external relationship to use as avoidance of sexual trauma issues. Sometimes sexual addictions flare up rapidly, and the sexually interested insiders may feel intensely pulled towards sexual activities, including self-focused activities. Or most commonly, survivors completely lose interest in participating in a sexual relationship, and if a spouse or partner requests ongoing participation, there is a high-risk of the original traumatized child parts being pulled out.
It’s a difficult dilemma.
Most survivors with dissociative identity disorder (DID / MPD) will have insiders that express all of the above views.
Finding the best balance varies from person to person, relationship to relationship.
How do you address all of this?
How do you sort out all the different layers of conflict?
How do you meet all the varying needs?
It’s certainly not easy.
Kathy Broady LCSW
Copyright © 2008-2010 Kathy Broady LCSW and Discussing Dissociation
March 23, 2010
So here we go again.
The second season of the Showtime series “United States of Tara” starring the Emmy Award winner Toni Collette has begun.
The first season was full of controversial episodes, and most of the survivor population with dissociative identity disorder was disappointed and angered by the series. Even though some of the best-known trauma psychiatrists were allegedly acting as advisors for the show, there were still far too many inaccuracies and misrepresentations for the comfort level of real DID survivors. (Maybe next time, Showtime, executive producer Steven Speilberg, or writer Diablo Cody should speak more with clinical therapists that treat dissociative clients on a long-term basis. If you ask me, therapists know more about the clinical realities of DID than psychiatrists anyway, but that’s a whole different rant.)
The first episode starts with Tara tossing out the clothing and personal items that belonged to her formerly recognized four or five insiders. Tara had ended the first season in the hospital, and had apparently done so well in her brief hospital stay, that it had been three whole months since her insiders had surfaced. She was sure they were all gone. She was already saying goodbye to them – more like good riddance to them – and her family gathered around the charitable donations dumpster to make crass comments toward the inside parts.
Oh dear. What a way to start the season. Fifty-one seconds into the show and my eyes are popping out with enough material for a blog post. (Dare I even watch the rest of the episode?!) Yeeesh!
So this very first minute of the show brought up some of my very biggest complaints about the way some mental health professionals and hospital programs treat DID / MPD.
One of the most devastating techniques that treatment providers can use with dissociative survivors is to push the whole integration idea. To push the idea that insiders need to not be allowed out, or need to be silenced, or need to be pushed to the back, is damaging to the person as a whole. Integration is not anywhere near the cure-all or ideal goal it is professed to be, and frankly, expecting dissociative clients to having these “alleged integrations” too fast is absolutely harmful.
I have seen too this happen far too many times. This is not good treatment for dissociative identity disorder!!
You cannot go into a hospital program and walk back out, a few weeks later, as an integrated multiple. This is NOT possible. I don’t care how much this is advertised as possible, it is not. It is complete farce, and it will not work.
Sure, you can temporarily push your insiders back into hiding. Or, your insiders can push you out to the front and rebuild the dissociative wall behind you so that you are completely separated from your system. You might think you are alone. You might think you are “integrated”. But you are just separated from your insiders. In fact, you are more dissociated than ever because now you have a complete dissociative block between you and the rest of your selves.
This is not helpful.
Unfortunately, there are hospital programs or therapists that encourage this kind of treatment.
It doesn’t work. It won’t stick. Those inside parts are not gone. They might be hidden, but they absolutely are not gone. And this new or encouraged separation will just cause problems down the road. I’d bet money on that.
I realize that many of you may want to push your insiders back in, or make them shut up, or make them go away, because you believe that your life would be easier and more manageable if they were gone. I can understand the concept that having one personality is easier than having a dozen or two (or three) personalities. I get that.
But it’s still not a good idea.
The various parts of you were created for a reason, and they hold valuable pieces of your life, your history, your emotions, your skills, your abilities, your memories, your talents, your energy, etc. They represent years of your life, and it takes all of you together to make the whole picture – and as appealing as it might be to think that three weeks in the hospital can solve everything with a quick integration, this is an illusion and a lie. Genuine integration, if it is actually desired and if it is actually going to be successful, requires years of work. The various selves to work through all the things that caused them to be separated in the first place – and that just takes time.
It is a cruel trick for hospitals to sell this approach as something they can achieve for the client – because the hospital won’t be there six months or a year down the road, when the apparent “integration” falls apart and the devastated client is left feeling at fault. And it is compounding the wrong for Showtime to present this approach as something that actually happens.
The other problem in this first minute of United States of Tara is the negative way that Tara and her family are speaking about her insiders. Where is their kindness and compassion? Why such blatant disrespect? Where is the appreciation for what those insiders did for her?
EVEN IF I believed in sudden or quick integration as a general theory (which I most definitely do not), I would still say to Tara and her family members that their “good riddance, you big pains in the butt” attitude was an obvious indication of why this particular attempt at integration was not going to work.
Clearly, there were still plenty of issues left unresolved. Clearly, Tara and her family harbored resentment, irritation, and bitterness toward her insiders. The insiders did not integrate because there was acceptance, understanding, and blending of their roles. These insiders were clearly not wanted, not liked, not understood, not appreciated. They were hated. And if Tara is still hating on her insiders, then she is still hating herself. This is not the kind of foundation from which any kind of healthy progress is made.
You cannot integrate your insiders if you hate them.
You cannot make them go away, just because you hate them.
I suppose you can pretend they do not exist because you don’t like what they did. But that will not help you to get better.
I suppose you can act like they are not real because you don’t want them. But that will not help you to get better.
Hating on your insiders, in any way, shape, or form, is not conducive to good treatment.
Hating your yourself, in any way, shape, or form, is not conducive to good treatment.
Your insiders are still parts of you, now and for always.
As far as I am concerned, neglecting your insiders is a form of self-abuse. Neglect is neglect, and if you are not working hard to appropriately meet the needs of your insiders, you are carrying out of form of neglect.
It is so very important to develop positive acceptance and understanding with your insiders. It is imperative to the success of your healing, and one of foundations of your treatment, to be kind, gentle, and compassionate to your inside parts. Build positive teamwork. Build good cooperation. Build good internal communication skills. Become friends with each other. You and your insiders really have to be able to get along and work things out together in order for your healing to progress.
Somehow Tara forgot to do this, and somehow her hospital program forgot it as well.
She can pretend that shoving her insiders away, or pretending they don’t exist, is a wonderful option for her.
But it really will not work.
Later in the previews, it becomes clear that Tara starts realizing she is switching again. (She calls in transitioning. What a bulky word, but ok – it’s a transition from one self to another.) So yes, she clearly switches from one part to another. That’s no surprise.
Someone on her treatment team should have told her months ago that that her “they are gone” approach wasn’t going to work.
Because it didn’t.
Kathy Broady LCSW
Copyright © 2008-2010 Kathy Broady LCSW and Discussing Dissociation
May 17, 2009
I don’t typically use other web-sites as the source of my blog posts, but today I want to share some important information out there to my readers. Survivors of mind control need the validation and encouragement that this Press Release gives. I welcome discussions, questions and comments to the following information.
CIA MIND CONTROL:
Out Of Darkness Into The Light
You are invited to a special public presentation
from two of the most successful U.S. government whistleblowers, Cathy O’Brien and Mark Phillips.
With celebrity guest Roseanne Barr
scheduled to appear!!
Also special guest speaker Colin A. Ross, M.D.
Internationally renowned clinician, researcher, author and lecturer in the field
of traumatic stress and trauma related disorders.
Dr. Ross is currently a consultant on the hit Showtime series
United States of Tara (1st season).
Friday June 5th, 2009
7PM – 10PM
Hollywood United Methodist Church
6817 Franklin Avenue (at Highland Ave.)
Hollywood, CA 90028
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE!!
Government Whistleblowers, Trauma Recovery Expert and Roseanne Barr to Speak Out Against Torture and Mind Control
Cathy O’Brien and Mark Phillips will be joined by Dr. Colin Ross (an expert on clinically diagnosing and treating trauma based personality disorders) and TV legend Roseanne Barr at a speaking event in Los Angeles on June 5th.
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 11, 2009 – As the issue of torturing individuals held in detention facilities plays out in the news media, two of the most successful whistleblowers are speaking out on how CIA programs such as MK-ULTRA actually involved torturing U.S. citizens, our allies citizens and how these heinous atrocities were allowed to continue under the 1947 National Security Act.
Cathy O’Brien was a White House/Pentagon level MK-ULTRA mind control victim, who claims torture was used on her to fragment her personality to make her forget secrets and criminal covert operations she had been forced to participate in over a thirty year period. “Many of the same criminals in control of the government today were in control of me,” Cathy says. “And they are acutely aware that torture and trauma causes humankind to forget.”
Cathy adds, “Now that torture is finally a predominant political issue, the reality of how it’s actually being used continues to be kept from the public by those in control of the government and corporate media. Those who control information control knowledge, which in turn controls the thoughts, perceptions, opinions, and actions of those they inform.”
What about the argument that torture is justified as a means to extract information? Cathy says, “Considering today’s technological advancements, pharmaceuticals, computerization, and classified mind manipulating weaponry, it’s clear to see that torture is not only archaic, but is actually a diversionary issue from more prevalent forms of mass mind manipulation being used on the human population.”
Cathy was rescued in 1988 by Mark Phillips, a U.S. Intelligence insider knowledgeable on CIA mind-control techniques who acted after he was told by a Chinese Intelligence officer that Cathy and her then eight-year-old daughter, Kelly, were mind-controlled slaves of the U.S. government. Mark says that the super secret technology used on Cathy, Kelly and others is an, “evolved system of remote human physical and psychological manipulation that has only recently been officially recognized by accredited mental health physicians for what it is – absolute mind control.”
Cathy and Mark circumvented the news media’s blackout on their case with the greatest true life love story of extraction and recovery from the CIA ‘s mind control project ever told.
You can hear their story along with a discussion on the issue of torture at an event called “CIA Mind Control: Out Of Darkness, Into the Light” which will be held on Friday June 5th, 2009 in Hollywood. The event begins at 7PM at Hollywood United Methodist Church located at 6817 Franklin Avenue (at Highland Ave.).
For more info call 805-653-1588 or visit GoodKarmaPR.com.
A portion of the proceeds go to Children of the Night, a non profit that rescues children from the ravages of prostitution and domination of pimps.
Joining Cathy and Mark will be Dr. Colin Ross, a globally recognized expert on trauma related disorders and author of “The CIA Doctors: Human Rights Violations by American Psychiatrists.” Dr. Ross provides proof, based on 15,000 pages of documents obtained from the CIA through the Freedom of Information Act, that there have been pervasive, systematic violations of human rights by American psychiatrists over the last 65 years. As well, he proves that the Manchurian Candidate “super spy” is fact, not fiction. He describes CIA documented experiments by psychiatrists to create amnesia, new identities, hypnotic access codes, and implanting new memories in the minds of experimental subjects.
Also scheduled to appear is comedian Roseanne Barr. In addition to being a champion for the rights of abused children everywhere, she was treated by Dr. Colin Ross for DID recovery.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS & ORGANIZERS
Cathy O’Brien is a fully rehabilitated US Government White House/Pentagon level mind control survivor whose testimony for the US Congressional Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Oversight was censored for so-called “Reasons of National Security”. Upon the advice of an attorney in 1995, this testimony was released en masse in book form, aptly entitled TRANCE Formation of America, to bring truth to light and survive whistle blowing on US Government tortures. Despite media censorship and death threats and attempts, these proven, documented facts have now reached over 48 countries, been licensed and translated into 8 languages, and are in major universities worldwide such as the Oxford Law Library.
Mark Phillips is a native of Nashville, Tennessee. For nearly 30 years he was a highly successful marketing and advertising executive for two airlines and a medical equipment manufacturing company. While he lacks the published academic credentials as a scholar, professional writer, or mental health physician he is recognized internationally by mental health and law enforcement professionals as a credible authority on the secret science concerning external control of the mind. Throughout his career he also held a DoD issued Top Secret Security clearance as he was exposed to various classified behavioral modification projects. Mark was required to sign an oath of secrecy. To this day he’s restricted by sedition laws from revealing certain specific still classified details that directly relates to his employment.
Roseanne Barr’s creation and portrayal of Roseanne Conner on ABC’s Roseanne has been hailed as “the most ground breaking kitchen-sink sitcom since All in the Family, (Entertainment Weekly)” adding, “She’s the funniest disturber of peace that we have.” In 1998, she hosted her own talk show, The Roseanne Show, for two seasons. Currently, she speaks truth to power at her website and blog RoseanneWorld.com and can be heard Wednesdays at 5PM PT on Pacifica Radio’s KPFK 90.7FM. She also has a Sunday radio show at KCAARadio.com and a program on Free Speech TV called Tipping Point. She is proud to work with organizations such as ACORN and Children of the Night.
Dr. Colin Ross is an internationally renowned clinician, researcher, author and lecturer in the field of traumatic stress and trauma related disorders. He’s the founder and president of the Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma and is the Executive Medical Director of three trauma programs located in Dallas, Texas – Grand Rapids, Michigan – and Torrance, California. Dr. Ross has written extensively on the subject of dissociation and trauma. His latest books include The Trauma Model: A Solution to the Problem of Comorbidity in Psychiatry and Schizophrenia: Innovations in Diagnosis and Treatment. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Associations and the Int’l Society for the Study of Traumatic Stress, and is currently a consultant on the hit Showtime series United States of Tara (1st season).
Children of the Night is a private, non-profit, tax-exempt organization founded in 1979 that is dedicated to assisting children between the ages of 11 and 17 who are forced to prostitute on the streets for food to eat and a place to sleep. Since 1979 Children of the Night has rescued girls and boys from prostitution and the domination of vicious pimps. This much needed organization provides all programs with the support of private donations.
Good Karma PR is a small public relations firm dedicated to helping promote the works of those individuals and organizations that are doing something good for the world. Good Karma PR has worked with; Roseanne Barr, Cynthia McKinney For President, Ed Asner, John Trudell, Dr. Steven Jones, William Rodriguez, Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Clifford Carnicom and Dr. Gwen Scott ND. They’ve also helped launch films such as America: Freedom to Fascism, Washington You’re Fired and The Elephant in the Room.
April 5, 2009
What does your home say about you?
Is your multiplicity evident in the way you keep your home?
Your home is your own personal space and it is important that you are ok and comfortable in that space. Your home may also be reflective of who you are or how your life is at the moment, including the way things work in your internal system.
When you look around the rooms in your house, what evidence is there of your DID/MPD? Could someone wonder if you had dissociative identity disorder just by the items you have in your room?
If so, that is not necessarily a problem or concern, but it could be very interesting to have a look around and see what your system is saying by the way your house / room looks. Take that exterior picture and see how it applies to your internal system.
Look for the evidence in your home of the following three areas related to multiplicity:
A. Child Parts
Think about the way your child parts impact your life and your system. When you look around your home, what kinds of things do you have that show you have kid parts, alive and well, active and interested in child-related items? Do you have 10 – 20 – 30+ visible items that belong to child parts? Do the rooms look more adult, or do the child items outnumber or overpower the amount of adult items in your rooms? How is that reflective of your internal system? Meaning, do your child parts tend to outnumber or override the adults in your system just like the child items are visually predominant in your house?
If your child parts are more visibly dominant in your home, how are they emotionally dominant in your life? Do you make more decisions based on the preferences of your child parts than with your adult parts? Do you respond or react more with your child parts vs. your adult parts? Do your kids have the final say more than you realize?
B. Parts of the Opposite Gender
When you look around your home, what items do you have that show you have male alters (or for guys, having female alters)? Like Buck from United States of Tara, do you have items that are clearly and distinctly very masculine in presentation? Does your home look like a guy’s room or a girl’s room?
Look around your home again — is your living space decorated more with more feminine tastes or with more masculine tastes? How does that match your internal system? Is your system predominantly male-dominated or female-dominated? How have your powerful male alters affected how your home looks?
There are women who can have predominantly male-based systems. There are also women who have systems whose main internal leaders are male. How do these male-lead preferences affect the way your home looks? Would your male-dominated system “allow” a flowery pink décor in your home?
C. Organization vs. Chaos
Is your house a picture of organization or a picture of chaos? How does that relate to the amount of organization and chaos that you have in your system? If you cannot organize your external house, does that parallel your difficulty in organizing your system, and vice versa?
Do you find yourself cleaning your house more when you feel dirty and gross on the inside? Or do you find that you cannot clean your house and that when you feel messy and dirty internally, your external living areas also look messy and dirty?
Who cleans your home? Do you have a designated homemaker like Alice in United States of Tara? Do your cleaning parts have a history of having to do cleaning jobs in connection to your abuse? Does this make it easier for you to clean, or more difficult for you to clean? How does cleaning your home relate to your childhood in any way?
What seems to be a normal, mundane task can actually have deep roots in your history, including your trauma.
Your external world may often be a picture of your multiplicity, your internal world, and your trauma history.
- How does your home reflect your multiplicity?
- How does your home look like your internal worlds?
- How does your home look like your emotional state of being?
- What is your home saying about you and your system?
Kathy Broady LCSW
April 1, 2009
Obviously, there is a tremendous amount of controversy and upset amongst the survivor community about how Showtime has presented dissociative identity disorder in United States of Tara series.
Thank you, everyone, for so many lively comments on the previous post about this topic. I think that’s excellent. It is very good to speak up about your cause and let the world know how it really is. One way to combat the misinformation is to make sure the correct information is out there, available, and viewable for those that really don’t know.
Now I have some questions for you.
If you were the writer of the Showtime series United States of Tara, and knowing dissociative identity disorder as well as you do….
In your opinion, how should the United States of Tara series end?
What would you like to see?
What would you have liked to teach about DID/MPD through this media opportunity?
I realize Toni Collette, Diablo Cody, and the other producers of the show are not likely to ask our opinion, but I’d still like to know. AND, I think this public blog site can be a good place to express your opinion. Don’t be silent about this — let the world know what you think!
Remember how we re-wrote the Hole in My Sidewalk poem? If you were to tackle this project, how would you re-write the Tara show??
Mostly what I want to know…. If you were the senior creative writer of the series, what would you include, and how would you end the season?
All creative and playful comments welcome.
Let’s have some fun!!!
March 28, 2009
Ok. So I was all kinds of optimistic and hopeful that the Showtime series, United States of Tara, would be a positive statement for dissociative identity disorder. After all, Showtime interviewed Dr. Richard Kluft, an informed psychiatrist, one of the founding fathers of the treatment of DID/MPD. That was a good sign, wasn’t it?
As a trauma therapist with 20+ years of clinical experience working with multiples, I have to say I’m quite frustrated that Showtime has presented multiplicity in this way.
First of all, the word is dissociation. Pronounced di-soh-see-ay-shun. The word is not disassociation. There is no additional “a” sound in the word. Saying dis-a-soh-see-ay-shun is the wrong pronunciation and a different word altogether.
Secondly, there is not a medication that can remove or prevent or end dissociative identity disorder. Medications can address various symptoms, and can even slow the thinking down, but medication cannot remove multiplicity. The idea of drugging away the parts is particularly offensive to me, and as far as I am concerned, it is totally opposite to genuine treatment. Insiders are there for a reason, and promoting the idea that the inside can be drugged into silence seems abusive to me. This idea is absolutely absurd and smacks of perpetrative behavior.
I understand the idea of “creating additional drama” for the sake of entertainment and to get a viewing audience. Fine.
And I can understand that the visual presentation of the various alters is metaphorical for how switching feels from within. It is true — or can be true — that when insiders surface on the outside, they “feel” like they look on the inside. Insiders are often confused and upset about looking externally very different than they feel internally. They are convinced they are shorter, or wearing different clothes, or have different hair, or are even a different gender, etc. And yes, internal parts are very often adamant about being a very different person from the host personality.
For the Tara show, the insiders get to look as extremely different on the outside as they feel on the inside. However, it’s not typical for DID’ers to actually present so drastically even if they wish they could.
The different presentations of Tara are excessive, but it makes the point, and it helps the viewing audience to catch on to a switch to one part from another. I would have hoped the viewing audience did not have to have that much help in recognizing switching, but maybe they do.
Now to my biggest beef about United States of Tara: the criminal behavior.
I suppose that somewhere out there in the world, there are multiples that beat up teenagers on school property, break in to and vandalize homes of others, urinate on others while sleeping, froth and drool in public, and sexually assault their child’s underage boyfriend. I suppose I cannot say that no multiple in the world would ever do that.
But really?!!! Is this the kind of message that we want the viewing audience to have about DID? Do multiples really present as the criminally insane?
Not to me!
The multiples I have met in the past 20+ years are not out-of-control monsters like this. Their inside parts know that there is a legal body age, and while they typically feel younger than the body age, the insiders have an understanding that they are not actually the same as outside people of that age.
DIDer’s might have flashbacks or a hard time functioning or emotional outbursts, but typically, trauma survivors will have enough self-control to manage their behavior without committing a crime in public.
Showtime crossed the line by making Tara a sex offender.
It is true that many multiples have been tangled up in sexual crimes, but typically, multiples that are in treatment have not chosen the life of a sex offender. All too many trauma survivors were forced to perpetrate as part of their victimization by organized perpetrator groups, or even by violent single abusers, but being forced to hurt others is not anything near the same as purposefully deciding to sexually offend in the day world.
Most multiples are not sexually inappropriate of their own volition.
For the writers of United States of Tara to present multiplicity in this light is cruel and inaccurate.
I’m disappointed, to say the least.
What a slam.
A great big huge insulting ridiculous slam.
I am not impressed.
- What do you think?
- What are your thoughts about the show United States of Tara?
- Are you criminally insane?
- Would you do the behaviors that Tara is doing on this show?
- If you are multiple, what are your feelings about being portrayed in this way?
Kathy Broady LCSW