November 28, 2009
It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in the US, and besides the wonderful traditional family meal and pleasant times with my kids, this time frame reminds me of something else.
Discussing Dissociation has been up and visible for nearly one year now. Yep, in a few days, it will be a year already!
Wow. Where has the time gone??!!!
There is truth to the saying that time flies, or is it because time flies when you’re having fun … or maybe I’m just getting older, lol.
Anyway, I’m being silly, but I do want to say today how much I appreciate all of you that have been readers here at this blog. The number of faithful, returning readers has been utterly amazing to me. If you look back through all the pages, you’ll see well over a thousand excellent comments from a wide variety of the readers. Wow! The input you all have made in this blog has brought it to life and given it a life-filled energy that I certainly couldn’t create on my own.
For the way each and every one of you have contributed to the positive, educational nature of this blog, I sincerely thank you. I truly appreciate your involvement, your thoughts, your comments, your questions. You’ve helped to make this little site a safe, comfortable community for dissociative trauma survivors. I think it’s a job well done, and once again, I do sincerely thank you for your part in this process. Writing a blog wouldn’t be nearly so fun without hearing comments from the readers! You all rock!
Many of you have questioned why I started this blog in the first place. The original reason is not as mysterious or worrisome as some of you may have thought. It’s a widely stated and highly recommended common practice for therapists to use blogs for marketing purposes. Marketing experts recommend to write what you know about, and to respond to the comments you receive. Blogs get quickly listed in search engines, and they are an easy, economical way for your target audience to get to know you, and to see what you do, and to become more familiar with the work that you do. It’s a simple as that. Check the blogosphere for blogs by therapists. You’ll see that most therapists write about their fields of work the same as I do.
I just happen to know about a very specialized topic – dissociative identity disorder. And my readers are a very distinct but wonderful population – dissociative trauma survivors or trauma therapists. (There aren’t very many of us out here — it’s no wonder that we are congregating together!) And yes, practically all of my blog articles have been very specific to DID, not that the topics couldn’t also apply to other populations, but the point of this blog is to “discuss dissociation” so I do tailor my articles to being about dissociative disorders, and the DID population. There’s no mystery there, lol. I think I’ve said that pretty upfront.
But something much bigger has been happening besides my having found a very effective marketing tool.
With all the positive sharing and support that has been created here, this blog has provided a deep sense of hope and healing for so many people. Having that absolute knowing that others are progressing along their healing journey as well, many survivors don’t have to feel so very alone. You might learn things from my articles, but you can also learn from each other, the same as I learn from you as well. It’s a wonderful circle of positive, helpful information, and that in itself is priceless.
Building a sense of safety, knowing you are not alone in your struggles, and learning from others who have been there too provide emotional foundations that so very crucial to healing and can augment your therapeutic process. Please remember, this blog is in no means a substitute for actual therapy, but it does provide a lot of educational support for survivors working on their own healing, or for therapists learning about working DID / MPD.
Again, you all have immensely helped to create that healing, informative atmosphere, and I am grateful for that.
We have to create and protect places of healing.
Even survivor-led blogs such as the truly incredible BTC blog have become targets for destruction by the “hazing / flaming / insaniacs” of the world. Do we really want the haters and gossipers to take over and ruin all the places of healing and support? How sad is this?!!
I know that you know there are predators and perpetrators out there in the world. For some of you, your abuse stopped years ago. For some of you, you are still smack dab in the middle of fighting your abusers. Some of you are being hassled and manipulated by internet predators (whether you know it or not), and some of you are safely away from any direct attack from anyone. No matter where you are in your life, there are abusers and predators out there in the world, (including those wolves in sheep’s clothing hiding within the dissociative population itself), so the importance of having safe retreats amongst all the danger and destruction is more important than you might realize.
Those of you that feel the loss of BTC’s blog can understand what I’m talking about. It’s a real shame that abusive people continue to ruin the good places and run off the good people. I think that is a tragedy. But it happens.
- Are you one that sits back quietly, doing nothing even though you see others destroying places of support?
- Do you believe the lies and negative gossip spread about helpers and healers?
- Are you so angry from your own abuse that you are willing to take that out on people who have helped you?
Surely the survivor population can see through the manipulations of abusers. You are adults now – you can start seeing through the tricks that are being played out there. Please remember to think for yourself the next time you hear some negative hogwash about someone who has dared to be a helper / healer. You can take a stand against that.
Complacency only allows abuse to continue.
Trauma survivors, I encourage you to ban together in protection of your valued and positive healing resources.
So many of you grew up without any safety or comfort or support. You learned to pull deep within yourself or to block out the world entirely. You survived it alone.
But it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
Most of you are still learning about how important and helpful it is to have places of safe connection, genuine relationship, and gentle bonding. It may be scary to be around people, but building a positive, healing, trustworthy community is a way of overcoming the need to be isolated in order to avoid abuse.
Again, I challenge you to protect your places of healing. Protect those that are your helpers. Stand firm around your leaders that fight against abuse.
Don’t fall into the trap of complacency or destructive participation.
Your healing resources are depending on that.
Kathy Broady LCSW
Copyright © 2008-2010 Kathy Broady LCSW and Discussing Dissociation
May 8, 2009
I am frequently asked “What is an introject?”
Most DID trauma survivors have introjects as part of their dissociative system, but there is a lot of confusion as to what introjects actually are. There is even more confusion about what to do with an introject when you find one.
Introjects are alters. They are a specific type of alter, but they are alters nonetheless. They are a dissociative split from your mind/self the same as any other alter. They would have been created during a traumatic incident just as any other alter.
Introjects are alters who were split off to represent outside people, most typically an abuser (but not limited to that, by any means), and thus create the appearance of being “introjected” within your system from an outside person. They are splits from your own mind, and they are there to help you remember / contain specific, detailed information related to whoever it is that they are “being” within your system.
Introjects are as convinced as the other parts of the system that they the same as the external people they represent. They think they are separate from the survivors, and separate from the body of the survivor. Many negative introjects will adamantly believe that they could hurt or harm the survivor / host of the system and not be hurt themselves. Introjects typically truly believe they are separate people, but they are, in fact, part of the DID system.
For example, an abusive father introject (paternal introject) is an alter that looks, sounds, feels, acts exactly like your father. In fact, from the perspectives of the inside world, it is hard to tell the difference between the inside father and the outside father.
A father introject will tell you what to do, how to behave, what to say, what to feel (or not feel), the same as your actual outside father. One of the main purposes of a father introject is to control your behavior when you are away from the father with the same intensity as if you were right in front of him.
Many controlling abusers and organized perpetrators will create these introjects of themselves on purpose as a way to maintain control and dominance over the survivor-victim even while the survivor is away from the perpetrator. It is a way to have the survivor experience the presence of the offender any time the perpetrator wants that to happen.
Often the internal introjects will report back to the external person they represent. They experience themselves as a mirror of the perpetrator and keeping the perpetrator informed of the survivor’s activities is often a big part of the introject’s job. The host and front world parts of the dissociative system will very likely be completely amnesiac for this reporting-back, and will be confused as to how the outside perpetrator actually knows so much information about them. Don’t worry – the outside perpetrator isn’t magical. He would have just had some loyal-to-him reporters parts from your system inform him of your whereabouts.
Introjects are not the same as programming. Programming — the tapes/scripts that dissociative people hear within their heads — the words / phrases / teachings that get said over and over inside, very often are exactly that — programming phrases. Repeated words that were learned / internalized and are expected to control behavior. They are just messages / phases / sentences / learnings. Programming scripts are not an alter or an introject.
Typically an abuser person would have said those phrases over and over to the person. As part of the survival process, the survivor has to “learn the rules” of the perpetrator and these words / phrasings could be planted deeply in the brain for the survivor to remember them, both consciously and unconsciously. However, the words said and taught to someone are not the same as the person who says them.
Persecutor alters can be, and often are the same as the introjects. Some persecutor alters are alters from your system that internalized the rules of the perpetrator, and continue to follow those rules, but don’t necessarily believe themselves to actually BE the same perpetrator person. Introjects actually think they are that perpetrator person.
Some introjects can be more helpful and positive than others. When the idea that an introject being an internalized version of an exterior person, the sky is the limit to who a child may have internalized as a helper introject.
For example, if children with dissociative identity disorder watch a lot of Star Trek, and Star Trek becomes their favorite TV show, and their favorite fantasy away from home, then the children may learn to imagine that Star Trek characters come to their rescue during moments of severe abuse. The children may split off internalized versions of the Star Trek characters, creating Star Trek introjects as their way of getting help and imagining safety. These introjects are helpful to the children.
Working with introjects, especially negative, harmful system introjects is a critical part of treatment for survivors with dissociative identity disorder. The goal is to show the introjects that they actually are part of the survivor person, and not part of the perpetrator person. There are a number of steps involved in this process, but once an introject becomes loyal to the survivor person (vs. being loyal to the perpetrator person), you will experience a much increased level of safety and stability.
Is it possible to work with an introject?
Yes, absolutely. Your treatment for DID is not complete unless you work effectively with your introjects.
Kathy Broady LCSW
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