January 4, 2009
I ended my last post with this paragraph:
Focus first on relationship building with your parts. Get to know them. Talk to them. Learn their names. Overcome your fears of who they are. Appreciate their strengths. Develop friendships with them. I guarantee that your overall stability will greatly improve as you are more connected with your internal system on a genuinely friendly, caring basis.
In my opinion, developing good internal communication is the core of the treatment work for Dissociative Identity Disorder. If you cannot or do not talk well with your other internal parts, you will not be able to complete your healing work effectively, thoroughly or sufficiently.
Imagine going to your place of employment and not being able to speak with any of your co-workers. How well would businesses work with that approach? Have you ever been to a big department store? Imagine if the employees couldn’t speak with each other for days-weeks-years at a time. That store as a whole would find it extremely difficult to manage busy days, or to handle simple, basic operations. It would crumble. Even if all the employees continued doing their own jobs perfectly — if they are not communicating with anyone else in the store, then the store as a whole would be less effective. It would likely go out of business sooner than later.
Dissociative systems cannot function without internal communication any better than large department stores can function without internal communication.
If you don’t talk to your inner people, and if your various insiders do not speak with each other, none of you are going to function as well as you could.
Also, if you run your system with an attitude similar to Hitler’s, that’s not going to work so well either. Approaching your insiders as inferiors or nuisances that you want to kill off, or dispose of, or get rid of in some way will not be helpful. As our real-life example has shown, this type of dictatorship and abuse leads to tragedies like genocide and world wars. Don’t go there with your internal world. Treat your inner people with kindness and respect.
I promise you that every single one of your insiders has value, importance, strengths, and significance. You might not understand who they are at this point in time. And when you don’t know the positive value held by each person inside, that’s a big clue that you have some therapy work to do.
Allowing your system to stay scattered, chaotic, disorganized, and messy will not help your stability or ability to function. Keeping with the store metaphor, who wants to shop in a cluttered, disorganized, messy store? Can you find anything? Does it take twice as long to find the things you need? And are some items just impossible to find without taking huge chunks of extra time?
Permanently blocking your internal system behind walls or curtains or an unexplored blackness is not helpful either. I realize that all DIDer’s have dissociative walls and barriers already — walls that could have easily been there for years. That is the nature of DID/MPD. It’s the initial point of having a dissociative disorder — surviving by using those same dissociative walls to separate yourself from yourself and from the situations and feelings that were too conflictual, too painful, too difficult, etc. In the here and now, the treatment goal is to gradually lower and remove those barriers between your system people, and certainly not to create more walls or to support more distance between everyone.
Internal communication is the key to doing this work.
Doing your system work — meeting each other, getting to know each other, will in itself create a greater sense of order and structure within. More of you will know who can do what, where the other parts are, and how they got there. It won’t feel so strange or unknown to you. Insiders can become friends with each other instead of being strangers separated from each other. Even though there are additional steps to take, start by encouraging everyone in your system to be willing to see, meet, and greet as many others as possible. You all need to know who you have in there.
My next post — Internal Communication, part 2 — will list specific ideas for how to develop communication within your system.
For today, in preparation to do this work, please think about the following:
- How willing are you to speak to your insiders?
- How willing are you to listen to your insiders?
- If you are afraid of some of your inside people, what are you willing to say to them?
- If some of your insiders have experienced a different life than you have, are you willing to listen to them?
- What will you do if someone says something you don’t want to hear?
- What will you do if your insiders squabble and argue with each other?
- How will you handle it if certain insiders hurt others within your system? What if they are hurting child parts? What if they attempt to hurt you?
- What if meeting the others folks inside means learning that you were more hurt and abused than you realized? How will you handle that?
- What are your thoughts and feelings about finding new insiders — ones that you didn’t realize you had?
- Do you know how to speak to child parts? How will your address them if you see that they are hurting emotionally or physically?
You can do this. Your healing depends on your talking with your internal system.
Kathy Broady, LCSW
December 15, 2008
I am busily working on some new posts in response to the excellent comments made by the readers here. You have been asking good questions and making thought-provoking points. I’m looking forward to responding to as many of these comments as I can. Thank you for your active participation – it is really exciting to see so many folks showing up around here already!!!
In the meantime, since all of you are frequently online, and clearly many of you are dissociative trauma survivors, I want to encourage you to read some very well written articles about internet safety and internet predators:
- Internet Predators: They Really Are Everywhere
- Internet Predators: One Way They Work
- Internet Predators and Child Alters: 10 Ideas to Keep Them Safe
These excellent articles are all available on Rocking Complacency, http://rockingcomplacency.wordpress.com. For that matter, this entire blog is good. If you are up to reading through the whole thing, I certainly recommend it!
The whole subject of internet predators is highly troubling and deeply disturbing. They work relentlessly to discredit the helpers, to prey on the vulnerable, to manipulate the gullible, to control the unsuspecting, and to deceive the needy while greedily feeding their own dark agendas. Dissociative trauma survivors are particularly at risk for getting used and hurt in these ways.
Solid prevention information / education can be enormously useful. It can help you prevent some serious harm, and can give you tips on how to better protect your system.
During my years of working with DIDer’s online, I have become aware of too many situations where naïve trusting DID survivors were led down the garden path by someone they trusted, only to find out, painfully too late, that their “friend” was an internet predator. It seems that warning people that are caught in the midst of this process falls on deaf ears – they get hooked and tangled in their predator’s web before they even realize it. They can’t see it happening, and all too often, they’ve been well-coached ahead of time on how to respond when an outsider catches wind of the dangers they are in.
By recommending the above-mentioned articles, my hopes are that many of you will become more aware of the danger signs ahead of time. If you recognize a predator’s tricks and ploys as they happen, you will have a greater chance of removing yourself and your system from their grasp, and staying safe.
Kathy Broady LCSW