May 19, 2012
Maizy is a quiet little cow. She talks when she wants to, but that’s not very often.
Maizy doesn’t like noise, and she doesn’t like crowds, and she doesn’t like bunches of people everywhere near and around.
Maizy isn’t that sure about people – she only likes one or two people, here and there. And even then, she’s not completely sure. People are not her favorite.
Mostly, Maizy likes her own space.
She likes to feel safe, and she likes to have plenty of distance away from the threat of anyone coming near. For Maizy, space equals safety. She knows she will be ok if no one is nearby.
Maizy likes anything that reminds her of unruffled freedom. She likes to watch birds fly in the air. She likes to watch horses run across fields. She likes to see puppies play and ducks swim in ponds and butterflies fluttering around.
Maizy also likes to watch kites flying in the sky. Kites up in the sky are very peaceful. They blow back and forth, floating and looking, and enjoying their own space up and away from everybody else. Kites get to see all kinds of things, and they get to lift up and away from the noise of the world. And kites come in all colors, and all shapes, and sizes, and there is no such thing as a bad kite or a wrong kite. Kites are just fun. Maizy loves kites!
But today, Maizy has a dilemma. Oh dear, oh dear.
Maizy heard about a kite day. On this kite day, all kinds of kites were going to go to the park and fly high in the air. There were going to be box kites, and round kites, and home-made kites, and tiger kites, and fish kites, and heart kites, and circle kites, and bear kites, and mermaid kites, and turtle kites, and rainbow kites. There were so many different kites coming to kite day that Maizy could hardly decide which ones to watch! Maizy was so excited!
A Fly-in-the-Sky-like-a-Kite Day all day would be perfect!
So what was the problem?
The problem, for Maizy, is that the kites came with oodles and gobs of people. People! Yuck! Maizy is not a fan of people! Maizy wanted to see the kites, but she didn’t want to see the people! If only the kites could fly by themselves over to the kite park…
Oh dear, oh dear. What was Maizy going to do?
Instead of feeling happy, Maizy was feeling very cranky. She was upset. She was angry. She did not want those noisy scary people to mess up her wonderful Fly-in-the-Sky-like-a-Kite Day!
She stomped her foot.
“Go away, people!”
She stomped all four of her feet.
“Go away, go away, go away, go away! Don’t mess up my wonderful Fly-in-the-Sky-like-a-Kite Day!”
But the people did not go away.
In fact, more and more people came. More and more of them!
Maizy had to stop and think. She couldn’t make all the people go away. As much she may have wanted to, she just wouldn’t be able to do it. There were just too many of them, of all shapes and sizes. There were as many people as there were kites. Maybe more! Those noisy people were just everywhere!
Would they bother her?
Would they hurt her?
Would they leave her alone?
Would they be kind to her?
Maizy had to make a decision. She really wanted to go see those beautiful kites, but she would have to be super duper brave to be near all those people. Hmmmm….
What was a Maizy to do…
Ok. Well. Hmmmm….
She thought and she thought and she thought.
She really didn’t want to miss it. She had already missed out on too many fun things because she was afraid to be around people.
Maizy finally decided she could be brave.
Maizy knew that while some people had been very mean to her in the past, she knew that some people could be nice.
She knew that she couldn’t always believe the worst about everyone.
Maizy knew that a whole bunch of people would probably walk right past her, and not really interact with her at all. Maizy liked that. She liked to be ignored by strangers. She was plenty happy for people to stay involved in their own lives and to leave her alone. Maybe just maybe she could quietly watch the kites from her own little spot, and not mingle with anyone else. She wouldn’t have to look at anyone. She wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. She could just look at the kites.
Maizy knew she didn’t have to miss out on fun stuff just because she didn’t like to be around people.
If she stayed mostly quiet to herself, and if she was polite to anyone she decided to speak to, Maizy figured that there was a very good chance that she could navigate her kite party without any big problems happening.
Maybe, just maybe, she could go see the kites and not be bothered or hurt by anyone at all.
And maybe just maybe, Maizy could have fun at her wonderful Fly-in-the-Sky-like-a-Kite Day!
Copyright © 2008-2012 Kathy Broady and Discussing Dissociation
February 15, 2009
As the show, “United States of Tara” is gradually starting to demonstrate, survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder have friends and family members that offer varying levels of support:
- Those that find dissociative trauma survivors to be really good, kind, decent, and wonderful people, and will stand by them faithfully.
- Those that genuinely love and support and accept them even though the DID survivors can be all kinds of weird and “nutty” and difficult.
- Those that get angry and upset with them because DID survivors can be all kinds of weird and “nutty” and difficult.
- Those that believe and support the trauma and abuse history of the DID survivor.
- Those that do not believe that the DID survivor was abused at all.
- Those that believe the multiplicity, are comfortable with a variety of alter parts presenting, acknowledge the switching as a very real thing and a natural part of DIDer’s life.
- Those that don’t believe the multiplicity is real, accuse the DIDers of just play-acting, and don’t recognize the other parts even when they are there.
- Those that initially say they will be a friend, only to totally reject, leave, or abandon the dissociative person when things get complicated or difficult.
So far, the Showtime Series has not adequately addressed the issues involving trauma and abuse. It also has not shown any young child parts (teenage parts are very different than child parts). Have you met a multiple that didn’t have child parts? I most certainly have not. I don’t know if the series will get into those serious elements of dissociation or not, but it is a critical element in normal life with DID. How the friends and family members treat the DIDer’s child parts is often an extremely accurate barometer of how supportive and accepting that person will be for the DIDer over all.
It is, of course, the most helpful if the friends and family members of the dissociative survivors are gentle, accepting, kind, and understanding. And sometimes, that is the case. There are some wonderfully supportive spouses, parents, and children out there. They make the healing process so much easier by contributing with their comfort, faithful assistance, gentle patience, and reassurance.
Unfortunately, all too often dissociative survivors continue to be alone and isolated, even abused and neglected within their own families.
Spouses often feel angry, ripped off, frustrated with all the added relationship complications. They might feel like they are left picking up the pieces, and overloaded with more than their fair share of the household work and parenting. It’s often hard for spouses to have patience for all the complications caused by the dissociative disorder and the survivor’s trauma history because of the heavy load it creates for them.
Extended family members are all too often filled with the perpetrators and original abusers. Most perpetrators that engaged in violence so extreme as to split a child are not ever going to become a positive support for the DIDer.
Children of dissociative people can certainly be loving and accepting of the different sides of the DIDer, but the external children cannot be the main source of emotional support or the emotional care-taker for the trauma survivor. If dissociative parents put too much emphasis on their own needs, hurts, and wants, and keep their own struggles as the bigger focus in front of the external children, those external children will be left emotionally neglected and will most likely become angry, resentful, spiteful, and hateful towards their dissociative parent.
And as much as dissociative survivors may not want to admit that they can be more difficult than average to live with, it is generally true.
What can a DID person do to facilitate their getting more support from others?
- Be genuinely appreciative – recognize even the smallest of kindness from someone and thank them. Thank them each time they give something of value to you. Nobody likes to be taken for granted, and if you have the attitude that these favors are “owed” to you, you will soon find yourself alone.
- Communicate what is going on for you. Often, others will be more willing to give if they understand why it is necessary or important. Don’t assume that they will automatically understand why you need certain things. Tell them, and explain it in a way that they can understand.
- Be determined to do as much as possible for yourself on your own. Yes, your trauma history has left big gaping wounds, but the more you meet your own needs and find ways to resolve those issues without “taking from” or “pulling on” others, the more genuine your friendships can be.
- Reciprocate kindness. When someone takes the time and effort to be supportive of you, be sure to return the favor by doing supportive things for them as well. If you are taking, taking, taking more than you are giving, the relationship will either die or explode in your face.
- Get professional support when your emotional needs become too heavy for your friends and family members. For example, friends and family members may very well pull away from you if you lean on them too heavily during intense times – ie: during extended or repeated times of suicidal feelings, episodes involving self-injury, or flashbacks. These heavy, intense issues belong in the therapeutic context and not between you and your support people.
- Build your support options so you are not putting too much pressure on one or two people to support you through the hard times. The more support options you have, the less likely any one individual support person will feel burnt out or overloaded by how much you lean on them.
- Remember that is it more important for you to learn how to emotionally support yourself and your internal system than it is to teach (force) someone else to support you.
- Take time to enjoy everyday “normal” experiences with your support people. Put your trauma issues aside, and do something that is pleasant and enjoyable to everyone.
Remember the old adage: To have a friend, be a friend.
Kathy Broady LCSW