March 02, 2007

 

The Dissociative Twilight Zone?

I started this post over a week ago, but it got sucked into cyberspace. I'll try here again. Are you ready to enter an episode of The Dissociative Twilight Zone? Read on!

A couple of posts back, I told of a fight I had with my husband after one of my T appointments. I think a part came out who is particularly "gloom and doom." My husband has been warned that this part of me can not be reasoned with--no logic gets through. But, alas, he tried in vain and ended the fight getting in my face a bit with a strong, "You're wrong!"

At that, I got completely hysterical. He tried to hug me and I screamed, "Don't touch me!" and ran upstairs. After my husband left I seemed to switch again and proceeded to rage at his picture for hours. YIKES!

I recognized the style of the speech. This is someone who looks at me in the mirror and says the cruelest things. Since this part scares the ever-lovin' shit out of me, I decided to bite the bullet and have a journal conversation with it. I've decided that this entity is androgynous. I can't refer to this person as "he" or "she" because it seems to be both or neither. Anyway, here's the conversation, lifted out of the paper journal:

***

(Note: when I am talking, the font with remain the same. When this newly-conversing part is talking, I will use all caps.)

Me: As suggested and advised by Karen, our therapist, I am speaking to the one who raged at my husband's picture on Monday afternoon and called him a "Dumb Ass." This is not to blame or condemn--only to differentiate.

I thought about calling you "The Intimidator," but I'm sure that's selling you short. It appears to me that one of your major roles is to help us avoid humiliation....THANK YOU!

I know this was a BIG factor in our childhood abuse, so this has been an important role. Yet, I am sure you serve other functions as well. Would you like to tell me about them and/or give me a name you would prefer I use when speaking with you?

I WANT SOME RESPECT. I DESERVE AT LEAST THAT MUCH FOR ALL I'VE DONE!

Yes. That's true.

YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN STUCK BEING A GOOBER ALL YOUR LIFE IF IT WEREN'T FOR ME!

I agree that you deserve respect and appreciation. I thank you for all the times you saved me from public humiliation and more social mortification. I'm sorry that my fear has kept me from seeing your positive role and appreciating you.

I AM TO BE FEARED AND RESPECTED.

I'd like us to agree, though, that we will all show more respect to each other. When we attack each other it is very counter-productive.

If we all agree not to tell you, "shut up!" or call you a "raging maniac," could you agree not to call me "ugly" or "stupid" or call my husband a "Dumb Ass?"

WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME? I DON'T CARE. I'M NO CHUMP. I'M NOT STUPID ENOUGH TO CARE ABOUT THAT SHIT!

I think you do care. That's why you've taken your role so seriously and been quite diligent about it. I respect your hard work and courage.

BUT WHEN THE PEOPLE I PROTECT TURN ON ME, I HAVE TO PUT THEM IN THEIR PLACE!

I would prefer that everyone inside decide their own place and then communicate that with me. But, you could be in invaluable asset to everyone if you helped me by sharing your vast intelligence and information. You could be a light for those still in the dark. Would you be open to that?

WHAT DO I HAVE TO GIVE UP IN RETURN?

You, and everyone else--including me--need to commit to following the rule of no name calling. There is no one here now, February of 2007, in this house, in this community, in this state, who calls us names any more. We no longer need to avoid intimidation by intimidating back.

BUT YOUR HUSBAND GOT IN YOUR FACE AND THAT WASN'T RIGHT!

Yes, and he felt bad about it and apologized and we talked calmly about how he could respond differently next time. We're all learning and he is willing to learn, too. He was just scared.

I'M NOT SCARED!

Well, maybe you're not, but there are a lot of people here who are. And your name-calling and yelling scares the little ones and me, too, sometimes. I appreciate you talking to me calmly now and helping me not be so scared because I can think better this way.

WELL, IT'S HARD NOT TO THINK OF THAT KIND OF STUFF AS JUST WEAK. THE WEAK TURN INTO VICTIMS YOU KNOW.

So, is that your role, too, to help us from ever being a victim again?

YOU GOT IT!

You were there when that creep was following us on the street in Chicago years ago weren't you?

YEP. I SCARED THE LITTLE CREEP AWAY!

That was amazing! I'm grateful and very impressed.

JUST MY JOB.

Well, how about we agree that if we're ever in any real danger like that again--danger of being mugged, etc.--you can use whatever swear words you want and be as intimidating as you like (unless they have a gun on us or something and mouthing off would get us shot)? We need to differentiate between whether there's real danger or not.

What do you think about hanging out in a light house? You re so observant and have such keen instincts. You could spot danger right away and shine a light on it and alert us all so we can stay safe. (This was an idea I came up with after my T suggested that I urge this part to go into the "safe place" visualized sun porch that most of us use as safe sanctuary. I didn't feel that this part would feel comfortable or desire to go there.)

YEAH. I GUESS THAT COULD WORK.

Will you think about a respectful name we could call you?

YEAH. IT'S GOT TO COMMAND RESPECT. I'LL THINK OF GOOD ONE.

Thanks. And thanks for talking to me and being open to some new ideas. It's very helpful and I feel better.

IT'S ALRIGHT. I WANT US TO BE ON GOOD TERMS.

I appreciate that and I'll talk to you later.

***

Later, we agreed on the name, "Sentry." Now, Sentry hangs out in a lighthouse and oversees the safety of little ones playing on a beach. So, now we have another "safe place" visualization environment that works for several parts. It's a win-win situation. I felt an amazing sense of relief after doing this exercise and opening up this line of communication. Marlene Steinberg, M.D., who wrote The Stranger In The Mirror, calls this part of "The Four C's" of working with one's parts. I agree that comfort, communication, cooperation, and connection--these "four C's"--are going to be very important in my healing. I'm working hard right now to get some of these established.

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Comments:
Loved the name you chose!
 
You will hate me for saying this. So be it. I still say it with concern for you.

You need a different therapist. One that will help you exist in the present and not the past.

True MPD's or DID's deny their diagnosis...they cannot have these conversations amongst themselves.

My friend, I worry about you.

WW
 
we also have a lighthouse, they are great at warning against danger. Sounds like you and sentry did have an awesome convo and that you both reached a compromise.
Just a little thing many in here dont like our partner either and it wont matter what he does he will always do soemthing wrong, he just knows thats some of the deal that goes on.
 
Oh I like this exercise so much! And I love the name Sentry you came up with. How appropriate that he resides in a lighthouse.

Sounds as if you're making some progress . . . I wish I had such communication skills with my parts!
 
Great work, Marj! I used to imagine a safe place in a woods or field of wildflowers. I'd picture talking to the fragments of myself just as you journaled. It IS amazing what a difference it makes. And as I mentioned in a previous comment, I don't know what I was and don't much care what label would apply but in the end, I could be ME--one whole, happy person with all of me present all the time.
 
"logging in" so I can post your comments ;)
 
Marj-

I agree with Dr. Deb.
I love the name you chose!
Keep your chin up

hugs

Cassandra
 
talk about getting communication and cooperation and getting good results, wow! proud of ya marj!! and you too Sentry!!

Keepers
 
Thanks for the encouragement, support...and concern. I guess if I'm feeling a sense of relief and calm AND I'm not just battening down the hatches and keeping parts of myself in exile, that's the bottom line for me...that's what seems to be working for me and I'm delighted with that.
 
I was going to reply to one of the comments above, but have decided not to...I'm tired of educating!

I like the name that was chosen also, it's very appropriate. The fact that you were both willing to communicate is really great. We often have issues with some not being willing to even try. And of course Sera...she can't at all. We haven't tried the written conversations for a long time, but she has a tendency to "shut down" when she doesn't like something or it makes her uncomfortable, so I don't know if it would work very well. Just have to say it again...you did really well with this!

Warrier
 
Warrier: I really appreciate the visit. And thatns for the validation, it means a lot to me.
 
You are all doing a wonderful job. I had to comment because I am DID and have loves who are DID/MPD and was offended for all of you by the comment that you need to find another therapist. Some people are very ill/un-informed. Which of you decided to allow this detrimental comment?? I hope it was a community decision, and not made out of fear or sabotage. Good work and be grateful.
 
I reacted with angry and hurt feelings to the comment mentioned and seriously thought of not publishing it. Then we thought, why be alone with that anger and hurt...and doubt? If we shared it, then we could get support and validation from all you kind folks. So much better! ;) Thanks!
 
ww,
we know that marj will or wont let this comment go forward, but can we say that we are so pleased for you, we are really really happy. Only a true has no idea person who has had no personal trauma could possibly write such a comment, we stand applaud your knowledge through no understanding and we are so pleased you have never hurt ever so much as needing help to get over it, please keep up the good work :) from
A system that can talk to each other and still be a multiple
 
It is my greatest heart-felt wish that we could all support each other with the 4C's of comfort, communication, cooperation and connection...no, the 5C's--let's add "compassion." I wish we could do this, even if and when we do not understand the other's experience. But, I guess if we lived in a world where we were all capable of this, we would also live in a world that had no child abuse in the first place.
 
Rock on, Thriver and Co!! *smile*
 
Thanks, Thorne! :)
 
This is quite late in response.

To those who questioned my response to Marj:

Please review the work of Dorothy Otnow Lewis and Jonathan Pincus, which describes in minute detail the responses of an MPD/DID. Their work also details the origins of MPD/DID.

For quite some time, I ran a blog which reviewed the peer reviewed literature regarding dissociation.

I believe Marj when she speaks of her difficulties.

At the same time, I know that counter-suggestion is a prime antidote to these specific problems.

My comments were made with love towards Marj. That is all. I wish only for her best.

WW
 
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