01-15-2008, 12:40 AM
Hi, I'm John, the significant other for keepers, husband to some, friend and confidante to others, pal and buddy to still others. The following is an article I wrote for Many Voices, a newsletter for multiples and others recovering from trauma. I hope it is of benefit to you or at least enlightening as to what they go through.
Home by the Lake
DID/MPD â€“ Special People With a Special Message
Dissociative Identity Disorder, in plain words is that a trauma occurs to an individual and in order to handle the trauma they dissociate or separate so that one segment of their being has this traumatic memory leaving the rest of the being free of it's memory.
Multipe Personality Disorder, the "old" label for what is now called DID, same thing, trauma occurrences create split offs of one's being to handle the situation and the memory of traumas.
Over the course of repetive traumas some people's minds, in order to survive this onslaught of abusive practices, creates a split off section of their psyche to handle each type of trauma, or situation. This is not a conscious effort, it is the mind creating a means of survival for itself.
To you the reader this probably means nothing, except crazy, while it is anything but. It is a means of survival that one can only marvel at, because a human mind has subdivided itself to handle certain memories, certain situations, to cope with an abusive environment, to survive, to live another day, to make it through another night.
What is trauma that can create such a demand on one's pysche? Just imagine the worst possible, unspeakable behaviors one can impose on another, and multiply it over and over. These atrocities are not being done to an adult but to a child, a toddler, a baby, and the mind tries to save them in the only and possibly best way possible.
Now, assume that this baby, toddler, child survives this lifestyle, and somehow, someway has what many people would consider a normal life from some point forward, and become adults, and the adult psyche has more or less assumed control of their day to day life, what is it like for them? To the casual observer they are normal, but to anyone who is allowed to get close and personal, it soon becomes obvious that their life is not normal, that they have symptoms that are unique.
At times their voice sounds different, as though a younger or older version of them is speaking, at times their choice of words or use of vocabulary is perhaps limited or expanded, maybe cursing is suddenly present and it has never been before. Dressing styles can be as varied as one can imagine, one time wearing a low cut blouse that offers a rather daring decolletage and yet tomorrow or 3 weeks later be attired as though she had dressed to head out to 4th grade at the local parish school!
These are but a sampling of clues and or signs that one is DID/MPD. "So what?" you say, "this means nothing to me, everyone does stuff like that to some degree." That is true, to a degree. We each react to outside stimuli in our own way, it may remind us of something unpleasant from our childhood, we may find our stomach getting queasy or tears welling in our eyes for no apparent reason or even anger, but to imagine what it is like for a person with DID/MPD, take it to the next level, hear your voice change to the way you talked and sounded when it originally occurred, let your behavior or response be the same, for each of you it will possibly be different, perhaps crying, whining, sobbing or, -- silence. You may go limp or you may stiffen up, you may kick and fuss or try to run away. Maybe you will turn your head and try to close your eyes so it cannot be seen.
Finally, remove yourself from the present day, from the present situation and let yourself be transported through time back to when that stimuli first occurred or the second time or the third time, let yourself be that little boy or little girl, once again, so now you are not watching someone on a parking lot severely spank their crying child in full view of you, you are that child once again, you are feeling that same spanking again, the one you received when you were "so bad" or you were called a "little bastard/bitch" or -- well, hopefully you get the idea. You are NOT remembering it so much as you are reliving it, it is so real. Then, you are not there, no beating, no name calling, you are not even on the parking lot, you are home. You don't even remember getting home or driving home, you have a lapse in time you cannot account for. This is common for those with DID/MPD, lapses in memory, because for the most part, each segment does not know what other segments have done, or are doing, while they are the outside segment or personality. For the most part they do not share memories, they can in some ways watch what is going on but when they have gone into abreaction only one can see or do, and what they are experiencing is the reliving of a past trauma, incident, etc. that is an abreaction, reliving past trauma.
Seeing that child get a spanking could trigger an abreaction in someone with DID/MPD, triggers come in many different sizes, shapes, or sounds. From something as subtle as a tone in someone's voice to something as obvious as a scene in a movie or television program, an abreaction can be triggered. Sometimes they stay beneath the surface, and by that I mean that the segment or personality that is reliving it has remained inward, which for the exterior personality means a feeling of nervousness or agitation or dread for no apparent reason to them. The opposite extreme is that the abreaction comes outside along with the personality who originally lived through it, only now they must relive it again, feeling every feeling every emotion every pain every infliction. It is pure terror and hell to relive such events. Once moved outward their surroundings change in their eyes. They are no longer here now, they are there then. You, their husband, wife, significant other, friend, acquaintance or even passerby become in their eyes, their attacker, their neighbor who did nothing, their brother or sister who was hiding from the whole mess, you are not you, you are one of them. You may be beseeched to help, screamed at for hurting them, you may be attacked when you grab their arms or hands to stop them from whatever they are hitting, you may be the sudden recipient of a small child only seeking arms to enfold them and protect them from whatever the danger is or to hold and comfort them, to soothe them and tell them they are safe now. Just as suddenly they may melt inward taking with them their agony only to be replaced by the one you know as your wife or husband or sister or friend or patient. Then they look at you and even without speaking they know something happened, they have the memory gap to prove it and depending on your relationship to them and with them, they may ask what happened, they may act as though nothing happened or just look at you as though to say "now what?"
"Okay." you ask, "so someone has this DID/MPD, how many segments, personalities, whatever you call them are there? Two? Five? Twelve? Sixty? How many?" To that I can only say, there is no set number because it is dependent on the events that moulded them, the frequency, the number of abusers, the situation, there are so many things that contribute to it. I've heard from three to one or two hundred, which is obviously the extreme high end of this range. People in that unusually high count have been subjected to trauma from birth or soon after birth for many, many years, probably well into teen or even late teen to early twenties. People in this range has been severely traumatized, they have been seriously fragmented over and over again, to the point of having personalities that handle very small minute situations that perhaps have not occurred for 20, 30 or 40 years, but at some point in their life, they were needed to handle some specific abuse or situation. Since then, they may be in a dormant stage, sleeping inside until something triggers that abreaction that brings them back to life, to take the body and the others through the reliving until it is over and they can then go inward and sleep again.
Meanwhile there are probably many who are in a co-existence inside, ones who come out on a relatively regular basis, at least when compared to others who seldom are now needed to come out. These, more regular or more used personalities, tend to see some of the others, to know some of the others, it is like they have their own family trees within the body. This branch has youngsters up to teens and they all have sexual situations in common while this branch has babies and toddlers who have a neediness for love and comfort since they received none and this branch dealt with an uncle or this branch dealt with going to school and this branch was in social situations with aunts and uncles and grandparents and this branch deals with emotional coldness and this one with beatings and there are both sexes in these branches, the physical body has both sexes within, so there are boys and girls, the majority being the same sex as the outer body.
Obviously this can bring along some confusion as well as frustration when someone who feels sexy and passionate comes out to entertain herself and her lover only to find herself in bright blue high top tennis shoes, a pair of denim overalls, a striped tshirt and a baseball cap with her hair tucked up underneath it!
There are many words to describe these multiple personalities, such as personalities, alters, insiders, littles, and keepers, some are scientific while others have been created and perhaps chosen by others also, for use by those with DID/MPD. I am sure there are other words used but these come to mind to me right now.
The scientific community cannot seem to agree on whether or not this actually exists, this DID/MPD, but believe me, once you have known someone with it, you are 100% sure yourself. When the initial diagnosis was made in regards to "my wife" I can honestly say that my first reaction was, "now it all makes sense".
A lot of experiences we had shared made more sense, a lot of what she had told me made more sense, a lot of what was yet to occur, fell into place, in retrospect at least.
I referred to her as "my wife" in quotes because even though I married her, all were not present to agree, many I had not met, and obviously I was not into marrying children. There are keepers to whom I am married, there are some I am the significant other to, there others I am friends to, buddies with, pals, big brother, confidante, best friends and best buds, and for some, a first love.
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