There are a variety of ways to develop basic, effective skills in internal communication with your dissociative system. Most of these skills are very similar, even the same, as the communication skills used with real people in the everyday world.
There is no fancy trick to learning to talk to your inside people.
Everyone can do this.
Remember, it’s like talking to other people.
Have you spoken to people in your everyday world?
I’m sure that every one of you has spoken to outside people before. If you can speak to real people and develop ongoing relationships with them, you can certainly develop the ability to communicate and build relationships with your insiders.
Don’t panic — I completely understand that many people with Dissociative Identity Disorder have difficulties with social situations and social relationships. I am fully aware that speaking with “real people” can be intimidating, challenging, difficult, disastrous, etc.
Here’s the good news.
In some ways, it is actually easier to develop communication with your internal system because they are there with you more of the time.
The opportunities available to you to speak with your internal system exist all day long, and frequently all night long as well. And because they are a part of you, they will already have some innate understanding of how you think and why you think it. The ability to connect with each other can happen more easily because you already have the foundation of literally belonging together.
Communicating through your internal worlds.
One of the easiest ways to facilitate internal communication is using the internal worlds — the internal landscapes of your dissociative system.
Simply said — step back and go inside, look around, see who is there, and then speak to them. If you see someone — anyone — say hello, and start a conversation with him or her.
If you hear others inside, even if you can’t see them, speak in their general direction. Chances are, if you can hear them, they can hear you.
You don’t have to know their names. You can easily begin a conversation with “Hi, what’s your name?” or “Hello, how are you?”
Looking inside is a natural skill for most DID/MPD folks, especially once the idea of having an internal dissociative system is accepted and denial is not clouding your willingness to interact with your other parts. Even if you can’t see inside, someone else will be able to see inside further than you can, so start there.
Communication requires acceptance.
Communicating with your other parts will be much easier if you are truly willing to see them and hear from them. Your genuine positive acceptance of their existence is a critical foundation to effective communication.
You don’t have to be comfortable with absolutely everyone in your system to begin working on internal communication skills.
Start with who you know, who you can see, who you can hear, and then build that over time to include more insiders. If you can already see someone inside, that means there is significant potential to build that relationship. The folks that are the most dissociated from you will still be hidden, or further away. That is okay. Start with folks that are already closer and less intimidating to you.
Learning to communicate well with even one or two or three other inside parts will make a significant difference. Especially in the beginning while you are learning these skills, keep yourself from becoming overwhelmed by speaking with only a few others. Even in real life, we don’t have to talk to everyone we see. Start with the people that are the closest and feel the safest and the most comfortable to you. Build your confidence with them, and plan to meet others at a later point.
Communicate through writing.
If visualizing your insiders is difficult or too scary for you, try putting your communication out on paper. The main point is to start somewhere — and the sooner, the better.
Create a handwritten journal or a document in your computer that can be specifically designated as a place for you and your insiders to communicate. This needs to be private, and not open for the world or your family members to see. In that space, write letters to each other. These letters don’t have to be long. Brief introductory comments and simple questions will work just as well, if not better, than long paragraphs.
Another creative way to use writing / typing to communicate with your insiders is via the Discussing Dissociation Community Forum. The Forum is a private place where all of your insiders are welcome to participate. You can create designated writing areas for you and your parts to write together, in a safe supportive environment, where everyone is welcome to be heard. Many of the current Forum members use the Forum specifically for this purpose. These folks are experiencing excellent gains in their internal communication, and increased awareness of their other parts, as the various insiders are feeling more acceptance to communicate with each other via their Forum posts.
Click here for more information about our DID Support Forum.
Start with safe and simple topics.
You will be breaking through old, long-term dissociative walls by doing these communication exercises, and it is critically important to not flood yourself with too much emotion or too much information when first talking to the others inside.
Do not start with trauma material.
Do not ask about painful secrets.
At these beginning stages, purposefully stay away from any triggering topics.
The following questions and comments are typically safe conversation starters:
- Hi, my name is …. What’s your name?
- Hi little one, how old are you?
- Hi little one, you look very scared. Is there something I can do to help you feel safer?
- Hi there. My name is …. Some of my favorite things to do are … What do you like to do?
- Hi. It’s nice to meet you. Have you seen me around here before? It’s great to get a chance to speak with you. I’m hoping that several of us can get together a little more often. Would you be willing to meet some of the other people in here?
- What kinds of things are worrying you today?
- Is there anything I can do to help you feel better? Would you like a drink of water? Or a nice soft blanket?
- Hi there. You look upset. I’m not here to hurt you. Can you tell me what’s bothering you today?
- Hi there, little one. Have you ever met the little girl over there? She is about your same age. Maybe the two of you can be friends. Would you like to meet her?
- Hi there. It’s nice to meet you. Have you talked with anyone before? Would you be willing to write in our journal and introduce yourself to the others that are in here?
These are some basic ideas.
Communication gets much more complex than this, of course. This topic will be continued in future posts.
I wish you the best in your healing journey. Keep talking! It’s worth the effort. 🙂
Copyright © 2008-2020 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
Communication……sounds so simple yet it’s the hardest AND most important part of life becoming more manageable, less exhausting every day for us. We have learned so much these past few months. There are unreachable insiders still but the biggest ‘gap’ or disconnect is often between ‘adults’ and younger ones. We refer to any insider under 18 as not adult even though the older teenagers have had to function as adults in the adult world. We have an outside person who presents to the outside world – a varying combination of older insiders depending on circumstances plus the last adult created to manage our career. We have been focusing on keeping inside children safe and for them to know we are very aware when they have been triggered……usually fear based…. and that we can manage the outside world for them. We have been focusing on skills and knowledge. Insiders unique strengths and also their fears day to day.
The focus of therapy – and internally – has moved away from the past more to life in the here and now. We are learning to relate with our traumatic childhood and not be as overwhelmed by it. How did this happen? How is this happening? Answer is there is no clear answer. The sense I have is that we have slogged away at talking inside, explaining over and over the world we live in now, why we are or is it have been? so dissociated. Practising and practising ways of letting this body and nervous system know we ARE in the same world as people around us. It’s ok to be here now. Ok to be seen.
Lots of this has been through therapy. One of the big things that has helped communication has been making our internal space for communicating visual. We have a flower circle in our inside world where insiders can come and go, meet each other, rest. It’s a breathing space inside that has become physical somehow. We have long worked with ‘objects’ to represent insiders. We have a collection that lives in T’s room. I have crocheted a flower chain to represent the flower circle (not a true circle as it has to have gaps) and having gone from insiders set out in a structure and hierarchy we have progressed to all facing inwards towards the flower circle set out on the floor. Insiders are invited to be amongst the flowers depending on what is happening in the outside world. Who is present, who may be needed. The emphasis on helping each other even if it’s just offering support or reminders of how to take better care of ourselves. It has had a profound affect on acceptance between everyone. Acceptance of presence only not yet of the events that led to each existence. Making our internal system visual has helped T understand so much more too.
Sometimes we change the object that represents an insider as we get to know them or they choose something different because they don’t like the adult choice. It can be very hard and painful just looking at them all. The sense of loss of a childhood and anger at how hard life is. We can look at or hold one of those representations now and sense how that insider is at that moment. Sensory communication can be so subtle but it’s there.
I think I just wanted to share how those words ‘internal communication’ can seem like something insurmountable but actually all insiders are communicating most of the time even in the silences and the darkness we sometimes experience inside. Listening. Observing the subtle shifts in awareness of our environment, emotions, trauma responses and thinking / asking inside “Who is happy/sad/ wanting to run or frozen?” Reassuring. Reminding it’s not back then it’s now. Practise. We get it wrong, miss cues, get overwhelmed but at least we know something is happening and can ask for help rather than resorting to the hard drawn lines of dissociation that shut insiders out, push them deeper within so they are trapped in their past world and no one on the outside can see or witness a response that may be ‘out of character’ or that may give the ‘secret’ away.
The most recent realisation…..communicating with insiders will always be a part of our life. They are not going away. They are here to stay but that’s a whole other story of sadness and loss. Communication is the one thing I can say has helped this system become more stable.
WHY is it all so scary??? Therapy so many years with excellent therapist. Today for the 100th time he says: “Communication”. I say How?
When does the “penny drop”? When do I get with the program. It’s so depressing. I feel like crying my eyes out.
My/selves+Me posted comment above on “scary”…
I’m dating this for myself.
1/26/23 To try to keep my brain straight.
Hi, Maybe you have an insider preventing you from communicating?
That insider is doing a great job of protecting you in the only way it knows how. Perhaps, if it feels right, you could thank that ‘blocking’ part for working so hard, for so long. Could you try saying Hi to that part that prevents communication, does it have a name, shape or colour? Just sit next to that part, acknowledge it’s there, be with it. Do disregard any of this if it doesn’t fit.
Do My/selves+Me, I also have found communication to be depressing and discouraging. For me it’s nearly impossible! My absolutely only communication is through journaling. Even that is not usually between parts but mostly parts expressing themselves. For years I tried to find a way for communication between us. Finally I realized our parts have always been secretive and no one wants to be known. No one is seen, we are internally blind. No vision inside at all. As I’ve said before, we are like a lava lamp, parts blob in and out secretly. I accept this now. We have had to find a way to live being different. “People” never knowing who we’ll be. Someone sets up a lunch with a friend someone else is out with severe depression and can’t go. So we cancel. Mostly lately we’re so depressed and down we’re not wanting to do anything but stay in bed, keep down, stay warm. No use to try for a better life now, just get through with the least issues possible. I’m done! linda
Hello Welsh lady, as I read your post, my hand went over my mouth.… Feelings started… But good ones, glad ones, thankful for the things you wrote. I want to read your post over again, because it really sums up so much… And I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Yesterday I found it very interesting during my session with my therapist, that one of my teenage parts, whom I have known about for many years, burst out and told him that she is so glad that he sets professional boundaries, because if he didn’t, she would be falling madly in love with him.
As this was being said, of course I didn’t really understand, but now that I think back about it, I really did understand, because she had already told me that she wanted to say that. During the session, I tried to not let her, but she popped out anyway.
Sometimes it just gets so confusing and my therapist is not like other ones who want to interact with the personalities. He said it’s “my responsibility” to either let them talk or not let them talk or to tell him what they want to say instead of letting them just pop out and say anything they want.
I know he says this because there have been occasions when I have been unaware that someone has popped out and said things. He tells me that was inappropriate, and what they said was inappropriate too.
Like when my husband, daughter, and adult grandson and I were having lunch in a little restaurant. The man who owned the restaurant had come up and greeted us. He was very kind and he seemed like such a gentle fatherly man. And before I knew it, one of my personalities told him they wanted to give him a hug. He said, will get a hug as soon as I come back from the kitchen, he was the owner and also had kitchen duties as well. I had never seen this man in my life before, and it was during Covid.!! He came back and yes we hugged.
Later he came to our table, and he was so kind, after he walked away, I heard one of my “selves” saying… “I would like to marry that man.”
My husband was sitting right there, he said nothing. My daughter and 21 year old grandson were listening, they said nothing. I realized what had happened, and I put my head down on the table and laughed. What else was I gonna do?
I guess they thought it was a joke, but the one speaking was not joking, or if she was… It was still inappropriate. And very embarrassing!
I will stop here, but it is only through experiences like this, that I really know… I really really know… That the diagnosis given to me 30+ years ago was true! It has taken me many years of therapy to come to accept the diagnosis.
Thank you Welshlady for sharing.
My/selves+Me, I do find it so interesting how even after many years, and often several doctors and therapists confirming the DID diagnosis, we still tend to doubt it! Likewise, I was diagnosed in 1990 and confirmed many times by specialist in the field, and yet I continue to doubt the reality that it’s real! It’s so much easier to blame myself for “acting weird”. It’s very strange when at a time I’m in denial, without warning out comes a part that lets me know it’s not just me! My parts are very secretive and do not want to be known or detected. As I’ve said before, we’re as a lava lamp, parts Blob out and back without recognition. We do get a little communication in Our journaling. As I was told in a DID hospital a few years ago “DID is not a “one size fits all” everyone’s system is individual, what works for one person does not necessarily work for someone else. I still find that helpful now. We’re very similar and yet very different!
I Love we can come here for solid information from Kathy and connect with
others. I wish you well as you continue on your journey 😊
Hi me+we and Linda,
I don”t know what is normal., or what is typical, or what is right or what is not right… for anyone these days… I hope it’s okay to say this… Linda, I like what you said about who I am at the moment is who I am. I kinda would like to have that mindset. I usually don’t know that someone has popped to the front until afterwards, and then I go… oh my goodness did I just say that?? But really I know that it wasn’t the me that usually speaks. Sometimes it is in a childish voice, sometimes it is a bad word that I would not usually use. But always it kind of scares me.
Thank you both for being here and maybe if we all put our two cents together, we’ll make a good amount of valuable insight?? 🙂 Take care.
Good to “see” you mewe.
Ps I like the dates because it helps me know someone has posted recently. And thank you Kathy for this wonderful provision!!!
My/selves+Me I relate to what you said about not knowing someone has popped out until afterwards…often that’s my experience as well. And also someone using language that I wouldn’t use! Sometimes I would have a feeling and say “ I’m in trouble” meaning I can feel something going on that’s not good but I can’t identify it. Maybe I’d stay up all night to make a collage’ and it would give me the answer. Or it was a warning self harm was strong. And yes, child parts as well. It’s definitely a tricky thing to deal with. Like “what’s normal in an abnormal situation???”…
Somehow we survive! Glad you joined in!
Hi how you supposed to talk to any of people inside if your job made you to be a watcher that hides instead of a front person? How do you know if its ok to talk out loud? Is that ok for everybody? Like what if its your most important job to be a secret from the rest? If youre one of the nobodies, doesnt trying to talk to the outside world imply that you are thinking youre something special and think too much of yourself? Like why would anyone want to talk back to you? Isnt that considering yourself awfully important when you know youre not?
My personal feeling is that everyone in the system has important things to say. It does not mean that you think that you are more important than the rest. That is putting a judgement on talking from my perspective. NO one has bigger or more important things to say as far as I see it. We may have different things to say but that is all.
It kind of sounds to me like someone used that kind of message about talking to silence you. If they did, that was not right from my way of thinking.
In my experience everyone needs to be expressive. I’m really different…we have no internal visualization, we have no names, everyone still wants secrecy, no ages or anything to identify. Although the writing is very identifiable by lettering, writing grammatical style and such. But what I do know is the communication will come out in some way either in very different writing styles or behaviors. Writing is best, sometimes it’s both. We don’t have inner communication or between parts. But whoever we are at the time, that’s all we know. For someone to say “well someone else was happy” .. means nothing who I am at the time is all I am and all I know. If someone was super friendly or nice, the other says the nice one was fake…”I’m the real one…she was fake” I have parts writing often “the nice one the happy one , she’s so fake, I HATE her…”there’s no reasoning. It’s a very complicated life. I have been diagnosed and confirmed to have DID since 1990- a very long time…I still often deny it because of not having visualization and or identifiable parts. I explain my system is like a lava lamp, my parts blob in and out like a lava lamp keeping their secrecy but showing who they are …it’s easy to deny, but I have no other explanation for the extreme differences in who/how I am…
Having read your posting here, my first reaction was … “well, that is how your system works and that is okay.” And it is okay. We are all different in how we got here, what our systems were created for, how they look and function, etc. This is how yours works right now and that is okay. It is great that you have some sense of their (your insiders) presence and that there is some written communication where you can see the differences.
Not seeing your inside folks or the internal landscape of your system is very interesting. I have heard others say the same thing. I am just wondering what the blocks on that happening are (if indeed there are blocks or if seeing the insiders and their world is even important to you and your system work). Secrecy is such a deeply ingrained part of our systems I have found. But, secrecy is often something placed on us by our abusers and not really a choice of us or our insiders.
Often my insiders feared being seen and communicating with me because of what they had been taught by my abusers. Given that we usually have many little ones in our systems (because that is where the trauma and splits originate) it is hard to help them see that it is safe to talk now. For me, until I knew what those secrets were, I was in the dark about how to help or what issues I needed to work on or what roles my insiders had taken on, etc. In other words, the secrecy was the cage that my abusers put us all in so the truth did not come out. But, now I needed to know the truth to heal.
If your inside folks have not shown you their inside world, have you considered creating one yourself and inviting them in? You can structure it any way that you feel would be beneficial. My folks live on the beach and in the woods. I have heard others describe nice homes where their insiders have their own rooms or share if they want to. Some have game rooms, TV rooms, dining rooms, meeting rooms, pets, nice yards with things for the insiders to do, fences or force fields to keep the place safe, time out spaces, food, clothing and bathrooms to clean up, stuffed animals and games … well, just anything that you can think of that would be a comfortable and safe place for your insiders. Then, just talk to them in your head. You do not have to see them to do this. Just send out the thoughts and the invitation to join you in the house. Tell them something like the special power of the house is that they do not have to hold on to their secrets there if they do not want to. Then see who shows up.
Okay … just brain storming out loud here Linda. Maybe this makes no sense at all or is not something that you want to do or need to do or whatever. It is just what came to mind when I read your posting for whatever it is worth. 🙂
ME+WE, thanks for your response. I had it explained to me years ago in a DID hospital treatment program, some people just don’t have any visualization. I was worked with by many experts in the field, I do not have the capacity to see internally. It is a black nothing inside. I’m ok with that now. And like I said, with the secrecy, no one is identifiable, hence, like the lava lamp. I’m used to this now so it’s my normal.
Oh very interesting Linda. Thank you for sharing that information with me. I have always said that DID was not a one-size-fits all journey. I apologize if I came off sounding like I was trying to do that here with you. Indeed, your normal is your normal. I really to respect that and am glad that you said that here so others who are in the same situation can understand it a bit better maybe. That is the strength and value of sharing here I feel.
ME+WE I know I don’t fit the norm of DID and this is why for so long I was in denial. But now I do know I really am a.DIDer because there’s no other explanation for my odd experiences. And I’ve had many different professional s confirm over 30 years. The switches are there but in secret with out any identification.
It usually doesn’t register with me till I come back because whoever is out is all I know at the time. So when my therapist says something about others the one out says they’re fake, I’m real.
I hope this message comes out good. My phone has it in a long skinny place. I don’t know why that happens here sometimes. linda
GK, all our systems work differently. But what I know is, everyone, even those who feel they’re “nobody’s” really are Somebody! They have every right as much as any other part to be heard! And every part deserves to have healing. I hope you have a good therapist that can support and help the parts that don’t think they should talk. We had a lot of problems with that, the ones that weren’t supposed to talk. We created a “no censor” rule
Everyone had the right to say whatever they needed to say. It helped some and over time, those who weren’t supposed to talk, gradually started to talk a little. It was very slow but in time it’s gotten a lot better. I hope your non talkers find their voice!
I dont talk to outside people anymore. But for a while now we have had good inside communication. We use to lose time a lot, not like each other, fight, and had brick walls around ourselves. We worked hard for a lot of years to make it better. Now we feel like we are starting over because we found some new people inside that (i dont even know if this is a real thing) seem to be their own system. Like separate from us. Its so strange! and we dont have any real communication with them. We have even left inside notes and tell them they can write us back please. But they havent. So all us pilgrim people be losing time and missing things and all sorts of weird stuff. It sort of is a bummer because we feel like we have to start all over again. But it isnt REALLY that. Probably this time it will be lots easier to communicate with the new people because we know how to do it now. So hopefully that will make a big difference.
Learning about new people is a really good thing in my mind even if that is a bit confusing and stressful. I am thinking that they have chosen to live as a group separate from the rest on you. But in many ways that is no different from the dissociative walls of all of our inside folks. As you have said, you have the skills and experience to begin communicating with them and understanding who they are, what their needs are, what roles they play in your system and why they have separated themselves from everyone else. With time and communication, the dissociative walls may start coming down.
Re: Internal communication This has been such an ongoing issue for me/us it has caused me many times to come to the understanding that we must not have DID! But at times it’s so obvious that we do. What ever part I’m in that’s all I am. I have some communication from parts in my writing. The journaling changes writing, printing spelling pictures occasionally back talking others. Lately a part talking about hating “her” me. And she’s real but I’m fake. It’s been hard and confusing. My parts will not come out with either names or ages. They blob in and out like a lava lamp. I don’t see anything inside it’s just dark there’s nothing to see. I wonder if anyone else is like me? Most people I’ve talked to has knowledge of their parts. My stuff was kept secret from me til I was 40 and still keeps secret. Any one else not typical?
I must confess that I giggled when you asked if anyone else was “not typical”. I do not think that any of us are typical. We all share a diagnosis but, from my chatting with folks here over the years I have come to realize that we are all very unique in how our systems work. Yes there are a lot of commonalities but there is no set pattern to what a person’s system is going to be like.
You may also find that it changes over time. I did not find out about my DID until I was 59 y/o. Yup … I was in the dark for that long. I was always aware of a little girl who lived inside of me but I had no idea that that was a DID alter. Then, it took some time (years) to find the others. The inside world evolved from a guided meditation that my T would talk me through when I was getting overwhelmed. It was on a beach. Then one day my little girl just showed up there.
What I am thinking is that it is dark inside for you now but, with time and work on your system (I think that the journaling is great BTW) some light might come to the inside. Building consistency and safety first I think encourages inside folks to start to appear. My folks did not all have names at first but that came with time. It also changed over time as they went from just a descriptor name to choosing a name for themselves. So, fo example, Lost One became Sara.
For me it was just heaps of time and patience. I have one inside helper that I got to know early on knew everything. I would ask her to please tell me what was happening or what a particular insider’s story was or were there more inside folks I had not met, etc. She would always say to me, “you will know when it is time.” I would want to scream but I knew that I just had to be patient and wait for when the time was right. Actually, I am still learning new and important things just when I think that maybe I have all of the basic information now.
Hum … not sure if this made any sense at all to you Linda but I am always willing to talk more about this if you want to.
BTW … I love the lava lamp analogy!
Yes it all makes sense! I knew nothing until I was 40! I told therapists “no I never had any abuse and my parents were perfect! There is NO reason for me to be so messed up”! I realized “it’s not me acting all these different ways- I don’t feel like it’s me. It’s like other people are there…” the therapist I was seeing had never worked wit DID/MPD it was just changing names. She had suspected this and had been contacting specialists who agreed with her. So we both came to the conclusion at the same time. But I had no idea what it was. Every specialist I’ve seen confirms the diagnosis but because I don’t have any communication or visual of parts I continue to question if it’s true!!! I do have distinct differences in writing, vocabulary, (1 swears a lot) I have cutters angry ones happy little kids…pretty crazy at times. And times when there is absolutely no evidence of this or them…another time I ??? I had a phone appt with Kathy and she said they absolutely communicate with me and each other through writing. So I don’t know. I just want to live in peace! I really don’t want to deal with this anymore. I’m much much better than the 3 years I was working with a trauma therapist. I was not helped at all. I just keep getting worse. It was horrible! My parts calmed down like trusting me to take care of us! I’ll just keep praying and working for peace and stability.
Oh my but I sure do hear how you just want peace and for this to all be done with … better yet, a big mistake and you do not have DID after all. I sure ran, ran, ran away from my realization of DID when my T first suggested it. Unfortunately, running did not get me away at all … just led to a lot of exhaustion, depression and destructive behaviour.
If Kathy said that your inside folks absolutely communicate with you and each other through writing then … well, I think that you can trust that that is the case. Kathy knows DID better than anyone on earth as far as I have seen. Not just a book knowing but an in-the-trenches with DID for decades kind of gut and instinctual knowing.
So, that is where you start would be my gut reaction. If your folks are willing to communicate through writing then use that to connect with them because … you do have communication with them. The visual is not necessary. That may come with time but do not worry about it. You have a great tool already to get to know your folks.
You know, when I first started learning about my insiders I just knew of the one who spoke with my T. When the T asked her to tell me her stories, she kept saying that she was trying to tell me but I would not listen. That frustrated the heck out of me because I was desperately trying to hear her. Then one day when I was meditating and trying to connect with her, I realized that all of the body pains and sensations that I would feel every time I tried to communicate with her was her telling me her story. I was listening with my ears expecting her to use words to tell me what happened. She was telling me with body memories all along because she did not have the words to tell me the things that were done to her.
I guess that what I am trying to say here Linda is use all of the tools that you can to communicate with your folks and be open to hear with more than your ears or eyes. Your folks are trying to talk with you in their writings. Go with that and build on it over time if they want to. Communication, no matter how it happens, is a huge positive step towards understanding and ultimately healing!
I send you and your folks all of my best wishes for lots of communication!
Again, thanks ME+WE
as I’ve said before, my parts are like a lava lamp, we just all blob in and out and even blur together. I did have a very distinct separate part saying “the nice linda that people know and like is fake”. “Sure she can dress up and fix her hair and talk about how she loves to go to work as a nurse…” “she looks together and happy and people really like her, but she is Fake!!!” “ I’m the real one, I really hate her”… It was strange and confusing. I wondered, am I fake am I real??
It was strange. It went on and on. Everyone is secretive
It’s not usually with awareness, but more when I come back I’m like “what was that all about? Even in writing there’s usually not much. It’s more in different behaviors that I notice changes. Not seeing, talking and very seldom occasionalwriting. So I really don’t have hardly any communication with anyone. Why I question if I really have this. But I have enough differences to believe it. And have been told by specialists since 1990 that I do. I guess I have to believe it and accept there won’t be communication and stop stressing about it. Mine always has been secretive and it’s what my parts want.
I was not aware of my parts until I was 59 y/o and back in therapy after a life crisis. I was aware of a little girl who lived in a cage inside of me but I had no idea that that was an alter or that I had DID. All were silent.
Personally, I think that the key is always showing up for them (i.e., opening up a space for them to talk to you). Now that space can be anything. Some folks journal. Some do artwork to communicate. I used mediation to try and connect. The idea is to be there when they do want to talk, be open and honest with them and show them compassion.
Sometimes you just have to start with the basics of providing them with food, shelter, clothing, bathing facilities. The idea is to meet their needs and build safety and reliability. My experience has been that inside folks will start to come forward when they feel that it is safe to do so and I can be counted on to be there for them.
Maybe other folks have suggestions about communication with insiders.
This is the biggest problem right now, internal communication. When I learned that I was apart of a system I thought I was ok with it or at least willing to be open. One night in the head space I announced that I was wanting to meet any that stepped forward. A couple of alters suddenly started to communicate with images, and I could see and hear things and it scares me because I was overwhelmed. Didn’t really think I would get a reply. I said I was imagining it, later said sorry. Then I tried again and it was less chaotic, inner world tour from one I regularly had contact with. I had as hard time seeing much cuz I was kinda denying it at the same time. So I freaked out and said they weren’t real, told them to shut up and when they began to say anything in head I cut them off and told them to shut up. I hurt them really bad n built walls. I tried to reach out to say sorry and I could see one, but not clear like before. I guess they don’t want to? One that is really close to front of the head I can hear but no longer see. I can’t see back inside hardly at all now. I don’t know how to re-establish communication. I can’t find advice on how to do this anywhere and things aren’t flowing easily without communication. Doesn’t help that me, host, still struggles with really accepting it and don’t know how to change that. We really need help. Please advise if you can, please.
Hello Renee!…..Been there…done that….STILL do that at times with certain ones (ones that scare me)….It scared me really bad one time when I did that and then they “disappeared” for a good while…..Never felt so “lost and empty” in my life…..Didn’t realize how much I depended on their “input” – no matter HOW chaotic and contradictory it was…….I felt “clueless” as to how I was to “function” each day…..
But even though they hid from me, I somehow knew they were still there “somewhere”….it just took a LOT of patience on my part for them to start coming “near the surface” again….I knew they had been “watching” me and waiting for when I would be truly willing to “acknowledge” them again….I did say “sorry” a lot….but my parts don’t just go by words….they expect “actions” to follow “words”….and when it doesn’t “match”….there is massive confusion and hiding……..
Soooo….for “me”….it took a LOT of patience, staying “calm” with them, NOT getting angry at them for “hiding” from me…..they can pick up on “undercurrent” emotions BIG TIME…..The “dynamic” with them feels a bit different now…still figuring it out…..but at least most of them are back again…..I know that they are simply being “cautious”…wondering if I am going to “turn on them” again…..wondering if they are REALLY, TRULY “safe” with “me”……As much as I struggle to “understand and accept” them…..I DO want them to feel “safe” with “me”….(whoever “me” is…..ugh…..!!)
I don’t know if anybody is still reading these comments because there is no date, but I just read this for the first time so am taking a chance and commenting. I have been struggling with internal communication for a long time. I read all the suggestions here and they sound great except I am a failure over and over. For years. I made a safe place in a tree by the ocean but the tree keeps dying. Some parts write in a journal about what is going on in my life, but they don’t talk about themselves. I only know they’ve been there because of all the handwriting changes.
The biggest issue is that “I” am not visible or embodied. I mean I know there’s this body that walks and talks and that different parts use to get through the days, but it’s not me. Mostly I have manager parts who are in “front” and most people…even my therapist and psychiatrist I think…see these parts or teams of parts as me, or the host. The young ones don’t come out very often but they desperately want to. So when I try to do internal communication, none of my parts see or acknowledge me. They say I don’t exist. I am invisible. I’m not even sure I exist anymore. (My whole wonderful and successful life of decades began its slow implosion about 6 years ago, and the person I was–the crew of manager parts–stopped functioning and all hell broke loose, culminating in multiple diagnoses of PTSD, Bipolar1, and DID along with a bunch of chronic physical illnesses.)
I keep trying and trying to talk to parts (there are a LOT of them) but all that happens is just chaos and cacophony until somebody wins and takes over and shuts everyone else down. Mostly that is a functional part so nobody outside gets too worried but a lot of parts are beaten and screaming and crying and hiding.
So I am REALLY curious how I get parts to trust me when they think I don’t exist and I know I (the real true me) is invisible even if that makes no logical sense at all. Doc says it is a “cognitive distortion” but after 6 years of grounding practice I still can’t control the body.
Hello J ! Wanted you to know that WE are reading…as confused as you “feel”…it seems like you have a better understanding of your system than I have of mine…..I just know that I feel like I am “watching” myself a lot….”watching” my body go through all that is needed to meet Outside expectations…..not sure what all that means……
I understand “chaos” and struggle “until somebody wins”……we try to “fit in” with Outside….but there are so many parts commenting and “second-guessing” what we are doing on the Outside…..Oh! the Internal “havoc” that can result…..figured “I” needed to focus on getting “teamwork” going…but when each perspective is so opposite of the other…..it makes it hard…..
Getting Outside “feedback” to figure out if our “direction” is correct or not is almost impossible….unless we want to risk an Outsider getting upset with us…..We feel like we are “on our own” a lot……NO FUN!
We haven’t found a “safe” place for Insiders yet….we HAVE seen them running and hiding behind “Inside rocks”…..but it doesn’t really feel “safe”…..they just hide and hope that “certain other Insiders” don’t see them…..We STILL haven’t figured out how to make a “safe” place……All THIS just “boggles the brain”!
i recently became host of my system and i’ve been trying to work on internal communication.
none of us have ever had luck visualizing anything, even visualizing ourselves or basic objects is hard. so it gets frustrating when nearly every site out there makes it seem like having communication or an internal world come naturally to systems.
I’m not in denial, in fact i love my alters! i have folders of photos that remind everyone of what they look like, so it’s not like im completely in the dark. i just dont understand why it’s so hard?
So nice to talk with you. Internal communication is not something that comes easy for us all even though it is something that we all strive for. Being able to communicate with our insiders allows us to get to know who they are, their role in our systems, what they need to share with us and how we can build cooperation and coconsciousness with the, Well, that sounds like a really tall order and it is. By that I mean it takes time … a whole lot of time, patience, compassion, creativity and just plain hard work.
You know, I did not find out about my first insider until I was 59 years old. Talk about a lack of internal communication … hahaha. And when I did, I did not understand what she was trying to tell me. She kept saying to my T that she was trying to tell me her story but I was not listening. It was not until I figured out that she was telling me through body memories that I started to really hear. Other insiders came out slowing over the next few years. Honestly, I know some of my insiders quite well now but some I do not really know at all other than a few basics about them and their role in my system.
My way of getting to know my insiders was to meditate for about an hour every morning and invite them to talk to me. Most of them live on a beach and I have a talking log that I go and sit on and they are invited to come and talk with me if they like. Sometimes I will call them over or will seek them out but mostly they come to me. There are many days that I just sit there in silence. They also talk to me during the day. I try to remain open to this but I have set some ground rules so I can function otherwise there is one little one who would talk to me non-stop!
Every system is different ilovemycat. Just keep the lines of communication open with compassion and love and look for clues of insiders trying to tell you their story in ways that are not necessarily internal talk. Also keep in mind that a lot of our folks are little ones so their ways of thinking and expressing themselves may be very different then our adult way. If one of your insiders does come forward and talks, ask them if they can help you communicate with others.
“i just dont understand why it’s so hard?”
Well, it just is. But, hard is different then impossible. Just keep your mind, body, heart and spirit open and listen with all of your senses. Your insiders have had some hard stuff to keep inside and silent all of these years. It may take time for them to find their voices.
Hi! I wasn’t expecting a reply to this honestly but i’m glad to hear from you !
I guess i have been impatient, i’ve only known about being a system for two years and i’m 22. You guys must work really well together lol!
thank you for sharing your experience with this ♥ now that i think of it, some alters/insiders communicated before i knew of being a system through ways other than internal talk. i guess it takes a lot of trusting your feelings to hear them talk in other ways.
meditating like how you do is a goal of mine, I usually try for 15 minutes in the evening but I fall asleep if i try for much longer lol.
your words are really sweet and encouraging 🙂 thank you again for taking time to talk to me. ill definitely take your advice to heart, think about how it must feel for them, be open and not compare myself to others.
You are very welcome. Folks come here to speak their truths and issues and struggles and successes … well, just about everything. Here you do not need to be alone. There is usually always someone here who relates and/or understands on a level that only multiples can really do. As you explore around the website, I hope that you share more if you like and ask questions. Everyone sharing helps both the person writing (i.e., as in learning to speak their truth and ask for help) and those reading and responding. We learn from one another, support one another and understand one another. So, please feel it is okay to ask your questions here. You are just starting out on your journey with DID. There are a lot of folks here who know the path well and are happy to share their experiences and insights!
BTW – there is another forum moderated by Kathy and Laura – Discussing Dissociation Community Forum – that you might want to check out. There is a monthly fee for that forum but it is well worth it (if you are able to afford it) from my perspective.
Great to have you a part of our community here ilovemycat. BTW – I love cats too! 🙂
We have a bulletin board on the inside. we post messages on it. We will record message also for Baby because she can’t read. It is in a Central location. So even Lori can get to it. She doesn’t come into our world she as her own space. She afraid to come in she thinks she will get stuck and not be let back out.
Thanks for the idea. I hadn’t thought about a central place where people can read messages. Thanks!
The Gang's All Here says
I don’t think it’s too controlling or structured. You’re setting times aside to focus on them and try to get to know them better. We have a written journal where we all use different colored pens (well, some people share the same color…), and I realized recently that it helps for me to ask everyone to check in when we get the journal out. They don’t HAVE to respond, but it makes space for less assertive or “loud” parts to say whatever they want. I’ll ask them by name, or I look at the different pens, to see who hasn’t written anything, and that sometimes inspires someone to say something. (We communicate much better in writing than in our head). Sometimes someone will just say, “I’m good,” or “Things are ok here,” or whatever, but at least they know that I’m interested in hearing from them. We have a lot of co-consciousness and no obvious amnesia, but there is a LOT that I don’t know about my system, and I’ve only really known about the parts for a year and a half, so this is very early in my journey.
Thanks for the encouragement. I like your idea about using different pen colors; I’ve considered that before. I do have a journal that some of us have written in, but it’s mostly me and my experiences. So writing in a place just for getting to know my insiders works for now.
I hope my insiders see that I’m interested very much in getting to know them. This is kind of awkward and weird right now, but I think it will get easier as we go along.
I recently (well, this week) decided I really need to and want to build more internal communication. I’ve tried in the past and it got really overwhelming, so I stopped. I have basic co-consciousness with several parts, which is good, but I haven’t just gotten to know them yet. Like stuff besides trauma stuff. In this article, Kathy mentions basic communication shouldn’t involve trauma talk. I have kind of done it backwards because that’s exactly what happened with us. We started with the trauma, but now I want to get to know my parts better.
I have a sense of likes and different attributes of my insiders. But I’d like to get to know them more or just build better talking time with them. So I decided to be intentional (because I can’t just do it casually or randomly) and set a reminder on my phone to communicate with certain insiders for a week, then I’ll get to know some other insiders. I started a document on my computer to start with. I’ve done it once with some good starting success. Not sure if that’s crazy, or if there’s a better way…
What do you guys think of my strategy? Am I being too controlling or structured? I really want my insiders to have their voices and to get to know them better.
Ask questions lots of question. What do you like to do . Or favorite place, color, food tv show/movie. Where do they like to hang out on the inside . What would they to see change or add to the inside world.
Thank you so much MeanMan!
I made a document with a list of questions, including your questions that I’m going to over time ask my insiders about.
Kathy Broady MSW says
I have to ask you a question. I think I have a tiny little idea about where your name came from (not much), but I have to also say… you’ve NOT been a mean man here on this blog, and I’ve not seen you be mean at all. I am guessing that you CAN be mean, or you wouldn’t have the name that you have. Obviously, I don’t know your story, so please bear with me while I’m thinking “out loud” here.
My question for you is…. since you clearly have a whole lot of other qualities besides just “being mean” — have you ever considered a different name for yourself??? Do you prefer to be known as MeanMan even when you can do helpful things, such as what you wrote in your post above? Sounds to me like you know a lot about being helpful as well….
What are your thoughts about that?
❤️ 💯 ❤️ ME+WE!
As I was reading your response I was ‘oh man! me too’ with so much you said! Thanks for giving such a well thought out and honest response (like you always do). 🙂
Getting my emoji’s on. ❤️
Thank you for your kind words Kennedy and awesome emojis. Oh my I have got to figure out how to do this. So cool!
So, Ive been diagnosed with DID this year, but am super skeptical about it when it comes to me having it. Other people, GREAT, good for you, but for me to have it, not so much.
DENIAL DENIAL DENIAL. How do jump this hurdle?
Particularly, “…and denial is not clouding your willingness to interact with your other parts.” And, “…Your genuine positive acceptance of their existence is a critical foundation to effective communication.” Are both quotes from this article that froze me.
I just don’t know if I even have it because 1) I don’t have any memories of the trauma and all of the memories I do ‘have’ are simply “not mine.” As in, I’m observing the moment from a third-person perspective. This makes it super easy to deny the whole trauma because I don’t remember it as mine. 2) My head is almost always super cloudy at the front, with a whole bunch of noise and chaos in the back- screaming and clamoring and whatnot. So its difficult for me to even have a thought for myself, is all thatt point was.
Help with overcoming denial please?
A lot of us responded to your post about doubt and denial on another page, I forgot which one. Maybe you can find it if you didn’t see it. If you haven’t already read those please read them or read them again.
What you write here are several reasons why DID would be a plausible explanation of your symptoms. ‘
How to overcome denial?
First ask yourself if you want to. Denial is a powerful defense. It works (for a while).
Then if you are in a place where you can begin to accept, or want to accept, DID as a diagnosis then it’s not a one-off. Meaning it will take lots more time than just once to hash it out in your head.
What we had to do is read, and ask questions, and ask for someone outside to tell us all the ways they think DID is a true diagnosis for us, then begin to remember what those outside people said so we could tell that to each other inside, and we look back at our lives and see how it makes sense. And then we do that again, and again. And sometimes for this person inside, and then again for another person inside, and again for the fronts who know but doubt. etc…etc…etc.
If you don’t believe DID is a true diagnosis for you, go get another opinion or two or three. There are so many practitioners out there that do not believe it even exists, so if you want someone to help you deny it, you can find them pretty easily.
I did that. Spent many years trying to medicate myself out of it and lots of doctors plied me with lots of drugs that never worked and made me far worse. I got to the point where I stopped searching for answers altogether. I had to tell myself its not against the law NOT to go to doctors or therapists. And I quit. It’s an option. I don’t think its a good one, but it is there to choose.
If you truly think DID is not what you have. You don’t have to believe it. I denied it and instead went down the schizo-affective disorder path. I couldn’t deny all the problems I had so I went with psychosis and mood disorder for a long time. I regret the crap outta that though. And I cant go back and fix it.
I still think sometimes I am psychotic and not DID so I never had an ah-ha moment. Maybe some others here have and can tell you their experiences.
Be kind to yourself(ves). This is not easy in any way. Take it slow. Take care.
Yeah I realized as I was writing that I sounded pretty DID anyway. And, I was wondering if anyone had replied to that comment, but I can’t remember where I wrote it… I’ll look for it.
Thanks for your experience on denial.
Well, Kennedy has offered some wonderful insight here. Not sure where the other post is so I cannot speak to that. But, I would like to speak to your struggle with denial because I have been there myself.
When I first started back to therapy (I was in individual therapy for 8 years and group therapy for 5 years back in my 20s and 30s with no DID diagnosis) every week I heard myself saying things that I had no knowledge of. I knew some of the traumas (e.g., hospitalizations when I was 3 years old) and had some vague memories but I found myself giving details and emotions that I had absolutely no memory of. I would leave my therapy session each week and would feel horrible that I had spent the whole session lying to my T. Well, that is what it felt like to me. And I could not stop myself. The words just came out and I had no control over what I was saying at all. But, I would go back the next week because, even though I had no memory of what I was speaking about, it just felt right in my gut.
After about 6 months of therapy, my first insider came out with my T. I had no memory of what I said this time around. My T told me what my insider said. After a little bit my T told me that I had two distinct ego states. I did not know what the heck that meant. So, I went on the Internet and DID came up in the search. Now, in my mind that was not possible. I did not have trauma that would lead to anything resembling DID and the little girl that lived in a cage in my mind was just my crazy imagination. Then when the little girl started reliving the trauma and having intense body memories – that was just me being a drama Queen. And when the stories of sexual abuse, death threats, physical abuse, etc. started to come out in therapy I agonized that I was having delusional fits of false memories.
I DENIED, DENIED, DENIED that anything that I was remembering was true. In many ways it was much easier for me to think that I was lying or was a wonderfully creative actress or a shameless attention getter then to really believe what my insiders were telling me about my past with abuse. So, I chose to doubt, dismiss, and downplay what I was learning in therapy for about a year. The thing was that I kept going back to therapy each week because what was happening there always felt right in my gut. And then some of the pieces of my life started to make sense all of a sudden as well. I was seriously confused!
After about a year, I surrendered to the reality that I had alters. By this point a couple of alters had made themselves known to me. Each time that a new alter made themselves known to me, I would take months of checking them out and making sure that they were “real” before I would tell my T. Of course, some of them had already introduced themselves to her and I did not know it.
When I finally surrendered to my diagnosis (I did not ask for an actual diagnosis until about two years into therapy) I found that things got easier. The more that I stopped pushing my insiders away and denying their existence or the stories that they were telling me, the more communication and cooperation that I was able to work out with them. Acceptance, compassion, appreciation and genuine love have been the healing bond between me and my insiders and, ultimately, me and my diagnosis.
I tell you all of this Lanie because I hope that it will help you to not fear your journey or your diagnosis. It is a really tough diagnosis to accept and, certainly, what your insiders have to tell you will not be easy to hear. But, I have to think that you sought help (and hence your diagnosis) because things were not going so great in your life. As hard as this diagnosis is, please be assured that it is the first big step to your understanding. And, with understanding comes healing. And, with healing comes hope.
We are here to listen and help in any way that we can Lanie. You are talking to folks here who have been where you are, who understand the struggles that you are experiencing, and who are at different points in our own heal journey. We know Lanie … we truly know. You are not alone.
Your new friend.
Thank you, ME+WE, I really appreciate your story and your insight. Just last night I had an episode of sorts where, afterward, my boyfriend said it was like talking to four different people. It was a bit of an “okay, I probably do have this, don’t I?” moment. working on letting go of denial and shame…
Great work in recognizing your parts speaking. Do you often have conversations going but no one is there except you? Or is the noise is loud in your head, and you can’t take anymore stimulation on the outside world? Do people often have to repeat the same thing to you, but you can’t remember whole conversations at all? Do you have clothes in your wardrobe you can’t remember where you got them? Or how you got somewhere? Or do you have lapses in your memory? Do people say they know you but you can’t recall them all?
These are some of the signs of DID. I hope you can continue working on your stuff. You will learn so much about yourself in this process, and you will be braver and more at peace at the end of it.
Kathy Broady MSW says
Welcome to Discussing Dissociation, and it’s good to see you posting here.
Lots of people struggle with coming to terms with the DID diagnosis at first… but as you get more used to the idea, it doesn’t have to be such a bad thing. The trauma / PTSD stuff is pretty rough, of course, but you can end up becoming much more comfortable with the idea of being multiple, over time.
You’re looking in a good area because developing more ability to communicate with your people is the best place to start.
Ya know, some of my most favorite people in the world are dissociative. It’s not so bad. 🙂
Hold tight, and I hope you keep reading, and posting.
Hi The Eclipse System. I am so glad that you have this safe place to come to especially since you do not have a T . It must be really scary and lonely sometimes. Well, at least that is how it felt for me for a very long time. I have found that sharing my body and mind with others can be very comforting in many ways too as I am never alone. But it can also be confusing too.
I did not meet all of my insiders at once. At various points I would suddenly be aware that there was someone new but I would not have a clear idea of who they were. Actually in two cases what I thought was one new alter actually turned out to be two. It is like looking and all of a sudden a hazy outline of a person appears in your vision. You know that it is a person but you cannot make out any of their features. It takes time before they come into focus bit by bit. I find it works best if I just keep talking in their direction, welcome them, let them know that I am glad that they are there and tell them that I would very much like to get to know them. Often this takes weeks and sometimes months for them to finally feel safe enough with me to start communicating with me. Then I just am very soft, open, and loving with them. Time and patience seem to be the key for me.
Another thing that I did was creat an insider family album on my computer. My T asked me a while ago if I could draw pictures of my insiders to show her what they looked like. Well, I was not at all good at that so abandoned that idea. One of my little ones got very upset with me because she wanted our T to see her. Of course I know what she looks like but this little one was not content with that. So, we sat down at my computer and we did a Google search on little girls her age and doing activities she likes. We looked for images that she felt most looked like her or captured something of her essence. At first I set up a file folder on my desktop so she could put all of the images in one place. We worked on this off and on for a couple of days. When we had a whole bunch of images, I set up a word processor document to copy and paste her images. She had to narrow them down to about eight images. Then I asked her to help me write a little biography of her e.g.,, what she looked like, how old she was, what she liked to do, her favourite things, things she did not like, when she was born, etc. The I asked each one of my insiders if they wanted to do the same. All but one did although a few of the biographies and picture collections were brief/small because they had not revealed much of themselves yet. In some cases, other insiders would step in to tell me what they knew about the others. In the end, I had our family album. As I have gotten to know some of them better or just because understanding has deepened, they have asked to go back and add to their biographies. In the end, I have gotten to know them better and have something for me to look at when I get disoriented or confused because sometimes I forget things about them even though they have told me over and over again.
I would encourage everyone who is working to get to know their system just to be patient, open, kind and accepting. It will not happen over night. As Kathy says, it’s like developing any deep, meaningful relationship — it takes time, listening, opening yourself up to giving and receiving, true caring and sometimes a whole lot of courage.
The Eclipse System says
thank you for this post. we have a few recent splits and everything feels confusing and blurry. we are trying to reach the new ones and help them feel safe. we are looking for as many articles on this topic as possible. we appreciate you. we always come back to your blog when we need guidance or answers. we wish we had a therapist who could guide us like this. it is a scary process. we need help.
I’m new to this. I had a few complete break downs over the last year or so, and just within the last few weeks have learned what DID is and that ive been diagnoste with it. Ive known for many years that i have had others inside me but, truly alwqys thought I was just being stupid. I have never until now seeked any counsiling or therapy, something has always stopped me. I have neverhad a therapist, and still have yet to get one. It seems like since these breaks have happened, I am more prone to suicidal thoughts and self-harm. It seems that it has happened since I have started to seek help, IDK. These breaks in reality that i have had come after numerous overwellming stresses. I guess the system just couldnt take it anymore and broke, to the point of severe anxiety, paranoia and hullucinations. The ones that I have always is the Demon. Him and I will argue for hours. Its mostly me yelling at him because i know something is inside of me and it isn’t me. Not to be to graphic, but on many occassions, I have tried to literally cut him out of me. Than there are Ying and Yang. These two are the most outspoken and always have me having full conversations out loud for everyone to hear. I know I’m doing it but, it isnt until someone says something that I truly realize how often I do it. The one that has surfaced more recently is “Liam”. He is the positive, I am the shit, live life to the fullest other. I know he had been around for years, but after my last breakdown he surfaced to the point of creating his own Facebook page, and having a whole different sit of friends. I like him, he tells me what I’m truly worth, and that I can do anything I set my mind to. I dont know where I fit in to all of this, I don’t know what part of the system I am. Some days I have so much energy that all I can do is run, other days I can’t even get out of bed. Somedays I daydream until it seems like reality, other days I stare off in to the distance and have no thoughts, or memory of what I was doing for the last 10 hours at all. The onw that seems to come out to, either break up the fight or self-hatred is kitty baby. He’s the one that just blanks out all negativity and has a child-like reality to the point of me talking like a child, and waking up in the middle of the night clutching a stuffed animal, or having the need to do so. I’m just know learning that I have fragmented parts of myself and have the need to know more and understand why. Heres hoping to learn more and that “The Demon” stays away. I’d like to talk more if possible, you seem to know more about all this than I. Feel free to pass this along as well, because I need to know others feelings and knowledge of this….thank you!
psybear15 in my experience, I have heard you should always be working on internal communication. My current T is always asking me to do so to stabilize. So, I would think you would be wanting to do it now if you can figure out how.
As for journal writing, my T suggested I write questions and leave it for parts of me to answer. That did not work at all. I have found I have to have the journal out to get communication going. I have found that if I journal about enough topics, I will eventually come to one where another part, or many parts, have something to say about it and will start writing in the journal with me. This is helpful for me because I usually learn a whole lot from doing this, but it is exhausting and time consuming for me, which is not good with the way my life is set up now. I generally stay up really late to do this kind of work, but don’t usually do it on nights like tonight when I am exhausted.
BTW, I have recently found myself going from a lot of voices inside to very little, so it feels like I am alone sometimes. But, through the journal writing I have learned they are still there.
When I said above I have been with him a year I meant this time. We have done between 3-4 years of therapy with a break in between. Sorry if that was confusing.
I have no internal communication so I started to journal recently. I keep hoping that I can somehow start to communicate with any alter. I try to talk inside but no one answers, so I keep journaling but feel as if I’m only talking to myself. I used to have many voices in my head but since starting treatment a few years ago the voices stopped, started, then stopped again. I haven’t made any progress at all, but will keep trying and also try not to get frustrated. I have been on different forums and it seems like everyone has some type of communication, so I feel all alone when I don’t have any at all. My therapist has not pushed internal communication much at all, except to recently ask me to start journaling again. I have been going to him off and on for around 3 1/2 to 4 years. I took a few years off in the middle when I got discouraged from not making any progress. I have been with him a year now and still feel I haven’t made any progress. He is well thought of in the DID therapy community, but I still have doubts sometimes about his effectiveness. I should say that I think we spent a lot of time in the stabilization phase, and maybe he still doesn’t think I’m stable enough to look inside, maybe he only wants me to journal for safety reasons? I haven’t been in the hospital in over a year and I’m not having suicidal thoughts on a regular basis, just once in a while, and they are manageable. I’m going to talk to him about all this when he gets back from a long vacation.
My question, if you have time to ask it, is when should you start internal dialogue? Is it pretty normal to spend years in the stabilization phase? I guess it’s hard to know being as you don’t know my history, etc, but not just in my case, in any case of DID. What degree of stability to you need to reach before starting those internal dialogues? You don’t really address that in your articles here, but I haven’t read all your posts yet. Still new to the site…
But how do you get her. to stop cutting and purging she does this when she is afraid of the emotions that are swirling.
Your words make it sound so easy but the communication within doesn’t come that easy it has taken me from 1998 till now to find someone safe to share my selves with and it is still very limited. A month ago one of my people inside a10 yr old did a very bad thing but she was programmed to do it. Now the guilt,shame and fear is almost more then we can take. We did a few days in the hospital to get grounded
Did you work at the hospital in Disota tx with dr mungadzie
Kathy Broady says
Hello Ginny, welcome to Discussing Dissociation.
To answer your question, no, I did not work at The Cedars Hospital with Dr. Mungadze. I have met him, and I have listened to him speak at conferences, but I did not work with him. 🙂
It’s important to work with any and all of your insiders. It’s not uncommon for some insiders to feel like they have the job of killing themselves, and/or everyone else, and/or a specific someone in the system. It’s important to free these insiders up from this old job, to learn how they got the job in the first place, and to release them from the controls of wherever that job came from. These insiders need to see that they can pick something else instead of feeling trapped into doing the not-so-good job of hurting themselves or others. They absolutely can have the freedom to do something else, so yes, keep working with them until they can find their freedom.
I’ve written lots more about suicidal insiders opinion other articles. Do some searches on this site and you’ll find all kinds of stuff. 🙂
Keep up the good work — you’ll be able to create safety for yourself and your little 10 yr old insider.
Fist question did you work at the hospital in Desoto tx with DrMungadze
My question is what happens when you have an alter who is programmed to kill the system
Very well written and informative.
Kathy Broady says
Good to hear from you again. 🙂
Reblogged this on adifferentlifebeinglived and commented:
Need this for later
Kathy Broady says
Reblogged this on Discussing Dissociation and commented:
Are you working with your internal system? Need some ideas for where to start? Once you get the basics of good communication figured out, it won’t be so daunting to reach the harder topics.
Start simple. First, just get a general idea of who is there, what they do, and what kinds of things they know. Build a friendly rapport first. You’ll need some version of relationship with them before you can manage the tougher stuff.
I bet there is someone in your system you’ve never yet spoken with. Try these ideas as you say hello to them.
I wish you the best in your healing journey.
I am finding that i am shutting down ‘going away’ in therapy for big parts of the session. I read on another blog that some therapists tell their clients what happens during this time to help with co consciousness. ?
THe more this shutting down in sessions happens the less I am able to stay at the front and ask these questions. I also feel that i dont get to talk to my therapist anymore
sounds similar to me
I am trying to understand all this and how it relates (and if it relates) to my experience. I experience myself very differently in different situations – more extreme than most people, I think. But I am aware of these different parts – I just dont always understand what motivates them and their likes and dislikes are different. But with these parts I am kinda there too and I know where I am and what I am doing – just the why and how are left out. I have a part that likes dangerous situations and one thats a sex worker that I have less awareness of – only that they have been out ( thats scarey).
The ‘I’ that goes to therapy has not been out a lot. I am so quiet and unable to talk and I know that in most other situations i am not like that. I cant answer questions about my life as well as usual there. I often ‘go away’ when I am in therapy and thats when I have no knowing of whats happened only that I feel spacey and my therapist is talking differently towards me.
I am also riddled with hateful thoughts about being bad and that I am going to die and that therapy is bad – but I dont believe this myself – Also a crying inside and sometimes screaming. And I get cuts on my legs that I know a part of me has done but I cant understand this I just patch myself up and ignore it.
Are these similar experiences to other people????? Or is this something different?
In another comment on this blog I shared: “I’d like to share the discovery of, what I’ve termed, my ‘personas’ that I have identified. This was something I’ve found in the last few years without knowing about dissociation. I don’t think I suffer from DID as a diagnostic health disorder (nor have ever been diagnosed as such), but I recognize that I have been/still am at times challenged with uncomfortable/dysfunctional dissociative states (obviously).”
So here is that comment. Apologies for its length!
First, my heart and great respect goes out to every individual who is challenged in this area. I applaud the work that goes into accepting, communicating with, loving, or whatever one has to do to discover and learn about those various parts and to heal. *thumbsup* (That includes for me too!! Gold stars! yes 🙂 )
My persona discoveries first came about in 2006 or 2007. I was doing grief work with my counselor at the time. She had me go inside to discover what was in there. I met Abandonment, genderless and faceless. He has a face now and is a light grey color…looks sort of like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Even though he is genderless from a physique standpoint, he took on a male personal for me. *shrug*
This first exercise was uncomfortable. I thought I was just making things up. As time continued I named Abandonment, Abe.
A similar experience came up with my current therapist as we were exploring (and continue to do so) damaging core belief(s). I have been deeply challenging with self-blame. As I examined this aspect, Nanna appeared. I didn’t name her right away. Yet I recognized her as my scapegoat.
I discussed (again) how I was uncomfortable with this…these personas as I called them. Was I crazy? He compassionately and confidently stated, “No.” and that he thought it was a wonderful tool for me. He suggested a ritual (a good one) to help me in this area. He suggested I explore something perhaps from my childhood in which I used to find comfort. I chose a to paint a saucer and tea cup and have a tea ceremony with Abe and Nanna, …honoring them. I’d like to sometime make more cups and saucers honoring the other personas.
Currently my persona include The Gardener who I named John; he is a gentle giant I brought him in from a dream (while asleep) I had some years back, around 2003ish. There is the Tender or Caretaker, an elderly man who is very patient and takes care of the gears, oiling them. Sally is a horse, who is timid and easily startled. (Horses were also a great comfort to me as a child.) Recently I added Lem, he has an artificial leg.
So, one of my secrets is now out. It was a thrill for me to read various articles on this blog and discover that I have a very legitimate coping tool. I”m not crazy!! 😀
Hmmm….now I’ll (maybe?) blog about this sometime this month. Oh my!
I have written poems about Abe and Nanna and The Tender and The Gardener. Below are a few links to some poems if anyone is so inclined to read such. I hope it is o.k. I share them here.
Thanks for letting me share. Apologies again for such a long comment!
“Unfinished” (which is really unfinished. I’d like to continue it at some point):
Here is a link to one about Nanna. It has a link to the sequel as well:
“Abandonment Part I”: http://www.poetrypages.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=50569#5three
“Abandonment Part II”: http://www.poetrypages.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=50569#7one
Welcome to SF!
Thank you for writing your answer to my comment at your blog.
Even before I got your reply, I tried to register into your SurvivorForum, but there was a problem and I sent an email to you.
My host’s name is XXXXXX, as you can see, and his email address is ……, but he is momentarily letting me use his address, him being in the background – hiding again LOL (and he would prefer you would contact me directly through another email address, namely that is not his primary address)
Thank you in advance,
his (not so much) beloved alter:) LOL
(I have just sent you a copy of the above email to your address. I hope you can help with the Registration…)
Kathy Broady says
Hi to the maybe – sometimes? – beloved alter…?? 🙂
Thanks for your interest in SurvivorForum. I peeked into problem and the issue is with gmail addresses. Gmail is spammer heaven, and the forum gets totally swarmed in spammer registrations if we leave gmail addy’s open. SO… the registration for anyone with a gmail address has to be administratively managed on an individual basis. Even in the few minutes it took to register your screenname (it’s done now, by the way :)), there was a gmail spammer that got through. Yeeesh – they are quick!
SurvivorForum is in a transition state right now — when you go there, you’ll be able to read that in the posts — and I’ll be writing more about it here as well. Thanks again, and I’m looking forward to seeing you there –
Re: “It works for those that need it, and everyone else can just go on with their own lives, right?!”
“Wrong!” said my beloved alter.
He too vividly remembers the expression on his (hm?, mine) wife’s face when I tried to be open with her that this is what I (hm, we) am going to do. How can I do it, if it makes me worse temporarily (??), more self-absorbed after I get home because I am processing the stuff being exchanged between the alters, not being present “here and now” for her and for my two sons who need me to be their daddy full-time when I am home?
You don’t have to answer those rhetoric questions, Kathy, since I’m just venting and I’m glad (LOL) to be able to vent about things I can’t vent to normal people, because I now feel safe to do it here – finally finding online a therapist, (a DID specialist, what a luxury) who I can exchange a meaningful conversation with without needing to explain the difference between “hearing the voices” (like in schizophrenia) and “being the voices” (like in DID).
Kathy Broady says
Oh boy – you’ve brought up some very difficult issues — how to find time to address DID / healing / internal system work when you have a full load in the outside world with work, family, children, and a spouse that isn’t quite on board. It sounds like everyone in your household feels overloaded right now, and that does make it very difficult to tackle internal issues as well.
Yes, you can vent here — I certainly understand the difference between schizophrenic voices and DID voices. Yes, there’s a giant difference between “hearing” the voices and BEING the voices, lol. Well said. I’m quite sure that the vast majority of the readers here at this blog very much relate to that difference as well. AND, I understand how hard it is for other “normal” people to grasp the complexities and pressures of being dissociative. I’m glad you found a place where you can be understood “as is” without having to explain everything over and over.
And you are saying an online DID therapist is a luxury??!!! OH wow — what a compliment! Thank you! 🙂 But seriously, I understand. And I do hope this blog (and maybe some of my other online resources as well) can be beneficial for you.
I’m gonna guess that your wife probably knows more of your insiders than she realizes. She might struggle with her own understanding and acceptance of your DID diagnosis, but I would bet, seriously, that she has had much more ongoing involvement with your different people than she has grasped at the moment. Maybe she could read some of the information written at the http://www.AbuseConsultants.com site. There are a few pages there dedicated to the significant others of DIDer’s. But yeah…. she’ll have to do her own “work” in terms of accepting things for you as well. It’s not easy for anyone.
Good luck — keep reading — there will be a balance for you somewhere altho’ things are definitely not easy!!
big shift happened. it is all quiet. no one to talk to.
Kathy Broady says
Yes, shifts like that do happen, especially while you are just getting started in terms of the communication process. Sometimes there will be others around close enough for you to hear or see, and sometimes, your inner people will be more “hidden” or feel further away. There are all kinds of reasons for this.
My questions for you to think about are:
Do you see any pattern for when the inside people are more quiet and hidden? ie: Do they do that in response to something happening out in the world at that point? Does that happen on a regular basis? Does it happen when certain people / events are present on the outside world?
And how do you feel? Is it better – worse – comfortable – tense – when things go quiet inside?
Do certain insiders feel more blocked off from the rest of your system than others do?
The more you watch the ebb and flow here, and watch for the patterns, you’ll find answers for why this happens. And give it a little while — you’ll hear the others inside again soon enough. 🙂
I hope you’re having a good day. Thanks for posting.
“The way in is the way out,” is how our talk-doc put it today.
For decades we had some really good internal communication going, then we had a huge trauma hit us, the internal walls went up and there we were starting from scratch. We’re back using a notebook to communicate. Mind you we know we did this once, so we should be able to do it again. It’s just frustrating to not have that communication.
The first time we did this, our last talk-doc helped us create a meeting room, later we called it the ‘Squabble Room’ for obvious reasons. Slowly folks showed up and met each other. We’d never had a place to ‘sit down and talk’ before. This room became the place to hash out how to deal with everything from fronting to time management. Now we’re looking internally to reconnect so that we can get out of this new isolation.
Internal communication works and the great side effect you get all these friends. Okay maybe not all of them will be friends at first but in time it’s possible.
Kathy Broady says
Thanks for posting. I couldn’t agree with you more!!
Yes, developing an internal “Squabble Room” as a meeting place is one of the very best ideas for improving internal communication. I love the name “Squabble Room”, LOL. The whole concept is the same as how people in the outside world get together and talk about stuff. As outside people, we don’t stay in different buildings or in different worlds to communicate. Even when talking online, we very often go to a specific meeting area where we can “see” each other. So yes, developing an internal meeting place — a neutral place that is safe for everyone, a place that belongs to everyone — is an excellent idea.
And yes, building a friendly relationship with everyone in your system is exactly the point. Even if it doesn’t start out that way, lol.
It sounds like you’ve found the benefit of this work before. And yes, it can be done again. Sorry to hear that such a huge trauma issue required the rebuilding of the dissociative walls. Ouch! Unfortunately, that kind of stuff can happen, and big destabilizing traumas can happen at any point in life. I hope you are safer now. I’m gonna guess you are feeling a little better because you are starting back on this work again. AND, because you know that talking with each other helped before, and since you have a history of such good system work in the past, I’m very sure you’ll be able to build it back again.
It sure shows how much trauma affects things tho’. And… it also shows, that as you are feeling safer, those dissociative walls can come back down.
Thanks for sharing, Ravin. Excellent points.
Just wondering how this process can be achieved when there are quite major barriers to communication? I’m thinking in particular of walls, different floors within an internal house etc.
Is it just a case of concentrating on communicating with the insiders you can reach, and then slowly branching out into those other areas as the comfort and stages in the healing journey progress?
Speaking only from my experience, I was once asked to tell the history of one of the littles to our therapist at the time. This little one not only tested our therapist, but also me. She could tell that I was feeling the nausea from being shown the pictures and feeling the pain of her experiences. If I had just given the appearance of believing her experience, it would have caused a great deal of damage. It was in no way a positive experience for me, but it was important for her tell it in this way. I became trusted because of the way it was conveyed to our therapist.
PS. I’m glad internal communication didn’t sound *completely insane* just to me. Mind you, unless you experienced the telling of the little ones history as I describe it above, that sounds rather insane too.
Kathy Broady says
Good question. Sometimes the internal barriers have specific reasons for being there. For example, insiders on different levels may have dealt with very very different traumas, so communication with them will mean that you are ready to hear about a whole different type of abuse / trauma than you have already learned about.
I’d say, it’s safer to assume that the further away someone is in your internal world, the more foreign or opposite or upsetting their experiences are going to feel for you. The idea of starting with the people nearby means you can get more comfortable in the actual process of communicating together without having to add in the additional stress of also having to incorporate new bits of trauma information that are in themselves, difficult to hear and know about.
So yes, start with who you are comfortable with, and branch out to others as you are able to. And the idea of making a neutral meeting room, as mentioned by Ravin (moreheads), also works well. Anyone that “can” or “will” come to those rooms are often in a place more open to communication with you and the others in the meeting room. Those from your system that refuse to come to a neutral meeting place are often less ready to be system-friendly, for any number of reasons.
The Inside world is a real help in monitoring how ready and willing various parts are for communication. You can “see” how close someone is to you, or how far they are away. That in itself can tell you how “ready” they are to speak with others.
And no — this is not insane!! The internal worlds for dissociative people are very very real. As you work within that context, you’ll make a lot of progress with your system. Or, you can see where the progress is not happening as well. A picture is worth a thousand words, right??? So, as you see inside your internal worlds, you’ll be able to understand a whole lot more.
I hope you’re having a good day —
I don’t know whether it’s indicative of my often-inconvenient sense of humor, or perhaps my state of mind at the moment as far as feeling unwontedly burdened by the DID diagnosis, but I have to say … this sounded *completely insane* to me, which is hilarious to me because I’ve actually successfully done it.
So I suppose I can give the rather ambivalent testimony that it really works, even if it seems ludicrous.
Kathy Broady says
lol… no no no, this stuff is not insane, lol. But yes, one has to remember the context! I suppose outside of the DID world, this stuff can sound pretty nuts… but oh well. It works for those that need it, and everyone else can just go on with their own lives, right?! 🙂
I think part of splitting from the trauma in itself (but not really — in actual reality — being able to leave the body or the situation) means that people just built their own inside worlds and went there to leave the trauma or the outside world. And dissociative splits typically start in young childhood when children have very active imaginations anyway, so..,. the idea of making a new world when one is dissociated from the scary yucky world isn’t really so hard to grasp. Besides, I assume that the insiders have to have a place to go to when they aren’t “out” in the body, or out in this world. They don’t just melt back into nothingness… and having an internal world sounds like a really good idea, if you ask me. Everyone needs a home to go to. Even people that live on the inside most of the time.
So — I think DID’ers are really amazing people for having created something like that.
And… I do understand that DID isn’t all fun, smiles, giggles, and puppy dogs. It’s there because things were very difficult… and for a long while, getting through the healing process is very difficult too. I’m gonna guess — that whatever point you are struggling with has a great depth of meaning to your journey. Explore the “resistance”. There will be something to it. Or under it. Or behind it.
Good luck — you can figure it out. Thanks for posting.
“Your genuine positive acceptance of their existence is a critical foundation to effective communication.”
Ok, you got me on this. I have no ‘genuine positive acceptance’. I have hard time with acceptance at all. It is frustrating to me. I seriously believe it is all a bunch of crap and drama.
But then words, thoughts, feelings, not my own. I was snuggling in the beanbag chair with my husband, somebody said something (‘me’ to him, or maybe it was just general comment, I don’t remember now) I turned to him and asked if I had just said something. It didn’t sound like me or feel like me, and yet it came from my mouth.
I don’t like what they have said. People don’t really hurt kids like that. Who thinks to do something like that. But if it is made up what kind of SICKO am I for thinking them and then telling someone else they happened to me? It is an effing catch-22!!!
So I guess that will stop my ‘healing’. I suppose that is why my therapist needed a break, among other reasons. Still, why do I have to believe them? Can’t I just move forward with the appearance of acceptance? Does it have to be genuine and positive? What they say is horrendous, if I remember, and I don’t always.
I feel exactly the same way and it is a daily battle between denial and acceptance, will it ever get easier? It’s been 1 1/2 years since my diagnosis and it’s so so hard, dark and deep. Feeling so isolated and hopeless!