Trauma survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder can see an internal world. Step back, turn around an look inside – it will be there.
What happens if you have looked inside and all you see is a lot of darkness, or desolation, and not so many people with welcome arms?
First of all, think about what internal darkness means to you as an individual. There are a variety of options:
- It could have metaphorical meaning – what does darkness mean to you?
- It could represent how your life history feels emotionally to you.
- It could represent how barren, empty, starved, and deprived you feel in terms of getting your basic human needs met.
- It could represent the lack of emotional connection between you and your insiders at the moment.
- It could mean that you are feeling too scared to know.
- It could represent the way you were told or instructed to make your internal worlds look (ie: some survivors have had abusers that controlled what to make and create on the inside).
- It could mean denial – that you really don’t want to know what is happening in your internal worlds.
- It could be a cover or a façade or a front area that blocks off the rest of the internal worlds.
- It could mean that some little ones hid in the dark and therefore their internal world is also dark. Those parts of you might feel safer and more hidden in the dark, and they might like it that way.
- It could mean that some of your parts were put into a deprivation sort of situation where their trauma itself kept them locked in a dark space. They may not know anything but darkness, so their internal areas will be representative of what they lived through.
- It could mean that there are others deeper within your system making your world dark on purpose.
There is no one answer to explain why you see what you see. The goal of your therapy work is for you to understand your internal worlds as they apply to you, the individual.
Desolation very often represents neglect. Think about what land or households look like when they are ignored for years. Would the grass be green and trimmed? Would there be any grass at all? Would the buildings be in good condition? Would the area be clean and well-kept? Would it look like a tornado has spun through it?
Has your internal system been neglected? If you were to picture the way their feelings of neglect would look, what would it look like?
When you look at your insiders, do they look similar to neglected or abused children? Do they have clean, fitted clothing? Stylish haircuts? Plenty of food and water? What do you see in their eyes? What can you feel from their souls?
Think about the actual devastation caused by hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, and floods. The damage and destruction is enormous – totally overwhelming, requiring years of rebuilding and repair. Personal tragedies, loss, neglect, and chronic severe trauma have a similar effect on survivors’ emotional lives. With DID survivors, when there is no one around to help clean up the mess after the years of severe trauma occurs, or to offer comfort and consolation or ongoing protection, their internal worlds can become as chaotic and destroyed as a hurricane site.
Without ongoing care and attention, your internal worlds can become similar to such landscapes.
But remember – these internal worlds belong to you. You can make changes in them, and as you incorporate more positive steps, your internal system will feel better. Think about it: if you lived in there, would you feel better sitting for days in a deserted, dark, barren, rocky desert? Or would you feel better sitting in a comfortable warm house, full of basic necessities, surrounded by a grassy field with pretty flowers and shade trees?
When you see that your internal world needs some attention in order to make it comfortable, start where you can.
Some starting places are:
- Build a new area, totally separate from the desolate area, and create it as a safe place, that is very pleasing to the eye, and comfortable in every way you can think of. Invite the members of your system to come there. You can make community rules such as, in this living space, no one is allowed to hurt anyone else, everyone gets to their own possessions, and everyone gets their own private living space, etc.
- Take a corner of the dark and desolate area. Try making it a more pleasant living space by making necessary changes. Invite others to visit, and to talk about the kinds of things they’d like to see in your internal worlds.
- Specifically make an effort to speak to the others that you see inside. If you don’t see anyone, leave written messages in visible places. Come back and check to see if you’ve gotten any response from anyone.
- Leave packets of food, drinks, soap, clothing, and other basics that would come in handy for others that are in need. Watch to see if anyone inside is willing to claim these items.
- Listen closely. Do you hear others? Where is the sound coming from? Walk in that general direction. As you get closer, call out and introduce yourself as a friend that is approaching.
- As much as possible, be sure to also nurture yourself in your outside world the same as you are doing in your internal world. For example, if you see that your inner children are starving, give them something to eat. And if you are hungry and starving on the outside, nurture yourself by getting something healthy to eat as well.
- Speak to the ones you see. Approach them gently. Find a way to reach them without scaring them more. Pay close attention, and match what each person needs – it will vary from person to person. Treat them as kindly as you would treat an outside person that looked scared or hurting. Comfort them, and do what needs to be done to help them feel safe.
- Ask the insiders what they need or want to feel safe and protected. You might see things on your own, but get their opinion as well. They will know more about who / what they are afraid of, and listening to what they need will help you to be more precise and accurate in terms of giving to them.
The most critical points to remember are these:
No matter what you do, do not leave the barren dark areas of your internal worlds neglected and without care or attention. Don’t turn your back on your insiders that need your time and nurturing. Give all your insiders the safety, protection, and caring that they have so desperately needed. Help each of them to heal by giving them the things they (and you) have been missing in their life.
It’s okay for you to take the time you need to figure out how to do that but please don’t be guilty of neglecting your own system.
I wish you the best in your healing journey.
Copyright © 2008-2018 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
Judah been sitting at a dark and scary place inside for about 3 weeks. He be feeling very heavy and wayed down. He be getting very grumpy also. I think it be becuase he dont know what to do about it.
We used to have a dark forest with a fire around which we sat. With the encouragement of my T, we went to explore further but it didn’t help. At some point, I realized that it was just my inner world, not that of my parts. They had different ones all over the place. We decided that if we wanted to get closer, we literally should get closer in the inner world and find a way to connect our places. And it worked!! Not only did our communication became better but night finally changed into day and parts who never came out before started coming! Because they felt safe.
We still have things we’d like to change one day but that moment brought this huge realization of how much power the inner world has. (and we have power over it as well) I used to listen to all the things my T was saying and was like, “oh yeah, picture this and picture that, sure. I can’t picture a simple apple, I can’t change anything there and even if I could, it wouldn’t help”. Well, I was wrong. I can change it. And it can help. Of course, things don’t work out at once but “not at once” doesn’t mean “never”.
I do not have access to my internal world, so I have not been able to create changes because I don’t know what is in there or what anything looks like.
I am hoping over time I will gain access.
Ellie – 13/09/2020
darkness is bad monsters are there i dont like the dark but Duffy bear is here to make me safe he is warm and soft and cuddly i got very scared and shaky head hurt bad and heard bad things it was like the dark was inside me it wodnt stop!!! feel very small and scared now i hate this Duffy make it stop!!! feel cold even under the blanket keep see bad things wont go away!!! very sleepy but head hurts bad bad bad alishis says it will go awy but so so scared
i b afra uv drc
The dark I see when I look inside is scary on purpose. It is my own fear of the truth, frightening me to keep me away from the truth. A person, a monster, I don’t know. It’s an excuse to remain in denial. I think it is doing a job, protecting.
dark mens left bahind
dark mens pepl fogot you
dark mens hoplis
dark mens you di
dark mens trapt
dark mens tarifide
dark mens allone
dark mens bad
When it is dark everywhere and dark mens make it scary, come here. We cannot make everything bright and okay again but we can be a safe place of light of understanding and friendship. You are not alone in the darkness leiisha. We are all here to see and hear you and to offer whatever support and assistance that we can.
Sending warm positive light your way.
Reposting this is apt for me right now. We were just explaining this to our partner. The dark side part of our inner workd is getting active and their are screams we can’t find the source of. Reading this article has given us some ideas on how to combat that once again.
Thank you Kathy.
We got fucking tornadoes going on here and there fucking wrecking everything and i hope they tear the entire damn world inside apart cuz those kids deserve it cuz there a bunch of pieces of shit! I hope everything gets fucking torn to pieces and destroyed!! Those worthless ideots dont got a fucking clue what dark and scary is yet. But they will.
kathy this is claire i want to understand so i can help jadie
can you rite this someplase in kids words
theres to meny big words here
can you rite the same thing but so i can understand
like for 8 year olds
WE ROTE COMMENT ALMOS A YEER AGO. IS STILL DARK IN HERE. WE NOT MEEN TO BE BAD TO ANYONE INSIDE. SUMHOW WE JUS CANT DO WAT U ASK. WE WANA BE ALL TOGETHR AS ONE PERSUN. WE FINK IF WE PUT 2 MUCH INSIDE OF OUR INNER HOMME WE WILL STAY SPLIT APART. FINKING OF IT AS BOMBED OUT RUINS, WE DON WANA REBILD THERE. WE WANT NEW PLAS WIF ALL WE NEEDS FOR LIVING – ONE NEW PLAS DAT WE ALL LIVES IN TOGETHR. WE WANA BE INTGRATED. WE JUS LIK IDEEA OF BEEN ONE. NO SPLITS. IS JUS HOW WE WISH WE CUD BE IT AN WE FINK IT REELY IS POSSBL.
FANK U FOR PUTTIN FINKABLE FINGS FOR US TO WONDR ABOWT
SPUNKY OF PIXIES
PS, WE NOT NOT YELLIN. WE JUS LIK DA WAY DEES LETTRS LUK TO US, OK? BYBYE, AGIN
Kathey i can be a good bilder.
It does be dark and scary on the isnide here it does ever sints SHarin left us and it made evrething fly apart like torndoes going thru. It did ruin evreything when she left. before we did have a nise plase with lots of stuff. but sints then it just is dark and scary. we dont no how to make it all go back. i can be a good bilder like my dad if i can be lerned how. i can lern new things if sombody can teach me. we dont no how yet thowe. from TUCK.
Just saw this topic… my internal world used to be my only safe place… then something happened… and it got turned upside down and its really dark and scary to me… insiders dont notice it too much….. but when I look inside I get lost and confused and scared like when I go inside I’m walking back into a bad, hurtful, and alone place.
you can do it multipixie, I know you can! It might take time, and others inside might be able to do it first, but you can do it. Our hosty was the most in-denial person ever and had absolutely no imagination, but even she can do it now.
It will work if you work at it. I promise
Steph for Gobbies
This is such a brilliant post. We are working with ideas of how to re-map our inner world and this post has freed us up a great deal.
Thanks for all your posts. There’s not one that isn’t outstanding and much needed by the D.I.D. community.
Missing in Sight
I just thought our internal world was dark because the abusers told me in horrific detail how slowly they would kill us, if we ever told on them. I was very chatty as a small child. I thought we must have turned the light out because you can’t tell what you can’t see.
I sure hope you are right that we can remake the inner world. I began to inhibit my imagination in my teens. I could get into imaginary places and lose hours in them and I got so deep I almost couldn’t get back to real life.
I got so scared somehow I stopped leaving the real world.
I am worried that I may never see my others and their world. I want to see them and know them in every way. They are mine.
That’s how it was for us.
“It could mean denial – that you really don’t want to know what is happening in your internal worlds.”
nail on the head!
“Some survivors have had abusers that controlled what to make and create on the inside.”
That is easily the most horrifying thing I’ve heard this year.