Do you believe everything you read?
Do you believe everything you hear?
I realize “inquiring minds want to know” and gossip can seem initially enticing, but seriously, how much credence do you give to what other people have to say about anything?
How do you decide the difference between a credible source and a shoddy source?
How can you tell when you are being manipulated or tricked?
What critical thinking processes do you use to figure out who to believe and who to ignore?
One of the signs of personal strength, personal stability, and a solid awareness of yourself and your internal system is if you can hold your own ground and use your own judgment and not be blown around by any ol’ gusty windstorm that shows up.
Independent thinking is a necessary skill for personal growth and emotional maturity. It is critical for safety, and in terms of therapy, it is critical for your healing process as well.
It is important not to assume that everyone is telling you the truth. It is also important not to assume that everyone is telling you a lie. You will get the truth from some of the people some of the time. You will never get all of the truth from all of the people all of the time. Can you tell when someone is lying to you? What about when they are misrepresenting the truth? Sometimes people will present partial information, purposely omitting certain bits, emphasizing other bits, hoping to lead you into a specific erroneous perspective. Do you look for information over and beyond what someone is presenting to you?
What I’m discussing here is how hard it is to think for yourself. It’s not as easy as you might think. Can you really and truly think for yourself?
Can you think for yourself when you are under pressure from someone else to take on their beliefs and opinions?
For someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder, it gets even more complicated. Have you ever experienced the conflict when another part of your system appears to believe something very different from you? How do you sort that out? How do you decide what to believe overall?
This can be a particularly difficult issue for dissociative people because of the way it plays into historical issues. For most DID folks, there was at least one perpetrator in their life that forcefully made them accept / internalize / absorb perspectives and opinions and beliefs very different from their own. Being forced to internalize and remember beliefs that conflict and differ from what one truly believes creates a pressing need for splitting off new dissociative alters separate from the core person. The core person can keep their own safe personal distance from the nasty opinions of the predator while having a separate place within themselves to contain and retain those forced opinions. The dissociation helps to lessen the constant state of conflict.
The dissociative, amnesiac walls provide the necessary cushion and buffer for those opposing beliefs and for the parts that hold them. However, those dissociative walls do not prevent those insiders from acting in various ways, in support of those non-preferred opinions. In fact, having the dissociative separation makes it easier for those parts to act independently of your preferences.
Some dissociative survivors have been purposefully taught to not believe their own reality. I’ve heard more than one survivor talk about situations where they were specifically taught that up was down, and down was sideways, and red was green, and blue was pink. There are several complex reasons why the survivors are taught to believe confused information, but my point in this blog is more to say that this kind of purposeful self doubt and external domination of thought has happened to a number of survivors.
Another area of concern is making sure that your child parts are not being convinced of information that your adults parts would know and recognize to not be true. Predators will specifically take this approach with child parts, convincing them that it is important to never tell the older ones inside, and then convincing the child parts to believe horrendously inaccurate information. Please read an excellent article about protecting child parts.
If you’ve been forced in the past to take on views of others, how easy is it for you now to think for yourself?
How easily can you stand on your own?
Copyright © 2008-2017 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
What works for me is not believing anything i read or anything people say. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. Theres no one out there that tells the truth. People are jerks.
There was one main thing that helped me to gain the ability to think for myself, and that was knowing and keeping the knowledge that I have a right to feel anger at certain people, attitudes, and events NO MATTER WHO tries to prohibit me.
As to inside matters, it helps to be able to rise above the chatter with reasoning and compassion to understand who holds certain ideas and why. Sometimes, when reason fails, as it sometimes temporarily does, I just accept that these things all exist together. I can accept that because I don’t give so much as the time of day to any outsider who wants to turn me into a pathology. I am not a disorder. I just AM. And I don’t care who likes it. In this I love myself. My whole self.
Hi Kathy, great post. Perhaps it might also be interesting to consider, not just what to believe, but what in fact is real?
Kathy Broady says
Adding in “what, in fact, is real” is a very good point. Oh boy, I can think of layers of complications with that topic!
For those with dissociative disorders, elements of time distortion, and visual flashbacks, and overall confusion can add to the difficulties of figuring out what is and isn’t real. Sometimes sorting out all that stuff takes a lot of work!