The healing process for dissociative trauma survivors is very long, involved and complex, and of course, the therapy process for the treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder is full of many potential blocks, complications, detours, messes, digressions, etc.
The article, 50 Treatment Issues for Dissociative Identity Disorder, lists out many of the steps involved in trauma therapy. How can dissociative trauma survivors not have some form of complication in their therapy process when there is that much to do?
While that list is comprehensive, it still only covers the surface steps. What tasks do you need to tackle next?
It takes years of time to work through all the issues and complications created from severe trauma and dissociative splitting, and while that length of time may feel discouraging in the beginning, let me assure you that progress truly is possible. You really can heal from your hurt and traumas and lead productive happy, healthy lives.
Therapy is somewhat like the progression through years of school. Therapy work builds upon itself through time to involve a lot of additional steps – the basics needing to be accomplished and mastered first.
If the basics are neglected or not learned well, then therapy will get stuck — and if someone goes to school and gets stuck in the fifth grade for three years, they are going to feel very frustrated, especially if the goal is to graduate from high school.
So what keeps a person stuck and unable to progress further in their healing? What blocks their therapy from moving forward?
Sometimes people get comfortable addressing only the surface layers of their trauma.
Sometimes they get too afraid to address the deeper layers of their system. Therapeutic resistance can be normal for various periods of time.
But will avoiding those areas of your healing bring you the peace of mind that you want?
What if you have been in therapy for years already and are still struggling desperately?
Blocks and stalemates in the therapy process usually lead to increased depression, ongoing anxiety, more self-injury, not to mention the added frustration and wasted time and resources.
While it is important to tackle the healing process at your own pace, it is also good to make significant treatment gains at every step of the way.
What is missing in your therapy process?
What is interfering with your therapy process?
Where are you resistant to change?
Common reasons that people get stuck in their healing process:
A fear of seeing the abuse – wanting to keep those dissociative walls in place
A lack of resources, and financial constraints to being able to get sufficient help
A refusal to accept that loving family members were also abusive monsters
An adamant refusal to look at who the abusers were
Anger – wanting a “safe target” to fight with instead of a therapist for assistance and guidance
Being too busy testing everyone over and over instead of getting to the actual therapy work
Clinging to denial, clinging to denial, clinging to denial
Comfort Clingers – wanting to stay hurting, even on purpose, to get comforting responses from other people
Creating distractions from therapy work
Current-day abusers actively sabotaging the progress you are making in therapy
Current-day control by external abusers reinforcing the fear of telling
External life issues become too overwhelming, ie: kids, school, work, finances, etc.
Fatigue, frustration, and just being tired of trauma issues being the center of your life
Fear of learning more, of future consequences, of any number of things.
Fear of other loved ones being hurt or abused if certain secrets are exposed
Finger-pointing blame at others instead of being self-responsible for movement and changes
Genuinely incompetent therapy or working with an uninformed therapist
Interference of addictions – any form of drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sex addition, etc
Internal programming is running interference and not being removed or addressed
Laziness – thinking that healing happens magically without having to put in the hard work required
Not really and truly wanting to do the therapy work – simply going through the motions instead
Outgrowing the therapeutic knowledge and assistance that your current therapist can offer
Putting more effort into helping / rescuing others than addressing personal issues
Refusal to speak with the others in your system
Refusing to acknowledge, admit, or address your own negative behavior
Sabotage – of self, of relationships, of therapy
Self-injury, self-destructive behaviors, suicidal behavior
The front host refusing to speak with the inside system
The Ostrich Syndrome — denial or blindness to seeing the reality of the problem
Threats of ongoing abuse if certain secrets are exposed
What is blocking your therapy and healing?
I wish you freedom, movement, and progress in your healing journey.
Copyright © 2008-2018 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
Will someone please please share… something they did which they later realized was not “appropriate”… a better way to put it… done while not in your right frame of mind… (*sigh .. not putting this in right words)…
Something that later you knew was not your “norm”… iow, not “you”…
This has been a day filled.
I won’t even explain the first, too complicated.
Later in the afternoon, a Medical doctor appointment. I’m feeling great! Wow… last month, I was sobbing for about 40 minutes in his office. This time, hey, I’m feeling so good. So when I first go in, I say to the ones inside: let’s not talk about mpd to the doctor.
A few months back, upon the advice of my therapist, I told my medical doctor about having mpd. I have the most kind, compassionate, patient, and loving medical doctor ever set foot on this earth!
So I get through most of the appointment okay… (my husband was there with me in the room, and I do NOT like talking about mpd in front or with him… he looks so bewildered!…
Then the doctor got up close and asked me why I did not want to take blood sugar pills, when I will take blood pressure pills.
I was at a loss for an answer. So I said: “Because I have mpd.”
Well actually I said a whole lot more. I told him that I tell my therapist that I hate him… I told him that last night I asked my therapist if a child was “driving the bus?” And my therapist said: “Nobody is driving the bus!” And I laughed.
Not a clue that I should SHUT my mouth.
Well, he listened and listened… The doctor knows (of course) that I have emotional problems, but I do NOT talk about personalities etc. Oh my goodness.
Then after the appointment, the doctor left the room, and I was waiting for the nurse with my next appointment etc…
The screen on the computer monitor had these pretty bubbles floating around… so “I” decided to go up to the computer and see if it would open… I touched the mouse… and waa*laa it opened up to my chart.
I got my phone and my husband asked what are you going to do… I said I’m going to get in trouble, but I proceeded to take a picture of the screen!!!
Now I’m happy. I got my picture.
Then I got scared. Maybe they have cameras… maybe he’ll stop being my doctor because I am a bad person.
But I stuffed it off… and then the nurse came in to take me for blood work…
I got home. Then it all hit me.
What in the world was “I” thinking???? Now I’m really scared!!!!
I hate this… I hate that I turn into a child… I hate that I am not “driving the bus.”
THE GOOD NEWS… I saw my medical diagnoses on the screen and it does not contain anything about mpd… Hooray!
I know “I” make a big deal / drama out of things…. but now I feel I don’t even want to go back to my kind compassionate doctor of almost 20 years…. I feel very ashamed.
How do I process this? How to I make it up to the ones inside for not being able to “control” what comes out of “my” mouth???
Oh, my RP+….I couldn’t help it – HAD to laugh because it was all SO, SO familiar! Have been in that boat TOO many times with Boss…..One time I am very “mature” and sound official with him…another time I am shaking like a leaf and can barely get words out….I use the wrong words which makes him irritated and he walks away from me…..We have shared SOME stuff with him so he can understand why we are the way we are – so we don’t get panicked by his body language…but he can only handle so much….
The other day we suddenly got terrified that we had “trapped” him with “confidentiality” and he had no where to turn for help….We watched ourselves go to HIS boss and told him we had CPTSD and was afraid we had trapped Boss and so now that HE knows Boss won’t be “trapped”…We shook like a leaf (couldn’t figure out why) and had great difficulty getting words out (went around 49 mulberry bushes)…but we did it!…
One Insider sighed in great relief while all the rest of us went into panic about what we just did….Then we panicked from another angle about having gone behind Boss’ back and went and told Boss what we had done – we could see the “There she goes again” look on his face….Part of me was saying, “Shut up! Shut up!” – but we couldn’t….we were off in that part…..
Am I confused and ashamed to see Boss and HIS boss after that? Oh yeah…big time….WE know what was happening – but they don’t and if we go and try to fix what we did we feel like we would be sticking a stick into a hornet’s nest….we have tried doing that with Boss before and he just shuts down and walks away – which goes into other triggers because then it feels like “abandonment”……and we end up in a bigger mess…..
There are parts who think we did “right” and others who say NO!….can’t please EVERYBODY – so we go “numb” and go on our way….”Objective” saying “It IS what it IS!”….So – we figure – if Boss or HIS boss has questions – THEY can come ask US!….We don’t want to go marching back into their office again….(“somebody” wants to but I am REFUSING!)
I am still working on figuring this stuff out myself, RP+….there is no “one answer covers every situation” here….it seems to be “moment by moment” and “part by part”…..I often find myself trying to figure out how to fix something “weird” I had just done…NOT a fun way to live….sometimes all I can do is laugh at myself…it is all so “crazy”…..
Hope your panic has settled down….Our “life” is an opportunity for Outsiders to “learn” if they want to….they just have to decide they WANT to…..some parts are MORE than willing to “help” them!…. 🙂
I’m more and more realizing how entering into trauma therapy 3 years ago have just made me worse. I’ve been saying how I’ve been declining and getting more depressed. I do not feel any healing in going over and over trauma and so called”processing “…it’s more triggering than helpful. I have lost “me”—I am way more discouraged, suicidal and depressed than ever before. I’ve never totally given up before. I feel like a hopeless psych case with no will left for life. I can’t find anything useful in these last 3 years of treatment. Which includeds a 9 week stay in a DID hospital in 2019 and a month stay in 2020. Both validating I have DID (diagnosed 30 years ago) and trying to help me communicate with parts. Still not happening as everyone is secretive.
I’m wondering if Therapy has made anyone else worse, how does one end Therapy? Anyone know? I think I need less focus on past and more help on how to attempt to get back into life now. I d like to try to work again. How does a person start a new life? I’m old (71) but except for depression (and psych) I’m active and healthy. linda
Thank you for all your posts / comments. And I thank all who post!!! I’m just learning how to search and find the “words” the “experiences” that help me relate.
My therapist of many years, told me tonight that there is “nobody” driving the bus! I think I knew that. I told him: well that’s good. Now all I have to do is to find someone to drive the bus!”
Silly me. I knew it was not the right thing to be thinking… or was it? *sigh*
“I” had so much responsibility from my little years… being responsibly for my little sisters… living with an alcoholic, tavern-going grandmother… being left alone… Alone, but responsible for my little sisters. always scared to death! Scared to death I would do it wrong!!!
Okay… I’m just venting now! Sorry.
I have vented to my therapist for over 20+ Years… I was diagnosed with mpd back in 1992. Vent, vent, vent…
But do I take time to listen to what is happening in my inside world. NO!
I resist like it is a life sentence…. which I guess it is… if you think about it. But WHO want to do that??
No one… NO ONE… want to listen to a “whiner!”
Maybe next time I will do better.
PS… I had a wonderful phone consult with Kathy. My first words… I’m afraid to get to know you, because you seem like the “Mother” I never had!!!
Hoping this time around I will gain the courage to face this and the strength to hear those of my Inside Family who want someone to comfort them. I feel just like the mother who abandoned me and my little sisters over and over and over.
May we all find comfort.
Wow RP+ !! A lot of insight there – “I’m afraid to get to know you, because you seem like the “Mother” I never had!!!” …. a window into seeing all the conflict that is there….Never easy to plow through – but necessary….
Venting? We do it a lot….it seems to ultimately be a “springboard” into a direction we need to work on – something that we need to “see”…. a pain that is there that is desperate to be heard – but sometimes you have to plow through the layers of the “vent” to get to it….
Glad you are here and wanting to “see”….don’t be discouraged – it is a process and they take time….
Thank you MissyMing.. RP+
I am feeling really hopeful because at LONG LAST, after way too much time has gone by, i feel like all of us are in a space to stop blocking stuff that comes up in therapy. However our therapist may have a different opinion than me 😉 But, I can see and feel inside, and the environment is starting to feel different… less resistance (although I am sure there is plenty left), less blocking things out. I feel like more and more kids are open to facing things, even though they may still, out of habit, give me and our therapist a hard time. But if feels as if there is an internal shift going on. Its about time.
Caden, I am so glad to hear you are hopeful: feeling and seeing a change -progress! YAY!
How are you guys doing with the COVID19 shut down and all. Anyone else noticing an effect on your system?
I’ve noticed with this required stay in time I’m feeling some degree of calm. With all pressure off to have to do anything-being depressed anyway, it’s a relief to stay home. I’m very comfortable to stay in bed day and night, even though I know it’s not good for me. With only phone call appts with my T we’re way shut down and not doing much work -very little journaling either. Tonight I even thought “we don’t have DID, or anything else…”. We just need to pull it together and try harder to do life right”! I have a lot of criticism of staying in bed and being non functional…I want to want to do things, I have no motivation to follow through. Nothing new, just worse now.
Depression and Denial …
Inside feels really “non-functional” but have to keep doing my job and life on the Outside….Our work load has increased because of COVID because of all the extra disinfecting we have to do….I have found I am actually glad about having to wear a mask all the time at work – it helps to hide all the turmoil that is Inside….I do NOT have a poker face…..
I SO wish I had time off….but it is not feasible……In spite of all the turmoil – I STILL go through bouts of thinking I am not Dissociative in ANY way….it’s just me being “messed up” and not doing what I am supposed to be doing…so I need to get my act together…..in other words – I need to shut up and submit……but it does NOT go over well with some parts NOR with Rage…….
Depression has been hitting me more, too…..NOT fun…..there must be some shifting going on that has me feeling really lost and bouncing…..still trying to figure it out…..taking all the strength I have to keep getting through each work shift and dreading the next morning when I have to go back again…..It is really confusing when I should be grateful that I even DO have a job….How do you explain to an Outsider – I AM grateful…but I don’t want to go……
MissyMing, sounds like you totally “get” all this…How cool is that!😊
I really appreciate our connection!
🙂 linda! I LOVE hearing what all you have to say….it helps me to sort out my own “stuff”….. EVERYBODY’s posts help me – I see what “matches” stuff “I” go through and it helps me to understand what is happening to me – AND to feel less “crazy”….less “alone”……I am grateful for any and all of it……
I am sorry we – and ANYBODY else – would be in the realm of “getting” this stuff…but we are where we are and I am working on processing it and understanding as best as I can…..I am hoping that something “good” (obviously to the nth degree of the stretch of the imagination) will come out of facing all this…..I cannot bear the “feeling” that the whole of my life is the “epitome” of “worthlessness”…. I am currently treading water in the middle of a vast ocean – yet I STILL keep searching for land……
MissyMing, I’m Just checking in n . Are you still treading water? Any land in sight?l
I think I am circling a whirlpool right now….if you read Split Decisions you’ll have an idea of what I am talking about…..just a lot of stuff at work that I don’t think I am handling very well….it is rough when parts are SO watchful for anything that feels “unsafe”…..but we don’t know what to do about it…..Things get worse when we try to “tune out” their fears…..we are kinda stuck right now…..still hoping for land though!……
Just saw your other post….will respond there, too…..
So, MissyMing and Me+We, and any one else following my posts… We had our 3 way consult with my TT, Kathy and “me”… the first half hour of the hour Therapy time was spent trying to get the 3 of us connected. Kathy and TT were good on zoom, but on my end it didn’t work, we were on the cell phone with my TT so Kathy and I could barely hear or understand each other through the my Little speaker through TT Cell phone speaker and then through zoom… very frustrating…But it still was good-my TT said it was very useful and Kathy gave her information that she feels will be helpful as we move forward. The REALLY good was then Kathy called me after my TT time was up. Kathy is AMAZING, as we all know…she over made up for the 3 way frustration. She completely put me at ease about not having any inside vision and clearly could see by our description of how we journal that we have Lots of communication going on there. I gave her several descriptions about interactions we had with giving support to parts in need… her supportive words still make me cry 😢 “linda you’re doing a lot more RIGHT than you even know!” She also helped me to understand why I was worsening-
I had related it to stopping work she brought out it was because my Dad and Brother had died, so now that freed up many parts to now bring their pain and trauma out…that “flood of pain” caused me grief and my worsening despair had nothing to do with stopping to work as a nurse…that was HUGE insight as for the last 3 years I’ve struggled with the thought “I just have to get back to work!!!” So, after talking with Kathy, I understand more- I have much greater insight- I’m much more confident about how to communicate with my parts…still lots to do as everyone wants to be secretive .. I was given supportive encouragement, that I greatly needed-and my TT got useful information too as to ways to work with me…Win-Win-Win! Some of my heaviness has been lifted… Anyone out here thinking of having a consult with Kathy- My personal recommendation …Sign up Now! I waited and thought about it for months… she’s kind, easy to talk to and REALLY knows DID!
I had been resistant and not feeling Trust with my TT that I was referred to 2.5 years ago as I felt I needed to keep away from”trauma anything” and get back to work… I have a great type A Nurse in here…work you just need to work work hard…
I’m now kinda sorta thinking about trusting my team- T, TT, Psychiatrist and now Kathy all in agreement…I am at some level now ready to move forward with a bit of trust…As many of us TRUST has been so badly broken in many situations by many people…so for me to even kinda sorta think about trusting them is HUGE progress. I still don’t have HOPE, but I’m feeling a little very cautious hope… I hope I can grow to have hope…if that makes sense…Thanks to y’all!
Awesome Linda!! Thanks for sharing what you learned….I am checking out parts that can be helpful for me…..yup! struggles happen when parts are “freed up” to bubble up….yup! Work is a big blocker to dealing with Inside stuff…..yup! Gotta keep working on the “trust” thing – which can feel totally chaotic…..
Even though I battle tsunamis of despair – there is still a thread of hope I hang onto…it came from my T hanging in there with me again and again…and me daring to trust what she tells me….yup! Hope has to “grow”…..give it space to – and it will……
So GLAD you got so many insights and breakthroughs!…..Kathy DOES sound awesome!….
So happy to hear that the consultation with Kathy went so incredibly well (technical difficulties aside). Sometimes an outside eye can do wonders to help us see … and Kathy has a trained, eagle eye when it comes to DID that is for sure! Thank you for letting us know how it went. 🙂
“I still don’t have HOPE, but I’m feeling a little very cautious hope… I hope I can grow to have hope…if that makes sense…”
Oh that makes perfect sense. Healing and hope hold hands on this journey and get stronger and stronger with every step that you take. 🙂
Thanks Me+We, I’m glad something we said makes some sense🤣
Yes, Caroline-I understand the “jillion years” of therapy and I understand not knowing how to go deeper. Sometimes I’m feeling like what happens just happens and I don’t know what that’s gonna be…I think and plan but then we’re off doing something else.
There’s a a lot of frustration and confusion involved in living with DID. I think it’s progress to feel you’re in a place to go deeper. Do you have insiders, if yes do you know them, if yes, how do you communicate? Unfortunately I do not have any inside vision of anyone ot anything- it’s all black…Kathy referred to it as we’re blind. We have a lot of inside “feeling “ communication and we do constant writing and artwork…we have Lots of different parts that journal.
Maybe you just need a little time to “be ready”… I hope you’ll start to move forward, going deeper soon!
It feels like after a jillion years of therapy, we are in a place where we can go deeper. We just dont know how, I guess.
Again, Thanks so much MissyMing and Me+We, I So appreciate your understanding and Kind Support! I am pleased to say we are planning a consult with Kathy and my therapist for next week. I do believe it will be helpful and I’m thrilled my therapist is wanting to be involved. I was in a DID hospital the whole month of December 2019, and 9 weeks December 2018-February 2019 with not much help. We’ve been through a lot, done everything we’ve been told to do…something is missing. I know I work hard and really try…I feel really stuck, I have not had DID focused therapy over most of these years—I believe Kathy will be a great addition to sort out what direction for us to go so I don’t lean to no hope—give up! I’ll let you know!
With much appreciation to you both, and all other good thoughts and vibes from the good folks here at …
Discussing Dissociation 💗
Thank you, Jen, MissyMing, and Me+We-I appreciate your support and suggestions from your experiences. I have been in therapy for 49 years and diagnosed with DID for 30 years…supposedly healing. I’ve been talking and journaling for all this time… I would think we’ve said enough! my parts are very secretive, do not want to be identified. Lots of expression in journaling and switching but not wanting to identify. I don’t feel anything I’m doing is helping in fact I’m getting more depressed and suicidal, which is why I feel maybe for me it would be more helpful to have a different focus. I don’t know and I’ve been thinking for a couple of months to schedule a phone call with Kathy. I know ALL the right things to do to deal with depression
I’m just not able to do them now. I’ve read Kathy’s articles, some several times! She’s AMAZING!
I think I’m just old cranky and tired of everything…AKA Bad Attitude!
Linda, Ww hope you get to contact Kathy! Maybe it is a “stuck” spot like Me+We talked about….as much as we try to keep going forward – there are times that we have to just stay steady – or even back up a bit to get our bearings…..when stuff starts bubbling – the vague turmoil can be intense….
I don’t think I “feel” depression too much (unless I’m just not recognizing it)….but the SI direction can be hard….I know it is triggered by overwhelm and thinking there is no way out…sometimes a feeling of “supposed to” – which makes no sense to me…….When it goes in THAT direction – yeah – we DO have to hold steady – or step back – and wait for it all to settle down….
We hope things work out for you…and Kathy can help you….We are here to “hear” you, too if you need to feel less “alone”……Keep in touch!
Hi Linda. When I wrote my response I had no idea how long you have been working on your stuff or had the diagnosis. Wow … that sure does put a different light on what you wrote above. But, I cannot help but think that the key is in what you said —
“Over these last 2+ years the TT says I’ve made some great progress dealing with DID, Trauma & abuse…but all I know is I’ve gotten continually worse, non functioning, depressed and suicidal.”
That speaks to me that you are doing really good work and that work is taking you where you need to go. The down side is, there may be insiders who are resisting you doing this work, hence the feeling of getting worse. Or, maybe the really deep stuff is coming out and that is bound to bring on feelings of sliding into something worse. Or maybe something entirely different! I do not know.
Now, you mentioned that you were thinking of booking a telephone consultation with Kathy. I would like to encourage you to do this. I really value the work that I do with my T and I think that she is amazing. Yet, when I hit a wall last year, I booked a telephone session with Kathy (despite the fact that I have a telephone phobia … hahaha).
All I can say is that my telephone session with Kathy was key to my getting out of my blocked space and to put perspective on the internal crisis that I was feeling at the time. Kathy is very warm, personable, comforting and funny … just like you would expect from her articles and videos here at DD. But, she is also extremely sharp-witted, knowledgeable and experienced in DID. Again, not surprising given her posts here at DD but I can tell you that that knowledge and experience comes through with laser precision in the questions that she asks and the ideas that she offers during the consultation. All I can say is — don’t wait until you feel that you have no options left … do it now!
I had huge insights today: 2 1/2 yrs ago my therapist saw some things in me (I don’t know what) he sent me to a trauma therapist ( 2 years I had refused to go because my “Gut” told me no way- trouble…) finally I started seeing her too. Over these last 2+ years the TT says I’ve made some great progress dealing with DID, Trauma & abuse…but all I know is I’ve gotten continually worse, non functioning, depressed and suicidal. I’ve been in DID hospital twice. I’ve given up my will to live. Now I’m thinking I need to put away DID, trauma and abuse issues and somehow make a different life for me. What we’re doing is NOT working. I’m not someone that can do “trauma and life”…I wrote an email to both T, TT and psychiatrist telling them I believe I need to put all this away and get a part-time Job (I’m a nurse) and try to create a life for me. We are looking at TMS, and psychedelic drugs because of TRD. I feel if I got away from sloshing around in abuse and trauma I wouldn’t have TRD. Anyone else find treatments made them worse? It’s not working for me!
In my experience with myself and watching others I have always noticed that things get worse before they get better. We start out buried beneath a thick wall. It is a dismal experience, isolating and lonely. We suffer in pain by ourselves and it eats us up. We then recognize that were DID, begin to get help and it feels like the whole world caves in. In the beginning I had parts everywhere trying to take time. It took a while but I finally found order. By sitting down with everyone inside and explaining the benefit of respect and taking turns I created an internal world that worked really well and still does. There were times that I need to be my professional self and other parts respect that and there are times that they need to come out and be children and I respect that. I believe the cows you’re experiencing is a natural stage of your healing. It took a while but I finally found order. By sitting down with everyone inside and explaining the benefit of respect and taking turns I created an internal world that worked really well and still does. There were times that I need to be my professional self and other parts respect that and there are times that they need to come out and be children and I respect that. I believe the chaos you’re experiencing is a natural stage of your healing. But I also have the small suspicion that the DID therapist that you are working with might not be the right therapist for you. Rather than throwing away therapy all together have you considered looking for a new trauma therapist?
Hello, Linda….I know I have been through times that I have determined to NEVER go back to my T again….touching on things that stir things up – AND having NO answers that make ANY sense to ANY of it – can wreak havoc on feeling like I can “sanely” function in my job…..a job that is nowhere as intense and “important” as yours – but still necessary for me to help keep a roof over my head and food on the table……
You refer to “my Gut told me”…..I know that term WELL….my T has heard it OFTEN…..my whole Inside World feels like it is deep in my “gut” and feels MORE REAL to me than anything in the Outside World….although I still don’t know how to put “sane sounding” words to those feelings…..
I have often tried to “block off my gut”….”shut it down”….”ignore it”…..I can manage to do that for a little while….but, for me, the “Internal Pressure” gradually starts building and I am right back there again……To be completely truthful – when I determine to ignore them – I start feeling really “empty and lost”….floundering in a different way……Once you have “seen” them….it seems to be nearly impossible to “un-see” them…..You can feel them “tapping at the door” until you finally can’t stand it anymore and you “go there” again……
My T tells me that I have made great progress since we started meeting parts…..Me? I look at her like I don’t know what she is talking about…..She only knows what comes out of my mouth….I see and feel what is going on Inside…..I have come to realize that HER version of “progress” is different from mine…..MINE is from the angle of “fitting in” with the Outside World – “being and acting” like the Outsiders I see…..HERS is from the angle of getting to the “root” of my Inside World – a “world” that is still largely “hidden” from me…..
The MORE I start heading for the “root” – the less I feel like I “measure up” to Outsiders – and that “difference” can be REALLY scary – and I want to RUN….
THAT is why this journey is SO incremental….It HAS to be….
When I started with my T it was with BOTH hubby and me for marriage counseling….I thought HE was a mess who was messing ME up!….It really ticked me off when after ONE session (maybe 2?) she zeroed in on ME and from then on it was ONLY me….She saw evidence of the “hidden trauma” that I “felt” but couldn’t see……I thought I would be all “fixed” within a month….it has been 10+ years….THAT is HOW incremental this journey is….SO many dissociative walls, SO many levels and layers, SO many conflicting parts, angles, and perspectives…..and we have to PLOW through it all….but gradually my life’s “puzzle” – that has NO picture on the lid – is being put together…..
Do I often want to RUN? YES!!! – (I don’t know what else to do..) Want to die? YES!!! – (I have an SI part who triggers easily….) Want to block it all off? YES!!! – (Are these “flashes” REALLY part of me or am I just making it up???)…Do I feel like I am going insane? YES!!! – (HOW “different” can I bear feeling?)…..
As much as I HATE this journey – much less it even being PART of me – I know that I NEED this journey….the parts NEED to be heard….I NEED to make some kind of sense of the “missing” pieces of my life….I NEED to know WHO I am…..I liken it to certain adopted people who ache with this need to know WHO they really are….It may not make sense to anybody else – but they know that they NEED it – no matter what the story is….I have finally accepted that I am like one of those adopted people….I will flounder my way through the journey until I get there…processing every step of the way…..
I can say all I want that I “was FINE until I stepped into this!”…but I can now look back over my life and see that it really wasn’t true – I just didn’t see what was happening….Calling the times that I “bottomed out”…..the times I felt so “disconnected” and “watched myself”…..the agonizing feelings of “not being able to fit in”…ANYWHERE – as “just being weird” doesn’t cut it anymore…..I can’t blame ANY of THAT on my T….she just saw and helped me put my foot into the first step of the journey…..Luckily I have a T who “gets” me and has proved again and again that she is “there” for me…so I keep hanging in there….One day, I will know who all of “me” is…the “System” that has gotten me through life…..
You will be on my heart and mind, Linda….spiraling and running seems to be part of the process as you learn and get your “sea-legs” under you – and I don’t know ANYBODY who likes “spiraling”……Hang in there!……
(sorry this is SOOOO long…don’t know why I keep doing that – but can’t undo it..needed to say it…..)
Hi Linda. I just so resonate to and appreciate what Jen and MissyMing have said here …
As much as I HATE this journey – much less it even being PART of me – I know that I NEED this journey….the parts NEED to be heard….I NEED to make some kind of sense of the “missing” pieces of my life….I NEED to know WHO I am…
… bang on.
We may run but we cannot hide from our truth. It keeps peeking out from behind our dissociative walls and making it difficult to live in peace. That is because peace comes from seeing, understanding, accepting and healing. Ya … it can get really worse before it gets better. But hang on to the experiences of others who may be a bit further down the path that when you choose to heal, there is always hope!
The articles below are ones that I found most helpful when I was where you are at Linda. Maybe you have already checked them out but I thought that I would post them here just in case you have not seen them yet.
What Happens When you Don’t Talk to Your Insiders?
10 Steps for Doing Healing Work with Your DID System
Examples of Successful Progress in the DID Healing Process
That was really helpful. I feel like I have plateaued in therapy. My therapist isn’t a DID trained therapist. I’m not sure if that’s necessary though. She is safe, kind and has allowed healthy attachment. I have integrated and healed parts. But I cannot go to the deep stuff. It feels more than I can handle. My life has a lot of responsibility and I can’t afford to lose it going deep. But at the same time I want to be free. I have done some work around it but not all. So it’s less but still haunting me. Right now the biggest hurdle is teens being able to tolerate feeling. They instantly get overwhelmed and self destruct. Still working on it. Not sure how to address this. It’s gotten better but not cured of that destructive response.
Hello Jennifer….I know, as well, the struggle of wanting to “be free” but still afraid of “losing it” and not being able to take care of all that you are responsible for….so it ends up being a lot of the “sticking your toe in the water and then quickly pulling it back out” mode…..Yes – it’s because of responsibilities….but I think, for me, there is also still fear of “seeing” what is there…..
I have a part who carries SI….she is triggered by “overwhelm” – even things that the “brain” would say is just simple stuff….but to her – it is still “overwhelming”…….conflicting perspectives…Catch-22s….too many options and not knowing which is the “correct” one – the “safe” one….can all be overwhelming for her and she will completely collapse with a river of scenarios “in my face”……I would say she has trouble tolerating feeling……
I used to be “swallowed up” by the feelings of her “overwhelm’….when I finally saw that the feelings were carried by “her” (a part)….it helped me to be able to separate from it….I could “see” what she was going through without being carried along by the river of it……I figure that the best way for me to be able to “support” her and help her would be to catch glimpses of WHY she was feeling all that….WHERE was it coming from….what was HER story about it….yes – an incremental process…but at least it is increments FORWARD…….
It seems that as long as she can see I am trying to be there for her…to “hear” her….then she won’t feel so abandoned, alone, and scared and head for that direction of “escape” that she thinks is the only way out of it all……
An agonizing process….sometimes I wish I could just “see” it ALL and go on and get it over with….but I know that it would be more than even my “now” brain could process…..A short while ago I felt an intense stirring to connect with a therapy dog….(We all LOVE critters!)….I kept seeing a very young little girl part with her arms wrapped around a dog’s neck and her face buried deep in the back of his neck…..I made arrangements to have time with that therapy dog – thinking it was simply because she really liked dogs and wanted to hug one…I wanted to do something nice for her….But on the way there…as I watched another “flash” of her….the focus shifted to a glimpse of emotion that she carried….there was a REASON she was hanging onto that dog….her emotion was gut-wrenching-ly INTENSE – even though I only caught a split second of it and still don’t know the “why”……
In an instant I knew my “brain” didn’t know what to do with it…it had no “pieces” to fit with it…didn’t know how to “process” it…..My brain went into a massive headache and shut down as she “disappeared”…..I was completely “disconnected” as I arrived and looked at that dog….I couldn’t find “her” anywhere – even though the headache finally lifted…..
I don’t know if what I have said is anywhere near similar to what you are dealing with with those teens….but maybe if you keep even just “standing there” near them….showing them that you are there for them….in their own time as they are able to show you bits of the “why’s” of their intense emotions……Not only is it THEIR being able to share their story – it is also OUR being able to “hear” them…..it is an incremental “hand in hand” of both sides……
I have gotten pretty disconnected enough to be able to “watch” parts….now my struggle is with “connecting” with what they are “feeling”…..sometimes I am “waiting” for THEM…. sometimes they are “waiting” for ME…….Hopefully something I said helped even a little……
Hi. I wrote a long reply and after all this time realized it wasn’t sent to the right place. I tried to cut and paste it here but the cut paste has been disabled. So I just want to tell you thank you. You helped a lot and I so appreciate you taking the time to write. I actually needed your words al over again so I’m glad I got back here. Thank you for your kindness and taking the time to share you experience and strengths with me. (((Hug))) Jen
Hi Jennifer. Wow … you are between a rock and a hard place here. I hear the conflict in knowing that there is more work to be done to set your heart, mind and soul free and then knowing that, if you go deeper, it could be a really tough ride.
What if maybe this is not the time to go deeper — just to take time to consolidate the work that you have already done?
What if you go deep and let the secrets of the mind out and find that you actually can cope and heal?
Once, when I was feeling afraid and overwhelmed by what my insiders were telling me, my T told me that my subconscious would not give me more than I could handle — little bits at a time. Even though there were times when I felt that I was standing on the edge of the abyss-of-no-return, sanity-wise, I never fell in. I was always able to eventually find my balance and sure footing. That is not to say that I did not have moments of despair and overwhelm but I was able to deal with them eventually.
By-the-way, my T is not a DID specialist either. I did not know that I was DID (nor did she) until six months into my therapy. But, she is a very intelligent and experienced psychologist who is not afraid to seek outside help in understanding how best to work with me. And, she really cares, understands and provides me with a safe place to work out my stuff. I could not ask for anything more.
Now, having discovered the DD blog, you have also discovered a resource where you do have an opportunity to seek guidance from two DID specialists — Kathy and Laura. If you click on the “Consultations” link at the top of the webpage you can get more information about what is available. I will tell you that I had a telephone consultation with Kathy last year when I was “stuck” and the experience was invaluable to me. Wow … she knows her stuff and she roots out the core of the issue with compassion and humour.
is it bad to keep some dissociative walls in place?
what if you still need some for protection?
Wow. This is quite a list. I think I try to avoid the trauma stuff by acting out towards my therapist, trying to focus on others, trying to make therapy not about me and talking about other people, trying to even talk to my therapist like an old friend and listen to her problems. I also tend to take out my abandonment issues on her if she cancels, get very mean and manipulative at times, then apologize, etc. It is like we do EVERYTHING possible to get out of the trauma. Current stuff – marriage issues, health issues have also derailed us recently, and we are very STUCK in therapy. We often forget our coping skills that certain parts know, but younger teenage parts have NO IDEA what coping skills are make things hard at times. PTSD nightmares take over whole days that turn into a dissociative states and we are FORCED to deal with the overt trauma.
A DID diagnoses is scary to say the least, and the last year and a half have been harder than any other year. Sometimes we refuse to do homework, curse out the therapist, and just be plain awful. It’s like the introject wants her to leave. We sabatoge therapy on purpose; any rational person would run away. It’s like we test to see if she will leave; then she gets tired of “emotional abuse” and says she can’t see us, so we try to act better and apologize. She recently says she can’t see us anymore; and we are so tired of the “process” we threaten to just STOP ALL THERAPY. And we says SHE is the ABUSIVE one. She just cancels when she needs to but we hate any changes in the schedule.
I am not sure what we are saying except we don’t want to change therapists!! It is a nightmare to think about. We are a little to dependent on the therapist but we have made lots of progress in the last 1 1/2 years.
How do we go forward from blocked parts or introjects taking over? The protectors just GROWL up high walls. How do we work with them so they can feel safe to move aside?
Therapy is a long process. How do we keep from getting discouraged? How does the the therapist handle long therapy work? Trauma work is exhausting to both parties I believe.
I hear your frustration about the therapy process. And dealing with insiders that aren’t super helpful all the time. Maybe, just maybe, I have an idea that you may want to consider. Or it could be rubbish but either way, I’m trying to support you. 🙂
Is it possible that you as the host, need to be more honest and vulnerable? Let her know that you’re discouraged, don’t want to leave, that there are blocked parts and introjects taking over? If you’ve already done that, then your T would hopefully have some tools for you that would help. Tell her you want to continue to grow in your relationship with her, and that you want it to be a positive relationship. It sounds like you personally are not ready to leave. That maybe you’re just discouraged. Bring that up, and ask how she feels about doing long therapy work. Not that you’re responsible for her self-care, but maybe it can encourage you that you are doing okay.
Trauma work is difficult, it is hard. But there are many rewards and beautiful connections along the way. Believe in yourself (selves) that you can do this. There is hope that it will get better; I see it in your postings.
Hang in there. Sending lots of peace and wisdom your way.
MultipleMe, thank you so much. Yes, there are so many good rewards. My therapist knows my main “issues” with her; she cancels a lot, sometimes she is not dependable. She lets herself work by her moods. I told her if I did everything by my moods I would never get anything done! Plus my moods vary all the time. She knows my concerns, and in a way, she is making me learn how to deal with normals “ups and downs”; she can’t be there for me all the time. I am not her only client. We meet for 3 hours a week so we are very very close in many ways. We do make each other upset sometimes but we do try to work through it.
I am very honest with her; and the truth is I am too hard on her in many ways. I tend to be perfectionistic and suffer with ocd type symptoms so I get a double whammy if she needs to change things up. She tends to by hyper flexible. So in many ways she is helping me; even if I get “mad” that she changes things up.
I am telling each insider that she is NOT the enemy, she is there to help me and being abusive to her won’t help things at all. I thanked her for not quitting on me, and asked that she reconsider and she has agreed.
We just learned mother died this weekend; so it is not a good time to transition after all. Def. will revisit this based on how things go.
I think that MultipleMe has offered some wise advice here. Open up and be honest with your T about what you are feeling and what is happening with you. Let her know that you are aware that you have not been an easy client to work with and that you are feeling the same about yourself. Let her know about your frustrations, blocks and insiders who are causing problems.
I would also have a frank discussion with your insiders as well. Tell them what you are thinking and feeling. Let them know that collectively you have to work together to build respect and healing with this T; that the T is not the enemy – memories of your abusers is; that they cannot heal if they are not willing to communicate in a reasonable fashion, etc. Lead with love and teach them with firm compassion.
I hear your struggles DK and want you to know that I am here to support you in any way that I can.
Interesting that you are able to tell that spinning is a “hostile switch”……. gives me a direction to look…..not sure what my situation is……will have to check it out……sometimes the spinning is in a tight circle….sometimes a larger one…..I am recently aware that there are probable perpetrator introjects…..still figuring that one out……..
I am wondering if Hayden’s “boat rocking” is similar to my “waves”…….pulses that have definite patterns and directions to them…..sometimes concentrated in one area – such as just the trunk or just the head – other times from body side to side, or feet to head or vice versa…..almost as if it were like waves on a beach…..mainly noticeable at night – but then I am very busy during my days….so I may just not notice it so much……sure wish I could understand the source of it….maybe it is just “adrenaline surges” from getting through my day…..It doesn’t happen every night – but fairly often…..I don’t know…….does adrenaline affect the body like that????
Hi, Deb. At night in bed, ours can be like a mix between electrical shock and falling.
Again, with increases in internal awareness (and we don’t have much), this sensation is on the decrease. 5/25/18
I get spinning, boat rocking, and nausea sensations in therapy, experiences where I suddenly can’t hear anything my therapist is saying, I can’t remember a lot of my therapy, I lose a lot of time after therapy and get punished and shamed when I talk about things I’m not supposed to, I sometimes get to therapy and suddenly can’t remember anything about my life, A lot of information is blocked from my knowledge until I get home, I try to bring my home self which is more vulnerable to therapy, but I don’t have the choice and am not able to do that, so I go in an overly confident state where I seem a lot more together than I am and don’t talk about what’s really going on…. Oh! after therapy I throw up, sleep, and switch for hours often eventually going into a child state and watching kids movies and cuddling with my pets and stuffed animal for hours. A lot of things happen, protectors come out when other parts feel threatened, silencing happens where I literally cannot speak or make eye contact and can only slightly turn my head and eyes down and use a head nod for yes or no with a lot of willpower. Oh I get suicidal after therapy a lot if I talk about certain things or sometimes I don’t know why, it’s just random specific directions to kill myself out of nowhere. Uhhh the things in the blog post list seem mostly like choices, but mine are not choices. Has anyone had any success working through any of these things? With stopping the nausea & the throwing up and blocking of information while in sess? That’s really the worst part. I can handle the kill yourself shit, silencing, losing time, etc but I haaaattttte feeling sick and/or spinning. It’s literally the f’ing worst. Does anyone know how to stop being sick? I don’t know if I’m just triggered or I am being punished.
Well, you have summarized my therapy sessions and after effects quite well here. Just add sudden urges to go to the bathroom and it is about right on target. Spent the whole weekend in bed three weeks ago with severe tummy craps and nausea. I knew that it was not the flu. Rushed out of the middle of session a week ago only to find myself coming back completely switched out or rather, missing the whole second half of the session having switched out in the bathroom.
The body is working out all of the memories from trauma. Body memories can be the most difficult for me to deal with. Just waves over me and then … BAM … I am caught up in them. Nausea is the worse for me too. My T has a waste paper basket beside my chair in case. I would be mortified if I ever had to use it. My T does not seem phased about the prospect.
When you get triggered it certainly is not a choice. When I asked my T why I kept switching out in therapy she said it was because we are always dealing with potentially triggering topics so it is natural that my body memories and switching are more acute.
And yes, I usually think that I am hearing what is going on in therapy to then not remember a thing about it the second I am back present. Things trickle back a bit between sessions but I never have a complete memory of what happened even when I think that I am fronting. Usually I have a “big sleep” afterward, often a headache some dizziness and nausea, problems hearing and seeing/focusing (both is session and afterward), really touchy/switchy and a whole lot of confusion about what went on. I also can sink into a deep depression, panic attacks and acting out (self-harm stuff). Often my T will tell me what went on the session before because I cannot remember (i.e., some memories come back between sessions only to disappear again). But, lost time and switching out do go hand-in-hand.
Grounding … I think that the secret is grounding in the here and now. All of the feelings that you describe are often attached with switching, flashbacks and body memories. So, the trick for me is to try and ground myself in the here and now and the symptoms go away. Not saying that it is easy or that they go away completely (especially depending on how emotionally draining a therapy session was and my general state of mind). Just saying that that is what I work towards doing.
I hope that this helps.
I’m glad someone relates and is moving through it. Yeah, I remember very little of what happens in therapy and I literally don’t remember seeing my therapist for like 6 mos even though I know I was going there. Ughhhhh soo relatable.
Sounds scary for Hayden’s parts to spin. For us, spinning is hostile switch. For us, Forgetting at T is protectors wanting status quo. They would rather guarantee worst outcome—so that they are in control and not let down by hope’s failure or by getting tricked again—than try to improve.
We try negotiating before T: who wants to participate in healing activities with T today? If someone wants to talk, how will they pass messages? Hostile takeovers, as we call them, happen less. They still happen. Often, parts ring our hearing in one ear to get our attention in life. It is scary and now we call it ringing the doorbell to make it feel more cooperative.
Just trying to ask for manners and cooperation has improved spinning and nausea for us. We sit in T’s lobby after session until we can drive. We practice adapting.
Now, doorbell can be a sign of improvement over dizziness (vertigo).
Hope you can practice. Took us a year or less to improve this area. 5/20/18
This is really helpful, someone pretended to be fine at the end of therapy one day and then I got in a gnarly car accident. Smart to sit in the lobby.
I’ll try to do this. I don’t have a lot of co-conciousness, so I will def try.
I feel at a stuck place, so I went in search of why? I am having difficulty sharing my own personal issues. I have worked for so long with my inside parts (which I am truly grateful) but now I’m struggling. The list above was helpful for me to read through, and I can identify with:
*Fatigue, frustration, and just being tired of trauma issues being the center of your life
*Putting more effort into helping / rescuing others than addressing personal issues
I made my first attempt at it, and it went all kinds of wrong. I felt I wasn’t being heard. I have a great therapist, truly gifted, but it caught me off guard. It felt extremely vulnerable to share, in light of all the abuse/trauma my parts suffered. Now I don’t want to go back. It feels like I did something wrong, and I’m afraid. My T would be shocked to know this is how I’m feeling, but for some reason, I can’t go. Not sure why all the sudden I’m anxious about going; maybe I’m exhausted from the work it takes…
Thanks for posting this information.
I am also stuck. I’ve been in for 6 years, with 5 T’s. I’m with a great PsyD now, but i don’t seem to know how to utilize the time. I have no personal memory of trauma, expecpt in the form of flashbacks, nightmares, and the alters writing or drawing in the non-dominant hand. How can I talk about something i have no recollection of – or that undermines and destablizes the system? I will take in that 50 things list of therapy options, but I am not even sure my T knows what to make of that. Maybe I underestimate her.
Kathy Broady says
Thanks for posting.
It sounds to me like you actually do have lots of ways to learn about the trauma you have been thru’ (via the flashbacks, nightmares, insiders), and maybe as you talk more to the insiders directly, you’ll feel more connected to the actual trauma. (Do you want that?? Sometimes it is ok to have a little distance from that….). I would guess, from what you are saying that your insiders are the ones that experienced the trauma directly, so for you to get more direct recall of it, you will need to get closer to your inside people. It sounds like you were dissociated away while your insiders were being hurt, so… start there. Connect with them, and then you’ll be able to get more directly connected to your abuse.
My second thought is…. working with 5 t’s in 6 yrs is very hard!!! By the time you / your insiders might build some level of trust with your t, it was time to get a new one (for whatever reason). 5 t’s in 6 yrs is a whole lot of change! It would be hard to get thru’ a lot of the depths of DID work with that many t changes.
I hope that this current t works out well for you, and I really hope that the list of 50 things will be helpful.
An intense fear of seeing the abuse has been something I have really been struggling with. I finally tackled a bit of that fear this week and for the first time in awhile, I no longer feel stuck. I actually wrote about it on my blog in the post “Exhaustion”… http://www.shatteredintoonepiece.blogspot.com
I just found your blog tonight and I have enjoyed reading along.
I can totally relate. Sorry its so hard for you.
hmm…im gonna think more on this. everyone is always telling me how luky i am to have been diagnosed at such a young age. how lucky i am to have a great trauma speacilist..etc. but i often feel inadequate and not ready for this..i want to get better..i want to heal but at the same time i feel like this process and sucking the life out of my already destroyed youth. i had no childhood..not really..and ive spent all of my teenage years and young adulthood in treatment. every second of my life is about did and truama and pain and the past. im glad and proud im getting help now..but i often feel like the therapy and heling process is taking just as much away from me as the abuse did. i dont really get to do anything fun. either im taking care of child parts or keeping teenage parts from killing us..or in class trying to graduate so that i will eventually have a future. its very overwhelming. and sometimes i just dont have anything left. i go to therapy and i dont talk and i pick fights or i test her to see if she’ll leave and i almost wish she would. no one said it would be easy but god dammit does it have to be so hard? im 23 and i feel like im 45.
I was reffering to my T’s, just venting.
Wow. I have a lot of work to do. I WANT to let go of fear, denial, and defensive walls, but it doesn’t seem like wanting to is enough for some parts of me. I need to convince everyone that this is going to be good for all of us. They don’t really believe it. I keep telling them, but they don’t fully trust me yet, I guess.
Kathy Broady says
Yes, ljane, the therapy process takes a lot of time, a lot, and a lot, and a lot of time …. And different parts of your system will reach different goals at different times, lol… so continue to be gentle and kind and patient with yourself / selves, and give yourself and your insiders the space and time to move thru’ the steps….
Do you have any guesses for what is going on between you and your system that keeps them from trusting you??
And instead of “convincing” your insiders about certain things, do you have your own understanding of why they think like they do? Do you understand their reasoning / fears / concerns ? It’s a slightly different approach – and maybe, if you can understand what they are concerned about, maybe you could address those concerns for them.
Just a thought — thanks for your comment.
Well meaning therapists acting as surrogate parents when the problem is, one already does have actual parents, not good ones, but the point being that “corrective emotional experiences” as a primary approach is just fundamentally flawed and ultimately it just does derail the therapy.
The problem in the aftermath of course is that long exposure to such well meaning intentions just does make basically any other therapist inherently impossible to adapt to.
Kathy Broady says
Thanks for your post — I have to say, I don’t quite understand what you are saying. (sorry!)
Can you explain a little further?
I understand what you are saying. Old therapist acted like mother or we saw her that way.Then when we terminated and we were upset she said I am not your mother! You have one. Lots of confusion as to what was going on. I told the new therapist you are not to touch us, you are not to tell us you love us.