This picture is an example of an internal landscape for a trauma survivor with dissociative identity disorder. Internal worlds are very real, and they sometimes feel more real than the external world for certain parts. Internal worlds are more than having an imagination. They are interactive, busy, alive places.
Some survivors with DID have trouble looking inside. Many people say they can hear things, but it looks black inside. Even if you cannot see inside, there will be others in your system who can see your internal worlds. Try communicating with them, and as you build positive rapport with these other parts of your system, they may be willing to let you see what they see.
Becoming more familiar with your internal worlds is an important part of internal communication and getting to know the other parts inside. Internal worlds are like internal homes. They provide a type of internal community for your system insiders.
Think about how much harder it would be to get to know various people in a work office setting if you couldn’t see the different areas, the different cubicles, the different desk locations. If there were a dozen people in that area but the lights were off, or in curtains were drawn, it would be much more difficult to connect with the people that were there. Seeing each other helps. Seeing where each other is also helps.
Getting to know the internal locations of your insiders is equally important. When you see where someone lives, you learn a lot about them.
Please note: It is extremely important to keep the details of your internal world private to only the most trusted people in your life. This kind of information is personal, and if you give away too much info about your internal worlds to someone who has less than noble intentions, you could be putting your system at risk.
With cautions in mind, here is a picture that represents a portion of an internal landscape.
When I look at this picture,
if I was speaking to the dissociative person,
I would ask:
Can you tell me about this place? And this place? And this place? I would ask the person to describe the different structures to help me understand the importance of each location. Since the inside worlds can be whatever you want it to be, it can be important to hear why you have those specific things.
What is this yellow triangle thing? Where did you get the idea to build this kind of place in your internal world? What does it represent? What are those circle things and why are they connected together?
Who lives here? And who lives here? And who lives here? Each separate location / building / structure can be the ‘home’ of someone in the system.
Do the neighbors all get to speak and interact with each other? Why or why not? Can the people in these areas always hear what is going on in these other areas? Why or why not?
I see the little worlds. Each of these circles looks like it could be its own little world of people. What groups of your insiders are connected to these areas? Can you tell me more about these?
Do these colors have any specific meaning to you?
Part of your internal world looks bright and cheery. Part of it looks dark and heavy. How does that match with your experience of what your internal worlds are like?
Who in your system is allowed to go through these doors? What are the rules for who can go through them vs. who cannot? What does it look like on the other side of these doors?
What is the purpose of having a lake in your internal world? How does it help you to feel better? What have lakes meant to you in your outside life?
I see the clear blue sky in a distance. Why is the blue sky so far away? What is over there at the horizon point? What is making the rainbow so much heavier and prominent than the sky? What does that mean to you?
The trees on the island appear to be separated from the other structures. Do the insiders that live on the island have to stay separate from the others? Are the people able to cross to the other section? Do these people know those people?
What are the brown leaf-type shapes on the left edge? What do they represent?
If this is a picture of your internal world, where are the people? What are they doing? Do you see other insiders when you look at these places?
How has your internal world changed over time? What has remained constant? What has changed? Do you know what was going on in your life when the changes occurred? Are there any changes that you would like to make to your internal worlds at this point in time of your life?
When your internal worlds look like this, how do you feel?
How much time do you spend looking inside at these worlds? How easy is it for you to see this? Does anything ever block your view of these areas?
How real do these internal worlds feel to you?
Has this inspired you to draw YOUR internal world? I certainly hope so!
What would your painting look like?
Copyright © 2008-2020 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation ——-
I fogot all about this post!
This be tuck. You no what i wuold do that picture so different now!
Back then when i painted it we DID all be in our own different worlds. Rosie got her own world still. We dont go there. But we no there be more pepol there from what rosie say.
back then, We did be each inside ourselfs. We did not talk to each other much. There did just be a few paths. Then a bad thing happen and it make big tornados go thru and it destory everything, 🙁
Also that rain bow and sun did be about how we had to fake to the outside world that we be ok.
Then we all had our own little brick buildings to hide in.
So after the tornados destroy it we had to make new.so i had to make a forest.
Now we got a big big forest 🌳. And a big big open feild where we get together. Because we all spend time together.
But a few weeks ago big fire tornados go thru and burn and reck everything. It did be SO scary. So i rebuild AGAIN,
So far this new place be my favorite. I hate that stuff go thru and we got to redo everything. 🙁 But i be doing gooder at rebuilding cuz i have asher and noah and judah to help me some. Also i be getting more creative.
Mabey i can paint a pictture of the new place and you can put that 1 up to kathy.
Mabey it be lots of worlds inside a big insidde world.
Mabey it be very colorfol.
Mabey there be paths to connect the worlds so pepol can go see each other.
Mabey some worlds be trying to hide.
Mabey the yellow triangol be a house for a funny girl that likes yellow things.
Mabey the rainbow really be also the inside pepol who be diffent colors.
Maney the sky and clouds be far away becuse e lutside world be so far away.
Multipixies – I have utilized (watch me spell it wrong) Lucinda Cappichione’s books about writing and drawing with the non-dominant hand. A pasotral counselor put me on to those. Some were too triggering for us, but we got the idea to try it out and learned a lot from our youngers. turns out we are quite good at writing left handed =) that is the only way all our lils communicate now.
Hi. I’m frustrated because my inner place is dark and communication is sort of like a committee of people (different ages, functions, experiences, health mentally and spiritually and physically). We are passively getting closer by listening better – especially the Host listening better. What I’d like to ask is can you recommend some literature that could help me learn how to facilitate internal communication and open up inside. I think I’m the host of our group, but things are blending more inside where I feel much more of the other’s feelings. (used to I had a definite barrier between me and my family inside) The way I refer to all of us has been changing, the way I talk, show affection and acceptance and allow the littles and tinies to have more cuddles and we finally got the crayons and paper out – in spite of an unseen barrier to the activity) Sorry, got verbose here.
My whole life I’ve been seeking information to make up for the gaps I instinctively knew were in my life. I finally want to make things better for every member of our group. When I know I do not have the right info or skill I feel stressed. I feel like my whole life has been seeking to catch up to what the other people seem to already know and it is a REAL BUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
I love the show The Dog Whisperer, now I just wish there was one for us: The Alts Whisperer!
Thanks for the info you share and the questions that get us thinking. I actually live in a city close to you. Maybe someday I will have an opportunity to meet you. =)
Kathy Broady says
It’s good to see you here 🙂
I think that a lot of internal communication is based on breaking those old no-talk rules. Talking inside and with each other can become as natural as speaking to outside people, or even easier. What are the beliefs and obstacles that prevent you from being able to do that? Sometimes its someone’s “thinking” or emotional beliefs that gets in the way of something happening.
I’m assuming you’ve read the 24 different articles in this blog that are in the “Internal Communication” category
Another blog that has great articles on internal communication is:
Can your therapist teach you how to hear and communicate internally?
It can absolutely be done. Absolutely.
I have no doubt about it. Anyone can learn how to do this.
I’ve not met any client that couldn’t learn how to talk with their insiders. I use the techniques that I write about in this blog, and so a lot of “and what do you hear from inside” or “ask inside” type comments. It works. Seriously.
But when there are emotional blocks and obstacles, those issues have to be addressed as part of the process.
One of the most common obstacles is that people don’t wanna know… or they are too scared… or… or…. or….
oh gosh… actually, just thinking.. that could be a whole post in itself.
And yes, I would be pleased to have the chance to meet you!
I hope more of these pictures are coming in, they
are very interesting.
Kathy Broady says
I’m glad you are enjoying this series. And yes, I have been receiving a variety of pictures, and I’ll keep going with it since it seems to be something of interest to quite a few people.
I think it’s fascinating!