Recently, my magpie visitors set a new record high for the size of the group gathering at my balcony waiting for treats.
At one single point in time, I had 18 pies there surrounding me, all squawking and squawling and calling and cheeping and chirping and whistling and warbling and garbling and gawking and flapping and hopping, each hoping to be the next in line for the little bits of bologna I was handing out to them. Eighteen pies! That’s a lot of birds, and they were making a whopping lot of noise!
There had been a number of rainy days in a row, and while pies surely know how to survive in the roughest of weather, they were all looking very raggedy in their sopping wet feathers.
Oh, they were a sad sight, all droopy, and soggy, and drippy. Some of the pies were trying to fluff up more than usual to keep the rain off them. Others couldn’t even muster their feathers up anymore. The days of rain must have worn them out.
I know I wouldn’t want to be living outside in a rainy rainy thunderstorm that lasted for days and days. I don’t know where pies go to sleep and rest, but I can’t imagine it being fun at all. It seems to me that bug-chasing in the rain would be difficult, and sludging through deep puddles of muddy water would be more suited for ducks than for pies.
Yes, my big group of pies were a sad sight. A big soggy, soppy, sad sight.
And they were hungry. Really hungry.
Most of the time, the pies will take turns nicely when it comes to treat time. There are the more aggressive front runners, of course, but for the most part, everyone gets a share, and it’s easy enough to make sure that the treats are spread out rather evenly between everyone.
It’s a totally different story when they are hungry.
And it’s even more challenging when there are 18 hungry birds all at the same time.
The claws come out, literally. The pies will fight each other to be first in line, or to get that specific bite of food that they had their eyes on.
Of course, if they could understand that there was enough food for everyone, and that they didn’t need to fight to get their turn, it could have all happened peacefully. But these so-called wild birds didn’t understand that. They were still fighting out of their natural instincts.
The pretty little gray timid pie stayed in the background. She’s smaller and younger than the others, a newcomer to the group. She’s noticeably different in coloring from all the others, and the rest of the pies dominate her for the most part.
She didn’t fight anyone for anything, and she would not have gotten a single bite of bologna had I not specifically made sure to directly give some to her. Even then, I had to take time to convince her that it was okay for her to have it. Then, after all that, I believe a more aggressive bird swooped in grabbing and snatching the pieces that fell to the ground, not even allowing little gray pie to finish her own serving.
Some of the more trusting-of-me pies would run up near to my feet, separating themselves from the crowd, willing to get as close to me as possible to ensure they would get hand-fed away from the others. That was the easiest way to make sure of getting something to munch on.
Some of the pies would charge in fast, demanding first dibs, and then fly away to enjoy their mini-feast in the privacy of some hidden corner of grass somewhere else.
Sometimes two or three pies would squabble over the same bite. These squabbles can become real fights where they are pulling each other’s feathers with their beaks, or digging their claws into the tummies of the other birds, pinning the unfortunate bird on its back. (Yikes! I sure don’t like that!)
Sometimes they will click and snap their beaks at each other, making a loud scary noise, clearly meant to intimidate the other pie with a definite “Get back or I’ll poke you!” message. They will repeatedly screech and scream at each other, with their beaks open wide, making very loud protests and declarations of “Mine! Mine! Mine!”.
So much fighting!
It’s not like a tiding of wild birds will ever have to learn to get along with each other on a small balcony in one part of town.
As these babies grow up, they will have to spread out into their own areas to live, and I assume, some of the birds I am pampering now will have to scoot on down the road to other areas.
In nature, there is a very definite pecking order and lots and lots of space to move to. Maggies will argue and fight to survive, and to fight to claim their territory just like all wild animals have done for thousands of years.
Survival of the fittest keeps the species alive and well.
And the tough times in life bring out the fighting responses.
But what about when the fighting occurs within a group that really does have to live together?
What happens when moving on down the road is not a legitimate option?
What about squabbles and fights within a dissociative system? For people with Dissociative Identity Disorder, living with groups of people, and internal fights, and intense conflict is a common state of mind. There are ways to internally separate those that are fighting with each other, at least on a temporary basis, but really, everyone is always there. Until the conflicts are resolved peacefully, the fighting can continue to happen day after day.
That kind of ongoing conflict would be very difficult to live with. It would feel noisy, and stressful, and overwhelming. It could be scary for the more timid parts, and intense for the ones with extreme emotions. All too often, internal conflict leads to self-destructive behaviors.
Can you relate to that?
What do you do when your groups of insiders squabble?
How do you work out the conflicts and disagreements?
Do you know how to find ways to problem-solve by working the problem, instead of fighting each other?
Does your system take turns, sharing time and resources with each other?
Do your insiders help each other more than they hurt each other?
There are always going to be different opinions, and different perspectives, and opposing needs. There are going to be parts inside that are more aggressive than others. There will always be parts that are smaller, younger and quieter. Within the dissociative system, there will very often be many insiders that are still feeling wounded, hurt, distraught – insiders who need extra care, nurturing, and attention.
How do you tend to all the varying needs and wants without squabbling in ways that make the problems worse, instead of better?
Copyright © 2008-2020 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
This post caught my attention immediately. It’s very odd but a few years ago (that’s when it started and not all of my Twins had even come to me yet!) I realized I could communicate on different levels with animals. Kids have flocked to me all my life but dealing intimately with animals?
I began learning how to speak to squirrels. Learning the Linguistics aurally. They would immediately stop anything they were doing and look at me for very long periods.
Very long periods? A skunk appeared on my patio while I stepped outside to have a cigarette one night. Just relax. Look at him (or her) and I kept speaking slowly, quietly and repetitively; all sorts of prompts to leave. It eventually waltzed away. A few minutes felt like a few centuries but I did it.
Last summer. Two injured birds. The second was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The bird probably just flew into a window and was stunned. It didn’t look seriously injured.
I got close enough to touch its chest. It ran away to a window but I still didn’t know if it was alright. People were freaking out to do this and that and I said, “No! Leave me alone! It’s already touched my hand! It knows me!”
I kept trying to get the bird away as it was “half” on my hand and then I saw a little claw stuck in the window screen. I gently picked it up and pulled it out. After that, the bird immediately jumped on my forefinger and off we walked to a nearby tree. All the while, I was whispering to it, stroking its head, chest and wings. It took a while but the birds eyes finally opened completely and off it flew.
I apologize for the length of this. It is just so intense to have experiences like these–especially the bird!
I believe how this all relates to the Twins, is gradual and relative to them as appearing to me. As each one did appear, my interaction with the animals became stronger. Even though I wasn’t interacting or aware, I think it’s quite possible someone may have been in the background working with me. Why not? They are always there.
We problem solve intensely. Or try. Sometimes they aren’t too helpful and that ticks me off! However, I have to give them some slack. I can be pretty demanding. Moreover, they do have different personalities and they have changed over time.
They sometimes work as a group, sometimes they only work with me individually. They never fight with each other. I’ve only fought with one a couple of times. She’s a real steamroller! We always work it out though.
Thanks for putting up with my long comment! I could go on and on with your blog!
Kathy Broady says
Reblogged this on Discussing Dissociation and commented:
Another true life animal story that inspired thoughts about living with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Can you relate to this one?
Thanks for good, good article! I totally agree. I have about 20 pieces and I feel exactly the same.
Kathy Broady says
And welcome to the Discussing Dissociation blog.
I wish you the best in figuring out ways to resolve the conflicts between all the pieces of your internal puzzles!
Please keep reading. 🙂
Sam Ruck says
When the little girls first came out 3 1/2 years ago, I felt like I was running a trauma ward. Everyone was so desperately needy. There was very little sharing, and I didn’t even attempt to encourage that. My “theory” was that as I helped each girl heal by meeting the individual needs that she expressed, its fulfillment would enable each to “let go of that need” and move on toward greater cooperation as a group. And that’s largely how it happened.
I have always sought to encourage activities shared by the most girls, but if one girl insisted on a unique need, I would happily help her meet it.
This last year has finally seen the 5 main girls begin to work together for the most part. And when I bought them a Nook a month ago as a reward for helping girl number 6 assimilate to the outside more, things really “clicked” and they began in earnest taking turns and trying to help each one have time to do the things most important to each girl. Of course, at this point, there are a lot of shared interests, but not by any means complete agreement.
As a husband, I have had the ability to act as an arbitrator especially in the beginning when communication wasn’t very good between each girl. And even though Amy (the 7 year old) still runs to me for permission to do this or that, overall the girls are pretty good at talking amongst themselves now except for the 2 newest girls, and we’re working on that…