More DID artwork. Gotta love this stuff. This internal landscape drawing is called “Inside, After”.
DID art is so very helpful, and informative.
Artwork says things that words have difficulty explaining.
The series on artwork drawn by survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder have been some of the most visited articles from this blog. If you haven’t checked them out, I encourage you to have a look at them:
In the Artwork articles, I described many different concepts related to Internal Words and system interaction via the artwork provided. The amount of DID Education in these posts is pretty intense and heavy-duty.
Dissociative trauma survivors, the real experts on DID Systems and Internal Worlds dared to share their internal experience with the readers of this blog via their artwork, and I still appreciate their courage and willingness to do so.
Specifically, for those of you that volunteered the use of your artwork, what have you learned since we looked at your artwork?
Would you draw your innerselves / innerworlds in the same way now?
What is different now?
What is still the same?
What have you been able to change, and what have you kept the same?
How do these changes relate to the inner workings of your system, and the communications between your insiders?
Innerworlds change and evolve. They belong to you – they are allowed to change and evolve. What was in the past, doesn’t have to stay stuck in stone – you can make your internal world look and be however you want it to be.
Now let’s look at the artwork pictured above, Inside After.
I’ll just brain-storm for awhile, and let my thoughts flow out as I look at this artwork.
Please note — the questions that I am asking are thoughts that I would ask this survivor in a conversation. If I was hearing the answers to some questions, I would ask different ones in response, and/or I would come up with a few dozen new questions. My thoughts below are meant to be an example of the kinds of things you can learn by looking at DID Artwork.
In this picture, I would encourage the DID Survivor Artist to explore these ideas:
1. There are lots of colors in this picture.
Do the various colors have specific meanings? I would assume so. For example, what is yellow about? What do purple and black and red mean? Same with all the other colors, what do they represent? Why are specific colors put in those specific places? What would happen, for example, if the yellow was changed to blue, and if the green became red, and if the black became purple? Changing the colors would have what kind of impact on your system? Could you do this? Why or why not?
2. The Yellow front exterior is who? and means what? and follows what rules?
How is the Yellow front different from the Purple layer right behind them? What does the Purple do and feel? Why does the Yellow get to surface the whole head except for the back of the head. What makes the back different? Does the Purple influence the Yellow, and vice versa? Does the Purple ever get to be the outside fronting color, or do the Yellow people always have this job?
3. The blindfold over the eyes is very significant.
This is one of the most prominent features of the art. Why? What makes the blindfold so large and overwhelming? What are you not allowed to see? How does the blindfold protect you? How does the blindfold interfere with your ongoing life? What would happen if you no longer had a blindfold? How have you used the blindfold in your years of survival, and what does it mean to you? Who does this blindfold belong to, how many insiders wear a blindfold, and is anyone in your system willing to remove their blindfold? Can you feel this blindfold on your physical body? How does it relate to your life history? Does the blindfold keep you from seeing things in the Outside World or the Inside World? Do you have any trouble with your eyes?
4. I see all kinds of little “icons” within the bigger picture.
I can see little people, little black boxes, broken hearts, faces, etc. What do each and every one of these little pictures represent? What is the significance of the colors they are drawn in, and who is connected to each picture? How many insiders are represented by each picture? Can the people represented in each little picture talk to any of the others represented by any of the other little pictures? The background colors vary behind the little pictures. What does this mean? Do the colors represent different groups or different internal worlds or different layers?
5. Some of the little people are in boxes, and….
Some of the little people are not in boxes. What is the difference? Why do some insiders have to be in boxes, and why are some of them not in boxes? How are the boxes helpful? How do the boxes create problems? Where did you learn to put people in boxes? How does this relate to your life history?
6. What does the black area behind the mouth represent?
Can you please tell me more about that? Can you feel that Black in your physical body? Does the Black area have words different from the other areas of the mouth? What words describe how the Black feels? The pink area above the black mouth is a slight different color than the red below the black mouth. What does this mean? Why are the colors different and what do each of them represent? The front of the face, the pink-black-red area, is the least interrupted by other elements. These are the largest spaces of single colors. What does that mean? Are these areas the most significant or the most quiet? Do you experience the pink-black-red the most? What do these areas feel like to you?
7. The throat has a mixture of colors, but mostly black.
What is the black area, and what is the pink spot inside the black area? Can you feel these areas in your physical body? How do they feel? How do these spots relate to your life history? Do you have difficulties with your throat?
8. There are three (four? or is it two?) tornadoes in the ear area.
What do these represent? Do you experience vertigo, or dizziness or difficulties with your ears? What do you feel / hear in connection to these tornadoes? Maybe tornadoes isn’t the right word. What do you call these spinning areas? What is the spinning about, and how can you feel it in your everyday life? When does the spinning feel stronger and when does the spinning decrease? Can you stop the spinning from happening? Why or why not? How do these relate to your life history? What does the pink and yellow background mean?
9. There is a gray-looking area at the back of the neck.
What is this area? Is there any activity here? Can you please describe any significance that you feel in relation to this area of your internal world. Does it relate to anything that you may feel in the back of your neck?
10. There is an obvious “bottom edge” to this head picture.
Is there any significance to this? Where is the rest of your body? Does your head feel disconnected from your body?
11. Does the brown ponytail have any meaning for you?
Does your system agree with having a brown ponytail as the preferred hairstyle? Are your inside hair-do’s different from the external hair-do? The hair on top of the head appears yellow. What are the differences in these two hairstyles?
12. Do you know who drew this picture?
If a different member of your internal system drew a picture of your internal worlds, would the picture look significantly different from this picture? For example, would others inside have different elements prominent in their picture than what was represented in this picture? Would they include elements that were not included in the picture shown above? How would the pictures be different?
That’s probably more than enough questions for now. Do you have a headache reading through all that? I can imagine that this kind of article has pulled on many of your insiders all at once. There is certainly a lot of information available to see and learn in this artwork.
Please remember, the questions I’ve written are purely questions. I do not know the answers to them, and I write them only as examples to think about. The survivor who drew this art is not expected to answer these questions, especially not in public.
Your Dissoci-ACTION Questions:
- What do you see when you look at this picture?
- Do you relate to it in any way?
- What questions would you ask if you wanted to understand this person more?
- Do you think the entire DID system is represented within this picture? Why, or why not?
Thank you, “Inside, After” for sharing your drawing with us. I appreciate you!
I wish you the best in your healing journey.
Copyright © 2008-2020 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
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- When the Painful Past is the Painful Present
- It’s Ok to be Unique – It’s Ok to be Plural
- Facing Your Fears
- Doris and Morris, the Neighbors, of Course
- Feeling Split about Anger
Someone inside must have been looking at this page last night because it was the first thing that opened in my ipad. I am very curious about this picture. In our throat it feels black,,sticky, hot, burning. But also raw. I dont know why. Its all body memory stuff. The tornadoes where the ears are reminds me of our earaches we always had which felt like torture, and there was no help, no medicine, and we spent all night awake laying on the couch and crying for a mom who didn’t come.
The lock reminds me of memories that are still hidden away,or things we cant talk about,
The person who lives in the front obviously has to be happy, shiny, perky. But has a broken heart.
it has to be yellow out front because we have to keep up the facade that we are ok. The back is green and moldy no one wants to see that. some littles are there too! I like them!!
Wow, your insight into this blows my mind. Now I wish I could draw!
Kathy Broady says
lol, it’s just called being curious about every little teeny detail. 🙂
And to do this exercise, it really and truly doesn’t matter if you can “draw” — it’s more about just expressing how it feels inside your head, inside your system, inside your body — wherever it is that you can feel-sense-see-hear your insiders. However it gets displayed, there will be more than enough to go on from there.
I’m sure I could come up with a page full of questions for anything anyone drew. I’m just that much of a Question Lady. 😉
AND, I figure, that things from the internal worlds are there for a reason. I don’t presume to know what the reason is, so I just ask about it. That’s how that goes.
I wish I could actually see internal systems. That would be a massive help to the therapeutic process, but no one in the entire world can see inside someone’s head except for the people from that system. It’s good to have that kind of privacy too.
Thanks for the comment — 🙂
I once did a collage of weather images that my little mini-me’s picked out to represent themselves…would something like that work the same way?
Kathy Broady says
Yes, absolutely. Any kind of image — hand-drawn pics, or collage images from magazines or online pictures — any kind of visual that represents your insiders and their internal surroundings can work. I’ve seen some incredible collages made from online pictures — it makes for a great option for people who are particularly self-conscious about their drawing. It’s all a matter of how much you look for what fits for you.
Keep working at it — you’ll find a way to show what you see and feel.
didisreal http://traumaanddissociation.wordpress.com says
love this! Just recently reblogged it.
Kathy Broady says
Thank you for the reblog — I very much appreciate that.
My artwork tends to be very, very literal. It is exactly as it was. Which, while triggering, is also very cathartic. I guess it doesn’t leave much room for questions or interpretation, though.
Kathy Broady says
Welcome to Discussing Dissociation, and thank you for your comment.
It sounds like your artwork is an important part of your healing process. Art is a great way of talking about what happened, without having to use words. As you are saying, it can show clearly how it was, no questions needed.
It sounds like drawing is helpful for you tho’. There are some very interesting ways that art can help with expression and system communication. Keep at it — those kinds of things need to surface and be expressed. It’s good work.
Thanks for reading!