Is This an Example of Dissociative Artwork?
I’m getting fantastic feedback that you like the colors and the artwork selected for this blog site – good to hear!
I’m very aware that a picture paints a 1000 words, so I like to use as much artwork as I can. It opens up all kinds of communication and shows possibilities.
Let’s take the picture on this page.
Is it an example of dissociative artwork?
This painting was not sent to me via email by a dissociative trauma survivor.
I did not find this painting at a website about Dissociative Identity Disorder.
I do not know the person who painted it.
And I certainly am not the one who designed and created this incredible painting.
So where did it come from?
I walked past this giant painting hanging on the wall in the entrance of a public building.
So was it done by a dissociative artist?
I have no idea if KINNANE is dissociative or not, but wow – they can sure paint as if they are.
What do you see in the picture that reminds you of a dissociative system?
Before you read what I see in this picture, take the time to jot down some of your own ideas. Ask your system inside – what do they see that reminds them of the people they know / places they know from their inside system?
Here are 8 clues that I see about DID in artwork:
The multiple use of colors.
The colors are fantastic in this painting, and the colors themselves create the feel of multiplicity with the many different splotches of color in the face, head, clothing, background, hair, jewelry, etc. The overall look is massively and randomly colourful – the idea of being plural can be recognized instantly. This can be an easy indicator of having many inside people there.
Many internal systems are built with color having meaning and significance. Some insiders are assigned colors, are triggered by colors, or have deep reasons to relate to specific colors.
What meanings do colors have for your system?
The head is split in half.
This could obviously relate to right brain / left brain, or the creative brain / the logical brain. It also indicates a brain that has more freedom of thought versus a brain who has been more controlled by programmed thoughts and mind control experiences.
Can you tell which side of the brain is which?
In my experience, the dark brain with the circles and slash lines could be seen as an indicator of mind control or programming, this would definitely warrant further discussion and exploration.
The eyes are different.
Those two eyes do not match. The colors are different. The shape and placement of the eye itself is different. One eye is considerably darker than the other. One eye slants down. One eye feels heavy and painful while the other eye looks lighter and brighter.
For a dissociative person, the ever-changing eyes are significant.
An additional clue from this paining shows how the eyes are also vacant. Is anyone looking out these eyes, or one of the eyes? Or is this person staring in a trance state, or a hypnotic state?
Even when there are many people within the dissociative system, sometimes the body eyes can look empty and blank. This could be when no one is claiming the body, when everyone has stepped back and away from the body.
Have you ever experienced any of these situations?
The body is not at all symmetrical.
Most people do not have a perfectly aligned body, however, distinct and obvious differences in the body can indicate different insiders. For example, in this picture, are the two different shoulder heights indicative of two different insiders, one on each side of the body? Or, might that specific way of holding the shoulders in a crooked, lopsided way be indicative of one specific insider, completely different from others who would hold their shoulders in other ways?
Separation of Head from Body
Notice in this picture how the bottom edge of the painting is completely different from the sides and the top of the painting. The bottom edge does not give much reason to believe it is attached to the rest of the body, or that the body might continue beyond the frame.
Many dissociative survivors have parts who are very separated from the body, who keep their existence mainly up in the head only. There will be others who connect with the body more and not so much with the thinking brain.
This also gives creates a situation that requires further exploration.
If the parts who hold connection to the body also hold the connection to the physical pain / trauma / abuse the body has experienced, and yet these parts do not have as strong connection to the thinking brain, how do you teach the parts who are used to being abused to learn they can end-prevent-stop-refuse-distance themselves from abuse?
The opposite question is also valid. How do you teach your thinkers that they have a body, and that they need to protect their body from abuse?
Weird contraptions on the Head
What is that thing on the head of this person? It’s not a normal head, so is the person wearing a half-hat? Or a helmet? Or a nose guard? Or ear protectors? Or listening devices?
It’s unclear what that is that’s on the head. For dissociative insiders, any time there is some unusual weird, contraption placed on the head of that insiders, that’s a strong indicator of mind control / programming / forced “learning”. So work hard in your therapy and in your internal work to remove those devices from the head of your inside people.
Insiders should have the freedom to have just regular bodies. Any time there is any sort of “contraption” or metal object, or wires, or plastic, or hardened, or glass, or any version of any man-made product attached to your insiders, it will be important to figure out what that means, and how to remove it.
Feeling of Motion or Movement or Changing
Very few items on this painting look static. In fact, it could be interpreted as if there is a lot of movement happening.
Dissociative folks do a lot of switching to different insiders, on the outside and the inside. There can be any number of insiders stepping up to present in the outside body at any point in time, even 1 or 2 at once. Who is in the body keeps changing, like an ebb and flow.
Dissociative folks feel a lot of motion from inside, with parts coming and going, getting closer or further, with noise levels changing, time awareness changing, memories happening, and dozens of other activities that could be happening on the inside. The inside world can be a very very busy place!
Your outside host parts might not experience the depth of movement and activity that happens in the inside world, and if that is the case, it becomes a goal to build this connection, and/or at least to be able to show the outside host parts the busy-ness of the inside world, even if they keep their own personal distance away from it.
Indications of Trauma or Abuse
There are a wide variety of possibilities for trauma on this painting. One side of this face has a lot of darkened spots, indicative of bruising or injury. There are numerous little slash marks which could represent cuts, cutting, burning.
What is going on with the neck area of this painting? I suppose one could say those are necklaces. However, I would need to be asking about various forms of neck trauma.
Are those teardrops? Drops of blood? The eyes are definitely sad. Even the mouth leads to a line of red, which indicates trauma, bleeding and bruising.
While it is bright and colourful, this is not a happy picture. The overall emotion is one that could easily indicate trauma and abuse in dozens of different ways.
What do you see in this picture that indicates Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Your thoughts are welcome. Please comment below.
Copyright © 2008-2017 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation