Kathy, what do you see when your clients are making progress?
Someone asked me recently how I measure progress in my clients, and what I look for when I see DID systems moving effectively in their healing. They wanted to know how I could “prove” my clients were getting better.
Those are good questions, because you know when you are feeling better, but what is it that I am looking for or what am I hoping for along that same journey?
In answering that question — I want to encourage YOU ! I know full well how difficult the DID healing journey can be. It feels overwhelming and too huge to do, lots of days. But I promise you — you can do it. YOU can make progress, and you and your system can feel better as well.
Obviously, with mental health privacy requirements, I cannot “prove by name” who achieved these fantastic levels of healing. I wish I could brag on them as individuals, but personal privacy matters.
So what I’ll do is give you a big long list of generic examples of the accomplishments I have seen when my clients have made progress in their healing. I’ll remove personal details but the references I am making come from real clients, real people, real DID systems.
They really made these steps of progress, and please know — YOU CAN TOO!
I’m going to connect Proof of Progress with the 10 Steps for Doing Healing Work with Your DID System article.
The DID Systems I know who made progress, did these things!
1. Developed Excellent Internal Communication
Making progress with internal communication makes absolutely everything else easier and better and more manageable.
Internal communication is incredibly important. I can’t stress that enough.
When I am talking with a DID system, it’s wonderful to have a discussion with whichever insider is talking to me, including asking them questions, and they can easily answer either about themselves, or about someone else in their system, or on behalf of someone else. OR, if they don’t know the answers, they can simply check inside on the spot, and listen to what the others are saying.
In that sense, there can be an immediate overall-person-system answer because everyone (or a giant majority) of the internal group can hear, can participate, can voice their opinions, and can talk amongst themselves.
It’s sooooo much easier to make progress in therapy when the answers to questions are not “I don’t know,” or not “I don’t remember,” or not “no one knows who that is,” or not “no one know who did that.” These answers are par for the course at the beginning of the therapy process, and are solid indicators of work to be done.
When the DID systems can begin answering more questions, and when insiders can check with each other, and when the system can figure out the answers for themselves, this makes the travelling so much easier.
It’s comparable to learning how to do a Google search. You might not know the answer off the top of your head, but if you ask inside to enough people, and if you can listen or feel responses from enough people, you could very well get the answer that you are needing at the moment.
Perfecting the skill of “ask inside” or “check inside” is essential.
Signs of progress I’ve seen in DID Systems:
Anyone inside can talk to the majority of everyone else
System members view each other as friends, or part of the same family, or some version of a connected unit who are happy to be together
Even if there is a protective block around someone inside, there are still people in the system who can communicate effectively to them, or to the outside world on their behalf
Besides hearing their words, system members can feel each other’s emotional feelings or body feelings and recognize who those feelings belong to
The system speaks to each other with politeness, kindness, gentleness, empathy, compassion, etc.
Having playful, happy interactions — building teamwork in a way that brings a smile to your face
2. Demanded Ongoing Outside Safety
Outside safety is essential. Over the decades of working with DID survivors, I have seen DID Systems gain safety in many ways.
Signs of progress I’ve seen in DID Systems:
Safety from family members who were continuing to abuse adult-aged survivors in the current day and time
Safety from mothers and fathers who were still demanding sexual interactions with their adult-aged children
Safety from domestic violence, family violence, abusive spouses or partners or children
Safety from alcoholic-related violence
Safety from drug-related violence
Safety from sex-trafficking and organized sexual exploitation
Safety from violent perpetrator groups or cults of various kinds.
Safety from life-threatening and dangerous self-directed violence
Safety from perpetrators who used mind-control and programming
And more ….
These external life situations were all very serious and ongoing abuse was occurring in each of their lives. It took an incredible amount of strength, determination, courage, and and resilience to get freedom from ongoing abuse. I cannot over emphasize how difficult and complicated and tangled each of these messes were.
But my upmost respect and admiration goes to the dissociative survivors who had the courage to meet enough of their system folks and do their system work necessary in order to gain freedom from such horrific abuses.
If those DID Systems can become safe from their real life trauma, so can you!
3. Created Absolute Inside Safety
Just as living in an outside world full of abuse is too chaotic, too dangerous, too destabilizing, and too extreme, living in an internal world of violence is not okay either.
Inside safety is when your inside system members stop hurting each other. As in absolutely stop that. No more hurting each other, no more internal abuse or violence of any kind.
Inside safety also means the internal landscape becomes beautiful, peaceful, and calm. It means that the inside is no longer a dark or scary place filled full of scary traps, or unexpected messes, or hidden areas.
When inside becomes a beautiful place to live, you know you’re doing better!
Signs of progress I’ve Seen in DID Systems:
When everyone in the DID System feels 100% guaranteed that there is no one else in the system who is going to hurt them, on the inside or via the outside body.
When internal System members no longer look like or act like outside perpetrators.
When it is completely safe for anyone inside to sit by anyone else inside.
When all the scary internal landscapes have been turned into comfortable areas filled with peace and calm.
When all the hidden secluded pockets are found and become comfortable liveable places
When internal triggers or painful reminders have been removed from constant view
When any “weapons” or hurtful objects are completely removed from the internal world
When everywhere inside becomes an enjoyable space instead of a scary space.
And yes, these scenarios are possible!
I’ve worked with DID folks who have reached all these points of internal safety, and they no longer feared self-injury from anyone in their system.
How fantastic is that?!!
4. Acknowledged the Insiders who Felt the Trauma
While I very much belief that system work must be done prior to memory work, I also understand that part of system work brings you into contact with those who contain memory information. Finding, recognizing, acknowledging, and helping those who are hurting is a big part of the healing process.
At the early stages of this process, it’s a fine balance. It’s important to meet the needs of those who are hurting without delving too far into memory work too quickly.
These insiders need help, yes, and the first step of that is increase or create their internal and external safety.
People who have been hurt and feel like they are in danger do not feel safe talking about their trauma when they are standing right there in the middle of their trauma.
People need distance from the people and the places where they were hurt in order to feel safe enough to address their pain.
This is as true for Inside System People as it is for outside people.
Signs of progress I’ve Seen in DID Systems:
There is absolute willingness and dedication to finding and helping every single person in the system who has been hurt or abused in any way
No one in the system is left alone in their pain, and no one is neglected without care
Everyone inside has the opportunity to move to a safer place on the inside while beginning recovery from their wounds
ALL injured system members are approached with kindness and compassion, and helped to begin their recovery and healing
Internal safe places are created, either for individuals, or for groups, so that those who are hurting have the experience of their wounds being properly tended
Basic needs are met first — no one inside is left starving, or in a place of torture, or hiding in terror, or unclothed, or covered in dirt or mess, etc.
Any and all outside life dangers are addressed, even the hidden ones
ALL trauma in the outside world, in the here-and-now, is acknowledged, addressed, and stopped
I know many DID Systems who have accomplished ALL of these steps for safety and internal healing.
You and your system can do this too.
5. Encouraged All System People to be Helpers, not Hurters
Usually, when I first meet a dissociative system, the majority of the system is hidden, or unknown, locked in traumatized states, riddled with conflict, or acting out perpetrator behaviors (usually to the body or to others inside the system). Within the DID System, there are usually many being hurt by themselves or from others inside the system.
I’ll repeat what I’ve said a million times: violence directed at the self or at other members of the DID system is still violence and abuse, and that abuse must end same as any and all other abuse needs to end.
This internal violence must be changed to internal helping. THAT is progress. Huge progress.
Signs of progress I’ve Seen in DID Systems:
DID systems helping their system members who were hurt, instead of turning away from them, or not seeing them, or punishing them.
DID systems who were once full of “the abused / the abusers” turn into friendly groups working together, showing obvious kindness towards each other, with deep caring, genuine compassion, and gentleness.
DID System members who were abusers, or repeaters of abusive behaviors choosing to become compassionate helpers, healthy protectors, or system defenders.
DID System members who would turn a blind eye and neglect others in the system choosing to become proactive helpers of those in need.
When a person who came from a world dominated by violence and pain has the ability to completely turn that around. That’s incredible.
DID systems putting an absolute end to the violence, trauma, and abuse. For themselves, for their system people, for their children, and for others in their family.
Sometimes, the strongest parts hold incredible pain, and what a phenomenal change for them them to create enough freedom in their lives to become a kind helper and compassionate leader.
For me, that is just the most precious sight to see.
6. Removed all Gunk and Junk, and Successfully Processed Memory Information
This is part of the internal work. I don’t get to see in the internal worlds — wish I could !! I can sit with someone when they do this work, and I can help with creative ideas, but doing this work is all on them, because it’s deep inside their own personal space.
Some of the internal structures hold memory information far far away. Other internal structures force memories to replay and over and over.
Neither of those extremes is helpful in the long run. A liveable balance is needed because no one should have to endure a never-ending internal loop of being caught in their trauma, and no one should stay in such denial of the truth that they can never fully heal or get safety from that abuse.
Removing the internal gunk helps your insiders to gain their freedom and allows them to become real people with their own autonomy and ability to think independently.
However, the internal structures and internal objects represent trauma and abuse, and are visual metaphors for what has happened. Removing these objects will trigger memory information to surface, and needs to happen carefully.
Signs of progress I’ve Seen in DID Systems:
DID Systems who can see in their internal landscapes and internal worlds and see the internal replications of the trauma and external controls.
DID Systems who remove any and every non-human object from their internal system people
DID Systems who remove all dirt, filth, mess from all their internal system people
DID Systems who create internal cleaning processes that work very specifically for their needs
DID Systems achieving internal freedom and healing after the removal of all controlling devices and objects used for trauma.
DID Systems addressing their memory work without needing or inflicting ongoing self injury
7. Gave lots of TLC — Tender, Loving, and Gentle Care for the Injured Insiders
This looks like comfort, and helping to heal the wounds and injuries.
Having proper medical aftercare for injuries matters too !!
Part of what also makes trauma so damaging is that typically, injured DID systems did not get proper comfort or proper medical care after they were hurt. All too many DID people were left completely alone with their painful wounds, alone with their broken heart, and not helped to be okay.
Most DID survivors were expected to keep their trauma, their hurts, and their feelings totally secret from the world. They were not given help to heal. That in itself is a huge additional layer of trauma in addition to the original trauma.
Most DID systems were not told it was not their fault, they were not comforted, they were not given proper bandages, or medical ointments, and they were not assisted in ways that would be considered appropriate.
Oh, and by the way, no! I do not consider being “tended to” by the perpetrators as appropriate care! Being “helped” by the person / people who just purposefully injured you is really not okay. That sets up all kinds of confusion and mixed messages.
Signs of progress I’ve Seen in DID Systems:
Helping those in the DID System who are hurting, and helping with compassion and kindness
Giving proper medical attention to external or internal wounds
Giving inside parts, especially inside child parts, external and internal comforts – such as teddy bears, fuzzy socks, warm blankets, sips of water, nutritious snacks, etc. especially while they are feeling poorly
Allowing those who are injured to rest and recovery naturally
Not dissociating or neglecting pain and injuries — actively tending to the needs appropriately
Attending medical appointments and addressing body injuries or body complications in outside life,
Having adults in the system stay at the front during medical appointments, and letting the kids stay further tucked inside
8. Built Genuine and Positive Relationships with any Injured Insiders
Within the DID System, this looks like friendship. Partnerships. Being on the same side. Having fun together. Expressing mutual respect, and loyal companionship.
It’s not being enemies with each other. It’s truly been on the same team and working together as much as possible.
This is when being multiple is fun! It’s not a headache — it’s a big group of friends doing things together.
And of course, addressing trauma issues and memory work is much easier when the system is friendly. Think about your outside life. You are much more compassionate when your friends or loved ones feel pain than when an enemy or a stranger feels pain.
When your system folks become your friends, healing the wounds and doing memory work takes on a completely different meaning. It becomes important in a deeper, caring way. It actually becomes important and necessary to help your friends and partners feel better.
Signs of progress I’ve Seen in DID Systems:
People in the DID Systems truly becoming best friends . YES! Your ENTIRE DID SYSTEM can be friends with each other!
People in the system joining together to tackle various tasks — whether that’s getting work done or the household chores done. It’s a happy willingness to share the load and work together, taking turns, and contributing in realistic ways.
DID Systems cooperating on fun activities as well. Taking fair turns doing what each other likes — drawing, playing computer games, watching television shows, walking the dog, etc.
Sharing fairly — letting various insiders take turns having a bite of pizza or ice cream!
Truly enjoying each other’s company and having genuine compassion and connection with each other.
Genuinely caring when each other is hurting, and passionately wanting to help each other feel better.
9. Allowed Memory Information to Surface Naturally
It is progress, for sure, when DID systems put together their shattered bits of trauma memories. It takes tremendous courage to speak the truth of what you experienced, pushing through fears of further repercussion or punishment for speaking, either from inside or out.
I have heard so many of the most hideous stories of abuse. There is no reason to wonder why there was the need to dissociate into separate people.
What is amazing is that you were such strong souls during extreme adversity — that you were able to fight for your lives, maintain your sanity, AND stay connected to the ability to love, to feel compassion, to express kindness.
Memory work is extremely difficult and painful, but addressing the trauma is an important step in the overall healing of your DID System. Talking with your traumatized parts, helping them deal with what happened, meeting their needs, offering comfort, and providing internal and external safety are essential elements of healing.
Everyone in your entire DID system needs their opportunity for healing, and the whole of your DID System won’t feel healed until everyone inside feels more healing on an individual basis.
Working with the parts who hold the trauma is an emotionally gruelling area of the healing process. It is excruciating to hear, feel, remember, and accept so much pain as truth about your life.
But it’s the truth of the journey, and the truth of your past.
You and your insiders were hurt, terribly hurt, and at some point, ALL those hurting ones need their opportunity for healing, comfort, and safety.
Much of dissociation and the need to be split is based on denial and separation from the reality of the abuse and trauma. This is absolutely understandable during the surviving of the trauma.
However, the healing process takes the opposite approach. It is essential to have the courage to stop dissociating and to stop turning away from the truth of your trauma.
Once you are connected to your system people, it is time to face your trauma.
It is healthier for the knowledge of your trauma story to be in the awareness of MOST of the system, instead of hidden tucked away within a few people in the system.
Signs of progress I’ve Seen in DID Systems:
The details of every single insider’s trauma was looked at, listened to, felt, and accepted by the other DID System members (a little at a time, but the process continued as long as necessary).
Accepted the full truth of the trauma, no matter now heartbreaking it felt — believed their system members and the descriptions of their traumatic experiences.
No more denial or discrediting their other system members.
The trauma was heard by compassionate ears, and no punishments, self-violence, or self-blame were allowed or left uncorrected.
Fully accepted the knowledge shared about who did the hurting. No more pretending that the abusers weren’t the abusers.
10. Walked the Healing Journey Together as a Cohesive System
This is when you can truly enjoy your multiplicity:
- When it’s okay to be a DID System, and your insiders are truly your best companions.
- When it’s fun to be part of a team, and it’s great to have friends around.
- When being “DID” doesn’t feel like a “disorder” — it’s your preferred way of living and being.
Life for DID survivors doesn’t have to be perfect, but it can be manageable, bearable, and maybe even pretty good.
And when you are safe from being hurt, and not drowning in chaos and conflict, you will have time and space, energy and resources to fill your life with better things.
Signs of progress I’ve Seen in DID Systems:
The other DID System members really are their best friends. System relationships are top priority and the system members are genuinely close friends who enjoy spending time together.
All system members are viewed with respect, kindness, compassion, and understanding.
The basic core conflicts and differences are resolved and the system is truly connected together on the same side of the fence. Internal fighting has stopped!
Differences of opinions between system members does not lead to amnesia, separation from the others, or self injury.
The entire DID System works together to keep EVERYONE safe from any outside threat or potential violence.
The entire DID System has zero interest in self injury, self harm, and any self directed violence is a thing of the past. Self protection is more valued than self injury.
Everyone inside can sit next to anyone else inside without it being too triggering or too uncomfortable.
Anybody in the system can share the body with anyone else in the system without struggle.
If you so choose, these DID Systems have the ability to sit in the same vicinity as a abuser, and NOT be triggered or lose time or control of switching or lose control of thinking or lose control of body movements. These DID Systems can stay 100% mindful and not be forced or triggered or manipulated to switch.
DID Systems who are successfully functioning as very healthy, balanced adults.
Whew!! That’s a lot, hey?!!
You and your system might not have reached these levels of healing yet but you can. I promise you can. I’ve seen it happen for other DID Systems, and there’s every reason to believe it can happen for you and your people as well.
YES!! I’ve seen DID SYSTEMS ACHIEVE THESE LEVELS OF HEALING !!
I can’t speak for everyone, but I can certainly vouch for my clients. Using the therapeutic guidelines I teach, they absolutely reach system cohesion, personal satisfaction, and internal peace.
They worked hard, stayed diligent and dedicated to their healing, and they were able to do what felt so impossible at the beginning.
They are the true heroes.
So yes, please. Please keep doing your healing work and improving your system communication because feeling internal peace and conflict resolution doesn’t just happen without the work it takes. The more you build a team atmosphere with your system, the more cohesion and cooperation you will experience. But it’s up to you to do this. No one else can do this for you.
The more you fight your system, the longer it will take. The quicker you becomes friends inside, the easier it will be.
Also — be brave, and make those tough decisions that support your healing. Again — safety from all layers of harm will require a lot of work on your part. Choose to step further and further away from violence, and choose to be kinder to your people.
I’m not saying this is easy. I’m saying THIS IS POSSIBLE.
I know you can do this…. keep working at your healing because it takes as long as it takes. And yes, you and your system deserve a wonderful-funderful happy life!
As always, I wish you the very best in your healing journey.
PS: Need some extra help and guidance getting started on working with your system?
Would you like to get some positive results for all your effort?
The Saddest Little Bear Dissoci-ACTION Story Pack is available !!
The focus for the Saddest Little Bear is on meeting new parts, and getting to know parts of your system. The Story Pack has videos, discussion questions, and system activities.
If you need to understand more about how to start working with your system, this Story Pack should be very helpful information for you.
Copyright © 2008-2018 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
So often I see just the right post, just when I most need it! Thank you Miss Kathy!! Although this is a very daunting list, what I can really hold onto when it feels too much is that you’ve seen this before and you can promise it can and will get better as long as I do the work. Sometimes (truth, often times) I think I can’t do this anymore!!! What I was, in fact, just feeling as this article popped up in my feed. And then the calm assurance of your promise….and I feel reassured and comforted that (as my T always says and sometimes makes me crazy 😝 cause I’m an impatient bug) this is a process and it takes time, but it’s not impossible and we’re brave, strong, and worth the effort (this feels like a stretch to me but I continue to try to embrace it). Sooo that’s it, thanks again!
“So often I see just the right post, just when I most need it! Thank you Miss Kathy!!”
I so relate to this statement Jardin. So often Kathy will point us to one of her blog articles or another community member will post on an article that I have not read in a long time just when I need it. It is like the community feels the need of others and responds with a helping hand up.
And then ..
“And then the calm assurance of your promise….and I feel reassured and comforted …”
Yup, that sums up how Kathy touches my life beautifully.
Thanks for commenting on this post. You’ve helped remind me to re-read it!
I just wanted to say that I get feeling afraid. It can be very difficult to read through this and NOT feel overwhelmed. I hope you don’t feel too afraid…there’s lots of people here that can help if you want to vent or write about what’s going on.
Sending you lots of courage,
Some of this I have done, but there is so much more. It’s a very informative post. Hope we can actually accomplish this! Feeling very afraid!
Kathy speaks from 30 plus years of experience working with DID folks. I take what she says as hope that yes, we can all accomplish what she writes about. Not easy but can be done.
I sure hear your Fear. Is there anything in particular that you want to share here? We are here to support one another in any way that we can.
Kathy Broady MSW says
Welcome to Discussing Dissociation!
There is a lot you can do in your healing, and it can feel overwhelming, but lots of things are helpful. So start where you can start, and every little bit will make a positive difference.
Keep on reading, as you are, and you’ll get more confidence in what to do as you learn what helps.
Glad you’re here!
we tried some thing new today. we went to the waterpark and when were there we tried to get some of the other inside kids to play. we been trying to get asher to play but he dont know how to. so today tuck and mindy was playing Finding Nemo in the pool. Mindy was Dory and Tuck was Nemo and we had to watch out for the jellfish whitch is the inner tubes. and we tried to get asher to play. but he doesnt know how to swim. but he did watch them play. so at least he tried that.
That is awesome! How wonderful that you got to have some fun and that you helped asher try to play. Sometimes kids forget how to play or have had their silly beans taken away from them. So, those that know how to play need to teach them so that they can grow new silly beans. Thank you for sharing!
Belinda tell us that the goal is for us to live United. sometimes I don’t think she understands that we do live United an
Sometime. that we do help each other. when we go to see her at therapy we talk about our problems. when we don’t get along so maybe therapist only see when we don’t get along. maybe we should show them more parts living United and helping each other out. like every good family not everybody get A long every day. Joseph told us that when he was still alive when we would fight and that he would tell us and you would tell us if things would be okay we love each other. some of the things that we do that are united Jessie reads to me and she taught me how to use voice-to-text. Sissy helps get mine and Jessie bath ready. Mr. D lets me know when strangers are around that are not safe Missy and Lori2. Help set up the medication for me and remind me to take. it. Lori. The one you call the host she give us an inside bulletin board so we can post things to each other for everybody is on the same page and she’s giving just in a carousel and on the outside she goes us arts and crafts stuff to do and we have books .Lori let Joseph love us and see us. I miss Joseph he was one of the safe men in our life. Now that Joseph dead he died on January 30 2017. We alright a lot. I don’t have him to protect me from bad people on the inside or out. I miss Joseph so much .I wish I could bring him back to life.
Shirley J. Davis says
This page is extremely important! I wish it were around when I was in the first years of my recovery! I found the lists of what things look like very hopeful for me as I have somehow managed with the help of a marvelous therapist to meet most of the criteria in each one.
I’m not bragging. What I’m saying is that fulfilling the things on these lists IS VERY possible. I am living proof of this.
It takes a long time, a lot of patience, and a hell of a lot of determination to get control over the debilitating symptoms of DID, but it CAN BE DONE!
I am writing a new book about DID and I would love to mention you and your blog as a wonderful resource to those who live with DID and those who love and treat them.
Thank you Cathy
Ohh. Awesome. Writing about DID and mentioning Kathy and DD in it !!
Hear Hear !!
Here Here !!
Both work. 🙂
We are so impressed with all the great healing work so many here are doing! It is encouraging to us. We have been working on our healing regularly for about five years, and still finding inside kids who are scared, sad, angry, etc. I/we guess that means we are making progress because they are feeling safe enough to stop hiding.
And our front grown-up lady is even thinking about telling her outside friend about us so she has an outside support person besides our T. Some of us inside are kinda scared that telling the outside friend will make her go away and not be a friend any more cuz that’s what happened last time the grown-up told someone about us. And when some of our cousins learned about us, they stopped asking our grown-up to come to their houses to spend time with their families. So we moved away from where those people live and now no one knows about us except our T., and people here at DD. She said that she is going to ask her friend to read about DID on this site and on a few other really good places like the ISSD website. Maybe it will be different this time and the friend will stay her friend, and maybe even be a friend for some of the rest of us. We hope this will be true.
Nicole for MyCircleOfLife
Hi Nicole (and all of the MyCircleOfLife folks),
What a lovely posting. I too am impressed with the healing work and energy that is happening in our community. When one of us is lifted up, we all get drawn up into the light of understanding, healing and hope. There is just a lot of wonderful support, wisdom and sharing here. This certainly is a safe place to just be our amazingly complex layers of selves.
Hum … now, I really do hear and understand your concern Nicole about your front grown-up lady’s desire to tell an outside friend about you all. Clearly you have had some really bad experiences doing this. I understand from personal experience how hurtful and frustrating it can be when you trust others enough to tell them only to be rejected, shunned or outright told that you are not wanted anymore. I have been there. It sure does make it hard to ever imagine telling anyone about your system ever again.
It would seem that your front grown-up lady has a very good plan here Nicole. Having the DD website and others like the ISSD website available to point the friend too is an excellent idea. It is one thing for us to tell others that we are not crazy, unstable, to be feared, etc. but to have some authority for them to consult – great plan. It also helps the friend to explore what DID is all about and what their questions might be without necessarily bringing that into the friendship. Gives some space to the telling and trying to understand. And, I can only think that if your front grown-up lady feels that this friend is safe and trustworthy to tell, that she must have some sense of confidence that the friend can handle the information.
I have told very few people about my DID. Some folks have not been able to handle it and have either walked away or we just do not speak about it. Others will ask me on occasion about my DID or what is happening but I know that it is out of politeness and not necessarily a real desire to hear. But, in trusting myself enough to tell folks, I have found a couple of friends who know, embrace the DID diagnosis as just a part of me and with whom I can be myself. At times, my insiders pop out explicitly and these friends are not fearful or overly invested in their presence. It is just seen as me being whatever I need to in the moment. It has been very liberating to have that kind of friendship. So, I can really understand how your front grown-up lady might desire that kind of relationship.
I wish you all the best of luck with the plan here. If you are up to it and would like to, let us know what happens. I am sure that, either way, sharing will help others and hopeful all of you as well.
Sending positive energy for this to all go well.
we have all learned to sound like lori we had to because way back when when lori was little she would get in trouble if any of us showed up in the outside world. we help with all kind of stuff so it is a good thing to sound like her.
Baby you are right we do sound like Lori on the outside sometime. Lori doesn’t like the people to know about us. but you should of told the other people on here that Belinda Darcy and Joyce can see us. when Joe was alive he got to talk and see us. that when we are out that we can talk with lots of people and have friends because we just pretend to be Lori. that we get to play with the grandchildren all the time Lori has a rule that we cant talk to the grandchildren or the 4 girls has us either. she just wants them all to see us as mom or Nonnie. sometime baby and i forget to us Lori voice but most of the time we do.can i also say that life was better when Joe was alive we were not a secret but mow it feels like we are again because we have to pretend every day to be her unless we are talking with Belinda Darcy or Joyce
Hello Baby and Jessie,
I just wanted to say how impressed I am with how thoughtful and cooperative you are with Lori. It is really scary sometimes for the upfront person when insiders take over and there is time loss, etc. It sounds like Lori has established some clear boundaries and you are all respecting them. That is super impressive and inspiring that you have been able to build such cooperation.
Maybe in time there will be other places that Lori will feel comfortable with you coming out more explicitly. I hope that she is okay with you coming out here because you are most welcome to do so. Kathy has told us so – i.e., that all members of our systems are welcome here.
You no what i did all by my sef today?
We did be at the festabo
I did be thersty
So i go up to the buth and i said
Can i plese have a diet coke thank you
And i payd for it
All by my sef
Nowon help me
MR D. says
Sarah D. says
Thank you, Kathy for your wisdom.
I came upon this blog post today and found it helpful to know how others with DID have demonstrated more cohesive organization. I do want improved organization and cooperation and I have a long way to go. Looking forward at times feels impossible and when I look back – WHEW- I have come a long way!
I struggled for years not knowing what was happening and I am very fortunate to have survived my self-destructive behaviors. I picked up many DSM dx and in 2009, DID was one of them. I was in disbelief about DID because, at the time, I was completely disconnected from other parts. Also, my denial was spurred on because some of my therapeutic team did not agree with my DID dx. It has taken some tough work to get here. I had A LOT of denial.
Today, I accept that I had a difficult childhood and a I was equipped with a wonderful, complex, protective mechanism that preserved the most precious and innocent part of my soul. The mechanism carried me functionally through thirty-four years of life before it could no longer function (I could no longer function) and this led me into a dysfunctional mental health care system (50+ hospitalizations). I needed the MH system to keep me alive and I able to write to you today! It has been 14 years since my protective system began harming me. I’m 5 years out from last attempt and 4 years from last harm. My system is cooperating better. Safety first!
My next step is system communication. The main controller knows all the parts. I know of 9 parts, but they don’t know me. I don’t think the others in my system know about each other because when they are out, they don’t acknowledge that they are part of a system. So, I will be printing this article and talking to my T about what inner system work looks like for me.
When I saw a picture of the beach in the article, I am inspired to have a beautiful inner landscape where all the parts are clean, cared for, comfortable, and aware of all the inner resources. I have a long way to go and it is not impossible.
Thanks for your support,
Sarah D. is brave. We were glad to hear you don’t harm yous no more. Be kind when you can. Controllers and protectors can learn nice. 5/5/18
Sarah D. says
Thank you for seeing me as BRAVE! It is one word that resonates deep within my system and your comment brought a wholehearted smile to my face. I look forward to my controllers and protectors being nice.
I relate so well to what you said here. IDK how many hospitalization we went through, but 25-40 sounds about right. We stopped the self-injury and worked on safety, safety, safety for years. Building internal cooperation is frustrating, hard, painful, fun, silly, scary, sad, good, entertaining at times. Totally worth every ounce of energy put into it. Building beautiful places inside is so helpful. We have a couple central places where insiders go and many places individual or small groups of insiders go for vacation inside. Plus, private rooms or rooms for littles to share if they dont want their own private one, etc. etc. We have a school, a playground, a pool, ocean, and river. Mountains all over. A healing pool and triage hospital. Crystal caves. All this we did as we tore down and destroyed the places the outside people put us in. The cooperation helps so so so much for all the obstacles and issues that come up. Don’t forget to look around and rescue the kids trapped in the old places. Groups went on search and rescue missions and relayed information to those of us out here. This built internal cooperation and trust. And, even though there were some very scary and terrible times, we also had some fun and interesting moments (we have bands inside and perform songs and dance). All of you can come up with anything you want. And another thing, if it turns out that something you guys put in doesn’t work out, you can make it different. One thing about some of your insiders not knowing you…we found that there were people inside who did not like or trust any big person, including us. We needed to find insiders around the same age or a little older who were willing to reach out to the scared ones and help them before they introduced us to them. Hope that made sense. We are glad you shared part of your story with us. If you can, read and watch the Saddest Little Bear. The story is a good one to help communication and cooperation inside.
Take Care Of Yous!
Thanks for all that wisdom, Kennedy. Your creativity and resourcefulness are soooooooooooooooo inspiring. Our insiders live in a leaky cave/hole in the ground. It is a foul place.
Working on shame to try to feel deserving of better digs.
We are in awe of yous. 🧡 5/6/18
You all deserve better digs now. Maybe it would be more helpful to not think or talk about the shame feelings until you all are in a different home inside. Once you decide it’s okay to go, it wont take a lot to get it done. Build a temporary place you can be together in warmth and softness. Don’t worry about a permanent place for now. You can go together even if you feel like you don’t deserve it. You do deserve it. Those feelings are what was done to you. Maybe go for a day. See if you can begin to feel comfortable somewhere and listen to the one inside (however old) who is wanting to lead the way. Maybe if you can see it, there could be a spirit animal in there somewhere wanting to lead you. If so, go. You deserve it right now. All of yous.
Just a thought for later…maybe get a group together and tear down that cave/hole. Destroy everything you want to in it, and it. It may come back, we had that experience, but we did it again and again. It helps us get out the pain. As we are working on it, we have to talk to each other. Help each other cry, or get mad, or talk about how they feel. Talk about how they made us feel.
We’re so sorry yous are all in so much pain. We want very much to help yous in any ways we can.
The Saddest Little Bear is perfect for all of you right now. It is a really good way for you all to see and hear outside of your head what you’re going through. I hope you can watch it and read it and let your littles curl up close to you.
KenKen, thanks. Wow. Trying to feel it. Wanting to. Okay, we’ll try a camp out. In the woods of Yellowstone in a giant tent. And the animals will bring us food because they know we’re good. We’ll follow the crows and ravens toward someplace outside that looks like the love we want to feel inside.
We’ll try. And our bear, the big, beautiful mama grizz we saw last year, who is our photo, will bring us berries and give the littles rides. And if we live, we live…
KenKen :) to T.Clark et.al. says
ohhh we love this.💕
What a beautiful space you are creating for yourself and your insiders.
“We’ll follow the crows and ravens toward someplace outside that looks like the love we want to feel inside.”
WOW … I have animal medicine cards. Okay, a little crazy but … ☺ The idea of the medicine cards is that different animals/birds are symbolic of where we are and where we wish to be. They are messengers of sorts from our hearts, minds and souls.
Your vision of finding love on the outside that is what your heart wishes to feel on the inside is carried by the crow and the raven. And, the bear helps feed and amuse you and your little ones. These are profound choices that you have made here. Below just a little about what the Medicine Cards say about the birds and bear that you have chosen (source: http://scottfoglesong.printandwebdesign.com).
“Crow is an omen of change. Crow lives in the void and has no sense of time. The Ancient Chiefs tell us that Crow sees simultaneously the three fates – past, present, and future. Crow merges light and darkness, seeing both inner and outer reality. … With Crow medicine, you speak in a powerful voice when addressing issues that for you seem out of harmony, out of balance, out of whack, or unjust. … As you learn to allow your personal integrity to be your guide, your sense of feeling alone will vanish. Your personal will can then emerge so that you will stand in your truth. The prime path of true Crow people says to be mindful of your opinions and actions. Be willing to walk your talk, speak your truth, know your life’s mission, and balance past, present, and future in the now. Shape shift that old reality and become your future self. Allow the bending of physical laws to aid in creating the shape shifted world of peace.”
“Raven magic is a powerful medicine that can give you the courage to enter the darkness of the void, which is the home of all that is not yet in form. … If Raven appears … you are about to experience a change in consciousness. … It may be time to call Raven as a courier to carry an intention, some healing energy, a thought, or a message. Raven is the patron of smoke signals or spirit messages represented by smoke. So if you want to send a message to the Blue Road of spirit, in order to contact the Ancients, call Raven. Or, who knows, the Ancients may be calling to you. Remember, this magic moment came from the void of darkness, and the challenge is to bring it to light. In doing so, you will have honored the magician within.”
“The strength of Bear medicine is the power of introspection. It lies in the West on the great medicine wheel of life. Bear seeks honey, or the sweetness of truth, within the hollow of an old tree. In the winter, when the Ice Queen reigns and the face of death is upon the Earth, Bear enters the womb-cave to hibernate, to digest the year’s experience. … To hibernate, Bear travels to the cave, which is the center of the four lobes where the pineal gland resides. In the cave, Bear seeks answers while dreaming or hibernating. Bear is then reborn in the spring, like the opening of spring flowers. … For eons, all seekers of the Dreamtime and of visions have walked the path of silence, calming the internal chatter, reaching the place of rites of passage – the channel or pineal gland. From the cave of Bear, you find the pathway to the Dream Lodge and the other levels of imagination or consciousness. In choosing Bear, the power of knowing has invited you to enter the silence and become acquainted with the Dream Lodge, so that your goals may become concrete realities. This is the strength of Bear.”
Just thought that this might resonate in some way to you T.Clark.
The internal camp out went okay. A little scary to get used to. One of the abusers used imaginative play to facilitate the abuse (over the course of a few years). This may help explain why we are so averse to internal work. Imagination is linked with our ability to control others (think “simon says”).
The medicine wheel explanations are relevant to the inner-experiencing and tasks.
We’re breaking from how long the journey is taking. We haven’t improved anything enough to have a life worth living. That’s not a suicide threat. It’s a status update: this life is lonely even with loving people because we have too much shame.
We’re working on that and a blowing leaf puts us into hypervigilance. Can’t work on everything!
It’s like throwing darts at the moon.
Crow is calling outside right now. Crow knows our intentions are good.
It’s not enough.
The will is there. The results are not. The programming is so deep. You all get it. That does help a little.
We emailed the outside parents yesterday for information. We have formulated a theory of how they may have inadvertently engineered their neglect, which amplified the loneliness from the abuse (perpetrated by non family members).
What will this information give me? Intellectual information? It’s something to do that has a beginning, middle, and end: figure out how we got here. Solve that puzzle. Then start on 364 more. It’s like taking a year to solve one day of the page-a-day crosswords. The unsolved puzzles multiply.
“Stay in the present.” How? Use the skills you’re learning. Determine real from dreams and delusions. You are safe from dreams and delusions. They aren’t coming to harm you in reality, in the Now. The abuse ended decades ago. You’re 46. Provide yourself what the parents didn’t.
More puzzles. Always more puzzles. Like a constant drizzle of puzzles unsolved.
Work on one, we guess. They ain’t gonna solve themselves. 5-9-18
I am glad that the internal camp out went okay. That is wonderful progress in itself. Each grain of sand builds the mountain.
Be kind to yourself and allow it to take what it takes time wise. We did not get here over night. Our journeys take what they need to take.
I am 63 years old and worried that I do not have sufficient time to feel whole at least for a minute before my time is up. Not sure if that will happen. Not sure anyone feels truly whole. Not sure that it matters.
Each day new pieces of the puzzle appear is a successful day. It may be confusing and maybe you do not understand where they fit but now you have them … they are not lost to you anymore. That is progress and ultimately that will be your victory.
Hang in there T.Clarke. I wish that I had a magic mirror to reflect back to you the remarkable progress and wisdom I see in your postings.
With loving energy … your friend,
We love you. Thanks, ME+WE. 5/11/18
OMG … why have I never clicked on your name (hot linked) before T.Clark?! Your web blog is incredible, so interesting, well written, deeply resonating and thoughtful. I have just started to explore it this evening. It is like discovering a treasure that has been there under my nose all of this time.
Lots of love to you!
Thanks. We ran out of “reply” room!
Thanks for encouraging words 5/13/18
KenKen, we reread the posts from you. We filled in the cave hole. Everyone helped. Used shovel, shoe, hands, front loader. Except Little, who watched with compassionate adult being sweet.
KenKen :) to T.Clark et.al. says
YAY! We are soooo HAPPY for all of yous! Remember you may have issues and obstacles and feelings to process. The cave hole may, or may not, return. The thing is to build those neuropathways by working on changing things inside. Talking to each other, helping each other, processing processing processing. lol
We are thrilled to see you all working so hard! Safety inside will translate to out here.
Now, here’s Dr. KenKen’s next prescription…
Take a break! Take a few days of no change. No obsessions of doing the next thing. Take a break! Relax inside. Talk to each other about what each of you want in your new digs. No need to rush into building it. Just daydream about it. Relax. Breathe. No more changes for a couple days.
Fill that prescription immediately.
Kennedy :) to T.Clark et.al. says
In this moment, you all created. Banding together and resisting and standing up for yourselves, using your own beliefs and moral compass. What you want is possible somewhere. You are capable of creating a universe.
Holy cow, Kennedy. Amazing to consider a universe. We’ll fill Dr.’s prescription first. 😉 5/15/18
Oh my Kennedy … what brilliant posts. Like T.Clark I am gobsmacked amazed at how complex and wonderful your internal world is. Wow … my internal space is so boring in comparison. Your postings has inspired me to step it up and do more for my insiders. Right now I have a group who lives on the beach and another who lives in the woods. There is a reflecting pool in the woods and an Enchanted Forest. I also have a save place for my little ones to go to. This was the first space that I built with my first little insider who presented to me. All my little girls go there now when things are tough. It is their sunshine tent (made with yellow sheets). It is simple in that there are blankets, pillows and stuffed animals to cuddle. At one point they let me go in there as well. They put a memory foam mattress on the floor for me because I am old and they thought that I needed something a little softer to sit on (hahaha). Oh, and their favourite horse Jewel manages to squeeze in there too somehow. Hey … it is their place so they can do what they want.
I really think that Kennedy has some great suggestions for you T.Clark. A leaky cave is certainly not a good place for your insiders. My first insider that I became aware of lived in a steel cage on a cement floor. I spent about a month or more visiting her there and slowly and gently talking with her until I was able to open the door on the cage and sit inside the cage across from her. Eventually, with just a lot of soothing and loving talk, she eventually came over and sat beside me and, in time, took my hand. Then one day I asked her is she would not like to find some place nicer to live. I said that maybe we could go through the house and find a place that she would like to live instead of the cage. I told her that I was worried about her in such a dark and cold place and that she deserved some place warm and cozy to live in. So, we went through the house hand-in-hand, room by room and eventually she found her spot. We built the fort and filled it with things that she liked. How she ended up on the beach is that I meditate every morning using the beach as my place of calm and serenity. She greeted me there one day and so she decided to reside there. The others got there in different ways but we kept the sunshine tent as the safe place for the little girls to go to when we are confronted with something stressful and triggering.
You and your insiders deserve a much nicer place to reside T.Clark. The shame that you feel does not belong to you. Others have put that on you. It is not yours. I know that the tentacles of the evil doers twist and bind our lives in feelings of horror, shame and self-loathing but that is an illusion created by them. It is NOT who we are. It is NOT who we were meant to be. It is NOT who we have to be in our here and now. Just take one small step towards kindness T.Clark. If it is too scary to leave the cave, maybe just plug the leaky holes in for now and build a fire for warmth.
My little ones are sending your little ones a soft and cozy sleeping bag to curl up in with some cuddly stuffed bears and maybe some ice cream too!!!
Kennedy to ME+WE says
The sunshine tent sounds so cool! We like the beaches and the woods, too 🙂
Just thinking…maybe during a meditation y’all can vacay to somewhere? We looked up Ireland once and looked at lots and lots of pictures and found out the weather patterns and population and fun places to go, just like if we could actually go in this consensus world life. Then once when we wanted to get away, we went to Ireland. That’s more of a daydream, we didn’t put Ireland inside us. But, it was fun. And we had a pretty good long break. DIDers imaginations are powerful. We had to use it to extremes forever. For us, that world turned dark and lots of daydreams are dark and painful. But, there are times…when focusing on something good and energizing and fun comes up. All of us DIDers need to take advantage of those moments. None of us deserve to stay in the dark.
Great idea Kennedy!!! ☺
I do daydream a bit … okay a lot … but never used such a focused way to do it. I do take breaks and let my insiders take me wherever they want to go. Often this is a “vision quest” with my insider Tom (he describes himself as a Spirit Walker) where we can go to outer space or inside spaces that have all kinds of fanciful trees, bushes, creatures, etc. When I was young, Tom would always take us away from stress on his bicycle to our favourite forest about a mile from the house. We would lay on the bed of leaves in our special spot in the forest and turn into a wood fairy. Then we would dance through the air up to the top canopy of the trees and down through the branches and chase the squirrels or sit and sing with the birds, etc. We also did a LOT of daydreaming in school. Now, I have some fun with the kids – i.e., walks on the beach, swimming, horseback riding, lots of bonfires and marshmallows, sing songs, mediation (yes I encourage them to meditate with me), etc. Often we will revisit places that we have been to in our travels but I have never dream tripped like what you have described Kennedy. That is cool.
We have these remarkably creative minds folks. It is what saved us but, in some ways, it imprisons us in the memories of the past. We need to turn this power into something wonderful for ourselves as well.
Do others take daydream trips with their insiders?
Do other activities on the inside with your folks?
Do you have inside worlds like Kennedy has described?
Would you like to make your inside world nicer?
Sarah D. says
Thank you for the encouragement. I am opening my eyes to new possibilities, which is really going to lend to my healing. I have done very little inside work beyond external safety. I can tell that internal safety is the critical, next process needed for my system. It is a bit overwhelming, it will be a hard road, AND I choose not to be alone in this journey. You have some great ideas.
Hi Sarah D.,
I want to echo T.Clark’s sentiment here – Sarah D. is brave! You have come such a long way. Big KUDOS to you for what you have accomplished. WOW – some really BIG steps in your healing journey. I am so glad that you have found this place. Kathy has tons of material here to help so I encourage you to keep exploring this website. And, you also have a community of DID folks here who are always willing to listen, share and support you.
Sarah D. says
Thank you! I found this website a few months ago and nearly every day since, have been reading. The other day, I was compelled to share. Thank you for genuine validation, I absolutely thrive on it.
I am so glad that you decided to share here. I observed here for three years before I jumped in and started sharing. There is something very healing about talking our stuff out with friends who truly understand. I hope that you feel encouraged to do more sharing as you feel the urge to do so. We are always here willing to hear, share and support you.
So sorry to hear about your accidents and back troubles. That is a struggle I am sure. I wrote a brief description of a mindfulness meditation that I learned to help with pain (on Our Normal Complicated Selves blog). The fellow who teaches the class that I am in has debilitating headaches that laid him up for a year. He now functions through mediation. Maybe something in that meditation will help.
Certainly trying to get back to your “self” before the accidents makes sense although that is obviously going to be tricky since you were not fronting back then. WOW … that is really an interesting hurdle. Getting back to old activities that were pleasurable for you is a really great thing to be doing. Good on you for getting active again. A true inspiration for us all.
Thanks for letting us know how the “slumber party” went. It sounds very successful really. Maybe not everything that you had envisioned but what a great start on getting some sleep. I am going to try it myself.
Hang in there Caden. I want to say “we have your back” but that may not be exactly the right words here. ☺
I forgot to come back and mention that the inside slumber party went fairly well. I told the kids they didnt have to go to bed, but they had to let me sleep. So they could watch movies inside, play, talk, whatever- but they had to leave me alone. 😌So i slept a bit better, and missy and asher (who have been having problems) will woke me up but everyone let me sleep. that was good.
we are trying something new. a bit…. intimidating but i am sure it will be fine.
about 8 years ago i got severly injured when i got rear-ended twice in the same week, and the second time totalled my car. i have had severe back problems since then. and i have other health issues going on.
before that i was very very active. at the gym and at home every day and at
night. i wnt a lot of places. i kept very busy.
with the back problems,i am very limited. i still work out, but i spend almost every evening and weekend on the couch with a heating pad inbtween getting things done.
with many years of treatment my back is beginning to have days where it doesnt hurt. 😲👍🏼Some days are still very bad. But slowly i am doing better.
i want to get back to the level of activity i used to have.
so the past week i have been trying to be more active. its hard because i was NOT the front person eight years ago. so i am not sure what we used to do to keep busy.
but i want to be more like we used to be.
so i have been going to the movies, and doing crafts, and going to the store, things like that.i got up and made the inside kids a chicken sandwich yesterday evening. I made biscuits today.
i have to take it slow. there is a very fine line between my back being ok and them suddenly being in a lot of pain.
i feel very weird. trying to reclaim who we once were before we were injured so bad. i know it will take time. i know it will be baby steps. i know i cant do it all at once, as much as i want to (just being busy for about three hours today has made me have to go back to the couch in a lot of pain.)
so i am not at all sure how to go about it all, or how it will go. but i do need to do it even if it makes me nervous. so, i am working on that.
I have been really sick for three weeks with a couple different things. I am thoroughly sick of hurting and getting sick and have been getting very grumpy and we are all frustrated. We also havent been able to sleep because of exteme coughing, for three weeks.
We decided that tonight, we are going to have an internal slumber party.
Since we cant sleep anyway, and a bunch of the kids are really whiney and exhausted and wont listen, we are going to give up tonight on trying to get everyone down to bed.
we are going to just set up inside sleeping bags, movies, and treats, and just roll with it tonoght. Maybe that will be more fun and interesting. and i wont have to go thrpugh the frustration of getting them to stop crying in order to go to sleep, etc. . i am hoping it will help. Maybe it will be fun.
That sounds like it will help. I hope all of you have fun. Being sick sucks big time! I hope you guys feel better soon.
Love the little doggie picture!
So sorry to hear that you have been down and out sick. Sending you healing energy and virtual chicken soup! I think that your plan is brilliant to have an internal slumber party. If you are up to it, I would really like to hear how that went.
I don’t know why i read this today…but it’s overwhelming. It’s hard to believe that we’ll ever get there. 🙁 That makes me really sad.
We feel similarly, CD. Here’s the thing: we can’t wait to “get there” to start living. Now is happening. We’re not broken. We’re caterpillars living now. Let’s be caterpillars who matter. We can’t despair. Even though it seems far away. Every day is something. Let’s find one rose petal and savor it. Let’s live Now. 4/7/18
I certainly know how crushingly discouraging it can be to feel that you are taking baby steps forward and then giant steps back. When you hear where others are on on their journey and you think: “What the heck am I doing wrong that I cannot get there? or “Would someone please tell me what the magic formula is to healing and hope.” or “When is it going to be my turn?” Well, I guess that those are the questions that I ask myself. I am not sure if any of them fit you or not CD.
The past four and a half years, I was doing very well in my healing journey … or at least I thought. I was feeling like I was making big healing progress with some of my insiders and the history that they were telling me about. I was building cooperation with some of my more troublesome (to me) insiders. I was engaging in new friendships and activities that had me out of the house and doing creative activities and ones designed to help with my healing. I lost 126 pounds and felt that I was finally getting in touch with my body and my true external self. I stopped drinking. I started exercising (that was a HUGE leap). I had stepped out of my shell and began posting here on the DD website. I started to tell my truth, in measured amounts and to a few trusted folks. Well, I just started to feel like I was living MY life for the first time in my life.
Then … BAM … about six months ago, while doing all of these wonderful things, I entered the darkness full on and it is a nasty place to be. I kept most of my new endeavours and struggled to keep myself upbeat and happy. But I have gained a bunch of weight and have drinking bouts again. I lost touch with some of my insiders … well, in all honesty, I did not want to face them and what they had to teach me. Okay, I ran away. I am still running actually but at least I now know that that is what I am doing. I am trying to stop and stand still rather than run blindly head long into the brick wall that I have created for myself to keep me from myself. I am not there yet but the blindfold is off.
Well, this posting does not sound like it fits the topic here does it? Certainly is not a shining example of progress. It does not sound like it is headed for a happy Hollywood ending and surely it is not a warm and fuzzy story of success. But you know what CD, I think that it is.
Five years ago I did not even know that I had insiders let alone have any memory of all of the trauma stuff that they had stored away for me. Yes, I have struggled with finding my insiders, hearing their stories, knowing why they were created and what they feel that they are doing for me now. And, no I have not taken in their stories as my own yet. And, I have run away from some of their stories the past six months. And I have fallen into old ways to try and cope. And, I have felt pain and shame and disgust and anger and hatred and sadness and failure … all directed at me.
But, you know what? That is all success.
Having feelings is success. Knowing about what I do not want to face or am having troubles facing is success. Knowing that I turn to food and alcohol for a whole bunch of reasons of shame, self-soothing and self-punishment that are a manifestation of my childhood trauma is success. Knowing that I have a whole bunch of work left to do with my insiders is success. Knowing that I have truly felt good about myself and whole on those wonderful fleeting occasions is success. Finding new friends who also have DID and who understand who I am and why I am … our amazing community here is success. And finding a place (here at the DD website) where I muster up the courage to say, “I am overwhelmed, I am sad, I am feeling like I am screwing up, I do not know what to do, I need help, etc.” is success. These are treasured gifts of success as well.
You are successful CD. You found this place and are listening, learning and understanding new things every time that you come here. But, most importantly, you are learning to see and speak your truth here. What courage it took to say that you are feeling overwhelmed and sad and that you wonder if you will ever get there. You are on the way now CD. The steps forward may feel infinitesimal but they are there. And you are not alone any more CD. You have a whole big community here of folks who are on the journey with you — some are just catching up to you and some are showing us the way ahead. We are here to give each other welcoming space, support, understanding and above all hope.
We are ALL successful because we have found the courage to own our DID and share with each other here.
CD, One step, one day, one moment at a time. You are in the right place for healing.
We seem to be in a sort of similar boat regarding new T issues.
I went to the new psych doc yesterday and had another group session right after that. The new script doc wants me on an anti-psychotic. She said it’s to help with anxiety. Meh. I’ve never been med compliant and I think, for me, meds don’t work. I had to stress that anti-depressants make me worse (they make the depression so much worse I start thinking about suicide). She listened to that but said this new anti-psychotic wont do that and it will help. Whatever. I will try it. I hate the way those meds make me feel. I had to see her because the therapists, docs, and groups are all through one agency and apparently I cant pick and choose. Bummer. I told her about the chaos inside my head, the voices, and internal worlds. I did not tell her any previous diagnosis. She thought psychosis. She can keep thinking it too. I dont care what she labels me as just as long as she doesn’t try to lock us up. Her supervisor was the first doc to diagnose us MPD/DID. I haven’t ran into her since I’ve been going to this agency again but I figure it’s just a matter of time. The group and that T is getting better. I’ve gone to group three times so far. This first time was a disaster, the second time was okay, the third time I started seeing things a bit differently. I was thinking I would have to butt heads with the T for the group but I’m finding we can let go of a lot of what is said. Anything that is said comes from a limited knowledge base and I know she is trying to be helpful. I just have to remember if I say something to her it wont be kept private. It feels like she’s everyone’s personal broadcasting system. Yesterday she announced in front of everyone something about my insurance. This may be nitpicky but I dont want everyone to know my financial matters. Meh. Anyway. We’ll get all those things ironed out eventually. She also told me she wanted me to set up the new male T appt. I told her we’re not ready. She said it’s okay, I can set up an appt for 2 weeks out. I felt like a child. And then even more so, because after group I just left. I will make an appt for therapy when we are ready. I feel rebellious and like a bad child or something but really I’m doing what I think is best for us as the adult in charge. Maybe next week, to appease her, I will set up a T appt for a month out. 🙂 Even if she is just trying to be helpful it comes across as control to me and I don’t handle that well. I think she is used to having people need her to organize everything for them. I don’t think she is used to people who are higher functioning (I can’t believe I said that about myself, lol) that don’t need her to oversee their care. We are learning. All these doctors and groups and therapists is something we left in the far past. Now it’s all back up again just so we can go to the only trauma recovery group in town. If that group wasn’t worth it we would not have to jump through all the hoops. But it is. So, we are. Good thing is I’m learning to navigate big agency bullsh*t without taking it personally. All this is not about me, it’s about their paperwork and rules and ‘just how they do things’.
One suggestion for you, and something we are learning right now too, is decide what parts of all of it is worth jumping through all the other hoops for. If there is something that is worth all the rest, maybe find a way to do what they want to get what you want.
DK, Maybe “I don’t think you’re DID because you haven’t shown me parts” is the Ts 10-cent parlor trick to get you to show parts. If so, seriously low-brow, low-blow bs.
Are you feeling strong enough to put up with her crap so that hubby and you can work on relationship? Can you see other T without telling new T? If you don’t trust her anyway and she’s really an end to a means, then are you really obligated to let her know? It’s your care. Are we awful for floating this idea?
With all the blogs we’ve had about not getting fired by our Ts, now just finding Ts who don’t suck is sounding like a legit crisis. Love and support in all our T needs. 4/6/18
The other T asked me to tell the old one and run it by her, and my husband both. It has been an exhausting couple of days. We are waiting on insurance approval for online T so we can see the other T. It’s a complicated insurance thing.
I don’t think she did this to get parts to come out, she got angry when we told her trauma wasn’t her strength, relationships are. And she’s angry b/c she doesn’t want us to see the other T.
All we know is that we don’t get better by the T threatening to fire us unless we do, act XYZ.
Thanks for the support on here, everyone! We have felt very out-of-sorts with not knowing which way to turn.
She also said “DID people find out they are DID because other people tell them” like you said your name is XYZ, and the DID person doesn’t remember them. It’s been a long couple of days.
Husband says he won’t do T, anyway, and that he doesn’t see the point. It’s been a difficult weekend.
Sorry. DK. You always have options.
Your T probably thinks Mac n’ cheese grows on cheese. We disagree with her litmus test’s veracity. You are the boss. Listen to your parts and know you’re supported here.
Thanks for the support. Your comment, she thinks Mac n’cheese grows on cheese made us laugh. We needed that! Thank you everyone for listening to our whining!
Oh my DK … my heart goes out to you! It sounds like the new T is seriously against your working with the old T and her at the same time. If your husband is not willing to work with the new T or any other T, it rather releases you from the obligation of having to work with the new T. That all depends on whether or not the old T is available to you or not. Don’t burn any bridges with the new T until you get things sorted out with the old T.
If things do not sort out with the old T, why not try and build a working relationship with the new T around issues with your husband (even if he is not participating). In other words, start working with the new T on your marriage issues first (where you feel her strength lies) and see if that does not help you build stronger ties with her that can potentially lead to work with your insiders and DID.
I tell my students that sometimes you have to change your actions to change your attitude. In the school context, I encourage them to become engaged in their course work and that eventually they may start to find some enjoyment in the material. So, I guess that what I am saying to you is, maybe if you started to build a working relationship with the new T around your relationship issues, you can start to feel more of a warm and healthful connection with her. In turn, she can start to get to know you and will not feel defensive about her abilities to help you. This may lead to you both being able to confront your DID issues in a more cooperative way. Trauma may not be her strength but if she is willing to learn, she can potentially be helpful to you.
We are here for you DK. Remember your words of wisdom to CD – “One step, one day, one moment at a time. You are in the right place for healing.”
DK - T update says
Had a big blow up in T b/c we told the new T we felt invalidated. She says she doesn’t think we have DID, needed to do more research on DID and “internal communication” She was angry b/c we said we would want to work with our old T on trauma, so she said if we did that she would drop us. So she threatened to drop us if we “take up” with the old T b/c of some old transference issues, which we have already worked on. So we don’t need more threats. This is the 2nd time she told us she would fire us as a client. So we are very unhappy with her right now.
On a higher note, the PTSD group went wonderfully, so we celebrate that! We feel so thankful for the chance to see and hear other women talk!
We are seriously not liking your new T.
Threats and invalidation, and apparently ignorance too. Being completely unaware of each other and having no internal communication is a terrible place to be. Being co-con is extremely difficult in its own right and not something to dismiss or snub. Matter of fact, its a really good thing. Kinda weird tho.
I hate those “I’m gonna fire you if you…” threats.
Educating them and waiting for them to catch up is one thing. Personally, it’s something that I would do if I had that vibe we would mesh eventually. But it sounds to me the way she wants everything in YOUR therapy to work out in HER (controlling) way. NO. Sounds just like people who think if they just ignore the others coming out then they go away and the problem is solved. NO NO NO. They go into hiding, nothing gets resolved and resentment builds. Tons of time and money are wasted. You and yours is worth far more than bowing to an arrogant bully. You don’t have to put up with that. Surprise the crap outta her and fire her first. It sounds like a control game to me. You are in control of you and yours. You don’t have to let her. Now that you have a group maybe you can let her go?
RUN DK RUN (is what our insides are saying)
Very glad to hear the PTSD group is working! Hold on to that. And to here.
Not easy, I know. I’m sorry your facing this right now. I do know the sooner you make a decision on how to handle it, the faster and better you can move on. Either it be a new T or keeping the group and doing a lot of internal work without one. You have us, and here, and now a new group. And a SO who sounds supportive. Doesn’t take the place of a trained professional but this T doesn’t sound too trained and that can be more damaging than helpful.
Take Care Of You(s)
Thanks Kennedy. I so feel validated by you. I told her the name of this website, and part of my therapy is to work on marriage issues. The issue is that if I fire her, my husband said he won’t go to therapy there either to work on marriage T. (They require both of us to be a client). And my husband doesn’t care for T, either. So it was a wonder he even went in.
The issue is that she thinks my old T is bad for us, had no boundaries, and my transference with her (past) interfered with my relationship with my husband. We did work on this when I first started therapy, and I felt much better about it after talking it out.
I told her her high boundaries make her come across as “icy” and that that doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t feel comfortable showing her any parts when she is so rigid.
I told her her strength is relationships, not DID or trauma. So my solution was to see someone who could treat DID. She said in her opinion I didn’t have DID and only the last T diagnosed it, not a psychiatrist. So since I haven’t shown her parts she thinks I don’t have it.
So, the meeting was a disaster. She told me to think about it, and if I see my old T, than I am fired. Great. So my husband can’t get treatment if I quit, b/c he said he will quit too.
I had a rough day. Still thinking about all of this, and ended up with a massage migraine today. Also, my old T lives far away, and ins. may not cover video sessions as it is an HMO.
I need some good vibes, friends. I don’t know what to do.
Oh my … I am so very sorry to hear this. It sure does not sound like a relationship conducive for healing that is for sure. Kennedy has experience here so I will defer to her perspective as I have never had this issue personally. I am just thinking though that maybe it might be helpful to book some time with Kathy (click on the “consultations” link at the top of the page) to help you sort things out (like yes you are DID). I seem to recall that Kathy does some work with folks in consultation with their Ts. Not sure if I am just imagining this or not. Worth checking out. Kathy would be the one to give you the straight and informed perspective.
In the meantime, my thoughts and positive energy are sent your way. Thanks for updating us and letting us know that the PTSD group is going so well. Good news there.
Today I did two things for myself that really helped.
I have been really down in the dumps since January when someone who was visiting left. I had had a lot of fun with that person, and then me and the inside kids were back on our own again. So i havent felt like doing anything. I have pretty much avoided leaving the house.
Today I HAD to run some errands. Didnt want to. But I made myself get out of the house, run my errands,(its been 3 months. and I couldnt remember how to get to the store🙄) and then to relax I went swimming in a beautiful outdoor pool where the sunshine and cool water really were refreshing.
So, making myself get out of the house (besides for work) and going out to do something fun at the gym are a big deal right now for me.
And we are still all plodding along trying to find ways to help a few smalle inside kids… not any progress on that yet, but we will keep trying.
DK - Help Needed says
It looks like we will be doing some planning for the new PTSD class. What topics do you think should be covered? So far we have, art therapy, yoga, peace flags, coping skills, meditation, local resources for help. What else?
What has helped you the most in your healing journey?
art therapy has always been something very helpful for us, we wish we could do it more often;, & coping skills.
But really the biggest thing that helps us is just getting to talk. Art, yoga, writing, and those other things are great, but talking helps us the most.
Today we figured out something to help ourselves.
Well actually I did so,ething good for a change instead of causing problems.
We have really restless legs. We take magnesium tablets to help.
Well before vacation we ran out, and forgot to order more.
So we have been getting more miserable all week long with very kicky feet and restless kids. Tonight we could not stop moving. It makes me feel crazy.
Even though we ordred more pills it will be a few days before they get here.
But I found this drink mix we have called natural calm that has magnesium.
They have it in the house to help me and Jadie calm down when we get really bad off. A lot of people give it to kids with autism or sensory processing issues.
So we took that and half an hour later our legs calmed down a lot.
So for once everyone inside is happy with me becuase I thought of something good.
For once I did something ething good.
How inspiring you are Rachel, Missy, Mindy and Caden. Thank you for sharing your wonderful progress in healing and cooperation with one another. You are doing awesome work that uplifts us all to hear.
And oh my DK … I am just so touched by your courage and growth. Breaking the silence with your husband is such a HUGE step. It sounds like he took it well. What a wonderful gift to give each other – your gift to your husband of trust, respect and understanding of your deepest secrets and wounds and your husband’s gift to you of hearing and support for what you need. WOW!!!
Then you are starting a PTSD support group?! This is such a leap out of your comfort zone. And, it helps others as you help yourself. Another BIG WOW!!!
BIG KUDOS all around friends!!!!
We have been scared to talk about abuse and we finally told our husband about it. His response was that we didn’t have to deal with our abuser EVER again if we wanted, so that is good.
Also, we are starting PTSD support group for women to be able to share our story and healing journey. This is big for us, because we don’t share much with others.
Maybe a group setting will be helpful.
We are starting in a trauma group soon, too.
I am more hopeful about that than I am with this new T person.
We saw her again yesterday, don’t think it’s gonna work out.
My next step with her is to tell her we want to change individual therapists.
I hope group works well for you.
And for us too.
T. Clark says
DK, when I hear that you can trust your husband and take steps to heal yourself, such as starting a PTSD support group, my heart leaps with awe at your bravery and relief that you care this much about yourself and hope that you are now on your way toward the best days of your life! You literally are our hero. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with this community. We can feel strength from your words. 3/20/18
That is so kind, T. Clarke. Your words have really encouraged us to stick with it and be honest with ourselves. Sharing our story takes away the shame, or hopefully will at least lesson it.
I actually did something today that is progress for me, personally.
Its the last day of spring break and I managed to be REALLY lazy today. Its really hard for me to be still, and not do stuff for work.
I have always had a lot of internal negative tapes in my head about how it is not ok for me to be still, that i have to always be working, that its not ok to give myself a day off.
so to be able to ignore those internal messages today is a big deal for me.
we didnt even get out of bed until 11.i didnt get off the couch to get a bowl of cereal for breakfast until 2:00. i have mostly been zoning out all day on the couch with my dogi. didnt even go to the gym, i decided to be still and take care of my body today since i have a bad headache and my body is achy from hiking. I ate a little bit of dinner, and watched a movie.
So for me, to take a whole day to just rest, decide to not do any work, and give myself a break is progress for me.
During the night we had some thing happen we waited a long long time for we finaly have missy taked care of and we been trying a long time but she finaly letted us. she been making evrebody mad for lots and lots of years espeshally caden and our talker lady but we think mabey she be doing some thing good. ⭐️
she finaly let us put her in a safe place. and she have clothes on and a doll and a pillow and a book. and Mindy is there keeping her company . so that is good for Mindy to be a helper. and missy seems to like mindy and be lisening to her 👧🏻👩🏼
and she finaly lisen to us about the bad people. she seem like she dont really under stand but she be lisening and she be saying ok. whitch is a big deal for her. and she asked us questions about some things our talker lady said to her and when we said yes that our talker lady was right it seemed to make her happy even thowe she was still confused.
so hopefuly that is good news. with missy we never no for sure how long things will last. she changes her mind a lot when she gets bigger or smaller. caden say that with missy some times we might have to take whatever we can get. but it feel really good that missy be somwhare safe and she be lisening today
you no what i notist today?
nobody inside have hurted each other in a long long time
that is weird
Kathy Broady MSW says
That is EXCELLENT news, Tuck. REALLY good news.
No one in your system needs to be hurt ever again, and especially not from each other.
Y’all are all on the same team, so the more you work together, the better!
Gold stars for being safer with your own selves!!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️
So awesome, Tuck! May peace be your friend 3/17/18
WOW … high fives all around Tuck! That is super incredible news. Thank you so much for sharing that with us all!
We have been on vacation for a few days. I think this trip was really good for the kids. Especially tuck and his gang. He had such a great adventure- in fact it was tuck out in front for most of it. It was really great to see him learning things so he could teach his group of inside boys. i liked watching the inside kids be awed by the things we saw on our trip. Even some of the inside girls drcided to be brave and come out to have fun . quite a few kids still stayed inside of course like they always do. But i feel like our trip really brought many of the inside kids more together as friends and a little family. That was really good to watch.
They have come such a long way in the past year.
I have a new T but she says she’s never heard of DID people having internal communication. We have been too shy to show her all the parts. We are scared to trust her. We want to hide because we are scared to tell anyone. Now we wonder what to do. We got in a fight with the new T b/c she says only 1 appt a week, and we can’t call in with crises. We have to go to the ER or call the number. We are not thinking of hurting ourself, we are overwhelmed. We want to quit therapy again but we are forcing ourself to go. 3/8/17
I can’t imagine a T (who really knows anything about DID) saying they never saw co-con. I’m sorry she said that to you guys.
We are in sorta the same boat as you. We recently lost our T and have to find one that fits with us. It’s so hard to do. I wish I could tell you something encouraging but I think the only thing I can say is eventually it will work out for you. I know for me I will stick around someone I know won’t be as helpful as I’d like just so I dont have to go out there again. Plus, I think if I just change, or what I’m doing is wrong, etc… Somehow, however I can, I will protect them in my mind and dismiss my own feelings.
One suggestion is to wait until the overwhelming feelings settle a little before making decision. A lot of times I react in the moment then feel bad later because if I had to do it over again I would chose something else. I don’t really have a lot of control of critical thinking when I’m feeling panicky.
Take Care Of You(s)
Hello Dear DK,
I am so glad that you wrote here. I was wondering how you were doing and was a bit worried about you. Hum … sure sounds like there are some struggles with the new T. Kennedy has offered a super suggestion to sit tight for a bit before making any big decisions about the new T. Hum … but I am with Kennedy in not understanding how the new T cannot see internal communication and co-consciousness as not just possible but vital in the healing process for DID. Maybe you could print off some of Kathy’s blog articles on these topics and give them to your T. That may be the best test on how well they understand DID, or at least are willing to learn about DID, from which you can then make a decision about whether or not this T is a good fit for you.
As always DK, we are here to listen and support you in any way that we can. You are not walking this path alone DK. You have folks here who truly understand and sincerely care about you and your healing journey.
ME + WE,
I missed this post! We have felt invalidated by the new T. We got in huge fight with her over the scheduling process and we got mad at the receptionist for not letting us make appt. We ended up talking it out, but it was intense.
The new T strength seems to be relationships. We struggle with marriage a lot, so we are going to do marriage therapy soon.
We are starting a new PTSD group in a few weeks, too. Hopefully it will go well. If anything, I hope to become closer to a few ladies I invited personally.
Today we are struggling with trying to figure out how to see another T, and get all the stuff in order for that. We have to be patient, and we may try doing video therapy from home.
We also started a new cleaning business, as we suffer from OCD anyway, and we are trying to be more independent and functional. So we are excited about that.
So we are toying with the idea of having 2 therapists, one for marriage issues, and the other for dealing with DID. What do you guys think?
WOW … you have taken on quite a big agenda of new beginnings here. Good for you!!! That takes a lot of strength and courage. Kudos to you for jumping into life with such gusto. Just be careful not to burn yourself out okay? Take time to integrate all of the new stuff that you are doing and do lots of nice, nurturing things for yourself.
Hum … as to your question … I do not personally feel that there is anything wrong in having two different therapists to deal with different things. My husband (who deals with PTSD) sees two different therapist because they have two different things to offer him (neuro feedback with one and EMDR with the other and talk therapy with both). No harm in trying. You do not have to continue with two therapists if it is not working out.
Slow and easy wins the race DK! ☺
Even tho we woke up lots the last 3 nights from night mers and we were afraid to go to bed last night we did try somthing new.
the man that live here he tot us this tapping thing. you tap on you chest and eye brows and diffrent places. it suppost to calm you down from angziety.
we had to do it 2 times. becuse mae was so panicky. we were so afraid of waking up screaming again. but after we did it the 2nd time all a sudden we got really sleepy and falled asleep in just a minite.
he be learning it in a new class he taking for therapists. he be having to do case studys for a paper. he dont gona do us. but he tried it on us to see if it culd help us calm down and it did.
so we gona try it agan tonite becuse we be in a lot of pain tonite cuz we had to get 9 shots. and we hurt real bad. but we be hoping it will help again becuse it worked real good last nigt
First of all, I am so sorry to hear that things have been so upsetting for you Rachel and the rest of your system insiders. Mindy spoke in another blog about how some of the insiders are working in teams now to help one another. Awesome!
Great suggestion about the tapping. My husband’s T taught him this technique as well. It does help. There are instructions here if other folks want to try:
My T (and my husband’s T) both suggested Progressive Muscle Relation.
That helps my husband with his PTSD. To be honest, I found Progressive Muscle Relation too triggering for me (i.e., feeling my body tensing and relaxing). My T made an audio for me that took me through the same process but by thinking relaxation into parts of my body rather than actually engaging those parts physically.
last nigt we had to do the tapping 3 times becs we cudnt com down
but then it werkt good
and we only woke up 2times
so that is betr
Oh my Kathy but you have done it again … graced us with your wisdom and insight in such a compassionate and understanding way to help us learn, grow and heal. I worked at reading your blog here over four sittings. I just could not take it all in at once. At first I was a bit depressed that maybe I had not come as far as I had hoped in my healing journey and then I started to tick some of the boxes – not fully and completely but enough to see that there is healing and hope. Thank you!
With sincere regard,
We see all the work ahead. We are at the first steps. It has been 1 year since we started learning and trying.
We’re not quitters. We want it to go faster, and the opposite is what works for us: slow, deliberate, methodical; one thing at a time.
Little cried from reading about being alone and dirty. An adult cradled him and whisked him to the present. He doesn’t understand the present yet. We’ll keep practicing.
Thanks for the markers of progress, Kathy. We’ll look for these on our journey. 3/3/18
rachel and Wendy says
we liked reading this.
and we liked all the rain bowy pictures.
we dont mind having DID.
We like being this way.
we trying to do everything on this list.
Wendy and rachel
This is an excellent post!
It is great to be able to actually see and acknowledge the areas where we have made progress, and it is also great to be able to clearly identify areas where our system needs to grow.
I felt very hopeful and encouraged about the healing process after reading this post.
How do I make a post on here/ ask a question not necessarily related to a specific article on here?
Kathy Broady MSW says
Welcome to Discussing Dissociation. 🙂
ummmm… It’s okay to write your post / question wherever you think it might fit best. On the right hand column of the site (or scroll way way way way down if you are looking at the site on a phone) and you’ll see an area for the latest comments that come in. Lots of the readers here check that, and will hopefully be able to see – find – respond to your question that way.
Thanks for your interest! Happy writing. 🙂
This is so badass!
Lately we have been discussing the different ways we’ve improved over time and it was getting discouraging and difficult to come up with things that showed our progress. Then, we read this article and BAM!, in your “Signs of progress…” bullet lists we have found a new way to see ourselves. Some of those topics mentioned we are working on for the first time, some we haven’t gotten to yet, a lot we have worked on and will work on some more, and some we have got to the point where they are normal, natural, everyday common things we do now that we forgot they were not normal, natural, everyday common things in the past. Like seeing each other as friends and family (good family, our people, our tribe).
Yay! TYVM! You Rock! 🙂
(We will print this out and have it close and handy for the times anyone is feeling like nothing has changed and we will never be any better than we were. A good tool to combat those thoughts and feelings of worthlessness.)