October is a particularly heavy month for most dissociative trauma survivors. It’s the changing of the seasons, and the time when darker sides of many DID systems surface. October is when many of the darker insiders have had trauma memories, and it’s typically a month when many dissociative survivors feel heightened PTSD symptoms, fear, and anxiety. It’s a month filled with significant dates for anyone with a Ritual Abuse trauma history. This makes October an excellent time for working with your Dark Side Insiders from your dissociative system.
While working with these parts is crucial for your healing, this level of DID system work can also feel difficult, overwhelming, scary…. because it is. At the same time, in October, while those darker parts of your system are more reachable, this is a time when you can make significant growth and change as well.
So with all that in mind, I was going about doing my Consultation work this month…..
And then I got this email from KenKens:
I know yous sooo busy, but I just read this thread of emails and thought that so many others could benefit from what u told us. Especially this time of year knowing it’s coming, it’s already here, what u said about being smart and not waiting. The NO people, Safety box, just everything. Preemptive measures. If u have the time and energy, u could write this up as an article to help bunches of ppl. Include your physical aftershock feelings wanting to avoid coffee grinder noise, cuz peeps can understand triggers. And the grouchy bear and everything. And powering through. Yep. You rock!
That was a surprise.
As you can see, our KenKen has volunteered to show and share another example of working with Dark Side insiders, and she hopes that you will find this information helpful for your own October DID system work as well.
Working with your dark insiders is not a quick process, but their healing has to start somewhere.
It is essential to move all your system parts from darkness to light.
And as we all know, DID system dark insiders are often full of trauma memories. They are often in great pain, struggling, fearful, wounded, upset, angry, etc.
SO…. in this situation, scooting back to where our conversation began…..
— Note: trigger warning for heavy duty emotional stuff —
everything feels so bad everything hurts i want to die i want to go away i want to scream and kill people and destroy everything and burn and die i want it to go away i want to die i want out i want to not hurt and not think and not feel and be numb and sleep forever and never wake up i hate this world i hate everyone in it why do people who say they have the same problems as us always shun us when we start talking about what happened. that always happens im angry im mad mad mad. its not fair. i want to hurt people. i want to jump out of the car when its going really fast i want to hang this stupid body and never see it again i want to destroy the world i want to hate everybody i want them to die i want to kill everybody i want out out out i want my mom. i want her to tell me to shut up and hit me and make me forget and make me behave everything is wrong bad wrong upside down i hate this world i hate it
Oh my goodness…. someone was feeling really really rough, hey??
The NO people…WE LOVE THAT! Thanks for the idea too. Working on all of it, I promise. And love the idea of memories going into Safe-keeping so we dont get flooded. We are gonna work on that too! So sorry we been so crazy lately. Seems like we never have anything pleasant or light to say anymore on DD. I hope that doesn’t make anyone not want to be around there. We so much appreciate you KATHYBEAR. Everything you have done for us, gone outta your way to do for us. We dont deserve it but we are absolutely 100% grateful. And we will work on these suggestions. PROMISE!Chain saw noise would set us off through the roof! and almost 8 hours non-stop?! I bet the internal tension and body tension was painful. Im glad its over for you now.KenKens
NO is for no more starvingNO is for no more darknessNO is for no more painNO is for no more obedience to bad peopleWe can shout out NO! Every time our boundaries are violated!We can shout out NO! And not be afraid.We have friends who will stand beside usWe have safe places to beWe can be the Neutral OnesWe wont follow either sideWe will watch and waitWe will make up our own minds what it means to be freeWe are having a problem with getting people to understand they wont disappear if they put their memories in a safe deposit box. I hope we can get this part figured out, cuz we sure could use that. If we can do that I think this month may go better than it has ever gone before. For now, we are broadcasting out into the darkness telling them they dont have to be stuck and frozen to where they are anymore. And we have teams going out on searches. We have an auditorium set up for temp housing and triage. This year we are gonna tear it all down; go get all of the rest of our systems out of the dark. We can see light starting to spread like early morning just before daybreak. I’m so excited to see the sun rise inside. We figure there will be backlash. But we have been dealing with that for years. Used to white-knuckle it through by sitting in our chair not daring to move but maybe this time around we can do more. We know how to say no to the suicidal urges and extreme demands. Its hard. It feels almost impossible. We already know it is actually possible cuz we’ve already done it many times. This time we can scream a great big collective shout NO MORE!
Yes. Your last email was so very very good. It made us understand and believe we are really going to be okay. No one disappear and even better than that… we are finding the light. This makes me cry happy.
For You, the Reader
- How can you apply what you have read to your own healing process?
- How do you relate to the struggles KenKens were having?
- How are you helping your own dark insiders this month?
- For that matter, how are you helping your dark side parts every month?
- Are your dark side parts willing to move over to the light side?
- Why or why not, and what would help facilitate that process?
Key Healing Elements for DID System Work
1. Your system belongs to you, and if you make the decision to not belong to dark worlds, then please don’t leave any of your internal system stuck in darkness either.
Be willing to move all your DID system parts from darkness to light.
Everyone gets to come with!
2. Every single everybody in your entire DID system deserves healing, comfort, compassion, understanding, warmth, clothing, food, protection, companionship, fun, safety, light, etc. — on the outside AND inside.
3. Your dark insiders helped you manage very difficult times in your life. They were split off to be present for traumatic situations that you could not escape from. Your dark insiders are not your enemy — it is not their fault they were exposed to the terrors or horrors that they saw. Remember who the abusers are, and don’t blame your insiders for being brave enough to manage the impossible.
4. Have the courage to talk to everyone in your system!
5. It’s okay to manage your healing process in small steps. The whole of everything doesn’t have to be tackled at one time, and in fact, it’s better to inch your way through, doing a little bit, then a little bit more, then a little bit more.
6. Reframe the strengths of your dark insiders in a way that feels strong, positive, helpful, and encouraging for you and for them. These dark parts have had to muster an incredible amount of strength to get through their trauma, so the more you can honor their abilities, the better.
7. Absolutely resist and refuse to comply with self-injury, self-destruction or suicidal thoughts, instructions, memories, or messages. You do not ever ever ever have to hurt yourself again. You and your insiders have been through far too much pain and trauma already, and now you are allowed to have comfort and safety without having to have new incidents of physical pain or torture.
As always, I wish ALL of you the very best in your healing journeys. May ALL your parts find their way from darkness to light.
Copyright © 2008-2022 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
There was a time when we saw a section of Inside that held stuff that made no sense to us…if felt really disconnected but we saw it….but for a good while now we have been dealing with young parts who are chronically triggered by current Outside stuff….so now our world seems to revolve around trying to deal with THEM….so what happened to that other section? …..Did we make it up or something?…..We “remember” we saw it but it is not “in our face” anymore….just sits in the background “nagging” us like something we can’t quite get to……so weird how Inside feels like it has “sections”….like a “world within a world”……what do you do with THAT?…….
Even with all the recent overwhelm we have been dealing with….that “nagging” feeling just doesn’t seem to go away……we made it up?….or we DIDN’T make it up?…..maybe one day we will know…….
we got a inside boy his name be Judah. he did use to be really really bad all the time. then our talker lady got him to learn to be good. he be doing better mosly. this week he being really bad again. becuse of inside stuff. he acting up lots. we still got to learn him how to be good even when we be strest out. that be the tricky part. but mosly he be doing lots better.
Just an idea that may or may not work for you. Kathy has outlined so many of the ways to help our insiders stuck in darkness feel the caring, compassion and safety of existence in the light. I would like to add one more idea. For a few years, my most dark, angry and destructive insider was known as “Angry One”. That is what the little insiders called her and the name certainly seemed to fit her personality. Then one day my husband said, “maybe Angry One would like to have a nicer name or maybe even has another name … have you ever asked her?” So, I got up the courage to ask her (we do not normally communicate much or well). She said that her name was Victoria. That certainly is a huge improvement on “Angry One” and allows her to just be who she is not defined by her anger.
I have two groups of folks – one group is mostly little ones who live on a beach with an old woman internal helper. The second group are teenagers who live up in the dark woods solitary watched over by another internal helper. Actually, two of my little ones were lost at one time in the woods but were eventually found and brought to the beach. One of the teenagers (Fury) is covered in open wounds and scars and lived with a pack of wolves in a cold, dark, damp cave. A couple of months ago, I decided that her living conditions were just not right and wanted her to come down to the beach (the light) to live. I sent one of my boy insiders (12 year old Tom) up to the cave to encourage her to come down to the beach. I thought that she could best relate to Tom. He is also a great helper.
So, Tom went up to the cave and talked to Fury. Eventually, she agreed to come down to the beach. But, the beach was too bright and there were just too many other folks there for her to deal with living there. She wanted to go back to her cave. Tom went into action and encouraged her not to leave. He built her a nice little cabin up in the woods close enough for her to see the beach through the trees but far enough away for her to have solitude.
All of my little ones decided to go up and visit Fury one day and to bring her blankets, stuffies and their favourite foods, etc. One of the little ones that came with us is called Despairia (she was one of the little ones lost in the woods at one time). When Despairia and Fury saw one another there was an explosion in my head. Turned out that they were sisters long separated and were excited to see one another. Despairia asked if she could live with Fury so now they are together. Several weeks ago, I visited them and asked them if they would like to choose names for themselves. I think that they have decided on names (actually they woke me up to tell me this one night) but I cannot exactly remember.
Anyway … just more food for thought. Maybe other folks can tell how they were able to reach out and guide their insiders out of the darkness and into the Land of NO.
KenKen To ME+WE says
We totally understand the need for solitude for some insiders. It’s good to hear Despairia and Fury are sisters that found each other and now they can be together. Tom is such a huge help to all of yous. Im glad you have him with you. And, we have had lots of insiders change their names, too. Lots of them went by job titles that were awful sounding. Them being able to choose their own names that gave them dignity and respect did go a long way with making them feel more a part of our community. Good idea for helping dark side alters feel better about themselves. We 💕 yous!
I really like what you said … “Them being able to choose their own names that gave them dignity and respect did go a long way with making them feel more a part of our community.” Bang on. It is all about recapturing dignity and respect isn’t it? Now it is our job to offer ourselves those gifts.
Tom is one of my internal heroes for sure. As much as we tend to speak of the insiders that cause us concern and “issues” I just want to give a BIG SHOUT OUT to all of our insiders who bring us joy, help, laughter, and understanding. We see you too!!!
Thought that you would like the cat analogy (shout out to Mr. Mere). ☺
Sometimes I wonder if this blog is a part of my internal system. It always amazes me how certain topics come up when I need answers. I feel like my walls are crumbling and that’s scary to me. I have been in control so we could look “”Normal on the outside.”
I don’t know if any of the other systems have a person like me, the one that is in charge of the inside? I am Missy . I know a lot of you like Me+We , MultipleMe Naturelover, HazEL and KenKen. Just to name a few.
.( You all Know Lori or Lori am I ) she was going through a rough spot. With the secret that I have been holding that she’s not birth Lori. This hurt her feelings that she was kept in the dark .She always believe she was the birth Lori Anyhow that upset a lot of people in our system. They all have begun questioning the way things are run.
I guess you could all say I am that locked box for us.
KenKen I am that part that keeps all of the systems that are not in the primary group locked up. How do I convince myself that it is time to let everybody out of their rooms?
How do I do know that those parts will not start telling the stories of our lives
LORI2 had that happen to her this weekend . That was scary for her and she’s having it play over and over. Trying to Comprehend and believe in how horrible people are How the thought processing is done for torturing others. If I bring all of them out of the dark at once . Wouldn’t that end us up in the nut house? I am sure this makes me the bad person that I am keeping some of the system part
Lock up. Captured to keep them safe in my world but doesn’t believe in our complicated minds and bodies . So this all being said how do I find the strength, the believe, and in the knowledge, on how to let everyone out of the dark including the birth Lori? The trust , feeling the safety, and for all that is needed to allow all of this to happen,
KenKen to Missy says
This is a huge topic you describe here. I hope others in the community jump in and we can all spitball some ideas of how to help you help your systems.
From what I can understand (just by reading what you said, I dont really know), you are the gatekeeper? Is that right? The one who allows people in and out to the Outside World? That’s good news. You are not the bad person, you are very very necessary. I think everyone in your systems needs you. I bet you get worn out a lot, too. Kinda gotta always be awake and aware of everything. You are absolutely needed to do your job. It also means you know a lot of information like; who’s around, how many, what ages, what different personality types, their jobs, abilities, etc. Since you are in charge on inside you have knowledge of others that are in charge of different things too.
I’m just thinking out loud here, but maybe you can get together with a few other manager type people inside and talk about moving some of your dissociative walls. Like Kathy was telling us. We can move the walls to where the kids can come closer to this world, this time and place, without flooding us with memories by placing the memories in safety deposit boxes. They are being moved into a Neutral area. Not light, not dark. Not close to out here. Not yet. ( btw, not at all an easy process. lots of issues come up outta the blue we gotta tackle)
Maybe in your case, you can see if groups of people can be let out of their rooms and gather together. I know one of the major rules for us was no one was allowed to move from their places unless directed and they never got to congregate. So nobody got to even know there was anybody else, let alone talk to each other. Maybe in your case you can start with people you know who can tolerate being around some others and go slow. Start with one group, let them get to know each other, let them meet another group. Maybe that will help, instead of keeping them isolated in one person rooms, you can get small groups together in different places and let them adjust. Then let groups meet groups. And build from there.
All this work is done internally and blocked from out here, yet a lot of emotions get leaked and the fronts get easily overwhelmed. Putting memories in safety deposit boxes hopefully will be helping that issue in our case. We are working on that. We need to have a buffer place. An in-between area. Cuz we can’t deal with parts waking up into this world from their trauma. We need the Neutral area, not here not there, so they can adjust to the new inside before we teach them about out here.
You are still in charge of when, who, and how people come out. Sissy is a part of your system, yes? Maybe the two of you can get some creative juices flowing and see what you can do. You have done an awesome job at your job and your entire system has survived because of it. Just letting everyone out of their rooms all at once in a willy nilly kind of way would cause havoc. I can see that. I would say get together with the other adults/managers/bosses/leaders and see if you can come up with a way that will work for all of you.
How do you find the strength, belief, and knowledge on how to let everyone out of the dark? The knowledge will come, ask lots of questions, talk lots to people here and your T and others that can be helpful to you. The belief you already have some of, do small things, set yourself up for small successes, get help from others inside to help you succeed. The strength? You may not believe this, but you already have the strength. You would not have survived if you didn’t.
Keep writing, keep asking questions, keep wondering, keep up the good work! Let us know how yous are doing.
Missy, this is much how we feel – not sure how to move forward when it feels so very necessary to keep things locked away. I think it’s a very difficult and lonely job that you have, and it’s hard to be in charge of maintaining a balance so no one gets too overwhelmed. We’re often (always) afraid that it will spill out everywhere because that feels like it would destroy us.
I don’t know who I am. I don’t know if I was born into the body or if I came along later. We wish we knew because it’s hard to not know who you are.
The thing that has worked best for us is trying to get to neutral instead of good/happy/comfort. When we started trying to communicate with each other we all hated one another so much and no one trusted each other and everyone hurt one another. We put up a bulletin board inside and I would put up notices of things I wanted to tell them so they could along when no one was looking and read them without anyone knowing that they were cooperating in even the smallest way. Now I can usually say things, although if they’re upset with me it still feels like I’m talking into emptiness because they won’t let on that they are there, much less listening. Even if I’m upset I try to say things as neutrally as possible (just facts like “I hear what you are saying” which I mean in the most literal way possible).
I like the idea of getting dark ones to a neutral place instead of trying to go directly into light. I think it would be less likely to backfire if I did that.
Sorry, I’m super talking way, way too much tonight. I had a really hard day (well, just the end) and parts are unsettled and we have a really bad feeling about something and that is making us feel desperate to not feel so alone with this.
I’m sorry you had a hard day. I’m very greatful that you took the time to stay forced and post.
You might have read about our internal Bolton board. What of the things that have been done recently. Is having a recording of people that are safe on the outside. Which sometimes is a little strange hear people from the outside in the inside. Recently the volume has been turned up and it’s been reaching out to some of the darkest places. So I have to wonder is this what is causing the Littles too want to venture Outside the body? It’s got to be so confusing to hear loving voices, and people being kind. Lori Chose to toss it into us. She wanted all of us primaries to have a Instant reminder if needed that we are worth something other than abuse, We also use our bulletin board to put announcements for when we’re going to have family therapy or so-called board meetings. We use it to communicate animation that is needed to share what to receive from a awesome very intelligent therapist and her Cochair.
She has recommended to us all the same things you all have done. sometimes I think you just need to hear it from someone that’s living it,
Clancey Jane says
Missy, you are doing a great job and asking for help and opinions of others is incredibly brave of you. I think everyone has some great feedback that might be helpful. I did think about when I was and currently going through some of the same issues…. I thought that I could get some of the dark ones over to another side or just to stop reliving the past. It took me a lot of time and angst to even approach these parts bc I was so scared and other parts were also frightened of what they might say or memories that may come flooding out.
Sometimes if I am able to think of my parts as my own children at the same age(s) I am able to look at them in a completely different light. Say one of your scariest parts is ??? old…well I think back to when my daughter was that old… mb 5ish… I think how she would act, what she might want or like, and that would be just to get close to her to have her try and trust me. Why do kids yell and scream…. to get someone’s attention, to let someone know they are hurt or scared etc… I can imagine the idea of “unlocking” all the doors is daunting to say the least. I think we can say we have all been there.
Missy, understand that not all of them are going to want to come out and they may not trust anyone. They may act out if they sense the rest of the system is scared. Remember Hurt people Hurt people… and keeping them locked away may make some of them scared…not all. What I have done in this same exact situation was put plexiglass partitions up and put comfort items at the front of the opening. Their door was open but they could go back in there space if they wanted. You might also want to have an emergency button where they can get assistance immediately.
I utilize treasure boxes ALL around my internal world and when a part comes up to it he/she just has to wish of whatever they want and it will appear. There are restrictions on the box and what it will and will not honor. (Only positive)
I know I’m rambling…. but this is a huge huddle I still struggle with….. on the dark side I have Dragons and some other types of protection for these parts that are constantly on watch so the parts can rest. They can call on the dragon at anytime to see that the dragon will come… oh I almost forgot I have covered the dark space with an invisible dome.. No one can see the parts if they come out…. and to make certain certain….. they go to the treasure box and put on that Harry Potter invisibility robe…
Hope that helps…
Best of luck Clancey Jane
Dearest KenKen and KBear,
This article is stunning in its bold, raw presentation of life with DID, depth of compassion, insight and enlightenment and just plain hard, hard work. I have told you this privately KenKen but I want to shout it out here – you are such a beautiful, courageous, creative, outstanding person that I am honoured and proud to call my friend, my muse, my mentor, my hero, my heart sister. You super rock our DID world girl!!!
Just so many valuable insights abound here. Thank you both for your generosity in sharing this healing journey. Simply brilliant!
❤️👑🐥🍧 (the ice cream from Squirrel)
Pamela Beauvais says
Very good!!! Thanks mucho!
to JaNe dOe and Sarah D says
JaNe dOe and Sarah D,
We are sooooo happy to see this!!!!
This response right here is WHY we want to share our process with everyone. Cuz maybe, just maybe, there are people out there that can use parts of what we do to help themselves. Kathy spent so much time and energy writing back and forth with us. Her responses to us are gold and we want her to share with all of yous what she tells us. Our first email to her was a week before the rest of the conversation, and she helped us so much. We have to share it with everyone cuz what she said to us, everyone else can use to hear. Yous experiencing hope deep within your system makes us so happy.
JaNe dOe is a NO person!!! She is brave, very brave. She is smart, she is kind, she is sensitive and compassionate. JeNNy cares very much for her. They are close in age and it sounds like they know lots of what the other has gone through, even if not the actual events. It helps so much to have friends.
Keep up the good work yous been doing. I hope you and Jane can find each other inside where you no longer experience amnesia. She is alone and needs to be found. I’m also glad to hear she is reaching out to your T.
Progress. We know yous work very hard. We know it will happen. Can’t wait to hear you and JaNe tell us yous can hear/see each other. That would melt my heart.
Sarah D. says
Thank you for this!!!!
You are so very brave, strong, and compassionate. So many of the words you have written throughout this entire blog have resonated with me. I feel most connected with you and your system. I have never met a person that I could relate to so well. You are a true hero. The fact that you were willing to share such a vulnerable process with the world more than once in the past few months is admirable. I hope to be half as brave to be able to heal my system.
When you freely wrote about your distress back in July, one of my parts responded. That is quite significant and a great gift for me. Because of the amnesia I experience, I needed to withdraw from everything online and stay safe. That part is now starting to communicate with my T, after Jenny’s encouragement to write, leave notes and messages. She has found connection with JeNNy as an example of getting away from the dark. JaNe dOe wants to be a NO person too!
When I read this from KenKens, “We can see light starting to spread like early morning just before daybreak”, I experienced hope deep within my system.
With Gratitude and awe,
14 October 2018
Wow, KenKens. Just wow. The bravery to ask for help from your KBear. The wisdom to see and name your internal structures. The love to share these gifts with your community. I am grateful, in awe of yous.
My favorite Disney moment is Let It Go song in Frozen. Oh, how hopeful:
No right, no wrong, no rules for me! I’m free!
And, like you, she finally stands in the light of day and faces her new future in temporary housing she has built.
My system will rededicate itself to creating understanding and nurturing for punisher and all protectors. Aren’t all my parts true protectors? I found out recently that they are.
Great help, Kathy, from this post. Thanks.
Much love to you, KenKen. 💕🐈🤩 10/14/18
KenKen to TClark says
Never seen Frozen. Must rent and watch. 🙂
I agree that all parts are true protectors.
We adore yous 💕😍🤗🐻
I could write a million things in response to this. It’s overwhelming how much it is… we don’t where to start. Except I guess to say THANK YOU to KenKen for being willing to let Kathy share this. It’s so incredibly helpful… we never get the chance to see what it truly looks like in the work of other people and their Ts. I spend my life convinced that I am perpetrating some complex, perverse fraud on my family and T and even myself. I guess what’s so helpful is seeing that this is what it’s like for me too.
I write stuff like KenKen’s first email all the time. It came out yesterday in the journal. It wasn’t until they’d finished that we finally realized… Halloween. Right. So I wrote “+ Halloween” in the corner of the page so it was there too with everything else that they were scared/angry/ashamed about. Which was a lot.
I have a lot a lot of questions. There will never be enough space for everything I don’t understand. Not even in my own sessions because there is too much and not enough time. These are my very very biggest questions:
HOW can I do this when everything is in opposites?
> We are scared to make big changes inside because we don’t know what will happen and because we are scared that it will just be that simple – just move them into the light. Then they’ll be there and what will be left? If there is nothing left does that mean that nothing ever happened to me and I’m making it all up? Will that be problem solved and would T go away? How can it be that simple?
> because it’s not that simple. No matter what I do, it won’t last. If I went into T and told her that I did stuff like this she’d be so happy and then I would come in the next week or the next month and it would be like nothing happened at all. What would she think then? What would that mean about me? How can any of this work mean anything if I blink and parts are right back in a different time and place from where I left them? It terrifies me because I (not so) secretly think that I’m the exception… none of this will ever be able to help me because it I’m… I don’t even know what I am. Im scared that it’s hopeless for me and no matter what I do I will always be stuck with this and they will always be stuck in the places that they exist in.
How can imagining things – safety, light, food, clothes – bring hurt or angry or broken parts in to a different place?
Or rather… how can it keep them there? Why does it disappear? I am broken because I really try and then I’m stressed or overwhelmed or it’s just October again and it feels like they all slip back to the old places again.
Things ARE different than they were 10 years. There was one October when some of the darkest parts had a horrible plan and it was one of the darkest and scariest times we’ve had since we started trying to heal. And things are different now than they were then. But we’re so scared for things to change because it feels like they can’t change AND it feels like there’s nothing wrong and if we change something then everything will magically be fixed and we don’t understand that. Because it wouldn’t be fixed but then we wouldn’t have help anymore and we wouldn’t get to talk about all of this anymore and we would be so scared and lonely.
See. This proves that we’re hopeless. It seems like we’re saying we don’t want to change. And isn’t that the worst thing we could say? Isn’t that the one thing that all the helper people are unwilling to hear?
We’re too scared because we KNOW we’ll fail.
Sorry for all this. It’s a bad time.
I don’t mean that like I think it doesn’t matter. I’m really sorry. We’re trying to talk less. So much comes out when we write though. You can delete this and not post it. I won’t be offended or anything.
KenKen To HazelE says
HazelE, It’s not that simple. You are absolutely correct about that. In our experience, we’ve found that the process is what’s helpful overall. We change something, then it goes back to the way it was. Then we change something, then it goes back to the way it was, except maybe this time we can tell there is a tiny small difference, then we change something and it goes back to the way it was, except the tiny difference gets a little more pronounced. And on and on. It’s not easy. It’s not a once-off. It’s a process. Then somewhere along the line there seems to be a bigger change. It goes back and forth. It’s the process. During the process we help each other, we figure out what helps and what doesn’t. We talk to each other. We fight. We argue. We forget (a lot). We remember. We process. Nothing is magically fixed. It’s work. It takes lots and lots of talking about all the emotions that come up while doing the work. Like you are doing here. I hope you take this to therapy and talk with your T about all the thoughts and feelings yous are having. What you did here in your response is excellent work. What you are doing IS the process. Take Care Of Yous.
KenKen, thank you for coming back to say this too – now you’ve been doubly helpful, showing me again that we’re not alone and we’re not the only one who is dealing with this. We always think that everyone else is so quick to accept things and we are stuck back at Step One, trying to figure out over and over if something happened or nothing happened, if we have parts/DID, if we deserve to sit in T’s office at all much less collect the scraps of kindness that we hoard (and then forget anyway).
What you said is what it’s like for us too – little changes that come undone, and it feels impossible but it does change in even smaller bits. Like the idea of helping my own parts used to be the most triggering and horrifying idea in the world, but now I really try (sometimes) and I can (usually) tolerate the idea that it is a good thing to work towards. And there are lots and lots of big changes from when all of this came roaring to the surface almost exactly 10 years ago. It’s hard to name what it is but I can do lots of things now that I couldn’t do then and I don’t go to the hospital several times a year anymore like I did for a long time. And I can talk about the parts and I don’t hate them and I don’t want to get rid of them (usually). And even though I sit stupidly and can’t talk a lot of the time in T, we do say/write things to her – more than we ever thought we’d be able to. Which is probably a good thing (I’m not always sure).
I’m really grateful to you for sharing this piece of yourself and your work here – I can’t imagine ever having the courage to do that. No wonder Kathy is proud of you.
I wanted to reach out here to you as well. KenKen has offered some great insight here – the process is a lot of hard work, setbacks and small, incremental steps towards healing. While KenKen correctly says that it is “not that simple” I want to encourage you to “keep it simple”. Okay, this may sound like a contradiction but I am talking about two very different things here.
What happened to us was “not that simple” – certainly not an ordinary growing up and learning the lessons of life experience. We were brought up in the complex, chaotic world of abuse. Sorting through all of the layers of toxic life that was forced on to us is not an easy task. And, it certainly is not a “quick fix” world that we inhabit. So, yes lots of time, patience, tenacity, courage and hard work is required. We have to build the foundation of belief that we are worth the effort, safety and positive tools and survival skills first to start peeling back the layers of garbage that we have been wrapped in. Ya … that certainly is not a simple job to tackle.
I also want to offer the suggestion, however, that you “keep it simple”. You see, when I read your posting, I heard an enormous amount of anguish and pain. I also heard you pulling yourself through knots over and over again. You are twisting yourself into a chaotic state of helplessness worrying about the “what ifs” – a whole series of negative talk that all leads to one conclusion – any effort on your part will lead to failure and helplessness. I know, I am a great one to talk – been there (am there) a lot myself. But this is a mindset that we have to let go of. We cannot possibly accomplish anything that we have already, predetermined we cannot do.
My meditation teacher keeps telling me to – “keep it simple”, “you are seeking something that is already there – the beautiful, perfect, whole you that you were born to be.” That is hard to accept when I feel so broken, chaotic and out of control. But she sees me as beautiful, perfect, and whole. I keep thinking — how can she love me more than I love myself? I am trying to learn to love myself beautifully, perfectly, wholly … no, it is not easy but worth trying to do.
Healing is all about surrendering to hope. Five years ago, I did not know that I had insiders (DID). But I did surrender to the idea that I needed help – deserved help. And, so I made the leap of faith to start therapy again and to not be afraid to jump into the deep end of my pool of inner self. I had no idea that I would find a whole team of insiders and trauma memories that I did not want to believe were true at first. But, I had made a commitment to hope – hope that I would finally be able to live my life whole. I had no idea at the time the depth of that wish for myself but I hung on to hope.
What I am trying to say here HazelE is that sometimes you just have to believe enough in yourself to take that leap of faith into the deep end of your pool. No worrying about what might or might not happen. No water wings, doubts, questions, or “what ifs”. You know, your little self had enough love for you and courage and creativity and tenacity to survive. You did it as a little person. Time to have faith in your big self to hope and heal.
With sincere compassion and (((hugs))).
Clancey Jane says
Us we feel like HazelE.. I try stuff like others say or my T says but process process…blackkkk …. what are we supposed to do one some of um want to stay, some of um don’t believe and some of um just won’t do no way… AND THEN…. I have to be a grown up..And then there’s this grown up problem and blah blah… I can’t seem to do anything right right now.
Well no body believes us anyhow so I don’t know why I’m writing or trying or reading… but some of the stuff is helpful just reading about others like us.. thanx
Hi Clancey Jane,
I hear you. I understand you. I believe you!!!
Life with DID is like trying herd cats and look/live “normal” doing it. Some of those cats are cooperative and loving; some are goofy and playful; some are deeply injured and sick; some are nasty and bite and scratch; some will not come when they are called; some love to chase their tail; and some just want to be left alone.
How can you ever find cooperation and order out of the chaos of DID?
One cat at a time.
Your system did not appear over night nor was your abuse just a single trauma. All your cats appeared on the scene one at a time over a long period of time to deal with the traumas that you were subjected to. Sometimes they worked with other cats to help you survive — sometimes they were on their own. Now they are all starting to show up to be seen and fed and cared for and … wow … that’s a lot of work to do.
Now, put out food, water, toys, blankets, beds, etc. to provide a safe, warm space for them all. But you can only pick up one cat up at a time to listen to them and find out what they need, what they know, how you can help them. You can also make yourself present and available for other cats to come and curl up on your lap or sit beside you. Maybe even have a bit of dialogue with several cats at once. But, if the whole herd of cats start howling in your ear, no one will be heard.
Is this easy to do?
Honestly, no … not from my experience. I have laid on my bed in pain for hours while my cats howled in my ear, scratched at my skin and peed on me. Other times, I have had to leave the room and shut the door. But, the more that I have found peace in me by focusing on hope not hell, the calmer my herd has become. When I am wound up, they are sure to follow me into chaos.
I want to be sure that you know Clancey Jane that I hear and understand the turmoil and futility that you feel. I swing back and forth between resilience and despair myself. I just wish to help us all find some self-love and peace while we try to heal. Please call me out if you do not feel that I have heard you because I sincerely want you to feel heard.
BTW – you did do a BIG thing RIGHT Clancey Jane – you told your truth and reached out for help!!! Kudos to you!
KenKen To ME+WE says
OMG we love this analogy ME+WE! So very true.
As our outside kitty walks across our keyboard begging us to pay attention to him 💕
Shout out Squirrel 💕🍨🍦💕
Clancey Jane says
Thank you Me+We …
We really like the cat analogy…it’s really true every word of it.
Everything you said was super helpful but I have a question.
So are we supposed to just put comfort things around in the dark side and wait? Some of them are to scared to even move.
Hi Clancey Jane,
So glad that anything that I said helped. ☺
What KenKen and Kathy have written about here is helping your insiders lost in the dark place to move out into a neutral place at the very least. So, you can provide all of the safe and comforting things for them in that neutral safe place. But, yes some of your folks may just be too scared and paralyzed with pain, fears and memories to come out. I am not an expert on DID – just a fellow traveller – so what I offer here is how I have dealt with my folks lost in darkness for what it is worth.
I provide my insiders (wherever they may reside) with all of the care that they need (whether they choose to avail themselves of what I offer or not). That may be food, shelter, cloths, personal hygiene care, warm blankets, PJs, stuffies, a safe shelter, soft music, warmth, etc. Yes, I put that in their dark place as well. I want them to feel loved and cared for whether they are able to take that all in at the moment or not. It is just there for them when they are ready.
I also speak into the darkness all of the time (a bunch of times a day). I tell them that I love them; I have infinite respect for them; I thank them for what they have done for me and continue to do; I tell them that they are safe and cared for now; I tell them that I want to hear their heart stories; and I tell them that I am the big person in charge now and I will not let anything bad happen to them again. I am a bit of a broken record but, they had years of hearing negative messages. I feel that may take a lot of time for my caring messages to reach their ears and then travel to their minds, hearts and souls.
I have told this before, but it maybe helpful to tell it again. My first insider that I was aware of lived in a big cage, in a dark room, on a cold concrete floor. She had a rag for a dress and was sad and lonely. I knew that I was dealing with a frightened creature so, I would sit outside the cage and just talk to her for hours on end. I would tell her about all of the nice things that there was in the world and that I would love to share with her. This went on for weeks. Long story somewhat shorter (this is ME writing after all so we will not expect brevity … hahaha), eventually, I was able to open the cage door, and then go in and sit at the other side of the cage from her. Eventually, she came over and sat beside me and with time she took my hand. Then I asked her if she would like to have a nicer place to live. She did so I took her all over my house and let her decide where she felt most safe and comfortable. She chose a spot in our south bedroom and we built a sunshine tent out of yellow sheets and put in blankets and pillows and stuffies and she went to live there. Well, every morning I would do a visual meditation on a beach. I would picture myself parking my car and walking down a path on to the beach. One day while I was walking down the path, my little insider walked up the path to greet me. So, that is where she lives now – on the beach. Others just started appearing there or, in a few cases, were rescued and brought there. The sunshine tent is used when safety is required.
The purpose of telling you this Clancey Jane is to illustrate to you that it is not a quick fix. I would have loved to have just gone into that cage and taken my little insider out and snuggled her into my bed. But, that would not right for her. I had to proceed with caution and care and oh a lot of patience. I had to let her get used to me, trust me and then come to me. It took months of daily work with her.
Whatever you do to provide comfort, caring, love and support to your insiders will make a difference. It may be small grains of sand difference at a time but eventually you will have a huge pile of progress.
Clancey Jane says
I guess this is a reply to everyone who commented on my post….thank you sooo much.. And Me+We it really helps that you post the date bc I/me/we get super confused about that… I really don’t know what to say except all of it makes me cry… some sad, confused, comforted I’m not sure I know. A lot of me was reading all the replies and some of us have been everywhere and all the stages you guys are talking about. I really don’t know if I’m making sense. I have only read posts from you guys but never commented and I know some of my crying comes from having ppl. like me and you all that really understand me. I’ve gone through so many therapists and when we get to this dark side they seem more interested in the details and not helping and then we end up in the hospital. I finally moved back to my first therapist that helped diagnosed me bc I knew she wasn’t phased by my dark side and how to cope with things….more rambling I know. I woke up to a page open on my iPad about RA stuff. And here I have support and super helpful understanding. All I can say is thank you to everyone… And I noticed some of my parts have even been on the forum. I’m going to stop but thank you again!!
Hi Clancey Jane,
You know, I just soak up what everyone says here and find such comfort in everything posted (even when it does not really fit me and what I am dealing with). That is because it is so wonderful to hear voices that resonate with the same kind of heart songs that I have lived with all of my life. My outside, singleton community cannot hear the frequency of life that I sing. You folks do … and I am eternally grateful.
I am so glad that you have come here and have added your voice to our choir Clancey Jane. There is such depth, richness and harmony that we create through our words here together. Our “real” worlds may be in chaos and struggling but our community here offers a steady, relentless beat of compassion and understanding that helps us to ground in the safety of a song sung and heard. You might want to negotiate this with your system as well Clancey Jane because there is a wonderful sweetness to the voices of our little ones here as well.
I feel that the most precious gift that we give each other here is the strength of knowing that we are not alone. Our community here is our grounding rock and … heck … we rock!
Kathy * * * (but not Kathy from DD) says
Heard that and strongly identified w/ it echoing the emotions and thoughts inside our head, etched onto our soul.
T/Y so very much for putting all that into words and sharing.
Clancey Jane, I hear you too. And believe you.
It’s awful how chaotic and loud and confusing and scary this process is. And you said it exactly right – all the time, I have to go back to being a grownup over and over. Sometimes that feels impossible and it really does feel like we will be sucked into this hole and never come out.
ME + WE – thank you for your compassion (as always). It’s hard for me to believe any of the things you say, and I am not at all sure if there is anything whole inside. It feels like it’s all cracked and broken pieces. Or… I guess it feels like it never was while so there is no getting “back” to anything. It feels like everyone else was born while and unbroken except for me.
I do always like reminders that we can keep it simple and take it one step at a time. It’s the only way I can imagine ever moving forward at all, because if I look anywhere except at the next tiny step it’s a swirling, screaming abyss and it feels like I’m being swallowed by the chaos or the emptiness or both. The rapid fire of questions and comments and demands and “what if’s” from inside make me feel paralyzed sometimes. It helps to focus on only the one next thing… I wish I was better at it though. Sometimes T helps with that but most of the time it’s just me because she isn’t there.
Imagining comfort for parts is painful and difficult and sometimes impossible, depending on the moment and the part and the kind of comfort. It feels like it’s taken me so long to get to the point where I am able to try and help them sometimes. I can almost always be neutral towards them (which is a big change from the years when we hated each other). But what they need is so far beyond what I can do that it feels like nothing I do will ever be good enough.
My apologies for my late reply. I travel out-of-town to my therapist and other mental health caregivers so I am away from home for a few days each week. I often do not have time to write. I am also often too rung out from therapy to write.
Anyway, I did read your posting here and wanted to follow-up with you. You said, “It’s hard for me to believe any of the things you say, and I am not at all sure if there is anything whole inside.” WOW … such a powerful statement of our truth. I have always felt broken inside and with that, hopeless, worthless, full of shame and despair. I have waited all of my life for “my turn”. By that I mean, “my turn to be loved, cared for, cared about, seen, heard, whole, like “regular people” – well, these are the words that I have used with my T. It seems that “my turn” never comes.
Well, I have come to believe that waiting for my turn to come is a folly of hopeless dreams created by my child’s mind to endure the night terrors of abuse and memories – “if only someone would come and save me”. It never happened. But the thing is, it can never happen because I am not that little girl anymore. The grown woman does have some wonderful people (like my DD friends) in her life who do not abuse her, who care for her, see her and hear her. But, I seem to be forever locked in my little girl’s mind that that is not what I want. I want someone to go back and make my life whole like it should have been. Of course, that can never happen.
So, how do I move forward. Well, as a multiple, I do have a very unique and precious opportunity to go back and change some of my history. Because some of my parts still live back there, I can be the one to who care for my little ones, see them, comfort them, love them and hear them. In some ways that is turning back time to give myself the kind of compassionate, loving attention that I missed out on. What a wonderful gift of my special way of being that I can do that. And, when I treat my insiders with the love and compassion that they crave and deserved, I am giving a hundred-fold to my grown up ME.
Easy … heck no. Possible … heck yes!!!
Not too long ago, I wrote on the Our Normal Complicated Selves blog … “Walking on the edge of the dark abyss with a bad case of vertigo. Flooded with body memories, pain, sadness, anger and panic attacks. Feeling like no one sees. No one hears. No one cares. Feeling like I am at the end that had no beginning.” So ya … I know of what you speak.
But, I also wrote recently … “You know, the way I look at such times for me is that I am triggered because there is unresolved stuff that has been stirred up. As much as I hate the panic attack and all of the emotional and physical pain that goes with it, I know that it is an opportunity to learn. The key is to look at these times as opportunities rather than setbacks. Not at all nice when it is going on but it is like your system has gone through a huge struggle to open a door for you. Once that door is opened (often with significant anguish for you) that is the time to muster up all your strength and resilience to walk through the door rather than slam it shut so you do not feel what is on the other side.”
I truly believe in hope and healing HazelE. I have survived for a reason. There must be something in me that wants to live. You know, the way that I think about my broken me is like this … you can break a bone in your arm let’s say. It will probably hurt like mad, be incapacitated for some time and need some therapy to get it back into working order. But, it will heal with the proper support, attention, patience and care. And yes, where it was broken will always show up on an x-ray. But, the bone will be stronger than it ever was and you will get the use of your arm back to its fullest potential to give you structure, stability, power and function.
We may have a lot of breaks but we can mend them HazelE and be stronger for it!
HazelE, I get the worrying about invalidating your experience if you improve your situation. My T says, “You don’t have to stand vigil over the pain to honor your wounded parts.” Permission to honor that I am alive and healing. I’m not there yet, and I try to be more present and less in trauma time. I hope you can try, like KenKen says because it may get a little better over time. 10/15/18
WOW (((KBear))) ♥️🐻🐱😎🌄🌅
We really hope other systems out there reading this can use it to help their own insiders. Thank you for writing it up and sharing it with all your people. ♥️ KenKens
Thank you KenKens! I’m crying because this is exactly what I am struggling with right now and I SOOO appreciate you and Kathy sharing this with all of us. I would like to say more but it’s impossible right now. Please know that you are awesome! And I’m hoping the sun warms you with her rays of light ☀️☀️☀️☀️
to Jardin (Alessandra) says
Thanks Jardin, I cant wait to feel the suns warmth on our skin.
It’s okay to not say more than you are comfortable with. We are glad you reached out and said what you were comfortable with. I am so glad this article is helping yous.
Thank you KenKens for letting Kathy share this with all of us. We are really, really grateful. We like the idea of inviting the dark ones to change to neutral ones when they are ready. That’s really going to help us a lot!
We just rescued 6 kids from the dark side today in therapy. The DO’s still over there are ones that are dark guards and punishers. We got them in a place today where our protectors can start working with them. We all hope the DO’s will decide to change.
We will make sure they get lots of good food and clean clothes and care. Just like I got when I left the dark side and changed from a punisher to a protector.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Jack (12 years old, part of MyCircleOfLife)
To Jack, MyCircleOfLife says
YAY! On the rescues. Worn out and tired I’m sure, rest and get to know each other. YAY YAY YAY on inviting the dark ones to change to neutral ones — to NO people! I’m so happy that you got lots from Kathy’s article. She helped us so much we just had to ask her to share it with you all. I’m so glad we did. And she did.
Take Care Of Yous!