Dissociative Identity Disorder: Different Memories, Different Skills

“…Alters in DID have “their own identities, involving a center of initiative and experience, they have a characteristic self-representation, which may be different from how the patient is generally seen or perceived, have their own autobiographic memory, and distinguish what they understand to be their own actions and experiences from those done and experienced by other alters, and they have a sense of ownership of their own experiences, actions, and thoughts, and may lack a sense of ownership of and a sense of responsibility for the action, experiences, and thoughts of other alters.” NIH

“Uneven learning: the child (with DID) knows how to complete a particular assignment quite well one day, doesn’t know how to do it the next day and then later when it has not been re-taught can successfully complete the task.  Children might also be able to do math one day and the next day they might be totally unable to do the same math with no recollection that they have been able to do it the previous day.” NIH

digital portrait of a young male avatar who represents an alternate naned Bobby
Bobby’s digital self

Rob Goldstein is the alternate working on the interview with Harold Norse and he’s baffled: why does the Rob Goldstein on the tape refer to himself as illiterate?

Rob Goldstein can’t remember being illiterate just as he can’t remember
the interview.

We’ve (I) always thought Rob Goldstein lived with Harold Norse.

I am Matthew, sometimes called, the Host.

I was born in 1992.

I know most of the others and why they were born.

After Bobby came Bob.

Bob was a travel agent and later a Licensed Psychiatric Technician
at a Freudian based long-term facility in New Haven.

Bob had to grasp the complex psycho-dynamics that emerge between staff
and patients in long-term in-patient analyses and report these interactions
in his charting and at staff meetings.

We were in our thirties when we moved to San Francisco and became
Rob Goldstein.

Rob Goldstein was the first openly gay Assistant Director of Physical Education at the Central YMCA in San Francisco.

He was under incredible stress at work and had started having panic attacks when his friends began to sicken and die from AIDS.

As a result, Bobby often came out to run or go dancing.

Bobby also liked to go to the café and write.

Bobby met Harold Norse at the Cafe Flore one day in March of 1984.

A few days later Bobby met with Norse again and showed him some hastily
written poems.

In June they met for coffee and Norse told Bobby about his vacant room
and need for a roommate.

Norse also told him that he would teach him how to write.

So, who moved in with Harold Norse?  Who is the alternate on those tapes?

The only logical answer is Bobby.

Being a poet was Bobby’s dream but finding a parent was dearer.

31 is a bit old for a man to turn himself over to a mentor but not if he
has DID and can wipe out 15 years.

Bobby is always 16 and in the 1980’s he had none of Bob’s or Rob’s
memories or skills.

He was the a semi-illiterate boy named Bobby; the one who had to play
stupid even as he yearned to write poetry.

Norse met and saw a gifted and wounded 16-year-old and decided to
give him the permission that he so desperately needed.

The permission that ‘we’ so desperately needed.

An poem drafted in 1984 with notes from Harold Norse
An early poem drafted in 1984 with notes from Harold Norse

Rob Goldstein (c) 2017

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4 thoughts on “Dissociative Identity Disorder: Different Memories, Different Skills

  1. so that is why I could do math one day and then forget how to do it when I went home. OMG, I’ve been calling myself stupid for so long. Thank you for this post and thank you for sharing the beautiful poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome. I’ve tried to complete that poem several times.

      It has a problem.

      But it’s a good illustration of the parental quality to the way Norse treated me when we first began to work together.

      The people I’ve met who think they’re stupid usually aren’t.

      My skills levels are all over the place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As I’m reading more from other people on blogs, writing etc. I am finding out so much that was in the dark before. Somedays I can’t string a sentence together because the words just won’t come out of my mouth but I can write and that’s my saviour.

        Liked by 1 person

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