Surrealist image of a young man strolling with his hands in his pockets against a fragmented urban background

The Man Who Forgot He Doesn’t Exist

Dissociative Identity Disorder is a childhood-onset trauma symptom induced by an overwhelming confrontation with human evil before the brain can create a functional mind.

When my psychiatrist diagnosed DID in 2009, I was already too symptomatic to work. I had no interest in social media, but I compulsively staged virtual photoshoots in Second Life and posted those photos to my Flickr stream.

‘The Man Who Forgot He Doesn’t Exist‘ is an example of the images I staged and posted.

I still feel like a man who doesn’t exist.

With therapy, I  eventually understood that I used my avatars the way a child uses dolls when asked to describe an assault for which there are no words.

Most people are unable to comprehend a person whose different emotional states and memories emerge as separate people with different names, genders, and world views.

It’s easy to dismiss these confusing and unsettling expressions of the mind as attention-seeking irresponsibility.

This short film, ‘Inside,’ is a weirdly accurate illustration of how it feels to be an ‘us’– minus the atmospheric asylum.

A primary goal of psychotherapy is getting everyone ‘inside’ to agree.

I’m not there yet.

M. Scott Peck, the psychiatrist who authored ‘The Road Less Traveled,’ described evil as “militant ignorance.”

I wonder if militant denial is a form of evil.

In “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil, ” Peck describes narcissism as a type of evil.

I see no difference between the individual narcissist and the cultist tribal communities that plague American culture.

The most horrific aspect of child abuse is that it often takes place in an institution or a community that doesn’t care or doesn’t want to bother. Hence, the adults blame the child if he reveals the abuse or the abuse becomes too apparent to ignore.

The best recent example of institutional abuse is Donald Trump’s detention camps, where children are separated from their families and treated like criminals.

How does a four-year-old escape the horror of a world that feels like a death trap?

A person with DID was a child whose mind shattered under the stress of life in an all-pervasive culture of evil from which there was no escape.

Recovery from DID and C-PTSD involves a never-ending cycle of accepting the damage, managing the symptoms, and healing what I can.

For me, healing means bearing witness to the evil, naming it, and working for change.

I want us to unite to make our world safe for children.  I want us to protect them from evil.

Children do not choose to live in hunger and pain.

Art by Rob Goldstein


According to Peck, an evil person lies to himself to prop up an image of perfection.

They also;

  • Deceive others as a consequence of their lies
  • Project his or her evils and sins onto particular targets (scapegoats) while being reasonable with everyone else.
  • Commonly hates with the pretense of love
  • Abuses political and (emotional) power (“the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion”)
  • Maintains respectability based on lies.
  • Is consistent in his or her sins. Evil persons are characterized not so much by the magnitude of their sins, but by their consistency (of destructiveness)
  • Is unable to think from the viewpoint of their victim (scapegoat)
  • Has a covert intolerance to criticism and other forms of narcissistic injury
  • According to Peck, evil people realize the wickedness deep within themselves, but are unable to tolerate the pain of introspection, or admit to themselves that they are evil.

Evil thrives on denial.


I’m revising some of my posts from 2015.

‘The Man Who Forgot He Doesn’t Exist’ was first posted in 2015,

I’ve kept the theme but completely revised the post.

I don’t know if I should make a new post but it seems practical to
keep the original.

What are your thoughts?

(c)Rob Goldstein 2015-revised 2020





84 thoughts on “The Man Who Forgot He Doesn’t Exist

      1. We are back on what our Premier calls High Alert which the sensible are keeping most lockdown conditions. There have been many new cases and some of our state borders are closed. Currently we are a safe haven in the midst of the Eastern Beaches. They take our temperatures each time we use the community buses or use the hospital clinics. So far I am a steady 36.6 C. There is a testing station just around the corner.
        Hear from you soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Andrew. It’s hellish in the United States right now. We can’t trust trump’s government and trump’s chaotic incompetence is killing us. We must decide on our own how we will protect ourselves from COVID-19. I rely on The governor of my state but his decisions are informed by tainted statistics from a CDC infected with trumpism, so I have to assume that the protocols of total shut-down are still in effect.


      3. Very sorry to be late again. September already.
        Over there you all seem to be living in Dante’s Inferno. Here we are much luckier and don’t have an egotistical maniacal idiot for a….well to call him a leader, just isn’t the word for an enemy of the State.
        We, most of us,bar some stupid females, are praying for salvation for the USA.

        Here,our State Boarders are all closed and each State in a different stage. We are on high alert. Jessica and me live in a quiet Suburb by the sea though there are hot spots in other coastal areas. We have a Covid app on our phones and scan the Q symbols everywhere. My temperature was only 36 the other day,1degree below normal.
        I now have a Level 3 Aged Care Package which grants me 6 hours per week ..housework, shopping,help in the Garden and companionship. Jessica is on level 4 so hopefully we will avoid the awful government Nursing Homes,with Personal Care and the spinal care nurse, for Jessica.
        Our worse issue is that our Medical Centre barely functions.
        Jessica has dinner on. Speak to you later

        Liked by 1 person

      4. My country is run by a cabal of Russian stooges who think they can browbeat people of color and sexual minorities into letting them abuse us without consequences. It’s not going to work, but their four years of stolen power has accelerated climate change, killed over 200,000 citizens, sickened thousands more, disgraced our nation, ruined our economy and opened the door to attacks on our system of government by our enemies. We are weak and in denial about the seriousness of Putin’s attack and the consequences of dismissing it as ‘meddling.’ Putin is corrupt but savvy. Putin would not launch an expensive, years-long psychological operation if he didn’t think he had a shot at success. The fact that Trump’s Dixiecrat Republicans use the misguided passions of a decadent class of armed white supremacists is salt in our wounds. Anyway, that’s my rant for the week. It’s great that you have a public care package and awful that the medical center barely functions. Is that because of the virus? Thanks for stopping by and leaving an update, Andrew.


  1. I thought I had DID but

    I did not split but complex Ptsd sufferers have serious dissociative disorder

    My family disowned me for asking for help

    They sent our dad was an abuser

    I guess my complex PTSD was contacted from a toilet seat

    Relationships and trust are always going to be an issue

    You have done well to keep a good attitude and have enough to take action

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It makes sense that your family disowned you. They are the abusers. My sister, who knew what our Mother had done to me, spent her life insisting that our Mother was the best in the world. The ‘best mother in the world’ paid a man to rape my sister because she thought her daughter was becoming a lesbian. Adults who abuse children are sadistic and not likely to take responsibility. They usually convince the neighbors that the child is ‘crazy,’ and often, the child accepts the role. I have trust issues, am hypervigilant, and lose time. I carry a diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder secondary to C-PTSD. I’ve learned to accept that the symptoms will flare up and disrupt my creative goals and my blogging, but I persevere because I believe I can salvage some of the person I was born to be.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have four of five people with DID who have followed me

        My father was a violent narcissist
        His empathy center did not work
        I was a thing

        I have healed from that

        Currently I had another trauma come forth last week

        It will take me some time to integrate

        The feel is so different than my dads abuse

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Repetition Compulsion caused me to form relationships with women who were just like my Mother. The psychological abuse I set myself up for was excruciating, but it continued until I was diagnosed correctly and got the right treatment. The of these women was never precisely like my Mother’s abuse, but it followed a similar pattern.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes subconsciously we choose the familiar

        My dad was a narcissist
        My first wife was a narcissist
        The father of my grandkids is a narcissist


        We never saw what a healthy relationship was about

        Dysfunction was normal for use

        Attachment was hard when ur mom or dad is an abuser

        My mom was submissive toward my narcissistic dad

        Usually two narcissist do not mate

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Very interesting

        I knew their was always a subconscious attraction to the familiar

        My abuser was my father a narcissist

        I picked a female version of my father not morher

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thank you for your reply and forgive my belated response. This is not an easy time for anyone, and some people who already have abuse issues are becoming symptomatic. I’m one of them. I did not understand ‘replication compulsion’ and wondered why I always had a psychologically abusive woman in my life. The pattern is complicated and challenging to break. For more information on replication compulsion
        click this link:

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rob, I think you have done an excellent job with your narrative and the video’s in explaining just how abuse of such magnitude affects a young mind..
    And no one unless they have stepped into your own shoes could possibly begin to understand just how that must feel..
    So my friend I am so very proud of you, your strength, and your progress in this ongoing battle you face within..
    It is no easy task…
    I watched a heart rending video the other week of a witness whose testimony was put before the tribunal of the Only watch if strong enough….

    I watched the case of a former Banker… Whose actions had been created because of his childhood experiences… Taken from an abusive home, of being beaten by his father placed in care at a young age, only to be brutally abused, raped further by a Religious house of supposedly safe sanctuary … It then led to his own behaviour patterns in later life..

    I support the International Tribunal of National Justice.. Look up Sacha Stone too, he has been instrumental in bringing major key people such as lawyers, medical profession, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr into forming this Court of Justice which is now Law…
    I watched the Summit only last week and it is heartwarming knowing that people are working tirelessly behind the scenes to stop abuse especially to children…

    So thank YOU Robert…. for your strength in Being who you are…. YOU do exist and are so very important…. In that your own testimony is highlighting just the effects of such trauma….

    Much love my friend…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Rob. I’m glad you handled the revise/repost issue this way. It’s interesting to see the old comments on the same page as the new ones.
    I agree with you completely about evil. I can’t help repeatedly being stunned by people who say there is no such thing as evil. I worked with a younger woman who insisted that truly evil people were not even “bad people.” I can’t imagine what horror she needs to experience before she would stop denying evil exists…

    It surprised me recently when the therapist I’ve been consulting since autumn told me to make a visual map of my “protectors” — and she wanted to name them. It seemed like a rather risky practice to start, but I do believe she knows what she’s doing. Although I find it puzzling that she tries so consistently to bring out my anger on things where I feel emotions other than anger. Sorry… just thinking out loud.
    Thank you for shining a light on denial. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds like you have a good therapist who may be onto something. Dissociation is a spectrum ranging from average to really, really bad. The anger we don’t let ourselves feel erodes self-esteem, causes us to sabotage our best efforts, alienates us from others, and can cause us to take unnecessary risks, at least that’s what it does to me. I see my blog as a living blog. The most significant difference between this post and the first one is I’m healthier, have a deeper understanding of the process, and got better at editing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ‘Self’ is very hard for people to understand and almost impossible for people who were taught to think of themselves as unworthy. Once you realize that you are worthy of life and success it gets a little easier.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sometimes I experience fear as anger or paranoia or the dreaded shut down of my creative mind. When I realize I’m afraid the only way out is through the fear. The other choice is remaining stuck in pain. Again, I’m describing my process for coping with the symptoms of C-PTSD.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. When someone says to me that evil doesn’t exist, it’s just a matter of opinion, I know that person and I are done talking forever. I was apparently saved from this by the presence of other adults in my childhood who looked out for me. My brother wasn’t so lucky and dealt with his trauma by drinking himself to death. I dunno.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your comment, Martha. I’m sorry about your brother. That must have been a painful loss. I’m also glad you had adults in your life who took care of you. The abuse destroyed my Sister. She died three years ago after having a stroke related to substance abuse. I can’t say that I have a terrible life because I am determined to make something of it. Still, there is no denying that an abusive mother and a hateful community of bigots altered my path in life.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My brother died similarly in 2010. My life has been mostly good with two major glitches related to dissociative disorder. Therapy helped me recognize causes I had completely blocked out. It’s just what it is. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Rob, I have no words to express the horror and sadness I feel when I think of that little boy and the trauma he endured. No child should ever have to be so afraid he disappears within himself.
    {{hugs}} my friend. Please know you have people who care ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jacquie. I know that you care, and I love you for it. I am grateful that I’m well enough to have the use of my mind. My real concern is the child we are abusing today, her future, her life, and using my platform to remind people of our responsibility as adults to protect them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Telling the story, or bearing witness, is the act that gives meaning to the pain. I tell the story with the hope that people will see how we become part of the problem when we’re not actively engaged in becoming part of the solution.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m almost without words, Robert, as this description of evil is something we all have to face on a daily basis. The community that supports evil is perhaps the most distressing part because it leaves us feeling so helpless and unsafe. My heart goes out to you as the pervasive evil in our current lives triggers you and opens the wounds of your childhood. Remember that as you speak the truth, you are surrounded by love and people care for you. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Diana. Someone once told me that my blog is a safe place for people to discuss uncomfortable topics. I hope that’s still true. I know that some people consider my blog is a ‘downer,’ but the children we are abusing in detention can’t wish away their pain with affirmations. Thank you for being such a kind and supportive reader. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that the truth, though sometimes difficult, helps us feel better, especially in times where we’re being gaslighted and evil makes us feel vulnerable and disoriented. So yes, your site feels safe to me. My heart breaks for those children in detention. The damage will follow them for the rest of their lives. The US willfully shamelessly abuses children and that is unforgivably evil.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. We now understand and I do , after a 40 year struggle, that your early childhood experiences make or mar you for life. I had difficulty reading your powerful, so painful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dissociative disorders are hellish to live with, but that is true of all chronic pain. Each chronic illness comes with social baggage, and with mental illness, the spcial baggage is that we bring it on ourselves, don’t think ‘positively’ enough, or that we should ‘just get over it.’ In the meantime, a new generation of children is abused and will grow up to face a culture that will harm them further by blaming them for the consequences of theat abuse. It’s a vicious cycle born of ignorance and denial. I’m sorry if reading this caused you pain. I hate the thought of causing pain.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. LIKE this opening piece and the feeling of texture in it. Dropped by from Jackie’s party and will come back to see more. I do art on my blog as well – inspired by the mayan glyphs. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Robert what a tangled mess, how did the parasite get to your Therapist and get her involved in conversations. There are aspects similar to my stalker but nowhere likt this freak of a woman! It’s the second or third reference SL, less than positive. If she’s hanging there, I would run the opposite direction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do have an SL stalker — But I didn’t make a reference to her in this…Actually in the way my alternates use the avatars to tell their stories and share their memories.

      Abused children sometimes use dolls to ‘show’ what happened and I think this is the way the avatars are used by my alternates.

      It is a tangled mess when someone is so sick that she feels perfectly free to try to play gaslight on someone she knows is sick…but these people wouldn’t be criminal if they had a conscience.

      Fortunately I’m not as ill as I was in 2011 — it’s a lot harder to get away with gaming me.


    1. A lot can go wrong, especially with children.

      DID is a childhood onset syndrome.

      It is induced by prolonged episodes of what the child perceives as violent and life threatening abuse.

      If the child survives childhood he will have some form of trauma reaction.

      DID is a symptom of complex post traumatic stress disorder.

      As the child moves through life’s phases he uses the ‘dissociative strategy’ to manufacture ‘acceptable selves’ based on the environment of the moment.

      When a person views the word as always hostile to who he is the only way to survive is to create a self based
      what he can glean from observing the people in that environment.

      Most trauma survivors are hypervigilent to the extent that they can read the most subtle body language.

      Severe and prolonged child abuse can disrupt the normal development of an integrated sense of self based on remembered history.

      Before I knew I had DID I thought of my past ‘selves’ as people who died.

      I didn’t know they were still active.

      I have very few memories of the time before my 40’s.


  10. Heartbreaking. Moved me to tears-your words are so powerful, instructive, educational…great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Fantastic post, Robert! Your deep look beyond the surface and your clear words give such powerful insights. You nail things down in a way I only know it from you!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. lol @ Fox news. I used to be involved with media reform, Fox has always been a slant, far right conservative paper. They even donated to the republican party in 2010. Anyhow loved the article, very informative 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Hi Robert I have just come across this one and am pleased to have found it, shall reblog it. I have always liked M. Scott Peck and first read him when my Bipolar was rabid and I like Blinker.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. What a fantastic call to action, Robert. As you were describing what is evil in human beings my mind went straight to the self-serving agendas of our political system and how that system is lauded by individuals, special interest groups, and Fox News, all who seem incapable of empathy. Children and vulnerable populations are reduced to statistics, as if their lives are simply hatch marks on a computer print out, as if the suffering and injustice only impacts some vague concept of people and not real lives. The disregard is shameful. It’s disrespectful not only of each individual life and lost potential, but of the future. Change from the bottom up is much harder than from the top down, but it can be done, and it needs to start with every person who has a heart doing their part.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What you are describing is the toxic side effect of unregulated capitalism and a culture that treats consumerism as a function of democracy.

      Not only do we not know that consumerism is not democracy; we also don’t seem to know the difference between verbal abuse and free speech.

      How can we have a civil society when success is defined as taking as much as you can from everyone else. We can’t even have a reasonable public discussion about ways to prevent our children from being gunned down in their schools without having it turned into an us verses them screaming match.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You speak well to the issue. One thing that emerges to me, on a personal note for you, is how sorry I am that you were not properly diagnosed until so recently. How were they describing your condition before DID ? I can’t imagine, the pain and confusion of so many years. So sorry, Robert.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I was diagnosed with ‘bi-polar illness’ but medications don’t affect DID.

      I was tried on dozens of different mood stabilizers and anti-depressants and none of them worked.

      When the AIDS epidemic began it exacerbated my DID so I began to switch more frequently so I was re-diagnosed with ‘rapid cycling’ bi-polar illness and medicated so heavily that I could barely see.

      When those meds didn’t work I was diagnosed as Schizo-affective but I knew that couldn’t be true.

      Eventually, as the epidemic began to wane and I met and fell in love with my partner I had fifteen somewhat symptom free years.

      Some conditions do spontaneously go into remission. I was able to work, to study, to simply be.

      In 2009 the switching began again and I was very confused as to what was happening, especially because I was switching to younger alternates.

      By this time Dissociative Identity Disorder was no longer ‘controversial’ among the professionals at Kaiser and I saw a psychiatrist who knew how to screen for it.

      But you are right. My thirties were especially terrible and I nearly killed myself twice.

      Thank you for asking and for caring.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you finally got a diagnosis that made sense, Robert. Even when symptoms recede, that which is not resolved from childhood will come back until it’s addressed, as for you in 2009 perhaps ? But oh…if only they could bottle the kind of healing that comes with a healthy relationship. ❤️ Wishing you well as you move forward.

        Liked by 2 people

  16. I found that when I first admitted my own past, then started reaching out to others, refusing to wear blinders, I did a lot of crying. About 50/50 between crying for others under evil’s roof and crying for myself for refusing to see for so long. I guess the answer is buy more kleenex, because I never intend to sit in the dark again. If I can help just one child, my reward is beyond measure.

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Reblogged this on 3wwwblog and commented:

    Another great post of Robert for me, as It is helping me to understand what is going on in our world. You you read here can well be extrapolated to groups of people or complete societies/countries. Just think of it. Thanks Robert!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Robert, your thoughts are great so the honor goes back to you. My blog is not read by many but I know some of them following are among the most amazing people I have come across in my life.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you. I am learning that blogs grow over time…you will have plenty of readers before long…:) and you are right…the people who read my blog are some of the finest people I’ve met.

        Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.