Coping with DID: The Struggle for Unity

If you live long enough you will discover that you are the person you are looking for.

When my adult alternates used Virtual Reality as a social network the other members called them ‘The Family’.

Of course, they did this even as they discussed my DID behind my back as a
fake; albeit a convincing fake.

a photograph staged in virtual relity of a battered little boy sitting alone with phantom alternates in the back ground
Coping with DID – Making the Family

Making The Family

According to the theory of the Trauma-Related Structural Dissociation of the Personality, a child with DID does not develop an integrated sense of self, thus when children with Dissociative Identity Disorder become adults, they are a fragmented ‘self-state’ of traumatized ‘emotional selves’.

The ‘Self-State’ creates an ‘Apparently Normal Self‘ to interact with other
people.

The ‘apparently normal self’, or ‘host’ alternate may have no clear memory of childhood, the trauma, or the family of birth.  The ‘host’ compensates for the system’s deficits and attempts to complete the process of integration, but the ‘self state’ has no clear sense of time or reality:

Photograph staged in Virtual Reality of an avatar wearing a blind fold
The ‘apparently normal self’, or ‘host’ alternate may have no clear memory of childhood, the trauma, or the family of birth.

 

…The ability to differentiate fantasy from reality is critical in achieving the integrative mode of consciousness. “Trance-logic” (i.e., the tolerance and/or rationalization of logical inconsistency while in a hypnotic state) which is a core aspect of the cognition of DID patients (Loewenstein, 1993), allows the patient to adjust to “normal” daily life while maintaining beliefs which are not only inconsistent with external reality but may be contradictory among themselves…”

‘Dissociation allows the existence of several different (subjective) versions of reality within one person. Thus Kluft (1993) once called DID “multiple reality disorder” (and not multiple personality disorder) and referred to “alternating reality states.” Somewhat similarly, Chefetz (2004) refers to identity alteration in DID as “isolated subjectivities.” Paradoxically, distinct or “alter” personality states are not disintegrated structures only but they also represent a striving of re-establishment of the lost unity (Şar and Öztürk, 2005).

Frontiers in Psychology

 

The Cycle of Repetition

If the ‘host’ fails to integrate, the ‘self-system’ or ‘emotional personalities’
replace it with a new host.

An illustration staged in virtual reality of a battered little boy with two male adults moving to protect him
The new host must survive the social environment and compensate for the lost time and the ‘failure’ of the previous alternate

The new host must survive the social environment and compensate for
lost time and the ‘failure’ of the previous alternate.

This leads to overwork, perfectionism, exhaustion, hyperactivity and system collapse which results in a new alternate and a new a cycle of mal-adaptive behaviors and relationships and another failure to integrate.

When I was in my early 20’s I moved on impulse from New Haven to Honolulu.

I still don’t know why.

On day I woke up on a beach in Hawaii.

I looked for a psychiatrist and a job.

The shrink gave me a diagnosis of bi-polar illness, depression and
prescribed Elavil.

I found an excellent job with one of the local hospitals.

One day I woke up and discovered I left the job because I’d met
a hot sailor with whom I’d gone to live on the beach.

So, I was again on the beach without a clue.

The shrink changed the diagnosis to bi-polar illness, manic
episode and added Lithium to the Elavil.

I found another good job and a nice high-rise apartment with
a view of Diamond Head.

One day while swimming at the local beach, I heard a voice:

Voice: “I need to go to the hospital.”

Me: (frustrated) Why?

Voice: (pleading) I’m scared.

Me: (Angry) We’re doing great! What’s wrong with you?

Voice: (pleading) I’m scared.

Within a few weeks, I was out of work and in lock-down on
the local psych unit.

I told my shrink about my argument with the voice and he
added the anti-psychotic, Haldol to the Lithium and Elavil.

I decided not to tell him about the writing I’d found;

“I think I am murdered and feel ashamed.

I hide under my blankets and feel ashamed.

I reach for a faceless cock and feel ashamed.

I feel ashamed and I feel ashamed.”

1978

I didn’t know the voice belonged to a teenage alternate named Bobby and that ‘going to the hospital’ was how a young Bobby escaped his family.

I didn’t know that being in the hospital was the only time Bobby felt safe.

Protrait of an avatar used by my alternate bobby
I didn’t know the voice belonged to a teenage alternate named Bobby

The Self-State of “Emotional selves” hold the emotions, thoughts, fantasies, wishes, needs, and sensations the ‘host’ considers unbearable and unacceptable.

Dissociation & Complex Trauma

In 1985, ‘Bobby’ wrote about his first hospitalization .

Despite the hospital’s intention to use ‘Aversion Therapy’ to cure
Bobby of his ‘homosexuality, for Bobby it was the first he felt safe
to assert himself.

Bobby doesn’t write about that feeling of safety because he doesn’t
remember it.

Bobby and the Aversion Therapist

Art by Rob Goldstein
Bobby and the Inner Shrink

Studies of children with DID show that alternates in children are more
alike and have less amnesia barriers between them.

An illustration staged in Virtual Reality of a battered little boy surrounded by adult selves
The new host must survive the social

Alternate personalities strengthen and become more individual over the life cycle.

Severe trauma in adulthood worsens the prognosis for people with DID.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2018

Sources:

Living in a Cooperative Self System

Dissociation & Complex Trauma

Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder (MPD) and DDNOS

Disavowing and Re-Claiming the Self-Identity in the Aftermath of Trauma-Generated Dissociation

 

 

 

 

Who Does He Think She is?

When we log into Virtual Reality usually one aspect is present.

Everything we do and say reflects a single menu of interests and attitudes.

The person called “I” can imagine being almost anything.

So virtual reality is not an escape; it’s a becoming, and our primary tools for becoming are the animations and objects we make or buy in the moment.

We shoot most of our photos in a dark surreal nowhere.

That is how life feels to us.

Sara is the oldest alternate.

She used to come out when the body was little and dress in Mother’s gowns.

Sara used to wear Daddy’s tee shirts and pretend they were a nightie.

Mother used to send us out on Halloween dressed like a little girl.

Sara liked it when the neighbors told her how pretty she was and Mother liked when Sara came out because Mother wanted a little girl.

Sara had to go inside when we started school and became a boy.

She often feels lonely.

Digital Portrait of a female avatar in a fur coat
Portrait of Sara

When Mother hurt us, Sara came out, dressed up, and danced
for us.

Sara is nice.

She likes people.

But Sara is a protector.

She’s a smart street kid from the Deep South with her nails out.

She’s a fighter but she’s fair.

I guess we made Sara from what we liked best about the girls
and sissy boys we grew up with in Charleston.

Sara likes torch songs from the 1950’s and 60’s.

She especially likes Julie London:

First posted in 2016.

(c) Rob Goldstein  2016-2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sudden Tears

…and Rimbaud’s limb being so caught up goes be-bopping out the door into the forest through the trees – raga rag in the grass overturning picnic baskets whizzing past churchyard gates right in step it genuflects then aims and leaps over the scene over the rainbow out of the canvas into space pure space—as remote and colorless as dear arthur’s face. a face made incorporeal  full of grace.  sunken eyes—those cobalt treasures closed forever.

clenched fist relaxed wrist
his pipe turned in…

out in the garden the children are gathering
it’s not a whim. they are accurate immaculate,
as cruel as him.
they sing:
legs can’t flail
cock can’t ball
teeth can’t bare
baby can’t crawl
rimbaud rimbaud facing the wall
cold as hail dead as a doornail

sudden tears!

Excerpt from the poem Rimbaud Dead, by Patti Smith

There’s Nowhere to be When You’re Being Here Now

28 August 1999 (you got less than a month, right?)

Hey Dude,

Today be Jamie’s birth date day, and we’s havin’ a barbecue
in his honor if he ain’t drunk an’ if he shows up.

Jack be doing the cookin’, I’m on the eatin’ committee.

Maybe we can do it again when you get out, in your honor.

(Oops, I didn’t mean that your honor. No, I won’t reproach the bench.)

I had me one of them birth date days too, 4 days ago.

It was ho-hum, which they get after the first six years.

An I didn’t get no cake… an I didn’t get no party neither…But I turn 38 in 2001 so mark your calendar. (I bet that’s one thing you got good at.)

What did I get, you ask.

Lessee, mmmmm oh yeah! I got a couple of CD’s, an ooh! Ooh! That reminds me–you ain’t seen my stud-o-saurus yet.

He don’t walk softly but he do carry a big stick.

Where was I, oh yeah, the “loot.”

I got myself a couple of pairs of REAL GOOD sunglasses, a DVD, an a
headache.

You got me worried with talk of Bactrin and Pentantamine.

Is the prison doing this for prevention or did you come down with AIDS?

Did I mention Jake FINALLLLLLLLLY moved in, lock, stock, and porno?

I gave up but suu-prize, suu-prize, suu-prize.

Jake was in solitary for 8 months.

Eight months!

I hope they named a tile after him.

I guess I better work up an appetite by staring at food for a while.

Them pills my doc gives me don’t work so good.

I hate it when the present is the past and the future is now.

I guess what I mean is there ain’t no place to be when you’re being here now.

Got that?

Laters dude!

 

9c) Rob Goldstein 1992-2018

I found this on an old hard drive. The file is dated 1999 

 

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