|Psychology and Mental Health Forum|
|Author:||Johnny-Jack [ Sat Mar 28, 2020 2:44 am ]|
|Blog Subject:||how we avoided an internal war|
Communication is one of the keys to healing from DID. But sometimes communication fails. Fighting among alters, and certainly disagreements, are not always negative. Sometimes they're what's needed to achieve true communication.
DID is so named because the aspects of what makes a person whole are dissociated, mostly due to repeated, unavoidable, and continuous childhood trauma. So it was for us.
We recently began in earnest to assemble a coalition of alters and started to journal about it, in hopes that everyone might get the message. Our coalition of our most experienced alters, even including some littles, were prepared to "go to war" with our large subsystem of "card" alters who have been virtually inaccessible yet in control of the majority of our time and on autopilot for decades.
There was no amnesia for what they did. How they spent our time wasn't doing anything awful, it was mostly watching TV and doing repetitive, unimportant things on the computer. In short, they have wasted, in the opinion of our hosts, a massive amount of time in our life. And even though we've learned what was happening, we remained powerless to change it. We recently discovered this subsystem was under the control of two unemotional adult alters, previously unknown.
We had found them all and could even see inside their factory of sorts, but we had as yet had no success breaking into their space to get their attention. Sphinx, the ultimate pacifist, suggested we get ready to go to war in order to break through and open up communication. He had tried on his own with no success; the boundaries were stronger than he expected. We started checking inside to see who'd be a willing ally, who would be better sitting it out, who among us were probably not reliable. And we assembled a list of allies.
It was the threat of an impending fight, and oddly perhaps the current COVID situation which eliminated our need to be at work and hold it together in person for 4-8 weeks, that seemed to have led the leaders of this subsystem to suddenly begin communicating via journaling. It didn't start with them explaining or justifying their thinking. Rather they began replaying for us and recording in word the hopeless thoughts, painful emotions, and suicidal plans from the abuse and betrayal we experienced at age 13.
The fight or war was never going to be brutal or cruel, it was an internal only battle. Our general intent was to band together to create an intense focused pressure on the subsystem to open up. However it happened, it worked and the need for that conflict now feels behind us because we have communication.
|Author:||Johnny-Jack [ Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:39 pm ]|
|Blog Subject:||Kellen, 28 & Killian, age 29. Alters #77, 78. The Bracers|
Two newly discovered alters, Kellen and Killian. They're a pair of unemotional alters responsible for directing or ushering the alters we've referred to as cards into fronting perhaps the majority of our waking hours for decades. They do this in order to keep us busy rather than remember the SA from age 13 or to keep us from becoming too affected by stress or anxiety coming from almost anyone.
These two are like coaches or, better, play callers to the team of alters which numbers perhaps 11, same as an American football team. The quarterback Pehr holds the primary trauma, the fullback Gordon blocks anything coming to or from him, and two other backs Hoyt and (we think) Mick are more social or something and interact with others in this system to some extent. All of them plus these two arrived at the body age of 13, but it seems only these two aged. Some big stuff happened to us at age 28 so it's not surprising they apparently stopped aging at that point as their tactics may have shifted.
The remaining 7 of the team form a line of scrimmage. We've referred to them as cards, since Hoyt, who first described them to us, said they riffle to the front like a pack of playing cards to protect everyone but mostly the quarterback from any perceived danger. But these seven haven't seemed aware what's going on in the backfield or that they're protecting anything or anyone, they just hold the line and keep us busy and calm. We were becoming interested in football at age 13 so the creation of an internal football team for protection resonates.
Killian is 29, the senior of this "directing" pair and goes by Morg for some reason. It isn't lost on me that the words kill and morgue show up in his names. The junior Kellen is 28 and goes by Org. Morg and Org sound like space alien names to us and they see themselves like that. They're unemotional and reportedly haven't considered themselves to be part of our body.
I was surprised several weeks back when we were going over our notes on our system. I edited a list of "heavy influencer" alters and were about to move on when we heard "the bracers" so I wrote it down. Then I asked "what?" and getting no answer wrote that down too, as a clue that I didn't know where that came from or what it meant but I was recording it anyway.
For weeks, we've had the words "the bracers" as the only clue that there might be more of us somewhere. In therapy, Cal said there were two more and their role was something like "brace yourself." So suddenly the "bracers" kind of made sense. It doesn't feel that these two communicated the word or anything else that day I wrote it down, but if not, then how did we get it?
I, John, have done the vast majority of work in therapy for years, even if mixed with others at times and littles fronting briefly when triggered. But for the football team, or cards, and especially these two new alters, Cal, who reportedly was our host in high school, is much better at accessing info about these guys and this whole subsystem. So Cal has been doing our therapy recently. He was active at that time of our life and/or he's part of or can access this other subsystem or something, whereas John just feels far away from it all and doesn't have any real connection without Cal.
Cal is doing more consistent EMDR lately for us to get to this information. The whole experience is really bizarre, but then discovering DID and parts of myself I never had an inkling were there is bizarre. We didn't yet know the mechanism or reasoning for why the cards or the 7-member line of the football team were fronting or how they decided to front. Actually we had information that who fronted depended on the energy of the push to front. But who or what was pushing, if not the cards themselves? Now we know it's been the two bracers.
|Author:||Johnny-Jack [ Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:06 am ]|
|Blog Subject:||I never went to high school but graduated anyway|
I'm pretty sure now that our alter Cal is 17. I knew he went to high school for me/us but we graduated while age 17 so, seeing he was listed as age 15 (the first correction we made after guessing he was around 30), we figured he must have been there only in early high school. But our memories for early high school and late high school are equally fuzzy so it makes sense that he went to all of high school for us and he's 17.
Maybe six years ago we revisited our high school with a childhood friend I'll call Liz. Being summer, there were no classes or students. Liz never left our small Midwestern town, she got a job in the high school after graduation and just kept working there. She eventually married one of our former teachers!
Liz had just left a decades-long job as the principle's assistant but still had the school keys. My son took a video as we walked the halls together with another mutual friend I'll call Belle. Both remembered all sorts of things I had no memory of. I'm afraid to review that tape because it was upsetting then to be somewhere that felt barely familiar yet I knew I spent years there. It wasn't just the intervening years because Belle left our hometown when I did and she remembered most things Liz did.
Liz and Belle remembered at least a dozen stories that I was blank on. They all seemed plausible and they described me in a way I could mostly recognize but these things just weren't in my memory. I knew at that time I was multiple but I didn't know we had a Calvin. Maybe I wasn't ready to know I didn't go to high school. Maybe it would have reduced my disorientation if I had known.
One of the biggest oddities was her remembering how many days I missed from high school. I was oblivious so she proved it by showing me an old card that had recorded 16 days missed from both junior and senior year. Yet I still had excellent grades. It didn't make sense. I now want to ask Calvin and the others why all the "sick" days. I don't think we were sick. But I'm afraid that some of them know the reason and it might destabilize me. It may not matter, I'm guessing why now and I don't think it's my imagination, I think it's memory leakage.
It's really disturbing. Fortunately (or not), DID has provided me with auto-block, which allows me not to focus on something that's right in front of me. It's crippled me to some extent but it's something I still rely on from time to time. I wish I didn't have to work and could just do therapy. But I have to hold myself together enough to keep working, ugh.
|Author:||Johnny-Jack [ Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:50 am ]|
|Blog Subject:||Pip, the orphan runaway, finds a home|
Sometimes you have a realization that is small and simple, but the effect inside is profound.
Pip is a near-four-year-old alter who has been oddly active lately. He's been out walking around, his thoughts and memories have been leaking into our consciousness, he even posted here in the littles thread about his now daily quest to feed bunnies in a nearby park. Pip doesn't hold trauma like most of our alters so his being active felt less "critical" than those who experienced trauma. Pip holds hopes and dreams.
In this first entry about little Pip we noted that he wanted to run away from home. And that's the reduced thought we had about him -- he imagined running away for us. Pip, the orphan who dreamed of running away. But as I can now see in the post above and in the memories we've know that he holds, this was only half of what he dreamed of.
Pip used to lie in bed on summer nights, listening from our open window to the sounds of the giant trucks rolling along the highway just a few blocks away on the outskirts of our small town. He especially liked the air-valve sound that only semis made, maybe the driver hitting the breaks, I don't know. He wondered which drivers would welcome a little boy passenger, either in the front seat or as a stowaway. He wondered where these vehicles would take him, what other towns and families were out there who might take in a little boy like him.
For a four-year-old, the thoughts were detailed. He was aware they would ask him questions about his family, where he came from, why he was alone. He practiced stories they might believe, things he'd heard in storybooks, things that would prevent them from sending him back home. He wasn't naive, he knew some people were bad and he would watch for that and be ready to run again, but about most people he was cautiously optimistic.
I've felt Pip's presence over the past few weeks, watching from inside, occasionally pushing to the front for a while, going back inside when things like a heavy backpack, were too much for him.
Pip was never just looking to run away from home. That was just the first half of his quest. The rest was to find in a nice, safe, loving home where he could live. His watching our life and home recently, seeing our son and I interacting as a family, has led him to the awareness that we -- and he -- actually did "run away" from home many years ago. We found a new life far away, across the country, and have our own house and family.
What he realized was that he no longer needs to run away. His journey, his dream, has been fulfilled. He's home, we're home.
Even though we hadn't ever really felt that before, we can feel it now. Logically, we've known, of course, that we own the house we live in and we adopted a son. But it never felt fully real or complete. Emotionally, it didn't all quite feel like ours. Something was missing.
We've said to our son virtually every day for the past seven years some variations of "this is your home," "do you like your home," "do you know this house is yours," "do you feel safe in this home," and "you never, ever have to leave here unless you want to." It's felt odd and obsessive but we felt compelled to saying these things aloud. I know now that emotionally this came from Pip. He needed to have it confirmed that someone else considered this to be a rock-solid safe home and that, in the act of providing a home to someone else, our son, and him accepting that as permanent, we might finally accept it ourselves.
Pip has found the home he dreamed about so many years ago and so have we. Nothing has really changed, yet everything feels different.
|Author:||Johnny-Jack [ Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:10 pm ]|
|Blog Subject:||Ryder, workin' alter, hidden in plain sight|
Soon after we learned about Ryder we added him to our list of hosts along with John and Johnny. Until recently I've thought, why is his name there, he doesn't feel like a host, he avoids interacting with people. I should move him off of the hosts list. I did a couple times but soon readded him, realizing it was a case of me not understanding a truth about our system that others knew. Turns out Ryder is incredibly important to our life and he's absolutely a host.
Our condo back porch railing has been coming apart for years, ballisters broken and falling out, wood rotting. Embarrassing because the neighbors have to look at it but not enough for me to take action. I was resentful that neighbor carelessness originally started the breakage, it would cost over $2K to get it fixed, and I just didn't want to spend that. So I avoided thinking about it -- or using the large porch at all. But a fellow condo owner is selling and I had to make a decision, be a jerk and do nothing (no way), pay $2K, or fix it myself.
I've never done major carpentry work. But it doesn't involve quantum physics so we determined to do it. We were slow at first, then something kicked in. We spent long hours after work and on weekends, plugging away: measuring, researching, buying new tools, pulling down the old railing, priming, nailing, etc.
My son wanted to help but explaining and teaching him was somehow incompatible with actually doing the project. I, John, love to teach my son things. It's critical for him to learn practical life skills and it's a chance to bond. We let him some but there was little chatting. So it became clear that this couldn't be me doing the work.
Ryder isn't just the guy who does parts of our career. He's the one buckles down whenever we simply must get something done. He can work diligently, steadily for many hours straight, no break. I was absolutely shocked yesterday when I realized he went all day without food -- and afterwards we were not hungry! I still can't get over that --- his physiology is different. Figure out a way to keep Ryder fronting and we'll get slim again! (half serious)
Ryder succeeds for us by focusing, and interacting with people interrupts that. Maybe if it's more than a couple sentences, Johnny or I switch in automatically. But once we all realized it's been Ryder, he's tried talking more to our son. It's, uh, challenging but he loves him and is learning.
As always, in hindsight, I want to kick myself for not understanding this has been him, not me (John) or Johnny. But as alters most of us function with no awareness that we aren't just one person. Well, we are one person but we're composed of alters who function in tandem.
Now we're not sure if he arrived at age 23, as suspected, or if he reawakened or something. We have images of doing cleaning chores in our childhood once the father died and we no longer had a cleaning lady. I'm not sure we did any "manual labor" until age 12. Heck, one of us, Chase, initially refused to do physical work as something beneath him. All this was due to the way we were raised.
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