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Re: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:23 am

Thanks, MDs.

We've been a mess actually. We didn't realize how much his email from Monday upset us. We needed him to understand what his words meant to US. He doesn't have to agree that that's what they mean to him, but we wanted him to at least understand, and instead of showing that he understood, he explained again what HE meant, as if we just hadn't understood HIM.

We texted him a lot last night and again this morning, and

************TW self-harm***************



made a bruise on our hip last night, and added to it this morning.



***********end TW****************

We had a very real-seeming dream last night that everything was "fixed up" with him, and then when we woke up it was like a gut-punch to realize it had just been a dream. In our texts to him today, we said that if he was able to text us back and it seemed like he understood what we were saying, and things were moving in the right direction, then maybe it would be a good idea to see him tomorrow if he can still do it. Because some of us have the feeling that we're just floating away in space, completely disconnected from him, and it doesn't seem anymore like a good choice to wait to see him until Tuesday.

It's not helping that it seems like he's been especially busy with something in his life recently, and it's taking him much longer to respond than usual. We're doing ok with not thinking that it has anything to do with us, and he did send emojis eventually to say that he at least saw our texts.

All this takes such a physical toll--we've had a migraine headache all day, and have been constantly feel a kind of dizzy brain fog, like we might feel if we were coming down with something. There's been a lot of crying, too. Hopefully things will get better soon.

us
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Re: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Postby Amythyst » Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:23 pm

hey Gang,

sorry you're all still going through this stuff.

we hope things get sorted out soon with your T

and we hope you're all ok

<3

viola & others
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Re: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Thu Nov 19, 2020 6:42 pm

Thanks Viola and others.

The T finally responded to all of our texts last night by putting them in an email and writing something to each one, but it still wasn't at all what we needed to hear, and we ended up


************TW self-harm***************



adding more to the bruise until we could feel it more and



**************end TW*********************

texting him AGAIN even though it was kind of late. Then we couldn't fall asleep, and got up to write an email. We put a little urgent thing next to it, which we've never done before, and someone was kind of scared about that when they saw the little red exclamation mark next to it, and felt like we were being too dramatic.

We had to explain to him that he can't just say "I understand how you feel," because how do we KNOW that he understands if he doesn't repeat back what we said??? If he doesn't say, "I hear that you feel 'x'."

And that if he says, "I'm sorry you feel so alone and disconnected," instead of something like "I'm sorry that what I did contributed to you feeling more alone and more disconnected," that it just makes things WORSE.

It's like if someone accidentally stomped on your foot when it was already injured, and when you told them that they made it hurt more, they just kept saying "I'm sorry your foot is hurting so much." Except in this case it's even worse than that, because him saying, "I'm sorry you feel so alone," without acknowledging his contribution to the feeling, actually makes the feeling worse.

I guess the analogy would be more like if each time they said, "I'm sorry your foot is hurting so much," it was accompanied by another inadvertent stomp on it.

The other thing that he never seems to get is that it's really important to our young protector to hear responses in full sentences. They're very literal, and if they ask him whether if he had known how upset we would get from what he said, would he have still said it, then they need him to say more than just "nope," and that he didn't expect that we would be upset by what he said. They really need him to say, "no, if I had known how much it would upset you, I wouldn't have said it."

We've told him this before about other difficult things in the past and I don't know if he just forgets, or if the meaning seems obvious to him, or what. There are a lot of things that we've come to call the "of course" things, which for him are so obvious that he thinks past them and doesn't think we need to hear them spelled out. But we do and we've told him that many times.
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Re: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Postby Eliseahorse » Thu Nov 19, 2020 8:21 pm

Big hugs to your young protector it's awful when your t adds to the hurt. Any chance of getting a new t?
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Re: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:53 pm

Thanks, Eliseahorse people.

We don’t need or want a new T. This one is very good, and he has been involved and caring. It’s just that the connection and caring are so obvious and constant to him from his end, that I think he doesn’t realize that we don’t know it as a consistent baseline.

He said once that growing up in his family, they could communicate in a kind of shorthand, and all the love and caring was always there so they didn’t have to always spell it out. So when we would ask something like whether he really thought about us outside of sessions, or whether he “really” cared about us, he would text back something like “yup,” and expected that we would just know that the rest of the sentence was implied. But we need to hear or read the words, because otherwise it feels like it could be a trick. That later he might say that his “yup” didn’t mean what we assumed that it did. And it’s not because he’s ever tricked us—it’s just all our past experiences that make us so suspicious and doubting.

And when he says, “I understand,” there have been times with him when he DID think he understood, but really didn’t, so it seems valid to us to ask him to say what he thinks he’s understanding. I know he’s been really busy lately, and that’s probably why his answers were so short last night, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s not helpful for him to say things like that.

He’s being as available as he can to work this out with us, so we’ll just hope that we’ve made it clear enough finally so he can respond in a way that will help us feel better. We sent him what we posted here this morning in case that was more helpful than how we said it directly to him.
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Re: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:25 am

We finally got a response that satisfied Watcher enough that they're "standing down" somewhat and allowing the rest of us to feel and remember some of the good feelings and attachment that we've had with the T.

It's quite striking actually, how all those feelings were effectively gone, and all that there was awareness of was the pain that the T had caused for the past three weeks. We remembered that there had been good feelings, but it seemed like everything had changed and would never go back to being that way. And it has consistently felt like that for three weeks--worse over the past few days.

Then this afternoon the T sent a short email with the more specific literal response that Watcher needed to hear, and as it sunk in, we felt like we were letting go of all the pain, and kind of crying from relief, and then we could feel again how much the littles love the T, and feel how much he cares and is committed to helping us. We can remember Tuesday's session better now, and instead of just intellectually knowing that the extra time he spent with us was because helping us with our pain and distress was so important to him--now we can feel the caring that was implied in what he did and said.

But it was a lot to go through. And I think we still need to sort out with the T what we can do in these situations to be more clear about what we need from him. We need some way of slowing things down so we (him and whichever of us is talking to him) don't get lost in a lot of words and lose track of the feelings that we need him to acknowledge. Whatever the misunderstanding or misattunement is, the solution is usually a lot simpler and more literal than he tends to think it is.

Maybe we can try to sort that out with him so we can get to this point faster next time.
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Re: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Postby MakersDozn » Sat Nov 21, 2020 1:47 am

Hi Gang,

We're sorry that this has been so difficult for you folks. But we're glad that you've made enough progress with your T for Watcher to be at least partially satisfied. We know that with us, it's a challenge to recognize the value of small steps and incremental progress.

Hoping that these initial steps forward lead to more good things for you.

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Body cis ♀ (1962). Realized 1996 that we're multiple. System of 47, all cis: 42 ♀, 5 ♂; 17 littles (0-7+), 9 middles (8-11+), 14 teens (12-17+), 5 bigs (18+), + formless yin/yang.

Notable: Charity 25 (oldest), Deborah 23, Drew 23f, Mary 23, Rachel 23, Laura 17.5, Allegra 17, Cass 17, shawn 16f.
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Re: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Thu Dec 03, 2020 6:01 am

I kind of want to update this, but I need to be careful not to say anything that gets Watcher too worked up.

We've seen the T twice since the last time we wrote here. On Friday we talked more about what had caused the huge disconnect between us, because we had gone back through old posts to look at other times that we've felt misunderstood by the T.

We were trying to figure out what the difference is between things that get repaired quickly and things that drag on for weeks where we feel like the T isn't really getting why we're upset, despite us trying over and over to explain it to him.

We started to realize that when Watcher is involved, they really need the T to respond more literally to what we're asking him, and to respond only to what we're asking him. It was very scary to be trying our best over and over again to explain how we were feeling and what we needed from him, and to have him respond with a lot of words that didn't answer the question.

Right now, we're trying to keep Watcher from interacting directly with the T, which is hard, because they're used to being out front protecting us. But it's like they went from not having a body or feelings to suddenly having them, without any way to regulate the feelings.


*************************TW disturbing imagery***********************

It's like they're the emotional equivalent of a severe burn victim, where even air hurts, and we have this image of someone all wrapped in bandages in a special floatation bed like they have for burn patients.

*************************End TW*****************************************

So we're trying to keep them calm and protected, but they feel like they should be out in front even if it hurts, so we can get overwhelmed with their feelings if we're not careful. Like just now, we thought about texting the T, and Watcher was reminded of all the previous times when we were hoping for a response that would help us, and instead got back something that made us feel worse, and we started to feel really upset and hopeless.

One of the things we figured out and explained to the T is that when we tell him things, about our life or our feelings, it's the telling and the being understood that are the most important aspects for us. We're not telling him things as a starting point for a conversation about those things. We just want to know that he took it in and understands us.

It's like there are all these stones buried just under the surface of the ground, and we're brushing some dirt off of one of them and letting him see it. We don't want him to brush off more dirt, or start digging around the side of the stone. And when we told him that analogy, he automatically took it farther and started saying how we wouldn't want him to move the stones around and see how they looked in a different place. That was light-years beyond what we were saying we don't want him to do, and was a good example of the kind of thing that isn't helpful for us right now.

Yesterday, we talked more about the pattern we noticed in the times that we've become the most upset and felt the most misunderstood by him. It has always been when he tried to respond by expanding on what we've asked him or told him. And to Watcher that feels like he won't "stand still" and just respond to what we're asking or telling him.

It's as if he thinks that by committing to a specific answer to a question, he'll be implying that that's the only answer. But we don't think about it that way.

If we ask him if an elephant is a mammal, we don't want to hear, "Well, there are lots of mammals--there are lions, and giraffes, and tigers, and there are other animals that aren't mammals; there are reptiles, and birds...oh, and insects are important, too."

We really just want to hear, "Yes, an elephant is a mammal." And I'm not sure why he thinks that giving that answer might lead us to believe that elephants are the only mammals that exist.

I was talking to the husband about this last night, and he agreed with me that giving one specific answer doesn't have to mean that you're ruling out all other possible related answers. I recall seeing that the T was a philosophy major in college--maybe it's a more philosophical approach to things? But it's not the right approach for us.

One of the biggest ruptures we had with the T was when Watcher was trying to deal with idea of the T being real and not imaginary, and therefore a human who makes mistakes. And the T said something about replacing that imaginary person who cares with a combination of him and an inside part who cares (or something like that). So Watcher was thinking about that as a possibility. And that exchange had been by text.

But then the next day, the T sent an email (of his own accord) to "change" his answer. And he wrote a long thing that expanded on what he said, and talked about someday he hoped we would have "many sources of care." That was too much for us to deal with--it was well-intentioned, and there was nothing inherently wrong with the content, but it wasn't appropriate to where we were in our relationship with him. It brought up all kinds of things that we weren't at a place to be able to deal with.

It's hard to think of a good analogy, but it's kind of like if there's a five year old who is anxious about starting kindergarten at a big public school, with all the new tasks to navigate, you don't start explaining the details of what it will be like to go to high school. I mean, yes, it's true that they will someday go to high school, but unless they're curious, and asking you about it, it's not necessary to bring it up when they're five years old.

Anyway, yesterday the T said that he would try to do what we're saying will help us. What we're saying we need him to do. He said it would be a big shift for him, and we might see his face "turn purple" with all the things that he will be keeping himself from saying, but he said that he believes in us and he's making a commitment to do his best to help us.
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Re: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Postby ArbreMonde » Thu Dec 03, 2020 9:28 am

oOo Sending a lot of support regarding your relationship with your T. It is difficult to deal with well-intentionned mistakes. Yet, they are still mistakes, and they still hurt.

oOo We hope things will turn out fine and an understanding will be reached.

___
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Re: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Thu Dec 03, 2020 5:39 pm

Thank you, ArbreMonde. We really appreciate your kind words.

We'll be seeing the T tomorrow, so we're grappling with what to write in the email we always send the night before. There are parts who want to test out this new commitment, and others who are afraid to test it and be hurt again.

We've had some good developments internally, and we'd like to share them with the T, but we're still worried that he'll start adding and expanding and wondering and not just take in what we tell him and understand it. Understand us.

I guess we'll see how the day goes--maybe we'll share a little bit, and also let him know that we're trying to test things out.
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