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Are all Littles always stuck in the past?

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Are all Littles always stuck in the past?

Postby VioletFlux » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:28 pm

This came up with our T today, and I'm kinda unsure whether we misunderstood her, or she misunderstood me, or if there's just a general miscommunication going on.

So we were talking about system progress and how one of our goals was to help anyone still trapped in their trauma stuff. And I forget if the T mentioned it first or if it was me, but the subject came up of Melissa.

So Melissa sees herself as 7yo and she does remember some traumatic stuff that happened to her/us in school, in grade 2.

So our T was like, that means Melissa is still stuck back in grade 2, still stuck at age 7, doesn't know she's really in a grownup body, and she's still stuck with her trauma from back then.

And I said, no, she's pretty well oriented in the present. She remembers at least some of that stuff (we don't know how much she remembers, she doesn't like to talk about it) but she also knows it's the here and now, she knows she's part of a DID system and knows about the older body and stuff.

She's actually been active way longer than me or Viola or Arin. Since the 90's at least! So like, yes she still sees herself as 7yo and she still likes her kids cartoons and toys and stuffies and that stuff. But she also knows about the internet and she's posted on here and heck she even knows how to get on amazon and order toys and stuff lol.

Anyways so I'm sort of thinking, does the T think that any alter who's a Little is automatically 'trapped in the past' and they have to 'grow up' to get over it? Cos I don't think that's the case.

I did tell the T this, that Melissa knows about the present and knows she's part of a system and knows the body is older and all that stuff. But Melissa has flat out said she doesn't want to grow up. She wants to stay little.

Our T asked what's the benefit to the system to have Melissa stay little, and I'm like well she has a lot of childlike joy or whatever, innocent joy, she has that fun and happiness and stuff that kids have. But now I'm thinking, is that how we have to measure things? Like everything has to be a benefit to the system?

And like by the same token, if I see myself as a teen, does that mean I'm 'trapped in the past' too? Do I hafta 'grow up' to be fixed? Cos I don't wanna either lol. Same with Viola. And I don't know that there's any benefit to the system from us being immature, but we are and we're happy to stay this way. :?

And like I'm not saying no little is still stuck. Arin was totally stuck in her trauma past, till she grew up. But Melissa totally isn't. I'm not. Viola isn't.

I know these are questions we should probably be asking our T but I wanted to get input here first and see, like is this a common thing, or did we misunderstand something, or wahtever.

V2
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Inside Team: Charlie(6m); Claire(0f); Ewan(4m); Janet(4f); L----(∞f); Melissa(7f); Mike(35m); Nyssa(10f); Rebecca(∞f); Trina(25f); V1(22f); et al.
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Re: Are all Littles always stuck in the past?

Postby Sarandipity » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:56 pm

Mandy knows she's in a system, knows the system and that her body is not age 5. She likes her teddies and cartoons too and I don't think she'll give up her freedom of mind without a big fight.
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Re: Are all Littles always stuck in the past?

Postby TheGangsAllHere » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:39 pm

VioletFlux wrote:Anyways so I'm sort of thinking, does the T think that any alter who's a Little is automatically 'trapped in the past' and they have to 'grow up' to get over it? Cos I don't think that's the case.

I did tell the T this, that Melissa knows about the present and knows she's part of a system and knows the body is older and all that stuff. But Melissa has flat out said she doesn't want to grow up. She wants to stay little.

Our T asked what's the benefit to the system to have Melissa stay little, and I'm like well she has a lot of childlike joy or whatever, innocent joy, she has that fun and happiness and stuff that kids have. But now I'm thinking, is that how we have to measure things? Like everything has to be a benefit to the system?...

...I know these are questions we should probably be asking our T but I wanted to get input here first and see, like is this a common thing, or did we misunderstand something, or wahtever.

V2


Yeah, definitely find out what your T is thinking because that isn't true in our system either. In fact, that's what I thought littles were like, until Meredith started talking about stuff she likes and does in the present.

And about the benefit thing--I mean, every part came about to help the system in some way, but that doesn't mean that they only have characteristics that help the system. Melissa IS little--you guys aren't keeping her little.
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Re: Are all Littles always stuck in the past?

Postby Ponyta » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:55 pm

It's not true in our system either. True- Blue has a lot of issues and fears what happened before. She believes it'll happen again- but she knows how old our body is. Deep down she knows things changed. Mary also knows how old our body is. Nothing bad ever happened to Mary. She's the happy one. If Mary truly is stuck at age five- that doesn't explain how she knows about/likes certain things (stuff that came out much later). Honestly- I believe none of our ages (at least in our system) are a true indicator of anything. Wolverine is 30 for example. Our body is only 27.
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Re: Are all Littles always stuck in the past?

Postby VioletFlux » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:09 am

Thanks everyone! You've all clarified stuff that I sorta felt but couldn't really figure out how to say.

I know we have some littles that really are stuck in the past and they do need help,but Melissa sure isn't one of them, and helping them totally doesn't mean they hafta grow up and stuff.

We're pretty sure now Melissa is the one who was upset about all that and wanted me to do this thread. I'd actually forgot that we talked about this stuff at T, until later when we were home and it came up suddenly.

And now remembering in that book Dear Little Ones, the author says how littles don't have to grow up, they get to choose.

I think we'll have to talk more with our T about this to clear things up.

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Outside Team: Arin (22f); Viola (17f); Violet aka V2 (16f);
Inside Team: Charlie(6m); Claire(0f); Ewan(4m); Janet(4f); L----(∞f); Melissa(7f); Mike(35m); Nyssa(10f); Rebecca(∞f); Trina(25f); V1(22f); et al.
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Re: Are all Littles always stuck in the past?

Postby Johnny-Jack » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:21 am

VioletFlux wrote:So our T was like, that means Melissa is still stuck back in grade 2, still stuck at age 7, doesn't know she's really in a grownup body, and she's still stuck with her trauma from back then.

Thanks for posting this. It's similar to comments our T makes and it usually annoys me. Some of our littles do seem stuck in the past. They're the ones we don't have a lot or any real communication with.

But others have been fronting and communicating for years. They know the body is older and they participate by shopping, cleaning, helping us relax. Sometimes it feels like my T is defining littles and middles as "part of me that is stuck in the past." Well, if you define them that way, that's what they are to you by definition.

Not very helpful for us. And it's glossing over the important distinction between littles who do stuff in the present and who communicate regularly and those who are less connected.

Still there's a kernel of truth in this for us that's undeniable. But if this viewpoint invalidates any littles (who are all parts of me/us) and makes them (us) feel bad or wrong (as often happens), then it's counter-productive.
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Re: Are all Littles always stuck in the past?

Postby vix » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:56 am

That's not true for us either! While Simon was stuck in his age 3 and constantly crying, he was almost like stuck in a time bubble right at his time of trauma. Until we figured out what the trauma was, he was stuck right there. And after that he started to grow up and now he's about 5-6? I think he will continue to grow up now, he fronts occasionally and he's pretty happy with life now.

While that is a little that has been stuck in trauma, Lisa is 7, holds trauma from elementary school years and she doesn't grow up. Like you all said, she know she's part of a system, she knows we're in an adult body and she understands that she has "bad memories" as she calls them and just outright refuses to talk about those memories. If she did and got through them, would she get older? I don't know, but comparing the way Simon was stuck to Lisa's stuck - Lisa is just happy where she is and how she is. Simon wasn't and needed serious help to be able to get better.

Lisa fronting is always a fun experience. She loves her toys, she loves dress up doll games on the internet, and she's so much fun to front with because of how joyous she is. When Simon was stuck he wouldn't front himself and the only times he'd come close to front he was always, always crying and noone was able to communicate with him. So yeah that's our experience!
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Re: Are all Littles always stuck in the past?

Postby birdsong87 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:20 am

our experience is like yours. Maya is well oriented and not even obviously traumatized.
I think we are sometimes running into the limits of the theories and structures Ts use.
concepts like sorting parts into ANP and EP, controlling and emotional, observing and hosting, adult host and traumatized Little...
this does help to some degree but the categories are limiting and don't mirror our reality perfectly.
so a T can work with this but they should always be aware that it is a modell and not the truth of what we experience.
in our opinion, playful child parts can be found in healthy adults, they are just not dissociated. we think that happy Littles probably shouldn't even grow up, just be more integrated.
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Re: Are all Littles always stuck in the past?

Postby Sarandipity » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:26 am

I have a theory about parts stuck in the past. I believe "no-one" was stuck in the trauma time of when we were abused in a psychiatric hospital at age 19 that has since closed. I believe that whenever we wou get shaky and crying that was her but we didn't know it was an alter and thought we were generally in a distressed mood. Also I believe if we'd been on our own when she came out last time we still wouldn't know she is an alter or of her existence generally as a system. Mandy told the bf she wanted him to meet someone and wanted him to look after her and she warned him she just shakes and cries and stares into space , Mandy told him to make her a hot chocolate which I just realised is pretty much we drank at that hospital out of a machine. I think if he hadn't been there and treated her like a person in shock and just sat with her and then gently asked her who she was that no-one would of just been "the times we're shaky and crying without really knowing why" The bf then drove her to where we lived at that time and other places and we as a system are slowly trying to work out how and what she can experience and do in life.

So I think parts can get "stuck" if there's no outside life or expression or outside care. Mandy is aware she's in system and she seems to know the system as well as the twins do probably because she lived mostly with them. They gave her outside expression and the rest of the system wasn't really aware of her. She is "disturbed" is our general opinion, my opinion and the opinion of a couple of us, but she still has really simplistic and free thought patterns which let's her say "look after this other part" where the rest of us would not of been that brave or stupid except it wasn't stupid because now "no-one" can have some outside time when possible.

I think a therapists nice easy view would be "this part is stuck get it unstuck and it's gone and integrated" that'd be nice and simple. But a part isn't just a memory. A stuck memory can be remembered and becomes part of system knowledge but our memories are in parts and these parts aren't simply the memory, they're complex. These parts have developed around that memory and have thoughts and feelings about that memory where other parts don't.

For example my mom was always dieting. She's still thin now but she has alot of stomach issues because of these strange health kicks she goes on. Karen holds that. But that does not mean we get over our mother's input on looks being so important. It doesn't mean that the times she waxed our legs as a child and forced us to bleach our hair and the nasty comments she'd make about our sister who was chubby are Karen. It doesn't mean that when we dealt with that in therapy, that being forced to bleach our hair against our will - which it was- was abuse, accept its abuse, challenge our mother (waste of time because she thinks we're just ungrateful), accept that's how our mother is, forgive her but make sure we keep boundaries. Then deal with Karen's eating disorder and over exercise issues (we banned exercise but we think we can go back) It does not mean because we dealt with Karen's trauma which was all around body image, being desirable to men and being sexually promiscuous that Karen is gone. It means Karen is healthier mentally, she sees worth in herself, in this body, beyond what it looks like and she has healthier boundaries. She's not perfect but she's not of detriment to the rest of us. She hasn't passed that to our children, she realised how horrible it was and let's them be themselves - if they want to go out in fancy dress or wear their school uniform when it's not a school unif day she's the one saying let them because she's the one who absorbed all the appearance stuff and got over it. She can still pick a really good outfit though.

Alters for us do not integrate or disappear when the trauma is gone or processed. They become the healed version of themselves. Karen is younger than body, although she was with us from childhood she stayed at age 30 just after healing all her trauma, 30 is the age when you appreciate what you have in life and know what you want. And she can stay at that age. I don't see a problem with her staying there and staying an alter and not integrating. (Beth and the Twins)
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Re: Are all Littles always stuck in the past?

Postby VioletFlux » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:33 am

Thanks for all the replies and feedback, everyone!

vix, your Lisa sounds a lot like our Melissa. And I was like your Simon, before I grew up.

birdsong, that's a good point about theory versus real experiences. I actually asked our T not long after I grew up, about changing from EP to ANP.

When I was little I was definitely still trapped in the past and really fit the definition as EP, but since growing up and fronting and taking over most of 'life' stuff I was more like ANP. She seemed to really have trouble at the time, with the idea that an EP could turn into an ANP like that. I wonder if she still feels that way.

We actually stopped using those terms ourselves, at one point V1 had categorized everyone as one or the other, but we found there were only a handful of us where it was clear-cut one or the other.

If we're still bothered by this stuff next week we'll have to talk with her about it, because while we do have some littles who are still 'stuck' and need help, others aren't. Melissa definitely seems fine where she is.

And I think Charlie too, he was 'stuck' doing a lot of things the 'old way' as a protector/persecutor, but V2 really helped him and he seems much happier now. He's also much quieter, but we do still hear from him now and then.

Actually for Charlie it's almost 'backwards', when he was stuck with past stuff he presented as 24yo and 12yo, but now that he's more 'unstuck' he's 6yo. So for him, acknowledging the present and letting go of the past let him be himself as a little boy.

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Outside Team: Arin (22f); Viola (17f); Violet aka V2 (16f);
Inside Team: Charlie(6m); Claire(0f); Ewan(4m); Janet(4f); L----(∞f); Melissa(7f); Mike(35m); Nyssa(10f); Rebecca(∞f); Trina(25f); V1(22f); et al.
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