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Are traumatic feelings shared ?

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Are traumatic feelings shared ?

Postby Floralie » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:13 am

I wrote about anger in another thread and then started to think about it more. And I remembered a dream I had many years ago, but still remember because it had so intense feelings, unbearable. I didn't think too much about that then, just that I was happy that a thing like that has not happened to me :roll: about which I'm not that sure anymore.

There wasn't a lot happening in the dream, I don't remember was there even any talk, or was it just all feelings, so trigger warning just for intense feelings that can remind you of a situation where you've felt that, but there's nothing happening in the dream that explains why the feelings are there, so there's no graphic content: it was just me standing in front of my dad, and I was little. This happened in the living room of the house where we lived in from when I was 3 until we moved the year I turned 13. In the dream I was angry, that way angry you could rib someone into little pieces with bare hands without thinking twice, as angry as anyone can get, furious to my dad. But even more I was scared. He was way bigger and stronger than me, and I knew I could never win him, but he could harm me any way. And even when I was so angry you can't get any angrier, I was even more scared, and couldn't show the anger at all, but just keep it in, and it was humiliating and unbearable to be so helpless. When you get so angry than you can get , but it doesn't help at all, and you can't even show it outside, it felt like mind splitting into pieces. Then I woke up. trigger warning ends.

I know Jules holds trauma like that. He can not get angry at all, not really. He can be annoyed or have teen angst kind of anger, but not hate or real anger at all. And the reason is it does not make him feel himself strong like getting angry should, he talked about that one time with someone (when he was active online before), to him anger is same thing than total helplessness, even thinking about getting angry can trigger him into that awful state of total helplessness, it's something to totally avoid. And he avoids so well, there isn't even a part in his system who holds that. Instead he has a twin sister who can get angry. And only now I realized maybe I should think his sister as a part in the system too, because she shares feelings with Jules like that. But his sister does not hold helpless anger, she's able to use the anger to their advantage, and be manipulative and take care of things herself when adults around do not, and Jules always can't because he's too traumatized. His sister is too, but different way, she's traumatized by what was done to Jules.

There would not be that strong avoidance in the system if there would not be a reason for it, and the dream was probably not just a regular dream. More of a memory.

I think, and this is just a guess, that for us the scared anger to the point of helplessness has been either a long term state or repetitive stuff when we've been too young for me to remember, and probably after that too. So someone has to have it, the actual feeling, that we know has to exist somewhere, because Jules too knows what it is, and maybe has been there in a situation like that, but does not have it himself. To me that is a one thing, being angry+scared+helpless=1 feeling. In a way there's 3. Can it just be that it's in different parts, as a 3 separate feelings, even if the trauma feeling, the unbearable part of it has been the mix of those. Or is there someone somewhere who holds it just the way it happened?

What's your experience about having too much feelings at one time in a traumatic situation, do those feelings get stuck with each other and get stored somewhere just like they were originally, or can mind put it to a smaller pieces and give it to different parts? But then nobody would hold the trauma, and what ever the cause of the feelings is, trauma is the mix of the feelings.

Or does it have to be in Jules, because he's with the knowledge about how unbearable it is, so that part can be just somewhere really deep in him, buried away. How do mixed feelings related to trauma work in DID? I bet that is not uncommon mix for people with trauma, probably more of something that's very common to have.

Maybe someone who has done trauma processing already could know, at least how they had it themselves.
Floralie F main front
Sami M 16 (15-26) defender (trauma)
Lucas M 16 (19) bridge-builder, self care (trauma)
Leon M 4 (trauma?)
Ferro M 14/24 protector (trauma)
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Anastasia F 26 inner caretaker, female sexuality
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Re: Are traumatic feelings shared ?

Postby MakersDozn » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:33 am

Hi Floralie,

We can only speak to our own situation, which is that yes, traumatic feelings are shared among different members of our system. Who the individuals are depends on the trauma, the resulting feelings, and the pre-existing relationships between the individuals in question. The feelings are simply too intense for one person to tolerate. :|

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Re: Are traumatic feelings shared ?

Postby Rive » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:45 am

I would thank so. Maybe your alters split because of different aspects of the trauma but they still both had the same memory of the trauma.
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Re: Are traumatic feelings shared ?

Postby myce » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:36 pm

I started to respond to this post last night and the forum went down. I am familiar with this feeling and yes it is very fragmented. There was a time when I thought the attachment trauma was all there is, and I started to wonder whether other trauma even exists. The system sent me a gentle reminder, just a reminder since I was asking inside. It is an almost psychosomatic sensation that feels like there is a burning toxin in my blood. I labeled this feeling as hate, and I guess it's the same thing as anger+fear+helplessness.

This feeling caused me much trauma so right now I can feel it viscerally but not mentally or emotionally. When I read your post it was the body alter who responded to answer your question. First there is the flight reflex with increased heart rate, etc. Very scared. Then I felt the muscles in my neck tighten until it almost gave me a headache. I think that is what it feels like when an angry alter is pushing to the front and getting pushed back. The tension between them causes muscular tension especially in the neck. I feel all my muscles tighten and almost start to ache. I don't know about the anger since that is Sentinel's domain and she isn't talking. This trauma used to give me headaches when I was a child.

They say I need to pay more attention and take better care of the body so I can better process this trauma. They say the body can help heal emotional trauma but I don't know how.
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Re: Are traumatic feelings shared ?

Postby Zor » Sun Dec 01, 2019 3:05 pm

I think so, too... before I was aware of the others, or of them being part of the same whole as me... there were periodic nightmares. There were ALWAYS things that caused fear, discomfort (even common things like a hand on the leg or a girlfriend touching my butt), or even terrors... Things I had no frame of reference for or way to explain.

Since knowing, things are MORE frequent and more visceral... more graphic, more "real" feeling...

So yeah, I think things are easily shared, even if not intentional... and there are several parts of us with overlapping inner lives incidents from singular outside events. For example, several of us have lost a loved one or dear dear friend. My first REAL "best friend" I made in 4th grade, and she died in 5th grade. SEVERAL (Pixie, Kitten, Kaleb, & Katya) lost a good friend or loved one inside... I think that's a shared trauma event for us.

Other things are either lesser trauma and it's not needed to be shared... or it's just soooooo awful it wasn't/can't be (to protect others)- like the two monster people that touched us...
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Re: Are traumatic feelings shared ?

Postby ArbreMonde » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:20 am

We experience a similar situation here. Zami has processed through EMDR (before we knew we were multiple) some specific traumatic events. But, some of the feelings still linger.

And we remember them. They are in a way "encoded" to match our own inner world lifestories / memories. But the feelings are here. What happened to Zami with some of their family members, I have similar traumatic feelings towards my "personnal lifestory father" - not a person who exists physically, but someone who is real enough for me, because he is part of my own personnal story.

David also encodes some memories and feelings. We discovered that a few days ago. It was not pleasant at all. Zami (who holds most of the the autobiographic memory for the body) remembers some events, remembers they were terrorized by it, but they do not remember the feeling in itself. David does. And he can still be triggered into it. He also remembers the "victim guilt" a lot more than we previously thought. But all of this takes a different story-shape for him. Encoded to match his own personal lifestory.

The feelings are shared. The story giving them meaning, is different for each of us.

Maybe we need it to process the emotions. Maybe they are too much for just the body autobiographic memories. Maybe they need to be split into different life story lines to tone them down.

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