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Is it normal to forget an alter?

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Is it normal to forget an alter?

Postby Tasty1 » Tue May 19, 2020 2:35 am

My girlfriends name is Ashley and she has been asleep for the last 7 months and In the meantime her protector who’s name is amber has been fronting and also another newish alter named Alex has been co fronting. Now these two alters have shared conscience and have been able to switch at will, now the strange part here is her protector amber was triggered and since then she no longer has this other alter in her head and within a week and a half has completely forgotten she even had a co conscience fronting with her. She doesn’t remember anything about her and I can bring her name up and she asks who I’m talking about so I tell her who she was and lots of details about her and as soon as her attention focuses on something else she completely forgets what we were just talking about. I literally have told her more than ten times in a span of 20 minutes but as soon as she looks at and has to think about that object she goes blank. She can remember what she was doing a few minutes earlier but not a single thing concerning her now missing alter. Is that normal? Also the fact that her main personality Ashley has been absent for 7 months is also very concerning to both her and I. Before she was triggered she could see her sleeping in a cocoon but since the trigger when she lost her co alter Alex she can no longer see or feel ashley anymore either and I’m worried that she isn’t there anymore since amber can’t see it feel her. She hasn’t forgotten her or any other alters just Alex so my questions are basically 1. Is it normal to forget an alter existed and 2. Is Ashley still there and any ideas why she been asleep for 7 months when she’s never done anything like that before? And most importantly will she come back? Please any insight you may have would be much appreciated.
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Re: Is it normal to forget an alter?

Postby LearningToo » Tue May 19, 2020 9:27 pm

In my experience over many years with a dear friend who has DID, yes, I have seen this several times. I've seen a child alter who seemed to have the specific job of getting the attention of an outside person, then disappearing. I've also seen child alters whose trauma was effectively dealt with in therapy who have disappeared. But I have also seen alters who appeared and revealed traumas, but then went deep inside and were completely hidden and inactive for years until an outside helping person came along who could effectively deal with their issues. From my perspective, Ashley needs professional help. As a non-professional friend to my DID friend, you and I are not remotely educated enough to helpfully intervene. The relational damages are deep and wide in identity-dissociated folks, and we singletons in our ignorance make damaging errors trying to be 'helpful'. Even specially trained therapists make hurtful mistakes. I once met one of my friend's therapists; she told me the best and most helpful thing I did for my friend was just being a friend to everyone. But I know now that most of the ways I had tried to actually 'help' my friend were not useful, and some did harm. I would definitely advise you to not pursue a romantic relationship with Ashley. Be supportive, but do not make any promises of any kind until you have read a lot and educated yourself. Ideally, get professional counsel yourself. 'LearningToLoveTheRide' said a true thing: "Do no harm". He has had experience, and so has 'SoHank'. They can help you figure out how to look at the situation realistically and not blunder ahead as the rescuer of the 'damsel in distress'.
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Re: Is it normal to forget an alter?

Postby Tasty1 » Wed May 20, 2020 4:00 am

Well in response to that relationship advice it is a little to late, I met Ashley 3 years ago and before she really knew she even had an alter and her first other personality besides herself was amber her protector and for the first 8 months we didn’t know she even had DID and as I got to really know her we discovered she had an alter and now 3 years later we have 6 personalities now. Ashley the original personality 31,Amber protector 35, Ally a mute 3 year old, Andrew unknown age as she is a wolf-dog mix, Alex who was 17 and now dormant I suppose and a fairly new one we call Anger because they only have been out a few times and destroys things and then disappears again. All their names start with an A but they say is coincidence. I get along great with Ashley amber and ally who loves to play be goofy and snuggle. don’t really know Andrew the wolf as she seems to be the protectors protector if that makes any sense and Alex until she disappeared and anger I have never met so unfortunately we are already in a relationship and I don’t want to lose them. Ashley is my girlfriend and the others are kinda a bonus for me. And I say that because I care for all of them very much and at this point I think they really depend on me to be there for them and I don’t have a problem with that. I know nothing about DID other than my own personal experiences with this lot. And I do my best to be good for them but you may be right by saying I may need some education/ therapy to be truly helpful because the last thing in the world I want to do is hurt any of them, so I will look into that. They have just begun to have the opportunity for some counseling and have just started that so that hasn’t been any help as of yet but I’m sure in the long haul will be good for them. I appreciate your response and hope for more feedback on all of this.
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Re: Is it normal to forget an alter?

Postby Zor » Sat May 23, 2020 2:33 pm

So Co-conscious isn't a "thing" as much as a state... two alters can be in co-conscious state sometimes and not others, could be constant for a long time and then not. That's nothing unusual.

To "forget" entirely... If the protector was triggered in such a hurtful way that it was buried, hiding, or just "gone" to protect the system- whatever danger it felt needed that might be WHY the rest don't know about that part right now. Perhaps whatever danger or trouble was actually internal, this is just my guess, and that alter taking the course of action to "hide away" is taking that pain away from the system- by erasing the awareness of it (in a sense), it's an amnesia barrier to protect the rest, the system as a whole.

We are struggling with this in a sense from "(the) shadow", a persecutor in our system- IDK if "shadow" is a name, a title, or just the description the others use. We have no communication (never have) that I'm aware of. But this part is scared of trauma coming out, hurt by it, and the nightmares and struggles it's causing (while healthy in the long term) are very painful to go through. Shadow's reaction is to try and STOP that... namely by scratching our arms and legs almost to the point of bleeding. They look like a ton of little cuts on the arms and legs.
It hurts, it's something we wish we could hide... but it's a fear-based "protection" reaction to try and keep pain hidden.

This is what DID systems do- they try and hide and protect. Protect BY hiding/covering trauma and pain. It is possible the situation you describe was an extreme reaction to a trigger that threatened to expose a trauma to the system, or to remove a barrier that keeps it hidden away. As you see with our situation, once a barrier breaks, it's not easy (if possible at all) to rebuild it. As the saying goes, "you can't unring a bell". Once the sound is heard, it's heard. Once a thing is known, generally, it's know. The exception is dissociative barriers, literally dissociating from the thing so you can't/don't know it anymore. It's exactly how dissociation operates.
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