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Advice on an abusive alter

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Advice on an abusive alter

Postby TheHiveMind » Sun May 02, 2021 4:44 pm

One of our main dificalites is one of our alters is very abusive. He was the first one that made the host aware of our multipleisum?... having other personalities. He would take over and abuse while blocking everyone else out so we couldn't do anything about it.

*******triggers of self harm, sexual mentions, religion and bullying*********

Syra has always self harmed to cope with emotions and because they thought they deserved it. But at some point the abusive alter took over this. Self harming, abusing the body sexually and causing flash backs and panic attacks.

This alter lives separately from the rest of us in the inner world. No one has contact with him unless he chooses to show himself and forces to the front. He also has taken alters to his part of the inner world and they disipear untill they can escape. He uses lots of different things to halm and bully. For some reason he seems to be a religious maniac to and abuses in that manor

********trigger over********

It's really difficult to find information on how to deal with abusive alters. Most information found online say to understand the abuser. But no one can contact them.
Does anyone have their own stories about abusive alters?
Or any helpful advice?
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Re: Advice on an abusive alter

Postby Snaga » Sun May 02, 2021 6:49 pm

I would think if the abuser refuses to be understood, then maybe a coalition of strong alts can unite to contain the self-harm. A system is a system for a reason- survival in the face of something that was traumatising that the mind couldn't deal with, without breaking things up into manageable bits. And wayward alts must conform to that purpose, eventually, I think. They have to be made to understand they're like they are for a reason, but ultimately that reason ought to tie in with the whole purpose of a traumatised mind creating a system- to survive and not go insane, or wind up dead. No individual alt can be allowed free reign to do as they please- they have to learn to be what they are, within a larger framework.
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Re: Advice on an abusive alter

Postby TheHiveMind » Sun May 02, 2021 8:52 pm

Snaga wrote:I would think if the abuser refuses to be understood, then maybe a coalition of strong alts can unite to contain the self-harm. A system is a system for a reason- survival in the face of something that was traumatising that the mind couldn't deal with, without breaking things up into manageable bits. And wayward alts must conform to that purpose, eventually, I think. They have to be made to understand they're like they are for a reason, but ultimately that reason ought to tie in with the whole purpose of a traumatised mind creating a system- to survive and not go insane, or wind up dead. No individual alt can be allowed free reign to do as they please- they have to learn to be what they are, within a larger framework.


I dont understand how. If we were just bits of emotion or memory missing from a person. Then it would work. But we are all different people in one form. Random people like in a work place. All with own ideas and goals working for our own gain. How could we be expected to work together when most of us dont like each other. Regardless of the need to keep the body alive.
Maybe it's better is ether me or syra tried to forget. Tried to ignore it all. I dont see how anything can be done.
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Re: Advice on an abusive alter

Postby Dwelt » Sun May 02, 2021 9:03 pm

Maybe he can hear you ? I know it can sound silly to talk out loud, but a lot of alters can hear what's said that way, even when contact isn't possible. And sometime, they can even hear what happens inside the head, even if the alter who thinks the words can't directly contact them.

With the help of friends with DID and (ex)persecutor alters, we've written a "guide" with the advices which worked for us. It's in french, but I'll try to translate the most important parts. I'm sorry if you already know most of this :oops:

And I as said, it was what worked for us. I know it's written in a "directive" style, but feel free to take whatever you feel apply to your situation and leave the rest.


So, three things to understand :
  • Abusive behaviors are all about fear and the need of control. Persecutor alters are usually the one who experienced a lot of traumatic events and/or the ones who never, ever experienced safety. They are used to feeling helpless, and only violence worked to avoid or stop the abuses during childhood. The point of all their behavior is to take back control over their life (or the system's life) in order to try to feel safe. Because what can be control is harmless, what is out of control is a potential threat.
  • They usually don't trust anyone, not even the system, because other people are rarely predictable. They can be hard to control, so they are more likely to be a threat. Even someone who's helping them can't be trust : most of them believe genuine help doesn't exist. The one helping is trying to gain control over them, to make them feel like they own them, etc.
  • They also have a very negative image of themselves, believing they don't deserve anything good, they aren't good for other, they have to push other away or people will reject them...

Because of all of this, they can't imagine being helped. They can't imagine sharing their feelings - feelings are weakness -, and they can't imagine someone can listen to their intense and violent feelings, and still stay calm, still want to be near them, still okay to be their friend.

The first thing I advise when it comes to "persecutor" is to be careful about the word you use. They aren't "just" persecutor or abuser. They are protectors. Okay, they have a very, very unhealthy way to protect you, but still.

They use abusive behaviors because they never felt safe, loved, and supported enough to use a less harmful behavior + those behaviors saved your life at least once. It's hard to let them go, even more for them because they don't really realize trauma time is over. So being careful about the words you use to describe them is really important - like I said, some alters can hear you even when you think they can't. And trust me, they'll pay attention to anything related to them.

Three important rules to set are :
  • What's in the past stay in the past. Everyone has made mistakes, everyone will continue to make mistakes, so once it's settled and fixed, it can't be used as an attack.
  • No one in the system should attack another system's member, or the body. Not negotiable. On the plus side for them, it means no one should attack the "protector-persecutor" too.
  • Work together instead of against each other. When one of you does something wrong, first they have to "fix" their mistake (apologize, clean the room, etc.). Then all the system should help them find another way to behave. Don't blame the one who did a mistake too much, they already know they screwed up. They don't need the extra-guilt.

Those three will help build a sense of inside safety and support. It's really important to have these, because it will help the protector to feel safe and supported enough to try new behaviors.

You can make other rules, depending on your system.
Rules give a frame, define what you can do, how you can do it, and what you can't. It's really reassuring, even if they'll do everything they can to break them at first, in order to see if you're serious, if they are coherent and useful boundaries, etc. Things will calm down once they'll understand why they are important.

But rules need to be created by all the system. It's not something set by just one alter and everyone has to follow. It's something that should take in consideration the skills and progress of everyone, you can't just ask an alter to give more than they can!

For example, instead of just totally forbid verbal abuse onto an outside person seen as a threat, you can set that rule : if an alter sees a threat, they have to tell the others and all the system will decide how to handle that threat. If the way the system deals with it didn't work, then the alter will be free to use their own way. This way, the behavior become a collective decision and the protector can still protect themselves and the system if it didn't work. The exposure to the danger is limited and controlled, they're not helpless.

But one important thing about rule : they have to be explained. You have to explained why they are here, what's their point, how they'll allow the system to work better. You also have to be open to compromise, and to check from time to time is they are still adapted to your current situation.

One thing to remember : they are not the problem, their behaviors are. Their behaviors are abusive, not them. It doesn't mean you can't be angry, or tired, because of those behaviors! It means you shouldn't actively discharge those feelings onto the alter.

Another important point is to identify the triggers in order to anticipate the abusive behaviors. Those triggers are the origin of those behaviors, they make the protector feels threatened, helpless, etc. Helping them to understand those feelings are from the past, right now there's no real threat, they can wait a bit before attacking, to see how the rest of the system handles it, or helping them to use grounding techniques and reassuring them can really make things easier to manage.

Most of the protector-persecutor also don't know how to talk about their emotions. They don't think on it, they act on it. That's why they're often impulsive. Like I said, emotions are often seen as a threat, a weakness. So they need help to learn to think first, to observe their emotions, wonder why they are here, where they're from, etc. It will be hard at first, often they need to learn to do it after they acted before being able to do it before. Another alter or a therapist can help them.

A lot of work with them start by doing it after before being able to do it before anyway.

Every progress, even small ones, has to be noted. You don't need to throw a whole party, but just some small congratulations can help a lot. However, at the beginning, it might be a trigger for anxiety from the protector - because if someone is proud of you, it means you can disappoint them, lose their love, be rejected...

If they break the rules, finding why is important.
Is it a way to check the coherence of the rule? To see if they can mess up without losing your love and acceptance? To check the sincerity of your word? Because they've panic? Finding why will help you to adapt your response + will help to think with them about new behaviors they can try before using violence. Then, explaining again what are the rules and why they're important. After that, helping them to fix their mistake. And last but not least : you will need to reassure them you still love and accept them, they're still a part of the group. It's important to reassure them even if they are angry at you and your stupid rules. It's even more important if they are angry at you and your stupid rules! Anger often hide fear, and a lot of protectors can't deal with the idea you can be a bit mad at them and love them at the same time.

Being calm and reassuring them is very important. I can't stress that enough. It's really one of the basis. You will not be able to do a lot of things if they are scared and ready to attack all the time.

Another ressource I recomande is this one : DID-SOS - boundaries within the dissociative system (and basically all birdsong's blog :lol: )




With mine, when I decided to start working with him after almost two decades of misbehaving and four years of being afraid of him, it started with two/three months of learning to recognize his influence and stopping him when he was triggering flashback and panic attacks to another alter.

I would "take a step back" (I had to learn how to do that first, yeah) from the feelings he was triggering, recognize he was the one behind it and then tell him things like "I understand, you don't like that/there's something you don't like, what it is?" then "Okay, we will not do it / As we have to do it, what do you suggest to make you feel safer? / I can suggest this to make things easier for you" and last "You know, you don't have to trigger a flashback to be heard. You could have just told me it was making you uncomfortable, I would have listened."
Or "You know, calling us *stupids* and triggering panic attacks after we did what you think is a mistake isn't helping. If you saw it coming, you could have told us, it would have benefit all the system, including you. Maybe next time, you should think about it?".

After a while, he stopped abusing the system. As I was showing him how inadapted his behavior was, it wasn't fun anymore. He spent some time away from us, before trying to stay around a bit and see what will happen. He started to understand the rules, understand we will be on his side now, he will never be alone again ; to understand no matter what he does, we will not abandon him. He's a part of the system, and we will protect him like any other part.

It took him one year to really trust us. And now, almost two years after, he totally changed his behavior - and we never asked him to do so. We just asked him to wait, to let Daem and I try to deal with the threat first, and if we don't succeed, then he'll be totally free to do whatever he wants. The last scenario never happened, and it made him realize he was overreacting 99% of the time. But the fact we accept him the way he is and are okay with finding compromise between his needs, his behaviors, and the reality of our life, it really motivates him to improve his behavior.

He still has issues, specially with outside people, but he knows we will not let him hurt anyone anymore, so it allows him to be less anxious. And when he feels something as a threat, he comes to me or Daem for reassurance and comfort first. It really takes a lot now to have him wanting to verbally abuse someone else - and that's not something we would allow to happen again.

Hope it helps, and sorry for the very long message :oops:
French system

The ones in charge : Plume (Plume+Alix+Lea) | Daemon
The main group : Claude, protector | Kal, protector | Erdian, social-manager

"Little" group : Nicolas | Eric | Jean | Linda | Emma | Nathan | Ethan

The last two : Cassandra | Varegh, protector
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Re: Advice on an abusive alter

Postby Snaga » Mon May 03, 2021 1:32 pm

TheHiveMind wrote:I dont understand how. If we were just bits of emotion or memory missing from a person. Then it would work. But we are all different people in one form. Random people like in a work place. All with own ideas and goals working for our own gain. How could we be expected to work together when most of us dont like each other. Regardless of the need to keep the body alive.
Maybe it's better is ether me or syra tried to forget. Tried to ignore it all. I dont see how anything can be done.
Boi


In some ways it's easier for me, because if I'm anything it's probably OSDD. But I think that seems to be a common theme here in DID- folks learning to work together as a system- and not necessarily with the goal of integration; but getting to a place where alts cooperate.
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Re: Advice on an abusive alter

Postby TheHiveMind » Mon May 03, 2021 11:19 pm

I think it's not just shadow that's the issue. Syra also is abusive but in a different way. Bullies and refuses to acknowledge my existence. Deliberately puts me in triggering situations then find my reaction funny. A possible new alter tricked me into smoking which they know I hate.
Call me week stupid child. Just like everyone did when we were younger. I've been dormant for so long, the body is adult with adult things and I dont know what to do. They all abandoned me.
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