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Dissociation/amnesia during sexual intercourse ? Help *TW*

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Dissociation/amnesia during sexual intercourse ? Help *TW*

Postby 333N » Tue Nov 02, 2021 9:23 pm

**TRIGGER WARNING**

Hello everyone, just to warn you, this post mentions sexual abuse/rape, so maybe you should avoid reading it if this is a triggering topic for you. I also would like to apologize in advance if my english isn't perfect, this is not my native language.

I don't have DID but someone I have an intimate relationship with does, and I currently am in one the most complicated situations I have ever been in. I'm reaching out to you guys because I can't really talk about this with anyone else and I feel like I need the expertise of someone who truly knows and understands how DID works, because although I tried to educate myself a bit on the topic, I know I don't get everything.

Basically, I've been seeing someone (that I will call "A" here) for more than a year now, but we can't meet irl very often because we live far away from each other and are very busy, but also because they are in a polyamory relationship and have other partners. Our relationship was quite intimate both emotionally and physically, and I feel like we really trusted each other deeply. A told me they had DID about a year ago, and I know that their primary partner also knows about it, but from what I understand most people around them -at least the ones I know, the friends we have in common - have no idea that they have DID. We talked about it a few times but we never had a real in depth conversation about their system/ how they deal with the disorder in their everyday life/what caused it. A just told me that there are 6 alters in the system, and that depending on the situation/the alter, when they switch they either feel as if"someone else" is taking the control but they are still able to see/remember what is happening later, or they can also just completly dissociate and forget about everything this alter has done. I don't know if this is what caused the DID but they told me that they had been sexually abused as a child and several other times throughout their life. I would also like to add that from what I understood the last time we talked about it a few months ago, they don't go to therapy anymore or have any kind of professional psychological support.

The thing is, the last time we saw each other, we spent the night together and had sex for the first time (as I said, we were already quite intimate physically but we hadn't gone that far before). I have very vivid memories of that night and of everything that happened, and I know for a fact that A initiated it, that it lasted for a while, that we talked about it while it was happening and afterwards as well and that they clearly told me they were enjoying /had enjoyed the moment. However, when we saw each other again yesterday, they basically told me that I had raped them. I was very shocked and didn't know how to react on the moment because I truly did not expect this. When I told them about my version of the story and asked if they remembered everything I remember, they told me that they had never done that/said that, and that according to them, I had just started touching them although they didn't want to, that they were so shocked that they didn't know what to do, and that they had left early in the morning.
They feel traumatized by this experience and don't trust me anymore. I truly breaks my heart to think that I caused such trauma in someone else's life, and especially that I hurt someone I love as much as I love them. But this is not a situation where I can try to look at things with more hindisght and question my own behaviors and realize that I've done something wrong/ understand why it made them feel this way. The thing is we have completly different memories and from what I understand, they don't remember anything I remember (and I'm sure that I didn't make up anything). So the only explaination I can think of is that they probably switched alters during that night and don't remember most of it ? But I didn't dare to bring that up yesterday because I have been sexually assaulted in the past and I know how much courage it takes to speak up and confront the person who hurt us, I know that it can be very hurtful not to be taken serioussly, and I didn't want to make them feel even worse by invalidating their feeling. I truly feel like I didn't do anything wrong/ at least couldn't have guessed that they were feeling this way (since they initiated it and told me they enjoyed it during it and afterwards as well), but I know that at least one of their alters/ maybe the whole system except the one who was fronting at this time truly feel like they have been abused.

I'm reaching to you guys because I really don't know what to do. I can't talk about it with the friends we have in common because they don't know about the DID and I feel like it's not my place to tell them about it (I'm afraid A would feel even more hurt/betrayed since they kept it a secret). And I want to initiate this conversation with A but this situation is so touchy in so many ways - I feel like it would be so easy for an ill-intentioned person in my position to use this as an excuse to manipulate them and reject any kind of responsibility by simply blaming everything on the DID and being like "I did not rape you, it was all in your head". And once again, it seems so unfair to question someone's testimony/ say that it did not happen like that and that they are actually the one who initiated everything when they truly believe they did not and feel traumatized. It just feels like typical victim blaming and I don't want to be that person. Furthermore, apart from the fact that they could obviously feel attacked/manipulated if I questioned their version of the story, I also don't know if it is safe to talk to them about their DID considering the fact that I don't know if all of the alters are aware that they have it/ that they are part of a system, and I have no idea how they would react if I brang that up. I'm afraid it might mess things up in their system.

I know each system is different and everyone copes with trauma in their own way, but since I don't know much about how DID works and I'm pretty sure this situation has something to do with it, I was wondering if any of you guys could help. Have you ever had a similar experience/ heard of a similar situation ? Do you think I should talk to A about it, and if so, how do you think I should bring that up ? I know this is a very difficult and traumatizing situation for them, and I don't want to make things worse, I just want them to be okay. I'm also thinking about reaching out to a specialized therapist to get a better understanding, and hopefully get some insight on how to react properly.

Thank you for reading all of this, and thank you in advance for your help.
Last edited by Snaga on Wed Nov 03, 2021 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: TW added, no other edits
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Re: Dissociation/amnesia during sexual intercourse ? Help *TW*

Postby Dwelt » Thu Nov 04, 2021 10:16 am

*** TW : sexual abuse ***



Oh gosh, I understand how confusing this is. I was almost in the place of your partner, except I never talked to my ex about it, because I knew something was wrong with my perceptions, but I didn't really know what it was, as I was totally in denial about my past sexual abuses.

But some parts of me felt we were raped again when doing anything intimate with my ex. We used to dissociate heavily every time it was her turn to be "active". Our body shut down, our mind shut down, submissive parts were pushed to the front, and I still can't understand how I could thought everything was normal the first times. After those, as I started to realize something was wrong, I wasn't able to say anything because of the submissive parts being afraid. Things escalated until one of our protector found a way to start a very bad argument and make us stop the relationship.

If they have switched, it's kind of their responsibility to handle themselves - and if they can't, to go to therapy. All you can do is your best to not trigger them, that's all. And to be clear : I don't say what happened was their fault. If it happened the way you described it, it's nobody's fault, but they have a part of responsibility playing into it. And I know it's not easy to come to the realization you (the person with DID) have screwed up and maybe should think twice and set up rules about sexual activities.

I also wanted to point out : maybe they haven't switched only in the middle of it. Maybe it started before anything happen. Submissive sexual alters can sometime pick up what they think are clues of the other wanting to be sexually intimate, and it acts like a trigger : it pushes them to the front and they act like they think the other want them to behave. And sometimes, the other person didn't think about anything sexual at all and will think it's the system who initiate it.

That was one issue that leaded to the situation with my ex, and it's still there with our best friend (we dated for a while, before life events made us split, but we're still really close). That's why my system is extra-cautious when it comes to sex, because we know we have submissive parts who can't really give their consent. They say "yes" or pretend to enjoy it because they feel they have to, because bad things will come if they don't. Then, when we remember what happened, it feels awful and disgusting. It's been a few years now that we have a "no sex at all" rule because of that, and it will stay that way until the issue is resolved enough.

But yeah, that could also explain why they have different memories than you.

The only way out of this I see would be : "I'm not saying you're lying, I believe you feel the way you feel, I believe I did something that make you feel this way. The thing is, we both have very different memories of what happen. So what I can suggest is to think about both set of memories as real, and to find a solution for both scenario, in order for you to never feel this way ever again."

Like : you can promise to never, ever initiate anything. If there's anything that make them feel you are initiating something, they can say "stop", turn their back or leave the room, you'll not be mad at them, you'll not be disappointed, they have all the rights to do it. And if they initiate something, you'll ask if it's their host (or anyone who can give a true consent) who's here, wait for a full sentence (not take just a word or a nod as an answer), and you will stop everything if you have even the smallest doubt.

But the real question is : what do they want from you? Do they want to pursue the relationship?
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Re: Dissociation/amnesia during sexual intercourse ? Help *TW*

Postby 333N » Thu Nov 04, 2021 6:56 pm

Thank you so much for your thoughtful answer, the past few days have been pretty hard and it really soothes me to be able to talk about it with someone who understands how DID works and who can give me some advice on how to deal with this situation.

My conversation with A was quite short and we did not really have time to talk things through in depth because they left pretty quickly. I know it was quite triggering for them to speak up about how they felt + they told me they hesitated for a while before finally taking the decision to initiate this discussion because they were afraid that talking about it would also trigger my own sexual traumas.
They did not clearly tell me how they felt about the future of our relationship, except for the fact that it would obviously not be the same as before, because they feel like I broke their trust. They did not tell me that they wanted to end the relationship/ that they never wanted to see me again either, though. So I think there is still some hope for dialogue, but I think they definitely need time. To be honest I don't really care about saving the relationship right now - although I love them very much and would have liked to keep sharing that type of intimacy with them, my priority is just to make sure that they are okay, that they are able to deal with all of that and heal from their trauma.
I would really like to be able to offer them some support, but I think that considering the situation and how they perceive me now, they probably don't want me around. So I tried to make sure that they were well surrounded and that our common friends would be there for them if they needed help (without bringing up the DID because as I said, I'm pretty sure A haven't told their friends about it and I don't want to break their trust once again).

I messaged A and tried to touch on the subject though, making sure to do it in the best way possible in order not to make them feel as if I was trying to manipulate them/invalidate their feeling, because once again, even if it did not happen the way they think, I know it was a traumatizing experience and I want to make sure that they know I aknowledge their pain.

The thing is since I don't know a lot about their system, I don't even know if all of their alters are aware they have DID, and I'm afraid it was not a good idea to tell them if this is the case ? I mean I guess that if some alters do not remember or know about certain things, it is for a reason, and I am afraid that forcing them to face the truth if they are not in a state where they handle it is going to be too violent for them or really mess things up in their head. But in the meantime it seemed important to bring up DID because I feel like it's important for them to know how it can impact their perception of reality if they aren't aware of it - I guess that if this situation happened with me, it could happen again with anyone else, especially since they really enjoy sex and have multiple partners.

They haven't answered my messages yet and I am not even sure that they ever will, but as I said, I think they really need time and I respect that. I think that even if we get a chance to talk things through again, a lot of time will be needed to unravel everything in their head, and even more to build trust again between us. If we end up deciding to pursue the relationship and share intimate moments again, I will obviously make sure to follow your advice and define clear rules before doing anything.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your explainations and advice, it really helped me to get a better understanding of the situation, to calm my mind a bit and to let go of my guilt.
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Re: Dissociation/amnesia during sexual intercourse ? Help *TW*

Postby spinningtops » Fri Nov 05, 2021 1:16 pm

what Dwelt says about submissive alters is something that has happened to me. i have alters or have had some alters that aim to please come up, due to a survival trait as a child, pleasing people around me kept me safe. so a ton of triggers will bring this alter/alters up and then consent is super tricky. after a lot of self awareness of this i finally can be more confident that when i consent it will be true and not like a false feeling later somehow. i agree that also this doesn't seem like your fault or anything, except that if you ever do get in an intimate situation again, i would advise going much slower to make sure they truly do consent and are not in some triggered state? again, this is something i have had experience with and i have to do for myself. and it is a really tricky issue with my husband and me. it doesn't help that we have had a past where he'd guilt and pressure me to do more then i wanted to do and i do believe on some level he saw it work on triggering alters, but the consequences for me have been awful, and as a result my system has an overall pretty low sense of trust with him, again for really good reason. also my system is mostly co conscious so i usually know when things are happening, but others who have a less co conscious system, maybe don't have enough communication in their system to know and really agree with what different parts are doing.
At this point, I would tell them what you know about it, say you will keep your space as they need and are there for them if they want that. And just also apologize that even though you don't feel you meant to cause harm, you are sorry that this harm has been caused and it wasn't you intention. I think knowing that you didn't mean to do this, I think it could help? then again, you know everyone is different and if they are dead set that you are now a bad person for them, unfortunately there is little you can do. Though I hope things will get better.
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Re: Dissociation/amnesia during sexual intercourse ? Help *TW*

Postby ganjakites » Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:31 pm

this is for the protection of the system to dissociate ….I think you did a wonderful thing to reach here at pf. I need the others to be with me I think though as you learn it il...Its like a florid, system for me it half inch fish that take mamory and go ahead, like small pieces of paper to put links together to associate is all I can describe. Fuller switches happen and are stronger and scary....I think though you safe, Show interest in healing is a good idea the forums and this will make you well....
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Re: Dissociation/amnesia during sexual intercourse ? Help *TW*

Postby ArbreMonde » Sat Nov 20, 2021 2:33 pm

If you have access to a copy of "The Haunted Self" (you can find links in this thread dissociative-identity/topic219302.html ) you might want to have a look at: Part 1, chapter 1, title 5.2 the last few paragraphs.

I was re-reading a bit in THS this morning, and this part struck me as potentially helpful for you to understand what was going on.
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Re: Dissociation/amnesia during sexual intercourse ? Help *TW*

Postby 333N » Sun Nov 21, 2021 11:42 am

Once again, thank you very much for sharing your experience / sharing helpful resources.

I haven't heard from A since that day, they haven't replied to my texts, and I haven't tried to reach out again because I wanted to respect their boundaries / was afraid it would trigger them if I kept texting them about it.
But now that I have a better understanding of what might have happened that night thanks to you guys, I think that I will eventually try to contact them again and ask if they would be willing to have another conversation to talk things through. I feel like it would probably be helpful for them to hear about your experiences because it's pretty hard to find any information on the topic online, especially in our native language (French).
I know it's not necessarily going to heal our relationship, but I hope it will at least help them to be more aware of how their system might work (if these hypotheses are true), and that it will help them in the future/ with their other relationships.
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Re: Dissociation/amnesia during sexual intercourse ? Help *TW*

Postby ArbreMonde » Mon Nov 22, 2021 8:01 am

Well there is a blog I know about in french, and "The Haunted Self" is translated in french as "Le Soi Hanté". Do not hesitate to message me if you want some ressources in french.
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Trauma holders: Pride|Wrath ♂ - Lust ♀ - Reyna ♀ - Ulysses ɸ

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