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Question I cannot answer [SEVERE TW ABUSE, SH]

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Question I cannot answer [SEVERE TW ABUSE, SH]

Postby LucyTate » Tue Jul 28, 2020 1:00 am

[ TRIGGER WARNING FOR HURT, ABUSE, AND SELF HARM ] Hello, call me Gina. I'm very new here and hope I'm posting in the right place, if not, please let me know and I will delete and move the post to the appropriate place.

Ever since I was around 5-6 years old (I'm missing many memories of childhood, but I do remember this part), I'm not sure if it started earlier than this, but what I recall is having intense fantasies about hurting younger children. We had a young neighbor, around 3-4 who I would on the daily fantasize about hurting in various ways, making her cry and beg. Looking back I know it was awful and I'm kind of concerned about it. It would also be about other kids, always younger than me, usually female. I have vaguely acted upon some of the urges, such as tossing a child onto a couch, and lightly hitting them with a stick. I've also had urges to hurt animals, and have shoved my cats off the bed just out of intense urge and impulse, as well as lightly tossed around a dog. I was brought up believing to scold someone you must hit them.

As things progressed, the child hurting urges came back a few years ago, and I buried them deeply until digging them up today. I want to get to the bottom of this.

Recently the urges and fantasies have progressed to older people, usually men, and hurting them in various awful ways. I want it to be men who have hurt others, murderers, abusers, the like. Show them what it's like. I also hurt myself often, I've struggled with self harm for years. I get a high from thinking of these things and hurting myself.

I was abused throughout childhood, emotional and some physical, possibly sexual at an early age. I've been diagnosed with schizoaffective bipolar type, OCD, GAD, and PTSD. My therapist believe it might actually be DID but she is not sure. I have always had rather high empathy and been sensitive to others, and when criticized. People describe me as nice, quiet, funny, positive things, which confuses me about the things I mentioned above. Sometimes I fear I've created a persona to show others and act how I'm "supposed" to. I don't even know if this is possible. I don't even know why that would be. I was a bright, loud, friendly child. I had troubles in school and was pulled out.

This is as much information as I can give. If anyone has any insight, please, please let me know. Thank you so much.
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Re: Question I cannot answer [SEVERE TW ABUSE, SH]

Postby Gomba13 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 10:04 pm

I see your signature is multiple, so I am going to assume that you have DID. First, I am a non and I am not a qualified mental health professional. I have however studied psychology, and I have read loads on DID because a loved one appears to have it (in denial about it and thus without a diagnosis). I will apply both my informal knowledge of DID and my formal knowledge of psychology to try to support you.

The childhood phenomenon you describe seems to be identification with the aggressor, where you take on the identity of someone who harmed you and repeat that person’s behaviour or fantasize about repeating their behaviour. It is not clear from your post whether you have a part who corresponds to this behaviour, but this is not exclusive to DID. Identifying with the aggressor usually results from trauma resulting from severe, ongoing abuse. It is a coping mechanism that allows you to sort of escape the aggressor. If you become the aggressor, you can’t also be their victim. This process sometimes leads to the splitting off of a part but not always. As you probably already know, it is normal for a child who has endured severe, repeated abuse to cope by identifying with the aggressor, even though it is potentially harmful and dangerous. So, first things first: it is not your fault and it doesn’t make you a bad person.

The phenomenon you describe where you seem to identify with an older man to fantasize about doing to older men whom you suspect of having perpetrated abuse what someone might have done to you as a child, however, doesn’t sound to me to be DID-related. It only seems trauma-related. The reason I suspect this is that you are capable of recognizing that you are not the aggressor, that you are only identifying with the aggressor, and you readily recognize that the motivation would be vengeance, rather than having no idea why you have these intrusive thoughts. You are still identifying with the aggressor, only in this case, you don’t target the victim in your memory (most likely a little girl) but the perpetrator in your memory (an older man). If this were DID-related, I believe you would not fantasize about hurting older men who deserve it, you would fantasize about hurting little girls who don’t deserve it, or at least people who appear to you as little girls at the moment. This seems much more consistent with PTSD than it does with DID. And that would be great news, because it would mean that you are not splitting off another part.

I don’t know if you are familiar with structural dissociation theory, much less whether you believe in it. This theory suggests that DID can’t (and shouldn’t) be cured, but that instead, integration (full or partial) must be achieved. That is, the parts that form the system or some parts that form the system agree to fuse together, which is how people who don’t have DID function—the parts are not separate but they form a coordinated unit. For more information on integration, you can start here: https://did-research.org/treatment/integration

I mention integration because the fact that you seem to have a reaction to a buried memory that is more PTSD-like than DID-like could mean that you have been integrating or that you are more capable of integrating, if that is your wish. You might ask your therapist, if you are up for it, to discuss this.

I do believe that the fact that you recognize why you have the intrusive thoughts and what is the likely motivation behind them is very healthy.
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