As Integrates and therapists working with DID we have an 'inside view' on DID which has radical implications for treatment. We have already tested this and have speeded up treatment time and time to reach stability considerably over the last 10 years and of course, we have Integrated. We will be publishing our new theory shortly so watch this space.
Most multiples want to understand their condition to help them manage it. Unfortunately, being dissociative makes it difficult to grasp the concept of dissociation as we are inclined to dissociate. The PTSD pages are designed to help you make sense of it step by step. It's useful to read the dissociation page especially the diagram first followed by an explanation of how non-traumatised Singletons process Trauma then to explore how PTSD develops to get the best from this page.
How multiples process trauma depends on their stage of recovery and the size of their system. It’s difficult to predict as all sorts of factors, such as a predisposition towards dissociation, premature birth, evasive medical interventions in the early years, and age of onset of sexual abuse /severe child abuse and if there were already dissociative adults around to learn dissociation from. Multiples come from all sorts of backgrounds and they all need professional help, there is no hierarchy based on alter numbers. Every multiple is unique so there are no hard and fast rules, this is just a guide.
Tina with a small system may have developed DID due to being born prematurely or invasive medical treatment very young, although this is rare. More likely to have been following child sexual abuse in a domestic abuse environment where there was also abuse or drug and alcohol use. She may have developed a small system of a few alters, say up to 10.
If the abuse was more extreme or perhaps institutionalised she may have developed a medium sized system with perhaps up to 20 alters.
In the example below we are describing the worst abuse survived by multiples, creating a large system. This is not a yardstick or a reason for minimising your dissociative experience. The next paragraphs are highly triggering, you may skip to the diagrams if this is not a good day, please look after you.
What if Tina had grown up in a ritualistic home, a paedophile ring or a satanic abuse ring? What if she had developed DID and was a Multiple? How would she recover psychologically from the accident? What if the accident hadn't happened to her? What if another part of her, an alter, had been driving when they had the accident? She wouldn't have access to the memory as they wouldn't belong to her so any flashback may be experienced by her alter. Standard trauma therapy for Tina would be pointless and EMDR extremely dangerous.
Such an accident happening to a Multiple may have no effect at all or lead to an awareness of multiplicity in a similar way to the dissociative Tina example. It is likely that an alter would have taken the trauma because that's what alters do. If this was the case it's possible that Tina wouldn't have remembered the accident either and as Multiples struggle to form useful Attachments she may not have had anyone to support her through her treatment and 'make it real'
DID Tina's history of Abuse.
Tina was born into an abusive family who were part of a paedophile ring. From birth she was neglected, tortured and sexually abused, she was immediately trauma bonded. The original Tina, her Inner Child hid deep in her psyche to protect herself and sent a ‘false self’ out in her place. The abuse was never ending and the only way for False Self Tina to cope with it was to dissociate. She dissociated a lot and wasn’t around much so the psychic energy that couldn’t dissociate was quickly energised into alters. Infantile CEA Tina was protected by her infantile alters so she didn't come out much. When she did she had no idea she wasn't around the rest of the time, it became normal for her so she didn't notice lost time. No one ever cuddled Tina except to squeeze her really tight. She was only allowed to eat left over slops so she was much smaller physically than other children. By the time she was three she'd already been treated in hospital for two broken bones and a burn but no adult had questioned this. (Please....this couldn't happen now)
As she grew she learned to speak and started communicating with other people creating a need for her to have a narrative about her life. She couldn’t tell anyone about the abuse because she didn’t know anything about it as it had happened to her alters not to her. Her family told her alters (who they thought wrongly were Tina) that they hurt her because she was 'bad' and if adults found out what she did they would send her into care, This sounded really scary to her alters who believed their abuse was their fault because no one told them any different so it became CEA Tina’s job to keep the abuse secret. CEA Tina thought that if she was 'good' her parents would like her so she tried really hard. No matter how hard she tried she never was good enough which confirmed for her how 'bad' she was. When she went to school her parents told her alters she mustn't 'tell' because children who 'do bad things' with adults go to prison. As she got older they threatened her with other punishments if she 'told' such as killing her sister or her cat. Tina’s alters were frightened, they loved her sister and her dog so they were really careful not to let her say anything that would get them into trouble stepping up to stop her whenever they thought she might think or say the wrong thing. (This process of tricking a child into believing they are responsible for their abuse is called ‘grooming,’ to understand how this works click here).
Sometimes, teachers saw Tina’s bruises but they just gave her a funny look which made her think they 'knew' how bad she was too. She got told off a lot. Her parents were called to the school quite a few times because she had been 'rude' or 'attention seeking'. She got punished for this so she decided it would be best if she didn't talk to anyone anymore and withdrew into a depression.
School was a very lonely place for Tina. She had no friends because the other children thought she was 'weird' and bullied her. This hurt, but she didn't seem to spend much time at school, one day there was snow on the ground and the next it was high summer. The only good thing that happened for Tina was her grandma. When grandma came to stay mum and dad were nice to her. Grandma liked to hear her tell stories and sing songs. She liked Tina's pictures and took them home to put on the fridge door. Sometimes she liked to sit on the floor while Grandma brushed her long hair without hurting her. Tina loved her Grandma but she lived a long way away so she didn't see her often.
When Tina was 14 she ran away from home to London. She realised one night sleeping rough that she had no idea why she'd left home, she wanted to go back but she had no idea where she’d lived. She felt scared all of the time but nothing bad seamed to happen even though she hung around with drug addicts and prostitutes. She woke up aged 18 in rehab which seemed odd to her as she didn’t believe she used drugs enough to warrant it. Then she was in hospital one day because her boyfriend had beaten her - he went to prison for attempted murder on her. Aged 25 after a string of abusive relationships, drug and alcohol addiction she almost died after what she thought was her first serious suicide attempt but was actually her 8th. She was admitted to residential mental health for three months. They diagnosed her with DID but they didn't offer any treatment, she didn't understand what it was so she ignored it. She was very pleased to see her father when he came to pick her up but couldn’t remember staying with him for long or why she had left again.
She had a baby, she didn't remember getting pregnant but it didn’t matter. She adored her daughter and was surprised by the power of her need to protector her, although she wasn't sure what the danger was. She cleaned up her act. Got somewhere to live and a cat settling down to be Amy's mum. This went well even though she struggled with depression. Then she stated experiencing flashbacks she couldn't make sense of and developed OCD. Slowly it came into her awareness that Amy was growing up too quickly, although she was always a happy and well cared for child. Tina’s alters loved Amy too although most of them didn’t recognise her as their daughter. At the time of the accident she was already becoming aware of losing time and starting to hear her alters. Tina didn’t remember the accident but it confirmed to her that she was losing time and became the trigger for her to seek therapy.
Energy Lost to the Accident Trauma.
In this example Tina wasn’t driving, her Protector was. He absorbed the trauma energy which was just drop in an ocean of traumatic energy so it made little difference to the system. In therapy the alters started to recover from their individual trauma experiences in a process almost identical to the example in the normal processing page, just on a much bigger scale. This is reflected in our development of the six stages of recovery from DID
If you have Dissociative Identity Disorder or believe you have please contact us, it doesn't matter if you have a diagnosis or not. You may believe that there is no recovery from DID, this isn't true. We are Integrates, we have recovered, we know you can too. We offer specialist counselling, mentoring and groups but most of all we are a community of Dissociates and Multiples, we consider you to be part of our I et al global family and we would be delighted to add your voice to ours to get the Multiple voice heard. Welcome Home to I et al.