On my blog entry entitled Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and “Hearing Voices”, a reader posted the following comment:
I know I have these inner voices yet I don’t know if they are attached to actual parts per say-with names and history. I was wondering, (without being intrusive) if your personal work began with just the voices and then finding out more later?? I do believe that my voices have been with me for a very long time on and off but I choose not to recognize them on some level. ~ Kim
Kim actually posted three comments to the blog entry, and the underlying message I am getting is the question of whether people with DID know that they have it. The answer in most cases (before therapy and diagnosis) is no.
The whole point of DID is to compartmentalize the spirit so that some parts hold the pain, memories, and emotions while other parts have the ability to appear completely normal to the outside word. My host personality was a very cheerful one. I was always smiling. Happy children are not viewed as possibly being abused, so creating a happy and upbeat host personality to be “me” whenever the abuse wasn’t happening was an effective way of hiding my secrets.
I had no awareness of having alter parts or losing time. In retrospect (after entering into therapy), I came to recognize that I had huge holes in my memory. However, my multiple system was brilliant in hiding this fact from my host personality.
I first suspected that I had an alter part about a year before the flashbacks started. As I would lie in my bed at night trying to sleep, I would feel someone “step into my face.” It felt like my facial features were changing, and I could feel a separateness from myself and that other part. I have a very hard time describing the feeling. The best way I can explain it is to think about blowing bubbles, and two bubbles share the space that should be filled by one. That is kind of what it felt like.
I had always been drawn to stories about DID (Truddi Chase, Sybil, Eve White, etc.), so I had an idea about what was going on. However, it made no sense because I believed that I had never suffered abuse. The truth of the matter is that my host personality had been safely hidden inside whenever the abuse happened, so that part of my spirit truly had not experienced the abuse. However, the host personality was only a tiny sliver of who I am.
I just assumed that this was more evidence of me being “crazy” and tried to block it out. Then, a year later, my mother/abuser went into my then-two-year-old son’s room during the night, and that is when all h@#$ broke loose in my life. (I do not believe that she harmed my son, thank goodness.) A part that I later learned was named Irate took over and let me (the host personality) stay “out” in a co-conscious way. I felt like I had been shoved over to the side of my head. My mind was racing with the fear that my mother had sexually abused my child. I was flooded with a ton of emotions that made absolutely no sense because they were not “my” emotions, and the thoughts were not “my” thoughts.
This blog entry is getting long, so I will continue with the story tomorrow.
Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt