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Archive for June 27th, 2008

Purple plants (c) Lynda BernhardtOftentimes, the alter parts of people with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) find themselves in conflict with one another. While movies like the remake of the movie Sybil give the impression that each alter part must “take a turn” being “out,” that was not my experience. Yes, there were many times that my host personality completely blacked out (such as during incidents of abuse). However, for the most part, my host personality would stay out while another alter part was co-present.

I can remember this happening from a young age. When I was around eight years old, I was sketching a toy horse. I left the room to use the bathroom. When I returned, I was thinking about how I wanted to reposition the horse when I stubbed my toe. I was jumping around in pain. Nevertheless, as I did this, I still reached out and repositioned the horse as I howled with pain. My mother/abuser, who was in the room when this happened, was baffled as to why I cared about the position of the horse when I was clearly in enough pain to be crying. While my host personality did not care about the toy horse, another alter part did, which is why my body did both things.

I have had odd moments like that throughout my life. I (from the perspective of the host personality) would be upset about another person taking advantage of me. From out of nowhere, I would suddenly have the assertiveness to stand up for myself and rectify the situation. Then, I would go back to being a doormat and completely baffled that I had the guts to do what I had just done. This dynamic confused people around me as well.

Another time, a “friend” was pushing my buttons while I was driving a car down the highway. I was 17. My father had recently passed away, and my mother had started raping me again. The last thing I needed was a mind-f@#$, and that is exactly what this person was trying to do.

This triggered an alter part that wanted to scratch her eyes out. However, another part of myself (my host personality??) would not allow that to happen, so it turned on me. I started mauling my own arm and my face as I drove. This also triggered another alter part that let out blood-curdling screams. Needless to say, this “friend” about wet her pants as I was speeding down the highway, screaming at the top of my lungs, and clawing myself until I was pouring blood. I finally pulled myself together, but it was a very intense period (perhaps five minutes) that had to have scared that “friend” to death.

Throughout my life, I would have “urges” to harm myself, such as to crash my car into a barrier while driving down the highway. However, another part of myself would never let me do it. I used to think that I was “crazy.” I now realize that this was a suicidal alter part that needed to be healed.

Even though alter parts can be in conflict, they all have the same interest of protecting the child. Even the suicidal alter parts are trying to “protect” the child in their own way (by permanently ending the abuse). As I learned to love and embrace each part as “me,” I stopped experiencing these kinds of conflicts.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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