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Archive for May 20th, 2009

On my blog entry entitled Dealing with Internal Conflict while Healing from Child Abuse, a reader posted the following comment:

I wonder is it possible for the parts(s) of you that are non-resisting or adult parts to directly communicate with the resistant ones….? Could the adult ones comfort the 2 year old and help her feel cared for enough and safe enough to tell? Could they explain to her that they will be there for her, and that she won’t be dealing with the memory alone? That they will take care of her and that she will only be “telling” the memory, not having to physically face the abusers again… only with her mind, and this time will be different because the others are there to help her let go of it and comfort her through it. I don’t know if these things are possible, but I couldn’t stop my mind from asking it. ~ Mia

This comment is specifically aimed at people who have dissociative identity disorder (DID) or other dissociative disorders that involve alter parts.

I have had a lot of success in encouraging my older alter parts to comfort the younger parts. Ultimately, all of my alter parts are me, so learning how to get the older parts to comfort the younger parts is really about me learning how to comfort myself. Most of my younger parts hold either terror or unmet needs. I use my older parts to help with both.

Terror

I had a difficult time healing the terror. I was not quite sure what to do with it. First, I would tell those parts that they are now living in a grown up body. I would look at my adult-sized hands and feet. I would talk about sleeping in my own bed and in my own house. I would remind my alter parts (myself) that my abusers are all either old or dead, so they no longer have the power to hurt me.

Then, I created a “good mommy” alter part to protect my frightened parts so they (I) could feel safe. I would visualize her comforting the child parts of me. She would rock them in a rocking chair and hold them close. She would look them (me) in the eye and talk about how much she loves me and how precious I am. Then, she would tuck them (me) into bed and be my sentry with a shotgun in her hands. I did not have to worry about being hurt because “mommy” was ready to kill anyone who came near me during the night.

Unmet Needs

Unmet needs have been much trickier for me to heal. Sometimes I simply need to stop working so hard and do something fun. Other times, I need to interact with friends so that my need for a relationship is at least partially met, even though it is not with a mother. I have had less success with older parts healing younger parts when it comes to unmet needs.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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