Archive for August 11th, 2009

On my blog entry entitled Dealing with Diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), a reader posted the following comment:

I am only beginning to accept the fact that something did happen, the “others” know it did and can easily say so when they are out. I, however, have found it all too hard to believe. I can’t continue to heal until I believe them, even if I don’t remember it all. Memory is a strange thing, and I’m not sure that the memories are totally accurate. I’m wondering if they may in fact be a combination of memories somewhat jumbled up? Do I really need to get them all straight? or is just the acceptance of them what is needed for healing? ~barbi

This is a complicated issue, and this is a conversation that I had with my therapist more than once. My therapist said that there is no need for me to “relive” every trauma that I ever experienced. Instead, I needed to reconnect enough to understand and accept my overall history.

My experience has been that I needed reconnect with every big issue that I faced. For example, I needed to remember and heal the fact that I was vaginally raped by men. I don’t have to remember every single rape by every single man. However, if there was a particular man who raped me that had significance (versus the nameless and faceless men involved in the cult), I needed to recover those memories as well.

When you have DID, different memories and emotions split off into different parts, whether those parts are personalities or fragments. When I remembered and dealt with anger toward being raped, I could integrate a bunch of different angry parts that might have originally split off from many rapes. I did not have to “relive” every rape to do this.

However, there are other memories that were particularly traumatizing, such as the first vaginal rape, that I needed to heal. Healing the generic “a bunch of men raped me” did not heal the initial horror of that very first time.

I have learned to accept my truths, whatever they are. If a part tells me that X did Y to me, I choose to believe it. As I open myself up to this reality, that frees the part to integrate. As the part integrates, I feel the emotions and may or may not recover the specific memory. In my experience, the key to healing is loving and accepting each part, memory and emotion as “me” and “mine.” I generally do not have to “relive” the memories very often unless they were particularly traumatizing. I trust my inner guide (my intuition) to lead me where I need to go.

I don’t know if this fully answers your questions. Please post any questions that I did not address in the comments or email them to me.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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