Posts Tagged ‘blacking out’

See my blog entry posted yesterday for the first part of this.

The other part of Midge’s horror seems to be the cybersex, which goes against the values of the host personality. Keep in mind that women have sexual needs that your host personality might not be fulfilling. My host personality was pretty passionless and boring in bed, but I had an alter part named Sassy who held a lot of my sexual passion. I invited her out one time for sex with my husband, and that was easily the most passionate encounter that we ever shared. My host personality could not relate to Sassy’s passion, but Sassy simply held an encapsulated part of my sexuality that I had been repressing.

Again, remember that these three alter parts who had cybersex with their boyfriends were monogamous with their chosen partners, which does sound consistent with who you are. One reason for cybersex could have been an outlet for your passion that is not otherwise being expressed. Another reason (depending upon the direction that the cybersex went) might have been a way to make sense of your sexuality since, as a child, your opportunity to explore your sexuality at your own pace was taken from you. Keep in mind that cybersex is a “safer” way to do this – it is only words on a screen (or possibly a video if you used that technology) rather than actual physical contact.

Rather than judge these parts for not complying with your host personality’s morals, invite these parts out and ask them what needs they have that are not being met. Then, work with them to meet those needs. Perhaps the time is coming to read a book like The Sexual Healing Journey to begin to explore your sexual needs that you have repressed.

Believe me – if I had discovered this about myself, my host personality would have been appalled as well. My host personality truly believed that I was a virgin until my husband, and that fact that we had intercourse three weeks before the wedding night convinced her that I was a complete slut who deserved never to enjoy sex for the rest of my life. (Never mind the fact that we had dated for 2-1/2 YEARS without having sex!)

Rejecting these parts of yourself, being angry with them, and/or hating them is counterproductive. They are a part of you, and they are just trying to get their needs met just as your host personality is. The fact that you still have a host personality tells me that you do not, as of yet, know your full story, so cut your alter parts some slack – they have been dealing their entire lives with painful memories that you (from the host personality’s perspective) have yet to face.

The sooner you reach out to these other parts in love and acceptance, the sooner you will be able to integrate your host personality back into your core. Once you do, you will have a much better understanding of who you are. I was amazed at the depth of my spirit once I integrated my host personality, and certain things about me did change, such as some of my taste in music (and, alas!, much more potty-mouth). You take the good with the bad, but you no longer fear what your body is doing when you are not present. You also experience your emotions, feelings, and memories from the perspective of the whole rather than in encapsulated segments, which helps you make better choices that meet your own needs without bringing you possible harm.

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On my blog entry entitled DID: Is “Losing Time” a “Bad” Thing?, a reader posted the following comment:

Faith said: “Whether your host personality is “out” or not, you are always going to behave consistently with who you are.”

I must respectfully disagree with this statement. Here’s why . . . About ten years ago, back when I was just beginning to have flashbacks and slowly figuring out that I had DID, I made the startling discovery that I was dating five separate men at the same time. Four of them were online, and the fifth lived in my hometown. Of the four that were online, I later learned that I’d participated in cybersex with three of them.

I was horrified. The whole situation goes against the essence of my being; it crosses everything that I believe in, morally, ethically, and spiritually. It couldn’t be farther from who I am.

Each man was being dated by a different alter, but while I remained blissfully ignorant, they were aware of each other’s actions. They knew that I would find such behavior unacceptable and insulting to my beliefs, and they chose to indulge in it anyway. I am still ashamed of what they did and have found it hard to forgive them, but I am working on it.

Forgive me for disagreeing with you, Faith, but this is what happened to me. ~ Midge

I have included this long quote in its entirety because of its importance in following along in my response.

It is important to distinguish between what is consistent with “you” versus your host personality. For most people with DID, the host personality is an “innocent” alter part that has been shielded from all (or most) of the abuse. The whole point of having a host personality is to protect the child and enable the child to interact with the world as if she truly was that innocent (and often naïve) child.

You are not your host personality. Your host personality is just one tiny part of who you are, and your host personality is likely to take issue with lots of behaviors by alter parts, such expressing anger, sexuality, etc. … anything that is inconsistent with the morals and values of the host personality. Just because an alter’s behavior is inconsistent with what the host personality might do does not make that behavior inconsistent with what you might do.

Stay with me here…

I had a self-destructive alter part that had a strong need to slash my wrists and “watch the lifeblood flow out of me” when triggered. Committing suicide in this fashion goes completely against the grain of any part of me. Nevertheless, my cult abusers manipulated this part of myself to believe that self-destruction in this manner was the only way to save my little sister (who would be killed if I ever remembered or told about the ritual abuse), and sacrificing myself to save her is completely consistent with who I am. So, at a surface level, it might appear that this alter part taking over and trying to slash my wrists with a knife would be inconsistent with who I am, but the motivation behind why I would do this is completely consistent. If I believed that I could spare my sister’s life (or my son’s life) by killing myself, I absolutely would do it.

Let’s circle back to Midge’s alter parts. The fact that each alter part dated a different man makes me suspect that different needs were being met by each man. Midge’s host personality’s objection does not seem to be toward dating at all but in the fact that five different men were dated at the same time. Keep in mind that these are five separate parts whose needs were not being met, and these five separate parts were only dating one man each. Dating one man who meets your needs does not sound like it goes against your character, which makes each part consistent with who you are.

I strongly suggest telling each part that you are sorry for not meeting their needs and for being so angry with them for trying to find ways to meet those needs. I would also invite them to share their needs with you so you can help them meet those needs yourself rather than having to go outside to other men to do so.

I will address the cybersex issue tomorrow because this blog entry has gotten way too long.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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My blog entries last week on losing time generated a lot of discussion, so I thought I would revisit the topic from another angle. You can read last week’s blog entries here and here.

In the comments, we talked a little bit about whether losing time was a “bad” thing, and I would like to elaborate further here. From the perspective of the host personality (the part that most people with dissociative identity disorder–DID view as “me”), losing time is terrifying. You have memory holes that feel like you “blacked out,” and you have absolutely no idea what your body was doing while you were “out.”

I experienced this terror myself when I viewed myself from the perspective of the host personality. I was terrified that I could be harming my then-three-year-old child while I lost time and would have no idea that I was doing it. I told my therapist that if I recovered any memories of harming my child, I would commit suicide immediately to protect him from me. My therapist assured me that I would never do this to my child, even when I lost time, because to do so would run contrary to who I am. He helped me to see that I would be behave consistently with who I am because, regardless of which part is “out,” I am always “me.”

The way to push past the terror is to recognize that all of your parts are you. Whether your host personality is “out” or not, you are always going to behave consistently with who you are. That is not to say that you won’t do anything that might upset the host personality because each alter part is experiencing one view of yourself in a “pure” version – pure anger, pure terror, etc. Each of these parts needs healing, and in order for healing to happen, they need to come out. The sooner you embrace each part as “you,” the sooner you can stop losing time and keep your host personality present when these other parts come out. Once you no longer have a need for the host personality, the part will integrate back into your core, you will stop losing time, and you will technically stop having a diagnosis of DID since you no longer meet that criterion in the diagnosis.

I have heard people lament losing time during therapy sessions, and I always tell them that they got their money’s worth out of the session whether they remember it or not. By enabling another part to come out, that part of yourself is receiving the therapy it needs. Those parts are typically much more wounded than the host personality is, so you can experience immense healing even after “losing” an entire therapy session from the perspective of the host.

My therapist’s advice was to stop fighting these others parts of myself. Instead, invite them out and start a “dialogue” with them. The more communication you have going among your parts, the closer you are to ceasing losing time forever!

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Yesterday, I blogged about whether people with dissociative identity disorder (DID) are always aware that they lose time. My own experience was that I had no awareness of losing time. My multiple system was excellent and hiding those “lost moments,” and I only became aware of “lost time” through healing from the underlying trauma. Today, I am going to share some examples of ways that I experienced losing time without knowing that I did.

I would sometimes have people interact with me in a way that made no sense. For example, my memory of my freshman year of college was that a woman on my hall decided to hate me for no apparent reason. She was quite vocal about detesting me, but I had no idea why she did. I later recovered the memory of why, which I wrote about here. Obviously, I “lost time” by “erasing” that entire incident from my conscious memory, but I was unaware that this data was gone.

The same thing happened my junior year of college. My ex-boyfriend spread rumors that I was pregnant with his baby but trying to pawn his baby off on my new boyfriend. I just thought he was being an @$$hole because I knew that we had never had sex. I later recovered the memory of him raping me. I also always remembered having a mini-period (bleeding) halfway through my cycle and being baffled by it. That was really the physical evidence of the rape that I hid from myself (from the host personality).

Another example I experienced was my husband having a different memory of a situation than I did. For example, my husband claimed that no matter how quietly he entered the bedroom to go to bed, I would wake up. I had no memory of this even though, according to him, it happened every single night. My recollection was that I would close my eyes to go to sleep and would not open them again until the next morning. However, my husband would tell me that we had even had conversations when he awakened me, and I had no memory of this. I chalked it up to talking in my sleep, but I was really losing time every single night.

While there are certainly some people with DID who do experience things like “coming to” in another city, running into strangers who appear to know them, finding clothing in their closet that they don’t remember buying, etc., this is not a requirement to have DID. It is all a matter of how your own multiple system works and how effective it is at hiding the truth from your host personality (the part you view as “me”).

It is quite possible to lose time, even on a regular basis, without having an awareness of losing time. That was my reality for almost four decades, and I definitely had DID.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I am writing this blog entry from the air on an airplane with no Wi-fi (Alas!), so I am going by memory about the questions I have received recently concerning dissociative identity disorder (DID). I know that I have received a few recently. If this blog entry does not address your question directly, don’t despair … I will get to all of the questions after I return home from my long weekend in Texas.

I believe I have received a few questions about losing time and DID. I have had readers posting about being aware of having different alter parts but who do not believe that they ever lose time. Their question is about whether they can have DID without losing time.

I am going to address this question from the perspective of someone who is healing from DID rather than as a mental health professional would address it. A mental health professional would point you to the symptoms required in the most recent version of the DSM and say that DID does not fit if you do not lose time. I actually take issue with this because losing time and having an awareness of losing time are two different things.

I first became aware of having an alter part in 2003. The angry alter part came out when triggered, and I stayed co-present. It felt like “I” was “shoved aside” as this alter part “stepped into my face.” I did not lose time, but I was definitely not the one driving my thoughts, words, or actions. It was a bizarre experience.

I had no question that I had an alter part, but I had no awareness of losing time. I did not find shoes in my closet that I did not remember buying. I did not look at my watch and find that six hours had passed in what seemed like an instant. I did not have strange people walking up to me who knew me but who I did not recognize. Nevertheless, I did have DID.

The thing you need to realize is that DID is intended to be seamless. The alter parts take over and protect the host personality (the part you view as “me” that is “out” most of the time) when triggered. For this to work in a way that will avoid detection by the abusers, the host personality must stay unaware of what is happening. So, you can become a master at hiding the “lost time” from yourself.

This blog entry is getting too long, so tomorrow I will share some examples of indicators that I lost time even though I had no awareness of ever losing time when it happened.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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I recently posted a fabulous video that talks about extreme forms of child abuse. This video mentions abusers continuing to abuse children into adulthood. They take advantage of the fact that the person has dissociative identity disorder (DID) and continue to abuse the child parts of an adult, and the adult has no memory that the abuse is continuing even into adulthood.

This was my biggest fear upon recognizing that I had DID. Well, actually my biggest fear was that I could be hurting my kid or allowing someone else to hurt him (which my therapist assured me would never happen in my situation), closely followed by the fear that I was blacking out while others abused me. I thought I had finished recovering memories after recovering abuse at age 17. I was already kind of freaked out that I could have been attacked at age 17 and have no recollection of it the next morning.

Yesterday, one of my fears came true. I recovered another memory of a date rape, only this memory was in adulthood. I was 19.

A couple of years ago, I had to accept that I had lost time in adulthood. I have no memories of any Christmas with my immediate family through age 23. It was freaky to realize that I had lost time when I was as old as 23.

Now I have to face that I was raped as an adult (at 19) and that I had no recollection of it immediately afterward. This was by a boyfriend. I have yet to deal with the specifics because I am currently reeling from it happening at all. I will deal with the specifics as I am ready.

But so much makes sense now … why he said that he would “always be my first” when I broke things off for good … why he spread rumors that I was pregnant with his child (I thought, “Whatever. Kind of hard to get pregnant without having sex!”) … why I gained a ton of weight that year … why I ran directly into another unhealthy relationship when I did not want a relationship at all. It is all making sense.

I suspect that he would not remember it as a rape. Our pattern was that he would take, not ask, and I would not stop him until it came to intercourse. I would do the “no, don’t” weak woman thing, and he would just keep on taking anyhow and read my continuing the relationship to mean consent. However, when it came to intercourse, I was completely firm. I always said no.

I suspect that he continued his pattern and “took,” and I blacked out, leaving a child part to be raped. He probably saw this as me finally giving in to having sex with him, only for me to dump him immediately afterward. (The details of how I finally ended it with him are fuzzy.)

What scares me is what else might be lurking in my subconscious about other rapes or abuses in which I just blacked out and allowed another person to do whatever he or she wanted with my body. I know that this does not change the value of who I am. I know that I am okay today, so no matter how much @#$% continues to surface, I still won. I know that I was programmed by “professionals” to flee my body, and I cannot hold myself accountable for dissociating and leaving my body to be raped. I know that I am going to be okay.

With all that said, I still cried pretty heavily yesterday, and I simply feel lousy. I am trying not to stuff the pain down with food, alcohol, or other means. I am trying to allow the pain to flow out of myself so I can process yet another trauma and move on with my life. I just wish there was an end to the trauma. I want to move on to healing and stop finding myself back in this place of having more @#$% to process. And yet, I know that I must accept all of my truths to heal fully.

Sometimes healing just plain sucks.

Related Topic:

Trauma Thursday: Risk of Date Rape for Sexually Abused Adopted Child

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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