Posts Tagged ‘destructive alter parts’

Yesterday, I blogged about dissociative identity disorder (DID) introject, or persecutor,  alter parts. Today, I will share the process that I used to heal my persecutor alter parts. This method may or may not work for you, but it was very effective for me. In order to be willing to try it, you need to open your mind to the possibility that your persecutor parts are actually “good” because they are a part of you. I first did this as a leap of faith based upon what I had read in Chrystine Oksana’s Safe Passage to Healing.

I would begin by telling the part thank you for the role that s/he served in helping me survive the abuse: I could not have survived without that part. I would then tell the part that the body is no longer being abused and has not been for many years. I am now living in an adult body. Then, I would look at my hands and feet so the persecutor part would be able to see that my body is an adult’s body rather than a child’s.

I would tell the persecutor part that s/he has every reason to be angry, but s/he is taking out the anger on the wrong person. I am not the one who caused the abuse or who the part is really mad at. However, I invite the persecutor alter part to take out that anger directly onto whoever harmed him or her.

I would pull out a mental rolodex and flip through it, viewing the faces of different abusers. (Sadly, it’s a pretty full rolodex.) As soon as the right abuser’s face came into focus, the persecutor alter part would attack that person with a fury through visualization. I let the visualization get as graphic as I needed it to get.

The first time I did this, I was sickened by just how graphic the visualization got. My first persecutor part had to keep bringing the abuser to life again to have another opportunity to kill the abuser, and the attack in my visualization was very graphic and sadistic. I questioned whether this was healthy for me but decided to trust that I was experiencing this because my persecutor alter part needed it to heal.

The visualization would go on for five to 15 minutes – as long as the part needed. After it ended, I would tell the alter part that I loved him or her and invite the part into a safe room over my heart. It’s a room that can only be opened from the inside and is warm and cozy with treasured items from childhood. The persecutor part would enter the room and typically integrate fairly quickly. Once the persecutor part had expended its anger and knew that its services were no longer required, it was ready to melt back into the core and feel loved rather than hated.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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On my blog entry entitled Feeling Off , a reader posted the following comment:

why do some parts (2 in particular very scared of). .want to and do harm other parts within. Rape. Beat. I see this. I hear it. Someone said it sounds as if they are introject parts. Could you do blog on this? How do i change this within? It is terrifying. ~ Malanie

I have not heard the term introject parts before for people with dissociative identity disorder (DID), but I understand the concept. In the book Safe Passage to Healing, Chrystine Oksana labels these parts as persecutor parts, so I have always used her terminology for this. I have written on this topic before, which you can read here. Be sure to read the excerpt provided in that blog entry from Safe Passage to Healing so you know that this isn’t only my opinion.

I, too, had persecutor parts, and they were terrifying. They seemed to interfere with my healing process, and it was all internalized. Really, how do you explain that one alter part is “beating up” another alter part? If you have experienced this, it makes perfect sense, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to someone who does not know what it is like to have alter parts.

Safe Passage to Healing helped me with this, and I strongly recommend this book to anyone who endured ritual abuse and/or has alter parts. (The book specifically addresses DID, but I would be very interested to hear from those who are multiple without DID as to whether this resource is helpful.) While I was frightened of my persecutor parts, I chose to believe that each alter part is a part of me, which means that every part is “good,” no matter how frightening. In the beginning, this belief was based on sheer faith, relying on Chrystine Oksana to know what she was talking about because I really did not have any other resources specifically on persecutor parts to guide me through this.

If I came from a place of seeing all persecutor parts as “good,” no matter how badly they were acting, I could apply the same principles that I had been using for healing my other parts. Tomorrow, I will share the approach that worked best for me.

Image credit: Amazon.com

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On my blog entry entitled Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): Are Any Alter Parts “Bad”?, a reader posted the following comment:

Where I have problem with what you write is when you say this: “every single [alter] part split off out of love”. This is true for most parts, but there are parts who internalized the abuse and that is all I currently know about them. I don’t know how to deal with them yet. Mostly they don’t cause me trouble; except at religious holidays mainly. A part can be a part because they were forced to be a part. If that’s the case, then there’s no love involved. It could be manipulated by the abuse. This is very true in RA cases, and so I’m very interested in taking a look at that book you mention. ~ Paul

My experience has been that every single alter part originated out of love to protect the child. Some were manipulated after the fact to be cult-loyal (like my part that had suicidal urges when I began recovering memories of the ritual abuse), and other were split off to hold the really painful traumas. Regardless, the original purpose for all stemmed out of love to protect the inner child. I would not have survived without my alter parts.

Here are some excerpts from Chrystine Oksana’s book, Safe Passage to Healing, that explain all of this a little better. I strongly recommend reading this book for anyone who has suffered from ritual abuse and/or has alter parts:

Regardless of an identity’s name, description, or personality, its main and common purpose is always to protect the child. Alters can manage extraordinary feats in their determination to keep the child safe. ~ p. 108

The identities keeping cult messages and dogma active inside the survivor can be thought of as maintainers. Sometimes these alters are created to emerge only during cult rituals, never in the “day” world. Although they may seem hostile and to behave in opposition to a survivor’s best interest, they believe it’s the only way to keep the survivor or themselves alive. By “maintaining” the cult rituals, no one dies. These are parts who enforce cult commands. They may prevent a survivor form going to therapy or, once there, create havoc and confusion in order to sabotage recovery. These selves may hurt a survivor or attempt a suicide, sometimes without the conscious knowledge of the survivor. They may appear to be genuinely cult-loyal and appear to enjoy hurting themselves or others. But … they were created under conditions of extreme duress.

These inner kids initially almost always feel frightening, both to the therapist and to the survivor. Some identities may posture and appear threatening and so are often rejected and ignored. But it is these selves that need healing most. They are the ones who contributed so much to rescuing a survivor from unbearable circumstances and today need rescue from those circumstances themselves. After all, most of them are only kids. ~ p. 142

Your maintainer parts suffered the worst of the abuse. While your other parts (including your inner child) fled, your maintainer parts are the ones who endured the very worst of the abuse. Then, you have spent your life rejecting these parts out of fear, which only compounds the isolation and pain of your most deeply wounded parts.

I found that loving and embracing these parts, even though they were frightening, was immensely healing. They truly were my most wounded parts. When I chose to love and accept them as “me,” I experienced very deep healing.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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On my blog entry entitled Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): Should I Integrate?, a reader posted the following comment:

For some people, the problem is that some of those chunks of ice contain poison. Better to leave them frozen than to contaminate the entire pond. ~ Ethereal Highway

To understand the metaphor of the “chunk of ice,” please read that blog entry.

I respectfully disagree that we need to keep some parts of ourselves separate forever, and I will explain why in this post. While I respect Ethereal Highway’s right to make this choice (as well as anyone else in this position), my experience has been different.

I, too, feared parts of myself. I did not want the poison contaminating the pond. It seemed better to keep the most painful stuff safely frozen inside of myself. However, this choice left me feeling less than whole.

Instead, I chose to follow the advice of Chrystine Oksana in her fabulous book, Safe Passage to Healing. In my opinion, this book is a “must read” for anyone with DID or alter parts. It is by far the best resource I have found for understanding DID.

Here is what Chrystine Oksana has to say about healing each part:

A common error is to concentrate on healing the cooperative parts. These parts are often already “on board” and well on the road to recovery. By leaving the difficult parts behind, a key part of a survivor may remain anchored in the past and prevent progress beyond a certain point. Some alters hold violent, angry, or destructive aspects of a child’s unassimilated trauma. Because these parts hold extremes of frightening experiences, survivors and therapists alike often try to avoid them. However, it is usually these difficult parts who need healing most. In many cases accepting them restores a great amount of strength and personal power to a survivor. In addition, these apparently uncooperative parts, once healed, often become strong allies in recovery. ~ Safe Passage to Healing, pp. 148-149

This was my own personal experience as well. I had very destructive parts that wanted me to die. I came to realize that they were actually loving me in their own way – they feared that my “telling” would result in my sister being murdered. They would do anything, even commit suicide, to prevent this from happening because her death would break my heart. Yes, these parts were misguided, but their ultimate motivation was love, not hate.

No abuser has the ability to poison you. Abusers can instill programming in you, but you can undo that. Ultimately, every single alter part split off to protect the child. Some were manipulated into believing that protecting you involved harming you or others, but every single part split off out of love. Those parts are the most wounded parts of yourself. Loving them back into the core is amazingly and powerfully healing.

When I would integrate these parts, I would begin by thanking them for all they endured to save the child. I told them that I love them. Many of them would react with hostility. I would tell them that I am not the one who harmed them: Their anger lies squarely on the shoulders of the abusers. I would then run the faces of my abusers through my head until the alter part reacted.

I would give the alter part permission to fight the abuser through a visualization. Those visualizations could get very disturbing and graphic, but I never stopped the alter part. I gave the alter part a safe place and way to express the anger. As the alter part did this, I could feel the release of so much pent-up energy. After the alter part got to fight back, there was no longer a need to stay separate, and that part would integrate into the core.

Even though each of these parts came with deep pain, I could handle the pain because I now experienced the pain against the backdrop of all of my life experiences. The pain was no longer encapsulated in its own place with no other context.

I have experienced deep and profound healing by loving accepting my most wounded and hostile parts. They are all me.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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