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Posts Tagged ‘faith and DID’

Chapel (c) Lynda Bernhardt

*** This was supposed to post on 10/21/08. I just realized that it never did. – Faith ***


On my blog entry entitled Riding Out Suicidal Urges, a reader named Matt shared his struggles with being married to a woman with dissociative identity disorder (DID) who has a suicidal alter part. His comment is a long one, so I am not going to reprint it here. I addressed most of his comment in my last blog entry, Helping Spouse with a Suicidal Alter Part.

In this blog entry, I would like to address this part of Matt’s comment:

I’ve been a faith-filled person, but my faith has been stretched to the point that I have a hard time believing in a God who would allow this to happen.

I hear your pain this comment, so I thought it would be worth devoting an entire blog entry to where is God in this situation. Believe it or not, God is all over this situation. When you view the situation from a different perspective, I hope you will be able to hold onto your faith.

DID is not a curse – it is a blessing. Imagine being a three-year-old little child who is being repeatedly raped and tortured. You are so little that you have no means of escape. A 30 lb. child is no match for an adult, even a small adult.

God gives very young children (under six years of age) the ability to flee their bodies. Most of my memories of abuse in childhood come from the perspective of the ceiling. I calmly observed my body being severely abused as my spirit hovered above my body. I was “spared” the abuse because I was not in my body as it was being harmed.

Adults do not have the ability to do this unless they developed DID in early childhood. If adults could flee their bodies during abuse, then prisoners of war (POWs) would have a way to fight back, but they don’t. They are forced to stay in their bodies and experience all of the horror as it happens to them. God lovingly provided young children a way to be spared from this.

When you live in a severely abusive environment, DID is a gift. It is only when the child is removed from the ongoing abuse that the DID becomes maladaptive. Without developing DID, your wife likely would not have survived the abuse. She either would have killed herself, gone insane, or become an abuser herself. The DID spared her from these outcomes and gave her a life with you and your son.

Pastors love to tell their congregations about how much God loves us, but I rarely hear them talk about how much God wants us to love ourselves. This is the key to your wife healing from her DID. In order to fragment her spirit into multiple alter parts, she had to “reject” them as being “her.” The way she will heal from the DID is to love each part back into being one whole spirit.

A wonderful book on the importance of learning to love yourself is Francine Rivers’ Christian novel, Redeeming Love. She flips the story of Hosea to focus upon Hosea’s wife, Gomer (“Angel” in the novel) instead of on Hosea. The novel drive home that, no matter how much God loves you, you are not going to be able to receive that love and heal until you choose to heal yourself. It is a powerful book that might get through to your wife.

One other thing – Many “faith-filled” people believe that suicide = fast-track to hell. I vehemently disagree with this, and there is nothing in the Bible that says this. The Catholic Church implies it because you last act is “murder,” but I do not see suicide as a personal murder. Instead, suicide is a last-ditch attempt to make the emotional pain stop. People who commit suicide are in such deep emotional pain that they are willing to do A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G, even die, to make the pain stop.

That is not murder. I truly believe that greets those who commit suicide with deep love, compassion, and understanding. Nobody other than God fully appreciates the depth of your wife’s pain. God is not going to punish her for not being strong enough to continue enduring such overwhelming pain. I know the weight of that level of pain. I wouldn’t make a dog continue living in that level of pain.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to post them. My heart goes out to you and your situation.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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