Posts Tagged ‘sad alter parts’

I think I have a better idea about what is going on with me now. When I left the gym this morning, I felt a very strong need to cry, but no tears would come. This is an odd thing for me because for most of my life, I could cry at the drop of a hat. Whenever I feel this heaviness of needing to cry but can’t, I know I am dealing with a dissociated part of myself.

So, when I climbed into the shower, I invited myself to cry, and a distressed alter part came out. I could not produce any tears, but this part wailed loudly. I felt completely separate from this part and had the same internal dialogue I always do – “I am being so dramatic. Who I am being dramatic for? Nobody is here!!” Then, just as suddenly as it started, it went back inside, and I could feel the heaviness in my stomach (where I keep feeling an urge to binge eat to shove it back down).

I invited the part back out, and then another part came. This alter part was absolutely terrified, hyperventilating and completely freaking out. I forced my eyes open and told myself that I am in an adult body and am safe. That drove the part back into my stomach, too.

I couldn’t get either part to come out again, but at least now I know what I am dealing with – more unhealed trauma. Oh, joy!

I invited both parts into a special “room” by my heart that is warm and safe with a door that only opens from the inside. It might take some coaxing for me to “move” these alter parts out of my stomach and stop the urges to binge eat.

Never a dull moment when healing from dissociative identity disorder (DID).

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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On my blog entry entitled Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) Alter Parts: Understanding Sad Parts, a reader posted the following comment:

I keep having this huge need to just sob LOUD and long, and it’s accompanied by stinging behind my eyes like I’m about to cry, but I can’t do it. That doesn’t feel like “mine”, do you know what I mean? It feels like I’m faking it, like I’m doing something I don’t feel. It’s spontaneous and I’m trying to make it go away, actually! … I want to try to help that younger part; these waves need to go away. Is there anything I’m missing here? ~ Mamarosebud

A sad alter part is a part of you, but you split off the sadness because you couldn’t handle the sadness when you experienced it. You need to grieve, but it feels odd because it doesn’t feel like you, but it is you. Yes, I understand this because I have been there.

The first time I really let all of the tears spill out was a bizarre experience. I began sobbing, and I kept experiencing “loud thoughts” that I was just putting on a show and crying for attention. I felt shame for crying. However, I fought back, thinking, “There is nobody else here, so for whom am I putting on a show??”

I have had sad alter parts that desperately needed to weep, but I could not bring myself to access those tears. I had to keep coming back to that part of myself before I could release the pain. I could feel the weight or heaviness of the sadness, but I did not feel sad because that part felt so separate.

What worked for me was listening to a sad song and invite the alter part to come out and cry. It took several passes before I was successful. After I finally did reach that part, I sobbed and sobbed. It felt miserable in the moment but much, much better afterward.

The only way for the sadness to “go away” is for you to give the sadness a voice. You don’t have to experience the tears as “mine” yet. Just invite the sad part out to grieve, and comfort that part of yourself, even if it feels foreign to you. Fighting it is useless because it is just going to keep coming back and might even become more powerful. Instead, invite that part of yourself to grieve, and love that part through it.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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A reader emailed me the following questions:

I have a question about sad [Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) alter] parts. Obviously there are tons of reasons to be sad but do you think sad parts are more thoughtful than angry or scared parts? How do they operate, why are they created, what do they need to heal?

Each alter part was created to hold the memories and/or emotions that you could not handle as a child. As a child, you felt extremely sad (that’s an understatement) and lots of despair. However, you could not function if you allowed yourself to experience those emotions, so you shoved them away from your conscious mind. Those emotions had to go somewhere, so they split off into alter parts. Each sad alter part is an emotion that you should have experienced as a child but were unable to work through while the abuse was happening.

To heal sad alter parts, you need to choose to experience that deep sadness. That can be a very difficult choice to make because, while you experience the despair, death can seem like a much better alternative. It is best to heal those parts of yourself while you are in therapy or after you have developed good coping strategies through therapy.

My alter parts that held the deepest sadness were unable to cry. One time, I experienced the memory to which the sad alter part was connected, but I could not cry. (This is ironic because I can cry at a sappy commercial.) I finally worked up to a single tear. The amount of relief this part of myself felt was enormous.

I later chose to experience that pain and used a song to do it. I wrote about it here. Once I gave that sad alter part a voice, I sobbed in ways that I didn’t know were survivable. I felt really lousy for a little while, but then I felt much better than I had in a long time. It was a relief to release all of that pain.

I don’t like to “compare” my parts because they are all me. They all served a function and helped me to survive. Labels like “good,” “bad,” or “thoughtful,” as applied to alter parts, are not helpful to me. I view them all as “me,” which means that each part is worth loving.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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