Chapter 28: Why am I?
Is there rage? Do I sound full of rage? Yes for sure I am. Yet in the same breath I feel nothing at all. For what is rage precisely? Is it that intensity of contradictory emotion that leaves one not knowing what it truly is to feel? I do not know. But what I have within, desperately needs to release itself, yet fears the action of doing so. What right do I have to feel? I can tell you that I know I have a right, and yes I believe I do. But, what if they were right and I am wrong? What if its not me that has a right, just the normal people. Maybe just the normal people have a right. Not us. None of the multitude of voices that swirl within the confinement of my head seem to be in agreement with me. But who I to know what it is I am allowed to be and what not? I am just a part. A piece of the “me” that we all together form. Yes, thats right. Just a part. Not the whole. Does that make sense to you? Does it scare you to know such as us exist? Do you know why? They say people fear the unknown, and yeah, I guess there is truth in that for us too. But sometimes, most times, there is far less fear in risking the unknown than there is in what is known.
I know. Its not “normal” to have parts right? Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the facts. I guess you might not understand what it is I mean by being a part. Perhaps I should explain. Although the mere fact that I should explain surrounds my head like a weight of lead, pulling me down into sadness that leaks into my heart. Dangerous place to leak. The heart. So intense. It’s best not felt. It’s best not thought of. It’s a dangerous territory that we have no way of navigating. That said, I have to face the fact that I am not “normal”. I am not like you. You being a generalisation. Not you the reader. Just a generalisation. So easy is to to veer off in an explanation of generatisations instead of forcing my foot to take a step down the steep treacherous pathway ahead that be the pathway of everything in life we wish not to know, yet we know. Regardless, we step forward.
Parts. Parts. How do I explain what it is to be a part. Let me try. Its not something that has not been given thought, of that it has had much. Its not something that has not forced acceptance, for to not accept it would just be to lie. And what would we be if we lied to ourselves? Lies. Lies put us in the same territory as those from where we come. And we want nothing to do with them, no part of there character, nothing. Doesn’t make the truth any easier to accept, but it does motivate us to accept that which is what we cannot change. For the fact is, until we completely accept, we cannot change. For in not accepting we dissociate from the truth of who we are and in so doing do the very thing from which we wish to heal.
Parts. Parts. I am a part. I am just one of many pieces of a very large puzzle. But without me, the puzzle would never be complete. For it is every piece of the puzzle that when placed together will complete the picture. Without one piece, your picture is never complete. We are not complete. Not yet. But we will be. One day. We just gotta reach the end of the path that weaves through our past. For on our journey through life we have left along the way, parts of us. Parts of us that contain things we are unable to accept. We have to pick up all the pieces, else we will never find wholeness.
Parts. Parts. You would call us personalities. Multiple personalities. You label us a disorder. Multiple personality disorder. Or DID, dissociative identity disorder as it is now called. Whichever label you choose, its still labelling us as a disorder.
While to the “normal”, we seem to be “disordered”, the truth is, we are completely the opposite. Our mind is not in a state of disorder. Our mind is in a state of hyper-order. There is such order in our mind, each part knows its place, its purpose, the secrets that birthed its existence.
Our disorder is in fact pretty normal, the only difference between us and normal is the extremity of us. See, we just mastered the art a little better. For one reason alone. Survival. There are a lot worse things in life, than death. Surviving can be worse. But the thing about life is, its really strong-willed I guess you could say. Its that inbuilt automatic fight or flee emotion that ensures the continuity of the human race. Humans are hard wired to survive. Survival instinct they call it. There are many who don’t get to be a “disordered” individual, that have experienced the likes of our childhood. Of them, we are at time jealous. Those whose survival instinct didn’t create alternate identities in order to ensure survival, but rather, they seem to have understood how to detach from physicality, and they are no more. For us, we seem to not have had that understanding, for if we did, we too would of detached. But here we are.
Therapists will say we are strong, that we chose to survive. I think perhaps they are being kind. Perhaps it is not that we were strong, but more that we were unable to detach, lack of knowledge. I don’t think that those who survived are the strong ones, and those many many children who didn’t, that they were weak. No. I see them as the strong ones. But then, F, he would say, “no child of mine is permitted weakness” and dissociating was the weakness. Yet in contradiction, he played a major role in causing the dissociation. It was, which I will perhaps get into later, but it was what he wanted. Yet punished. Contradiction. Life is built on contradiction. Our life is. Leaving us always doubting what we think, are we right to think such, are we wrong?
You will pick up, I am sure, such contractions in our writings. For there are many parts that make up this whole. And not all parts are in agreement. And thats just what I know of those of us that I know. Of course, I would be lying if I said I knew the all of us. I know only what I know, and I know only those whom I know. I cannot claim that my knowledge is the whole of the knowledge. I can only speak of what I know, what I understand. Other parts might come out in this work at various intervals and they might know and understand in ways that I do not. It does not mean we are lying, or contradicting ourself, anymore than two people with different opinions and thoughts or emotions can be accused one of truth and the other not. So it is with us.
I want to just kinda put something out there. It is often said of people, yes normal people, that they act like different people in different situations. One person acts in a different manner at the office to at home, to at a social event and so forth. A person might view their superior in the office as being a hard person for example, yet at home that same person might be the softest person in the family. If that makes sense. I mean, you might fear your superior, fear that if you were to make a mistake they will fire you, for example, and you would think that at home their children must be scared of making mistakes in fear of punishment. Perhaps when you make a mistake the superior person is harsh. Yet you discover that at home their children are not scared in the slightest. Does that mean this person, your superior, has multiple personalities? Because their actions in two different situations is completely contradictory. No it doesn’t. It simply means that in the work place there are pressures perhaps, and expectations etc that are not in the home environment. They react differently based on the environment, the expectation and the need they need to fill in order to achieve that which their purpose is to achieve in that situation. Make sense? I hope so.
There are influencing factors that make people react in situations, depending on the situation, depending on the factors.
For example if you were married and your spouse would always leave their dirty socks on the floor. And you reacted by telling them to pick it up. And they did not like you telling them to pick up their socks, so they would get upset and ignore you for hours after. You have a decision to make, if you felt that after telling them 10 times that they would give in and just start picking up their socks, then you might grit and bear them ignoring you for the next 10 occasions. But if you realised that your telling them would do nothing but cause them to be upset and ignore you, what would you do? Would you tell your spouse everyday to pick up his socks knowing you would be ignored for the remainder of the day? If so you would be choosing to bring about a result that would affect you and your family by ending in a marriage where you were continuously ignored. Or would you choose to pick up the socks for your spouse instead? And so doing ensure your spouse is not upset with you and does not ignore you? Ensure your marriage did not become unbearable?
Now imagine that you could not risk your marriage ending. Because you had no income or whatever. That your “survival” was based on your spouse being the income generator in your marriage. That takes it to a different level.
Think of the wife whose husband comes back from a bad day at the office and takes it out on her physically. And she stays. Yet, if she left she would have no where to go, no job, no income to support her. So she stays. Is it good for her? No. But does SHE think she has a choice? Think about it. Its not that different from the sock scenario, but this time the factors are different. If she had a place to go, she might choose differently. And of course, knowing she is staying makes her feel weak. She feels like a failure for being in the situation she is in. So she hides it. Hides from her friends and hides from herself. To the outside world she is the confident person, happily married, the perfect wife. Perhaps. See, she cant accept what is happening in her life so she pretends its not there. But she knows it is.
Can you understand that?
What happens when pretending is not enough?
What happens when something that is happening in your life is so unbearable to you, so fearsome, so overwhelming? What happens when its happening to you and you are just a child. What happens when there is no way out of the situation that you know of. What happens if pretending is not enough?
See, when a child is faced with something that they don’t know how to deal with and they fear, they escape into their imagination. They pretend it didn’t happen to them. Or that they didn’t do it, if they had done something they knew they shouldn’t. They pretend someone else did it. Or it’s happening to someone else. It’s how they “survive”. I don’t know how it is that children are able to escape into their imagination except that I just know it seems to be something that a young child is much more capable of doing than an adult. Perhaps it is because the child is still forming their identity. I do not know.
So when a child knows they are not to touch a special glass ornament for example, they know they are not allowed to incase they break it, and yet one day when they are alone in the room they curiously pick up the ornament and of course by mistake break it. They might pretend it was not them who broke it as they know that they did something wrong but they also know that if they admit to doing it then they will be punished and they don’t like to be punished. So they pretend.
It’s the same kinda of thing that happens to a child who grows up to have a “disorder”. Who grows up to have “others” inside their heads. And for a very very long part of life they wont possibly be aware of the others in their head. Depending on the case. See there are two factors that are involved. One is the awareness of something being wrong or bad and the other is fear of punishment if they get caught.
If a child knows something is bad and they are secure and do not fear punishment for admitting to knowing it happened, then they will not need to pretend, they will just tell. But its the child that fears the punishment that will pretend and chances are, the greater the fear the higher the chance of them pretending.
What happens when a child is face with something bad that is happening to them, and they fear so intensely the punishment if it is made known that they keep it a secret. What happens if that secret doesn’t go away and the fear grows. What happens if that something bad is happening to them and it continues and they are made to feel its their fault? What happens when they fear so much the punishment that is promised if the secret is told? What happens if they have to pretend like they are happy and nothing is wrong, when inside they are consumed with fear? They learn to model. They learn to watch how an adult who is doing bad things can seem to be a completely different person when around other people, happy, kind etc. Like nothing bad is happening. And the child tries to model it. But the only way for a child to model such is to pretend that its not happening. But if they know about it then it is happening, so they pretend that its not happening to them. Its happening to “Mary” or “Peter”. And when the bad things are happening they start to imagine that they are not themselves but that they are “Mary”or “Peter” because they are aware its happening to them but if they acknowledge it to themselves then how will they pretend its happening to someone else. So as there no someone else, survival rests in being someone else. For then they can live with the secret, pretending it does not exist in their life and not be lying to themselves. They do this by becoming “Mary”or “Peter” when in that situation. Very similar in fact to the superior at the office who is completely different in the office to the home. The children live two different lives. The life of the one being abused and the life of the one not being abused. It just more extreme. They master the art so well that it becomes to them that they can almost block out the abuse, because the abuse is not happening to them. Its happening to “Mary”or “Peter”. Does this make sense?
Now enter into this mix, the child who is taught not to keep secrets from their parents. Yet they have to keep the secret of what is happening. If they tell they will be punished. If they keep the secret they will be punished should the secret come out and their parents find out. What do you do? Its a double bind. No matter what they do they are at risk of punishment. They have no way out. And they live with the fear of being punished. They cannot obey the order not to keep secrets for if they do, they will be punished for telling. When the child fears punishment for keeping secrets as the punishment is extreme and they fear telling for the punishment from the abuser is extreme, which is generally enforced with threats of harm coming to someone else should they tell, the child lives in a constant conflict and cannot deal with it. The only way for the child to deal with this is to convince themselves that its not happening to them. They also have to live with knowing it happens to “Mary”or “Peter” which is in itself keeping secrets so they go a step further. They convince themselves its happening to “Mary” or “Peter” and because they know “Mary” or “Peters’”secret and cannot tell they make a choice to not know “Mary”or “Peter”. If they don’t know its happening, if they don’t know “Mary”or “Peter” then they can’t get into trouble as they are not keeping secrets or telling as there is nothing they know about to keep the secret of, or tell of. Understand? I doubt I am explaining this very well.
The mind splits in a sense. A very real sense I think. The child becomes “Mary”or “Peter”when they are in the abusive situation and themselves when not in the abusive situation with completely no memory of “Mary”or “Peter”. The brain does this. In my logic, it makes sense as the brain is connected to memories etc by neuronal connections. If a connection is not used it does not strengthen, things can be forgotten. It’s the whole “Practice makes perfect” theory. The more you do something the stronger or better you become at doing it, as the stronger the neuronal connections are to that area of the brain that is responsible for that function. Just like in the belief that you are what you think. So if you don’t think you are something then you are not. If you don’t think you are “Peter”or “Mary”then you are not. The thought strengthens to a belief. Until the child believes they are not “Mary”or “Peter”. And the child dissociates completely from “Mary” or “Peter”. The child by choice becomes completely unaware of “Mary”or “Peter”. Except they are “Mary”, they are “Peter”. They just no longer connect to the happenings that happen to “Mary”or “Peter”. They disconnect completely from that section where the memories, the awareness of what is happening is stored. And so they survive.
Something else is true of the brain. Once something is known it can’t be unknown. It can be “forgotten” by disconnecting to a degree from it but if “triggered”, if reminded the awareness will come back. Perhaps slowly, perhaps fast. Once again depending on what the brain is taught to do.
Take a child. Force them to create the split and enforce it. When they are in one situation you use a trigger word, like call them a certain name, perhaps “Daddies little girl”for example. And when they are not in that situation you do not refer to them by that name at all. Add the fear, the double bind etc and you have created a multiple personality child that you can call up at will. Everytime you mention “Daddies little girl”that part inside that child that needs to perform as daddy wants her to will come up and perform. When you call her by name, she will dissociate from “daddies little girl” and be the part she is expected to be. Once you have taught a child this, they can create as many different “parts”to the child as they deem fit, by enforcing different actions embedding them with a code word.
A child under the age of six is still forming mentally and they learn really well.
This has to be reinforced in order to remain intact. Its proven, such will only remain while the brain believes the threat is there. This is why a person with trauma induced “parts” will often only start to remember much later in life, depending on when the threat is removed and a certain time has passed, long enough for the “walls” between the “parts”to break.
Physically, in the brain, they have proved that when something happens, when there is stimuli, audible, physical etc, it is first perceived by the right hand side of the brain. The right hand side of the brain is separate but connected to the left side. This is discussed in more detail later. The right side is more “visual” it receives imagery. When the stimuli is received by the right hand side and related to the left side, the hippocampus and amygdala are responsible for “translating” it. If the imagery is something that has in the past stimulated good emotions or a certain taste sensation etc the imagery is filled in short term memory by the association and in long term memory. For example tasting an apple and seeing an apple would both be filled with the association to apple. The left hand side of the brain, by recalling similar stimuli in memory rates the stimuli. However if the stimuli in the past invoked fear for example, ie invoked highly unpleasant emotions that caused the flight or flee mode to kick in as such, this would be recalled at the receipt of similar stimuli. This causes the left hand side of the brain to be over-stimulated as such and the brain malfunctions (for lack of wording, although it is actually functioning perfectly well doing what is needed to be done to ensure survival) and the stimuli is not filed in the short term memory but “dumped” in the long term memory unfiled as such. This is what causes amnesia. And this is how the dissociation can occur. But I will leave you to research that.
Programming of the mind is done in this way. Knowing this. Cause confusion, cause contradiction. I do not even know how exactly to word this, but I will try...