Teamwork Among Alters
Insiders Working Together
On the football field, the difference between winners and losers is teamwork. Unless committed to working together as a team, they will make such fools of themselves that they might as well go home. So it is with Dissociative Identity Disorder (also known as Multiple Personality Disorder). Alters (host included) either learn to work together as a close-knit, fully-committed team or the result is embarrassing. In the words of Jesus, “a house divided against itself will fall” (Luke 12:52).
Many people with Dissociative Identity Disorder are in such disarray they can barely stay alive but when they learn to work as a team, they can achieve astounding things.
For alters, team building is the gradual transition from disarray to power; from chaos to success; from embarrassment to glory. The process is lengthy but the results are phenomenal.
The Stumbling Block
The greatest obstacle to teamwork is alters unknowingly working against the good of the person. Often this is because the alter does not realize that one-time abusers no longer have access to the person and so they try to enforce the abuser’s former rules in order to protect the person from the abuser’s wrath. Priority must be given to discovering the exact reason for the alter’s behavior and then gently correcting the misunderstanding. Even with alters that are currently hostile to the extreme, however, it is important to respect them and believe they genuinely want to help but are confused as to how to go about it. Once you help alters see things as they really are, it is remarkable how quickly they change from acting as enemies to being the best friend you could ever have.
General Guidelines for Teamwork
Get to know each other. Listen to each other. Find out not just what each alter thinks but why he/she sees things that way. As already indicated, such information is vital in transforming frightened, confused, and even hostile alters into faithful, helpful friends.
Where appropriate, apologize. When reeling in fear or pain, one cannot be expected to have the presence of mind to be sensitive to the feelings of other alters, but in the process they are likely to get shoved aside, treated as dirt or rejected as literally nothing. This ends up hurting not only the receiver but the one dishing it. It is important to realize how destructive this behavior is and to apologize and begin to demonstrate that one has changed one’s attitude toward alters.
Comfort each other. In your powerful imagination, hug alters who need and want it. Let each share his/her secrets and heart-breaking stories. You might be reluctant to learn their stories but you owe it to each alter, since he/she bore those awful experiences for you. Each dear alter has been carrying the pain alone for all those years and deserves to no longer have to bear it alone. Moreover, there will be some alters – perhaps you – who will be able to bring immense comfort by interpreting the events in a less hurtful light, such as being able to bring the news that the abuse has now totally ended, or that the abuser was lying when he said those hurtful things, or that it was not the victim’s fault, and so on. This is a key part of making your alters strong and the stronger each member is, the stronger the entire team is.
It is critically important that you respect each other’s confidentiality and not reveal secrets – even to therapists – without the permission of the alter who originally shared the secret. Certainly if the person is safe to share with, try to convince the alter of this fact but until the alter accepts this, you must keep the secret. This is part of the loyalty that is needed for trust and closeness and effective teamwork. If alters cannot trust you in this regard, they will clam up and healing will grind to a halt. Loyalty and trust are vital for effective teamwork.
Baby alters will need to be mothered. Don’t see this as a burden but as a healing experience. It is you finally getting the nurturing you have been cruelly robbed of and inwardly craving all your life without even being able to define it. For similar reasons, you will need to play with child alters and provide them with toys and so on. It can be frustratingly hard to find sufficient time, but for your own development as well as theirs, you must find time for them to play. If they are kept in isolation they will remain young, weak and vulnerable but if you nurture them they will not stay young forever but after receiving enough of the comfort and attention they need and ache for, they will grow up.
You also need to give learning opportunities to each alter. For example, when they are ready, you can teach young alters to drive while you guide them in this task and keep them safe. You can gradually teach them parts of your paid work – again under the guidance of those parts of you that are skilled at it. You will discover that even if you started off the expert and the other alters seemed complete idiots, some alters will end up better at certain tasks than you are and the result will be improved performance and less stress at work.
General Guidelines for Teamwork
Alters need to get together and discuss rules they will all adhere to. At the beginning, it might only be a small group of alters who are willing to do this, but it is a start and, in time, observing alters will be moved to join.
Alters need to reach the point where they decide that peace is better than war and agree to go along with wishes of the majority. Then voting on issues becomes important.
Rules should include how alters should treat each other. Here are some suggestions:
* Alters always strive to be polite, kind, patient and loyal to each other. They are to value each other and strive to think the best of each other.
* Alters are free to express their feelings but not in hostility directed at another alter.
* It is not right for any alter to punish another.
* For certain tasks it is agreed that specific alters are the most experienced and competent, and others who would like to contribute to those tasks agree to be guided by these experts.
* Alters who are considered not yet ready for certain responsibilities – using the credit card, driving the car without another alter present, doing certain tasks at work, and so on – agree not to do so. In turn, those having these abilities agree to regularly review this to determine when the alter has developed sufficiently to assume various responsibilities.
* It is understood that some alters tire easily, some are timid and so on, but all agree to keep working toward the goal of all being out together and asleep together, even though fully achieving that goal might be a long way off.
* Alters with unique skills and/or knowledge will continually work both on training back-up alters and recording valuable information so that in an emergency another alter can pick up the task
* Alters should try hard not to leave others in the lurch. Whenever they do anything – whether it be putting the keys somewhere, making arrangements to meet someone, or whatever, that information is to be shared with other alters. Even with the best intentions, alters can sometimes freak out and suddenly go into hiding, leaving the rest of the person without adequate information and/or skills to complete critically important tasks. Alters need to agree to try their hardest to remain out and if they must retreat, agree to at least remain accessible to other alters so that they can ask for and receive essential information in order to function without the alter.
* Alters should discuss life goals, work goals, and so on and establish as many as possible that they agree on.
When the majority agrees, they should make Jesus an honorary alter with voting rights. As they gain confidence with him they should vote on letting him have the final say if ever a serious or hotly contested matter arises.
Writes a dear friend who has D.I.D.:
The other day, I overheard two of the managers where I work talking about me. Here’s how the conversation went:
“Ask her, she will remember.”
“I wish I had her memory!” commented the other.
“Yeah, she’s an encyclopedia!”
“ . . . not only remembers but gets things done exactly as you need them. I want her on my team.”
I was shocked to hear that. It wasn’t that long ago when I was accused of lying because I couldn’t remember conversations and other important things.
There are still occasions when people say, “Remember this, you know, we talked about it . . .” and I do not remember. Now that my alters communicate with each other and are present more, however, the one who remembers will step forward and continue the conversation.
Besides everything else, for the peace of mind alone it is well worth putting in all the effort that healing takes.
Grab healing. Accept your alters. As you fully embrace them and support and encourage them you will discover that they are strengths not weaknesses. A weaker person would have died. A weaker person would have given up. You developed ways to cope with almost impossible situations. Dissociative Identity Disorder isn’t because you are weak, it is because you are far stronger than you realize and when you and your alters cooperate and learn to work as a team, the result is phenomenal.
Dolls or Stuffed Toys for Healing D. I. D. Includes a divine miracle
For much more insight and help, see Christian Resources: Index of Help for Dissociative Identity Disorder
© 2015 Grantley Morris. May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: it is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged and it is not used in a webpage. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at www.net-burst.net Freely you have received, freely give. For use outside these limits, consult the author.