Invisible Group Therapy for Dissociative Identity Disorder
Safe, Christian, Convenient, Online
People with Dissociative Identity Disorder (also known as Multiple Personality Disorder) typically feel painfully isolated; weighed down by secrets they desperately need to share and yet feel too embarrassed and misunderstood to tell anyone. Of all possible options, they find it easiest to unburden themselves anonymously by e-mail with equals, who truly understand and are experiencing the same things.|
What Is Invisible Group Therapy?
It is my name for groups I’ve established, with the goal of providing a safe, comfortable, accepting, Christian environment for hosts and alters to connect with other hosts and alters to share ideas and to support each other anonymously by email. Each group is kept fairly small. No one is pressured to contribute. Anyone wishing to silently learn from the experience of others is welcome to do so, but an initial brief outline of your experience is required so that existing members feel relaxed about allowing someone new to read what they share.
You could call it a chat group for people with Dissociative Identity Disorder, but it is far more therapeutic, life-changing and uplifting than such a term could ever imply.
Why a Group, Rather Than One-On-One?
* Unlike traditional therapy in which you approach a paid professional who assumes a higher status, you will be among friends and equals, who truly care for you and are encouraged when you share your experience.
* Since this is a group of people who have suffered repeated childhood traumas (plus ramifications extending into adulthood), the experience of someone in the group is likely to be surprisingly similar to that of one of your alters. Consequently, even without you sharing, when someone reveals his/her experience and receives support and helpful ideas from others in the group, the information is likely to directly help one of your own alters, as well as encouraging your alter to open up.
* The moment you begin to share, others in the group are likely to be comforted because no matter what you have experienced, some members will probably have suffered something very similar. Because of you, they will feel less like a freak and less isolated. You will quickly find that not only can you be helped by others, you can bring comfort and relief and encouragement to them. Suddenly, you will discover that your past suffering, as regrettable as it was, is not a useless waste but has significance in that it enables you to identify with, and bring help to, other people. Seeing your experience help others will empower you, giving you a sense of meaning and hope and dignity that you very much deserve.
* It is very common for people with Dissociative Identity Disorder to become powerfully bonded to, and dependent upon, the first person they share their deep secrets with. This strong attachment and dependence is emotionally very unhealthy. For example, the one becoming attached is usually beset with continual fears that the other person might leave him/her, and if that person has to move on for personal reasons, it can seem devastating and become a serious setback – even to the extent of creating new alters. It is possible to become so deeply dependent upon someone as to almost suck the life out of him/her. Another serious complication is that these strong feelings might become confused with romantic feelings. Relating to a group, rather than to a solitary individual, reduces these dangers.
* A group of people is able to reply quicker and more often than an individual can achieve.
* You will have the opportunity to help more people and benefit from a wider range of experiences than is possible with just one person. This is a group of especially gifted people. Even though in their early stage of healing they typically feel too crushed to realize it, people with Dissociative Identity Disorder usually have above average intelligence and abilities. This, combined with their deep experience of trials and inner pain, makes them naturals at tenderly and wisely uplifting other people who are hurting. It also makes them superb at offering valuable solutions to practical problems that anyone with D.I.D. might have. This works to make the group an astounding resource. Through the group, not only will you find compassion beyond your fondest hopes from people who truly understand how you feel, it is like being able to draw upon the combined tender skills, wisdom and experience of an entire group of counselors and therapists without the result being the slightest threatening or overpowering.
Convenient and Flexible
Because this group is Internet-based, you can enjoy all the benefits from the privacy and convenience of your own home. There is no travel, no appointment, no waiting room. Being available 24/7, it fits your time schedule perfectly. You might not necessarily get an instant response, but you can send messages and read available ones at whatever time suits you.
Like everyone else in the group, you may email the group as often or as little as you wish, sharing your challenges and progress and asking for ideas for particular issues you face, or sharing solutions that have worked for you.
If you are seeing a counselor or therapist, you are encouraged to continue doing so, but through the group you can receive far more frequent support and encouragement than counselors or therapists are normally able to provide.
I believe you are quite safe in this group without anonymity, but alters tend to be very fearful, and their feelings are important.
Even if you feel secure, we want you to remain anonymous, because it is important for your healing that every part of you feels as secure as possible, and it is likely that later on you will discover you have an alter who does not feel as secure as you do, and needs complete anonymity in order to feel able to share his/her needs with us.
The easiest way to establish anonymity is to get a free Yahoo email address specifically for this purpose, but in this group we go beyond this and suppress all addresses except for those of moderators.
We also want you to go even further in establishing total anonymity by not using the names of key people in your life. For example, there might be a huge number of Marys in the world, but fewer whose husband is called Arthur, and daughter is called Sharon, and therapist is called Bob. By all means, mention these people, but we prefer for you to refer to them as “my husband,” “my therapist,” “Daughter #1,” or use their middle name, or some other convention.
Other measures to secure your privacy are discussed in Additional Security below.
Venting and Sharing One’s Secrets
No matter what your alters share, it will not cause people in the group to look down on you. We all understand that what is shared is just the feelings of a tender, suppressed part of you that has found himself/herself trapped in a time warp and, through no fault of his/hers, has not been allowed to heal and discover the things about God that you know. Christ has cleansed and forgiven you of the past; there is just a wounded part of you that has yet to realize the full implications of this glorious truth.
Typical sources of torment for people with Dissociative Identity Disorder are flashbacks, body memories (where one’s body experiences feelings as if past trauma were being repeated), a need for objects associated with babyhood (including diapers, pacifier, formula milk, engaging in thumb sucking), addiction to porn, masturbation, degrading sexual fantasy, self-harm, eating disorders, (groundless) fears that one is going insane, disturbingly strong feelings of shame, guilt, rage, hate, blaming God, being terrified of God – especially that he might molest them – a past involving sex acts with mother, father, sister, brother and/or animals, sadism, anal penetration, finding aspects of sexual molestation pleasurable, and having treated other children inappropriately.
It is normal for alters who have only just begun their healing journey to be reeling with inner pain and explode with raw emotion. They are too distressed to be diplomatic, and the fact that they are still in pain is testimony to the devastating consequences of them not being allowed to fully vent in a safe, accepting environment.
So in this group, alters are allowed to vent –against God or anything else, and as they do, they will receive warm, unconditional acceptance. Distressed alters are even allowed to use crude words, although if this could be replaced by the host by such symbols as @#*! It would be appreciated. No matter what, your alters will be respected. They will not be told they are stupid, bad, or in any other way put down. On the contrary, they will be commended for having the courage to share.
It is vital for your healing that you let your alters speak freely, no matter how contrary to your own beliefs and convictions what they share might be.
I welcome alters expressing hate and insults directly towards me. I understand the depth of pain and frustration behind such episodes and I do not take it to heart. Other members, however, are likely to have sensitive alters and deserve full protection from such unpleasantness. Hate and insults towards any group member except me is prohibited.
Here is a Net-Burst.Net policy statement for our website:
In our service to our local church we may strongly defend its unique heritage and views, but in our service with Net-burst.Net we strive to avoid issues on which genuine Christians differ. We honor those called to address such issues, but our commission is to a wider ministry, enabling us to reach vast numbers of Christians who are hurting, regardless of their denominational allegiance or doctrinal stance.
Nevertheless, it is so vital for healing that alters be allowed to fully express themselves that in this group, this policy is suspended to the extent that alters who are hurting are encouraged to vent and express their raw emotions, no matter how doctrinally or politically offensive we might personally find their views on potentially divisive issues, such as a particular church, or mode of baptism, creation versus evolution, second coming doctrine, divorce, spiritual gifts, politics, and so on. Except for matters critical to salvation, it is not our role to try either to correct or endorse these beliefs, but solely to minister to the hurt that is revealed. It is important that the views of people expressing their raw emotions not be taken as reflecting the views of the rest of the person, let alone rest of the group or of Net-Burst.Net.
On the other hand, those of us for whom a potentially divisive issue is not a cause of inner pain, are asked to restrain ourselves and be diplomatic.
Of course, once you sense that a particular email might be upsetting, you can stop reading immediately. No one who feels uncomfortable with anything should feel the slightest obligation to keep reading. It might be that you are just feeling delicate at that time and can safely return to it later, or you might prefer to give it a permanent miss.
To describe a secret or flashback that is tormenting them, alters will sometimes need to be sexually explicit or describe violence. None of us enjoys reading this, and it is usually extremely difficult for the person sharing it. Nevertheless, these details are essential because withholding such information will keep alters isolated and unable to heal. It is unfortunate that some readers could find this triggering, but it should end up furthering the healing of both the person sharing and the person triggered.
If the content of an email is explicit and might be triggering to sensitive people, we would like this mentioned in the subject line. We understand that what could be triggering is largely guesswork, however; so don’t be overly concerned about this.
There is one restriction on what we can share that saddens me. My understanding is that the law regards a person as an accessory to a crime if that person hears of a crime and does not report it to the police. If you know of any illegal activity that you are legally required to report to the police and you are unwilling to involve the police, please do not expose the rest of us to this legal dilemma. Please, however, impress upon your little alters that this restriction does not apply if you are the victim of a crime, and that the law is on the side of any minor who has sex with an adult. Young alters often do not realize that the law regards the minor as innocent and the adult as guilty.
It is amazing how quickly people feel at home in our Dissociative Identity Disorder Chat Group. This is demonstrated by the fact that the following testimonies were written not long after each person joined. Although many of the testimonies read similarly, when combined with the link they are from eight different people.
If, after reading the following, you feel sure that the group would reject you, then you are perfect for the group. When they first joined, everyone expected to be rejected!
In an unsolicited email to the group, one member wrote:
I share my story in case you don’t realize what a precious gift this group is, and how much suffering it will spare you from.
Something in me has never given up on being healed, happy and okay, even though reckless counseling, good intentions and ignorance only served to make things worse.
I have been totally sold out to the Lord and singing to him since I was 16. I have always written love songs to him in private and have an incredible, overwhelming passion to acknowledge his righteousness and greatness. Until I first learned I had D.I.D., however, I knew little about myself except that I was guarded, emotionless, and had few memories prior to age 19.
Since then, I’ve twice been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital and on another two occasions was a voluntary in-patient of an acclaimed institution that treats people with D.I.D. In addition, I’ve had endless Christian and professional counseling, and spent the first ten years missing out of my daughter’s life because I was over medicated by doctors.
None of these treatments ever allowed me to connect to the real me. Almost all it did was try to numb me, fix me, change me, drive me more “insane,” or make some of me to go away.
Never did I know until discovering this group that I should love and embrace my parts; never did I understand the link between body memories and my little ones trying to communicate; never did I know that I wasn’t a detestable outcast, even to most of the Christian world.
This Net-burst Group is a mirror for all of us that reflects God’s true heart to us. It has been a key to releasing my healing. I presume each of us with D.I.D. live a lie, not letting the outside world know about our inside world. Net-burst for me was the first step to know that my inside world and all its parts are accepted. Now I see I could not have begun to love myself if I did not know I was lovable and worthy. How could I even begin to know how to treat my little parts right if I never even saw it mirrored to me?
This group showed me for the first time in my life that my parts (alters) have value – a value to me, a value to my healing, and a value to my future. This released me to move to the next level in my healing.
Regardless of whether God is using this Net-burst Group as your source of encouragement, primary counseling, reinforcement, a resource, or just a safe place to know you are not alone, everyone in this group has an advantage. All the prayer techniques or knowledge or books or therapies in the world mean nothing if we do not know we are safe, and have a “safe place” to be “real” in this world. This is what this group offers.
I hope this encourages all of you to know that your healing curve is greatly shortened because of this group. To have such compassion and understanding reflected back to the “real me” (rather than the mask I showed other people) has been – and continues to be – life changing.
It’s important for all of us to know that healing is a process. God seems to lay foundations of healing and they all build on each other. I want to give everyone hope, and celebrate each layer of foundation even if it does not seem like the end result.
At last I understand what the Scripture means when it says God gives us hope. Now, for the first time in my life, I actually have hope for my future.
The next is from an alter who was receiving excellent daily support from a skilled person for over a year and yet, to my surprise, she still greatly benefited from the group.
This group is my voice, my family, my lifeline, my safe place. It is where I am understood. It has become my outlet where I am no longer isolated or dependent on just one person.
When I began reading the group emails, I found I could respond. I connected. It was the most amazing experience of my life. I felt truly human and no longer alone. This may sound trivial but for me it was huge.
I figured that since the group is Christian, once they learned I am divorced I’d be shoved aside. Nevertheless, I decided to take the risk and tell them. Boy, was I shocked when I was embraced and understood! I have always craved to be accepted, and now I am.
Healing takes great courage and if the risks we take are of God, they really aren’t risks at all, but golden opportunities. I just needed to grasp this and now that I have, it is liberating.
It has been so healing, and I have experienced a freedom with God I have never known. I had sought God for the sake of another part of me, but I never dreamed he’d call me and love me. But he does, and he has shown that through this group.
Whenever anyone from the group contacts me I get so excited. I can connect with the really neat people in the group and, strange as it is to me, I feel very safe. For most of my life I have craved feeling this safe.
I used to be terrified of being alone. I figured I’d kill myself if I wasn’t frantically involved in all sorts of activities to keep my mind off the things inside me that were haunting and tormenting me. Wanting to keep busy and hoping for friends, I joined a group. The people in it hate God and are cruel but I felt I needed them and stayed with them for years despite all the pain they caused me. Now I’m free to leave them. I don’t need to waste my time on false relationships. I have real friends.
Years of experience have sadly proved to me that there are downsides to any form of therapy.
Some people with Dissociative Identity Disorder have such a huge tendency to form deep attachments to anyone who accepts them that even though a group setting can makes this less of a problem than in one-on-one counseling, it does not entirely eliminate it. For example, it is common for members to have times when they feel particularly sensitive and feel the need to take a break from the group and yet some find even one member’s temporary break disturbing.
One consequence of the forming of attachments is the scuttling of my hopes that a group could be divided into two when it has so grown in size that most members cannot even read all the emails per day. With members feeling too bonded to each other to allow dividing the group, the only workaround I have found is to start a second group from scratch. That is awkward and does not reduce the size of the large group.
The biggest dilemma is that members need to be protected from hurtful outbursts and yet alters need to express themselves. In order to heal, alters need the freedom to express the deep feelings they have locked away. Often these feelings have been suppressed because they are anti-social, such as anger, hate, lust or anti-Christian beliefs. It is only when the existence of these feelings is acknowledged that the issues can be worked through and resolved. Good counselors are so secure that alters can freely vent their bitter feelings without the counselors taking it personally. Such counselors are free from inner wounds that would be hurt by alters lashing out. A group of people healing from Dissociative Identity Disorder, however, is filled with highly sensitive people. Their wounds are so raw that even a gentle touch might send them reeling.
I have tried to manage this dilemma by insisting that when sharing material that might be upsetting, this fact is indicated in the subject line. Additionally, although it is permitted to express anger at abusers and the like, it is not permitted to take it out on other members, other than on me. These rules generally work but there are further complications. For example, abusers usually falsely accuse their young victims until those afflicted reach the point of expecting almost everyone to accuse them. So even when a complaint is raised that has nothing to do with a particular group member, that member might feel hurt by mistakenly assuming it was aimed at him/her.
Ideally, every email sent to the group should be checked by a moderator before it is released to the group. That way, anything potentially hurtful (often only because it could be open to an interpretation not intended by the writer) could be rephrased or discussed one-on-one offline. Unfortunately, there are not enough helpers to do this. (To avoid delays, time zone issues are enough to require many helpers.)
No one in the group makes any claim to having professional expertise in treating Dissociative Identity Disorder. Individuals merely share what has worked for them. Whether it will work for you or whether you even have Dissociative Identity Disorder, is for you to decide through prayer.
At times, group members will feel overwhelmed by their personal struggles and might not feel able to reply to as many emails as they would like. If ever you feel the group has not adequately responded to a concern, please repeat the concern and if it is still not addressed, feel free to email me personally about it.
If ever you have any concerns you do not feel comfortable about mentioning to the group then, again, I am available. Hopefully, however, you will soon learn to trust the group.
Although the anonymity provides significant security, as a further measure, it is a strict condition of membership that no one reveals anything shared by someone in the group, unless that person’s express permission is sought and received.
Furthermore, this is a small, exclusive group, not listed with any search engine. Even the existence of the web address of the group is suppressed. The Yahoo website is unable to be accessed without a password.
No one is permitted to join the group without first sharing with me by email and convincing me that he/she is genuine. The group will be informed and consulted before anyone new is allowed to read group emails.
Note this Limitation to Privacy
I find this restriction heartbreaking but for legal reasons, unless you are willing to confess directly to authorities, you should not share anything that could get you arrested if authorities heard of it. This group is international, and in many parts of the world, almost anyone – in some countries certain professions are exempted – who hears of a crime is required by law to report it to authorities. Penalties for breaking that law can sometimes be severe. The average person cannot trace e-mails, but authorities have that power if something illegal is drawn to their attention.
Practical Help With Getting An Anonymous Email Account
Our group is a private one (invitation only) that operates through Yahoo. Although emails can still be funneled through to your usual email address, Yahoo requires each of us to have an email account with them.
Choose a name you feel comfortable with. Don’t include your last name, but unless your first name is quite rare, (and so you think it could identify you) you might benefit from using your real first name. This can help you feel more connected and feel that it is really you and not some fantasy figure who is being loved and accepted by the group.
To establish a Yahoo email account, Yahoo asks you to provide your date of birth. This is kept secret. Neither I nor anyone else in the group can access that information. If you wish, however, you can provide a fake date, although it is best to use a date that you can recall, in case you ever forget your password.
How to Join the Group
For much more insight and help, see:
© 2008, 2009, 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.
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