Dissociative Identity Disorder

How to Help Introject Alters Discover Their True Identity

By
By Grantley Morris

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The following information can help almost any alter who does not yet realize his/her true identity. Because it is initially highly disturbing for alters to discover that they are not who they think they are, I usually delay this topic and focus first on comforting them and helping them feel safe. This matter cannot be delayed, however, if – as is sometimes the case with introjects – alters assume an identity that causes them to hurt or scare other alters.

Introject alters are convinced that they do not live in the body they really live in. They firmly believe they are someone else – often someone who abused the person with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Their mistaken self-image, sometimes results in them abusing or frightening other alters. The fear is not just because of what the introject does but because some of the others are as convinced as the introject is that this alter truly is the person the introject thinks he/she is. Although discovering their true identity is at first very confusing for introjects, they usually adjust in just a day or so and, even if previously abusive, they end up becoming very nice.

Introjects often feel great hostility towards other alters because they blame them for the abuse. They think they were abused because these alters were weak or had low morals. Often this is because the abuser kept telling his/her victims such lies. In Free, Effective Therapy I provide important help with the issue of who to blame for abuse.

Introjects often take on the identity of an abuser because this self-image helps them feel safer. If they really were the person they imagine themselves to be, they would no longer be a defenseless victim. So one thing that may hasten their discovery of their true identity and will make the discovery less traumatic for them is to reassure introjects that it is now safe to be the person they really are.

Introjects were most likely formed very many years ago, and have little awareness of subsequent events. So inform them of all the good things that have happened since then that now make it safer than in the past to be who they really are. For example, their real body is now older, meaning that they are not only physically stronger than when they were victims but they are now far more likely to be believed by authorities if they report abuse and they are able to live away from their abusers. This gives them the upper hand if an abuser were to try to repeat an offense. The abuser probably has far less access to them than when they were younger. Explain all these positives to them. If they believe they are the opposite gender to what they really are, provide them with all the reasons why it is now safe to be their real gender (this will include reasons already cited).

When they discover they are not who they think they are the shock might be so great that they suddenly “disappear” – temporarily go into hiding to give themselves time to come to terms with the startling discovery. Do not be alarmed by this. They will reappear when they are ready and when they do they will probably be much more humble and teachable.

In a desperate need to give themselves a reprieve from the terror of feeling helpless victims, or to feel they are someone who will be approved of, introjects are highly motivated to convince themselves they are someone they are not. They become so skilled at believing this fantasy that it can be amazingly difficult to help them discover that they are not that person. For example, if asked to look into a real mirror (not just one in their imagination) some might see their real body and so realize that they are not the person they thought they were, but some might convince themselves that the image they see in the mirror is of the person they believe themselves to be.

Perhaps the easiest and most effective way to convince introjects that they are not who they think they are is to video them when they are talking and immediately play it back so that they know it is what they just said. They should be able to tell that they do not look like the person they thought they were. If they think it is a trick, repeat the process, asking them to say something unique. If they refuse to talk out loud, remind them that the person they think they are had no such limitation.

If videoing is not possible (perhaps you don’t have the technology or perhaps you are as limited as me, who can only counsels by e-mail) I explain alternative methods below. The following is written to introjects, but if you are someone trying to help an introject, your help could make it even easier.

Not as Scary as it Seems

It would seem alarming to discover that you are not the person you think you are, but it would actually be good news. It does not mean you are mad. In fact, it means you have cleverly used a mental trick that helped keep you sane in an almost impossible situation.

Because of cruel people in your life, you once suffered horrible things that you never deserved. It was so intolerable that it was almost beyond anyone’s ability to endure. Things became so desperate that to give yourself a much-needed mental break from the terror, you cleverly gave yourself a mini-vacation by imagining you were someone else – someone who was not in danger. You became so skilled at this clever trick that you were able to totally convince yourself. But now things have changed. It is finally safe to let your guard down and be the strong, nice, highly capable person you really are.

While you were giving yourself that mental break, other parts of you had to face the reality of what cruel people were doing to you. So your mind was split between you and other parts of you. The various parts of a person are called alters. They all share the same body but not all of them realize this.

Feeling

Some alters (or parts of a person) have difficulty feeling and some have difficulty remaining conscious while another alter is conscious. However, if there is someone who claims to share your body, the following might be an interesting experiment. Ask the other person to do something harmless that can be sensed, such as putting his/her hand under running water, pinching himself/herself, or licking chocolate. Can you feel/taste it when the other person does it? If you can, then you both must share the same body. If you cannot sense, it could still be that you share the same body but are very disconnected from each other.

Where Do You Live?

Have a good look around the place where you live. Check the rooms, the furnishing and the house number. Are you living where you should live if you really are the person you think you are? Are you living in that person’s home or in another place? If you believe you drive a car, is the car you expect parked close by? If the answer is no to either of these questions, perhaps you are not the person you think you are.

In the Mirror

As you were looking around the place, did you happen to see in the mirror someone other than the person you think you are? For example, when you saw a mirror out of the corner of your eye, did you sometimes think you saw someone different? If you do not consistently see in the mirror the person you believe you are, then your mind must be playing tricks. This is not surprising, since we have already mentioned a clever mental trick that some people employ in order to cope with a very difficult situation. It would mean that you cannot trust your presumption that you are who you think you are. If you consistently see in the mirror the image of someone different to who you expect, then that different person is who you really are.

What year is it?

Like Rip Van Winkle, who woke up thinking it was the next day, only to eventually discover that he had been asleep for twenty years, you might have lost time without realizing it. Are you aware that it is now the Twenty-First Century? I wrote what you are reading near the end of 2012, so as you read this, it is at least 2012, maybe later. If this seems unbelievable, here are some suggestions to help you confirm what year it really is.

Look around for a recent calendar, newspaper, magazines, letters, and so on and check what date is on them. Obviously, some of the documents you find will be old, but today’s date will at least be the latest date you find – probably even later.

Today things are more computer-based than they used to be. Less is printed on paper, so if you cannot find paper copies of the things just listed, you might need to look on a computer to verify the date. A modern computer looks a bit like a small television screen. You are probably reading this on one.

At the end of what I am writing I will provide help with using a computer to know what year it is. I would prefer for you not to explore this until later, however, because you could end up not being able to find your way back to what I am writing.

Your Real Age

If the real time is actually years later than you thought, that means you are years older than you thought. Did you see that you are years older when you looked in the mirror? If not, it means your mind is playing tricks. What you are seeing in the mirror is not what you really look like but simply the result of your powerful imagination. As you get used to the truth, you will begin to see things as they really are.

Proving Your Identity

If you are the person you believe you are, you should have plenty of proof of that in your possession. So look in your possessions for letters, bills, receipts, credit cards, driver’s license, marriage license, birth certificate and any other forms of ID. Especially if there are other people living where you live, you should find some documents belonging to more than one person and perhaps a few belonging to the person you think you are. If you are the person you believe you are, very many of the documents will be in your name. However, if you are an introject, these will be in a minority. Most documents will belong to someone else – the person you really are, rather than the person you just imagine you are.

What Gender Are You?

If someone has made the claim that you are not the gender you believe you are, or there have been any hints about this, check all the clothing in your bedroom. Is some of it clothing that belongs to the opposite gender? If so, does this indicate that you are not the gender you think you are?

If you believe you are male, try using the toilet standing up. If you cannot do this without making a mess, is this because you are not male after all?

What Do You Really Look Like?

If someone claims you are not who you suppose but that you live in his/her body, get two or more different photos of that person (perhaps a driver’s license, Facebook photo or whatever and ask someone, “Which of these do you think is the best photo of me?” Obviously, if neither photo is of you, they will think you are joking and you can laugh as if it were a joke. If, however, they seriously believe the photo is of you, don’t contradict them, even if you find it hard to believe, or they will think you are strange.

If the image you see in mirrors conforms with what you would expect if you really were the person you think you are, another approach is to try taking a photo of yourself and get the person who claims you live in his/her body to likewise take a photo of himself/herself. Try to get the photos identical except that one is of you and one is of the other person. Write your name on the back of your photo and write the other person’s name on the back of the other person’s photo. Close your eyes and shuffle the photos and then look at them. Neither photo should have changed, unless your mind is playing tricks. Select the photo you believe is of you and then look at the name on the back. Is it your name? If so, shuffle again and check. Do this several times.

Using a Computer to Know What Year it is

Unfortunately, things on computers often change, so not all the following might work by the time you use it. To overcome this, and to satisfy any lingering doubts you might have, I have provided several options.

1. The following should display (among other things) today’s date, including the year.

2. New York Times Newspaper

3. Sport Results

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More Help

Therapy / Help for Abusive Introject Alters / Insiders

Real-Life Counseling a Demon-Possessed Pedophile Alter

Angry, Bad, Mean, Nasty Alters (Insiders)

© 2011, 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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