Dissociative Identity Disorder
Multiple Personality Disorder
If an army starts fighting itself, the consequences are likely to be disastrous. So it is, if part of you hates, or fights, another part of you. And yet, from time to time, this is almost inevitable with anyone recovering from Dissociative Identity Disorder (multiple personalities). So whenever it happens, it is vital to give top priority to understanding the cause of the conflict and establish peace. This is the purpose of this webpage.|
I want to take you on a voyage deep into the mind of an alter who most hosts would be strongly tempted to despise.
Jakeís healing journey of Dissociative Identity Disorder was frustratingly long. Alter after alter surfaced and found healing and yet Jake would keep reverting to the same old problems, as if almost no progress had been made. Then an alter I call Fearful revealed himself. Once Fearful started e-mailing me, it become obvious that he had been undermining so much of Jakeís progress. He said he beat up other alters. This would cause them to flee into hiding, thus robbing Jake of some much needed mental capacity. Fearful would rage against God and sabotage Jakeís ability to pray. And thatís just a fraction of the mean things he did.
This alter seemed almost evil, and yet when he finally started e-mailing me, all the terrible things he was doing make perfect sense. He actually had a soft and beautiful heart and even had surprisingly good motives for the bad behavior he felt driven to.
Iím moved to share what Fearful revealed because it gives deep insight into why alters can seem bad, when they are not. His revelations will help many people with Dissociative Identity Disorder understand what is going on deep within them and help them love the alters they are strongly tempted to hate.
When I quote from Fearfulís e-mails below, I touch up his spelling and grammar to make it easier for you to read. Fearful was formed at the age of about six. Jake is middle-aged.
It turned out that although Fearful had been wreaking havoc in Jakeís life for quite some time, he had been too scared to reveal himself because he believed the lies of his abusive father and brothers that the police would arrest this six-year-old boy, beat him up, throw him in jail and possibly kill him, if ever he told anyone what was happening.
This dear little boy, also accepted the lie that he was an exceptionally bad person, because that is what everyone around had told him, and followed it up with atrocious beatings.
As if being sadistically programmed into believing this malicious lie about himself were not enough for horrific guilt feelings, he was riddled with guilt over his failure to protect his host from beatings. Fearful saw it as primary primary purpose in life to avoid beatings when his host wet the bed. He had to rub the wet bed furiously with his hand, in the hope that the friction would dry it before morning. If ever this failed and his host was mercilessly punished, he felt he had betrayed his host, failing to be the friend he should have been.
His self-esteem had been shattered. He wrote in his first e-mail to me:
My name is Poo-head [Iíve toned the word down from the one he actually used Ė Grantley]. Thatís what Daddy said. Iím a Poo-head. Or you can call me Toilet Boy, or Filthy. Maybe you should call me Fear. It fills me. Iím always afraid. . . .
Iím afraid Daddy is coming back again. Iím scared of him. He hates me. He makes me bleed. I donít want to be a boy. Iím a girl sometimes because he is nice to Lucy and never hurts her. He said she is his princess. He likes Carol, too, but Iím too bad. . . .
#*@*head, Poo-head, Filthy, Stupid Boy Ė thatís my name.
His abusive parents had taught this little boy that he deserved to be beaten and beaten and beaten. Added to this oppressive brainwashing, was the conviction that he deserved severe punishment for betraying his host, Jake, by failing to dry the bed in time.
In his second e-mail, after I had called him my friend, he wrote:
I donít deserve to have a friend. I failed and didnít protect Jake. I didnít do my job good so he wouldnít get hurt. After you know me youíll see, then youíll hate me. If Iíd done a good job then Jake wouldnít get hurt. So if you are my friend you should run now because Iím not good. I donít want friends. I get them hurt like I did Jake. . . .
Donít be nice to me because Iíll not nice boy. . . . Donít be my friend. You see it will be bad for you.
This poor little boy was so guilt-ridden that he felt the only way he could live with himself was to be punished over and over.
Years had elapsed and his father had died. He wasnít aware of that, but he realized he wasnít being punished anymore. This had created a huge dilemma: no one was relieving his stress by beating him the way he was sure he deserved. So intensely did he crave punishment that he hit the other alters, not out of meanness, but in the hope that they would retaliate by thrashing him. He wrote:
I want someone to hit me like Daddy did. I know Iím bad. So if you know anyone who can hit and beat me, send them over so I can get hurt. I deserve it. I want to hurt myself. The others wonít let me be hurt too much, though. I hit the others so maybe they will hit me back. I WANT TO BE HURT. Iím bad.(The emphasis is Fearfulís.)
Likewise, he tried to treat God atrociously, in the hope that God would severely punish or even kill him. He wrote:
Iím sorry Iím talking but maybe it will make you angry, so youíll hate me like you should. Iím stupid. I do bad things. I want God to hit me and kill me so I do real bad things so he will. Why doesnít he kill me? I want to make him to kill me. I want to get him mad so heís not nice to any of us anymore. I think he hates me any way. Daddy hates me.
This alter had learned some powerful ways of affecting his host and fellow alters (after all, they all shared the same brain) and he used his ability to sap their desire to pray. He wrote:
I donít let the others talk to Jesus lately. I take their feelings away so they donít care if they do bad things or not. They shouldnít feel. Thatís better. When you donít feel, you donít hurt.
Fearful was not trying to justify his behavior. On the contrary, he kept insisting that he deserved continual, severe punishment. Moreover, he also treated a baby alter badly and that could not be excused by suggesting that he was hoping a baby would beat him. Nevertheless, it turned out that even his mistreatment of the baby alter was not motivated by cruelty. True, he said he hated the baby, but he believed that if, by hitting him, he could stop the baby alter from acting like a baby (crying, soiling his diaper, and so on) then his father would stop hurting them all. He wrote:
I hit Baby. Then if Baby grows up and stops being a baby then no one will get hurt. If Baby just listens to Daddy and not cry or do bad things, then no one gets hurt. So I hate baby. I hit him but he does not stop praying. Everyone keep praying and praying. Why? No one helps. God @*#* hate us. . . . Baby should die. If Baby dies then we will all all be OK and Daddy will not hurt us.
Yes, he said he hated God, but Scripture says we love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). Fearful was convinced that God first hated him. He wrote:
God @*#* hate us. Heís a man and he hurt us. So heís like the priest. Heís mean. Heís like daddy. I hate daddy so I hate God. Godís like daddy and priest. . . .
I told God to hurt me and pee on me like they [Fearfulís father and brothers] did to. Heís a man and will do bad things. Heís a man so he will hurt me soon.
Fearful had the thinking capacity of a confused, highly traumatized six-year-old. He was unable to distinguish between Godís supposed masculinity and the perverted masculinity of his father that caused his father to sexually molest, torture, injure and hate him. Who of us, even as mature Christians, could manage to love God if we truly believed he hated us?
No six-year-old is a saint; much less a tormented little boy who has received nothing but pain, hate, anger, lies, and deprivation for all of his short life. Not just his father, but everyone he knew had always treated him that way. It was only natural that as he reeled in fear and pain he seemed riddled with hate, anger and suspicion.
Fearful literally loved others as he loved himself. Sadly, he was so shattered by his endless suffering that on a scale of one to ten, his love for himself was minus ten.
Nevertheless, alters respond amazingly quickly to kindness. Initially, kindness bewilders them because they have never in their entire experience known anything remotely like warm, selfless, unconditional love. Even if another part of the person has at some time known kindness, usually the angry parts have not. Once they realize that someoneís affection for them is genuine, however, it transforms them. As it did Fearful. Moreover, he discovered the reality of Jesusí forgiveness that removes all guilt. Again, forgiveness is so mind-boggling to such an alter that it takes a while to grasp, but once he understood that Jesus swapped places with him and was beaten for him, he had no need to try to get himself beaten up. He could allow his beautiful side to shine through. More exciting, still, he saw in a vision God give him a new heart. From then on, Fearful became known as Brave Heart.
Another Reason Why Alters Hate or Fight
Fearful taught me much about what can motivate an alter to cause much strife for the rest of a person, but we have by no means exhausted all the possible reasons for intense conflict between alters. Letís see how other alters have broadened my insight.
When faced with an opponent, there are two incompatible ways to try to protect oneself. One is to ensure that the enemy is placated by being nice to him. The other is to stand up and fight, in the hope of being completely freed from him. Jesus put it this way:
Luke 14:31-32 Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.
In attempting to size up an opponent, it is often hard or even impossible to be sure whether he is stronger than us before hostilities escalate into all-out aggression. The uncertainty would leave almost any of us in two minds. With a friend of mine, however, those ďtwo mindsĒ are actually two alters, or groups of alters. Some had experiences that led them to believe that placating worked best and others had experiences causing them to believe that resisting works best.
Both groups of alters are desperately committed to selflessly striving for the survival and well-being of the whole person. In fact, their passion for this merely inflames the intensity of their conflict. They are united in their goal, but divided in their assessment of what will work.
Resolving such a conflict is very difficult, but an obvious starting point is to remind them that they are united in their goal and that true wisdom comes from seeking God in each situation and not mindlessly reacting as if all situations were identical.
Weird Attempts to Help
For her entire life, a dear friend of mine had been weighed down by feelings of inferiority and condemnation. Inspired by the awareness of what Christ has done for each of us, she slowly fought back and began to rise up, but then an alter surfaced who continually slandered her, telling her she was bad, hopeless and so on. As I got to know the slanderer it turned out that she was sweet and kind, and thought it her solemn duty to keep slandering the others as the only way to protect them from getting their hopes up and then suffering the devastation of crushed hopes.
Protector alters (see a link at the bottom of this page) sometimes rule with an iron fist and do rather hurtful things in the mistaken belief they are protecting the other alters from harm.
Drunk With Pain
Years ago, I wrote the following in a general webpage about counseling. I had no thought of Dissociative Identity Disorder when I wrote it, but it is just as applicable to alters as to anyone else.
If you were treating the open wounds of accident victims you would realize that the most gentle, well-meaning touch could send patients reeling. You would not be offended if someone you were seeking to help lashed out in pain with almost involuntary action. You would half expect it. But imagine the confusion if the wounds were invisible and the person looked uninjured. Consider the further complication if in that personís experience everyone who had tried to help (and how does he know you will be any different?) had in their ignorance done little but inflict pain.
Thatís the norm for someone who is hurting inside.
Emotionally wounded people cannot help but be highly sensitive. Words hit them like whips. It is vital that they be treated verbally with the careful tenderness you would use if you were dressing gaping physical wounds. Once we understand the seriousness of emotional wounds, itís surprisingly easy to employ the Christlike graces of turning the other cheek and using the soft answer that turns away wrath. When we realize an outburst is just the pain talking, we no longer take it to heart. Only a fool takes personally the actions of someone drunk with pain.
Until they heal, alters are riddled with pain. While they are in agony, they can almost be expected to lash out at anyone Ė fellow alter, host, counselor or whatever Ė who ďtouchesĒ them.
The Implications of Self-Hate
Few people manage to go through life without ever at some point hating themselves. Moreover, most of us seem to think we have a special license to treat ourselves in a far worse way than we would ever treat a stranger. In fact, it is not at all uncommon for people who are hurting to deliberately engage in self-harm or even try to kill themselves. Given the reality that an alter is actually part of oneself, it should come as no surprise if one alter hates another.
When One Alter Blames Another
Every child has a desperate need for safe hugs and parental approval and affection. When she was a little girl, a woman had been starved of these basic requirements for emotional health and growth. Tragically, the closest the little girl ever got to it was when someone did bad things to her. The abuse made her crave bad things, even though they were a terrible substitute for the real kindness and unconditional acceptance every child needs. (To understand how, though no fault of their own, people can become addicted to such things, see the link at the end of this page: The Horror of Suffering Pleasure When Abused.) When applied to being starved of safe hugs and unconditional acceptance, Proverbs 27:7 has disturbing implications for any child: ď . . . to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.Ē Furthermore, little children do not know right from wrong. They are dependent upon adults to teach them, and the adults in her life maliciously taught her wrongly.
Later, the little girl met a man who seemed to offer not just the bad things she had become addicted to, but real affection and approval and kindness. So she let him do things to her. But it was a trap. He was a predator who turned nasty and hurt her like she had never before been hurt. It was so awful that another alter formed in order to try to endure it, and she had to keep suffering because he overpowered her on many different occasions.
The upshot of this womanís childhood was the formation of two alters, one who had been preened by her first abuser to expect a degree of pleasure from being with a man, and another who had suffered severe trauma from a man. Thinking it might have been avoided if the younger alter had been more wary, the older alter, who kept having to suffer what the man did, blamed the younger alter for getting them into this mess. Moreover, as is often the case when people hate others, the second, significantly older alter, was riddled with guilt over what happened and, finding no other way of dealing with such intense guilt, tried to diffuse the self-blame by blaming the younger alter. Such was the animosity between these alters that the older alter ended up hating the younger one so much as to inflict pain on her.
Once the older alter shared her story with me, I was able to help her see that both she and the younger alter were fully forgiven because of Christ. Like letting down a tire, all her reason for ill-feeling seeped away and these two alters became best friends.
Quote From Another of My Webpages
Often when one takes the time to get to know an alter who is being harsh to fellow alters or hurting them or even sexually abusing them, it turns out that they actually believe they are helping. They might think, for example, that they are toughening up the alters, thus making them less vulnerable to abuse. Or, in the hope of saving the person from even worse abuse, they might enforce an abuserís oppressive rules about never crying, or punishing them for doing anything the abuser might object to. Often the abusive alter is unaware that the abuser no longer has access to them and so the alter continues the oppression when there is no longer the slightest need.
As always, it is important to try to understand what motivates an alter and to gently help the alter see through any misconceptions the alter has.
An introject is a rather amazing type of abuser alter. Until the misconception is exposed, an introject not only acts like an external person the survivor knew, but every alter within the survivor Ė including the introject alter Ė actually believes that this alter is not an alter but is the real external person. At first, this seems astounding but it is consistent with the wide range of things that different alters can think they are, including animals, aliens and so on.
Often the external person the alter thinks himself to be is someone who abused the person who has this alter. Even though not all external abusers realize it, this type of introject alter enforces the external abuserís wishes upon the alters when the abuser is absent. In fact, it can continue even after the abuser has died. Some introjects actually report back to the abuser as informers.
Not surprisingly, introjects have themselves suffered immensely.
It is important to bring introject alters to the point where they finally realize they are part of the abuse survivor and not part of the external abuser. Helping them discover the current date and that they are in the body of someone other than the abuser can help. Once introjects become loyal to the survivor, the personís safety is significantly enhanced. For a record of detailed counseling of an introject, see Therapy / Help for Abusive Introject Alters / Insiders.
I cannot claim to have identified every possible reason for alters being angry or mean and nasty. I have explored with you some common factors, but the reasons are as varied as conflicts between people. The key point, however, is that there are reasons and if you have an angry who seems nasty, once those reasons are identified and rectified, both you and that alter can enjoy internal peace. The two biggest factors in reaching this peace is for you to act Christlike in loving your alters, and to introduce them to the love and forgiveness of Christ himself.
Hate breeds hate; cruelty breeds cruelty. Like children in general, alters are natural imitators. If they see the host being cruel to alters, they are more likely to be cruel to alters. One of the cruelest of treatments is to keep someone imprisoned, cut off from any contact with the outside world year after year, and yet, often without meaning to, this is exactly what most hosts have done. This needs to be corrected. Ideally, the end of the cycle of cruelty and creating an atmosphere of love, gentleness and respect, should start with the host.
Self-hate, immense guilt and inner pain, each fuel explosive pressures likely to wreak havoc internally. And for each of these causes, there is no solution as powerful as that offered by Jesus. So unconditional love, combined with gentle coaxing of alters into dialoging with Jesus, is dramatically life-transforming.
If you find yourself unable to love one of your alters, donít prolong your torment and that of your alter any longer: pray for a counselor who can help you. See Choosing a Counselor / Finding a Therapist for Dissociative Identity Disorder.
For much more insight and help, see:
© 2008, 2011, 2019 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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