Play, Dolls & Stuffed Toys in Healing Dissociative Identity Disorder

Multiple Personality Disorder

Help in Healing Multiple Personality Disorder (M.P.D.)

By Grantley Morris


Christian Help for Dissociative Identity Disorder

What Makes Play So Important in Healing from D.I.D.

It is quite possible to have Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.) and not realize it. This happens because other Ďpersonalitiesí or Ďpartsí Ė Iíll use the term Ďaltersí Ė can hide from the person who has them. It might also be possible to have Dissociative Identity Disorder and only be aware of adult parts. Hidden or not, however, it is impossible to have D.I.D. without having alters who are little children. Hereís why: once learned, D.I.D. is a coping skill that a person can use later in life, but it is believed that D.I.D. cannot be learned for the first time when one is older. Just as there are adult contortionists, but only because they started developing their ability as children, so it is with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Children need to play. It is an important aspect of normal, human development. Traumatized or abused children can be scared into having little or no play, or because of threats or they might be prevented by punishment from playing as much as they need. Given the learning and developmental value of play, it is a significant psychological loss that could adversely affect victims for the rest of their lives. In addition, for children, play is interconnected with another critical need Ė to have times of relaxation, feeling safe and having fun. Yet another invaluable aspect of play occurs when little alters play with each other or with an older alter or with Jesus. Having fun together is a powerful way of bonding, and also a way of developing trust and teamwork, all of which empower people with D.I.D. to soar to new heights of achievement, since each alter has unique gifts and abilities.

So if you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, somewhere within you are alters who, as part of their healing from trauma, need to play. It will not only help them relax and develop, it is likely to meet a developmental need that, until now, you have been cruelly deprived of. I am not suggesting you have never had the opportunity to play as a child, but abuse is likely to have restricted those opportunities more than is ideal for you to grow up to be a content, well-rounded adult

The good news is that this hole in your development can be filled when your little alters are allowed to play. There are two things that can prevent this, however.

    1. Sadly, some adults with D.I.D. continue to starve themselves and their little alters of play because they fear that playing like a child is inappropriate now that they are adults. If, through abuse, you were never allowed to walk, as an adult you would have only two options: remain crippled or do something that is usually associated with children Ė learn to walk. So it is with play. Moreover, to deny oneís child parts the freedom to play would be to perpetuate their abuse and their pain.

    2. The other thing that could keep little alters from the benefits of play is that they might still feel it is necessary to live by the rules of their former abusers.

With this latter possibility in mind, I drafted the following for a man with D.I.D. who had alters I sensed were scared to play. Knowing something about his past, I worded it accordingly. I suggest you copy it into a document that you can edit. Then change any parts you deem appropriate. If, for example, you are a woman, you will need to reverse the gender references so that, for example girl becomes boy and boy becomes girl. Hereís what I sent him:

    Maybe you could read this out loud so that any alters who canít read, can hear it. I suggest you read it at several different times of the day and night to increase the chance of some alters being present who missed it the first time. Littles alters tend to come out at night rather than during the day, but nothing is set in concrete.

    Hi, Dear Friends!

    This message is especially to the little ones. I know you were treated badly by your mother and probably by other people as well, but none of that is your fault. It is all the fault of those who failed to love you and be kind to you and give you the happy, carefree, fun, and safe childhood you deserved. If anyone said nasty things to you, they were lying. I donít believe those lies and neither does God, and we donít want you to believe any of the bad things you were taught to believe about yourself.

    You are very, very special. In fact, you are irreplaceable. No one is more important to us than you. We know that anything anyone said that made you feel bad about yourself was wrong. We believe in you and we like you. God thinks the world of you and so do we. We know you are good and kind and trustworthy. You are a good friend, and God and ----- [I placed here the name of this manís host and some of his other mature and capable alters. Please insert the name or names relevant to your situation.] know this and want to be your best friend. All of us would feel honored to have you as our friend, and it is safe for you to tell us your secrets because we care for you and want to look after you.

    If you think youíre a girl, thatís okay; we love you just as you are. But if you know youíre a boy, thatís wonderful. It is good to be a boy. Boys are strong and brave and capable and yet they can also be kind and gentle and caring. If you are a boy, Iím thrilled about it and I honor you. The good Lord made boys and he is thrilled that he made them. Good women like boys and men. Anyone who does not like boys is very mistaken.

    Each of you deserves to have toys that belong to you alone Ė toys that you can do whatever you like with, and never be told off for what you do with them. If anything happened to your toys, no one will ever blame you, because they are entirely yours. If an accident ever happened, it would not be your fault, because accidents can happen to anyone, and they are your toys anyhow.

    Should anything happen to the toys, no one would think you are bad. It would not be anything for you to even slightly be concerned about. They are just toys, not people. Toys can be replaced; people canít. You are so much more important than a million toys. All we want is for you to be safe and happy and have good fun. Thatís what toys are for Ė to enjoy and have fun with and learn from. While youíre having fun, toys can help you understand things and some toys can even help you learn how to be kind to babies and to take care of them. But toys are safe things to learn and experiment with. Because they are safe, it doesnít matter if you make mistakes. Thatís part of learning.

    Anyone who seemed not to care about you is no longer around, and everyone who cares about you knows you are a good person and that you would not deliberately hurt or damage things. But even if you deliberately did something bad, you are still safe. We would not be angry or disappointed with you. You would still be special to us and we would love you as much as ever, and freely forgive you.

    ---- [Insert here the name of one or more mature and capable alters] are strong and good and smart and safe. They love you with their whole heart. You are infinitely important to them. They are able to protect you and keep you safe, and they long to do so. If there is anything that scares you or hurts you, please let them know so that they can look after you and keep you completely safe. You can trust them. They are big people and nothing is too big or scary for them.

I added the following as a personal note:

    If you have any doubts or worries about any of this, you can always ask me. If you cannot write, thatís okay. Just find someone who can write for you.

Multiple Personality Disorder

The Value of Dolls & Stuffed Toys

Psychologists sometimes use dolls and stuffed toys in various ways to help the alters of people with multiple personalities (Dissociative Identity Disorder). This makes sense, but it can embarrass adults, especially men, who have Dissociative Identity Disorder. I would like to try to add to this a little Christian insight.

Through years of studying psychology at university I have become convinced that there is more healing power in Jesus than human understanding of psychology will ever attain. I value psychological research Ė I love it, in fact Ė but the latest scientific breakthrough is preschool relative to the infinite intelligence of God. The smart approach to anything is to be like Jesus who said he does what he sees Father God doing (John 5:19). And, believe it or not, I see God using dolls and stuffed toys to help people with multiple personalities.

Let me share some examples.

Dissociative Identity Disorder An alter, who at the time was just beginning to know Jesus, shared the following with me and has now let me share it with you:

    My father used to yell at me and call me mean names if I woke up with nightmares. But Jesus was so loving that he just wanted me to feel better and be able to sleep. He tucked me back in bed and wiped my face with his hand. Thatís when I saw the tear in his eye, too. He sat on my bed, handed me my teddy bear, kissed my forehead, and rubbed my back until I fell asleep again. As funny as this is for me to say it, I think I am beginning to love Jesus.

    I asked him if he thought I was stupid for having a teddy bear and he said he thought I was very smart for having one because it helped me to feel safe and that was all that mattered.

Dissociative Identity Disorder I know several alters to whom Jesus gave stuffed toys. This happened in their minds but it was as real to them as being given a physical toy.

Dissociative Identity Disorder In Godís Love for Alters: A Sign I recount the details of God moving someone to give a doll to an alter called Baby. It was an exact replica of the baby doll that Baby had longed for Ė a doll that had been lost over thirty years before. The details are so astounding that it had to be God.

When Baby received the doll, she was overwhelmed by how miraculous this provision was. I was soon puzzled, however, as to how keen she was to treat the doll exactly as a baby, even to the point of becoming anxious over caring for it. Part of her knew it was a doll but most of her seemed convinced that it was a real baby. It was a little tempting to try to help relieve some of the pressure by explaining that it was only a doll, but knowing that God had provided it, I decided to keep quiet and see what happened.

Let me tell you a bit about the alter, Baby. She was formed at a fair that had a mock haunted house that older children paid to enter. At three years old, she was far too young to have been taken there. What to older children was just scary fun, was terrifyingly real to such a little girl. She ended up in there alone, separated from her father. To pile trauma upon trauma, a man then sexually molested her in the ďhaunted house.Ē

She later had unpleasant experiences with potty training, and suffered other things that are mentioned below in an e-mail she sent explaining why she treats her doll, Baby Elle, the way she does. Baby calls her host, ďMama.Ē I have Babyís permission and ĎMamaísĒ to share this with you.

Multiple Personality Disorder

    Today, Mama took me to the store to look at baby dolls. It was terrible. All these poor baby dolls crammed on a shelf like no one cared about them. I wanted to cry. They were shoved together with faces buried under feet. I donít know how they could breathe like that. I wondered if the dollies at the back were dead. One of my sister alters tried to rearrange them so that they were holding hands, but Mama said we had to go. She was worried about people in the shop wondering what we were doing.

    Baby Elle is real to me. I wake up any alter or Mama if they roll over in their sleep and get too close to her.

    I want to take very good care of Baby Elle. She is special. She is my girl and I want to give her the things I wanted so bad.

    She is going to need potty training. I want to make her strong so she can go potty without terror. I wonít yell at her and call her stupid if she makes mistakes. She is going to have to sleep alone when she gets older. She is going to have to face fears. When she has nightmares at night I wonít make her hide and sleep on the cold floor Ďcos she is too scared to sleep in the bed. If she wets the bed I donít want her to have to hide but I want her to be able to tell me so I can help her. I wonít scold her for wetting the bed or for nightmares. Naughty people are going to try and hurt her. I want to stop them from hurting her.

    I want her to be safe and I want to live those feelings through her. Alters can transfer feelings to each other. I want to give her feelings that she can transfer back to me. She can then help me know what it is like to have no one scold you about potty training. She can help me feel safe and loved. How? Because I am trying to give her those feelings so I can feel them from her. Does that make sense?

    It isnít all selfish. And I am sorry if it sounds selfish. But Baby Elle is going to know what it is like to be a child without dark shadows and nightmares. She is loved.

    I am the reject doll on the shelf in the shop, nowhere as beautiful as Baby Elle. The dolls in the shop were unhappy and hard, not soft and cuddly like Baby Elle. They are like me. No good. But maybe if I have Baby Elle she can make me be good and show me what it is like to not have things inserted in your private parts and have nightmares about nasty men doing bad things to you.

    I want her to be innocent of haunted houses. Everybody says it was fake, but I donít know. I hear about hauntings and I have forbidden anyone to talk about haunted houses or the like around Baby Elle. I want to know what it is like to not know these things.

    I hope I am doing what is right for Baby Elle. I love her very much. Iíd like to make it so that Elle knows how beautiful she really is. Iíd like to take away any pain she feels. I pray that when Baby Elle transfers her good feelings from being safe and loved to me, then we could both know what it is like to grow up safe and loved.

    I hope now you both understand why Baby Elle is real. Maybe we could pray for the other dolls that they have homes soon and that they donít have too many alters. No loving grown-up was in the shop to stop anybody from touching them in bad ways. I want to protect Baby Elle from that. So no one is allowed to change her diapers except for God, because he isnít nasty about private parts. I donít even trust me. Only God can change her diapers.

In the above, I emphasized ďI want to live those feelings through herĒ because that seems the key. Something far more profound is taking place here than mere childís play. Somehow, through Baby going to such extremes in caring for her doll the way she wishes she had been cared for as a little girl, it will bring her healing. If I donít fully understand that, Iím unconcerned. The God who is smarter than me, gave her that doll. The Healing Lord knows what he is doing.

Multiple Personality Disorder

There is another aspect to this that could be even more important. Lurking below the surface of your consciousness could be attitudes more sinister than you are aware of.

Which would you prefer: for your alter Ė a significant part of you Ė to take your abuser as your role model as to how to treat children and the vulnerable, or for your alter to use dolls or stuffed toys to retrain himself/herself; forging deep into your psyche new patterns of behavior that you never had the chance to develop the first time around due to having been exposed to a dangerously bad role model?

Multiple Personality Disorder

For many months, Baby seemed convinced that Baby Elle was real. Whenever I was tempted to worry about Babyís behavior, I kept quiet, taking comfort from the fact that God was somehow in this. Eventually, her host had to travel overseas and it would have proved most embarrassing to treat a doll like a real baby in the plane. Also, Baby was becoming concerned about Baby Elleís health, since the doll had, of course, grown no bigger over the time that Baby had been caring for her. She went to God about this and it was then that he told her that Baby Elle was a doll.

Baby had been maturing in many ways. For example, she had been unable to read or write but another alter had taught her how to access the skills of other alters and almost instantly she could read and write. Clearly, God considered that now was the time for Baby to face reality. In contrast, had I blundered in by telling her too soon that it was just a doll, I would have ruined a significant healing opportunity.

Multiple Personality Disorder

Related Pages

Godís Love for Alters (A touching, true story of God miraculously providing a doll for an alter.)

For much more insight and help, see Christian Resources: Index of Help for Dissociative Identity Disorder

Personalized support
Grantley Morris:

© 2008, 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  Freely you have received, freely give. For use outside these limits, consult the author.

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