DID for Dummies

Within the context of this post, I am using the term “dummies” in the sense of “having no knowledge of.”

I’ve been thinking lately that, just like the “Microsoft for Dummies” type of manual someone should publish one called “DID for Dummies.” There are no manuals for DID–at least, I haven’t come across any useful ones which include and deal with the every day, living-in-the-real-world concerns I’m bringing up in this post.

In the short time that I’ve been dealing with the DID cyberspace community, I’ve met some great individuals, people with big hearts and good intentions. And then, there are those who, for whatever reason, seem to feel the need to dictate to other multiples how they should deal with their DID issues, how quickly they should move along in their healing, how they should feel and how DID should manifest itself in one’s life. As if we are all cookie-cutter multiples, and any deviation from the “norm” is strongly suspect.

I’ve connected with enough individuals with this disorder to see a certain troublesome pattern. As with any sub-culture, so it is within the DID community: there are those who are strong and need to retain that position of strength by lording it over those who are weaker, and then there are the weak, who are easily seduced into the type of pseudo-acceptance and caring offered by such individuals and groups.

The solidarity that should exist is often sadly lacking, leaving those of us who don’t fit into any particular mold on the outside looking in. When we seek guidance we are too often condescended to, as if any one person has the last word on multiplicity. Not everyone succumbs to playing the role of the Wise One, who holds the key to all things DID. Some multiples are extremely caring and helpful, and add to the wealth of true support and wisdom in the DID community. Yet too often, it seems, it is those who are the least qualified to guide others who take it upon themselves to do just that.

In speaking with others who have been wounded by fellow survivors, I’ve come to realize that many have fallen victim to this arrogance. The arrogance of I know what is best for you, I know why you do what you do, and if you seriously wanted to deal with your issues you would handle them my way. But who conferred on these the right to dictate to others how they should feel and how they interact within their DID system? And doesn’t that kind of pontificating sound an awful lot like our original abusers who had the audacity to abuse us in the first place, and then punish or scoff at us for normal human emotions?

In mulling this over I’ve come to some definite conclusions:

I have the right to my feelings.

I have the right to heal at my own pace, allowing my parts to deal with what they are ready to deal with at any given time.

I have the right to take time off whenever necessary from dealing with the whole realm of DID.

I have the right to be in denial when that is all I’m capable of doing.

I have the right to not cry if that is what comes naturally to me. My tears will come when my system is better able to deal with them, and they (my parts) have the right to not be shamed for not doing so sooner.

I have the right to protect my parts from unsafe, toxic people.

I have the right to choose how to deal with my DID. I don’t have to get into therapy until I’m ready and maybe I won’t ever be ready. Not everyone benefits from therapy.

I have the right to not excavate any more of my childhood than is healthy for me and my parts at any season in our journey toward healing.

I have the right to not have to defend doing (or not doing) any of the above, for explanations can quickly become another way of apologizing for being mysel(ves).

I have the right to write what I need/want to write on my blog. This is my contribution to educating the public about Dissociative Identity Disorder. I shouldn’t feel pressured to censor myself for fear of offending those who are easily offended or don’t want to hear the truth that DID is often the long-term consequence of childhood sexual abuse.

I have the right to tell the world what happened to me, and what it’s like living as a multiple in my skin and inside my mind, in a mono-brained society.

I have the right to revel in, and celebrate, the things I’ve overcome, the strengths I’ve gained through my own blood, sweat and tears. What might seem like trivial baby steps to an onlooker may, in reality, be huge daddy steps for which all of Heaven applauds.

I have the right to my inconsistencies. There are many living inside of me, each with their own needs, wants, desires, and preferences. These will often clash, as should be expected when you have more than a dozen individuals of different tastes and temperaments and ages all vying to be heard.

I have the right to grieve the losses of my life, and to do so in whatever manner comes natural. While to the insensitive it may seem that something which touched me five decades ago should no longer be an issue, the hard truth is that, yes, it was fifty years ago—and it was last week, and ten years ago, and yesterday and this very morning.

I have all of the above rights–and if you are a multiple, or an abuse survivor, so do you.


(I’m a sojourner in this world, on the road back to me.)



4 thoughts on “DID for Dummies

  1. Here I am, boosting your comments numbers with my amazing blogger might. hee hee! 😉 I am very thankful to you and others who are sharing and educating on DID. I’ve had people come to my dot com site and request more information. If it wasn’t for people like you, I wouldn’t have much info to offer them.

    I agree with your “rights” list. I think all survivors should realize they have these rights and that their healing cannot be dictated to by anyone else. I had a wonderful therapist who is an expert in traumatic stress. We worked together–for a long while, twice a week–for over two years. This wise and compassionate man never dictated anything in my recovery, never shamed me, never “scolded” me for not being a “good patient,” etc. He not only knew some awesome techniques to ground me, process my trauma and deal with my dissociation and PTSD symptoms…he knew what NOT to do!

  2. Speaking as a survivor of SA & rape I have to say THANK YOU! I can not begin to tell you the number of times my soon to be ex has told me to “get over it and move on” and “stop acting like a child” if I cry or get upset. Especially now that I’m actively working on healing it seems that my emotions are raw and I can unexpectedly cry or become depressed and sad. You are so right I DO have the right to these feelings, thoughts and emotions. Thank you so much for expressing this so well. Hugs, Cathleen

  3. I’m glad this helped! I’ve had so many people, in the past, tell me to “get over it, it happened a long time ago, you’re an adult now,” etc. What’s more frustrating than that?

    By the way, I sent you an e-mail yesterday, and I got a response from someone I never heard of who wrote, “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!” Ha, story of my life. Please send me your e-mail address so I can try again.

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