Apparently I am Not a Real Multiple

I was told that some time ago, but I have to admit it still stings, it still burns, it still hurts when this kind of talk comes up again. So when the topic comes up again, let me just say I get a little irate.

First let me say that not having a diagnosis of DID does not mean that you are not multiple. I went through years of therapy before my diagnosis. Neither does not having lots of doctors or therapists believe in you, know about your case, and confirm your diagnosis mean that you are or aren’t multiple.

Being multiple is as much a fact of life as the color of my hair and eyes, the current shape of my nose, and my current favorite dancer on Dancing with the Stars. I like being believed, but someone not believing in me doesn’t make me any less real or eliminate any of the childhood pain and abuse, effects, and aftermath from child sexual abuse.

Many years ago I got up enough courage to join a facilitated support group for ritual abuse survivors. All of the members were multiples. I explained to the group in one of the first sessions that I was co-conscious for the most part, though not integrated. I didn’t think to be anything but proud of that.

At that time I had only disclosed being multiple to my therapist and this group. I had gone through a few bad years accepting that I was multiple and that many factions of society did not believe in me. I will have to say it was a very sharp pain back then.

The stigma against DID was bad and even though there was more information about multiples out there in the general public and in the therapy and research fields I was acutely aware how innaccurate we were perceived by others.

A few weeks later one of the other members came up to me and said, I told my therapist about you. I told her I don’t believe you are real. You aren’t a multiple anymore if you are co-conscious.

I don’t think I said anything in response, sort of struck silent. She was a nice sort of person, really. Except for the fact that she refused to accept my reality and my multiplicity. Which I guess you can’t really divorce from her other actions and beliefs. I don’t get to divide her up into little pieces and say what I like and accept about her and keep that and throw away the rest. Her relative abusers had already done that to her. But she felt that she was entitled to do that to me.

I don’t know why she felt the need to say that to me. I just knew that this was not someone I could be friends with or trust with my heart. This was someone who would not want to be friends with me.

It didn’t stop me from being real. The wound was also real, and deep. I thought that at least there I would be accepted for who I was, a survivor, and didn’t feel a need to explain or mold my reality to suit others. Several decades later and I feel even less desire to give up me to be accepted by anyone, even someone that I love. This is it. This is me.

I don’t understand someone who is not multiple would want to pose as one for attention due to their own mental health issues. I have heard about that online, but am not sure if I have experienced that or not.

I really don’t see how a multiple could or would want to accuse another person of not being a real multiple.  I’ve read about this kind of drivel going around the blogs recently. I am sickened and appalled. I wonder at the need to judge and demean others. I wonder at how little compassion and basic human kindness someone would have to have in order to conduct themselves in this manner.

Multiples come in all shapes and sizes and are at different ages, stages, and healings in their lives. Only a professional is competent and trained to diagnose and certainly no one but them can. No one has the right to decide whether I am real or not. No one has a right to compare me to another multiple or themselves and to decide what is real and what is not, not then and not now. I am real.

12 thoughts on “Apparently I am Not a Real Multiple

  1. Of course you are real — and I’d be irate, too.

    My feeling is that the majority of co-conscious multiples don’t seek therapy, and/or are misdiagnosed as borderline, bipolar, or schizophrenic. It’s a special gift to be a co-conscious multiple…and it’s one of the things that has allowed you to avoid the addictions and other self-destructive numbing that a lot of multiples so tragically fall into.

    Be proud. You’re amazing, and anyone who would doubt you are multiple is probably threatened by your higher level of functioning, and wanting to discredit you due to their own insecurity.

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    • Hi David,

      Thank you David. I am proud. Not always, but I am now.

      I agree with you, being co-conscious is a special gift. I wasn’t always and for years I still had blanks spots in my days and weeks. Some of my flashbacks show that at times I knew I was multiple and other times I was blank about that. A long time ago our system decided to let me be in control, to let me be aware of what was going on all the time, to trust me and honor me with that trust. They decided that and put me in charge, without my awareness of that. I am so proud that they love and believe in me. I didn’t use to believe I deserved that from them, but now I do, I know it.

      I have recovered memories of being a child and a teenager and sharing time with others inside. This was truly shocking to me, because I had come to believe that I was the only one in the system who had system amnesia all of my life. The system, minus me, knew about one another, which contributed hugely to our more positive coping skills and the added bonus of alliances and support within the system.

      Since I knew that I was multiple on a completely moment-by-moment awareness basis, 25 years ago, and started talking to them and sharing time I have considered my life as being a shared life. I couldn’t make decisions for myself alone, I needed to make decisions for all of us, safety being very important. I was very much a safety gal in middle school, after learning about sex, drugs, and alcohol in health class, I decided not to do those things. I was one of those odd smart girls that didn’t have a lot of peer pressure on, a good little Christian girl, and not being wanted by my peers all made the positive life choices so much easier. Being incredibly, painfully shy with a mother daughter sexual abuse mother who controlled my life also restricted me.

      I would have to say that I was lucky as well as determined and that went a long way towards not getting into addictive behaviors and towards healing. It was also a lot of hard work, really hard work, really awful hard work, I certainly don’t want to pretend it was easy, ever. Being aware all that time helped me so much to make more positive decisions and to stop others from making bad ones inside, than if we were more separated. As the saying goes; united we stand.

      Thank you for your kind words. Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

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  2. Oh Kate, this is horrible – I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through that. How invalidating, insensitive and cruel this is. I can’t stand it when just because a person has a certain perception of an issue, they assume that perception is absolute and must apply to everyone. Not true. Not true at all. You are real, yes, and your experiences and circumstances are as valid as anyone else’s.

    Again, I’m sorry for this, and for the crap going about DID blogs at the minute. Grrr, I hate that too – what gives these people the right to judge others, to act as arbiters over others’ realities?! Terrible. Anyway, thank you for sharing, as always. Please take care of yourself.

    Love and strength

    Pan x

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    • Hi Pan,

      Thank you. You are so sweet. I appreciate all your kind words.

      I wish that the deniers never bothered me. It just devastated me back then and for several years when I read or heard denials about DID and child sexual abuse. Even though these people are not my best friends or loved ones, it still hurts to be treated like this. I think what really bothers me is someone going against the accepted definition of something and then playing fast and loose with it. DID is what it is, it isn’t what someone decides what it is.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

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  3. What? That’s so *shit*. It clearly sounds like this person has a problem and is looking elsewhere to lay it. Doesn’t help you of course- is this the sort of group that talks about the problems peers cause, or just the past?

    Can I just ask for advice, though? Any pointers on good resources for working out multiple, co-con, etc? Note I’m not diagnosis shopping- the precise opposite, in fact, having to already fight off one stigmatising diagnosis I’m eager not to end up with others. So if you know of anything that helps with that- awesome!

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    • Hi,

      Thank you. I appreciate your kind words.

      It was supposed to be a group that talked about childhood abuse, but that was not what it turned out to be. Two of us worked on stuff and the other members did not, which made it very difficult.

      My resource page on Dissociative Identity Disorder may have some articles, have you looked at any of those? They are here.

      I can understand the desire to avoid another diagnosis and further stigmitization. However, it normally takes a multiple many years of therapy and several diagnoses, unfortunately and pathetically, for the mental health professionals to finally arrive at the correct diagnosis of DID. I know many multiples who believe that getting the diagnosis was the beginning of real healing for them. I think that was true for me as well. If you don’t have the correct diagnosis, it is so hard to heal from something you and your healing team don’t know about or aren’t educated about and isn’t a topic of therapy.

      There are also some books on DID that I would suggest, though not sure how helpful they would be. Here is where my list of DID books is at amazon.com. I would definitely recommend the first three books for you to look over.

      If you wanted to ask me very specific questions, about DID, please feel free to do so, and I can try to answer them, here or through email. I think I commented on your blog and if I did you have my email. If you don’t have it, let me know, if you want to contact me through email.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

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  4. So true, Kate1975. SO true. I follow your blog, but don’t think I have ever posted a comment? Thank you for touching on this.

    “Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.” John Jakes.

    Take care, and keep writing. you are quite encouraging to my system.

    us from Journal of Healing

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  5. Grr……..

    I wonder if you could have asked her which of her alters believed that about you? 😉

    sorry…feeling goofy…

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    • Hi Lisa,

      Thanks. That would have been a good question. Then I could have told her what some of us thought of her opinion. Too bad I couldn’t talk at the moment it happened. Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

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  6. “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” — Mahatma Gandhi

    This quote came to mind after reading your post. I wonder if society is perhaps coming out of denial about how child sexual assault affects people and about DID in particular, and so now they’re at the ridicule stage. The ‘she’s claiming to be multiple to get attention’ crap smells of that to me.

    I’ve seen survivors go through what I think of as a ‘victim phase’ where they would really really like someone to rescue them from having to feel and heal, and being more in touch with their woundedness than their strengths seems to be part of that. I could see someone in that space feeling like a more extreme sounding label fits how hurt they feel inside better. But playing ‘points for pain’ or ‘my diagnosis is worse than yours’ with each other isn’t helpful. (In my 12 step group, we said ‘get off the cross, we need the wood!’ when people would do that.)

    We are all the experts on our own experience, so this person was totally out of line to tell you you were wrong about your own life. Maybe she felt shame that she wasn’t functioning as well as you, and was trying to justify that to herself. You might have the nail on the head when you say the others weren’t doing their own work.

    We know so little in general about all the continuity of traumatic dissociation anyhow, and there are a lot more variations than are accounted for in the DSM for sure. You would know better than I, but I think losing time is part of the diagnostic criteria for DID, but I’m guessing that if you lost time even once, even if you have healed enough that you don’t any more, it would count. I still have complex PTSD, even though I’m healed enough that most of the symptoms they use to diagnose are pretty settled down and rare now.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.
    SDW

    Like

    • Hi SDW,

      Thank you. Yes losing time is a criteria for DID, as well as two or more distinct personalities. As I discovered, I was still losing bits of time back then, that I was not aware of losing, because they were small triggering incidents, that someone inside would blank out and make it appear as though nothing was lost. I only figured that out when others in the group corrected me.

      Yes they know so little, but many use that as an excuse to say that all kinds of things aren’t true, like repressed memories and DID. That is so good to remind myself of that, thanks.

      I never ever thought of it like that, that she was playing a “my wound is worse than your wound, so it doesn’t exist” game. My family still insists on doing that game. I don’t know why I didn’t see that is what she was saying. Thank you for that perspective. Like all methods like that, the other person is supposed to feel worse in order for you to feel better. I hate that method.

      Getting attention as an accusation, ha, to me that is so hilarious. I’m sure that there are people that work it, but think that would, for the most part, be those who are pretending to be multiple. I don’t think they get accused of that a lot and that multiples end up being falsely accused. I think that accusation has been around from the beginning of Freudian awareness of multiplicity, quickly followed by denial.

      Yes. I didn’t notice but you are right. So apparently DID dissappers when you are partway healed. If only.

      Thanks for all your excellent feedback. It really got me thinking. 🙂 Good and healing thoughts to you.

      Kate

      Like

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