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Love and DID: Sometimes More is Less

Today, I’m pausing my discussion of the contributing factors in the development of Dissociative Identity Disorder to talk about Dissociative Identity Disorder and relationships. Navigating relationships may be the single biggest challenge I encounter living with DID. I see the havoc my disorder wreaks on my most intimate relationships and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I watch my partner in particular struggle with abandonment, loneliness, and the chaotic nature of DID and I know that more personalities doesn’t always mean more love.

By LittleMissPip

Sometimes More is Less

I met a woman once who told me that ” … a pound of crazy weighs more than ten pounds of awesome.” It hurt to hear and that comment is a big part of why we never became friends. Even so, I see her point. Sometimes all the fabulous I can muster can’t compete with the destabilizing effects of DID. Loving me means accepting abandonment, making friends with loneliness, and strapping yourself in for a wild and sometimes nauseating ride. One day you’re loved and adored, the next you’re treated with cold indifference. Some alters see you as a comrade, but not a romantic partner. To some you’re a nuisance; to some a playmate. To others you’re a stranger, or even a threat. And it isn’t as though you can choose who you interact with or, as in my case, even expect the courtesy of knowing who you’re dealing with at any given moment. Intimate relationships are difficult enough without that degree of ambiguity and inconsistency. Love cannot live on sporadic nourishment, no matter how delicious.

Everyone seems to grow thin with me
and their eyes grow black as hunters’ eyes
and search my face for sustenance.
All my friends are dying of hunger,
there is some basic dish I cannot offer,
and you my love are almost as lean
as the splendid wolf I must keep always
at my door. -from Memoirs of a Mad Cook, by Gwendolyn MacEwen

Sometimes Less is Enough

My partner has learned to live with hunger. Parts of my system have worked tirelessly to push her away, with many near-successes. She’s in a relationship with someone who repeatedly leaves. Once she described it to me saying:

“Imagine you’re having a conversation with someone. In the middle of your sentence, they turn to stare out the window and they’re gone. You’re talking to yourself.”

This kind of small abandonment is part of her daily life. The loneliness that results is bound to be all the more frustrating knowing that somewhere in that body is your partner, but you can’t get to them. I vacillate between struggle to alleviate that loneliness and feeling resentful of it. I can’t make up for all the losses in my intimate relationships without incurring some of my own. So my partner and I try to accept the limits of DID. Fortunately for me, she decided long ago that ten pounds of awesome does in fact weigh more than a pound of crazy.

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85 thoughts on “Love and DID: Sometimes More is Less”

  1. My husband and I both suffer D.I.D. and complex PTSD. I have, in recent years, assimilated my alter, although the long lasting consequences of this has left me with chronic illness and unable to work. I worked hard at my therapy and c.b.t. and became involved with E.F.T., tapping and homeopathics. My husband, however, suffers dearly to this day with severe depression and at least 2 alters. He felt manipulated by therapists to actually stay in the abusive situation as a child and so does not trust their advice now. He sees my progress and can not relate to any hope of getting better. His hopelessness is triggering more and more switches and more intense emotional episodes from us both. I don’t know any one else that has dealt with what we have and even though I am fairly educated, I feel lost. Its like he doesnt want help. His alters either hate me or just want me gone. There are times I wonder if its even worth it. He was never understanding of my painful altered states and would verbally abuse me because it caused him to feel stress & alter. We are like fire & gasoline when altered but when ourselves, man….ive never felt a love like this. I don’t consider myself a fool to stay in a (half) broken relationship, but I also refuse to abandon a beautiful human being that no one has ever treated kindly.

  2. Glad to have found this . I don’t know that my boyfriend has extreme DID but he does dissociate. It seems like sometimes he’s a completely different person. One who sees me as just a friend. Others, he’s loving and everything. I won’t ever leave though.

  3. My boyfriend has DID and I found that the best way to cope and handle things is to realize that him and his alters are all part of the same system. They are all different but part of each other. I love my boyfriend but have also found ways to get along with some of the alters. Although a lot of the other alters actually don’t like me and even despise me, it is understandable. As some of the ones here have said, the more aggressive alters tend to see me as the enemy and whatever I say is bad. But I calmly try to explain to them that that is not what I said or try to explain my side even if at times they refuse to listen.
    Remember that a lot of the alters have trust issues, and it is helpful to think of it as, they see us as a threat because they think we have a hidden dangerous agenda against them. As long as you keep showing them that you are there to care and won’t leave them (much like the previous people in their lives have) then at some point, they may lessen their anger or hatred of you. It can be hard but I’ve managed to be able to speak properly with some of the alters that normally hate a lot of do not like anyone at all. It will take a long time AND a lot of effort. If you really love the person though, you will keep trying. It’s all for THEM. It shouldn’t be just for one alter or two. It should be for all. That’s very important from my experience.

  4. I recently entered a relationship with a girl and within months she told me of her DID. Ihl have encountered Brittany (host), Kitty (her teenage indifference/tomboy), Alexia (small and meek), Stacy (pure darkness and joy at her own pain)…..there are more. My biggest fear is Britrany will disappear and I am left alone. She has managed to connect a few of these alters and they work together, except or Stacy. This feels all too much for me but…I want to do it for Brittany. I love her. I need support in this. Thank you.

    1. Good luck with the relationship. Try to get along with all the alters if possible. Try to keep Stacy away from self harm by distracting her or offering to do other things with her if she lets you. 🙂

  5. My ex husband has DID. It took me 10 years to realize that beneath his quirks there was some serious darkness. I’m relieved to say that 6 years after his breakdown – remembering his buried trauma – I have managed to establish firm boundaries to keep him from overly disrupting my life and from wreaking havoc in our children’s lives. As far as I know, he continues to work on healing his own life and I have moved on with mine.
    Everyone will have their own path to follow but my experience has taught me that you cannot have a healthy relationship with someone with DID. A way to honour the love you have for them is to wish them well on their own healing journey, then to maintain firm boundaries to keep them from causing continual harm to your life.

  6. Thanks you so much for this because my fiance acts the same way. I’ve known about her DID since the beginning but didn’t know how much it would effect our relationship. It’s been a countless cycle of Jane (the only one capable of love) loving me endlessly , then nick (the host) acting cold and indifferent and Samuel ( the hatred/motivation/protection) desperately trying to hurt me and push me away because he sees me as a weakness. I love both Jane, nick and Samuel but only Jane is capable of loving me the way I love them.But it’s been so hard staying because of how much I’m pushed away. But I realized I love her way too much to let her go.

  7. I’m so glad to have found this website. I found out that my husband is DID approximately one year after we were married. It first became evident something was wrong a few months before the wedding. I tried so hard to ‘behave’ and not trigger the alter before I realized that no matter what I did or said, I would always be the enemy. He literally hears words come from my mouth I haven’t spoken and if I don’t speak at all, that takes on a meaning I cannot imagine. I love him, and he’s a good man. However, only one of his alters loves me and the others find me either mildly annoying or downright despicable. I am the scapegoat for every loathsome or hateful thought and he projects all his anger and hatred onto me. The loneliness and isolate are sometimes brutal to bear, but I committed to him and I just try to be kinder to myself during the long periods. The worst part is not knowing who he really is…who is the host, and not knowing if the man I love so deeply, my ‘snow’ will come back.

    1. Just wanted to say that PRECISELY describes my experience with my now ex. I wish you strength. But be prepared that one day, the one that loves you might ‘go’ and never come back. I’m still struggle within an extended grieving process because it’s like he ‘died’… but… he’s still physically alive. However, the one who for a long time seemed to be his ‘main’, or ‘ANP’, the one I had a relationship and shared memories with, disappeared. The current ANP only has some basic working memory of our time and cannot recall details, emotions, and many significant events. It’s so very sad. He still scapegoats me and as you put it..”hears words come from my mouth I haven’t spoken” to cope with stresses in his life, or actions/decisions/fears he cannot admit to himself, and then use those as a rational for hostility. I cannot escape dealing with that as we share custody of 2 small children. I know exactly what you experience – you’re not alone. Hugs.

    2. It’s good to note that the ones who use you as a scapegoat are probably the aggressive or protectors who doesn’t want anyone to come close. It may be a long shot but try to help those alters into taking out that anger on something else or maybe even someone else (but not physically of course, just try to get them to talk about who they actually really hate). I found it helpful when talking to the aggressive alters that being on their side when they’re angry and kind of encouraging their anger and saying it makes sense helps. Don’t be shy when you’re facing the angry ones, but don’t fight them either.
      As for who he really is.. well that’s the thing. They’re all part of each other. If you only love or can get along with only one alter, then it will become very difficult. They’re a system, and even if they heal from the DID, they will become one and that one won’t be your “snow” for sure.

  8. is there anyway to bring the host forward at all … my fiance is the love of my life but her alter sees me as a slight threat , shes already done stuff to make me leave but i keep forgiveing her cause i understand her problem .. i love my fiance and will see this to my last breath and she sees how much i love her , but sometimes her alter comes through at bad times .. now i seem to be able to pull her back to the front but i dont know how many times ill be able to b4 her alter finds a way to stop me … does anyone have a idea

    1. The alters are defense mechanisms, specific alters come out at specific times. So it may be that the alter comes out at bad times because it’s a bad time for your fiancé and she cannot deal with it. It’s good to try and talk and get along with the alter. Show her that you mean no harm and try to know what can calm down the alter or her likes (ask your fiancé) and try your best to show the alter that you truly love your fiancé and are there to protect her, much like the alter is, and are also there to protect the alter as well.
      It’s not a good idea to try and push back an alter and especially a horrible idea to tell an alter to go away and bring back your fiancé. Aside from it’ll anger the alter, it’s extremely rude.
      But if let’s say the alter that’s currently out may do something very dangerous to their body or to you, there may be some specific triggers to bring out your fiancé. Find out those things. Use them as last resort though and talk instead with the alter and try to iron out any misunderstandings.

  9. My wife of 20 years kept here DID from me. I knew something was wrong but was never able to pinpoint it. She finally came crashing down and my life has been hell ever since. When I read about tips for people living with DID spouse, I checked all the boxes. It was very hard to accept there were alters but I met them and I dislike them all. I can get over some of the harsh realities I discovered but my biggest issue is feeling like a moron. I look back and say, red flag there and red flag there… I’ll admit I was a bit enamoured but I should have seen the warning signs. I have no idea where to go from here.

    1. Your wife may not even have known she was DID. My spouse (now deceased) lived with DID for over 10 years. I strongly suggest you seek help or therapy for yourself.

    2. How did you get past it or even cope? I feel like a guest in my own relationship. I could really use any advice, I’m at breaking point. I can be logical about my partner’s passive agressive behaviour, lying and reasons for it, but at the end of the day its an humiliating & lonely state of mind…

      1. What do you mean a guest in your own relationship?
        And I suggest trying to not think of the humiliation and focus on the problem because your pride shouldn’t come before your partner.

    3. It’ll be a problem if you immediately dislike all the alters. Try to get to know them better and get along with Them despite it being hard. Remember that they are all a part of each other and that the aggressive alters are trying to push you away. You have to show you won’t budge and you are here for THEM not just your wife. It will be hard but sometimes even the most hateful of alters can actually be nice, just have trust issues.

      If you truly love her, keep trying to get to know them all. And if you really love her then your pride or feeling like a moron really shouldn’t be your biggest problem. Your biggest problem should be getting along with the alters and being at their side.

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