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Dissociative Identity Disorder Video: Negotiating with Alters

Dissociative Identity Disorder can leave you feeling like much of your life is out of your hands, subject to the varying agendas of your alters. Last week, in the comments to my post Love and DID: Sometimes More is Less, reader Dana offered an insightful perspective on the potential payoffs of greater system awareness and communication:

Photo by ky_olsen
Photo by ky_olsen

“As an individual with DID gets to know their parts, learns to communicate effectively with them and works to become co-conscious and awareness increases, it is possible for things to stabilize and compromises to be made.”

Dissociative Identity Disorder Video: Understanding Alters

I’m still very much in the process of increasing my internal awareness and communication. Even so, I’ve had some dramatically successful experiences negotiating with alters. In this video, I want to share with you today one of the most important things I’ve learned about working with alters to reach compromises.

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17 thoughts on “Dissociative Identity Disorder Video: Negotiating with Alters”

  1. how does someone get to know their alters? I still struggle with disbelief in spite of the evidence, diagnosis and therapy work. Not all disbelieve. This is my struggle and it gets in the way of knowing myself and knowing my alters. There are apparently many alters. Therapist at one time stated around 69. According to a map that was drawn. Anyway, nothing is really helping me to get to know them or myself better in a way that makes any sense that I can embrace and go with. As soon as i think I know what’s up my view changes. It’s like the system doesn’t want me to know or it’s my own fear block of some sort. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

  2. Thank you Kelly. I’ll check out those online test(s). I hope the best for you & your son too. / Beth thank you for your response. Its awesome knowing theres other people with this disorder. I appreciate the uniqueness of your life and situations. Its tough to go through it. Im going to see my T July 28 and will talk about putting aside schizophrenia and to look at other diagnosis. I will mention that I know for a fact that schizophrenics (correct me anyone if Im wrong) are adamant in believing they hear and see things
    not there and that others cant change their mind about it either. Thats not me. She told me that they can hear voices in their head. Well of course they can- what they believe they hear and see is registering inside their head as voices/things seen- because it IS inside their head- when in reality theres nothing outside their head to hear or see. Its how the brains chemicals fool/falter the senses. Its not their fault. However, it makes no difference for me cause its all silence in my head yet I know whats being said. My system is split up of multiple people inside one person and I cant please all these people all the time! So if i answer or say something outloud or by “mouthing” in response then does that make me schizophrenic? I dont think so. Really I am talking to myself- or my system so to speak. Switching is included in the package. I also have headaches and other behavior before switching. Its painful and uncomfortable. Im not even paranoid and paranoia is a big symptom of schizophrenia. I give my T different answers that change each appoint as I try to clarify my issues based on what she says and quiet possibly what my alters want/dont want said. I have Auditory Processing Disorder, which is not a mental illness. Im very hard of hearing. APD can about read about on Wiki. This disorder is also why its taking me so long to clarify things with my T. Plus I dont want to just cough up a diagnosis of dissociation; Im genuinely scared to talk. Thanks for such great feedback Beth. I will keep checking in here as I do need help/advise.

  3. Lisa, One thing I told my T was that I do not hear the voices outside my head (that is more common of schizophrenics–they hear the voices outside themselves), but I hear the voices INSIDE my head, talking about me, to me, or to themselves, and they are people, conversing, carrying on conversations, yelling, singing, whatever. Usually, they aren’t talking to me, they don’t command me to do things (this is also common for schizophrenics, the voices tell them to do things or say things). I should say it used to be that they weren’t talking to me, but among themselves. Now they do talk to me because we are co-conscious (at least I am with most of the adults). Anyway, it made things easier for him to diagnose me. I was already diagnosed when I came to him, but it was easier for him to confirm the diagnosis, I guess I should say.

    I’ll check in here as I can, to see if I can answer some of your questions. I’ve been diagnosed and in therapy for well over 20 years, and I have made a lot of progress. I have identified my system (which is extremely complex and multi-layered) and have co-consciousness with most of the adults and teens. I still have occasional flashbacks (but they are very occasional now), and I do have anxiety and depression. But I don’t often go off somewhere anymore and not remember it, or do things because I switch into alternate personalities and not remember doing it. Not saying it doesn’t happen, if my parts think I’m being threatened, they still move into protective mode, and will do things I might not think are okay. But we deal with it.

  4. Dear Lisa,

    I just remembered that one of my therapist gave me a verbal “test” about my dissociation. It is a real common one I am sure can be found on the internet. I would think your therapist would have one in her office. I hope for the best for you.

  5. Dear Kelly, Im so thankful for your reply. I totally agree with what you have said. I have switched repeatedly in front of my T. She did say though I believe Im not schizoprhrenic, that I may very well be. I told her Im not good at explaining what I want to say specifically all the time and that it takes me time to get it right. So, I repeated some things Ive mentioned to her a few times but with more detail. That “I dont feel whole, I feel separated into people. That this person does this, this one does these things and so on. And that when I say voices I mean people”. This is when based on testing she had me complete; she asked me if I feel pushed aside. I said yes. She said are you paranoid? I said nope. My test reflects that truthfully for her. She said do you have a problem with anxiety? I said I dont have a problem with anxiety except when Im stressed- like when I was putting up with my friends negativity- (shes schizophrenic, paranoid, bipolar type 1 manic depressive with altered mental statis), my anxiety was thru the roof. So I said to my T- you want schizo I’ll get Laine and then you can change the definition of schizo to Laine. (Im not friends with Laine anymore cause she dumped my friendship after 6 years of my running my butt off to make her life better. Im in no way bashing others who have this illness. She just hurt me badly. Illness or no illness I was given no reasons for her actions. I did tell my T that sometimes I dont recognize or know who she is. I guess those alters havent met her. She was glad I told her and stated she dont want me feeling that way.
    So far her diagnosis is long term depression and intermittant explosive behavior (another personality that hasnt been mentioned yet cause we’re just starting on this process).

    Im taking your advice and Im gona ask her to hold off on that schizophrenic diagnosis and to explore other diagnosis with me. Other diagnosis’ that seem similar to schizophrenia- D.I.D.

    It never occured to me about another alter personality wanting a car. When I told her about the incident she called out my personality by his name as if to wake him up. She quikly put me under hypnosis & questioned very concerning/sternly “what are you doing today?!”, “what do you think your doing calling”…(I have that co-consciousness but cant recall of of this conversation cause some alters only mouth words with no sounds. My alter wanted to lease a vehicle to get to an airport and fly to africa to see my friend “Hald”. (Hald is actually a real person living in africa that I chat with at a worldwide chat site!) My T said, no your not! I think she put a harness on him. He was mad at her, my God! He cursed her in hindi. So Im confused at what shes trying to accomplish. Maybe sometimes shes testing me for fakery. It dont work cause I cant fake this. My eyes go black, blank, and I cant see. My eyes will blink repetitively. My eyes will sink in my lower sockets and I have no control over this. I have severe headaches for brief times. Shes seen all this.

    You see Kelly, theres an indian family from India of my alters. Twin brothers. One is deaf (Im very hard of hearing) and he cant read english. The other brother is the biggy and helper/rescuer. Theres a mother, father, a child
    and maybe an uncle. Theres a dog too. A scared child and other kids that Im not co-conscious with. They all have their mannerisms, voices, expressions, actions, fears & can speak hindi for Gods sake. They have an address in India. Theres a protector and a very abusive violent & threatening alter that memics the rapist. Some alters get mad at each other. One alter tried to physically choke out another alter by strangeling my own neck until the protector yank my hands off my neck- all in front of my T. I was blanked out but carried on a normal conversation (not connected to the choking), with my T while this was happening. Im a mess and dont know how many more alters there are. My anxiety is up because of all this. My T is a licensed masters level psychologist. She listens, watches and really cares. I need her help which Ive told her. We do need to explore further. I do make notes and Q’s to take with me to appts. I will keep in touch with you cause Im so thankful someone else understands. I wana say Im sorry you and your son go through what you do and it is scary. I’ll say prayers for you. – Lisa

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