Tips For Partners Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder
Living with dissociative identity disorder (DID) presents unique difficulties, whether you're the one that has it or the person who loves the one living with it. I can only imagine how frustrating, confusing, even painful it must sometimes be to have a partner with DID.
I've witnessed how challenging it often is for my own partner and, if some of the comments I've received here at Dissociative Living are in any way representative, her experience is typical. But it's also largely ignored. Partners of people with DID don't get that much support or encouragement, primarily because only those who've been there can truly understand (Caregiver Stress and Compassion Fatigue).
3 Tips for Partners Who Love Someone Living With DID
As someone with dissociative identity disorder, my perspective is different than my partner's. I think that's what makes hers so important. Significant others are in a unique position to offer viewpoints and ideas that might otherwise be overlooked. When I asked my partner what she'd say to someone in a relationship with a person with DID, this is what she said:
- Know and maintain your own boundaries. You can't support others if you aren't supporting yourself. You're going to let your partner down sometimes. That's true in any relationship. When you let someone with DID down, the ramifications can be far-reaching and surprisingly painful. It may be tempting to make your own needs negotiable in order to ensure peace and stability. But that will backfire eventually by sowing the seeds of resentment and creating an unhealthy imbalance. Knowing your limits, and making the hard decisions required to honor them is vital. Believe me, sacrificing yourself won't heal your partner's wounds anyway.
- Nearly impossible, but try to learn how to not take it personally. You're going to be the villain to some no matter what. People with DID generally have trust issues that nearly incapacitate them in relationships. It's not unusual for protective alters to attempt to sabotage intimate relationships. That's not about you.
- Learn as much as you can, but remember all systems are different. There is no way to be in a relationship with someone with DID and not be profoundly affected. Living with dissociative identity disorder is just plain hard. It only makes sense to educate yourself. Not for your partner's benefit, but for yours. It's awfully hard to cope with something you don't understand (3 Ugly Truths about Dissociative Identity Disorder).
Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder Is A Choice for You
Those of us with DID don't have the option of walking away from the illness. You do. For my part, I'd like to remind you that no matter how it feels, DID isn't forced on you. You can leave, or choose not to get involved at all. Those of us with this disorder would spare you if we could. So when it gets rough - and it will get rough - please remember this: living with dissociative identity disorder is a decision you're making, not something we're doing to you. Blame us for our choices and behaviors ... not for having DID.
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Photo by Randy Pagatpatan
Gray, H. (2011, January 17). Tips For Partners Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2011/01/for-partners-living-with-dissociative-identity-disorder
Author: Holly Gray
I guess what I’m wanting to know is normal for people DID to just try and push people out then want them back? We haven’t been able to see each other in a month and she has been working a high stress job. All she has wanted to do is fight with me on the phone and make me feel like I can’t do anything right. I couldn’t get Christmas right and basically broke up with me today. When we(were) together everything was fine, though it took a while to break the wall down. when we apart she like would build up this wall. I’m just at a loss and trying to learn more. Thanks
To date I have met most of the "others" as we call them in conversation (as they do also). There are twelve of them. One I was told died. I assume from what I have learned this particular one merged. None the less. This makes for a full house. I brought three children with me into this marriage. None of them to date have been told of the others.
It makes for an always changing, sometimes chaotic, stressful environment for me. Also, as noted above, sometimes lonely. I admit it has made me mad, sad, laugh and cry. I sometimes think, I did not sign up for this! But, I did. I married her because I loved her, all of her.. sickness and health, 4 year old or 60 year old.
I am searching for avenues of support as I can't talk to anyone about this. A couple friends know, and we get that.. "oh really?!"..
Today, "A" told me that their therapist and the others voted that he needs to reintegrate, in order to strengthen "C," the main core of their system. I am devastated, but of course i understand. I love them all in their own ways, and want whatever is best for their system as a whole.
We said our farewells today. "A" said he won't be fronting again. I still am going to be friends with "C," and the others in his system of course... But... Do you have any insight as to how i should best deal with this loss? I feel like there's been a death, even though "C" is still alive. I don't want to burden "C" with my grief, he's struggling enough on his own right now, and, it's really complicated for me to explain to my own therapist, i don't feel like she'll understand it. I don't know anybody else who was close to "A," (he was a protector), so, there's nobody for me to grieve with about this... I feel like it's selfish of me to feel this way, and of course i want what's best for "C," and for their system as a whole... But it hurts so much, and i don't know where to turn. There's almost no information on navigating relationships with partners who have DID, or relationships with alters, let alone how to cope with losing someone to integration.
All three personalities say they love me, but Kitty and HD really want to pursue this other relationship and I am really struggling. I feel like a third wheel. Has anyone else had an issue with the alters falling in love with someone else? How do you cope?
Lots of love to both of you!!
Where we finally got to was I couldn't do it anymore and she didn't want to hurt me. We talked openly about the effects of the DID and what it looked like but then there were other alters who didn't believe they had it. It is so complicated. I read so many books, blogs and websites. Very little support for loved ones of someone with DID but I see more popping up. I do know this: You have to be good with you and you have to care of yourself to live with someone who has DID. You have to have a sense of humor too. Some of it is comical. For me trying so hard to care for my love I neglected me. But it wasn't my love, it was my loves. They are different people in that one body. Sometimes with how much I have educated myself on DID I find it difficult to grasp. One of the books that helped me understand what it might look like inside her mind was by Cameron West titled "First Person Plural". It always helps me not make it about about me when I know she cannot control who pops in and out. She said to me once "We do so well until the DID drives a wedge between us." I replied "Yes, Love"
I have also surrendered to I Can Not Love Her Well!
Peace be with you.
I'm almost 39, have had mpd since I was 3. And I have always had the problem of making friends. While I have been married, had 2 wonderful children, been divorced, n currently in a relationship for almost 5 yrs to the most wonderful man alive, I just can't make a true "friend". I have learned years ago that I just can't trust anyone, or tell anyone my deepest, most darkest secret. That there are several of "Me". My boyfriend will tell you at least 6. I gave up 10 yrs ago trying to figure out how many there are. My dr said there were at least 4. I'm not close to my family back home. My kids I see rarely cause their father refuses to let them talk to me, even tho I raised them by myself for 14 yrs. I've lost many good jobs due to my disappearing act. People think I'm on drugs cause I'm never "the same" and I am always losing or gaining weight.
Anyhow, My boyfriend and I are going through some hard times right now, and the more stress there is, the worse things are at home. I recently confided to a "friend" from work who we have know for three yrs, about the others. I thought I could actually trust her. I've always been there for her in her times of need, wither it was guy issues, her friend issues, or even if she needed a few items from the store. Confiding in her was a BIG mistake.
I work, but it's not enough. We can't afford groceries and gas for my car right now. I don't get food stamps. She was going to the store and asked if we needed anything. Just milk n a bag of cereal was all I asked for. We had NOTHING. Our landlord even had to come in the house and look in our fridge and cabinets to see that we truly had no food in the house. They thought we were lying. I had been bring food home from work for my bf and animals. But a manager refused to let me do that any more. While letting the next coworker needing food for her family to go in and grab $50 worth. Like I said, everyone thinks I'm on drugs. Anyhow, we hadn't heard from my "friend" about the milk n cereal, and when I texted her, she did the same thing all the other so called "friends" do to me. Told me I was crazy and that she never said that she would help us out. That hurt. Cause I thought she was a true friend. And I remember her telling me at work that she would help. Not that she is obligated to help, but she said she wanted to. And now the mind games began. And I hate the mind games people play with me when they figure out I'm a little off in the head. And I always figure it out. Sometimes it takes a while, and I look like a fool, trusting her and being there for her or whoever, while they play their game with me. But I come back and figure it all out. And once again, learned I just can't trust anyone but my man. And I'm tired of it. But I let it go. I'm not out to get her or anything, but I don't know how much longer I can do this. I woke up Thursday morning 5 hrs from home in some rest stop with no phone, scaring my boyfriend and missing work. My boss thankfully not firing me. But no longer finding me reliable.
While my boyfriend understands and loves me, I don't know how much longer he can deal with it, and I don't know how to talk to my boss so she understands. And my "friend", I'll continue to be nice to her, but there is absolutely no trust there any more. And just because I'm use to this happening, doesn't mean it doesn't still hurts. Cause it does.
So how can I talk to my boss and get at least her to understand my downfalls? Cause the older I get, the harder it is to keep it together. And we can't afford for me to not work.
I've witnessed a switch. This probably sounds melodramatic but it really did look like his eyes rolled back in his head (they didn't) but his eyes became very, very dark, his face seemed to darken too, and any signs of empathy disappeared completely. I call this one the gatekeeper.
The thing is before I was aware of what I was dealing with I said some pretty dumb things to him. I thought at one stage he was possessed, so I walked up to him, looked him dead in the eye and said "give it your best shot buddy, you don't frighten me. If anything YOU should be scared of me!" ..... oops! That's the LAST thing he needed to hear. ☹️
Oh this is so heartbreaking. He's moved back in with his parents and I know/feel very strongly that they are either the cause of this or they've tried to bury it, cover it up and just pretend nothing happened. Because around them is when he switches more often. Like the rest of you, I just don't know what to do or where to go for help. I've promised him I won't abandon him. I never have and never will, but he has shut the door on me! So what do I do?
My wife had a very difficult childhood. She only gave me glimpses into the past. Her parents where constantly fighting in front of her, and she once told me about her mom throwing glass dishes at her. Along with this, she had an accident in which she fell on a 4 inch knife and has a large unexplained gash in the back of her head. She to this day, doesn't know what this is from, but based upon her hating her parents for a number of years, I believe she thinks it was because of them. Like dropping her as a baby.
Given the difficult past of my wife, and the back and forth of her treatment of me, I found many similiarities between DID and her.
Yet, I don't want to accuse her of this? I have asked her to go to counseling with me, but she refuses. She told other she would go to marriage counseling, but when she talks to me, it comes to my issues. This is really how its been for the past 3 months. But prior, one minute she would love me, the other she would hate me. In the last months, we would be getting along great and then, all the sudden, it was as she put up her guard and was someone else.
What really hurts, is my wife has been through this before. In her first marriage, she completely removed my stepsons biological father and grandparents from his life. She never even had the discussion with my son, about his legal last name. He learned his legal first name on the first day of 4th grade when he attended a public school and they required him to use his legal name. Based on what I gathered over the years, the dad and family tried, but after 2 years, they called it quits since his dad wasn't that attached after 4 months with my stepson when he was a baby.
Now, I have an order, and it is turning into the same scenario. At first the order was place against me, and now she has told my parent they can no longer see the kids, because I am mismanaging the money. Yet we came to agreement in court on this, and this was her idea, now when it effects what she wants to do, it sets her off. And just days before, she was crying and breaking down in my arms, and then she wants to have me arrested the next week.
I am not a doctor. And the last thing I want to do is make this claim in court, but if anyone that reads this maybe able to offer some suggestions, outside of get out of the relationship, it would be appreciated. I am fine moving on, I've accepted that over the past 6 weeks of the order, but now my concern is how to move forward, so I can still be in my 3 kids lives.
I have been reading a number of articles, about behavior similar to my wifes, and DID and her have a lot in common.