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.
Follow me on Twitter!
Photo by Randy Pagatpatan
Gray, H. (2011, January 17). Tips For Partners Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, December 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2011/01/for-partners-living-with-dissociative-identity-disorder
Author: Holly Gray
Hi Karen and Katherine,
Thanks for commenting. There really are little to no resources specific to partners of those with Dissociative Identity Disorder. But I believe anyone living with DID (whether they have it or not) owes it to themselves to educate themselves about the disorder itself, and that that education is an enormous support in and of itself. When you have a solid grasp on what DID is and what it is not - something very few people do, but everyone can - life gets significantly less mystifying.
Perhaps I'll ask Tracy to contribute her thoughts in another post. I'm glad you two found it helpful. And I hope to hear from you again. :)
I've been trolling the internet relentlessly for the last couple of months, reaching out to any and everybody, both legally and mental health related. I just happened upon this page and the tears are literally streaming down my face. Just to hear there are people out there like me, it was like exhaling for the first time. I'm not same sex, but I live in Palm Springs :) LOL. (I always fall back on humor when i really just want to collapse.) I've been so immersed and alone in this bubble of mine. i feel like I'm screaming at the top of my lungs and nobody hears me. There are so many questions I have, so many stories i could tell, most of which, at the time i didn't realize what was happening. It is now, now that its too late that I'm putting all the pieces together. Here is basically what I've been putting out there....
I need help!!! My boyfriend , I believe, no, I’m CERTAIN has DID. (Dissociative Identity Disorder)The more I research, the more I know without a doubt. He has not even fully come to grips with it. He is very good at hiding it. Most people just think he's a jerk, but I swear, he has like 17 alters. A good majority are childlike or adolescent. And for every thing that he absolutely hates and will not tolerate, there’s an alter that does that exact thing. It took me a while to put the pieces together. I’m no stranger to mental illness, but this is like nothing I’ve ever seen. The man i fell in love with is the sweetest, funniest, cuddliest and introspective guy. He is always working on himself, admitting his faults and trying to get better. And then, there’s that m@$&#%*%er that has not an ounce of soul behind his eyes. No feelings, no remorse ….. nothing. Just pure hatred.
I am not naive nor am I ignorant. And my intuition has always been notable, and everything in me is saying DONT GIVE UP! He has never been treated for or diagnosed properly so he has never even had a chance. He is one of 9 kids raised by a single mother in a Hispanic family where mental illness is not talked about or considered. I know that he for sure has attachment disorder and abandonment issues compiled in there.
He is a case study for sure. I have no doubt with the right psychiatrist/therapist who can tap into what caused the dissociation (I am certain it was severe abuse and his vehement denial of such makes me even more certain) he could be a highly functional flourishing individual. He is very smart, driven and kind. This is a person who would NEVER pass a person who needed help, ignore a homeless person, He even negotiates with bugs to get them out the door so he doesn't have to squish them. He is tortured inside. You can’t fake the fear, sadness and defeat you see in his eyes. He thinks he has a demon in him. He feels unworthy of love.
The reason I’m asking for help is he is currently in jail awaiting trial for torture and battery…….. I’m the victim. I can tell you , the person who did those things to me was not him. He doesn’t look the same, he doesn’t talk the same and he has NOTHING behind those eyes. This may sound nuts, but I swear , he’s even taller and more muscular. When he is present, I feel nothing. Well, I do, but it’s all bad. I could kill him with my bare hands and dance on top of his dead carcas . Part of me is nothing but relieved to be rid of him.
But when I see the light come back to his eyes and the shame and sadness in there, it breaks my heart. Its worse than anything he could do to me.
As you know, torture is a life sentence. I can’t let them throw away an entire life without at least trying to save it. I've attended NAMI support groups and they did say not to mention the DID part. As that diagnosis is still not accepted as valid by some.
Nobody will listen to me. They all label me as traumatized, making excuses, in denial, codependent.....etc. I have no doubt that I am a lot of those things, but I am also a very smart, educated and strong woman and I have the ability to sift through the BS, and differentiate FACTS from FEELINGS. I've got a long road ahead and i am well aware of the physical and severe emotional damage that i have endured. I know that i need help with that. There's no way I can deal with it alone. I also know that i have all the time in the world to utilize these resources. He, on the other hand, has none of that. So, for now, i am putting my issues aside and forging on! Every day that i wake up, i brush off all of the rejections and try something new. I tell myself "today is going to be the day". I am no quitter! I am a fighter! I know I'm going to do something important, and when I get to the other side of this, i know I'm going to be able to help somebody else who feels just as defeated as I do now.
I’m not even saying that I can stay with him because I can’t ever risk being in that place Again. I could've died. But I do know the wounded,tortured and loving soul in there. HE DESERVES A CHANCE!!!! I’m not going to just give up on him and throw him to the wolves. All he's got is me. My words mean nothing to anybody. I need someone to stop what's going on. Put on the brakes and have him evaluated. NOT BY ANOTHER BIASED PERSON ON THE STATES PAYROLL.They claimed that's what they were going to do, but they are liars. His PD won't even return my calls and I guess she doesn't even have any contact with him either. No evaluation has been done and his next court date is the 28th. HE HAS NO IDEA of the magnitude of his situation. Any help would be most appreciated. There is also a criminal protective order keeping him from contacting me. I want to file a motion to have hat removed. I'm the only one out there fighting for his rights. I have nothing left, but my will and determination but Trust, it is fierce! I will do anything to make sure he doesn't get tossed aside with yesterday's trash.
Thank you, Tracee Ekins
Well, that's my situation in a nutshell. I am struggling with how to deal with HIM because I cant look into his eyes and know how to deliver what I need to say. I struggle with how to deal with THEM because i can't show any emotion at all, otherwise I'm just a victim. This happened April 4th. I have not stopped fighting for a single day since. Court is on Thursday, and I have NOTHING solid. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure what it is I am even looking for? Now, of course, he thinks God is going to take care of everything. Until I have a plan in action, I am just letting that one ride with him. Now that I know the various alters, it is anywhere BUT safe to be tapping into any of them where he is now.
Tracee, I hope and pray that things turn out for the best. I know what your struggling with. My husband which i was married to for 27 years also had DID. Unfortunately he hust died on June 22, 2018. He was only 48 we have 5 daughter's together. The struggle was like living in hell since we dated. The problem is that I also was diagnosed with DID. Now my daughter's and I are living with the pain of loosing him. People like us need alot of love, understanding amd psychological help. I went through a 6 month live inrecovery program called CRASH GOLDEN HILL HOUSE in San Diego California. It saved my life. Unfortunately it still wasn't enough. I got out and had 10 years of therapy. Things got better but I'm now back in therapy. It's a life long struggle but people like us cant get better if we dont have professional help. I'm still struggling today but I try to live for my daughter's. Unfortunately my husband never wanted help he was extremely abusive. He got high blood pressure at the age of 18 diabetes at 21 strokes at 44yrs old and dialysis at 47. He recently died. All could of been prevented if he would of got help like I did. I still have suicidal thoughts and i prefer not to live but I think about my daughter's and God helps me. All you can do is pray and suggest to him to get help which most men wont. Please hang in there but dont put yourself in danger. You might be able to do more for your loved 1. I often blame myself I didnt know about the disease till i got help. Our story : On June 22 2018 these 5 girls found their father in a pool of blood. The girl's had to clean it up themselves due to not having money. I know and I'm sorry but i don't know how to put a story out. Please this family is in need and grief
Support funeral Cost Oscar Araujo Funeral donate now to the Araujo family donation.: ZELLE 6264090458. VENMO Maria Calderon. Go fund me Erica Bjorneboe for Oscar Araujo
Would love to hear more from your partner. There is oodles of research, memoirs, etc for those challenged and rewarded by life w/DID but very little for their partners, and specifically partners in same-sex couples. Thanks!