Are You Blaming Yourself for Your Dissociative Identity Disorder?
A dissociative identity disorder (DID) diagnosis is complex and sometimes people blame themselves for their dissociative identity disorder. When people learn that they have DID, they tend to have a lot of questions, and unfortunately, there aren't always as many answers. People want to know what caused their DID. People want to know who is to blame. Sometimes that blame ends up turning inward. So what can you do when you start blaming yourself for your dissociative identity disorder?
Dissociative Identity Disorder Is Never Your Choice
Dissociative identity disorder is not something that anybody chooses. Nobody chooses to develop pneumonia or cancer, just as nobody chooses to develop bipolar disorder or DID. DID develops in response to severe, often repetitive trauma occurring in childhood. No person with DID ever woke up one day and decided they were going to dissociate into different parts. DID is not a conscious choice. It is a survival response.
Even though a person may not be diagnosed with DID or even be aware of the DID until much later life, DID always develops in childhood. Children especially do not have the ability to control their experiences, nor do they have the ability to choose to dissociate or not to dissociative, or to develop different parts or form one personality. All of that is out of a child's control.
What (or Who) Is to Blame for the Development of DID
There are still quite a few unknowns when it comes to the development of dissociative identity disorder. The one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that DID is caused by early childhood trauma. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), over 90% of DID cases involve a history of child abuse and neglect, with the remaining 10% experiencing other types of non-abuse trauma.
In the broadest sense, trauma is responsible for the development of DID. But who is responsible for causing the trauma? Where do we point the finger? In some cases, like medical trauma or natural disasters, there is no person responsible. But in cases of child abuse and neglect, there is a responsible person (or people). Abusers may not have known that the abuse and trauma they were causing would result in the development of DID, but that doesn't excuse their role. Without abuse, there would be no trauma. Without trauma, there would be no DID.
My Struggle in Blaming Myself for My DID
I feel tremendous empathy for my parts, knowing the memories they hold, and the experiences they went through. I don't always feel that same level of empathy for myself. I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility for my parts' existence. I tell myself if I had just been stronger, if I had stopped the abuse, my parts wouldn't have to be here. They wouldn't have had to suffer.
I have a tendency to blame myself for everything because that is what I learned in childhood. I blame myself for the abuse, and I blame myself for my DID. Instead of finding fault in the people that are actually to blame, it feels much more familiar and safer to turn that fault towards me. It's taking a lot of work in therapy to rework my thinking, but I am trying to do right for me and for my parts.
You Are Not to Blame for Your Dissociative Identity Disorder
It's not uncommon for people with DID to blame themselves for their disorder. If you blame yourself, you are not alone. But know that you were and are never at fault for your DID. Your parts are not here because of something you did. You didn't cause the abuse. You didn't cause your DID. You didn't cause any of this. You survived because of your DID.
Matulewicz, C. (2016, November 9). Are You Blaming Yourself for Your Dissociative Identity Disorder?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, April 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2016/11/blaming-yourself-for-your-dissociative-identity-disorder
Author: Crystalie Matulewicz
I recently interviewed a psychiatrist on the topic of Dissociative Identity Disorder, and have been attempting to bring some light onto this, to quote you, "complex disorder". There are so many who are living with the guilt that manifests with this disorder, and it keeps those suffering from seeking the help they need/want.
Thank you for writing such a positive message for those with DID, and I look forward to more posts from you.