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.
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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Gray, H. (2010, August 23). Love and DID: Sometimes More is Less, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, July 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2010/08/love-and-did-sometimes-more-is-less
Author: Holly Gray
Thanks so much for this blog - reading through comments here has been so informative. I think that my daughter has DID. She is married with young children and seems to be blowing up her entire life, planning a major move, divorce for no particular reason she can articulate, acting wildly out of what has been her character for the last decade (many changes before then)... Any ideas as to how I can support her, and her children, and her husband, who loves her very much? I should say also that she grew up in a loving home but did experience trauma at a very young age. She is brilliant and talented and well educated but also seems confident that her current, seemingly bizarre choices are wise. She has not been diagnosed but many of the symptoms of DID fit. I think that, were I to even hint at mental illness, she would stop confiding in me - or cut me out of her life as she has most others. My main concern is her health and well being and that of the children. She has always been an unbelievably conscientious parent, until recently, and I worry that when - or if? - she comes back to 'herself' she will be destroyed by guilt over abandoning them... This feels like watching a train wreck about to happen and nothing I can do to prevent it.
I was wondering if people are still writing on this page. I just found this website a couple days ago and am really glad to know I'm not alone. I'm new at all this and I just want to see if people still comment.Thank you.
I have recently gone through the process of having many of my parts surface. It's been a difficult ride, and luckily I seem to have a fairly well-organised system (although it seems to have more and more layers the more things unravel).
I'm largely co-conscious, but for me the big problem is the acceptance (lack of) that I have for myself. I've realised that in my 3 relationships I have had, I chose them specifically because each of the partners were emotionally unavailable and wouldn't 'see' me. My more recent one knew I had DID, but only once or twice noticed that I had more than one part. I was in that relationship alone, and alone I felt safer. Accepting love is perhaps the most difficult concept to genuinely grasp when you're a fragmented system of abused parts.
As I've started to learn more about myself and my parts, I'm very gradually learning what it is to experience true intimacy. I was terrified to realise that I have been developing an intimate friendship recently, which has started to evolve into something romantic (although not physical yet). Knowing that it's genuine, and that I haven't really got somewhere to hide is a big challenge for me. This is someone who has known me for close to a year, seen my ups and downs, and still... we grow closer. I think something slow developing is good, although I am worried that if it becomes a romantic relationship the dynamic will immediately change, and how other parts respond to that might become difficult. But the slower it progresses, the better my system can work out the best way to align, and we can reach an agreement.
Almost two years after the last comment, this post is still helping people. How wonderful!
I have recently started seeing a man with DID....he gave me this truth about 2 weeks in to our dating. I didn't run. I didn't want to. He is such a special man, and I deeply want to be in his life, so I am trying to educate myself as much as possible. This thread of comments has helped me immensely.
I cannot detect his alters yet, but I recognize the similar pattern from the comments, of having him go from adoring me to breaking it off so he doesn't hurt me anymore, to coming back again and telling me how much he wants me in his life. I understand a little better what is going on now. I cannot thank you enough for this blog, and I look forward to reading more to help me to be the best support that I can to my sweet guy.
Though the above post was made now 1/2 a year ago, I do want to say to Sasha, and anyone else who may be in a similar position, that no matter what it may LOOK like on the surface, it is unlikely that the entire system shut you out. You're (most likely) taking the actions of one alter, or group of alters, expression as "the whole show"...when with DID (especially if it's untreated DID) is NEVER the whole show.
My bf has cut me off too, completely, for extended periods of time. But if you see what's really going on - that this is just what a PART of the system is expressing for this period of time, you'll also see, in time, if you stick around, that the other parts come back, and don't hold the same beliefs as the parts that pushed you away.
DID I've learned is also an attachment disorder. Most multiples have parts that push others away -- you just have to see through the veil.
Thank you for all this info. Have been (or am, not really sure) in a relationship with a person with DID. For me the most important thing has always been to accept who ever he is and to never be judgemental. He however has cut-off all contact, mainly to (as he says) protect me and to not have to let me go through this. He does not want to give me any "trouble". But I am here for him, always. Not really sure what to do. I do not want to throw our friendship away but I do respect his wishes... He is totally locking me out. I don't think i'm the one that can help him. It's just because I would like him to stay my friend.
Wow I'm sorry about your relationship. It must be very difficult to do everything you can to accept and care for someone only to be turned away, whether it's to protect you or not. I do understand the desire to protect others, though. I have often felt, in my darker moments, that other people would be better off without me. For me, I have to choose to have faith in my value as a human being during those times, until I can once again believe it.
Like I said to Elizabeth, I thank you for taking the time to learn about Dissociative Identity Disorder. Whatever does or doesn't happen with your friend, you are helping to reduce the stigma just by educating yourself.
I wanted to thank you for this blog. I've been romantically involved with someone with DID for the last six years, which has been very hard to both cope with and understand. And though some of his parts have tried their hardest to push me away, seeing what's really going on , with compassion, has always made me want to stick with him, and stay.
This is the first discussion I've read that really captures what it's like to have someone with DID as a partner, as well as providing insight on how hard it actually is for them to be in a romantic relationship when they are constantly shifting and switching parts. That I didn't totally understand, until I bookmarked and have been rereading everyone's comments.
My partner has many parts, or alters, but two major ones he shifts between -- I am the "hated villain" to one, and the woman he "really does deeply love - forever!" to the other. I have been treated like I mean the world to him, and then (without warning) treated as if I dropped off the world tomorrow he couldn't care less. Other parts have also been attracted to other people, and it's been a very confusing, tumultuous, and painful ride. I have continued on with hope though, wanting to be a calm place in the storm for him, the only one at the moment who knows his Dx, and pray that he will have the strength to heal. Appreciate the blog.
Thanks for your comment.
I don't envy you the position you're in. I've questioned more than once if it's worth it for my partner to struggle with all the uncertainty and confusion, just to be in this relationship with me. Perhaps seeing what's really going on is what helps her stick with it, like you say it helps you. I'm sure there are times when she, and perhaps you too, wonder what it'd be like not to have Dissociative Identity Disorder in our relationship. But she's accepted the fact that DID might always be a part of her life. I'm grateful there are people like my partner, like you, who are willing to see past the disruptive nature of this disorder to the real human beings living with it.
Not everyone is willing to take the time to educate themselves about their partner's mental illness. As someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder, I thank you for taking the time to learn what you can.
thank u so much for this article. my only 2 friends both have DID as well. something is happening to me. men are no longer attracted to me. ALL i ever wanted all my LIFE was MUTUAL LOVE WITH A PARTNER.
it feels impossible. the loneliness, abandonment and feeling unlovable are unbearable at times & if it gets bad enough, we will do ANYTHING to numb it.
all b/c we/i wanted to be "a Daddy's Girl". i hate that bastard for what he did to me. such a special loving child. i HATE him & pray he gets a long suffering bout of prostrate cancer...sorry for the the vent.
Is it possible for each alter to have their own personality disorder? I'm having a hard time accepting this whole concept,but I guess I have no choice but to believe what i'm told. I also refuse to belive that I alone, have anxiety dissorder, panic attacks, social phobia,OCD, dependant personality and many others so if i do have MPD, that would explain alot. I would appreciate any information you may provide.
That's an excellent question!
Comorbidity with Dissociative Identity Disorder is not at all unusual. And it is possible for certain alters to experience symptoms that other parts do not. For example, an alter may struggle with severe depression while another member of the system is consistently upbeat, positive, and happy. Working with alters on their particular struggles is important. But when it comes to diagnoses, it's common and, I believe, preferable to diagnosis the system as a whole. Though those with DID experience themselves as distinctly separate people, ultimately they are one severely fragmented person. My other diagnoses (PTSD, Major Depression, Dysthimia) do not apply to certain members of my system. But because they apply to at least one, they apply to the system as a whole.
It's also not uncommon for those with Dissociative Identity Disorder to receive multiple diagnoses before finally being diagnosed with DID. DID is designed to go undetected and therefore diagnosing it can be difficult. Spotting comorbidites, like Major Depression or an anxiety disorder for instance, is often easier.
Thanks for your comment, ma. I hope this information is helpful to you.
Holly and Dana-
Thanks for answering. We have a fear of judgement, of stigma and of being abused again. I do my best to protect the others.
"result is that we look like one very moody and erratic person"
We have a diagnosis of bipolar as well.
Dana, I understand your reasons for being open, but frankly we're too scared.
Thank you~ I have read some of your series but I will revisit them again. I do not recall sexual abuse altho my twin sister has "memories"..I recall being in a constant state of fear of mom's rages and the catholic church practices, the 1960 Detroit riots in my neighborhood... I would be hyper vigilant and my body would create migraines to dissociate. today I can't recall my childhood, however if I see a photo..I can somewhat remember the event. Some have labeled it Dissociative Amnesia...I'm not concerned with the DX as finding the underlining reasons to my depression. I am aware of the many "sides" of me..for example: The intellegent professional who is medicaly trained ..the anxious depressed one who hides in the house with agoraphobia..the bubbly one who is very social and attractive..the protective one who guards my children and would kill to protect her kids...the indifferent one who is disconnected from life and is in limbo with no hope...just to name a few. Mostly, I consider myself complex and assumed everyone was like me~
Well after much research, I have landed in your laps with a lot of questions. Questions that can be perceived as "bothersome" or insignificant to this forum. However, I need to start somewhere and I am asking for your understanding as I seek my information s it related to my personal life experiences. I have a dissociative disorder as well, but I do not have alters..or at least I'm not aware of any. Perhaps, I haven't endured the level of abuse that seems to cause DID? Any ideas?
First of all, I want to reassure you that your questions are neither bothersome nor insignificant. Secondly, in answer to your question, I would not necessarily assume that if you don't have alters it is because you didn't suffer the degree of abuse severity others with DID have. Keep in mind, in fact, that there are those people with DID who were not abused at all. DID is a trauma disorder, but that trauma can come in many forms. In this country, it is usually chronic, severe abuse. But not always. There are people who developed DID as a way to cope with repeated, invasive and terrifying medical procedures, for instance.
Beyond that, there are generally more factors than just the trauma that contribute to the development of DID. You may be interested in reading my series on some of the contributing developmental factors in my own manifestation of DID, to give you an idea of what I mean:
From Trauma to DID: The Sensitivity Factor - http://tinyurl.com/22kg8rf
From Trauma to DID: The Denial Factor - http://tinyurl.com/34z63gk
From Trauma to DID: The Age Factor - http://tinyurl.com/3323kx7
From Trauma to DID: The Comfort Factor - http://tinyurl.com/2couer9
In each of these posts, I look at factors other than trauma that helped to contribute to my own development of DID. Trauma is the key ingredient. But it doesn't necessarily follow that if you suffered abuse and don't have DID, you weren't as severely abused. There may be other reasons why you don't have DID when others do. I would not assume it's about the severity of the trauma.
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment, Jadon. And please don't hesitate to share and ask questions.
I chose to be fairly open about my diagnosis with those closely involved with me because I felt it would be easier on them and myself. Most of the parts that show up act like me to some degree. If you were to ask one of them "Are you Dana?", you would probably get a giggle or an "or course". Unless they have been around you long enough that there is a solid sense of trust then you are more likely to get the truth. One of the things I have really reinforced with my parts is that it is okay for them to be them. They don't have to be me and I am okay with that. As a result they are more open and there is less misunderstandings between me and those in my life regarding conversations and inconsistencies.
I think one of the highlight moments for me was when someone I hadn't known well in high school but interacted with regularly called me about a 'reunion of old friends'. The conversation started with neither of us knowing what to say finally she said "I know you don't like me but do you want to meet the old group of pals for dinner?". I was shocked! I asked why she thought I didn't like her and she told me a story where I turned down going to pizza with her by saying I didn't like pizza and later that week saw me eating pizza at lunch. I was really embarrassed and I started to explain. When I was done explaining all she said is "You do not have any idea how much sense this makes, if I had only known then...". I cried that night and that was the turning point of my level of honesty. I do not shout my diagnosis at the top of my lungs but I am open and honest with those that I interact with regularly.
I can understand and respect both sides of the coin and just wanted to share some from the other side of things.
My alters pretend they're me, they answer to my name, they try to act like me. Obviously there are stark differences, but we seem to be getting away with it on the grounds that "everyone has different personalities to an extent."
No one knows about this diagnosis except for my pdoc and CPN. Maybe we'll tell people at some point, maybe we won't, but for the time being we're almost functioning like a human being.
As for love, we all love our fiancé, family and the few friends we have left. We're very lucky that they put up with us.
Karen, thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.
"My alters pretend they’re me, they answer to my name, they try to act like me."
I absolutely understand that. Going incognito, we call it. Being public about the fact that I have DID hasn't changed that. People know I have DID, but very few are able to recognize switches for what they are. I've no doubt the result is that we look like one very moody and erratic person. But I can live with that.
I think it's great that your system is on the same page about your fiancé. Disagreements about something that important can cause an enormous amount of strife.
i am lucky enough to have a partner that really is sticking in there with me. She has been with me for 5 years and for me that is amazing. i've been in three long term relationships in my life and this one is the most promising and loving. It isn't roses but there are roses mixed in with the thorns and we are both grateful when we see the rose... smell it... savor it... pluck it so we can see it close up... or leave it so we can come back again and again. It all depends on how we are feeling at the time. We are so lucky to be able to have a strong relationship in the midst of this turmoil inside my head.
It's amazing that i can feel and experience love. i am grateful! Most of the my others are okay with her too. There are some of course that aren't but, we work through that and she doesn't take it personal. She knows what she is up against and she is willing to be there. Makes me wanna cry... (if i could!).
Okay i've blabbed on enough. Thank you Holly for this topic!
Thanks for your hopeful comment. It's good to hear that there are folks who are managing to nurture and grow their relationships in spite of DID. (Or maybe even sometimes because of it?) It's so easy for me to feel defeated by DID, especially when it comes to interpersonal relationships. I often feel like, at least in this area, I'm a failure. It's really comforting to me to know that DID isn't necessarily a life-sentence of loneliness.
It's very good to know that with increased communication and awareness between the parts of my system, some of the frustrations I have experienced in attempting relationships can be lessened. This a great relief to hear this from others who are farther along than I am. In the past relationship that I described, I was not even aware that I had DID on any kind of consistent basis. He was aware of it always, and of course this caused many angry outbursts from me when confronted about it. I realize now I was just not ready to get into therapy and begin to deal with it. And that's okay, because I am ready now. And not just me but most of my others as well. I was so excited to find a DID community here and have loved reading this blog. Please keep it coming.
Hi Carla -
I'm so glad Dana commented. Like you, I feel some hope in reading her thoughts on awareness and communication.
"He was aware of it always, and of course this caused many angry outbursts from me when confronted about it."
That's been my experience too, in the past. And while I still don't necessarily enjoy being confronted about things to do with DID, I no longer completely shut down in response. That makes a big difference in navigating relationships. It's awfully hard when one party staunchly refuses to acknowledge something that has such a huge impact on the relationship.
"I was so excited to find a DID community here and have loved reading this blog."
I'm so glad, Carla, that you're finding my blog helpful. Thank you for being a part of the dialogue. I'm learning a lot and I hope others are too.
Greater awareness and cohesiveness as a collective "identity" allows for ones partner to feel stable in knowing that you are there and will be there (to some extent) when he/she returns. This helps to build trust and other important relationship values. Also it can help there to be a more solid sense of boundaries and safety on both sides of the relationship. Without this ones partner may actually become overwhelming and invasive hoping that if they stay as close as possible their partner will not switch and that the relationship will stay the way it is at this moment.
I know as someone that has dated someone else with DID that not knowing who I am coming home to, how they feel about me or if they will even know who I am is anxiety provoking and can cause a great deal of stress within the relationship. With greater awareness and co-awareness comes a sense of stability and trust. Also with greater awareness comes less mis-communication as there is less of the "Did I say that?, I don't remember saying that" phenomenon.
Thank you, Dana, for taking the time to answer my question. The fact that you not only have DID but have also dated someone with DID gives you a unique perspective.
"Without this ones partner may actually become overwhelming and invasive hoping that if they stay as close as possible their partner will not switch and that the relationship will stay the way it is at this moment."
I hadn't thought of that, but it makes so much sense. It's no surprise that feeling repeatedly abandoned by your partner might result in hovering and clinging. I'd imagine it'd feel a bit like walking on eggshells, waiting for the inevitable switch and possible ensuing rejection.
"Also with greater awareness comes less mis-communication as there is less of the 'Did I say that?, I don’t remember saying that' phenomenon."
Yes, that makes sense too. It seems like the primary antidote to most of the pitfalls of DID is awareness. It's also the most difficult thing to achieve, unfortunately.
I was reading the comments here and I felt the need to input the fact that while no -DID and/or parts- can not be controlled, they can be worked with and suitable compromises can be made. 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.
An example of this in my own system: L is a very conservative Christian female and F is a angry teenage male. While still their actions do not line up and may appear "inconsistent" to those around me F will allow L to go to church and do her thing without interrupting; likewise L will allow F to listen to his loud rock music.
Also with increased awareness there is less "lost time" and less frequency that one is left wondering "Did I do that?" when confronted with saying or doing something that one doesn't remember saying or doing.
Just offering a bit of hope for those that are not yet in this place.
**Side Note** My system is relatively large and while I do not lose a lot of time to the more dominant parts of my system there are still times that I do lose time to parts that I am less in tune with and aware of.
Thanks so much for your comment. I appreciate the reminder that with more awareness and internal communication, compromise becomes a possibility.
"Also with increased awareness there is less 'lost time' and less frequency that one is left wondering 'Did I do that?' when confronted with saying or doing something that one doesn’t remember saying or doing."
Thank you for saying this. My therapist tells me the same thing, but it's easy to forget when caught up in the frustration of how things are now. You've reminded me of my own experiences with increased awareness and compromise. Thinking on those experiences now, I remember how nearly miraculous and stabilizing it felt.
As someone with DID who has experienced first-hand the stabilizing effects of greater awareness, I wonder if you have any thoughts on how that might create more stability in an outside relationship, if at all?
Once I came to the understanding I was up against an illness I think I was able to chill out a little bit and really learn. Having loved someone for close to 20 years and then having to walk away thinking it was some sort of game being played was difficult. It felt like I couldn't breath in the end. Like I couldn't clean up the mistakes or ease the pain it seemed I was causing. Walking away was the only option or so I thought.
Survival and defense techniques for people with Mental Illnesses are so different I even questioned whether they had real deep emotional feelings? Even doing searches for "BP and feelings" and "BP and love". Somehow lost in the thoughts that if this person really cared they would do this and that. Well, they don't do this and that and what they do try to do to cope and express love will spin you so fast you'll forget your name.
I came real close recently to making the walk away again to a dear friend who painted me the villian. Me? With all my co dependency issues and hero outfits, how could I be the villian? Well I held on to ride out the turbulence and after 4 months the fog has lifted. She's on a new mix of meds that seems to be working,she has a new life structure with stable housing, therapy 3 times and hope. One day at a time we're taking it. Now a lot of relief comes from knowing the issues I have and deal with got a name and I can work on to make life bearable.
"Having loved someone for close to 20 years and then having to walk away thinking it was some sort of game being played was difficult."
I'm not sure if you're referring to someone else having DID, or you having DID, or something other than DID altogether; but assuming you're talking about DID I do think DID very often looks, from the outside in, like a game. People with DID are chronically accused of lying, playing games, shirking responsibility. It's easy to see why. It's awfully difficult to think anything other than, "She's lying" when someone flat out claims not to have done or said something you witnessed them doing/saying. So if your experience was with someone with DID, know that feeling like you're being played is not unusual at all.
Yes, outside support does help tremendously. Sometimes it feels like I fell into a bowl of alphabet soup and one minute I'm swimming with BP, then OCD, then ODD, then MR, then DID. I've learned the hard way taking care of myself has to be number one. Not taking things pesonally I'm getting better at but still get sucker punched when I least expect it. I'm learning communicaton is really important even if either of us can't express things as clearly as we'd like to, which is a tremendous frustration.
Learning to dial down some of the expectations. Close friend of mine once said he only needed 1 good thing to happen to "make" his day. For me, I'm the opposite, 1 bad thing and it can often be shot. Taking it day by day.
I think I'm more like you than your friend. But I really like your friend's attitude. To be fair though, he's probably not swimming in the same alphabet soup you are.
I'm glad you're taking care of yourself. As for not taking things personally, I hope that didn't come off trite when I suggested it. I know all too well how much easier said than done that is. I don't know what it's like to be on the other side of the DID ride, but it can't be easy.
Thank You for this post.....Thank You for being able to put the words down.
You are very welcome. And thanks to you for reading and taking the time to comment. I'm glad this post resonated for you.
Is there any hope in controlling the ride? There are just so many triggers. Its like the secret recipe for KFC. Today I'm fortunate to be enjoying the kisses for the first time in awhile but know deep down tommorrow I can be treated like the hated villain. I'm not sure I even want to try and have some heart to heart discussion of where her mind kidnapped her to? Sorry, Hard to put into words like so much of this illness. I even feel like sometimes I know too much about her issues that she pushes me away so a "fresh start" can be attempted. Which I do understand in someways. Not to mention the anxiety and panic feelings that come when your mind starts racing about what ifs.
I don't think controlling the ride is much of a possibility, no. I do think it's possible to learn helpful ways to manage its effects, though. Of paramount importance, I believe, is taking care of your own needs first. Find support wherever you can. Think carefully about what you can and can not do and enforce those boundaries. Self-care, I think, is the first order of business.
Beyond that, the more you know about her system the better off you are. As you no doubt already know, though, DID is designed to go undetected. Therefore learning about a specific DID system is much easier said than done. You may ask questions only to hear "I don't know" in response more often than not. Keep in mind that with DID, it isn't at all unusual - in fact, it's par for the course - for the right hand not to know what the left hand is doing. When you hear "I don't know" assume it's because whomever you're speaking to really doesn't know. It's tough to be kept in the dark. But part of living with DID, as a partner and as someone with DID, is learning to tolerate ambiguity.
When you're treated like a hated villain, remember that it's not about you. Try not to take it personally. Whenever possible, remain curious. Her alters, as difficult as it may be to believe at times, are her allies. If you can view them in that light, as people who are doing their best to protect themselves and her, it might be easier to understand where they're coming from.
I hope some of that is helpful. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment, Mark. Please don't hesitate to continue to share your concerns and questions here at the Dissociative Living blog. A little outside support can go a long way.
If parts of your system sees your partner as a threat and tries to push her away, how do you know if you really love her or not? I have struggled with this in a past relationship. I have asked myself time and again why i pushed him away (and even repeatedly forgot that he even existed) only to scream at myself inside when i realized what i had done and most of me felt intense sadness. Do you think it is possible to gain some sort of control over these bitches inside me? I cannot figure out why they sabotage me if i am only going to cry about it later. This constant back and forth is very exhausting emotionally.I wish i knew what i really want, if this makes any sense.
Yes, your comment absolutely makes sense to me. Sometimes not knowing what I want is a simple case of garden variety ambivalence. But often it's the result of internal conflict that effectively disables my ability to tune in to my own desires and feelings. When different members of a system are driven to pursue different courses of action, answering the question, "What do I feel/want?" can become impossible. It's maddening and I wish I could tell you there's a tried-and-true way to know what I feel/want. But if there is, I haven't found it.
As for getting control of alters, I've found that pursuit to be a fruitless one. What does help me is to consider how the behavior, no matter how repugnant it may be, is serving me. How might you be better off without your ex in your life? I"m not suggesting you are, keep in mind; but I am suggesting there may be parts of your system who absolutely believe you're better off, just like there are parts of mine who believe I'm better off alone. They may understand the pain and sadness that driving others away causes us, but they may feel that grief is a small price to pay for safety, emotional or physical. The lesser of two evils, so to speak. It's worth considering their perspectives because, for one, they may be right. And even if they're not, by seeking to understand where they're coming from, I show respect for my system and invite the same in return. It's not a cure-all and it doesn't make the conflicts go away. I've just found that power struggles feed on themselves and exacerbate problems.
Thanks for your comment, Carla. I really identify with the struggle, sadness, and exhaustion you describe. DID is hard.