One of our aspects, ‘The One Who Rages’, is part of a group of aspects that forms our work identity, ‘Those of Us Who Work’. The One Who Rages (OWR) role in the Lark in the Dark system is enforcing rules. OWR’s original teacher was an abuser who used rage and negative reinforcement tactics. OWR was present before our first integration in the 1990’s and is the only one we know of who chose to not stay integrated during this current dissociation period that began in 2019. We are currently trying to teach OWR new ways of enforcing rules with personal growth tools that helped us with 1990’s integration.
We (Lark in the Dark) work with someone at the job who is lazy and has no respect for rules. As a result, OWR gets triggered every day just by going to the job. She is filled with rage and rants negativity in our headspace. We began working with OWR by listening to her. Listening, that is all. When OWR is ranting and raving she is incapable of hearing anything.
She is correct that our co-worker’s laziness and disrespect makes our job more difficult. Our co-worker is also a bully, which triggers Us in different ways. When OWR gets triggered she rants and raves negative words in our head space. Some of these rants and raves are accurate, some are not. But accuracy in this case is not important, what is important is effect of these rants and raves have on Us. When OWR is ranting and raving it keeps us, Lark in the Dark, in an agitated distracted state. Agitated states and distracted states are ripe for dissociation events. Dissociation events are bad for keeping our job and problematic.
One of the tools we developed prior to our first integration was gratitude. There are a number of resources out there on the emotion of gratitude. We haven’t worked with all of them but will discuss what we have worked with. In the 1990’s we first learned about the emotion of gratitude through personal growth tapes put out by Concept Synergy and Lazaris. After that two videos became popular, The Secret and What The Bleep.
In short, holding the state of gratitude, even for something you don’t currently have creates change (both internal and external). Internal change for us, in this case, was converting rage to a more positive emotion. External change was a supervisor saying that we appear to be doing better in our relationship with the co-worker triggered us.
There are a number of ways of working with gratitude. In this experiment when we are doing a task that doesn’t require analytic or problem-solving focus we start with an affirmation, said in our headspace. Typically, we begin with ‘I am grateful for gratitude’. We then repeat it until we have something else to fill the blank of ‘I am grateful for …. ‘. It doesn’t take long for new things to be grateful for to occur to us. We continued with the affirmations until we change to a task too complicated to maintain the affirmation mantra.
The first day we were successful in holding the positive emotion and energy until the husband came to pick us up from work. Once we got in the car his negative emotional state overran us. Typically, by the time we get home from work other aspects step forward and The Ones Who Work fade away to the place they go. The ones who come forward are the parts who cope or co-exist with the husband. Frequently exhaustion settles in, self-care becomes difficult or impossible, and we give up and go to bed. Which is what happened that night after the first experiment with gratitude.
The second day we started the experiment at work again. By the third day the practice of gratitude became second nature and we were able to hold onto it longer when we left the job for the day.
After a full week of our experiment with gratitude, we can say we experienced a change in emotion, instead of negative emotion (rage, despair, or frustration) we felt positive emotion (hope, gratitude, happiness) even when the source of OWR’s trigger came into the space or our stress levels were high. Additionally, when difficult interactions occurred more positive outcomes happened.
In the course of this experiment with gratitude we have found that gratitude has The Ones Who Work more stable during the day and us, Lark in the Dark, less exhausted away from the job. Additionally, the husband appears to be picking up on the positive emotions we can share with him. The benefit here is that we are finding more time to to do more than co-exist with DID. Our hope is that as we gain more momentum with gratitude, we can begin to work to bring about the healing our parts need.