I’m reading “Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook”, by Deborah Bray Haddock. I like it because it is an easy read, written in such a way that the average reader is engaged and comprehending.
I’ve gotten to a section of the book where she is discussing how DID is not just something awful that we’ve survived, but a strength she calls adaptive functioning. In that section she describes how a patient’s different parts are present for a family dinner and how the different parts served a purpose for nightly events. I had to stop reading for a moment and breathe. This is so real for me, not in a bad way. We just sat there on the couch for a long minute, snuggled in our blanket, and held the toddler who cried and cried and then another part just sat stunned feeling an empty place in her heart, the part who rages felt vindicated.
In therapy we talked about parts and how they protected us from what we survived. He asked me to journal about it. I agreed to it, but I was uncertain what I had to say about this topic because it seems self-explanatory. Bad stuff happened, we went away and another part came forward to cope with what was going on. Or, in the case of our youngest parts – bad stuff happened and the toddler who was went so far away she never came back; a new personality was forged where the toddler’s personality was. All the other personalities come and go, just the toddler stays gone. New meaning to the statement, innocence lost.
There is more to say about parts and how they protect us. The job they do isn’t a one and done event. The ‘One Who Rages’ steps up when she perceives that we are being mistreated in social or work situations. She handles it like the adolescent she is, she gets a rebellious attitude and smarts off or if unchecked will rage and say terrible things and stomp her feet. Then she fades away and the rest of us are left embarrassed and responsible for the blowback from whatever The ‘One Who Rages’ did.
It is easy to get lost in the story of the disaster train that happens when the ‘One Who Rages’ comes forward, but what is pertinent here is that she comes forward when she perceives a threat. It doesn’t matter if it’s a genuine threat or a crisis of ego. When the ‘One Who Rages’ begins to chatter loudly in the ever present conversations in my head, we pay attention and consider her point. We then take steps to deescalate the threat by having a conversation with ourselves or trusted friend. We ask the question, is this threat real? And, then we ask the next question, what can we do about it before the ‘One Who Rages’ starts the disaster train?
One of the biggest influences on our ability to work with the ‘One Who Rages’ is depression. If we are depressed it is truly difficult to work up the energy to care about anything. Or, if we are so self-absorbed in our depression we might miss the warning signs of the ‘One Who Rages’ chatter. This is why we have learned to stay aware and listen. Not just for the ‘One Who Rages’ but for all of our parts. If one of them chimes in ‘there’s something wrong’ or ‘this doesn’t feel right’ it is best for all of us to stop what we’re doing and pay attention.