Is this a home or a prison?
June 30, 2011, at 08:06 AM
I've thought about this long and hard, because my situation is overall different from many other multiples. Here's what I've decided: no matter which method I use -- psychology's paradigm or other less conventional ways of thinking about being multiple -- this body's time is not just mine. I am sharing a body and a life. Some time needs to be shared. If you take this attitude it will contribute to an atmosphere that will help you succeed at your goals.
If you allow others to have time in Front, they won't need to steal that time. Then revoking permission to Front becomes a possibility in the case of dire breaches of your house rules. If they don't have a privilege you can't revoke it.
So what if front time were a privilege earned by being a decent citizen of your mental home? Then it becomes a matter of finding safe and appropriate situations to allow them to have time front in a responsible way to manage their need for self-expression.
When you're ready, this is a topic best brought up at a meeting. To determine whether there is a need to consider sharing time, conduct a simple poll asking your residents who would like more time front and what they'd like to be able to do during their time front.
It's not always easy or possible to arrange "play dates with yourselves" but when you can and it's safe, do it. It's only reasonable that the other residents get to appreciate appropriate interactions with the "outdoors." When system trust is high, like I have, I can just switch almost any time and trust that the people fronting will act appropriately in the given situation. The people who know they're not appropriate to a certain situation usually don't WANT to be out in that situation. Because we share goals, and we discuss what will further our goals and what will not, we already have determined in advance when a particular resident is not suited to a particular situation, and they voluntarily do not front in those situations. If they do, for whatever reason, they are responsible for getting us through the situation without violating our house rules.
I also mentioned the facilitated shopping runs that some of my littles can go on. We lay down specific rules regarding budget and an approved shopping list, then we keep an eye on them so they stick to the plan, but give them latitude in picking brands, finding sales, and reading ingredient lists for the healthy stuff, etc. They enjoy that. So for example they get to go to say the dollar store and pick up something specific, or look for something that fits a particular need. Or they go to the grocery store and get to "window shop" the snacks but actually buy the things we need.
So if your system trust level is high, and you have high co-awareness, you might want to experiment with holding meetings and discussing how to share time more often.