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As Inside, So Outside

This idea is also featured at As Inside, So Outside (and vice versa) (010) New episode of the Many Minds on the Issue podcast and the 2021 Plural Positivity World Conference.


As inside, so outside, and vice versa.

The reflection of this idea in popular culture is that a messy room indicates a creative mind.

These are early notes on this concept written based on working with others on headwork, reading books on DID/MPD, and much discussion and observation of dozens of plural systems.

Criss Revelations: March 19, 2003

There seems to be a high rate of reflection on how a multiple deals with external people/society and their internal people/structure.

For example — if a multiple is private in external relatonships, internal disclosure or knowledge of each other's thinking will be low.

Reflections observed in:

  • trust levels
  • dissemination of personal mental/emotional info
  • internal system denial possibility based on one's ability to truly empathize externally
  • internal and external loyalty
  • external sociability and internal sociability
  • intimacy levels
  • agressiveness/assertiveness
  • general demeanor with friends & family
  • detail of internal/external negotiations
  • allocation of resources (internal or external) i.e. management
  • autonomy
  • malleability/adaptability/stubbornness, etc.

Denial of others in head due to their lacking reality and autonomy — one can't get the idea that the others are REAL through, because people other than oneself are unreal.

Many things that go on outside of a system get internalized into the system. It can be anything from how the internal landscape looks, objects or places transferred into the internal landscape, individuals inside the system, one's mood and stability, ideas and values, etc. In other words, the boundary between a system and the external world is permeable, even if we don't want it to be. It may even be broken entirely.

But the concept of as inside, so outside is how can we use this to empower us and inform us? How can we be more cautious about this permeable boundary, and how can we craft our external life to have a positive impact on our internal life? How can we craft our internal life to have a positive impact on our external life?

There's a correlation between how a system's internal relationships work and how they get along with external people (as a generalization). In other words: how we deal with people in general seems to hold true whether the "people in general" are internal or are external.

Some examples:

  • Someone who is distrustful will be distrustful whether the "people" are in the system or outside of it.
  • Someone who is unable to connect with others on an emotional level will be unable to do so whether they are internal or external.
  • Someone who believes that all people are precious and worthy of individual recognition will generally recognize people as worthy individuals whether they are headmates or co-workers.

This is a sweeping generalization of course, which means it's wise to apply it with conscious care.

Most multiples we have presented this theory to have agreed that it does, indeed, seem to hold true for them. Thus it seems that each multiple mirrors outside to inside, or inside to outside — in one or more ways.

This theory holds in psychology, because there are theories that, for example, the Superego (Freud's theory) is an internalization of the mores and ethics of other people. There are other theories of more elaborate internalization of external people, personalities, mores, ethics, etc.

It is also possible that our internal relationships dictate how the system, or residents, relates to or acts toward external people.

I have a high level of trust of people in general. I am sociable even if I prefer to be introverted. I can(!) maintain relationships with friends and family outside my body, etc. and when I do I prefer to keep to a stable group of people who intimately know me and my business, etc. This is reflected inside my head. It's an intentional family. I maintain my inner relationships with the additional confidence that literally being inside each other's heads affords us -- we *know* what each other is thinking, so our inclination to trust is reinforced. -- XES
We tend to be more individualistic in how we see people. As a rule, I distrust people until they give me a reason to trust them; another of the Shards, for example T-D-, is more inclined to give people the benefit of a doubt before deciding if someone is untrustworthy. The majority of us relate well to people outside of the Shards, though different Shards manifest behind the mask depending on exactly whom is being spoken to. This causes a few problems with interaction (such as not having shared certain memories leading to the 'absent-minded professort effect - T-D- doesn't necessarily know someone that "I" do, and doesn't appreciate having to figure out who this strange person is, let alone having to figure out how far this person can be trusted). --B-, for the Shards

Corollary: How you treat someone outside makes an impression on your headmates.

I've noticed that my internalized naughty folk and broody dark folk are extremely sensitive to how we treat externals. If they can "relate" to someone outside us, they can often internalize how we who front act and react during external interactions.
So, for example, we know we're no saint. We have persons inside who have behaved poorly towards others, who have hurt people, perhaps in ways that may be seen as abusive towards them (on our end it's often "simply" being triggered — but on their end it seems explosive and unwarranted, and can be hurtful). So how we respond when someone external is triggered, and does something unwarranted, explosive or hurtful becomes not only important to the external relationship — it affects the internal relationships too. If we are resentful, punitive, unforgiving, withholding, angry, etc. at the external who hurt us — our internals who have done the same to others take it personally. They feel alienated by our system. Judged. Unforgiven. Punished. Unworthy. Oppressed. ---Crisses/XES

Using this to your advantage

With a little thought and care, you can use As inside, so outside as a launchpad for interesting effects on your internal and external life. Being more careful with external interactions can positively impact your internal interactions. You can be a good role model on the outside and have a ripple effect on internal issues.

You can reparent your system kids (at least in part) by (or while) properly parenting your own physical children. You can put internal "pieces together" while assembling an external jigsaw puzzle. And perhaps, with the vice versa, we can make the world just a bit more cooperative and peaceful by finding our own inner cooperation and fostering an internal peace.

Some traits & features systems have noticed being mirrored or copied internally & externally:

  • inner world design, structures, spaces, functionality, etc. This includes initial design, but also actively modeling changes to the inner world using AISOAVV principles such as creating diagrams or models of the inner world using external world tools — then modifying the external model deliberately to make changes to the inner world structures.
  • internal disorganization or mental organization and physical external environment organization (i.e. messy mind, messy house) parallels
  • introjects, such as fictives, factives, persecutors, internalized caregivers or abusers, etc.
  • internal culture may influence or be influenced by external culture
  • Current states of mind may influence/be influenced by environmental states
  • autonomy - How comfortable someone is with working alone or how much someone tries to work with groups (inside & out)
  • boundaries - What will/will not be done with others, what is/is not permissible in interaction (such as physical contact or eye contact), what will/will not be discussed with people.
  • willingness to even "try" to solve problems which arise
  • appreciation of others (inside & out)
  • taking others for granted — lack of empathy and full acknowledgement of external people's feelings, their needs, their reality,etc. can be reflected internally as denial that the other residents are "real" or truly exist, or are more than just creations. Since people outside aren't truly "real" of course the people inside aren't truly "real" either.
  • people are an extension of oneself — sometimes a lack of appropriate boundaries between oneself and others can lead to approaching everyone as an extension of oneself: others exist to further their goals, they can use or manipulate people, lack empathy, lack respect, do not acknowledge others' rights or autonomy. They may claim that all their headmates are "parts" of them, that they do not have autonomy, that they are just "aspects" of them and express a desire to either make them all go away, or use or manipulate them to serve their own goals. A sign is when other residents resent this arrangement because they are being denied autonomy or individuality in the name of "you are just a part of me." If they were just parts or aspects of one resident, they wouldn't have the ability/autonomy to complain.

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