Community Division: Endogenic vs. Traumagenic
by The Crisses
Note: in terms of this article, we are talking about people who identify as non-trauma-caused (endogenic) vs. trauma-caused (traumagenic) multiple/plural systems. And our issue is with erasure versus inclusiveness. Neither side needs erase the other to exist, and no one needs to hoard terminology to describe experiences. Both sides can learn from each other.
We're used to being outcasts. So if a DID-purist community wants to ostracize us for being inclusive, it doesn't bother us. What bothers us is that newly awakening plurals (regardless of trauma) are being subjected to all this assholery and made to doubt themselves, or being cut off from a supportive community. Sometimes even being pressured to kill themselves (suicide-baited). We're not going to pull any punches defending innocent people in need of support.
When you come across something as simple as someone asking for a definition of "endogenic system" and the answer includes "very fake" it does not open up divided communities to talk to one another. (cite: http://sylviacollective.tumblr.com/post/158640774478/what-are-endogenic-systems)
Ouch. Obviously this was not a dialogue from the start. The answer started out OK but by single-sidedly declaring endogenic systems fake, it invited counter-attack.
Stop Throwing Stones: Plurality is Real, Regardless
We, the Crisses, are not going to throw stones in a glass house. We're not going to tell anyone their experiences are invalid for any reason. They're YOUR experiences. And everyone experiences the same thing differently.
What I do want to point out, though, is that DID/OSDD/P-DID — we're always accused of being fake. Such that around half of the research money into DID is focused on whether or not we actually are real in the first place. Let's not legitimize our community, our disorder, by maligning another. That's not going to work.
Also, for DID to exist — the far outlier on a human spectrum of experiencing plurality — there does need to be other points on the spectrum. Or maybe it's not a spectrum — perhaps it's a continuum and the axis are an amplitude of trauma or non-trauma across a spectrum of plural experiences. In which case in order for there to be a "high and to the right" there needs to be a "low and to the right" as well.
In other words — why are we addressing an either-or instead of considering a both-and?
And at that point, I say to both communities as an elder in these spaces: pipe down you young whippersnappers. If you're going to argue about this, then argue about it intelligently.
Crisses' Law of Assholes
Every group has assholes. The larger the group, the more assholes.
If you can't find the asshole(s) in a group, it might be you.
Just because there's one asshole in one community doesn't mean the whole community is full of assholes. Trust me, there's assholes in every community and the larger the community, the more assholes. And those assholes can even be leaders or elders within their community (and it can even be us — we are not so full of ourselves to be above our own moments of assholery!).
But just because there are some assholes doesn't mean that they're all assholes. On any side of the equation. The moment you quit generalizing the behavior and atrocities spewed by one member of a community to all members of the community the sooner we can get to figuring out what we can all do to help each other.
People of any belief of their own origins who are bigoted, exclusionary, trolling, attacking, closed-minded, etc. play in their selves-limiting homogeneous sand-box with their buddies. They can pat themselves on the back, share their similar beliefs, reinforce each other's limiting beliefs and dogmas, and close their minds off to new information, new thoughts, new paradigms, new ideas.
That is an echo-chamber. It's full of parasitic memes (thought-viruses) that attack difference and shut down the immune system of open-mindedness.
Since our re-emergence (after years of raising kids and running a more-than-full-time business) into the DID community, we have only seen attacks from DID-identified systems regarding non-DID-identified systems. Imagine how that looks to us. Finally someone explained this idea about or their experiences of non-DID-identified systems attacking those with DID. We don't know the real story. We have one side of the story.
The moment they say "all" and "every" and close the doors of inclusion so that we can't hear the other side of the story, the moment we are vilified for even considering reaching across the table to ask "Hey, what happened to you?" or "What's your point of view on this?" and "Are you tired of this yet? Because we just got here and we're tired of it already…" then we know we're in an echo-chamber and too many generalizations have taken place, bridges were burned, and those who want to be open-minded and try to repair the situation become outcasts.
Endogenic systems can be that way since birth. And it only means they don’t credit trauma for their plurality. Not that they don’t have or qualify for a DID diagnosis or that they don’t struggle with plurality or trauma.
But if they keep being pushed out of DID spaces just for an experience, belief or perception then people in the DID community can make up whatever they want about endogenic systems and deride or make fun of people even though they're not present to defend themselves or set the record straight. This means that DID communities that exclude endogenic systems can make up whatever "facts" (lies, exaggerations, etc.) about endogenic systems and no one is there to correct things (or they try and are excluded from the community, reinforcing a lack of safety in such groups).
Having spent enough time being excluded and shunned in grade school, I prefer getting to know people over rumors and assumptions about them.
This behavior is deplorable [yes you, your community, I don't care which side of the debate you're on]. I suspect deliberate trolling of the DID community at the base of it by non-multiples pretending to be multiples or plurals — i.e. trolls masquerading as endogenic systems to deliberately provoke fear and hatred of endogenics — or trolls masquerading as traumagenic systems attacking endogenics and saying "the trauma has to be there somewhere and until you suffer like we do we won't believe you." Or whatever the story of the moment is.
That's in the past. Let's move forward. And police ourselves and our communities more carefully. Don't allow anyone to attack people. That makes them abusers and bullies. ANYONE. Attacking anyone. Is an abuser. There can be legit traumagenic people who are trolls, and legit endogenic people who are trolls, and there can be plants in our community, and NONE of this is acceptable, responsible, adult, productive behavior.
We know sincere plurals who are not exclusionary or attacking of persons with DID who identify as non-traumatized-systems. Everyone has a right to define their own identity and it does not make them bad people. It doesn't make them liars. It doesn't mean they just forgot they have trauma. It doesn't mean they have to show their diagnosis paperwork to be allies and help in the fight against plural stigmatization. It doesn't make them less plural.
Throwing Out Babies with Bathwater: Weighing Trauma
Fighting against endogenic systems undermines traumagenic plurality. It actually means that if you no longer have trauma — if you worked it all out in therapy and have achieved the pot of gold at the end of the diversity rainbow of functional multiplicity — you are STILL not a legit member of society because you're still plural.
Basically, you're saying "go back find (more) trauma or else you can't play in the plural sandbox."
You can't hold a special place for putting "healthy multiplicity" plurals on pedestals because they figured out their trauma and got it handled. Just like you can't demonize natural plural systems and bury them and stigmatize them further because they "didn't have trauma" in the first place. We're all equal.
Over and over the community says "We don't weigh trauma." And then we get this stuff.
The moment you start to take out the ruler and measure trauma it's a losing game. You can't say 0" trauma is not legit, however 100" trauma is legit. That means that someplace between 0" and 100" of trauma is "enough" trauma.
Any trauma — even just the trauma of being born with a pleasant natural childbirth — is sufficient trauma to be plural. Period. You can't say 0.1" of trauma is sufficient, but not 0". Likewise, you can't say 1" is sufficient, but not 0". That's all measuring and weighing trauma. There is no scale of 0" to 100" trauma. There's no point where there is "enough" trauma.
That doesn't make everyone traumagenic systems — that's a self-identification factor. If you say you're traumagenic; you are. If you say you're endogenic; you are. Done. Period. Stop the nonsense with the labels. It's as silly as arguing masculinity vs. femininity then making up any arbitrary BS about it — it's up to the person to identify what they are. Period.
It's all drawing a line in the sand between "enough" and "not enough" trauma to even make any attempt to quantify it or measure it in the first place.
It's making an experience of many into a zero-sum game.
Separating People Problems from C-PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder happens when a person experiences one lump of trauma. The inability to process the trauma causes emotional outbursts, insomnia, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, reenactment of the trauma, etc.
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder happens when a person experiences a series of traumas — whether similar recurring trauma or a variety of traumas in succession — and in addition to the PTSD symptoms, the person also ends up with an inability to test reality, broken emotional and possibly other boundaries, deep insecurities, paranoia or hyper-vigilance, trust issues, etc.
If you put a group of people with PTSD and C-PTSD into a room together with no rules or leadership…
That's what DID is. It's a group of people in close quarters with no role-models, agreements or leadership. Add in the trust issues, the paranoia, the emotional insecurity, the need for affection, etc. and you have a recipe for disaster.
Once a DID system is able to build trust, stop undermining each other, be good role-models or find good role-models, and start to fill the needs for affection and respect that they have they can then start to tackle other issues like working on trauma without having inner-world social issues like sabotage, acting out, rage, insecurity, one-upmanship etc. that they would have if they were still in chaos.
These are 2 separate issues: working on internal community, and resolving trauma. Resolving trauma without working on internal community first is going to delay success as the system continually re-traumatizes itself from within, and is unable to handle their external life.
Back to a house with many people with PTSD or C-PTSD — if they find a great role-model, create and enforce rules, and start to be nice to each other and help each other out with support and listening and acts of kindness, make each other breakfast when they're having a bad day, etc. how will that community behave? Do you think it would be better?
Then what are you waiting for? Get into your internal landscape kitchen and make some pancakes.
We write extensively on improving internal community because this does NOT have to be a therapy issue. It's a social issue in the system.
Fighting Plural Oppression Trolling Together
We are one of many traumagenic systems who identify as plural and think the C-PTSD is a separate issue to our plurality who are reaching out to the endogenic community to say "plural stigma is wrong, we can fight it together."
So basically if you have been attacked, and I don't care which side is attacking whom — you have been trolled. And all trolls, whether singlet or multiple, are behaving deplorably and do not deserve to be in an inclusive community until they wake up and smell the coffee about causing people distress and trauma. So, if you're over-generalizing and expanding the behavior of some to predict the behavior of all in any group, and doing it without getting to know the individuals/entities involved — you too are at risk of falling into the troll category, and need to check your own behavior and think about whom you may be hurting — even yourself.
We will not tolerate generalization and stereotyping.
Plural oppression has many faces, and that includes oppressing people based on weighing trauma. Singular folk do it to DID systems with amnesia. They want to know what you went through that was so bad that you would have DID, or your parental units don't think what you went through was sufficient, or it's instantaneous parental guilt when your child says they have DID because it's automatically equated with abuse. Then some DID-diagnosed systems turn around and pull the same crap on endogenic systems. It's a way of passing the blame buck around, and it really has to stop.
We need to all push back against this grinding in society against plurality and pushing to weigh and compare trauma. It's not healthy for anyone. Accept people where they are, and help them do better. Recovery is a long process, and things change along the way. Everyone has their own journey to make, and it can be scary and lonely. Let's hold each other up, and help each other along the way — and quit the fighting and ostracizing of others.
It's an Identity War
These identity wars are happening in other communities too. And when you see it from the outside, what does it feel like? We're not part of the lesbian purity wars going on right now, for example. There's all kinds of verbal spewing and shitshow-level anger and verbal violence. They're fighting about what makes someone a woman, who women who use a lesbian label can be attracted to, what body parts of what bodies they can touch, and so on. We're not here to discuss it, but to point out that that's exactly what the syscourse (system discourse) looks like from the outside.
Don't even get us started on how people who have no skin in the game (random singular spectators) are jumping in and throwing punches as well. The world at large has become divisive, frenetic, and frightening. Trauma survivors really ought to get the fuck out of any fighting ring and not participate in that madness.
So let's break this identity war down: people who claim to not have become multiple through trauma are called "Endogenic" systems. Those who have a system believed to have arisen from trauma are called "Traumagenic" systems.
As we've pointed out before in the section on weighing trauma, we dig ourselves a deep hole the moment we start judging whose trauma is "worse" or "sufficient" or "more traumatizing" in terms of whether DID is "created" by trauma and whether or not the only authentic multiples are people who have gone through trauma.
And then singular spectators are jumping in and deliberately upping the ante. Punching down. Further oppressing plurality as a whole. By putting their weight behind "the only plural people are broken, sick, traumatized, and need therapy" they're oppressing us all. They're pushing back against healthy multiplicity as even an option. You're only OK if you're a disabled pitiful helpless plural. It's a big "Know your place" move. If you can't see this as plural oppression, as fighting healthy multiplicity, then open your eyes. You might feel like "see even the singular folk don't like endogenic systems" — but it plays into the singular-normative "the only plural people are sick fucks in need of help." narrative.
All of this is creating a big divide in the plural/multiple community. And there should be a community, because there are causes to fight for together. Like those singular folk punching down at any plural systems. It's one thing to have infighting in the community — and it's a bad thing. But it's so much worse when singular folk are getting involved and making matters worse. Don't let those fuckers win.
Lack of Appropriation of Resources & Terminology
There's some idea that endogenic systems should be unwelcome in the traumagenic community, and that they should not share terminology with the traumagenic community. We — The Crisses — strongly disagree. And we're a traumagenic system. Bear with us as we try to explain the issues at hand.
Firstly, as internals, we don't want to believe our sole purpose for existing is because of trauma. We are unique individuals with lives of our own within the whole shared life, and to tell a person (we believe we are people) that their sole existence is to "handle trauma" is really downplaying what a "person" is in the first place. This point of view gives trauma and abuse too much power over our existence. We disagree. We believe that, in spite of trauma, we have rights and will to live and exist and contribute in the world and in this shared life.
To us, endogenic systems are a sign and symbol that our existence in itself is not "wrong" and it is not just simply a "reaction" to something. It's not a dysfunction. Don't get us wrong; that it's a positive survival trait in the face of extraordinarily difficult circumstances is indisputable. But we're no longer abused, and endogenic systems are proof that our plurality has NOT outlived its usefulness in our lives. That being multiple is in and of itself not disorderly.
To have this point of view, we need to fight the establishment. There's so much misinformation, an entire industry (psychology & psychiatry) set on our destruction or at least downplaying our existence as being a sign of illness. But endogenic systems exist, plurals and multiples who are not "disorderly" exist New, so our being multiple is not the problem — our C-PTSD is the problem. Back to most of our problems in-system are social issues, once you set aside the C-PTSD -- the panic reactions are making our social issues worse, but we can tackle the issues with 3 different strategies. Resolving people-problems, resolving C-PTSD, and then where they meet in the middle: the internal social issues of plurals with C-PTSD like trigger cascades/flooding.
Changing Identities without Changing Our Behavior
When we first realized we were multiple, we saw an opportunity to be a cohesive unit — a collaborative, a community. This was before the Internet (1986). This was on the tail end of another wave of MPD being "in" and our psychiatrist wanted to know whether we wanted to "integrate" (merge New). That was the answer back then. His thought was if we were dysfunctionally multiple, of course we would want to merge. But being a closed-lipped Freudian-trained therapist, he didn't share our diagnosis with us. We just thought we were "many people in our head" and while we certainly had a traumatic childhood, we didn't see the 2 as incredibly connected at the time. Internally we wanted to get along as well as possible. Externally, we needed to learn to handle our life and adversity better in the face of addictive issues (escapism being our drug of choice), massive avoidance, panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia, and what basically amounts to delusions and paranoia regarding reality.
We spent about 19 years not knowing whether we were diagnosed DID/MPD. We have a perp who was jailed, and some flashes of memory of sexual abuse, and our parents are both perps too, but we were in a lot of denial about how bad our childhood trauma and abuse was. We fought our own rising headcount, afraid of being tagged as "polyfragmented" and found a hidden subsystem with many missing children. By then, we strongly suspected we were DID and possibly polyfragmented.
We wouldn't have used those words (or MPD for that matter) for most of those 19 years. That's a long time to run around as a multiple without a community and without the concepts and support one needs to figure things out. A long time to be a system mostly of "Apparently Normal Parts" (argh! hate the words!!) and the vast majority of our abuse either swept under a rug of denial, or hidden from us in internal compartments.
I probably wouldn't have said trauma caused my multiplicity for most of those years. Trauma caused Christina to ask a bunch of spirits passing by to come into our body and help us run our life. Trauma didn't make Christina into a multiple — there's Christina, right there!
So it wasn't until "Christina" was discovered to be a shell or veil over a group of children that we found out that there was a multiple hiding within our overall multiple system — and "Christina" does indeed have DID. We had to come to terms that there was no "Christina" at all. She was a bunch of kids standing on each other's shoulders wearing a costume.
Welcome to DID.
We later found a 4-year old insurance bill from our psychiatrist with 300.14 on it — the billing code for DID.
This isn't to say that "everyone who is endogenic is just traumagenic and doesn't know it" but that we all deserve support and for people to act humanely towards each other. Because one day you might find out that you were wrong, or that your paradigm changes, or you realize you've been an abusive asshole, and hurt people, and maybe you'll regret that. We have no regrets being compassionate and inclusive before or after realizing we have DID and getting confirmation of it. None whatsoever.
But enough folk who identify as endogenic have realized later that they're traumagenic — with a paradigm shift it is totally inappropriate to push them to outside of therapy — that we can guarantee, without a doubt, that if you are hurting endogenic people you are hurting people with DID. Only some people who identify as endogenic are actually DID and don't know it. But as long as you're hurting endogenic people, you are hurting our community. You are hurting trauma survivors. Quit it. And by the way it's also not appropriate to hurt people who are not DID either.
People who are endogenic and seek therapy, seek support groups, need trauma support while being plural, etc. deserve help and assistance and are not infringing on communities or stealing resources. That's a zero-sum game again. The leading DID specialists will tell you there's more to Criteria A than just DID. Share resources, share spaces, and we guarantee you'll learn a lot.
Why an Inclusive Community
So — there are many problems with splitting the multiple community into this versus that.
And we've seen this rodeo before in other communities. And it sucked every time.
This is how gays treated lesbians and bisexuals and transexuals — as our LGTBQ+ community got more inclusive we built tremendous political power in our movement. This is how the Deaf community treated people who are hard-of-hearing — but when all persons with disabilities rose up together we became a force to be reckoned with and fought for many of the rights we see out in the world today, like accessible bathrooms, ramps, and signed translations for the hearing impaired at performances.
The overlaps between DID and endogenic systems far outweigh the differences when you remove 1 diagnostic factor. C-PTSD.
When you take all the symptoms of C-PTSD out of DID you are left with the same thing between the two: a bunch of people in 1 body — and whether or not they're trying to get along.
Here's where a lot of endogenic systems have a lot to teach the traumagenic systems. As a rule, to overgeneralize, they have less hang-ups about trust and less suspicion, and less panic and anxiety to tear them apart. They're more likely to get along inside with less hiccups. That's GREAT! We should respect that — because that's our role models right there for how it COULD be, how we COULD get along as traumatized individuals in a single body.
That's nothing to belittle, demean, or push aside. That's something to embrace and welcome. That's people you want to hang with and get to know better.
We have stigma to fight. We have a whole industry to turn around because their treatment of our traumatized cohort is abhorrent, and wouldn't it be better to increase our overall numbers and fight for rights side-by-side? When you push potential allies away, who are you hurting?
Are You Jealous?
If the problem with endogenic systems is some type of jealousy that they have "less" problems (more weighing going on there) or seem "more" functional, then the problem is within your system, not that the endogenic folk exist.
We sorely need decent role-models. There's no good famous actors or actresses setting a great example of DID out and about in the world. It's so shamed and stigmatized that the few famous people diagnosed with DID slink off into the shadows and hide.
We're thrilled to have endogenic systems to be our role-models for being plural in the world. Some are out at their jobs, some are fighting for plural rights with us, etc. Some struggle, some don't. Everyone is oppressed, though. And now we have singular folk openly directly oppressing endogenic systems in plain sight. Not just systemic oppression, or cultural oppression, but directly bashing on and attacking endogenic plural systems right in front of everyone.
We are aghast that the traumagenic community is ok with this. It's good sport for the singular folk. It's like going on a fox hunt for them. Whoo-- "Tally ho!" Remember that plurality, DID and non-DID alike, is one of the last safe havens for people to oppress and attack, make fun of, stigmatize, ostracize, etc. Report these assholes. Report away. Block, get rid of them. They're incredibly dangerous, and cheering them on is going to harm your own system, while traumaholders sit back watching their fronts or hosts being disgusting abusers and cheering on abusers, the hurt lost and stuck folk in your system just feel less and less safe coming forward. Their anxiety spills out into your system, your symptoms get worse, and you can't dig out from the mess you're creating by being a problem in the world rather than a solution.
<more coming soon, wrists hurt>
Points to track:
- whatever "inspired" one's body's consciousness or collections thereof to be one or several is immaterial. You have many consciousnesses.
- we're all in this together
- promoting divisiveness outside our body promotes divisiveness inside (As Inside, So Outside)
- Don't mirror the professionals who tell us that DID systems are figments of our imagination or products of bad therapy practices — saying endogenic systems don't exist, that the only viable path to multiplicity is trauma, is tantamount to saying people make this shit up. Don't go there, that's throwing stones in your own glass house.
- Sometimes there are trolls in our community who want to be "inside" to wreak havoc on community politics, drive wedges between people, and destroy or defame us from within. There's a possibility these ideas (memes, thought-viruses) were first suggested by people wanting to split the community across imaginary lines. Alternatively, a thought-virus could be sparked by someone just playing devil's advocate but then the counter-culture idea — an idea that is cause for introspection and thoughtful consideration — becomes an idea that spreads of it's own merit/demerits. A "what if" can create momentum before someone asks the important question of "but will that serve us?" or "is that the compassionate and community-building approach?"
- Yes, a system is all the alters in a DID system. But the word "System" is coopted from all external and internal systems. A school system. A solar system. A digestive system. Sorry, guys, but DID/OSDD persons do NOT corner the market on the word/term "system". Nor alter. Nor headmate. etc. These words are not used as stigma or slurs. If you as a DID/OSDD system want to coopt and empower the term "split personality" in terms of slurs and disabilities, then go right ahead.
- The PEOPLE in my head are not ABOUT the trauma that inspired us to find them. To celebrate the trauma, to make it about the trauma, is to give the trauma far too much control over who we are.
- giving more power to the gatekeepers of trauma and trauma services. It gives the whole industry of psychology/psychiatry FAR FAR too much say over who and what we are, as plurals/multiples.
- fighting the stigma of the "people" in our system being "a coping mechanism" — this is a highly damaging concept that endogenic systems immediately dispel.
- the whole idea via the 1995 papers by Kluft and documentation at the ISST-D that says that if the individuals in a multiple system like themselves and respect themselves as individuals and do not want to merge/integrate, it is narcissistic. WTF? Stigmatizing, any? And this is a document put forward for treating people with DID??!?
- Many DID systems have been the victims of cultural exclusion, cliques, bullying, back-stabbing behavior, stonewalling, stigmatization, abandonment, and more. Why the hell are we doing these abhorrent acts to other people? On what grounds are we "better than" someone else? Is this some asinine lashing out against people seen as "freer" than us, because we were oppressed? These people didn't oppress us. You're taking your trauma out on an innocent victim. Judge individuals, and don't cubbyhole or prejudice yourselves against others due to a classification. The otherkin community (not yet called that) was wary of our involvement as a multiple system because of a bad experience with a multiple in the past. One group entity made it harder for us as a group entity to enter a community. But they gave us a shot, and we have many close friends from the otherkin community to this day and feel very welcome there. One bad apple could have lost them a major connection to multiples in general. Don't overgeneralize. One poorly behaved endogenic system is not every endogenic system — and same goes for traumagenic systems.
What makes a community/culture
- Shared language!!! If we claim all the terminology like "System" as being for traumagenic only, then we're shooting our community in the foot. Not to mention it's BS because "system" is not a term used to stigmatize people, not a cultural term at all. "System" is a word.
- Shared history — see The Plural Movement New for our history project.
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