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Internal Landscapes

See the original article The Internal Landscape by Bob King

Most simply put, an internal landscape is a shared mental refuge for DID systems. An internal reality. An internal world.

In some cases it's a literal copy of external places, an internal adaptation of a known location in which the plural or multiple's system members can interact.

Popular sayings like "a corner of my mind" can be taken much more literally when it comes to DID. We really can have a corner of our mind, an "in our head".

Subjectively speaking, the internal landscape can be as real as (or even more real than) external reality. The internal landscape or internal reality can be used as a metaphor and is usually fairly easily adapted and modified. It can be a world all its own, open for exploration.

To find your internal landscape, one might ask "Where do I go when someone else comes out?" or even "Where are those other voices coming from?" Some headmaps describe the internal landscape rather than an organizational diagram of the relationships, the internal landscape can describe those relationships between those on the inside by where they live in what looks like a building diagram or a map.

More complicated systems can have entirely separated communities within their internal landscape, representing sub-systems. They may have emissaries, ambassadors between these distinct communities in order to communicate and negotiate agreements.

We Crisses have remodeled our internal house (which can be seen in our sub-site documentation) into a spaceship. Our population of known folk has grown considerably and now we have something like clans or families within our system, where a sub-group has its own section on our spaceship, some share quarters and others have individual quarters. We sometimes send considerations to sub-committees which are ad-hoc groups that go off into small meeting rooms to hash out specific issues and bring suggestions back to the general membership. We have 2 large "flexspaces" which are basically large rooms that can be set up at the "push of a button" for a variety of purposes. One's primary use is a test kitchen (we work on recipes internally, or while editing cookbooks and recipes we have folk inside following the directions and steps to see how it turns out "in our mind"), the other's primary use is as our all-hands meeting space.

By residents, in many ways we're talking about those who reside in your system's internal landscape.

Internal landscaping is the act of deliberately influencing or crafting your internal landscape for any reason. Sometimes in therapy, you'll be asked to create a meeting space in your internal landscape, so that you can invite other residents to a meeting. Or you may want to use or modify your internal landscape on your own as part of self-help, such as mentioned in these self-help articles on internal landscaping.

Features of Internal Landscapes

There are internal landscape "boundaries". These are structures that serve to segregate people &/or information in a system. These translate to fixed hard boundaries (for example walls), permeable boundaries (doors, windows, gates, fences, etc.), and broken boundaries (a demolished wall, broken door, etc.). These can be seen as metaphors, but working with them can be very effective in changing the relationships in the system.

Some things in an internal landscape are just "there" and have no function. They're cosmetic. Like wallpaper it looks pretty, but it doesn't do anything. It's simply an ornamental fixture.

We have a pile of pillows. The pillows don't appear to serve any specific purpose (it's a place we go for respite in our internal landscape) and they could be simply ornamental. A fixture that has no part of our mental processing allotted to it. It's comfy, that's all. We don't count fixtures in our extended headcounts. There's so many of them (the floor, the ceiling, each chair in the meeting room, etc.), and they aren't doing anything but looking pretty. The Crisses

Other things have a purpose. A telephone. There's some corner of a multiple's psyche that is activated when they interact with these items, so we consider them functional fragments.

In our case, a logbook which serves as a "recent changes" update book for anyone who needs to review current events and maybe go back over the last several days for recent information. Our logbook is an internal landscape functional fragment metaphor for short-term shared memory. The Crisses

Then there are programmed constructs, which serve to actually process and change something, or detect input and execute a reaction (see Implementation Intentions for research into temporary constructs).

Our most-used programmed construct is our Language Filter. We used to talk about it before we were even aware of being multiple or having an internal landscape. It's been there a LOOOooong time. A bunch of foreigners moved into our head when we were quite young, and someone (or some many possibly) must have fashioned/built/conjured this programmed construct to assist in language translation between folk in our head. We jokingly say "Garbage in, garbage out" with regard to our language filter but mostly it works very well. It is certainly a functional fragment, but it goes further than that. It receives input and has output. The Crisses
We count functional fragments and permanent programmed constructs in our extended headcount. They require mental processing and are part of our dissociation ability. Note that these are not Tulpas, they're not to our knowledge (nor the test of time) capable of acting on their own. They're all passive until engaged with. The Crisses


- to be continued. Sorry

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