Stuck Residents aka stowaways, lost souls, non-coaware identities, emotional parts, etc.
This article is a Stub.
This is one of several ways to classify system members that helps predict the needs, capabilities, & behavior of system members. For more see Analogies for Plural, Multiple & DID Systems New.
Often there are people within multiple systems who are "stuck" inside of PTSD loops, painful memories, or not fully co-aware/coconscious who may be unable to interface with the Here & Now New of external life in any way (even in terms of just being truly aware/cognizant of when it is and where your body is). This is often the case with newly discovered DID/OSDD or traumatized systems.
A great introduction to this topic is at We're so glad you could join us! in the United Front Boot Camp. The entire Boot Camp is for working on internal community, including onboarding "stowaways" or other stuck residents (also see Onboarding Residents (024) New - a podcast episode overview of onboarding system members who are stuck) so it's a great resource for working with one or more co-conscious New folks and building up a co-conscious fronting group.
However there may still be some stuck folk who resist the "volunteer" method of coming forward and getting unstuck. They may be resistant to coming into the Here & Now New, likely due to either your life being unsafe right now, or there being System Trust Issues New, and they don't trust when you attempt to tell them or show them that it's safe now. Another possibility is that they're stuck because they don't even know how to get out of their PTSD looping and they're truly stuck in the There & Then (aka "traumatime") for whatever reasons. They may only trust some of your internals for some reason. Or they may be so frightened that they can't figure out how to get out of their predicament. It's also possible they've run so far away they have lost their way back. These folk may require Rescue Missions New in order to help them.
It's a good goal to get as many residents unstuck as possible before working on trauma directly, and this is part of the current treatment guidelines New. Folk may become re-stuck if they are retraumatized, but they will at least know what being in the Here & Now feels like and have a better idea of how to get there. Working on their individual trauma while folk are stuck is more likely to retraumatize them and may throw your whole system into a triggered state.
Getting folk unstuck is more important than working on their trauma at least near the beginning. Once folk are able to discuss issues and look at their circumstances more objectively, your system can work on what traumas need to be worked on, and when. You can work towards functional multiplicity before, during, and after working on trauma.
Whether or not all stuck residents are discovered or come forward to be "onboarded" and co-aware/co-conscious, a system can move towards functional multiplicity1. As circumstances improve, folk may become unstuck on their own and be able to onboard with the co-conscious group.
If you have better contact with some stuck headmates than others do in your system, you may be able to negotiate on behalf of folk who were unwilling or unable to join the group that makes decisions and runs your life.
Some stuck headmates may be children, teens, or deeply insecure adults, and thus it could be very helpful to work towards a reparenting-focused inner community that provides the environment these folk need to regain their sense of security and self-worth, and build up their ability to take responsibility and be resilient within themselves.
Along the way there may be spontaneous merges or frequent blending or co-fronting. Whether you choose to attempt a partial or full merging or unification or not, building internal community and co-consciousness is an important step towards living life together, and this can only be done if you get folk unstuck.
Allowing and Stuck Residents
There's a delicate balance between allowing folk to have their own process of healing and getting unstuck, versus seeking them out because they are frustrated, trying too hard, too frightened to free themselves, helpless, or whatever else is going on.
The act of observing, looking, seeking out, trying to find, etc. can lead to some alters burying themselves deeper. Sometimes allowing them to be stuck is the right answer, that you trust them enough to work things out.
However, sometimes they are genuinely stuck and need help.
The best answer to this conundrum, if you cannot establish ANY communication with them, is to give it a set amount of time of "allowing" before you at least pursue them enough to set up some type of communication ability (see Rescue Missions New for more — especially information on leaving a care package behind if they cannot or will not accompany you back to the Here & Now).
This is both an "it might be easier if you don't try so hard" but also an "allowing" them to control their own narrative/story. It's a power & control issue. If they can, by all means they should rescue themself to live in their own power. If they can't, and especially if they can't even ask for help — by all means you should be compassionate and show that they really matter by rescuing them. Communication should be the first resort in this impasse, conscious allowing is always an option and very different from neglecting, and should those not work, then rescuing.
1 Functional Multiplicity aka Healthy Multiplicity is a journey and not a destination; improving your internal functioning, learning coping mechanisms, adjusting to life and the resilience to handle new potential traumatic issues as they come, picking better coping mechanisms, learning to handle life as a team, etc. are developed, improved and tweaked over time. ⇑
- Allowing (as opposed to Trying) New
- Analogies for Plural, Multiple & DID Systems New
- Emotional Regulation New
- Internal Relationships
- Self-Help Indexes (in progress) New
- Shared Responsibility
- System Rebels: internal prosecutors, persecutors, saboteurs, meddlers, miscreants, undesirable behavior, etc. New
- Trauma Work - what it is and how to do it New
- Unification aka Final Fusion (FF), Full Final Merging, Integration, Alter Integration - an overview of the ISST-D Guidelines for treatment of adults with DID with much notes and suggestions New
- Why do we seem to "fall apart" when we discover our multiplicity? New