The Signs You Missed
Sharing the signs that you now know were there so that others might figure it out sooner.
There seems to be some mistaking that DID or OSDD or plurality or multiplicity develops suddenly when you're older — so all the pain and trauma, then some incubation period, and suddenly there's other people.
But many of us can look back and see the signs, and some of those signs should be obvious to onlookers.
But these signs aren't talked about. How can parents know if their child is experiencing dissociation, is being abused, or is experiencing recurring trauma? Let's give folk a hand-up with a combination of subjective and objective "Tells" for what the developing disorder or syndrome looks like before they slap labels on it.
For researchers, therapists, experts, etc. — Frank Putnam specialized in Dissociative Disorders in children & adolescents and has a book on it. The ISST-D has guidelines for the treatment of DID in children and adolescents. Get your head out of a hole — this is not just a disorder of adults and late teens who have seen things on TV or been exposed to iatrogenic DID.
Family stories show that our parents could have easily seen that stuff was happening and that we were growing up in pain, with trauma, and becoming or already plural, but chose to ignore it.
They would constantly bring up how our "personality suddenly changed when we were 5 years old." Can't tell you how often that was brought up when talking to other adults within our earshot, or said to our face.
Told to us by our egg donor's best friend, confirmed by egg donor: Our egg donor and her best friend sat around a table going why my personality would change, and going over whom of all the extended contacts might be sexually or physically abusing us. And the person we remember who was was on the list. But they did nothing to stop it (and if you have a list, that's already an issue).
We stopped all displays of affection to our parents before age 7, another thing they would often hold up as how "something was wrong".
Report cards from school came home with comments every quarter saying "daydreams too much." That wasn't daydreaming, assholes, that was dissociation.
At age 7 we fired our babysitter, went home, demanded a key from our parents and became a latchkey child. We remembered firing our babysitter when we were 13. Parents story of us demanding a key pieced together with it. We were hella dissociated, it was the first time someone definitely switched into full front that we're 100% certain of, and they deliberately erased our memories of what had been happening.
If you have signs that the adults and caregivers in your life overlooked — let us know in the comments.
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Te Kaha Tokotini — thank you so much for sharing. It's chilling when we can look back and see these things, but then family & friends will resist the truth when we figure out that not everyone is like this, there are others like us, there's words to talk about it, even entire books and fields of research on it… but some folk still think we're faking it. Oy.
I can remember that we'd go out to the playground in elementary school and "feel really different" Asking questions about things that we knew even as "I" asked the question I also remember finding artwork hidden away in our room that I didnt remember drawing.
There were loads of times when I was a child where I was told I had a "Big imagination" and I even won an award for having the most imagination in preschool. People would say I was really good at acting and I always came up with the craziest stories. Yeah, no. I wasn't good at acting, we were switching. I didn't come up with crazy stories, they were the ways that I remembered my trauma, which were often incorrect because I had to fill in the blanks for things I'd forgotten.
I also remember one time in Kindergarten we were told to write about something that'd happened in childhood. I... well I couldn't really remember anything? I had to make something up entirely, which was something along the lines of "There was a tornado and it fell on my house!!" which never happened. But what was I supposed to do? I didn't have a memory to share!
That they called us Jekyl and Hyde from very young, and sang the nursery rhyme “there was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead, and when she was good she was very very good, and when she was bad she was horrid.” In other words, beyond tantrums. “You were the nicest kid then switch for no reason into a nasty bully/ terrified sook/ angry. Then butter-wouldn’t melt in yr mouth.”
At family gatherings they sat and laughed about us changing completely as though we chose it & told lies to cover us. Father would sigh and say “Just like her aunt who couldn’t tell truth from fantasy” as tho it’s genetic (yeah we shared the same brother/father) What’s more they actually talked about abuse stories thru family generations as tho normal. (Nana told me decades later she thought I’s being abused by dad at 7 or 8 but it was my fault cos I’s hypersexual.)
The family moved heaps. Apparently i/we would talk as though we carried on living in every single place, all at the same time.
They’d joke so often “tells stories and lies about it, forgets, day dreamer (was tested for hearing loss cos wouldn’t respond) or would say “I can’t hear you, everyone is shouting”. I honestly had no idea for five decades that not everyone has a family shouting and arguing in their head!