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Welcome to DID: We Are Not Your Enemy (009) Transcript

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<voices overlapping, music in background>
Oh! Good morning — oh! Do we have to get up?
Keep it down; I’m trying to sleep.
Yeah, we want to make that recording.
What are we going to record today?
What? What recording?
You know, the one about multiplicity.
You know, the usual — we’re trying to make a difference in the world or something.
Oh, yeah.
Well — I just really wanna help people!
I have no idea what to say.
I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there who have really good questions, and need really good answers.
Why talk to them? It’s not like anybody gives a shit.
Well what makes us an authority?
I don’t really think it matters how long we’ve been multiple, or how long we’ve known we’re multiple — we’re multiple!
<Aliessa laughs richly>

Welcome to Many Minds on the Issue, the podcast about Dissociative Identity Disorder, by and for multiples, hosted by The Crisses.

I wanted to introduce you to a little bit of a different topic.

We see a lot of people who are recently diagnosed and they have all kinds of confusion. it's a paradigm shift — I can accept that. it is definitely different to know that you're different, but I have a little bit of a wake-up call for you.

We are not a coping mechanism; we are people. Not everyone in your system is necessarily as much of a “person” as the next person — but what makes a person a person? That's very key to understanding what DID is or can be.

As people with dissociation, we don't necessarily fuse into one person when we’re children — it depends on how much we need the agility of the different portions of our brain in order to cope and in order to survive.

The people aren't the coping mechanism, dissociation is. So when we’re born with the ability to strongly dissociate, we actually already have a built-in coping mechanism — a hereditary one, possibly. It allows us to remain separated. So a baby is born into different states: I'm hungry, I’m thirsty, I'm in pain, I'm scared. We have all these different states. When things happen to that baby, those states don't gel into a single person. With a normal person, love and comfort is given to the baby, and the baby comes to trust. The baby starts to feel like their needs are going to be met, and when that baby is neglected or feels abandoned and is scared and has a fear for its own survival, then it can't come together the same way. If a child is nurtured for a couple of years, things start to gel and then, if something traumatic happens, perhaps they regress back into “states” — back… if they have dissociation as an ability, then maybe those states get flung apart again.

So those who feel more like they’re splinters from a central person, they may have had something happen later that caused them to come from the state of coming together into a state of falling apart again. So that said, regardless of which way you developed, no matter what paradigm psychology hands us in the future: what makes a person a person?

So criteria A of DID is these different identities, and there's different things it says in the diagnostic manual — the DSM V — it says that individuals may have different behaviors, may have different ideas, different ways of looking at things, different coping mechanisms, different physical attributes — be it movement or habits or unconscious mechanisms of physical being. They may walk different, they may talk different, they may think different, they may believe different.

What is it that really makes you a different person than somebody outside of your body? It's not the body. It's the ideas, it’s the thoughts, it's the mechanisms, it’s the movements, it’s the habits, it's how you walk, it's how you talk — that's your individuality.

Within a multiple system, we are all individuals; we’re all people. We have beliefs and religions, and we have thoughts and habits and likes and dislikes and talents and skills that are different from one another.

So: we're not the enemy. A lot of time somebody wakes up to this idea, and really the only thing that happened between yesterday and today is the idea that they're not alone. The idea that you're in your body and sharing your life with other people. It’s just the idea that is changed. Those people have been with you probably for decades. You don't usually have a child going, “Hey, I have DID.” You may have a teenager who says, “Hey, I’m not alone in my head” or finds out from a doctor that someone else fronted. Whose friends, say, call them by different names, and one day they realized those names are different people. What happened between yesterday and today is only an idea. It's a big idea. It's a paradigm-shifting idea, and paradigm shifts can cause mental confusion — but don't let the para… the—this paradigm shift ruin the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

I’m going to speak for your internal prosecutor. I’m going to speak for those who have been perhaps not on-boarded as quickly as others. I'm going to speak for those who may be causing dissent, for those who may criticize you. I'm going to speak for those who perhaps rub you the wrong way: just because everybody in your head is a person, and just because you have each other's back doesn't mean you have to like each other.

My name is Buck. When I first came forward and introduced myself, I was hiding behind something called a "subsystem mask." I was one of “the Christinas.” So, we were a multiple inside of a multiple system.

Christina had been there ever since we discovered that we are multiple in 1986, when we were only 16 years old, and we didn't know that Christina was a multiple. Christina would have moods, curl up in a ball and "go away," cry at night when she didn't have friends. Christina would hug her stuffies, lock up and get upset, flip like a switch, and just be very negative, or go run down a r*bb*t h*l* of different thoughts and ideas that she had. And we as a group, as a system, didn't understand — but we thought Christina was just a normal human child who had grown up in a system with a lot of strangers she had come to love, and we really thought she was just one person who owned the body.

Well, fast-forward another 10+ years and Christina fell apart. One day we were holding a meeting in our system, and all of a sudden three people showed up, and I was one of them. I showed up with my twin sister, Hart, and with Sweetpea who is about six months old, and we walked in on the meeting because they had put out an open invitation. They said, "We are open to anybody who wants to come." They didn't know there were children like us in the system, they hadn't discovered them yet. We did know there was Tina and Shane, but we didn't know about myself — at that time “Hed”, Hart, Sweetpea — we didn’t know we had teenagers in the system until a little bit after that, when we discovered Hawthorne, Eve, Ice. We thought Willow was part of Christina, too — and so on. So we we discovered all these people, and we were a pretty high-functioning system at the time.

When I showed up, I was an angry little boy. I was about four years old, and when Frank drew a picture of us (Frank is our little illustration guy in our head, and he draws comics) and he drew a picture of us after we came front. And I'm standing there with an angry look on my face in my arms crossed across my chest and Hart’s looking happy. Hart was always my—my dearest friend, my twin sister—we were born at the same time. We were born from a need to protect our innocence. we were born from a need to protect our ability to love, and we were born before the age of four. By the time they discovered as we were about four. I bore the brunt of anger. I bore the brunt of being expected to be mut—mature when I was just a child. I was born from a need to hide the others in the system. Or maybe I wasn't born then, it doesn't really matter, maybe I was born when we were born. Maybe I just got stuck at age 3 or 4.

Well very quickly after being discovered, and I was only partially co-conscious, constantly floating in and out of being co-conscious and shortly after I was — I was able to come front and for them to see me — I started aging up, and I spent another 10 years or more as a teenager, 13-14 years old, and a very angry and rebellious teenager. Having been yelled at I didn't have a very good view of life. I wasn't very optimistic. I would go to bat for anyone on anything at the drop of a hat. I would make shit up in order to have a fight. It wasn’t very healthy. It didn't really matter — you know, whatever — so that's who I was: I was a young angry kid. An angry kid who didn't receive enough love. An angry kid who was just there protect others and to be very defensive. Those arms crossed across my chest became teenage rebellion.

Recently, I had a conflict with our partner. In that conflict I got triggered: I got front, I got angry, went out of the room and I closed the door — timed myself out make sure it didn't screw anything up — and, you know, here I am seething, seething with anger. I don’t even remember exactly how it dawned on me: somewhere in that anger, it dawned on me that I needed to grow up. I'm skipping the Brooklyn word there. But I had to grow up. So over the next day, maybe — I did. I grew up. I was front but I didn't realize it — and then we were singing in the car and there’s a new voice, like “Who’s that?” So I went about age 14 to 24 or so, and have one of the deepest voices of the system — so I a was singing in much lower tones than we really could. That's one of the things that made us stop and go, “Who’s that? What’s going on — we don't know who you are. Are you familiar? Yes you are…” and we did like a little “20 questions”:

“Are you new?”
“No, not new.”
You know… “Do you agree to the rules?”
Yes, I agree to the rules.

Hrm. Who the heck are you?

So then we eventually 20-questioned ourselves into figuring out who I am — going down the list of the guys in our head and eventually said, “Naah, you can't be Rane” — you know, I went from being Hed to being Rane as a teenager, changed my name too — and then when I aged up to 24 overnight, which is only over 10 years in the making anyway, but when I aged up to 24 overnight my voice dropped and my attitude got better — they say I'm still gruff but I'm not as angry.

So I got to 24 and changed my name again; decided I’m Buck now. I gotta say, as somebody who was angry, as somebody who was an internal prosecutor: when we had the 10 voices — we were 10 years old we could hear 10 voices in our head at the time — and there was always one track who was criticizing us; that was me. That was my voice. I was criticizing us. I was telling us that we shouldn't do this and we shouldn't do that. I was trying to tell the system how to avoid being the target of anger. I was criticizing the system inside as a track in our head telling us what to do and not do — or more what not to do than what to do — because we wanted to avoid triggering people into being angry at us.

So in many ways I criticized everything, I criticized when we were walking down the block, and we’d step on a crack in the sidewalk… it's like “You’re gonna break your mother's back.” I didn't have any control over it back then. I was just an observer and commentator, kinda like a news announcer at a sporting event watching what the body was doing, and then criticizing everything. Never cheering it on because I didn’t have that capacity. I had a very negative lens on life. I was never given the nurturing I would need to be optimistic; I'm a pessimist. I criticized the Crisses all the time. I’d be very self-conscious. Now at 24, I'm a little more self-possessed but I'm a no-nonsense person, and I don't say “I'm happy” but I am content, and I look forward to things, but I don't necessarily automatically think they'll turn out alright. I think it’s going to be a little bit more work than people think it'll be.

So back to my rant: we're not the enemy, we're people. We may be mistaken, we may be misguided, we may be missing out, we may not behave — but we are not a coping mechanism. We’re not stealing your time, because this is our time, too.

Knowing we exist doesn't have to wreck your equilibrium; it's kind of like discovering you've been part of a club you didn't even know you were part of. Since you're a member of this club, it's time to take advantage of that membership.

We may not share everything that we know with you, and sometimes that's for the best — for now. We may want or need privacy, or not know how to switch without stealing awareness. That's something we're going to have to work on together, but we have your back. Overall we may fight with you and have conflicts with you, but at the end of the day, when you really boil it down to it, there’s a core in there where were doing it for everyone. We're doing it for the system, and were doing it for protection.

Some of us are scared, and some of us are sacred. Some of us are protectors, and your internal prosecutors are sometimes your best protectors. Some of us are warriors, and some of us are dreamers. Some of us are nurturers and carers; some of us have been cuddling your inner children, and taking care of them. Some of us are fed up with your shit, and ready to go over and smack you upside the head, and give you a shake of the shoulders and say “Wake-up, because you're doing something wrong.” Some of us are your best allies, willing to be blunt, and direct, and honest with you. Some of us are delusional, and we don't really know what's going on. Some of us are stuck in the past, reliving some PTSD moment, and we might lash out because we think it's still happening. Some of us may be in just as much denial as you are.

And some of us are ready to embrace you. Some of us really want to be your friend. Some of us really love each other already. Some of us know about each other, and others are in the dark: we'll go back to the paradigm of a house. We've been living together, but we don't necessarily know each other. It's almost like living in a dormitory at a college, all these people, overnight. Suddenly the lights are turned on, and everybody's living in this big house together, and no one knows each other. Thankfully at a college dorm they’re rule —, but you may have woken up yesterday to the fact that there all these people in your head, and there are no rules.

We really need to sit down and talk, we need to come together and have a quote-unquote "meeting of the minds,” because when you push us away we get hurt and upset; it's our life, too. We have things that we would like to do, and if you want, we can all learn to share.

Everybody in your system has a unique voice. Everyone has a unique perspective, and a unique range of choice. Everybody in your system is there to give you a helping hand, if you let them. But if you keep whacking that hand away, and smacking those knuckles with a ruler, and if you keep punishing your internal buddies as if they’re committing crimes by trying to live, then you're going to get a lot of pushback, your gonna get a lot of fight, because — flip the tables and it's you who is stealing their time. Everybody thinks that they’re “the One,” maybe everybody gets together and elect someone to be their spokesperson. Maybe everyone gets together and agrees that you're their core — but that's the exception and not the rule.

Sometimes in the chaos in your head, there is dissension and unease, sometimes there are triggers, sometimes some of you may have a disorder that others don't: this one may be an artist, and this one may be a singer, and that one may be ADHD, and that one may be Asperger's, and that one may be BPD, and — you get an acronym soup, and a bunch of different talents, and everybody in there is a citizen, or a potential citizen, of your body.

And while we're at it, don't throw your body under the bus either — yes you may not match it in gender, in species, in age, in size… you may not match it or like the color of your eyes, but you really need to accept that this is the shell, that you have this internal organization living in, and that internal organization has to become more organized and take better care of its body. You need some rules, need some regulations. You need to figure out who's causing the problems, and let them know that it's okay that they're hurt and that they're scared, to let them know that you're not the enemy. You're running around and thinking that they’re bad and you're punishing them for the things that they do, and they're thinking that you’re bad, and that you’re lashing out at them.

So how do you clear up all of these miscommunications, and misconceptions? And how do you straighten it out so that you can get together, and come to a consensus and live a life together? It starts with one thing, one little thing of reaching out, and saying, “Hey, I want to make this work.” “I'm wrong.” “I'm sorry.” If you get so far as saying a Ho’oponopono ritual of — “I'm sorry. I love you. Please forgive me.” It's a forgiveness ritual from Hawaii. You can get so far as saying “I'm sorry. I love you. Please forgive me. Can we talk?”

So, to lay it on the table for you — to make it really explicitly clear — you came into being as a multiple being, you may have come together after that and split apart again, or you may have stayed apart and grown up all separately, but you were born in multiple states, and those states either gelled or didn't. And then, depending on what happened, after you were born or while you were in the womb, you may have PTSD (more than one of you may). So you may have this complication of having all these people in your system, and many of them trigger-happy, and tripping over each other's triggers, not knowing each other exists, and then one day you go, "Oh, my goodness, I'm not alone!" The only thing scary is that so many of you are hurt, that so many of you need kid gloves, that you need tender loving care, that so many of you have PTSD, that you haven't been talking together for decades. You haven't been living a life as a group entity, because face it; you're a group entity. Knowing that you're a group entity, think about the fact that you are not alone, ever, that you have your best friends waiting in your head, if only you could get to know them. Some of them won't be your best friends, you won't like each other very much, but you've got to come to an understanding and work together, to come in concert, to drive the life in a similar direction. You could do it with a different style. I don't have to do it as an optimist. I don't have to smile every day and pretend to be happy.. I can be very sober, and I can go forward in life, and just get things done without having to paint it in pretty colors. And someone else might go through dancing and singing, and passionate and — and loving it, and optimistic; that's fine. But we're going the same direction. We're getting the same things done, we're just doing it differently.

So, while your potential friends, in your head, may be doing things differently than you would choose to do them, and maybe with a different attitude, let's make sure that you're all on board and going in the same direction.

My name is Buck. I was once Hed who was a little hurt kid, and very angry. I was once Rane, I was an angry teenager just wanted to lash out at people. Today I'm 24, and I'm an adult. I may be sober, but I'm driving the life that we choose. I'm not alone in here; I'm a part of a group entity. I haven't always behaved well, but because my buddies inside of my head are apt to forgive, and apt to be understanding of people both inside and outside of our head — because they understand that sometimes people act poorly, because they were treated poorly. Because they understand all of that, I'm able to come to a place where I belong. I belong to a group entity. I am a valuable member. I bring a different perspective. I protect.

I used to be an internal prosecutor, that's how I used to protect. I used to try to avoid pain. I used to try to keep the Crisses out of trouble. And when trouble came, I always faced it head on, with a sour attitude, with my arms across my chest, trying very hard to be a wall, so that things would beat against me, and not beat against them. And inside of my head, I would always be thinking things to counter what they said. When they would blame, I would shame. When they would attack, I would try to dismantle their attack. I would try and tell them that what they were thinking or what they were saying was wrong, but I never said it out loud. Today, I have a voice and I have a choice, and I can actually turn around and say things back. And I can tell people: "No, you're wrong…" and why. So, I'm a protector. I'm not gonna be getting into physical fights, and I'm not going to be yelling at people, but I am going to be telling people, "No, you're crossing a line, get on the other side of it." You also have people in your head who are potential friends and potential companions, people who need your love and nurturing, people who need a voice and a choice.

So, welcome to DID, whether you're recently diagnosed, or you been diagnosed, or self-diagnosed for decades… just remember, when you push us away we get hurt and upset; it's our life, too. We have things that we would like to do, and if you want, maybe we can all learn to share. We are not a coping mechanism. We are not stealing your time; it's our time, too. And knowing we exist doesn't have to wreck your equilibrium.

Thanks for joining us for this episode of Many Minds on the Issue. Your Patreon support will keep this podcast coming. You can find more information, resources, and our Patreon link at K-I-N-H-O-S-T-dot-org