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System Trust Issues: Compromising Trust (013) Transcript

Audio Episode New

<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>

Episode 13 - System Trust Issues: Compromising Trust. Over the last four episodes, Episode 9 - Welcome to DID: We Are Not Your Enemy, Episode 10 - As Inside, So Outside (and vice versa), Episode 11 - Boundaries and Empathy and Episode 12 - Panic Reactions, we've been defining terms and giving foundational concepts, and we want you to strap in because to cover what remains to be said is going to be a two-parter. And we're going to take this whole thing even farther into the depths of intrapersonal relationships. So I recommend that you check out these other episodes when you have a chance for more ideas and concepts that will help you work on system trust.

Over and over, we hear about systems with deep and long-standing trust issues. The problems range from the undesirable behavior of one individual to entire factions who cannot get along and wage internal battles over control of front. If you're happy like this, you can turn off the player and you're done with this episode. If you think you can point your finger at someone else in your system and blame them and make them responsible for your happiness, and that we're going to support that attitude, you're in for a little disappointment today. I'm not going to pamper you, and I'm not going to tell you that they're responsible for your situation, no matter how poorly you think your headmates are behaving. So first, we're going to discuss ways that you may be compromising trust in your system, the various things you may be doing that might look different or set up imbalances in your system, or that may be hypocritical, or maybe they erode what little trust you think you have. So here's the news of the hour. You are probably not the good guy. Hate to say it, but in 31 years of dealing with myselves and at least 100 other multiple systems, I have no evidence that there are good and bad guys in your system. It's just a bunch of people doing their absolute best to handle absurdly illogical situations, trauma, abuse, and a life that is probably stranger and far more subtle than fiction. And if you listen to Episode 12, there's at least eight different ways to handle panic-worthy traumatic situations, and possibly more, and all of them have their place. Sometimes there's no choice other than undesirable choices. Yeah, I know that sounds weird, right? Sometimes there's no choice other than undesirable choices to handle and survive a bad situation. So the sooner you realize that everyone's just trying to survive in their own way, and more than likely they're putting their soul on the line to protect your shared life, the better.

Okay, so on that note, let's get started. Your life is a group effort. Please let that sink in. Because if you think you are in charge, or that you are somehow more important than anyone else in your system, you may be creating imbalance and tension in the system. If you think that having a stranglehold on front makes you all that, you're wrong. It just makes you a target, a monarch, someone hogging up the most valuable resources life has to offer. This is a shared life. If you, any of you, mess up, you all go to jail. If you don't take good care of yourselves, you all get sick. So this idea may get some resistance and make you a little upset from the start. You really need to let go of your singular ownership. Hogging front, owning the life, declaring yourself the host, is all compromising system trust. It's limiting the rights of other people, other beings, other alters in your system. And, hate to say it, I'm going to use the people word because that's how we look at it. We look at it as there are two things: either somebody is cogito ergo sum, I think, therefore I am, or they don't think and they're a construct or a fragment that serves a purpose in our system. So everybody who can think and believe and have morals and values, to us, is a person. So we're gonna call them people for this episode, and not start using all those other words.

So everything you do inside of your system and when you're interacting with the outside world matters. In Episode 10 - As Inside, So Outside (and vice versa), I outline that the boundary between the external and the internal world is permeable, that your inside interactions affect outside interactions and the other way around. I also talk about things in different episodes, and about how other people in your system can see what's going on. There's no secrets. So you can't hide the things that you say or do from your system. You're never ever going to have a moment of being able to talk behind their back. Everything you do inside your system, and when interacting with the outside world, they're going to know. Okay, so now you're going to let that sink in for a moment. Maybe pause if you need to. Let that sink in. They know everything you do. They see everything you do. They hear everything you say.

So the next thing: your desire to integrate too soon. Now I know not everybody has this issue. But if you're running around proclaiming you want to integrate, I want you to consider for a moment how your headmates feel about that, especially if they're not fully co-aware. They're hearing this on some level. So this goes even a step beyond just claiming that you own your collective life. You also don't want them to even be participatory in your system. You want to make them go away. You want to obliterate them, subsume them. It's kind of like Henry the Eighth killing everybody that disagreed with him. You aren't in a trust position with them to even ask the question or get permission to integrate, so the idea of integration perhaps shouldn't even be on the table. And if your therapist asks too early, it's almost double jeopardy, right? Because they're not only compromising your relationship in the system and your system trust, because if you agree with your therapist or if you capitulate to your therapist, you're putting your relationship with your headmates at risk, but if the therapist asks too early, they're also putting the therapeutic relationship at risk. If they're insisting, twice as much. So you got this double jeopardy situation of not only the system having internal trust issues, but also having elements of your system having issues with your therapist. So you need to build trust and rapport and have a collaborative decision about whether or not integration should even be on the table. And you can't make this decision unilaterally or in conjunction with your therapist and expect that they haven't overheard you.

On a similar note, talking about overhearing you, words and names really matter. What you use in your language, and how you address people in your system and the labels you put on them, really do matter. So that whole little children's rhyme, sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me, is a lie. It's a lie. How many of us, raise your hands, how many of us have ever been called names? How did that feel? I know a lot of you are raising your hands, whether mentally or physically. Okay, I'm raising my hand. I've been called names. Okay? Names, labels, name calling matters. So in some cases, being minimized creates anxiety, and anxiety creates a trigger-happy environment. It enforces those panic reactions that I keep talking about. So you have a trigger-happy environment with parts that can't form trust with each other or where the name-calling kind of installs a hierarchical system in your body where some are better than and some are less than others. It can also be very similar to certain forms of abuse, or trigger forms of trauma, especially if you have trauma with being called names or bullying and things like that. So I make a big stink about how things are worded all the time because most folks seem to be struggling with internal trust issues, and one of the easiest low-hanging fruit is to look at what you, whoever you are, whoever's fronting, are doing that kind of continues to create this environment of distrust, and whether or not there's changes you can make that will create a healthier, safer internal environment. So when you change the words, when you realize that words matter, and you change the words, you can validate rather than invalidate people in your system. You can give them person status. You can give them equality, just through language alone. If you want to work more on attitude adjustments towards your headmates, I recommend that you really check out Episode 9 - Welcome to DID: We Are Not Your Enemy, and Episode 12 on panic reactions, because these episodes will help stop you from vilifying your headmates by labeling them or using words that disempower.

Again, you know, on a similar note, okay, it's not just about the labels and the words we use that create hierarchies in our system. There's also the use, the potential use, of coercion, coercive language and behaviors that will try to get people on your side or make them do something. This has come up a couple of times recently, where people ask, how can I get them to X, Y, or Z? Or how can I make them such and such? How can I make them go away? How can I integrate them? And you find out through questioning that they don't have permission. This whole idea that you can make other people, and this is another reason that I call them people, that you can make other people do something against their will. That's a false concept, in most cases. I mean, you can do a whole bunch of things, and you can try, but you really can't, at the end of the day, make them. So it's really unfair to say we're setting an agenda and anyone who disagrees is the enemy. A lot of systems are set up that way. You have a few co-aware people making rules, and then you have one or more others who are outside of that decision-making group who disagree or aren't included. And it sets up this us versus them. So the group in control can often be like "they're the enemy" and label them, like I was saying earlier, or they use coercive language, "how can we get them to stop? How can we keep them from fronting?" and so on. The language, you know, the coercive language and that behavior that you can make them do something, that you have that kind of control, creates an adversarial relationship between one group and another.

So what do you do about that one? Well, if your side, if your co-aware group, become so attractive and inviting that the non co-aware group or that the other group wants to join it, and you leave the invitation for them - that you build this conversation, that you're opening things up, that you're coming to the table together. That allows you to make changes on your side that are within your control in the group that you can come to agreements with. So you sit down with the group you have agreements with, and you say, "Is it okay if we invite them? What if we have a meeting, and we leave the door open? What if we issue an open invitation? What if we put it on the PA system and the loudspeaker that everybody's invited to join us?" So you try to build this conversation and open things up and make these changes that are in your own control and build an internal movement that's irresistible, that's so flexible, and inviting and positive that the other group thinks, wait a minute, you know, why aren't we joining in? So in other words, try an attitude adjustment of we are going to work hard to work together and agree on what we want to do and where we want to take this life. We'll talk about that more in the next episode. And if you want them to come on board, you have to get on board, you have to really change and to allow them to become part of the conversation if they want to. And you have to really mean it. You have to really genuinely mean it. You can't hide things from your system.

Which brings us to safety issues. I know, people are like, gonna be screaming in their head, But but but but, but they're, they're hurting us. But they're trying to commit suicide. But they're hurting our friends. But they're hurting our family. But they're mad at our husband. But but but but but, right? So we're going to talk about keeping safe. Alright? These folk who are behaving in a way that you don't agree with, that may be putting you, your system, your body, your relationships at risk. Okay, I know you have a situation. We're addressing what you can do about it, right? Because you can't control other people. So we have to only address you and what you can do, and we'll talk about that more in the next episode. So locking those people who are misbehaving down because they're basically inconveniencing you ends up pushing them further away. Okay, it forces your system into oppositional roles, and it's triggering their panic reactions. When somebody pushes you away, you panic. You're in a position of importance in their life, whether they like you or not. That's not on the table. We're not even talking about liking each other. Okay, we're just talking about your system is a group. Like it or not, you are all necessary, you're all there, and it is your shared life. So getting pushed away is panic-worthy. And so I talk about it in Episode 12 - Panic reactions. Anytime something is panic-worthy, you're going to have people inside of your system having a knee jerk reaction. And in some cases, those reactions are the very things that you find inconvenient. So locking them down is going to make them panic. So this erodes the system trust, and it assures that you're going to have an adversarial relationship.

If you think about it for a moment, if the tables were reversed, and somebody were pushing you away, you would panic too, right? And you wouldn't trust them because it's really hard to trust your jailer or your oppressor. So you're looking at system trust issues, and then you're pushing them away and locking them up and putting them behind walls, doors, gates, whatever it is you're doing and excluding them from decisions, how are they going to react to that? How would you like them to react to that? Oh, I'm so sorry, I'll behave? No, that's -- given our history of abuse, and the systems of abuse and power issues that we come from, when you push them into these situations, that's triggering the very behavior you're trying to eliminate. So pushing them away, locking them up, causes panic. And then they have a panic reaction of becoming an abuser, perhaps, using the follow panic reaction, the if you can't beat them, join them. So they become your abuser. They become more and more like the people in your life, external life, that you don't want anymore, which may cause you to panic more, and maybe your pushing them away is part of your panic reaction. But I want you to understand right now, while you're thinking about this, that you may be contributing to this adversarial relationship on your end, and maybe there's something you can do about it.

So, to flip around the safety note, you have this person in your system who may be harming your body or your relationships. So let's take a look at what you're doing in terms of safety. So one of the things I'm currently working on. I've been blessed not to have to deal with my biological parents for a couple of years, and I realized recently in working on system trust issues and talking about all these things -- I look at myself, and I look for hypocrisy in my life. I know I'm a hypocrite, but I like to eliminate as much of that as possible. So I look at my life and I say, What am I doing that's contributing to those who are unable to join us? Those who are unable to come to the table when we issue an open invite, why can't they come join us? Why can't they reveal our past? Why can't they make themselves known? Why is there this limitation in our system? So the past couple of years, I have been absolutely blessed not to have to deal with our biological parents, which makes our life eminently more safe. But it also makes us realize how much we covered for some of the abuse from both of them. And how much trust we lost in our system for still attempting to mollify them, still attempting to forgive them, still attempting to make excuses for their behavior. It created an unsafe environment for those of us who are most affected by them. And in some ways, that makes us very sad. So here we are, we were attempting to hang out with our former abusers, we invited our mother to live with us. Thankfully, that went south, and we're actually really glad that it did because it reminded us, you know, now in our adult life, when we're more cognizant of what's going on, having her that close to us for that long, you know, where otherwise it was, you know, a week here a week there visiting, or living, you know, in the same borough and seeing each other frequently, but now it was under the same roof. And I got to see the dysfunction, and I got to see the manipulation, and I got to see the problematic behavior right in front of me. And when she left in a huff and cut us off, she did us a big favor.

We no longer need to apologize. We no longer need to cover up. We no longer need to lie to ourselves, and we're still finding those lies and releasing ourselves from them. We no longer need to create an unsafe environment for those other people to come out. And we're looking to see and make sure that there are no other situations where we are sabotaging them, where we're making it so that they feel this need to stay undercover, where they feel a need to hide and run away and so on or stay frozen in time and space to protect themselves from further abuse. The more safe our environment, the better, the more likely they'll be able to come and join us and be part of the decision-making committee and take part in the rules and take part of running our life, the more likely it'll be that we can hug them and hold them and kiss them and love them and name them George or something. I want to put this on the table for you, okay, on this big safety note. You are the sum of the parts. You're the sum of the people that you hang out with, the closest people you hang out with, the people you put yourself in daily situations with, the people that you allow into your life, the people that you apologize for. Hanging out with your former abusers is sending a signal to some of your internals that your life is still not safe. And they're probably right.

So if, let's say, I had panic reactions of self harm because I was dealing with my mother, and somebody in my system is trying to remind me or protect us from my mother by doing something we might consider dangerous. Not suicidal, dangerous, but say we're cutting because we're having to cope with the pain. So this person in our system is doing something we don't want, and possibly putting us at risk of infections and possibly making a mistake and killing us and so on. And certainly, you know, the social stigma of scars, and so on. So this person is cutting because we're still interacting with our mother. We can vilify the cutter, but really what's happening is the cutter is kind of reacting to the fact that we're still dealing with our mother. So who's to blame? The cutter? Why are we blaming the cutter? Why are we excusing and apologizing for our mother's past or current bad behavior and vilifying somebody inside of our system? And not protecting them in our system? Which is our responsibility, protect them. Why are we not protecting them from our mother by distancing ourselves or even cutting our mother off? Why are we doing this to them?

It's not the physical, you know, we don't have anybody taking front and cutting, but we do have at least two if not more people in our system who are caught in self harming loops, mental, emotional, you know, and for them very physical pain and suffering, because of things that happened to us when we were a child, possibly from either of our parents, possibly from other abusers. But why are we continuing to torment them by constantly reminding them of the abuse by keeping this person, this abuser, this external person around? Had they woke up, smell the java, worked on themselves, gone to therapy, you know, put their issues into remission, apologized to us, put it all out on the table and said, "Look, these are the the horrible things we did to you and we're really oh so sorry", and worked on healing the relationship, we could probably deal with that, including the people in our system traumatized by them. That might heal that relationship, but they're not. So these are people who may never realize the harm they caused us and never acknowledged their responsibility. And if they did, we would be one of the first people, probably including the ones that are hurt, to roll out a red carpet and say, "We forgive you, and we would like to have a relationship with you." But at the same time, knowing it's just in remission, knowing that they have that extra close relationship to us, they can get under our skin more easily, and nobody's perfect, and people make mistakes, we might also keep them still at arm's length with protections and boundaries and things to make sure that it doesn't get bad.

So if you're sitting on people inside of your system and oppressing them and trying to keep them from harming your system, you may still be putting your system in harm's way yourself simply by the company you keep. And this sends a signal, a very deep signal, of hypocrisy to the system. You're trying to protect your system from the internals, but you're not protecting the system from the external abusers. So if you need to work on this more, you may want to listen to Episode 11 on boundaries and empathy. And we're going to continue that conversation in an episode on decording rituals, on getting all of your abusers hooks on a spiritual and emotional level out of your system and making sure that you have a healthy boundary system. So that's not a finished conversation. But Episode 11 on boundaries and empathy is where it all begins. And making sure that you have a healthy boundary system is really important so that people in your system can trust you and know that you will help keep them safe.

So, all of that said, this episode went over things that you're probably doing that aren't helping the situation, that are undermining it, that may even be sabotaging it. And in the very next episode, Episode 14, we're going to talk specifically about the things you can actively do to help the situation.

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