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System Trust Issues: Building Trust (014) 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>

Episode 14 - System Trust Issues: Building Trust. In Episode 13, we gave a bunch of don'ts for your system, including some tips on how to turn around your own misbehavior in the system that may be compromising your system trust. So now, we want to turn to the proactive elements, the things that you can do deliberately, and the processes that you can put into place that will help build up your system trust. We're going to start with the low-hanging fruit. In coaching and self improvement, there's this whole idea of locus of control. And that's really just a way of saying that which you can control right now. You can expand your ability to control and influence things. It's kind of like an onion. If you picture all these circles inside of circles on a piece of paper, and you're at the center, and then the next ring out are things you may have influence over. And as you go out on the rings, you go out to things that you have less than less control over. So it starts with control. What part of yourself do you have control over and what don't you? Well, you can increase your ability to control things but only to an extent where your boundaries end. If you want to go back to my boundaries episode, that's Episode 11 - Boundaries and Empathy. So your boundaries end and then some things on the other side of them, you have less control over that. It's almost like you're looking at a boundary system.

So let's face it, you can't really control other people. Your control is just that one center circle. Anything outside of your central circle, you don't really control. You can influence outside of that circle. And the best way to influence anyone is to lead by example. So this is where you can get very proactive in influencing others, controlling yourself to influence others. But you have to accept this basic fact that the only real control you have is over yourself, and your ability to control other people, whether inside the system or not, is limited. Any control you attempt to exert on others comes with a cost. There's a price to it. Whether you're using manipulation, begging, cajoling, bribing, blackmailing, threatening, oppressing, or disempowering others, there's a fee that you're going to pay for exerting that control. And that fee is probably best described as loss of integrity or loss of trust. So if you want to build trust, stay within your integrity, stay within the lines, exert control over yourself, unless you absolutely feel that exerting control on someone else is a matter of safety, if that makes sense. So just because you don't like what somebody is doing, does not really give you the right to try to manipulate them into not doing it. You can ask. That's exerting influence, but once you try to control them, you're putting everything at risk. You're putting that entire relationship, whether it's positive or negative, you're putting that relationship at risk, and you're gonna pay a price for it.

I was saying to stay in your integrity. If you really want to focus on your locus of control and control yourself and influence others, you may want an attitude adjustment. I love the words attitude adjustment. Just it makes me think of Terminator. You need a serious attitude adjustment. So it just makes me laugh. So being in your integrity. Given the situation that you're sharing your head and your mental, physical and emotional resources with others, you cannot fake being in your own integrity. It's hard enough anyway with outside people. Humans have ways of spotting people who are out of integrity. It's part of, I guess, instinct, social instincts, social osmosis, what we absorb from our environment about social laws and rules and morals. We can see it on people's faces when they're not sincere. We can hear it in their voice. There's a difference in a fake smile and a real smile that's outside of our conscious control. Some of the facial muscles are not in our conscious control. Right?

So you can't fake it. You can't fake being in your integrity. Other people in your system are going to know. So in order to change your paradigm from one of being adversarial to being one of collaboration, and of having hope for a shared future, you can't just make the motions. You can't fake it till you make it. You really have to deeply understand and accept the concept of it being a shared life, and really put yourself at risk by putting it on the table and saying, "we share this" and say, "we can make the rules for this." And if you're a party of one at your house rule party, you know, the door is open, the invitation is issued, "Hey, anybody who wants please come to this meeting? We need to work on some house rules. I really want your input," and you're entirely in your integrity, and you're the only person that shows up, that's okay. You put out the invitation. Stay within your integrity. You know, keep the house rules limited. You know, there's not that many people. Once you start living in your integrity and you're following your own house rules, and you're not, you know, you're subjecting yourself to discipline if you violate it, and so on and so forth. Once you're acting in your integrity, you've got their attent attention. They're watching you to see if you make a mistake. They're watching to see if you apologize when you make a mistake. They're looking for whether you're sincere, whether this is gonna stick. Okay, if you've tried things before, and they're like, "Oh, here we go again," you know, maybe they need a little proof is in the pudding. Maybe they need to see that this attitude adjustment is permeating your entire individual being, and that it's being translated to everything you do.

So, yes, we're all people that make mistakes, but being in your integrity, you apologize. You discipline yourself, you know. You watch yourself, and if you need to time yourself out, you do. I do. I do with my kids. "I need a timeout. I'm sorry. I'm out of here," and I go check myself into my bedroom for a while. If you need to timeout other people in your head, if you do have a collaborative and everybody's agreeing on the rules, and somebody breaks them, and you need to time them out or somebody in the system is creating a harmful or dangerous situation, keep in mind that you're holding them back from fronting, from hurting others for their good, out of love for them, not hate. It completely changes how you interact with them, how hard you hold them down, what barriers you put in place if you have to sequester them, whether they have entertainment in the room, or if it's like a jail cell and it's barren. It changes your situation. And the other thing to keep in mind to stay in your integrity is that as soon as they're back in control of themself, or the threat has passed, you have to let them go. You're not punishing them. You're keeping them safe. And to clarify that safety, you're protecting them from regret and guilt. You're protecting them from the consequences of their behavior, and you're helping them stay within the rules.

You can see this is an entirely different attitude than keeping them from hurting other people, from making your system safe from them, or protecting your body from them, or protecting people outside of your body from them. Your attitude adjustment is, "How can I serve you? How can I serve you? You're my headmate. We're peers. We're peers. I am not your jailer. I'm not your oppressor. I am not your judge, jury and executioner. I am your peer and I care about you the same way I would care about me. I would not want to be allowed to violate these rules. I would want you to stop me, and I would appreciate it if you stopped me before I violate these rules. So I'm going to stop you because I know you care about the rules we made. I know you care about the rules that we agreed on. I know you participated. I know you voted in favor of this. So I know we need for you to stop. You need for you to stop. You don't want the guilt later. You don't want us to lose trust with you. So we're gonna stop you." And that, for us, for the Crisses, has been a major change in how we dealt with one another. And thankfully, we started this one pretty early on, where we stopped people from doing things for them. We had other imbalances in our system, which took us a few -- a decade or two to iron out, you know, and get things more in a peer relationship, but we really did care that people not hurt themself.

And so that said, the moment that they're with it again, the moment that they're back in compliance, let them go. They're done. The timeout is over. They've collected themselves, and they're mentally present again, and they're not panicking anymore? Let them out. And this will help build trust, not only with them because you let them go as soon as everything was under control again. It'll help you build trust with everybody else in the system if you do this. I guarantee it. If you are in your integrity, and you keep to your word, and you treat people fairly, and you treat them like peers and not subjects in your kingdom, you will see changes. You will see more trust building up. And you're going to surprise the heck out of them. The first time you do it, and you're like, "What? You're with it again? We're done here. Go on," it's going to be like, "Say what? You let them go? You're not punishing them? You're not disciplining them? You're not yelling at them? You're not mad at them?" No. They know what they did. And if they don't, you could explain it, but you know, you're gonna be calm, be cool, you know. Just use as little force as necessary to make sure that everything is handled and then move on. Move on. You're done.

So the more people you have in your -- let's call it cooperation board or your collaborative, okay -- the more people you have in your collaborative making the rules, the easier it'll be. You can still front while somebody else goes and hold somebody who's out of control back, and once it's done, they let them go. That's it, that in your house rules it can be, "Yes, we are using timeouts as discipline, just simply to ensure everyone's safety and to make sure that nobody gets hurt. So we're going to use timeouts. Now timeouts will be time limited, and they will be temporary. As soon as the person is under their own control and can be released on their own recognizance, we will." When people see you're keeping to the rules, they're going to feel so much more comfortable.

All of this is about role modeling completely different behavior. Right? That attitude adjustment we were just talking about, that difference in how you discipline or how you keep the safety rules in place, it's a complete change from an oppressive system to one of integrity and peer monitoring of a situation and peer handling of a situation. So that said, now you're a role model. You and your collaborative are role models for all of those who are unable at this time to participate in making the rules and enforcing them. So they can see you. They see how you treat people inside and outside of your body.

So now we're going to talk a little bit more about how you treat people outside. Okay, we just talked about treating the people inside more kindly, right? And I've been going over that in many episodes, treating people more kindly, not seeing them as the enemy, so on and so forth. Well, let's do that with people outside your body. Okay, we'll talk about the As Inside, So Outside (and vice versa) part of this. Your buddies inside your head see how you treat people outside your body. So if you treat people outside your body unkindly, they're going to expect that you're going to treat them in an unkindly way. There have been times the Crisses have behaved less than well towards people outside, and it made the non co-aware people inside of us feel that maybe they wouldn't be treated very well.

Role modeling behavior. So the people in our system that are not co-aware yet can see everything that we do. I keep saying this over and over again, but it's true. They can really see and perceive it, even if it's just subconsciously. So everything we do sends signals to them about how safe they will be to come forward. So let's say I'm upset with myself over something I've done, and I punished myself with guilt and remorse or self directed anger. They're gonna think the same visceral emotions will be directed at them if they make a mistake. And since to err is normal, they're inevitably going to be punished or disliked or receive anger, whether it's inside of myself, whether I'm angry at myself, or if I'm dealing with people outside of my body, if I'm altering my reality, that creates an unsafe environment for the people in my body, if I get angry at abusers because of things they've done. I'm not angry at my parents, You know, they're all messed up. I'm keeping us safe by not being near them. I'm not gonna apologize for them anymore. I'm not going to cover up the abuse. But I'm not angry at them. I just needed to keep my distance from them. I don't have to be angry.

This reality check -that it's not safe,that I don't need to be angry, you know, that yeah, they had their abuses and their reasons and whatever, but I can just separate myself from them - the scared and buried people in my head may be more likely to come forward because they're not going to be subjected to a lie, because they're not going to be subjected to our abusers, because I'm not going to get angry at them if they screw something up. I will be understanding of it because I'm understanding of my own screw ups, because I'm understanding of other people outside of our body when they screw up. It's role modeling a difference in attitude, that hopefully the others in here can see that we're not compromising their experience by denying the abuse and that we're not going to be angry at them if they traumatize someone by accident. If they act out, that they're not going to be punished for it, if that makes any sense. It's not going to be punishment. It's going to be consequences, and the consequence may be that they get timed out until they're back in their own control as a consequence, and that's very fair. But it's not going to be an unfair punishment for something they may not have had control over. You don't give somebody control by punishing them. We're gonna continue to work on internal and external relationships, role modeling better and better behavior. As soon as we can identify things that are a problem, we're going to fix it, we're going to take care of it, and we're going to try and have a healthy attitude towards mistakes and problems, whether ours or someone else's. So that's role modeling.

So we have to also face that our body is 48 years old and we can't just, let's say, allow our inner children to run around in our life with the power of a 48 year old without having any rules or limitations or any discipline. We can go out -- and we've done this and we've got to figure out how to limit it -- we can go out and blow a lot of money in a craft store. We can go to an ice cream parlor and buy ourselves a lot ice cream at 48 years old. We have a little bit of an issue with somebody who likes to impulse buy things, and we are not in a position to house a whole lot of impulse bought things. So we have to be more careful and more disciplined, and that's something we're going to be working on a lot in not having parents. Being 48, we basically didn't have parents anyway, keeping an eye on us. We kind of have to put our own healthy boundaries in place, or rules regarding our behavior. What do we do with our money? What do we do with our time? we need to have some firm boundaries on our internal discipline, if you will, and enforce it. So you know, the temptation is there to blow things off or go play or run out to the, you know, to the store and buy coloring books and things like that, but we need to put rules and limitations to keep ourselves safe, to be able to have consequences, to be able to have a savings account, and to make sure that we don't gain too much weight, that we don't throw our body into diabetes, you know, by having excessive amounts of ice cream or pasta or whatever it is that our body doesn't really care for very much. We have to set up safe limitations and boundaries for all of us, and our younger folk in the system, so that we can all operate safely and not put our life and body in danger.

This goes for everything. We handle a business, so it's our finances, our accounting, our nutrition, health care appointments. Basically, all of these things help us work towards being fully functional and being able to properly adult. And so I want to put into place that you don't increase system trust when you allow anyone in your system to run amok. I'm not talking about putting unreasonable boundaries in place. I'm not talking about putting too much limitation. You're all going to be sitting at the table. All of you. Anyone who shows up to the meeting is going to be sitting at the table and going over the rules. But on the agenda for your meeting should be: Do we need any discipline or rules in place about how often the littles get treats or how much money our alters can spend or, you know, how many birthdays are we celebrating a year? Whatever it is, any kind of limitations you might need to stay disciplined, to stay -- just to keep kind of a firm boundary rather than just saying, "Oh, we have littles. Let them all run amok because our parents were horrible and oppressive, so we're gonna give them no rules and no limitations. They can do whatever they want. They can have ice cream for dinner every day," and, you know, basically ruin your shared life by giving carte blanche to certain people in the system. It actually throws off the power in the system and kind of gives them more power over certain things than anyone else.

Well, what if I want to eat healthy seven days a week, and I never want to have ice cream, and this one wants ice cream seven days a week. And, no, let's not even go there. You know, what is the responsible thing to do? And we can sit down and agree. Yeah, we need to eat more healthy, we should not have as much pasta and blah, blah, blah. But we're going to have to say yes to ice cream every now and then because, you know, maybe not every week, but we all need to have our pleasure moments and indulge. So we're going to do it, say, once a month or whatever, you know. You can come up with rules and limitations and boundaries and say "Hey, can we not use food as a reward? Could we maybe do something else?" Craft time. Okay, I've got so much craft supplies, I don't even need to go to the craft store and buy more. So "Hey, how about, you know, as a pleasure moment, instead of spending money at the store, how about we break into our craft supplies and have some fun time making stuff?" Or whatever, you know. You can set these kinds of limitations and firm internal boundaries and discipline, and then as a group enforce it. You know, make sure it's in writing, you know, because people forget. Especially in DID systems, we might forget the rules. So put it in writing, and then make sure that, you know, you have appropriate disciplines for it. If somebody overspends, what are you going to do? You're not going to time them out, because it's not -- they're not out of control in that way. But you might say, "Okay, that's it. I'm sorry. You're not gonna be able to spend money for the next month. You know, you particularly, are not gonna be able to spend money for the next month."

Whatever it is, your system comes up with those consequences for breaking the rules. And you also have to remind each other of the rules. Similar to what I said before about sitting on people and preventing them from breaking the rules, you can do that with these rules too. It's like, "I don't know about that. You know you're going to end up with sanctions on spending for the next month if you buy that," and try and help them limit themselves. Say, "Nope, nope. We're gonna switch. We're gonna switch. Oop, we switched. Sorry, we're putting the credit card away." We've done that. "Oop, credit card goes right back in the wallet. We're not buying that. Things go back on the shelf. We're out of here. We're not buying anything." Try and work on building system trust by having reasonable rules and taking good care of your life. There are going to be guardians in your system who are going to be watching very carefully how well you discipline or don't discipline your kids, and things like that, vice versa, you know, and if somebody is indulging them too much, you might have to pull them aside and say they need to be like kids. As inside, so outside vice versa. All kids inside or out need discipline. They need boundaries because they'll just flow out all over the place. They need to be contained a little bit. Not a lot. Age appropriate. You know, smaller kids, smaller boundaries. Larger kids, bigger boundaries. And if you need to, there's plenty of books on disciplining children and rules and regulations and things and you can find a good one. And you could read up on disciplining external kids, and then apply it internally if you need to. But could you imagine like a physical five year old running around with a credit card? No. So your internal five year old should not be running around with a credit card.

So how do you build trust, like as an active exercise? What do you do? What do you do? Everybody's gonna be like, banging on the gates? What do we do? What do we do? How do we build trust? I mean, I'm talking about all these, like, proactive things, but not one of them is really building trust, right? Well, okay. So most of us in DID systems, we have at least some people within our system who have socially normal expectations and abilities, and you can make friends and you can build trust outside of your body. It's exactly like that. How do you build trust with people? you know, you trust them first, and then, you know, they reciprocate with little trust, and then you trust them a little more. You know, you build it, literally building it a little at a time. The only trust between building trust with external people and internal people, is that these friends inside your body can always hear what you hear, and can always see what you see. So your best bet when building trust is being trustworthy. And that's a 24/7 thing. You can't talk to your best external friend outside of your body about how you're fooling somebody in your system into trusting you. Think about that. It's like, oh, yeah, you know, so and so, I've got them hooked blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. No. No, obviously, obviously. But it does bear saying you have no secrets from the people in your body. So you have to be in your integrity all the time and own responsibility for what you do. Apologize when you screw up. That's how you work with people outside your body when you're trying to build trust. You know, you're responsible. You say something, you do it. You keep your word. You do all the same things inside of your body. It's no different than building trust outside of your body, other than the fact that they can overhear you or look over your shoulder all the time.

So the more transparent you are about your motivations, and the more you open up your plans to the input of others, the more trustworthy you'll become. And then that leads directly to the next point which is working on ownership, not buy-in. Multiple systems are systems also. As inside, so outside and vice versa. So one of the things, one of the breakthroughs of the industry of working on systems, is that they find that group ownership eats the concept of gaining buy-in for breakfast. So many systems inside or out fail because someone hands down in an agenda or rules and expects others in the system to comply. Compliance. Here, hear of compliance? It sucks, okay. So they expect others in the system to comply by force or coercion, incentive, threats, and then the implication is, right from the beginning, that the people handing down these rules are better than those who are receiving the rules. It's implied in the very fact that they're not included in creating the agenda in the first place, that they're not there for the rulemaking. They're not being given a chance, or choice to modify it or decide whether or not to participate. So the more that you say you're the host, or that you're the core, and you tell people what they can and cannot do with your life, the more they feel like a schmuck rather than an equal partner. And no one wants to be handed a set of rules and told that they're required to abide by them without participating in the making of those rules.

This also happens in therapy. When your therapist uses a term like compliance to pat their clients on the back for falling in line, or resistance for those who fail to capitulate to what they decree is the next step in your treatment, which is another word I have issue with, treatment. So make sure you check out Episode 8. 8 is Hiring Health Consultants: Hiring, Firing and Self-Advocacy, becoming your own case manager and stuff like that. So check out Episode 8 for more information on this. It works really, really well to help you build system trust, when you stand up for yourself. Your system would really rather own your therapy and your goals as a group than hand the power over to your therapist or your healthcare team to decide what goes on with you. When your entire system participates in coming up with the therapeutic goals, and your health consultants are on board, there's no need for any words like compliance and resistance. If you can't meet your goals, then you sit down and you figure out what's wrong and change the goals are the methods being used to achieve them. You don't have any need for labels like compliance and resistance when you are the group owner of the project.

So if you find yourself slipping into trying to create buy-in, then maybe you still have an adversarial or hierarchical setup in your head, and you need to release the entire concept of there being a them versus an us in the first place. Everyone is in the system together. There's no better than. There's no less than. Everyone who's willing and able to come to the table is allowed to, and those who cannot, because they're not co-aware, are allowed to have input and help renegotiate your agreements, your goals and your projects and your rules later. That's the way you get ownership versus buy-in. They still -- even if they're not co-aware, and they don't show up to make the rules, they still own the life. They have a share. They have a vote. They may not participate in the vote, in which case their vote isn't counted, but they have the vote. They still own the life along with the rest of you. So if you find yourself bumping heads against this, switch the language you're using to a language of ownership. You co-own your life, so it's our life and our body. And once you become a we rather than an us versus them, things will get easier in your system.

So I hope this pair of episodes on system trust issues have been helpful for you. We decided to publish these together this week and take next week off instead of separating these episodes by a week. So we'll be back with Episode 15 in two weeks, and make sure to give us feedback on whether or not this is helpful for you, and any questions you have to help us know whether or not we need to expand on any of these topics or concepts in later episodes. Thank you for listening, and whatever you do, please take great care of yourselves.

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