Aside

Unfiltered Parts of me

I have a post about Monday and Thursday’s sessions all ready. I’m just afraid to post it. I feel like something has shifted in my attempt to be unfiltered with Bea, hubby, and Kay. In being way more unfiltered with Bea, it seems she is understanding how my mind works even better than she has before. But that is so very vulnerable making and scary. 

We’ve talked about “parts” before; the little girl, the teenager, the perfect one. And those parts are very apparent to me. The summer before I started seeing Bea, things got very messy. My nightmares and “scary daydreams”, the “picture snaps” (what Bea has now taught me are flashbacks) came back. My moods were all over the place. I didn’t feel like myself, I didn’t always like how I was acting, or understand my reactions, but I couldn’t control it, either. Now, looking back, I can see that the teenager and the little girl were running the show a lot of the time. 

Bea introduced the idea of parts very carefully. I don’t remember when she brought up the idea, but it was in an email. I’d written that I felt like a scared child pretending to be a grownup. She wrote back that when people experience trauma, there can be parts stuck in the past. She suggested that there was a part of me who felt like a little girl, but there was a grown up part, too, who ran the ship. The idea of parts made me feel crazy, but the more Bea talked about it, the more she pointed out that she was sensing the little girl, the more I accepted this idea and began to clearly see when I was sounding, feeling, or behaving like the little girl. The teenager showed up, too, although I spent more time trying to shut her down and send her away than acknowledging her presence. 

And, I read your blogs, and saw that a lot of you identified parts of yourselves as a little girl. Some of you had parts that were more separated, more defined, but you all had parts. Suddenly, I wasn’t so crazy. This idea of parts became much more normalized. It was okay. 

Until Thursday. I have spent the last two weeks being unfiltered with Bea. I think it really started when she went on vacation, and spent her vacation emailing with me, and accepting the fact that her learning something new felt like she was changing everything. It started when she admitted that I was right about some things, even though she had previously said otherwise (just not in so many words). It started when I started having breakdowns in therapy about her changing everything and not being safe anymore. It started when the teenager wrote a snarky email, and I allowed it to be sent. It started because Bea responded to the email, and wasn’t upset. She responded to the teenager, but it was more than that. Her email read like she liked and respected the teenager. So, living a life unfiltered started there. But then, maybe because I was explaining much more openly what my experience was growing up, what it was like in my head, how separate things were, how I hid things from myself, she said something. She said, “a separate personality you created in order to function. To survive.” 

What does that mean? I’m freaking out over here. A separate personality I created to function, to survive. Is this why I don’t remember large parts of my life? Why there are parts of my life that feel like a movie I watched, or a book I read? Why sometimes I “know” something I previously didn’t know, why I remember things I forgot that I forgot? Is this why some things that are in the past feel as if they are happening right now, in my present? Why things can feel so confusing, messy, and chaotic? I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what she meant. I won’t ask her, because I am too afraid right now. I don’t want to know her answer. But I need to talk this out with someone, with people who understand. That’s you, my bloggy friends. So, as scared as I am to post this, I’m going to. Because everytime I have ever posted anything scary, or needed support, you have all been there, and normalized it all. I trust you guys. Even if you aren’t “real life” friends, you are very real friends. 

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23 thoughts on “Unfiltered Parts of me

  1. Hi Alice, I just saw this and can’t write something extensive at this second, however I know that the agony of waiting for someone to respond to a particularly vulnerable post can make everything feel worse.

    Everything will be ok. Trauma puts the brain under incredible stress and thankfully the brain has dissociation to help protect itself.

    I will be happy to “talk” more in a bit. Just know that you aren’t alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cats Meow is right, you are not alone. All survivors of abuse- sexual and/or physical and neglect go through this in one way or another; it’s part of the aftermath. Those of us lucky to survive must learn, with the help of an exceptional therapist, to integrate all those parts in us, accept them and most of all learn to love them and thank them for being strong, brave and surviving…ultimately learning to love all of ourselves. It’s a journey. Bea is your guide and compass. Trust her and she will get you to the life you so richly deserve and have always deserved.

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  2. Sirena says:

    I think with trauma histories, we can easily fragment and dissociate to such an extent that we create many selves, or parts to do certain jobs. The parts can have different personalities or not. It doesn’t necessarily mean D.I.D but that you’re on a spectrum of the dissociation. The dissociation can make you forget things. I don’t know what you’re asking really, do you think she’s talking about D.I.D?

    Liked by 3 people

    • I don’t even know what I am asking. I don’t think I have DID…I guess it just really threw me to hear her talking about a separate personality. It’s not language she has used before…I don’t know. I feel very confused at the moment, and just…I don’t know. Thank you for responding, even if there isn’t an “answer”, it really just helps to not be alone in my head with this. If that makes sense.

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      • I could…I know she would be fine with a text, email or a call. I’m just not ready to open this conversation in the therapy room. I’m afraid of what she will say. I’m afraid I am making a big deal over nothing. I don’t know. I’m just not ready to talk it through with her. Maybe I need to understand better myself first.

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  3. I’ve been told the same. Initially I dismissed it as psychobabble. But as I get older and I meet other survivors, I think a lot of it makes sense. The brain uses whatever functions it can to survive. The thing is, now you have to let each part grieve. You need to recognise your inner child and listen to her. Take special care of yourself xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, dissociation is definitely on a spectrum. It’s actually really positive that you are accessing these parts of yourself that you never expressed before.

    My impression from reading your writing is that parts of you are not as separate as they are for me. For instance, where you write about one child, I have several. Where I really relate is when you talk about your FOO, about how everything needs to look perfect – my family is just like that. But in other things you write, I don’t get that separate parts vibe very much. Of course, this is a guess on my part.

    I hope this is the kind of feedback you’re looking for? Maybe it’s good to remember that whatever your situation is, it already exists – your becoming more aware of it can only help in the long term. Parts is an inner situation, and IMO it’s not better or worse than others, just different.

    Take care.

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    • Thank you Ellen. It might be positive that I’m aware of parts of myself and allowing them to be expressed now, but it is….scary, messy, so damn vulnerable feeling.

      I honestly don’t know what I am looking for….which makes it all the more complicated. I guess I have just been hearing her words over and over in my head since Thursday, and I needed some place to put them, to talk about it, to not be sitting, alone in my head, with it. I think it threw me for a loop when she used the words “separate personality” because she has always made this point to talk about parts of me, and how they are all me, just different ways of being me. I don’t know. It just felt different. And the fact that I have been way less filtered with her the last two weeks, I don’t know. Maybe I wondered if she was seeing something different than she had before. I really don’t know.

      What you said at the end, that whatever the situation, it already exits, is very true. It’s how I felt about my daughter’s autism diagnosis. Having a label did not change her, or what was going on, or how I felt about her. That makes so much sense to me. Thank you.

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  5. I have lots of different parts, at least one for every year of my abuse, sometimes more. But they are not fully developed like separate personalities, but different emotions and ways of perceiving the world. They are parts my mind created to hold the experiences and the pain. It’s normal for somebody who experienced trauma to have these parts ….some people’s parts are more developed than others. Talking to these parts and reassuring them has been a key in my healing. Talking out loud, reminding them that they grew up to be me, and I will keep us safe, and the abuse is over, and I will never let that happen again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not sure what to say, but you’re definitely not alone or crazy or anything negative. I think dissociation is a really clever tool that trauma survivors used to get through their abuse. Bea may be talking about this in some part of the dissociative spectrum. I know it’s scary though. I hope you’re able to talk about this with her and gain some clarity. We’re here. We support you. xo

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  7. I would feel unnerved by new lingo too. You’ve had so many internal shifts lately, it makes perfect sense to me you are scared and confused and overall unsure. I know what it’s like to make changes or gain new insights and feel very ungrounded. I’m glad you are reaching out here. I certainly have many parts of myself with different needs and behaviors. It’s totally confusing.

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  8. I’ve been thinking about a few things… First of all, do you think that your teenage part has a separate personality from yours? (Forgive me if I am wrong, but from what you wrote, it seems that this is about the teenager in particular. If not, please just apply it to the part in question.) I know that I have a sense for how separate a part is from “the main me” when I sense that part. There are a few that just feel more “other” than the rest of the parts do. But I don’t have any parts who don’t identify as me in some way. There are no separate histories, extremely different tastes, different appearances, etc.. My parts don’t have different names, because they are all a part of me. I suspect that my parts are probably similar to Patty’s. They are very much linked to age of abuse. When strongly connected to the young parts, I experience not just a younger way of thinking and talking, but I also experience my body as feeling smaller. But I know that they are all me and they know that they are me. There is an incredibly angry part that feels as much “un me” as any part has. But even that part is more “separate within the whole” rather than just plain separate. I don’t want to accept that the part is me and the part wants to be on her own, but I don’t think that there is any real confusion about whether the part is a “separate person”, more of a strong desire that the part was that separate.

    My official diagnosis is OSDD. The psychiatrist that I work with and who has worked with multiple patients with DID thinks that my parts aren’t quite separate enough to be DID. I think that as my therapist has seen more and more, she is less sure about which diagnosis is “correct,” however we agreed that in the end the label wouldn’t change the treatment. We work with what is there. Based on those discussions, I was thinking the same thing that Ellen said: you are already as dissociative as you are going to get. You might better understand the dissociation and the symptoms might become more apparent for a while, but the trauma that caused the dissociation is already in the past. If you have a part with a separate personality, that part already developed that way, learning to accept and work with the part won’t make things worse. It will just make it more possible to work with the parts.

    I used to be afraid to work with the parts because I was afraid that I would somehow “encourage” the dissociation and make it worse. That wasn’t true. Learning to work with the parts has made them much more noticeable and identifiable to me, however it also makes it less likely that I’m being influenced by parts without even realizing it, which was happening all of the time before. Now I have a chance at communication and trying to work things out. After Thanksgiving, we are going to try to get the parts to work with each other more and see if we can’t facilitate some more stabilization in that way.

    Is there anything else that I can talk about? Are there any questions that I can answer?

    I remember just how hard it was to come to terms and I remember how I always held to being able to tell myself, “At least I don’t have DID. At least the abuse wasn’t that bad.” Well, I realize now that the abuse actually was that bad and it’s a bit unclear where I fall on that dissociative scale. But I have also realized that my mind had to use the dissociation to break things up in a semi controlled way so that I Didn’t go crazy. It’s what kept me sane and functional enough to get out and build a life for myself. It’s a sane and protective response to a crazy situation that a child can’t escape by other means.

    Oh, side note that you might find interesting. I have definitely found that different parts of me have different abilities. I play a certain word puzzle as a way to chill out at the end of the day, before I go to sleep and different parts have very different ability levels at it, for instance. There is one that is just brilliant at it and naturally sees all of the words possibilities without any real effort. That part almost always makes it through over 100 levels. Other parts struggle to make it past 10 levels. They simply can’t see the words that are contained with the 6 letters. Another example: some parts have no interest in art and among those who are interested, the art can look very different based on who is doing it.

    Take care, my friend…

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  9. I wanted to thank all of you. I didn’t have a specific question or anything I specifically needed to hear. I needed to feel less alone. And everyone of you shared and offered ideas, told me I wasn’t crazy. I’m feeling very supported and not alone. Thank you. Xx

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