As I and many of my readers know, healing from dissociative identity disorder takes a long time. We struggle with so many issues that it takes time to wade through them even with an excellent therapist.
God knows there are many things to accept in healing from a major mental health disorder. But perhaps the most vital things to accept are everything we cannot change.
What I’m saying is that we cannot change so many aspects of who we are, such as the past, and the fact that our childhoods were chaotic and harmful. We cannot change the parenting we received, the fact we missed a vital developmental stage, or that we formed DID.
So, perhaps we need to accept them as being as they are and build upon a foundation of that acceptance.
Much has been written about the dynamics of dissociative identity disorder and other mental health issues, but we are only beginning to understand how acceptance speeds up and makes permanent changes in us.
We Need Not Remain Trapped
Life has thrown you and I a mess to claim as our lives. We were mistreated in ways that would cause most to lose their sanity or their lives. We didn’t ask for what we got we just drew some bad cards.
We didn’t wake up one morning and think, “Hey, I think I’ll have a severe mental health issue and suffer for a few years.” We have been victims of the most atrocious hand of cards dealt out at our births and now are paying the high price for owning them.
However, we need not remain trapped in our past helplessness and hopelessness. To escape we need to reach down deep inside and accept who we are, where we are, and how we got here.
Six Key Facts that Speed Up Healing
As multiples, we need to also accept six key facts.
One. We cannot change what has transpired in the past. Not a lick. Nothing. We are not gods and do not have that ability. Accepting this is perhaps the first stage in healing because we spend an inordinate amount of energy having temper tantrums over what happened then instead of living well in the now. Acceptance short circuits all of that allowing us to move forward.
Two. That person you see in the mirror, that is the real you. There are not a lot of people running about in your head, no matter how it feels. There is only one of you and there is only one of me. Yes, our minds have done a marvelous job of utilizing dissociation to survive, but its time to lay that aside and take responsibility for who we are and greet who we are with open arms.
Three. All those personality splinters we call alters are helpful pieces of our own psyche. They are not monsters. They are not demons. They are not separated from us. They are us, and we are them. Accepting this fact can only lead to one thing, integration.
Now, I know the “I” word is terrifying to some and can cause some multiples to get angry. However, I’m not saying we need to abandon those parts of ourselves or to kill them. That is not possible. Not at all. They are all us and we are all them. If we abandon or kill them we are abandoned and die with them. We and our alters are completely inseparable.
Four. Its time to stop being afraid, resentful, and angry with the alters. Our brains did a marvelous thing in inventing them to help us survive. They do not deserve our hatred or anger. They deserve acceptance and to allow them to come into the present where things are safe relative to trauma-time where many reside.
Five. When you love the alters, you love yourself. When you accept your alters, you are accepting yourself. Hugging, holding, laughing, and joking around with the alters is truly doing all these things with and for yourself.
It’s time to accept yourself and to love you.
Six. Finally, we must accept full responsibility for everything that is said and done whether dissociated or not. This means if I hurt someone as an alter I do not blame that alter because they are me and I am them. I AM responsible for the words that I said to that hurt that person. Should I commit a crime while dissociated, I Am responsible for that action and should pay the social penalty for it.
Accepting responsibility for my actions and behaviors has greatly increased my self-respect, self-esteem, and given me power over myself I never had before. I no longer say to my therapist or to anyone else that so and so did this or that. No. I take the entire behavior or action onto myself because that is where it belongs.
I cannot stress enough you are your alters and they are you. Anything they say or do cannot be blamed on “someone else in my system” because they are all you! Accepting this definitely gives healing a boost.
Some Final Thoughts
It is vital to remember that we are not children any longer. We have no excuses for bad manners or breaking the law. Just because we were treated so badly in childhood and developed DID does not give us a ticket to say to society “you owe me”.
The only “owing” that is real is how we owe it to ourselves to accept who we are and seek to improve what we do not like while enhancing the things we do.
I know this piece may have stirred up some crap, but that’s okay. I’m not trying to harm anyone or make anyone feel bad about themselves. My motive for writing this piece is this.
I’ve made some very poor decisions and turns during my healing and I want to help steer my readers and friends out there in Internetland to not make the same mistakes. If I can shake you awake enough to see, even if later, the errors you may be making, then my writing will not have been in vain.
I accept the fact that sometimes I step on toes and lose readers. That is part of accepting my lot as a person who has survived not only the trauma that caused my DID but also the responsibility for helping you along your healing path.
“There is a moment in our healing journey when our denial crumbles; we realize our experience and it’s continued effects on us won’t “just go away”. That’s our breakthrough moment. It’s the sun coming out to warm the seeds of hope so they can grow our personal garden of empowerment.” ~ Jeanne McElvaney
“You’ve already done the hardest part; you survived the trauma. You are much stronger than you think you are.” ~ Sarah Newman