I wanted to write a personal post today about two enemies of multiples that all of us know about, but we tend not to speak about them; denial, and self-doubt.
Let’s look at this subject and I’ll enclose some firsthand experiences with denial and self-doubt to show you that you are not alone.
Why Am I Lying Like This?
The above question is one I’ve asked myself at least a million times since I began my healing journey. I’ve just sat in awe of the lies I must be telling about people whom I loved.
The fact is I should have been asking the opposite question, “Why would I lie like this? Of course, that brings to the front of our minds that I must be attention-seeking or am just plain crazy.
My therapist had to straighten me out on those thoughts. She asked me just how attention I was getting for attending therapy and how was that working out for me.
After thinking about it, I had to agree. I wasn’t getting any attention from anyone. In fact, I hid from my family the memories that were surfacing and the emotional pain I was in. As for being crazy? Paula (my therapist) reassured me that although I had a severe mental health condition I was quite sane because I could ask that question. People who are insane will not.
Do I Want to Hurt People?
I decided at one point that I was forcing myself to go to therapy because I wanted to hurt the people who had hurt me. When I was fifteen years old I told on my main abuser. Afterward, that entire side of my family disowned me and refused to stand up for or believe me.
I was so hurt, I decided, that I was making things up to try and hurt them.
Once again my therapist asked me a poignant question, “You said they disowned you and don’t speak to you, how do they know you are in therapy for what he did?”
She was correct, of course. No one knew I was in therapy talking about the vicious things he did so how would I hurt them? And besides, even if they did know, why would they care? They called me a liar and just think I had gone around the bend.
My Point is This
Denial and self-doubt are killers. I’m not necessarily speaking of physical death, although that can happen, but a death inside ourselves. Our self-worth, our self-esteem, and our sense of being worthwhile people suffer when denial and self-doubt come knocking.
Denial and self-doubt come in cycles that range from hours to years. I know I may feel totally confident in my story for a long time but then self-doubt comes back to haunt me.
If I could, I would walk away from DID and all it conveys in a heartbeat. If I could say to myself that I had been lying but I’m turning over a new leaf, I would absolutely do that. However, I can’t because the people who horribly harmed me I should have been able to entrust with my life. Instead, by their actions, they have changed my life course forever.
What caused me to write this piece was that I’m being interviewed by a college student about my story for her thesis. As I have been speaking to her I have become overwhelmed by the crap I’m having to regurgitate about my past. Each story of pain and torture makes me feel more and more like I’m lying to her.
I know intellectually I’m not lying, but inside where it counts Mr. Doubt and Mr. Denial have reared their ugly heads.
So, I’m writing this piece as a reassurance to myself more than anyone else. I thought it only fair to tell you that.
How Will I Defeat Self-Doubt and Denial This Time?
There is something I can do to pull myself out of the funk denial and self-doubt has thrown me into. I could end the interviews and tell her I’ve withdrawn my permission to use my story as her case study. However, to do so would only reinforce my feelings of self-doubt and unbelief.
I do not want to feel I ended the interviews because I believed I was lying to the student. My reasoning is simple, I am not lying. I’m telling the God’s honest truth about all the incidences of trauma and the pain with suffering they have caused me.
To give into my doubt is to relegate me to the back burner and say that my life is a lie. I would be allowing my abusers from the past to rule my life and have their way. Nope, I won’t allow that to happen.
What Can We Do When We are Haunted by Self-Doubt?
The trauma you and I have survived has robbed us of so much of our lives. We struggle with alters who can be a handful and live in a soup of lost time. It’s time we take back our lives and defeat denial every time it comes beckoning at our door.
I have combatted denial and self-doubt before and won by doing three basic things:
- Practicing self-compassion
- I am learning to trust myself
- I am ending my search for validation
Practicing self-compassion, or self-love is possibly the hardest thing a multiple can do. We were told either verbally or by other means as children that we are just useless pieces of flesh that have no value. We grew up believing, and unfortunately still believe, that we don’t belong on this planet and that we are somehow less than human.
If you met someone who was hurting because someone harmed them would you show them anger and hate or would you show them love and compassion? Why don’t we show ourselves the same respect and caring?
If anyone deserves love and compassion it is us. We have survived so much harm and neglect that the best thing we can do is to learn to love ourselves. If that sounds like something that is a sin, it is not. Self-love is vital to our existence and to our healing.
I am learning to trust myself. Yes, I make stupid mistakes and I must deal with an arrant alter once in a while, but it is critical to remember that everyone makes mistakes and that those alters are simply parts of me. I am them and they are me.
I have been learning to trust myself and my decisions by showing respect for myself and allowing me to make mistakes without self-judgment. If occasionally Bianca (my 18-year-old self) buys a pair of jeans when we have little money in the bank, it is not the end of the world. I can trust that I can handle the situation without berating that part of me who decided she wanted some new clothes. I will discuss this slip with myself (Bianca) and move on.
I will also not allow me to say inward or outward that I am a liar. I am not lying. I have nothing to gain by telling lies. I am receiving no money for telling my story. I am putting myself in the line of fire and make myself a human target every time I speak out about the trauma I endured and dissociative identity disorder.
No, I absolutely am not lying.
I am ending my search for validation. There are tons of medical records out there and witnesses who could confirm that what happened to me really took place. However, I don’t need them. I know what happened to me and that is enough.
The college student I was telling you about has been asking if she can get my medical records and speak to Paula to validate my story. The self-doubt and denial immediately began to ring in my heart. I became anxious and fearful that she would discover I’ve been lying about everything I’ve told her.
I don’t need validation and I’m going to turn down her request to see my records and talk to my therapist. Paula is retired now, and I want her to remain that way. My records are mine and it is confidential information. I do not want someone prying into my private stuff.
You don’t need validation either, I believe you. Totally. Without question.
“Believe in your infinite potential. Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself. Believe in yourself, your abilities, and your own potential. Never let self-doubt hold you captive. You are worthy of all that you dream of and hope for.” ~ Roy T. Bennett
“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
~ William Shakespeare
“Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do. Don’t let the limitations of others limit your vision. If you can remove your self-doubt and believe in yourself, you can achieve what you never thought possible.” ~ Roy T. Bennett