Dissociative Identity Disorder – Making Rules

I am in no way an expert and I am sure that other people have other ways of doing  things but I am going to explain how I made rules amongst my Helpers and hope my experience can help someone out there either with DID or loving/caring for someone with it.

Long before I knew that I had DID, I was having periods of severe self harm, issues with eating, therapy being very inconsistent, some extremely inappropriate behaviours, as well as flickering in and out of interactions with people as often as every minute or so.
I had all the diagnoseable issue of memory lapses/losses and such as well but it was these issues that either caused me personal harm or threatened my recovery that I felt I needed to tackle first.

I decided on a short list of really important rules. You can decide your own. I just chose what affected me the most.

  1. No self harm, suicide attempts or alcohol.
  2. Heather is the only one that goes to therapy. Julie (Head Honcho Helper) can be there too (co-conscious) but silent until the session is over.
  3. The children can not drive or engage in any other “adults only” activities.
  4. If asked your name, you must give it honestly.
  5. Heather needs to be present as much as possible.

The list is not long but these were the 5 most important issues for me to deal with right off the bat. I was frustrated by these 5 things the most.

For me, making rules felt weird. Who do I tell the rules to? How do I know they hear me or will respect what I say? Do I even HAVE DID for real?
My nurse at the time just said to start talking inwardly about the rules and why they are so important. I also found that getting someone else to tell me the rules or recording my own voice talking about the rules then listening to it was helpful as well.

I will be honest, nothing at all changed for a while but then I decided to start making some deals with them. I knew that a teenage Helper was doing the self harm so I tried to support her and care for her like you would any teenager. I finally started getting some contact with her through pictures (usually drawn in blood but hey… it was a start). She was hurting so badly and even though I don’t know exactly why, I asked her to give me the chance to start dealing with these things myself. That I am an adult now and I can solve some of the things that are likely troubling her.  I found out that she was a big fan of tattoo’s. Trees and owls being her most loved subject matter. I decided to try something…
I made her a deal that if she did not harm me for 3 months, I would get a tattoo similar to one of her drawings on the wrist with the most damage. I had no idea if that would work but suddenly the cutting stopped. One time a new location was found but then I added that to the rule. NO cutting anywhere for 3 months.
Eventually I went and got that tattoo. I added words that I really liked and some leaves but the actual design was mostly hers. Then the deal was not to cut the tattoo. It was beautiful and expensive. If no cutting continued, we’d do the other wrist too with an owl.
I am very happy to say that I have been harm/cut free now for 20 months.

The other rules were dealt with the same way. Just gentle and respectful talk. There has to be something in for them to though in my experience. I’ve made deals like…

  • If someone takes over or arrives in therapy, they can speak for 5 minutes but they must admit who they are. After 5 minutes, they must give the session back to me. Therapy is Heathers time but often (almost always) these takeovers have a reason. They need to say something and it often ends up helping me.
  • I will allow the young ones time to colour when I can because I know they enjoy it.
  • Certain decisions are made as a group if at all possible. We have a journal together that notes may be left. They are often nasty but I overlook that. I know they are hurting. It is what they say they need that is important. Big decisions like leaving the therapist that I wrote about awhile ago were made this way.
  • I promise to NEVER discuss integration. If other parts choose to become closer to me, allow me their memories and want to be more of a part of my life? That is great but NO ONE is going to be “erased”.

It is not an exact science and you need to try to do what will work for you but eventually you will find some little pathways in to their hearts and minds.

One last and really important note. This matters a lot to me.
Try not to be afraid of your other parts. They are all you and they were all created to protect you as the host. They are not hurtful people with horrible agendas. They are hurt, sad and very often in a lot of pain. They act out quite often in inappropriate ways but that is what people in pain do. They need compassion and care just as we do. So many are young too. At least for me. Remembering these young Helpers need time to play, colour and be children. They never got to be children and neither did I so colouring and play time is important.

My Helpers total 24 (that I know of) and each one of us is important. We all have our own opinions, memories, gifts and challenges. With respect, calmness, and caring, we work better and better as a team. I hope the years that follow will bring us even closer. I wish the same for you and yours. ❤

Yellow Rose

25 responses to “Dissociative Identity Disorder – Making Rules

  1. Thank you this has helped

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    • I am so pleased. I wrote it for you as I said I woudl but it was a good reminder for me and hopefully helps others too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah it is good. I need rules around my T as well because we rely heavily on her and email her there are things we shouldn’t email her for her own safety ethics. If she gets suicidal self harm stuff she has to act. But she doesn’t alot cos she knows it’s not me. But we need to stop sending them.

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  2. Reblogged this on adifferentlifebeinglived and commented:
    Very helpful having rules.

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  3. You have such compassion for everyone in your system. It is very admirable. And yes, rules are essential. We have a no alcohol/drugs rule as well. We have also done very well with the no SI rule thus far (6 months in). Still working on the therapy time-share issue and sexuality stuff. But we’re slowly learning how to share this body in a way that helps everyone feel safe and heard. Great post!

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  4. Sounds a very balanced approach, Heather.

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  5. Having internal rules or plans is an excellent idea. Why does only Heather get to go to therapy though? Others have difficulties and most probably have a trauma history too. This is from a book written for therapists –

    “I recently consulted to a therapist who felt he had accomplished something by getting his dissociative client to remain in her ANP throughout her sessions with him.
    His view reflects the fundamental mistake that untrained therapists tend to make with DID and DDNOS. Although his client was properly diagnosed, he assumed that the ANP should be encouraged to take charge of the other parts at all times.
    He also expected her to speak for them—in other words, to do their therapy. This denied the other parts the opportunity to reveal their secrets, heal their pain, or correct their childhood-based beliefs about the world.

    If you were doing family therapy, would it be a good idea to only meet with the father, especially if he had not talked with his children or his spouse in years? Would the other family members feel as if their experiences and feelings mattered?
    Would they be able to improve their relationships? You must work with the parts who are inside of the system. Directly.”
    ― Alison Miller, Healing the Unimaginable: Treating Ritual Abuse and Mind Control

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    • Thank you for the re-blog and your thoughts. 🙂
      The reason why only Heather attends therapy is because I am the adult and I am the one that can deal with these issues that children should have never had to deal with. When I have the skills myself, I can help the Helpers as well.
      Also, I drive 2 hours each way for therapy and children can not drive. *laugh*
      The Helpers have spoken up before (many times) but I limit their time so that I have time to try to learn how to help them with the issue they presented. To add to that? The Helpers took ALL the therapy for the first 2 years. Now it is my/Heathers turn. 🙂
      The Helpers are also encouraged to leave me notes, pictures, they are given craft time, they take over rather regularly still when they feel the need. They in no way are left out of the healing and they are given plenty of compassion and love but it is my turn to help the Helpers now as they always did for me. Their memories, issues and needs are my top priority. They are never left out.
      I didn’t go in to a ton of detail in the blog but I probably will down the road.
      For us? This is working really well. Amazingly well actually. Maybe for someone else it needs to be different.
      Does this help my decision make sense?
      Have a lovely weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I really needed to read this. I’m relatively new to my diagnosis and right now it feels like everything is coming apart…these rules are good — when you say when asked their name do you mean the names the alternates have in the system?

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    • I’m glad it helps a bit Robert. I was so confused at first about it all. It’s been a 2 year process to get these rules in place but it does get easier.
      And yes, my Helpers names is what I am referring to. If they are able to talk (some can’t/won’t/don’t), they must admit who they are if asked. It helps others and it also helps me when I come back if I know who was out and if they said anything helpful.
      Is there any area in particular that you are really struggling with now?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m new to the diagnosis. Right now the biggest problem is that some of the alternates have declared war on each other..It makes life so difficult, I lose alot of time and because there is very little collaboration right now my body is sleep deprived.

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      • I know it is hard but with time and patience, you will get there.
        Feel free to tell them all to STOP and allow you to sleep. Promise to try to deal with whatever issues they have the next day. Even if you do not know what the issues are, ask them to draw or write or cut pictures from magazines… anything at all so they can leave you messages. I have a book that any Helper may write or draw in at any time. There are so many ideas that I felt would never work (like the book or just telling them to stop) that did actually work eventually.
        I do not know if this will help you but I say to mine (as though I am talking to myself)
        “I am an adult now and I can keep us all safe. I can handle whatever any of you need. You can relax now. You did an amazing job in helping me get to where I am today but you deserve a break now. Allow me to care for you.”
        Shockingly it does calm my Helpers after awhile.
        Just give them a LOT of compassion and try not to get fed up or pi$$ed off with them. It will help turn things around far sooner than anger.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Those are good ideas. My blog and my flickr stream are their notebooks. I don’t know if anyone else knows when I’ve switched. I see differences in tone of voice and image style but other people may not. I think the problem is that at this phase of treatment, we have to feel–and we really don’t know how to yet.

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      • I’m with you there. I have no clue how to feel yet either. We’ll figure it out.
        I doubt that a lot of people notice when a person with true DID switches. It is actually rather uncommon to have “florid” presentations. I think though that if people know you have DID and watch more closely, they will notice.
        Keep me up to date with your progress. I wish you only the best.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love your point about the word, “Florid”…it sounds more dramatic than it looks. My subjective experience is that it’s happening all the time and is thus “florid” but I forget that I worked in a high profile job and no one noticed the switches–not even when
        I became too symptomatic to work.
        of course my family notices–

        Perhaps the oddest part is the disconnect–sometimes people will comment on the sadness of something
        I’ve posted and I don’t know what they mean..to me they’re words or memories of stories I’ve heard…I have to go through an intellectual process of reminding myself that regardless of my denial these things did happen and that
        it is sad that they happened…I’m not entirely sure that my inability to “fee” the sadness is a bad thing…at least for now.

        Thank you for sharing your experience with me–It’s very kind of you and healing.

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      • I have found that very few people with DID have many changes are are very obvious and total breaks from their every day personality. They happen.Don;t get me wrong. I’ve made “switches” at times that have been VERY obvious but I do not find that to be the norm. Most of them are more gentle switches that people who do not know me very well would never even notice. People who know me well can tell most of the time but this wild switch from one to another to another hasn’t been my experience. That being said? That is MY experience. Others experience things differently. I have found many persons with DID saying something similar though.
        I do agree with you that actually feeling things is better left for when you get safety and support all built up. I have done that part so now I am trying to feel some of it… not an easy task.
        I hope you will keep in touch with me. I find you very enlightening. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have complete breaks. It may be because I’m male; I’ve read that males become symptomatic later in life when the dissociative strategy is more rigid.

        The problem is that just being alive carries a certain risk of experiencing trauma. If someone starts dissocialtng at age 4 — then by age 50 that person may have to or thee very elaborate alters, each one representing a phase of life…

        I do think that for most people severe DID is not the rule…I’m sure that at the pace of current research we will find that there is a high degree of mild DID
        among people with anxiety disorders, bi-polar disorder and depressive disorders.

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      • Nice that we agree. 🙂 That is exactly what I said.
        I also started to dissociate at roughly 4 years old. Possibly even younger and my most obvious switches are to a young girl that can not speak yet. I am 45 now so just 5 years shy of you.
        My most obvious switches are That little girl (Hannah), Tilly who is 10/11, Polly who is a teenager, Shawna who is in her early 20’s and then any of the men. Just out of curiosity. Do you have any female alters? I have 4 males and 20 females. Who are your most obvious?
        I know that some are very obvious but this wild swinging between alters that I have seen on YouTube seems very inorganic to me. I am not doubting them. It is just not my experience. My switches are generally less obvious with occasional TOTALLY OBVIOUS switches. I used to be more 50/50 but 2 years of really hard work on this and I have begun to have more control. You will too I am sure. 🙂
        And what do you call your alters? Mine are obviously referred to as my Helpers. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • My most active alters are the ones that served as the ‘host’ at different points in my life–I know what you mean about some of the You Tube Videos. Kim Noble is the real deal, MRI scans can locate the separate neuro-networks that are her alters, and the HBO documentary on Multiple Personality Disorder is also very good.

        I do have a female alter but I don’t really like to discuss her.

        My male alternates use variations of my first and middle names for their name–so Bobby, Bob, Robby, Robert and the Matt, Mateo, Matthew and Matty.

        One of the Females is closely identified with the religion of birth which is Judaism, she calls herself Sara, another is younger and calls herself Felicity.

        Some of my alternates use Second Life and many of the Second Life pictures are made by them.

        My switches have become more obvious–they used to be less obvious but when this first began I was misdiagnosed and went through two courses of ECT which is a mistake.

        It increased the memory barriers and worsened the DID.

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  7. Awesome post Heather… I am glad that the rules help everyone work together as a team. 🙂

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