I don’t recall all of what I wrote in the first part, but you can go to the post to gather that information. I am probably going to repeat a few things here. Because there are the same things happening, I’m just explaining another thing simultaneously happening.
I was worried about being around family that thanksgiving day. I had gotten pretty distant to my family over the past two or three years…..Perhaps it started a long time before….But anyway, I was consciously avoiding them. Partly because it was too hard on me and also because I felt vulnerable to attack. I couldn’t quite explain why I felt my family was a threat, but it was mostly probably because I never had a safe place.
I had started going to therapy, for the first time in my life, for my actual issue: Dissociative Identity Disorder. I made this decision after my dissociation of selves made me appear chaotic when I wasn’t, and the change in personality frightened people even if there was no aggression or violence about it. It was just “creepy” and “eery” and you know how people let their fears run away with them…
Well, it seems to have caused my ex mother in law to feel she had some sort of right to catch me in a moment of duress to manipulate me for her purpose of taking my child out of my hands. The duress, caused mostly by her son, allowed my dissociation to overtake me and allowed her to take advantage of my desperate situation to get legal guardianship and eventually adopt my child.
That almost killed me. Somehow, my own alters saved my life, as the feelings of suicide are compartmentalized between everyone’s experiences and some people inside my system are pretty defiant in the face of adversity. So they were able to over power the suicidal others.
So anyway, I decided I needed to stop being scared of getting “locked away forever” and come out and say I’m a multiple, and I need help connecting with others who have blocks because of trauma. I had to find a therapist willing to take me seriously, who I trusted. Who wasn’t going to see me as needing psychiatric drugs and needing a “vacation” in the “happy ward” as I call it…
We didn’t trust anyone, I could feel it. But then I started struggling at jobs worse than ever, started missing important health care appointments, would lose time and realize I hadn’t been eating (body was very weak and lost weight)…I knew this was getting out of control. I was dying, but no one could really see that either, because the “happy” face of the system, just one of the Jessica’s, was able to appear normal, like their world wasn’t breaking apart.
When I found her, the one I had been looking for, just a few short months pointed me in the right direction to my healing. I hit a stale mate in my therapy and had to take a break from it and work on this on my own.
So then holidays came and I still was avoiding family. I was figuring out what happened to me and I wasn’t ready to face it. My rapist was still involved with family, because most of them never knew the truth as it was covered up, so I feared seeing him would trigger me when I was dealing with recovering memories. Though he didn’t often show, he would still have been invited and be potentially there. I wasn’t ready to “out” him to the family who didn’t know and expose the truth. When I recovered memories, it was too much to fake. I feared losing control and what alter may be able to push their way out. I didn’t think I was going to be able to handle holidays for a long time. I didn’t want to attend ANY family gathering at all.
But then, my aunt died, and I had no choice. I was lucky enough to not be able to attend the wake, where he was, but I went to the funeral the next day, which he could not. Then, thanksgiving came and it worked out that everyone seemed to be planning their own thing. But a new thing was my uncle had moved back to ohio and for the first time since being back was going to to have Thanksgiving at their house. It was sort of a memorial to the aunt who passed, as years ago, when we all were young, we ALWAYS did Thanksgiving at her house. So I felt this was something important I had to go to.
I took the risk. I had lost my daughter, fought through the alters trying to sabotage my employment and my relationship, now I think it was time to see the family at a gathering. The things I learned in therapy and were learning in the workbook I had acquired from therapy, had taught m a lot of ways to deal with the things that may trigger losing it to dissociation…It was time to try them out for this big thing.
The whole thing started off wonderful from the beginning. Everything I was afraid of wasn’t even an issue, because the people who’d trigger me most (i.e. my siblings most likely) were not even going to be there. It was a small gathering, and none of my siblings were there when I arrived. I was basically the only “kid” at thanksgiving this year and boy, how I felt like a kid sitting at the adult table! Ha. Also, this family, which was my father’s side of the family, finally got to meet my boyfriend I had been dating a few years. As I said, I had been avoiding family for years and that basically meant they didn’t get to meet him either. So finally they did, and they loved him. He fit right in. It was great.
The night went great. It was like I got to have my first thanksgiving just for me, in an imaginary world where abusive people don’t exist, and I could feel close to the people that were just normal family members to me, who wanted to see their niece because they still believe in family. It was a glimpse of how Thanksgiving should have felt THE WHOLE TIME all these years. It made me cry when I left.
Another thing…the alters, the switching…It DID IN FACT HAPPEN while I was there. However, I remained co-conscious with whatever switch, it just was the depersonalization symptoms of like viewing myself outside of myself and not having control of my body. The switches though, were not detected, even when a quite noticable personality change to a little child self occured….And I figured out why…
I’ve been this way, basically, MY WHOLE LIFE. They are used to me. My whole family on my dad’s side are quirky people with corny and witty humor, the kind of people who love in depth and complex pranks on people. Ha ha. There was always some contest going around between who’s pranking who the best (or worst? LOL).
Anyway, with each switch, they accepted me. Not only did they accept me, they seemed to “adjust” to me in whatever personality mode I was in. And when I seemingly “forgot” something because the person up front wasn’t exactly paying attention before up front, well that was something very common in my youth too. I’ve always been this way, but it was mistaken for things like attention problems and an over active imagination. They didn’t understand, this is the way I understand myself, the way my brain actually processes information, the way I see myself naturally. I’m not crazy, I’m a parallel universe of me’s and each one has real experiences that made them the very real person they are. This is information they did not know, but they still treated me with acceptance for being who I was. No matter how “weird” or “eccentric” I got….
Let me tell you a side story here:
I worked at a Kmart when i was about 18 to 20 years old. I dyed my hair a couple different colors. One day, a customer comes into my work wearing a jacket from the business my uncle works at. I asked him if he knew him and surprisingly he did. The next day he was chatting up my uncle about running into me there and in the middle of talking he was like “–OH! and did you know your niece has blue hair?”
My Uncles response was:”Oh, it’s blue now? Last I saw her it was purple…” and it was very casual and not shocked at all, and the guy’s mouth was just gaping like how can he not be shocked by bright blue hair and my gothic look? Haha
Okay, so back to Thanksgiving…well, it seems this post didn’t really talk much about the actual Thanksgiving, which is probably good, since I believed I did so in the “part one” about it. But yeah so, the whole point was, after this experience at thanksgiving I felt more accepting of my selves inside me. Because my family already knew without knowing, and they adjust to each switch and are kind and loving regardless. So it proved to me, being multiple is not my disorder, it was all the other damage done that prevented me from living a balanced and fulfilling life as a multiple. I feel the first step toward integrating into one consciousness is accepting all the consciounesses have a right to exist and not only that, they DO have a place somewhere. You just have to find balance, let it all flow to not look so chaotic. You have to be able to find your oneness in your multiplicity, to work as a team, or be a family, or a system, however you see yourselves.
And family can help you heal and accept you by just accepting you and letting you be you….All of you’s.
I felt so good after this day. I was shocked, i never realized that they had always known without knowing. They could see all the multiple identities and personality switching that was very noticeable, and accept it as my uniqueness. Why can’t people do this who DO know I am multiple? It does help though when everyone is accountable and holding memories for all experiences, but if the multiple you know hasn’t gotten to this or isn’t going toward it, then you still have to accept them. I started paying attention to ways in other aspects of my life, that switching goes unnoticed….Having reached a more-often-than-not state of co-consciousness, I was able to see, we were “co-fronting” and taking turns speaking and nobody really blinked an eye. It was just a being in front of them, moving as a unified force of many. We didn’t spend too much time worrying about whether or not these people knew it was “us” or “them” and more focused on the fact that it didn’t matter which one of us it was, they could adjust to us. They could flow with us. These are our true family. We found we have true friends who flux and flow well with us too.
Thanksgiving was the experience that made me note that I could be multiple and still be “one” on the outside. Just knowing that we exist, and accepting we think and move differently, helps us feel less “weird” about existing and trying to communicate what’s going on inside. And then finally, for the first time in your life you can just focus on how to train your brain to let the body “put your best face forward” and be it done with control and approval of all of you, no matter who’s “face” is forward.