Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Nine of Nine", The Responsibility of One

We’re answering the question James posted to us on his blog entry, published recently on his blog, and imported today to ours ('One or Nine? I say Nine', about why we want to be viewed as one.

He does have a good question, after all, and last night we read his entry for the first time, despite the fact he has posted it days ago. We got a little upset about some of the things he wrote, even though he's not wrong.

We sat down yesterday evening with him, some of us, to discuss this post. He had some things he wanted to talk to us about, things about treating us individually (his desire to do so); and some concerns over Fuck Face, some of our feelings for him, and our continuing friendship with him, despite that the last time we saw him was supposed to be the last time, as agreed by himself (Fuck Face) and us, because of his admission, finally, of what we had always known. We remain his friend, we send each other e-mails on occasion, and he stopped by to say ‘hi’ while we waited for the bus after work this week. We have tentative plans to have lunch with him, us and James, before we move at the end of the month.

James one long standing concern is about treating us as individuals, and why we want to be treated as one, and how difficult it is for him to do so, because we're all different, and as such, he feels, should be treated differently. This has been something we have discussed with him on more than one occasion, though never having a full answer past “why does it matter?” It is certainly something that has been vexing him. For the most part we have understood treating Bethany (our youngest alter*, 6 years old) differently, and also Sam (our male alter*, who he doesn’t deal with very much, yet). ..but as far as the others?

Well, for us, because we share one body we are always seen as one, one crazy, fucking lovely, horrid, wonderful, funny, loving, witty, contradicting, bitch...apparently (if you read James blog post that we are responding too, apparently that’s a view of us as one).

We believe that because we are all fully aware of our condition now, though possibly not fully aware of us all (mapping therapy still in progress), we cannot “blame” each other, though we try sometimes, but only for little things…like making us gain weight, etc. We have written about how we feel about taking responsibility for our actions as a whole (in ‘One Of Us Has Sociopathic Tendencies’, because that’s the proper thing to do – because DID/MPD is not an excuse for bad behaviour, anymore than being human is an excuse. It shouldn't be a reason for bad behaviour either.

So, because we can’t really say, “Cassandra (one of our alters) made us fat (she’s a piggy eater), it’s not our/my fault we/I got fat” in the event we got fat again (we’ve been obese, we lost over 100 pounds about eight years ago...we struggle with food issues almost every day)…when we are supposed to work as a team/collective, to get "better", meaning learn to function and all be able to enjoy life, individually, and together...and be successful at it, somehow. Being treated separately would only give us an “excuse” for bad behaviour…or at least an opening to try, in our opinion anyway.

Another example, just as we were explaining this to James. The subject of Emmie (another alter*) came up, and her lingering sexual feelings for Fuck Face. As we tried to explain to him that he, James, is our boyfriend…we chose him, he admitted that he does not trust her (Emmie) with him. At this point he asked us to please, try not to let her do anything with Fuck Face. We said we would try. He was visibly upset. We told him he would have to tell her these things himself, because we cannot answer for her; though we have to take responsibility for her actions.

“Do you see why you can’t always treat us individually? Because if she did something, say she had an affair with Fuck Face, you can’t separate her…it’s not like having nine separate bodies and you can say ‘no, I don’t like you anymore, I don’t trust you…please leave’. So, if Emmie were to be…inappropriate...with Fuck Face (or any other man) for example…she, alone, cannot be punished. We are all punished…because we have to know the pain, every day, of her action in your face, because when you look at us, you see all of us, and you see us as one body.”

We don’t know if this helped him understand, we don’t know if it helps anyone understand, but he asked the question. Our goal is to use our ability to write, and our personal struggles with mental health issues, to help others who desire to understand Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder); and in addition, help those who deal with life on a day-to-day basis as "a" multiple feel less “alone” (because we’re never alone…but sometimes it can feel like it), all we can do is try our best.

We’ve made an agreement with James/The Boyfriend, because some of us he knows far better than others, and honestly, you can't always treat us as one, anymore than you can always treat us as individuals...he is free to use our names when he wants, as long as he knows who he is talking to, as long as he is sure…because the disappointment of being confused for another, for some of us, leads to tears and sadness, and we don’t want it to lead to resentment of him, or each other. (He’s gotten us mixed up before, and he knew as soon as he did it, and as usual it was dealt with, but repeating is not advisable)

Responsibility, singular or plural. It’s just one reason why we want to be treated as one, because we have to live as one, in a world that sees us as one.

~Frank et al

Update: 10/16/11
Being that we are working on some mapping, with the help of the boyfriend (but only a little because of all the current stress), a tenth has been mapped. She has no name (she is just called "Ten" when James talks to us about her. James (The Boyfriend) wrote about her in his blog last week (

Mapping is stressful. Being us is stressful. Nobody wakes up in the morning thinking "I am So-and-So today"...but when you map you have to think about it, talk to each other about it... analyze feelings, thoughts, desires...with the people sharing co-consciousness. None of that will make much sense to most people...hopefully one day we will write about, more clearly, what mapping is like...for us.

[*A distinction, if not yet made in this blog is, in the mental illness of Dissociative Identity Disorder, alter is not a reference to alter ego; while similar in some ways, it is not to be confused with the part of a person they hide from society. An alter is a separate personality unto itself, and often does not share the same viewpoints, feelings, thoughts, or beliefs as other alters in the system]

Some helpful terminology imported from our public blog where we do our mapping therapy ( which is currently not being worked on due to massive life stress.


Personality Specifics:
Alter: alter states, selves, parts (a subjective term); distinct personalities; fragments alternate personality, personality state, ego state or identity with its own unique perspectives, abilities, memories or other traits that differ from the Host or Executive personality.

The Core: The original birth personality.
Host: is the alter personality who dominates the control of the body most of the time and is often unaware of the other personalities. The host is usually the alter personality who will initiate after experiencing symptoms of mental distress, such as, anxiety, triggers or recovered memories.

Executive: When a personality (alter ego) has control of the body.

Switch: To switch from one personality to another. The process of an alter coming out from the subconscious mind into the consciousness mind while the other alter (who was already in the consciousness mind) slips back into the subconscious mind.

Who's out? A common question used to determine which personality is executive or host.

Co-conscious(ness): (The Core) A state of being aware of what the other personalities are doing and saying.

Other Terms:
Acquired: Anything that is not present at birth but develops some time later. In medicine, the word "acquired" implies "new" or "added." An acquired condition is "new" in the sense that it is not genetic (inherited) and "added" in the sense that was not present at birth.

Triggers: Hysterical conversion symptoms or body memories. Physical phenomenon such as pain, smells, tastes, etc.; re-experienced again.

Dissociation: In psychology and psychiatry, a perceived detachment of the mind from the emotional state or even from the body. Dissociation is characterized by a sense of the world as a dreamlike or unreal place and may be accompanied by poor memory of the specific events, which in severe form is known as dissociative amnesia.

Re-live: A total memory recall (includes visual, emotional, physical and all other senses).

Losing time: Also known as a Dissociative Fugue, is the period of which an alter personality is in the subconscious mind and has no recollection of the time that is being utilized by the alter personality who is occupying the conscious mind. Therefore when the alter switches into the conscious mind they realize that minutes, hours, days, or even months and years have passed since they were last aware of time.

System: is the structure of relationships between the alter personalities who live within the internal world of a survivor with D.I.D.! Every system is created and operates in it's own unique way, just like every family living in their own homes run their households different from the next door neighbour.

Inner (Self) Helper: is usually the alter personality who has a good understanding of the system and how it works. The I.S.H. is also among the typical group of helpers or protector personalities.

Grounding: is the process of disrupting a dissociative episode and is accomplished by tugging on an earlobe, rubbing the hands together, or shuffling the feet back and forth. This type of physical stimuli can bring the survivors mind back to awareness of their surroundings, and helps to make them feel less animated.

(these terms are pulled from a wide array of sources throughout the internet and are ones we choose to use in writing, on occasion, to talk about the things that happen in our lives)


  1. This is such an interesting subject. There is a fine line that can be drawn between the two preferences in order to find balance... but it's a damn fine line.
    For us, treating us differently was needed. I was the only adult int he system who interacted with the outside world and Charlie couldn't just play grab ass with anyone. Were he not so talented at determining who was who by body language and tone of voice, there would have been a number of pretty uncomfortable situations. Stephanie was clear she'd beat the ass of anyone who touched her without express permission...
    I hope you two can find some balance because you are one but you are also many and both can be honored without belitting any.

  2. James is also sooooo good and knowing each of us, probably the same way Charlie knew you all. He knows that it's okay to call Cassandra and Catherine beautiful, and they glow; tell the same thing to Frank and she wrinkles her nose. She doesn't like compliments at all.

    He calls many of us by name now, already.

    He knows which of us don't want to be intimate, asks Cassandra is he can kiss her, and lets her know that it's okay if she doesn't want him to, because he knows she doesn't like him the same way as some of the rest of us.

    When dealing in most situations Frank is the one who talks to people, the official ones anyway. James says that no matter which of us is out, when dealing with "officials" our voice, and tone, immediately change .(which is simply a switch). Sadly when we interact with "regular people" (not authority figures, but public, co-workers and customers) some of us are okay with trying to handle the interaction...which is probably why we can't hold a job very long...because sometimes "tone" is an issue. (some of us...not so nice, and it comes through) - plus The Face & The Eyes...give away everything.

    It IS such a fine line, that's why we feel we didn't explain it enough, or answer the question...but sometimes it works out in the process, no? :)

    This being all new to us, being able to be us in the first place...we're trying to find that elusive balance.

    We hope you've been well! We haven't seen you around Twitter lately! (though we've seen you a time or two on Facebook).

    We're moving back to the states soon! So much change...oy. :)

    Loves & kisses, our beautiful guide <3