Whenever we get e-mailed questions (about religion, DID, other mental health issues, etc.) that require a very long answer, we generally choose to respond by writing a blog post. The reasoning is if someone out in the wide world of the internet has a specific question, so might others; rather than answer many e-mails, we choose to cover the topic in a post. For some of us e-mails are growing just as dreadful as phone calls. (That doesn't mean you should stop sending them, of course)
In addition, then, by posting an entry all people get the same information from the one(s) of us who choose to answer the question. It helps with consistency of information in the case that one of us may not be as articulate (we have varying abilities), or may not even bother to answer an e-mail in a desire to not help people - some of us are not helpful, do not like people, would prefer other people would figure stuff out on their own, like we did (in short, selfish brats) - so rather than writing the same information over and over, we provide the answers here for ease and consistency.
If you are not familiar with the ins and outs of DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) the content of this entry, as well as some of this blog, may seem unusual to you. If you want to learn more we have provided a set of links, as well as a list of terminology, at the end of this entry (though you can easily locate them all over the blog).
We've been asked, by an alter* of a system* who lives their life with acknowledged DID, advice on suppressing thier core*, specifically theirs. The reason this reader has asked for our advice is that we have written a lot, while not in detail (yet), about eliminating (not just suppressing or integrating) our core, which took place in the Fall of 2010 through early Spring of 2011.
In this entry we will use "suppress" to mean restrain, as opposed to put an end to, which in my vocabulary is "eliminate".
First, I want to state right away that it is not advisable to attempt these types of things without the help of an exterior support system of some kind (such as trusted family/friends), and perhaps a mental health professional (highly recommended). Also, this information, while based on personal experience, is not to be used to take place of any recommendations/instructions from any mental health professional. That's my attempt at legal ass covering. There's more of a disclaimer at the end of this entry.
Second, while elimination of our core , The Other Girl, as we have referred to her throughout this blog, was done by us, with some mental health support of a good friends (Fabulous Person) and little else; we do not recommend trying it, or any variations of it, on your own. The results of dismantling the core of your system can be very dangerous, can cause additional mental and psychological harm, confusion and chaos among alters, and may even result in self-harm by some alters leading to things like suicide and permanent physical damage.
When someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder talks about their core, if they are able to (core/alter awareness varies among systems), they are talking about the one who makes many of the decisions for the system. The core is in control much of the time, is the "first born" of the system (as far is understood by the system), is born into the body inhabited by all the alters (the system) is often who the outside world knows the system to be in a singular sense. Also, since many, if not all of the alters share a legal identity, the core is therefore the one who bears the brunt of most of the bad decisions made, that includes employment and legal matters, financial issues, and all relationships and social issues - particularly if they have not "come out" to people in their life. It is not unusual for alters to go missing for any stretch of time after they have done something displeasing in the eyes of the core while in executive* position.
There are some benefits to suppressing, or even integrating, a core if it's required/needed. We don't recommend elimination, except in cases of severe system distress.
Times when it may be/feel necessary, especially in the eyes of strong independent alters, are on when the core exerts too much pressure on the other personalities; may be overly controlling; may not let them be acknowledged either by each other, or in general; may not be allowing them to live in a healthy cooperatively constructive manor; may be damaging to the system in some way or another, such as in the way they live, make money, form relationships. In some cases the core may be trying to eliminate members of the system, which is scary stuff to those alters who feel like they will be pushed out, or "die". Just as any person may fear death, each individual of the system has the same fears.
Three Forms of Core (or Alter) Control
Suppression - we have very little experience with suppressing a core/alter, as most of us were the ones being suppressed. What we can suggest is communication among the alters and core to find common ground and maybe a better understanding or balance.
Integration - integration of a core/alter is where other alters absorb memories of the core, and often inherit traits, skills and other positive aspects (if done correctly), while removing the negative aspects. Essentially the core/alter removed will no longer exist as them, rather be part of another alter.
Elimination - the destruction and removal of a core/alter, sometimes many memories, and commonly traits, skills, and some bases of knowledge may be eliminated along with the core. The core/alter will no longer exist, and no part of them remains with the system.
There is speculation, even among some professionals, that none of these methods are 100% effective and that there is no true way to eliminate, or integrate, cores or alters.
If there are no huge cooperation issues within the system, if there are no negative aspects that need to be dealt with, or any major difficulties living life productively and a system can work well together, there is never any real reason to suppress, integrate or eliminate anybody from the system. Not to mention you must always have a replacement for your core, someone who is willing to make important decisions. Preferably an adult alter.
Cooperative systems in Dissociative Identity Disorder can be a very healthy way of living, as after many years they have become a system of support. Dissociative Identity Disorder is a coping mechanism, a function created by the brain out of childhood trauma (read more here: Treating and Curing Dissociative Identity Disorder); but again, some professionals say it's not healthy, some say it is.
We've talked to mental health professionals who have worked with patience seeking assistance and therapy for DID, or have colleagues who have - it is not uncommon for one, or several, alters to have "other" mental health issues such as depression, eating disorders, personality disorders, etc. - that say that there are other DID systems who have eliminated their core, as we have, in order to lead a happier more productive life. We also know of integrated systems. There are also cooperative systems who make lives of many, in the body of one, work for them.
So, some may wonder...how. How does one go about elimination of a core? (or perhaps, an alter)
I do plan on getting us to write in detail the story and events which took place that ultimately allowed us to overpower our core and eliminate her. As there are no same two ways to achieve integration or elimination of a core/alter - we've asked some who have experience with it professionally, as well as personally, and each process was done differently - we are not sharing all the details here today. Our process was a very sensitive, sexually graphic, sometimes violent, embarrassing, and emotionally raw story, and for some of us a painful and mentally draining final chapter to the story of our past. We have been trying to work our way towards it, and I promise, we will write about it one day.
In short, two of our strongest (and oldest) alters, Frank [myself] and Emmie, spearheaded a torture campaign for several months to mentally break down our core. She was a very proud woman who, not surprisingly, was also very weak, and so we did things that resulted in her destruction.
In the end she died riddled with emotional pain and sadness, the loud screaming of her soul echoing off the walls as she lay curled on the kitchen floor sobbing, in the city we previously called home.
While we didn't all come out of it unscathed, it was the price we paid to gain the freedom we all desired. We would do it again.
So, "M" (and anyone else who thinks to garner tips/advice from this post),
We DO NOT recommend doing any of the things we did. Please do not torture your core, or any of your alters. The only safe way to achieve your goal is to think of peaceful ways, mentally and physically, in which you can rid yourself of the issue.
Looking back on it, while we do not regret any of it, looking at it from the completed process we see where many things could have went terribly wrong (more wrong than already did!) and could have lead to another mental hospital, or even death. Or even worse things.
We wish you luck, however, in the event you are successful be aware that it may cause chaos, further discontent, job lose, lose of friendships and important relationships, and unforeseen problems, in your life.
~ Frank (et al)
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): A state of being aware of what the other personalities are doing and saying.
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: Conversion symptoms or body memories. Physical phenomenon such as pain, smells, tastes, etc.; reaction to stimuli; sometimes causing a re-experience.
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 neighbor.
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.
Recommended For Further Understanding of Dissociative Identity Disorder - written by many of us:
Personality Vs. Dissociative Disorder (2012)
Associating With Dissociation (2012)
We Chat With The Father About DID (this post contains information on what DID is) (2011)
We Discuss Three Mis-Diagnosed Mental Illnesses (2011)
The D in DID: Dissociation (2011)
Who Lives In Your Head? Mapping Therapy and DID/MPD (2011)
Dissociative Disorder Information Recommended Online Resources:
· DSMIV (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition) http://www.dsm5.org/proposedrevision/Pages/DissociativeDisorders.aspx
· NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Health) http://www.nami.org/Content/ContentGroups/Helpline1/Dissociative_Disorders.htm
· All Psych