Parts

We talked about how it seems like being in parts impacts my relationships. I was especially thinking of work, because these are all people I don’t know very well yet interact with randomly.

It seems to me that I respond in various child parts sometimes. Especially if I’m feeling stressed, which is a lot of the time at work, I’ll disappear and a child part will talk. You can tell because it’s a kind of different voice, for one thing. For another, I’ll sometimes be completely scared to say anything, because a child part is too shy to speak. Other times if the topic is something the kid likes, such as food, and if I’m nervous, bang, up pops the kid to say something.

E. I can’t tell you how frustrating that is. I tend to never say anything because I don’t know what voice I’ll be talking with. And when that happens, people think I’m stupid or weird. But lately, I’ve become more aware of what this problem actually is, and a couple of times, I’ve managed to catch myself and stay adult instead of switching, and it’s great.

R. What’s an example of when this happened?

E. Like yesterday, I bumped into my former client at the elevator. I know him pretty well, but I was too scared to say anything to him. Well, I asked him questions about his vacation, so he told me about that. But I didn’t say anything in return. Sometimes it seems like I’m in a news blackout – everything about me is out of bounds. But I could have told him I took this writing course, for instance.

R. Did he ask you anything?

E. No. But why should he have to – I could have talked.

R. I think you’re taking on a lot. He wasn’t being very adult either, not asking you anything about yourself. Maybe when people are childish, it brings out the child in you.

It was kind of reassuring to hear this actually, and I see Ron’s point. Just that I was trying to explain about parts, and this wasn’t the best example. Just that I felt suddenly afraid and inadequate for no reason, as if I were a child expected to converse like an adult.

R. I think talking from parts is a really good thing, yet you’re trying to shut it down. We want to open that up and then integrate them.

Ron isn’t understanding me at all. I feel extremely frustrated, though I can see why he’s saying this.

E. I can’t tell you what a huge problem this is for me. It’s huge. People do start to think I”m stupid, because I make these childish comments all the time. But I’m not. And….mostly the friends I’d make, well, they would have severe difficulties themselves, so they would not really notice much about me.

Then  I tell John about this one friend of mine, who is actually a nice kind person, but who came from such a deprived background and was living on social assistance. I don’t tend to have friends who have the same level of education or background that I have.

R. So you make friends that have so much going on in their own minds…that they won’t notice your switching, the way you act so differently sometimes.

Well, this is not exactly it but anyway, close enough. I think it’s more that they don’t make me anxious, so I don’t switch when I’m with them, but if I did, they wouldn’t really notice.

What it’s like is that people that I would find interesting, with interests like my own, I’m too afraid to approach, and my experience has been they think I’m stupid and not worth knowing.

I’m struggling to put this into words here on this blog. In my session, I did an even worse job. I don’t want to be disparaging of some of the friends I’ve had either, because they have been good people.

But I’m pretty sure that this kind of random switching, because I get scared, is not healing, while getting some control, and being able to stay adult, will at least enable me to communicate in a more normal way. It’s not the same as shutting things down.

I think opening up the parts in therapy, or by myself, or with someone I trust, would be helpful. But right now they’re operating in a very unhelpful way. That Ron can’t see what I’m trying to explain is kind of disappointing for me.

Actually, I can demonstrate what I mean come to think of it, if I allow myself to do that. I might do that next session. It won’t be difficult, if I remember. It’s something I always try not to do, so I didn’t think of it.

Advertisements
8 comments
  1. This seems like an annoying miscommunication. It appears that Ron is simply encouraging you to allow all of the various “parts” to come out and speak more, because ultimately those parts are “part” of you. Therefore, healing occurs as you can more seamlessly integrate them.

    For instance, there are times where I get childish and act like a little kid (or have childish urges). My parts are by no means as discreet as yours, and I have some control over whether to act on them or not. But I don’t feel at war with various parts of myself either–I don’t feel that I have to shut them down and “act” a certain way.

    It feels like Ron doesn’t want you to shut those pieces down, but rather to be whole, so that those various pieces can reassemble under an umbrella that accepts them all.

    Whereas you are trying to survive, and having parts come out unpredictably and “act out” is problematic for you. I think by communicating to Ron that you wish to integrate your parts, but also find ways to neutralize some of the problems they cause you, would make more sense to Ron.

    I seem to recall that anytime Ron mentions integration, you bristle. It appears (and I could very well be wrong) to me that you seem resistant to thinking of your parts as being part of you, and eventually allowing them to sort of melt back into the whole and become more seamlessly a part of Ellen. Am I wrong in my impressions?

    • Ellen said:

      So I bristle do I? He he. That is perceptive of you Aaron. I do theoretically understand the excellence of integration. I get irritated with Ron when he goes on about integration, that’s true. To me it seems he is skipping right to the solution without really understanding or feeling the problem. Exactly what he’s told his clients not to do in group therapy. First feel the difficulty, then move on to possible solutions.

      You’re right – I feel the parts are ‘acting out’. If it was more dramatic, say if I switched into an alter that liked to drink hugely, party and have sex with random strangers – it would be more obvious that this is not a healing thing. Yes the alter is expressing herself. However she is harming herself at the same time.

      Ron is not understanding this, and to me it’s obvious. At the same time he’s not communicating with parts, which would be helpful. So I’m irritated.

      I like how you explain your own parts. Ron does have the idea also that parts are a continuum, that this is a way humans function. I’m towards one end, still far short of full blown DID though luckily.

      I do realize the parts are me also, in the sense that I don’t think they’re anyone else. They also seem like not me, in a way tough to explain. For one thing they are children so the mind works a little differently it seems like.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

  2. Ellen,

    I discovered my parts about five years ago, they started communicating with me when I was 2,000 miles away (and about six months away) from the originally-abusive place, people, and situation. If you ever want to talk about anything or ask questions, I’m here. My e-mail is penney@penneyknightly.com

    Everybody’s system is different, but having someone who can begin to know what it feels like, or begin to empathize, makes a huge difference. So many therapists and friends I’ve had just don’t understand – it’s a lonely affliction despite the irony of being surrounded by many versions of yourself.

    I wish you the best of luck. My advice after all this time facing it is, don’t run from the truth. If parts are speaking up and have things to tell you, particularly painful things you’ve blocked out, listen to them, and love them as you would anyone else who was coming to you hurt, sad, and disheartened – this is even more so necessary, because the part(s) (believe it or not are a part of you.

    Good luck and love,
    Penney

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Penney. Maybe I will email you sometime. I don’t tell anyone about parts, except Ron, and a friend or two whom I know through therapy know about this, but we don’t discuss.

      I actually do not have DID as I believe you do – the parts I have are more limited and there’s always co-consciousness.

      The idea of accepting and loving the parts is great.

      Hugs

  3. leb105 said:

    Seems like you came up with something useful to try next time, because you stayed with and worked with this problem! Great! Any time you spend communicating your experience is well spent…

    I think your effort to control the parts (your fear that they will pop out) is what makes them pop out uncontrollably, and Ron’s effort to help you view these occurrences as okay, will help you to be more accepting, take the pressure off, and reduce the occurrences. Monkeytraps has been talking about this: the dilemma of control – the more you need, the less you have.

    “What it’s like is that people that I would find interesting, with interests like my own, I’m too afraid to approach, and my experience has been they think I’m stupid and not worth knowing.” How do you know that everyone thinks you’re stupid?

    What about J? He’s smart, educated, has some interests in common with you… and is interested in spending time with you.

  4. Ellen said:

    Thanks Laura.

    There are definitely problems with too much control. I don’t believe that your explanation is right for me, as I say in the post. Ron could be thinking that though, I haven’t asked him.

    Yeah, I don’t know everyone thinks I’m stupid. Ron pointed that out as unlikely also. I know I don’t come across well when this fragmentation happens though. I’ve actually met someone else, who goes to a group I attend, who seems to have a similar problem, and she doesn’t come across that well either, and people condescend a bit.

    You mean my young friend R. Yes, that’s true, and it’s one reason he was so important to me. Someone smart who actually wanted to spend time with me. Painful that that hasn’t worked out.

    Thanks for the comment and the encouragement!

  5. While I’ve just started following you and don’t really know enough to comment yet, I do want to say thank you for sharing.

    I thought the concept of “maybe when people are childish, it brings out the child in you…” very interesting (even though it wasn’t what you were hoping to hear at the moment.) I’m just starting to “be aware” of some of my parts and how they react to each other and to the world around them. It’s scary and exciting at the same time.

    I wish you the best, I appreciate your open sharing. I’ll be reading. 🙂

    • Ellen said:

      Interesting you are exploring parts of yourself also Running. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: