An update. Work is not bad (for a change). The manager is nice, normal and positive. I’m working from home a lot, which really takes some pressure off of me, because going in to a corporate environment day after day takes such a toll on me. On the downside, it can be tough to motivate myself sometimes, as the work is often not engaging. And I’d like co-workers, but don’t have any on this contract. But – I’ll take it. So relieved to have paying work once again. It’s like a little bit of peace inside, just this knowledge that I have money coming in and don’t need to worry, at the moment anyway. So yay! Focus on the positives.

I continue to go to therapy. It’s so painful and confusing that I’m not sure how much I want to share about it. I haven’t felt like quitting since that session three weeks ago, so that’s positive.

I had been having sessions that focused on the adult, as if I didn’t have any parts. Which was OK. Just I’d feel, in parts of myself, that some essential things were missing. Which I suppose is the parts that didn’t get time or attention. Then I hope that I don’t actually have parts and am more normal. But it’s also painful.

Last session I went in and didn’t want to chat about my life. I’d had a massage, so talked about that. Then some exercise I did stopped me from sleeping. And I stayed with the parts of me that don’t function well. And that led back to different parts expressing themselves. And I don’t really know what to say about it. These child parts are definitely there and I think now are the source of a lot of the feelings I have – the shut-down feelings, anxiety, sadness…But also, a child part seems to hold a lot of playfulness and feelings of OKness.

It’s hard to switch back at the end of the session. I kind of manage though.

After, I felt that the adult had been missed. I had a sense that the session passed in about ten minutes, which is disorienting. I can remember it, but somehow still I have the sense that no time passed.

I’ve forgotten anything Ron said. Surely he had points to make, but I can’t remember. Mostly I’m left with the strangeness of being in all these parts. I really really don’t want to believe it.

I also re-read today a paper I had downloaded to my desktop previously –

The Treatment of Structural Dissociation in Chronically Traumatized Patients

Janina Fisher, Ph.D.

And the reason is, I desperately want some kind of roadmap as to what to do if you’re in parts. OK, I can see that I am, but I need some kind of plan. Something. Ron is kind of exploring what the situation is, but he’s hazy on what an approach might be to help this situation.

I love this paper by Fisher. Especially the last third of it, where she discusses how to treat dissociation. Her approach is all about strengthening the adult part, who then builds bridges and cares for younger traumatized parts. To me this makes a boatload of sense. I’ve always been weak on keeping the adult in charge, sometimes approaching life as if I were a child, which works badly.

Therapy sometimes seems to encourage child parts to take over. I then get stuck in a traumatized part and can’t function until that part recedes, which can take days. According to this article, this is not helpful. I also just think this is not helpful. The idea of the adult taking steps to try and soothe the parts makes a whole lot of sense.

It’s different from other therapies which encourage sitting with feelings. Fisher says that right out also. You are trying to refrain from shutting down feelings though, but you’re also trying to soothe and comfort so you feel better. Just switching into the part with the feeling doesn’t necessarily help by itself – you don’t move through it, the way you might for a feeling that’s not dissociated.

I’m considering sending Ron the article but also hesitating. He very much dislikes any kind of medicalization, so I’m worried he will reject this for that reason. She does have a kind of medical type style, with vocabulary for symptoms….My own view is that when you reject a whole category of work because you don’t like anything that seems at all ‘medical’, you throw out a lot of helpful information. No need to adopt the vocabulary of this to find it insightful.

I’ll see. I’d be so pleased if Ron read this and wanted to try the approach. Even if he just read the second half, where she discusses treatment approach, and skipped the first part, which is more theoretical, with ways of speaking that may be irritating.

Being in parts is a big problem. I really want to be working in some way that might help.



  1. The article sounds very interesting, and so relevant. I remember how I used to leave therapy, with a vulnerable child part right at the surface. I had no idea how to care for that part–nor how to function in the world if she was the one who seemed to be running things. Sometimes in retrospect, I do wonder if it would have been easier if we’d spent more time strengthening what I think of as my “wise woman” (centered, functional adult self) before trying to talk about the past. But maybe it wasn’t possible. Maybe those stories about the past were just burning to get out, and it all had to happen in the order that it happened.

    If you are worried Ron might reject the article, maybe you could just talk about the ideas in it with him first, before sharing it?

    Being in parts, and especially feeling it’s all out of your control, is really scary. I can completely see why you want a strategy that can help you feel you are moving in the right direction and helping yourself with it. Sending you tender, caring wishes.

    P.S. Very glad to hear the new job is going well, even if it’s a bit boring.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Q. Your story is exactly how I feel, except that I can’t remember a lot because I was so young. I took your advice and talked about the article with Ron. He said he was fine with everything I said about it. He doesn’t actually work in this way though, even though he says he does. Arghhh….I still think if I send the article to him he’ll hate it. It may be better just to get what I can from his way of working, but I’m still glad I know about this theory of having an adult part in charge.

      Thanks for the kind wishes.

  2. leb105 said:

    You love it, it speaks to you and makes you feel hopeful, so I hope you’ll send it to him! His response might disappoint you, but how can you base your decision on that?
    I’m glad that you’re using this time to dig in to the emotions. Good for you!

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Laura. Hope you’re well. I may send it in future.

  3. DV said:

    that’s great about your job šŸ™‚

  4. I think I have read the same article and also liked it. I suppose I think what feels like the adult is the “cool” part who can think ahead and plan. The child parts know more what is happening now (“I am frightened,” “I am cold, ” etc.)

    I have been reading about the DMM model of attachment and it has been very helpful. One point is that children spend their children learning how to recognize and respond to danger. This requires adult help. When parents are dangerous or unavailable, children are unable to do this and become adults who over or under identify danger and have few, stereotyped ways of responding. So the child part is saying—hey, something’s up–but the automatic response may not be helpful in the given situation. The adult’s way is slow; it is not really timely. But it may be all you have for a while.

    • Ellen said:

      I think i got the name of the article from your blog actually. šŸ™‚ . For me, child parts tend to be on a different track and responding to different things. They’re definitely mostly emotion though, and the adult is much calmer, so maybe cool.

      In my life, my parents were not actually dangerous, but my mother was shut down and unresponsive. But maybe those fear responses that I have do seem automatic and over the top.

      Hope you’re doing well Ash. Thank you

  5. Thanks for the article. I found it and will read it after work. I’m glad you are working again. It is challenging to find ways to make boring jobs interesting. Hugs.

    • Ellen said:

      Thanks Ruth. Hope you like the article.

      • Only part way through. Many technical terms that I need to wade through and figure out. I wonder if there is a laymen’s version.

  6. ASMC said:

    Thank you so much for writing. Its so eye opening, intimate and engaging.

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