Oct 17, 2008

I vs. We vs. You

Something extraordinary happens to people who realize they have DID. Their language changes to describe themselves as "we". It's sort of a natural evolution. And it is difficult to hide in public. Survivors try to hide it because it is unacceptable to society (from the greater world to the workplace to the family of origin). Lives of those who are victims of horrific abuse have to hide what is happening to them at a most vulnerable time in their lives when they want to be reaching out to others.

I learned the hard way. My best friend at work, where I was employed at the time of coming undone, was someone I trusted. Of course I was sharing about my nightmares and research and OMG I have multiple personalities! Well, it scared the sh*t out of him. I told my boss because I thought she should know because I was so emotionally distressed and still trying to work. She was angry when I needed short-term disability to try to regroup from the emotional bomb because I left her short-handed. So much for support. I didn't learn from that experience. When I was further along with memories, I had left my full time employment and tried a less demanding job. In trying to help a fellow employee whose sister was remembering father abuse, I offered information that frightened her.

This is what the media has done to us abuse survivors. I learned just prior to my leaving my full time position that my former best friend at work had believed some part of me would jump out and punch him. He was over 6' tall and I'm under 5'. Go figure. It's ridiculous how we have to fight propaganda. If you're a friend, you can ask! What can I do to help you? Should I be afraid of you? What should I do if you are someone else here at the office?

I remember struggling to hide the "we" in my language. Of course that only served to fuel the unnecessary fear if I let it slip. If you know someone who has DID, allowing them to just be comfortable is a wonderful gift. Friends and significant others open to knowing all of the person they love or care about can give healing a much-needed boost. You may get to know other selves. If an identity feels safe to speak to you, the more likely that part will begin sharing consciousness with the person you know as your friend. It's all good.

When I began to speak to classmates at grad school, I was extra careful about my language. By the end of the degree program, I had at least one major integration. My language shifted just as naturally back into "I". I didn't have to think about it. I still could have been a therapist with DID and all the coping skills, but integration made it easier and I'm grateful for the change before I began to see clients.

Actually, it's reassuring to say "we" as a multiple. It's validation to all inside who are unhealed or healed but separate (cooperation vs. integration). All share the body. "We" is a term meaning more than one. It's the correct term.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting. We are a "we" instead of a "me" and have a hard time at work because one good friend "spread the word" about us, so most everyone sees us as a gossip item, don't understand and even make fun of us for being DID.

Grace said...

I guess it's not uncommon that we begin remembering at work since people are about 30s to 50s when memories come. We have careers. It astonishes me how cruel people can be when our world comes crashing down.

Maybe you can let them know about the Forbidden Topic blog where they can get the facts about it instead of assuming from misinformation. Or watch one of the videos.

Nothing is easy about DID, is it? We're a mess in the beginning and humanity isn't humane.