SELFHOOD AND DISSOCIATIONThe patient with DID or dissociative disorder not otherwise specified (DDNOS) has used their capacity to psychologically remove themselves from repetitive and inescapable traumas in order to survive that which could easily lead to suicide or psychosis, and in order to eke some growth in what is an unsafe, frequently contradictory and emotionally barren environment.For a child dependent on a caregiver who also abuses her, the only way to maintain the attachment is to block information about the abuse from the mental mechanisms that control attachment and attachment behaviour.10 Thus, childhood abuse is more likely to be forgotten or otherwise made inaccessible if the abuse is perpetuated by a parent or other trusted caregiver.In the dissociative individual, ‘there is no uniting self which can remember to forget’. Rather than use repression to avoid traumatizing memories, he/she resorts to alterations in the self ‘as a central and coherent organization of experience. . . DID involves not just an alteration in content but, crucially, a change in the very structure of consciousness and the self’ (p. 187).29 There may be multiple representations of the self and of others.Middleton, Warwick. Owning the past, claiming the present: perspectives on the treatment of dissociative patients. Australasian Psychiatry 13.1 (2005): 40-49.

~ Warwick Middleton