What daily life is like for “a multiple” Imagine that you have periods of “lost time.” You may find writings or drawings which you must have done, but do not remember producing. Perhaps you find child-sized clothing or toys in your home but have no children. You might also hear voices or babies crying in your head. Imagine that you can never predict when you will be able to have certain knowledge or social skills, and your emotions and your energy level seem to change at the drop of a hat, and for no apparent reason. You cannot understand why you feel what you feel, and, if you are in therapy, you cannot explore those feelings when asked. Your life feels disjointed and often confusing. It is a frightening experience. It feels out of control, and you probably think you are going crazy. That is what it is like to be multiple, and all of it is experienced by the ANPs. A multiple may also experience very concrete problems, even life-threatening ones.
In this chapter I restrict myself to exploring the nature of the amnesia which is reported between personality states in most people who are diagnosed with DID. Note that this is not an explicit diagnostic criterion, although such amnesia features strongly in the public view of DID, particularly in the form of the fugue-like conditions depicted in ﬁlms of the condition, such as The Three Faces of Eve (1957). Typically, when one personality state, or ‘alter’, takes over from another, they have no idea what happened just before. They report having lost time, and often will have no idea where they are or how they got there. However, this is not a universal feature of DID. It happens that with certain individuals with DID, one personality state can retrieve what happened when another was in control. In other cases we have what is described as ‘co-consciousness’ where one personality state can apparently monitor what is happening when another personality state is in control and, in certain circumstances, can take over the conversation.
One hundred twenty-nine women with previously documented histories of sexual victimization in childhood were interviewed and asked detailed questions about their abuse histories to answer the question Do people actually forget traumatic events such as child sexual abuse, and if so, how common is such forgetting? A large proportion of the women (38%) did not recall the abuse that had been reported 17 years earlier. Women who were younger at the time of the abuse and those who were molested by someone they knew were more likely to have no recall of the abuse. The implications for research and practice are discussed. Long periods with no memory of abuse should not be regarded as evidence that the abuse did not occur. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 62(6), Dec 1994, 1167-1176
Amnesia, which is a loss of memory, is a symptom of many different trauma and/or dissociative disorders, including PTSD, Dissociative Fugue, Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Amnesia can affect both implicit and explicit memory.
Dissociation is the common response of children to repetitive, overwhelming trauma and holds the untenable knowledge out of awareness. The losses and the emotions engendered by the assaults on soul and body cannot, however be held indefinitely. In the absence of effective restorative experiences, the reactions to trauma will find expression. As the child gets older, he will turn the rage in upon himself or act it out on others, else it all will turn into madness.
She's terrified that all these sensations and images are coming out of her — but I think she's even more terrified to find out why. Carla's description was typical of survivors of chronic childhood abuse. Almost always, they deny or minimize the abusive memories. They have to: it's too painful to believe that their parents would do such a thing.
The unconscious mind always operates in the present tense, and when a memory is buried in the unconscious, the unconscious preserves it as an ongoing act of abuse in the present of the unconscious mind. The cost of repressing a memory is that the mind does not know the abuse ended.
Theirs was the eternal youth of an alternating self, a youth with the constant although unfulfilled promise of growing up
We say, It wasn't that bad. It was all my fault. I’m making all this stuff up. All my life, I spoke bitterly of my mother's treatment of me as a child.Friends asked, “What did she do to you?“ I couldn't really describe it, and in frustration would say, “Well, she didn't lock us up in closets. in fact, my mother behaved much worse than that, but by focusing on the empty closet, I avoided looking at what waited beyond it.
Treating Abuse Today (Tat), 3(4), pp. 26-33Freyd: I see what you're saying but people in psychology don't have a uniform agreement on this issue of the depth of -- I guess the term that was used at the conference was -- robust repression.TAT: Well, Pamela, there's a whole lot of evidence that people dissociate traumatic things. What's interesting to me is how the concept of dissociation is side-stepped in favor of repression. I don't think it's as much about repression as it is about traumatic amnesia and dissociation. That has been documented in a variety of trauma survivors. Army psychiatrists in the Second World War, for instance, documented that following battles, many soldiers had amnesia for the battles. Often, the memories wouldn't break through until much later when they were in psychotherapy.Freyd: But I think I mentioned Dr. Loren Pankratz. He is a psychologist who was studying veterans for post-traumatic stress in a Veterans Administration Hospital in Portland. They found some people who were admitted to Veteran's hospitals for postrraumatic stress in Vietnam who didn't serve in Vietnam. They found at least one patient who was being treated who wasn't even a veteran. Without external validation, we just can't know --TAT: -- Well, we have external validation in some of our cases.Freyd: In this field you're going to find people who have all levels of belief, understanding, experience with the area of repression. As I said before it's not an area in which there's any kind of uniform agreement in the field. The full notion of repression has a meaning within a psychoanalytic framework and it's got a meaning to people in everyday use and everyday language. What there is evidence for is that any kind of memory is reconstructed and reinterpreted. It has not been shown to be anything else. Memories are reconstructed and reinterpreted from fragments. Some memories are true and some memories are confabulated and some are downright false.TAT: It is certainly possible for in offender to dissociate a memory. It's possible that some of the people who call you could have done or witnessed some of the things they've been accused of -- maybe in an alcoholic black-out or in a dissociative state -- and truly not remember. I think that's very possible.Freyd: I would say that virtually anything is possible. But when the stories include murdering babies and breeding babies and some of the rather bizarre things that come up, it's mighty puzzling.TAT: I've treated adults with dissociative disorders who were both victimized and victimizers. I've seen previously repressed memories of my clients' earlier sexual offenses coming back to them in therapy. You guys seem to be saying, be skeptical if the person claims to have forgotten previously, especially if it is about something horrible. Should we be equally skeptical if someone says I'm remembering that I perpetrated and I didn't remember before. It's been repressed for years and now it's surfacing because of therapy. I ask you, should we have the same degree of skepticism for this type of delayed-memory that you have for the other kind?Freyd: Does that happen?TAT: Oh, yes. A lot.
The major goal of the Cold War mind control programs was to create dissociative symptoms and disorders, including full multiple personality disorder. The Manchurian Candidate is fact, not fiction, and was created by the CIA in the 1950’s under BLUEBIRD and ARTICHOKE mind control programs. Experiments with LSD, sensory deprivation,electro-convulsive treatment, brain electrode implants and hypnosis were designed to create amnesia, depersonalization, changes in identity and altered states of consciousness. (p. iii)“Denial of the reality of multiple personality by these doctors [See page 114 for names] in the mind control network, who are also on the FMSF [False Memory Syndrome Foundation] Scientific and Professional Advisory Board, could be disinformation. The disinformation could be amplified by attacks on specialists in multiple personality as CIA conspiracy lunatics” (P.10)“If clinical multiple personality is buried and forgotten, then the Manchurian Candidate Programs will be safe from public scrutiny. (p.141)
The odd sensation I had while cooking would often last through the meal, then dissolve as I climbed the stairs. I would enter my room and discover the homework books I had left on the bed had disappeared into my backpack. I’d look inside my books and be shocked to find that the homework had been done. Sometimes it had been done well, at others it was slapdash, the writing careless, my own handwriting but scrawled across the page. As I read the work through, I would get the creepy feeling that someone was watching me. I would turn quickly, trying to catch them out, but the door would be closed. There was never anyone there. Just me. My throat would turn dry. My shoulders would feel numb. The tic in my neck would start dancing as if an insect was burrowing beneath the surface of the skin. The symptoms would intensify into migraines that lasted for days and did not respond to treatment or drugs. The attack would come like a sudden storm, blow itself out of its own accord or unexpectedly vanish. Objects repeatedly went missing: a favourite pen, a cassette, money. They usually turned up, although once the money had gone it had gone for ever and I would find in the chest of drawers a T-shirt I didn’t remember buying, a Depeche Mode cassette I didn’t like, a box of sketching pencils, some Lego.
Dissociative Disorders have a high rate of responsiveness to therapy and that with proper treatment, their prognosis is quite good.
Does the person report having had the experience of meeting people she does not know but who seem to know her, perhaps by a different name? Often, those with DID are thought by others to be lying because different parts will say different things which the host has no knowledge of.
Among DID individuals, the sharing of conscious awareness between alters exists in varying degrees. I have seen cases where there has appeared to be no amnestic barriers between individual alters, where the host and alters appeared to be fully cognizant of each other. On the other hand, I have seen cases where the host was absolutely unaware of any alters despite clear evidence of their presence. In those cases, while the host was not aware of the alters, there were alters with an awareness of the host as well as having some limited awareness of at least a few other alters. So, according to my experience, there is a spectrum of shared consciousness in DID patients. From a therapeutic point of view, while treatment of patients without amnestic barriers differs in some ways from treatment of those with such barriers, the fundamental goal of therapy is the same: to support the healing of the early childhood trauma that gave rise to the dissociation and its attendant alters.Good DID therapy involves promoting co-consciousness. With co-consciousness, it is possible to begin teaching the patient’s system the value of cooperation among the alters. Enjoin them to emulate the spirit of a champion football team, with each member utilizing their full potential and working together to achieve a common goal.Returning to the patients that seemed to lack amnestic barriers, it is important to understand that such co-consciousness did not mean that the host and alters were well-coordinated or living in harmony. If they were all in harmony, there would be no “disease.” There would be little likelihood of a need or even desire for psychiatric intervention. It is when there is conflict between the host and/or among alters that treatment is needed.
Dissociation, a form of hypnotic trance, helps children survive the abuse…The abuse takes on a dream-like, surreal quality and deadened feelings and altered perceptions add to the strangeness. The whole scene does not fit into the 'real world.' It is simple to forget, easy to believe nothing happened.
The implication that the change in nomenclature from “Multiple Personality Disorder” to “Dissociative Identity Disorder” means the condition has been repudiated and “dropped” from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association is false and misleading. Many if not most diagnostic entities have been renamed or have had their names modified as psychiatry changes in its conceptualizations and classifications of mental illnesses. When the DSM decided to go with “Dissociative Identity Disorder” it put “(formerly multiple personality disorder)” right after the new name to signify that it was the same condition. It’s right there on page 526 of DSM-IV-R. There have been four different names for this condition in the DSMs over the course of my career. I was part of the group that developed and wrote successive descriptions and diagnostic criteria for this condition for DSM-III-R, DSM–IV, and DSM-IV-TR.While some patients have been hurt by the impact of material that proves to be inaccurate, there is no evidence that scientifically demonstrates the prevalence of such events. Most material alleged to be false has been disputed by someone, but has not been proven false.Finally, however intriguing the idea of encouraging forgetting troubling material may seem, there is no evidence that it is either effective or safe as a general approach to treatment. There is considerable belief that when such material is put out of mind, it creates symptoms indirectly, from “behind the scenes.” Ironically, such efforts purport to cure some dissociative phenomena by encouraging others, such as Dissociative Amnesia.
It all made sense — terrible sense. The panic she had experienced in the warehouse district because of not knowing what had happened had been superseded at the newsstand by the even greater panic of partial knowledge. And now the torment of partly knowing had yielded to the infinitely greater terror of knowing precisely
Memory repression thrives in shame, secrecy, and shock. The shame and degradation experienced during sexual assault is profound, especially for children who have no concept of what is happening to them or why. Sexual abuse is so bizarre and horrible that the frightened child feels compelled to bury the event deep inside his or her mind.
having DID in itself creates intense shame. A person continually has to deal with not remembering what one has said or done. Thus, the person with DID must be quick with inferences and cover-ups. Unfortunately, this often convinces her, as well as others, that she is a liar.
One hundred twenty-nine women with documented histories of sexual victimization in childhood were interviewed and asked about abuse history. Seventeen years following the initial report of the abuse, 80 of the women recalled the victimization. One in 10 women (16% of those who recalled the abuse) reported that at some time in the past they had forgotten about the abuse. Those with a prior period of forgetting--the women with recovered memories--were younger at the time of abuse and were less likely to have received support from their mothers than the women who reported that they had always remembered their victimization. The women who had recovered memories and those who had always remembered had the same number of discrepancies when their accounts of the abuse were compared to the reports from the early
You may experience waves of disbelief after each memory you retrieve. Whether as a phase or waves, the disbelief is usually accompanied by massive self-hate and guilt. ‘How can I even think such a thing? I must really be warped,’ you tell yourself.
While some accused and convicted child molesters have inappropriately influenced the media, the public, and many in the clinical and legal professions by claiming that traumatic amnesia does not occur in child sexual abuse, workers in the field of trauma psychology have accumulated solid empirical evidence over the past 100 years that it does occur and is common. Its existence and natural history are documented throughout the clinical literature. from:Traumatic amnesia: The evolution of our understanding from a clinical and legal perspective, Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention, Volume 4, Issue 2, 1997