When the Mother Alter Interferes With EMDR Therapy


It’s Thursday, the day I go to see my psychotherapist. I had been very suicidal and wanting to self-harm all week so I was really in need of an appointment. I suffer from Complex PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder. My mother alter drives the suicidality and self-harm and I had been switching in and out of her alter for days.  It was exhausting.

I was relieved when the appointment started and I was able to relay to the therapist what had been unfolding along with the flashbacks that I had been experiencing. This time of the year is always really hard. There are a lot of triggers so there are more flashbacks than normal. We talked these through and then went into EMDR. It was going well at first until suddenly I switched into my mother alter. Suddenly I started throwing the cushions around the room along with the tissue boxes, the therapist notes and anything else I could lay my hands on. I basically thrashed the room. I began screaming at the therapist accusing her of interfering in my life, stopping me from killing myself; organising my husband to supervise me all the time; blaming her for my meds being administered by webster pack. You name it I blamed her for it. She sat there and let me rail at her. I held her totally responsible for the fact that I had been unable to kill myself. She placated me by saying that everyone cared for Erin and wanted to make her safe and that was her job. That made my mother even worse as she hates Erin and is intent on killing her. I screamed at her. The therapist continued in a soft voice continuing to reiterate how much everyone cared for Erin. She did not allow herself to be phased by the alter. This had happened many times before and she knew this method eventually worked. As long as she did not engage with my mothers’ alters’ anger it would gradually dissipate and I would switch back.

When I did switch back I had no recollection of what had transpired. I never did. It was very discombobulating and exhausting. What I hated the most was the way it derailed the psychotherapy sessions. It left me more suicidal that she had such control and could such interfere with my life in such an ad-hoc way.

When we recommenced the EMDR session we dealt with the suicidality and its immediacy. A particular rape that had happened to me when I was nine was particularly troubling me for the past two months. (I blogged about this yesterday). We worked on this and made some promising headway. I am slowly dealing with reconciling myself with the guilt associated with the rapes. Their grooming was so expertise it’s very difficult to assuage it. The psychotherapist is very expert at dealing with me and guilt. She understands how much ownership I have over it and is working hard at breaking that down and having some sense of success, though slowly.


  1. With grooming, you are essentially brainwashed. Looking back afterwards can be very difficult because you may accuse yourself of being blind and stupid, for lack of better words. It can happen to anyone. It wasn’t your fault in any way. Hugs

  2. i know how difficult anger is especially an alters anger, it sounds like she was just reacting and underneath all that anger is hurt and pain and sadness and guilt and fear. i’m gla dyour therapist was able to help her and you too. xxx

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