When a Health Professional Is Doing You More Harm Than Good


Last Thursday night my mother alter switched during the night. She is the alter that causes me self-harm and reeks havoc whenever she is around. She is intent on my destruction believing me responsible for the abuse caused by the men in the paedophile ring towards me and other children. Humour me here. That is almost laughable. Black humour allowed. She was the organiser of the ring. She and my father. Why the blame lies with me only a sketch in Monty Python and The Holy Grail could answer!

So on Thursday during the night she switched and with a razor blade cut two ten centimetre long deep cuts in my left arm into the muscle. She had done the same the week before. Only when I am in her alter do I know where the blades are. We have searched the house high and low and can’t find them during the day. My husband tries to stay awake but can’t. She’s very canny and does it when he’s sound asleep. I then fall back asleep and we  don’t find out I have cut until we both awake in the morning. It is shocking and discombobulating. It is also very dangerous. I bled a lot this time and lost a lot of blood as I had cut so deep.

We went straight to ED and they stitched the wounds and asked the usual questions, none of which we could answer except to say I had done it under dissociation. They were very understanding as usual. They said they would get the Mental Health Team to call me the later that day. It was about 6.00 am by this stage.

As promised the Mental Health Team rang. It was a different psychologist than normal, a man aged I imagined in his fifties by the sound of his voice. It was clear he had not read my notes as I  had to tell him that this was a regular occurrence and that I had Complex PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder stemming from childhood abuse. He made perfunctory noises about using distracting methods such as ice blocks, rubber bands instead of cutting. I was rather annoyed as he should have appraised himself of my history before making such stupid suggestions for a client with such an extreme self-harm case. I held my mouth and stayed polite and let him rabbit on about the dangers of cutting. Then I said I was in a dissociated state. That I had no control over what was happening to which he replied and I kid you not, “Since when is dissociation an excuse for cutting”.

I could not believe what I was hearing. Here was a professional psychologist showing that they clearly understood absolutely nothing about DID. Nothing. I could no longer contain my anger and asked him just that – did he understand what DID was and that a person has no control over the switches of their alters? He said of course you have control. You just need to create an integrated system. Oh Wow !!!!!!! So that’s what you do. It’s that simple. What a shame I hadn’t know that all along. How much trouble I would have saved everyone. I just hung up. I could see we were going to get nowhere. This was one professional I was better off without and I recognised it. It’s very important to know when to cut your losses with a mental health professional if they are doing you more harm than good. Trust your judgement and that is why it is so important to be educated about your mental illness so you become your biggest advocate so you can best judge who should be treating you.

Of course he was right in saying that the objective is to create an integrated system in DID but it’s not something you just “DO”. It takes years of professional psychotherapy. I am undergoing that using EMDR and we are making progress and have managed to integrate some of my alters but are struggling with two of my alters and my mother alter happens to be one of them. It is connected with where we are up to in my therapy also. As it progresses the integration does too.


  1. You are correct, “Disassociate” with the therapist that is doing you more harm than good. I had to do that. What an ass that guy is.

  2. You absolutely have to be your own advocate. You have to learn all that you can about your issues and conditions, for your own safety.
    You just need to integrate your system. Fold tab A into slot B. So simple? what could be easier?
    That reminds me of being told what I need is strong support system.
    Great! I just pick one up while I’m out shopping.
    It’s like they read some pamphlet and now their an expert.

  3. I have a young part who takes frusemide daily, this leads to constant hospital admissions for potassium IV. I am constantly being told by consultants I must have some control. Or just get rid of the tablets! Do they not think I would have done this! I even had my mental health team write a letter but it still continues, it is so damaging and re-traumatises parts that are already scared about being in hospital when they are being shouted at by drs.

    • It is very difficult to live with DID and to live with distructive alters. I understand I have them too. It is a shame your doctors aren’t listening to you. Keep trying to find a doctor who will. Don’t give up the fight. Be brave and strong. All the best Erin

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