Boundaries and Sense of Self

I was admitted to the Clinic at Burwood (St John of God) on Thursday due to escalating suicidality and self-harm thoughts. It’s been ten weeks since I have self-harm and my psychiatrist thought it prudent to admit before things got out of control and I became overwhelmed and self-harmed again or attempted suicide.

The alters (I have Dissociative Identity Disorder) have been become very active particularly the three that are persecutor alters.

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is the result of repeated or long-term childhood trauma, most frequently child abuse or neglect, that is often combined with disorganized attachment or other attachment disturbances. DID cannot form after ages 6-9 because individuals older than these ages have an integrated self-identity and history. Trauma later in life can lead to posttraumatic stress disorder or complex posttraumatic stress disorder, other dissociative disorders including other specified dissociative disorder, somatic symptom disorders, or possibly borderline personality disorder, but DID requires an unintegrated mind to form.

My persecutor alters were protector alters up to the age of seventeen when they switched to becoming persecutors. This is due to the extreme guilt and shame I felt at that time about what was happening to me with the abuse by the paedophile ring. I blamed myself for not making it stop. I realised at seventeen what was actually happening to me. Up until then I knew no different. It was just my life. I knew no different but at seventeen having had some contact with other girls at school I knew it did not happen to them and I realised it was wrong and perverse. Up until then my alters acted as protectors helping me to dissociate during times of high anxiety and abuse and trauma.

One of the most difficult legacies I have been left with is understanding personal boundaries.

Boundaries are personal fences that have three purposes

  1. To keep people from coming into our personal space and taking advantage of us.
  2. To keep us from going into the space of others and taking advantage of them
  3. To give each of us a way to embody our sense of who we are

I struggle with one and two.

There are two types of boundaries: External and Internal

External

The external boundary includes the physical boundary and the sexual boundary. The physical boundary protects the body and controls distance and touch and the sexual boundary determines ur comfort zone regarding sexual distance and touch.

Internal

The internal boundary protects our thinking, feelings, and behaviour and acts like a filter. We are able to take responsibility for our own thinking, feelings, and behaviour and keep them separate from others. That way we do not blame others for how we think, feel and behave. At the same time, it helps us not to take responsibility for the thinking, feeling, and behaviour of others. That way we do not have to manipulate and control those around us.

With health boundaries we can have intimacy in our lives when we choose but are able to protect ourselves against abuse emotionally, verball, intellectually, phyiscally or sexually.

I put up walls to protect myself. This has advantages and disadvantages. I can protect myself but sometimes it means I block the right people from coming into my life.

Walls

Some people have erected walls of defence around themselves instead of boundaries. These walls are usually made of anger or fear.

In my session with my psychiatrist yesterday we discussed boundaries and there pros and cons. We concluded that I had not developed a sense of who I am and that was to be the goal of this admission. By developing a true sense of who I am I will be able to manage the alters better and re-gain my self-esteem and come to a true understanding of what happened to me. It is important that I accept I was a victim. I was just a child when the abuse happened. How could I be to blame? Why should I be ashamed? My gaining a true sense of self hopefully I will learn I have nothing to be ashamed of. The firm blame lies with the men in the paedophile ring and my parents for organising it. Big task ahead.

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5 comments

    • HI, Eliza Thanks for your comment and words of support. Much appreciated. I gratefully receive your hugs too !!!. All the best Erin.

      • Lotsa love, light and glitter
        Happy Tuesday! (for some reason I’m always writing Wednesday)

      • Thanks Eliza. Your good wishes gratefully received. Happy Wednesday back you. Hope you have a great day. All the best Erin

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