I am struggling today. I have Dissociative Identity Disorder as well as CPTSD and I am switching alters all day. It is exhausting. I am ranging from the four year to the forty five year old but the most troubling is the sixteen year old who is a persecutory alter and is hell bent on my destruction. She blames me for not protecting her. Eileen is also a persecutory alter who wants to punish me for the acts the men perpetrated against me (I was the victim of a paedophile ring by my parents and a neighbour for fourteen years in Ireland). Eileen has been responsible for a lot of self harm and suicide attempts but thankfully she is not active today and is not joining the other alters as I switch in and out.
The sixteen year old has been getting me to stash my night time medication and store it in my dressing gown. I wait until my husband is asleep by continuing to read longer than him and then hide the medication. I know it is wrong but she just takes over and tells me what to do and I am powerless to do anything about it. She won’t let me tell my husband or therapist. No amount of explaining to her that I did the best I could under the circumstances changes her mind, she still blames me. Why didn’t I stop the men? Why didn’t I run away? Why didn’t I tell a neighbour? Why didn’t I tell someone at school?
These all sound like reasonable questions when asked by the logic of an adult but when you have been groomed from the age of four to know nothing else but abuse and are desperately trying to get love and approval from your Mother it is a totally different scenario. I so wanted my Mother to love me. I would have done anything for her, despite her beatings, starvation and locking me in the bedroom of the Hotel for days on end seeing no one. It was a very warped and lonely childhood.
The ironic aspect of persecutor alters is they are protective of the host as well as being detrimental to it.
The persecutor frequently protects the host through scare tactics; through fear and intimidation. In order for this scare tactic to work the host must be convinced of the persecutor’s capacity and willingness (even desire) to use the utmost in force and destructiveness. The persecutor must, in short, be viewed: “a fearsome, loathsome, demon-like entity.
When confronted with threats arising from the host’s behavior the persecutor appears to say to the host: “I’ll do such and such horrible thing if (or unless) you do thus and so.” When the danger posed comes from outside the system the persecutor uses the same scare tactics, trying to impress the intruder (in this case the therapist) with his or her ferocity and proclivity to violence. So my sixteen year old alter views my husband and therapist as a threat and is trying to protect me from them.
This case is also one in which the host, throughout adolescence and into adulthood, maintained contact with her abusers. The persecutor therefore becomes increasingly loaded with hostility toward the host, to the point were the original protective function is lost to consciousness.
Finally, it should be obvious that the persecutor who uses threats of violence to protect the host may be quite worried about either the host or therapist uncovering the underlying protective intent for to do so is, in essence, to disarm the power of the threat.
I just hope that through EMDR with my therapist the sixteen year old alter comes out and tells the therapist the plan. It has happened in the past that alters have told the therapist of plans and averted a crisis. So fingers crossed on Thursday that happens again.
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