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Re: Different personalities concept *triggers?* James K

Posted by Racer on February 25, 2006, at 13:54:52

In reply to Different personalities concept *triggers?*, posted by James K on February 24, 2006, at 16:21:19

First my disclaimer: I'm thinking aloud here, and I'm thinking about this as someone who has worked with a lot of animals. I figure I'm an animal first, a human primate, and so a lot of it still applies. If you're not an animal, please don't be offended, this is offered in a spirit of friendliness. ;-)

I have a hard time with "that's the little girl inside you," etc. I think because I tend towards a sort of pragmatism that doesn't include "separate parts" in my personality. But I'm coming to realize that there are parts of my personality, parts of my reactions, that really do stem from very old things that happened when I was very young. So, in that sense, that the behavior involved was learned when I was young and never developed past that, there is a little girl inside me. Does that make sense? It's not an alternate personality, it's part of my personality, part of who I am, but it's also NOT part of the adult personality I usually work out of.

For me, identifying that there is a retarded part of my development is the first step. In my case, it's got to do with fear, and generally fear of someone else disapproving of me. That fear is paralysing for me. I'll curl up into a sort of psychological fetal position if someone says I should know something I don't know. (I asked my doctor about trying cyproheptidine for anorgasmia from an SSRI, she didn't know it so looked it up, and said, "Oh, it's Periactin! Why didn't you just ask for Periactin in the first place?" I got very defensive about it -- but she stopped and said she was just joking. Well, I couldn't see that, because that's exactly the sort of thing that triggers my "little girl part," if that's what we were calling it.) So, for me, with this "part," the first step is identifying what is going on, why an otherwise normal adult would get so defensive over something so absurd. Second step is to trace it back, find out what's behind it, why do I feel as though I have to know everything anyone asks me? And then learn to integrate that defensive part into the adult part. And doing that is kinda like having the adult part say to that scared part, "Hey -- you didn't go to med school, so you really aren't expected to know that." Or whatever, but that was an example.

Oh, and I don't actually think about it in terms of "parts" -- although my T tends to use that language. We're both clear, though, that these are all parts of my personality, not alternate personalities, etc.

James, it is scary, no doubt at all about that. I do think that you would do well with a good therapist, but it's hard to find a good therapist for someone as smart as you are. I think it's worth it -- I know it's worth it for me, despite having to go through a lot of rubbish looking for a good one.

Yes, exploring where your rage comes from seems like it might be an important part of healing for you. What's behind that anger? Is it really anger? Or is it fear, or hurt? Does that anger get triggered when you feel small? Or when you feel trapped? Helpless? For you it's anger, for me it's tears and helplessness. I start crying easily and feeling helpless and hopeless -- when I am angry. My anger is a split second thing, because as soon as it hits, I immediately turn it to that helpless, hopeless misery. There's fear involved, of course; both fear that if I express my anger, things will get much worse; but also fear that I will lose control and hurt someone. It's very frightening, for me to think about being angry.

Do you know why you react with that anger? What experiences you had that trained you into this? That sort of thing is often learned behavior. And learned behavior can be unlearned.

And yes, identifying where a "part of you came from" has a value. I tend to think of it more as, "Identifying where you learned a certain type of reaction," but that's a quibble. (No, not the kind that ate the grain on Star Trek.) One you know what conditions created this response, you can start to work on unlearning it. You can start to learn healthier reactions to similar conditions. You know, you can learn healthier coping skills...

James, your posts have made it clear that you do go to a very dark place that's very dangerous for you. Just writing this here really shows that you have a heck of a lot of emotional strength, as well as a Texas sized sack of courage to face these things. With all that going for you, I have a lot of faith that you can get at this stuff and help yourself feel better. Good luck.

And I really hope I didn't ramble too much... Tired, kinda grumpy -- I'm just not at my best...




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