Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 612863

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Different personalities concept *triggers?*

Posted by James K on February 24, 2006, at 16:21:19

I hope this is okay to talk about here, because I'm not in therapy right now and I'm not sure if this whatever.

Many on this board discuss their brains as different characters/personalities/parts. I think in some it is literal and some symbolic, and some a mixture. This has got me thinking about a way of thinking about me. I know this gets all confused with DID, MPD, inner child, and other things I have partial understanding of.

When I talk about myself and when I go violent or self injury or both, I talk about a switch being flipped. The guy who can handle running a big store customer service system, or shipping and receiving in the back room, has nothing to do with the guy who hides in cabinets when he is hurt, or the guy who becomes homicidal in feeling and intent when someone acts aggressive.

Is there value in identifying those parts of me as seperate, and figuring out who they are, and what they want? Or is integrating them into one me the value? I think questions like this are too much for a board to give answers to now that I've written them down. I'm scared to dig too deep into the destructive part. Sometimes therapist types have told me I should journal, and I try to explain to them that that is dangerous, but it is hard to explain why. Sometimes I'm walking down the street, or driving, sitting, or anything and things happen, and I have to say I did that because of reason A, or reason B, but really I don't know why. Sometimes the adrenaline blanks parts out.

The answer probably is I need a good therapist. My head is going the other direction right now, so I've managed to completely confuse myself 3 different ways in about a day and a half.

If you could feedback on me some, even just to say "I get it" or "I don't get it" or "thanks for sharing", it would help me be less alone right now.

James K

 

Re: Different personalities concept *triggers?* Ľ James K

Posted by Dinah on February 24, 2006, at 17:43:34

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

It was helpful for me. It is a helpful framework to understand why I do the things I do, because what I did was so ego-dystonic. Now what I do makes perfect sense, because if it's not something I would think or do or want to do, then it invariably is something *I* would think or do or want to do. Having two sets of motivations and ways of responding and viewing the world stops me from being so bewildered by my reactions and allows me to plan for situations or see problems as they crop up rather than react inexplicably days later.

 

Sorry James I'm just thinking out loud Ľ James K

Posted by Susan47 on February 24, 2006, at 17:46:44

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

Okay, your male brain and my female one might have a bit of a problem right now, because your analogy made me want to stop reading because I CAN'T DO THAT KIND OF THINKING right now ... but I think I know what you mean, wish I didn't, I've worked really really hard on getting myself together into one functioning person, and a lot of the time I still fail, but every successful attempt makes me more whole, more myself, and every failure is so potentially devastating, and I have to hang on to my remembrances of friends, and who they are, and a lot of times I forget to reach out ... and maybe you and I don't have the same things going on but I think I get what you're saying. Try and accept all the parts that you know of yourself then the other parts might be more willing to come forward ... and become one with you .. because they're there, you just have to accept what you see without judging it.

 

Re: Different personalities concept *triggers?*

Posted by antigua on February 24, 2006, at 18:02:33

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

Hi James.
I have found that dealing with the parts separately is important because I come to understand their special problems. Only after I've dealt w/them can I hope to integrate them, if that is ever the final goal.
I've been following your posts for a while, and I really feel for you; you are going through a very tough time. Would it help if you knew and could understand how the different "parts" of you act in a certain way when another part would never think of behaving that way?

I think even recognizing that you have these parts is a huge step.
best,
antigua

 

Re: Different personalities concept *triggers?* Ľ James K

Posted by Tamar on February 24, 2006, at 19:53:38

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

> I hope this is okay to talk about here, because I'm not in therapy right now and I'm not sure if this whatever.

Yeah, you can talk about this here!

> Many on this board discuss their brains as different characters/personalities/parts. I think in some it is literal and some symbolic, and some a mixture. This has got me thinking about a way of thinking about me. I know this gets all confused with DID, MPD, inner child, and other things I have partial understanding of.

For me itís symbolic but it works really well. I donít have DID or MPD as far as I know, but I find the metaphor useful.

> When I talk about myself and when I go violent or self injury or both, I talk about a switch being flipped. The guy who can handle running a big store customer service system, or shipping and receiving in the back room, has nothing to do with the guy who hides in cabinets when he is hurt, or the guy who becomes homicidal in feeling and intent when someone acts aggressive.

It sounds as if one part of you might benefit from talking to the other part. Iím guessing that the guy who hates being hurt is the younger guy, who is desperately hurt and tries to disguise pain with homicidal thoughts.

> Is there value in identifying those parts of me as seperate, and figuring out who they are, and what they want? Or is integrating them into one me the value? I think questions like this are too much for a board to give answers to now that I've written them down. I'm scared to dig too deep into the destructive part. Sometimes therapist types have told me I should journal, and I try to explain to them that that is dangerous, but it is hard to explain why. Sometimes I'm walking down the street, or driving, sitting, or anything and things happen, and I have to say I did that because of reason A, or reason B, but really I don't know why. Sometimes the adrenaline blanks parts out.

I think thereís a value in feeling the different sets of feelings within you. And yes, it *is* dangerous. Itís dangerous because you might get in touch with your anger. Itís dangerous because you donít feel in control of your emotions. But at the same time itís safer because as soon as you can accept your negative emotions as normal and permissible, you can perhaps begin to imagine that youíre not as bad as you think you areÖ

> The answer probably is I need a good therapist. My head is going the other direction right now, so I've managed to completely confuse myself 3 different ways in about a day and a half.

You are a very intelligent man. Maybe whatís hard for you is facing the truth. And you are a very courageous personÖ But nevertheless, the truths you have to face are very hard for you. And youíve been trying very hard to face up to them. But theyíre almost impossible to face because theyíre so painful.

> If you could feedback on me some, even just to say "I get it" or "I don't get it" or "thanks for sharing", it would help me be less alone right now.

Iím sorry you feel alone. I think you might feel less alone if you talk to inside-James. Just remember that he may be less articulate than you, and younger than you, and less able to express his feelings. But you can help him. You are a man with a lot of love in your heart: save a little for inside-James.

I know youíre afraid and you believe itís dangerous. Itís dangerous because admitting to those negative feelings is terrifying. Itís dangerous because if you say how awful you feel, youíre afraid you might do something awful.

For the record, I donít think youíd do something awful to anyone else. My main fear is that you might hurt yourself. And you donít deserve that. You deserve to be loved the way a man loves a woman; the way a mother loves her son; the way a friend loves her best friend.

You are a beautiful person, James. I hope youíll begin to recognise it soon.

Tamar

 

Thank you

Posted by James K on February 24, 2006, at 23:33:10

In reply to Re: Different personalities concept *triggers?* Ľ James K, posted by Tamar on February 24, 2006, at 19:53:38

You all took the time to read and respond. It means something to me that you know me and care about how I'm doing and thinking. I'm going to have to reread the answers again in depth, and think about these things. There was some real insight. I'm answering everyone at once right now. I have a kind of exhaustion happening. But I may come back and ask specific questions or comments later tonight or tomorrow.

Love,
james k

 

Re: Different personalities concept *triggers?* Ľ 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...

 

what's happened *mult trigger*

Posted by James K on February 25, 2006, at 15:42:56

In reply to Re: Different personalities concept *triggers?* Ľ James K, posted by Racer on February 25, 2006, at 13:54:52

This is just me bitching about my past, probably not good reading for a rainy saturday afternoon, so maybe you'll read it later when it more psychological feeling. I just have to get some of it out even if I feel foolish after. I let this stuff bother me so many years later. Any way, I'm going to hit post now, and it will be out here. I'm not making a big deal, but telling unpleasant is unpleasant.

This stuff did happen for a reason. If there is a little boy in me still, he is scared and hurt. And if there is an adolescent in me still, he is angry and vengeful. But the adult I am is a tribute to the love of my best friend and my wife. The extreme nature of my adult emotions is a tribute to me protecting the "little boy" and reinforcing the "adolescent".

Me and my sisters got spanked. Not a big deal on the face of it. Welcome to America. It messed me up big time. It started too soon, and went on too long. There was always a feeling of such disaproval and tension to live under. I remember when I was 4 and in kindergarten, I was called to the front of the class because I guess I had just aced my first standardized test and was to be congratulated. I freaked out from fear. The poor teacher had to reassure me that something good was happening.

Getting hit when you are young, as some of you sadly know, changes the way the brain works. My little sister was my best friend and favorite person in the world. Sometime around 7 years maybe she would be 6, someone of the three of us did something bad. We all got punished to confess. Which I even then knew was a Nazi tactic. So one by one we were bent over a bed naked and whipped with a 4 foot, 2 inch yard stick till they stopped, none of us confessed so we went again, and again. Nobody ever confessed, but the stick broke on my little sister's bare *ss, so they stopped. They asked us to forgive them, and I said no, and I went finally hard inside. Now sex, nakedness, pain, humiliation are all twisted up in my head.

They continued to hit us for years, but they'd lost me. I started using drugs a couple of years later, and some day in my early teens, my mom tried to hit me some more, and I threw her to the ground. That was the last day of that particular punishment. A few years after that sometime, she was yelling at me, and I slammed my bedroom door in her face. She didn't like that, but she liked it less when my fist came through the door. I walked out of the house, ran my head full force into the brick wall and walked away. I didn't come back until very late that night after calling and asking if I could, and all we talked about was the fact there was beer on my breath. I don't care, I needed a drink.

I was a smart lowerclass underaged yankee in a stupid trash southern subdivision in a rich school district. I got in fights all the time. Beaten up. 2 on 1, or by older kids. Metal lunchbox fights. Sometime in highschool after I gained my strength and confidence, I started scaring people. I helped my new wave friends when people messed with them. I just had to go look at somebody and it was on, because I wasn't afraid to go right now. That is huge power. It kept me alive throughout young adulthood. I faced down guns, and other drunks, because I had hate like they didn't know about.

When I got older and worked in customer service, there came times when I had to just take it. Because I wanted to keep my job, or because the store had bought my honor for itself. So I had to deal with my honor on my own time. So I've hurt myself real bad over the years. Somebody has to pay and it's almost always me. I look down on my arms, and I see the words worthless nothing burned in my forearm, the butcher knife marks that almost killed me, the stab wound from last month, the scars on the broken knuckles. I've been self injuring longer than I've been substance abusing, and thats almost 30 years.

I had a big fear of marking my face, It's already marked with lots of injury scars, but now I have my first permanent on purpose scar in the middle of my forehead. I'd already violated my privates with safety pins, so there is no taboo left for me.

My dad is a big man 6 foot 4, 300 plus pounds. He dropped me on my head when I was a newborn on the icy concrete church steps from clumsy. He full force slapped me onside the head to the floor when I was 8 for whatever. My mother made sure I knew I wasn't as cool as I thought I was when I was 14.

Nobody ever helped me with social anxiety that was so obvious. Noone helped me with substance abuse when I was a preteen.

Gay predators kept coming after me. More than I care to remember. It messed with my sexual identity because I couldn't keep a girlfriend for more than one night, but all these men wouldn't take no for an answer. When I was 17 at college, I finally let a guy jack me off in exchange for him supplying the liqour I couldn't get otherwise. He was 24, but claimed 21. I would hit him.

I'm rambling, there were just days after days of pain, humiliation, confusion, depression, anxiety, I had books and music. When I discovered booze and a peer group I became me. And i hate the me I was before, and I hate the world that allowed me to be that me. When I get reminded of that old me, or that part of the world that creates people like the old me -abusers, predators, class system, incompetence. I want to wipe it clean. I want no trace of the little boy I'm telling you some of to exist.

All that is just to say the muliple personality parts of me are the hurt kid (that I hate) the adolescent who tried (and failed) and Me (who would rather break something than feel or remember any of this stuff that comes to me when I stay sober too long, or get triggered by the news or media of some kind)

james k

 

Re: what's happened *mult trigger* Ľ James K

Posted by Pfinstegg on February 26, 2006, at 0:01:37

In reply to what's happened *mult trigger*, posted by James K on February 25, 2006, at 15:42:56

I'm so sorry such terrible things happened to you. I think you are talking about PTSD combined with an ego state disorder. Other people here, including me, have that. It's a sort of partial dissociation of one's inner self into feeling states centered around ages when particular traumas happened. It's not DID, where you develop separate personal identities to cope with trauma, but it's a lesser version of the same process. Therapy can help it a lot, though it's usually not a quick process, unfortunately. Why aren't you finding a therapist? We can all care about you, and we do, but we can't do what a therapist can do for you. We can't even be any kind of substitute for therapy, unfortunately.

Please think about that very carefully, James.

 

Re: what's happened *mult trigger* Ľ James K

Posted by Tamar on February 26, 2006, at 20:21:03

In reply to what's happened *mult trigger*, posted by James K on February 25, 2006, at 15:42:56

Gosh, James, you are incredibly brave to post what happened to you. Itís a terrible, horrible story.

I was reading an article in a psychology journal a while ago, and it suggested that children can construe spanking as sexual abuse even when the adults doing the spanking donít intend to sexually abuse the kids. And Iím not an expert but it sounds to me as if what your parents did was a form of sexual abuse as well as physical abuse. I wonder if youíve ever named it as sexual abuse? Maybe it doesnít feel like sexual abuse to you. But when you mentioned that youíve injured your own genitals, and when you mentioned the connection between sex, nakedness, pain and humiliation, I thought of the article Iíd read. Iíll try to find the referenceÖ

I know the feeling of wanting your body to pay for your honor. And yetÖ your body isnít evil; itís suffering. I donít know about you, but sometimes I need to be able to see my pain because if I canít see it I think Iím crazy or I think Iím imagining it. I canít understand how emotional pain can be so invisible, so I make it visible but marking my body with blood.

Foucault (the French philosopher) said that history inscribes itself on our bodies, and I think thatís as true of our personal histories as it is of our cultural histories. And when I cut myself I feel as if Iím inscribing my body with the pain I feel in my mind. You have already inscribed your body with words. And you can see them every time you look at yourself.

I donít know if this is a stupid idea, but itís an idea neverthelessÖ feel free to ignore meÖ but is there a way you can inscribe your body with a more positive message about yourself? Can you take a pen (NOT a knife) and write on yourself? Write on your arm above the words Ďworthless nothingí: I AM NOT A. Or write ĎMy wife loves this body and hates to see it hurt.í Or if you donít feel at all positive, maybe write in pen: ĎIt hurtsí. Write whatever comes to your mind, but write it with pen instead of with blood. Or just ignore me (but I think Iíll try this myselfÖ) I think the idea of having a message written on my skin might give me something even more powerful than the bloodÖ I dunno.

> All that is just to say the muliple personality parts of me are the hurt kid (that I hate) the adolescent who tried (and failed) and Me (who would rather break something than feel or remember any of this stuff that comes to me when I stay sober too long, or get triggered by the news or media of some kind)

I find the triggers in the news or media very difficult to deal with. Therapy helped; we talked a lot about the words and images I find particularly difficult. It wasnít easy, but it made a difference to my life.

Itís easy to despise the little kidÖ itís easy to blame him for your parentsí anger. Maybe you feel if he hadnít been so weak or so little or so vulnerable it wouldnít have happened. Maybe you sometimes think he deserved what happened to him, even though you know that no other little kid deserves it. He probably blames himself for your parentsí violence. But you are a very loving person and I think youíre capable of feeling compassion for the kidÖ it takes time. And the adolescent was probably just as powerless as the kid. We all think weíre adults when weíre teenagers, but we donít have the experience to make sense of the adult world. Are you disappointed that the adolescent failed? Maybe there are ways in which he didnít fail; maybe he found ways to cope, even if he couldnít change things, and even if they werenít necessarily the healthiest ways to copeÖ

Itís hard to admit how much it hurts. Itís frightening. Itís like exposing your own vulnerability and weakness. If you admit that it hurts, how will you protect yourself from being hurt again? Itís sometimes impossible to imagine allowing yourself to be so vulnerable. And yetÖ oddly, being able to name your experiences and face the pain can give you strength to live with it. Well, thatís how it was for me.

I hope you find the help you need SOON.

Tamar

 

Re: what's happened *mult trigger* Ľ James K

Posted by B2chica on February 27, 2006, at 9:31:49

In reply to what's happened *mult trigger*, posted by James K on February 25, 2006, at 15:42:56

>>Now sex, nakedness, pain, humiliation are all twisted up in my head.
james, i'm so sorry what you've been through. things like this would not be allowed today. and it's ashame they happened at all. but i can relate. my mother was the abuser to me, at first she used a belt but she must have thought that wasn't working so she'd use both her hands and just go nuts hitting me all over in a rage. but i understand the naked thing too. i too had to undress for most punishements. my inner being screams of humiliation. its such a horrible feeling it makes me sick. i don't think i'm dealing with it very well.

>>They continued to hit us for years, but they'd lost me. I started using drugs a couple of years later, and some day in my early teens, my mom tried to hit me some more, and I threw her to the ground.

sorry if this sounds cruel but i have to say YA for you. i to this day remember the first time i hit my 'mother' back. and it still feels good. i got stronger the further i got into my teens and by 15 i felt much stronger and able to 'deal' with her irradic mood swings and 'attempted' abuse. i often learned how to thwart it.
i'm sorry you had to resort to substance abuse, but i've been there too.

man, you did get into a lot of fights. but i agree that it makes you MUCH stronger. the only times i've fought guns is when the person was trying to kill themselves, so i have too much experience there. but the strength you gain is irreplaceable.

i too am a big SI(er?) but haven't in about a month. that's really excellent for me.
i'm sorry to hear about all your pain. you have so much, much more than any one person should suffer.

boy...this really is a multi trigger post. i'm so sorry all those horrible predaters came after you. but i think they do have a sense of who may be vulnerable to them.

>>>All that is just to say the muliple personality parts of me are the hurt kid (that I hate) the adolescent who tried (and failed) and Me (who would rather break something than feel or remember any of this stuff that comes to me when I stay sober too long, or get triggered by the news or media of some kind)

are you seeing a T? there are some out there that specialize in dual-diagnosis which are people who have a substance abuse along with emotional/mental issues.
these are all VERY important aspects of you and they ALL need to be recognized and worked with.

i'm sorry i'm not much help but i want you to know you are not alone and i'm so glad you've joined babble.

please be gentle with yourself when you can
b2c.


 

Re: what's happened *mult trigger*

Posted by B2chica on February 27, 2006, at 9:36:08

In reply to Re: what's happened *mult trigger* Ľ James K, posted by Tamar on February 26, 2006, at 20:21:03

James, i just read what Tamar said about SI and i agree with her totally. i paint a lot and my old T said i should paint on my body when i feel like i need to SI.
so i did try it.

i'd usually do it all up and down my arms. to be honest, it reminded me of tattoo's and being able to constantly see that work made me feel stronger. especially when others could see it. it almost felt like some type of armor.

maybe this could work for you.

thanks for the refresher Tamar.
b2c


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