Building Communication Between and Among Dissociated Alters
Posted On April 18, 2021
Learning to communicate among and with alters within a DID system is one of the most important lessons in healing. It is vital that one learn to hear and understand what is being held and hidden by alters in a system so we can open a dialogue about what happened and to bring ourselves into the present.
This article will explore ways and methods to communicate with the alters in a DID system.
Creating a Safe Place to Talk
The first step in opening communication with alters is to create a safe place where you all can meet. This place is an imaginary safe spot in your mind such as a warm and sandy beach (mine), a beautiful meadow, or any place that all of you feel is safe.
Instinctively, you will know which space feels safe to you, but you may need to experiment a bit. Allow yourself and the alters to create and continue to create your safe place elaborating on it continuously.
For instance, my safe place is a warm and sandy beach. Through the years it has acquired a beach fire that no one can get burned by, a little beach house with a piano, and the ocean water is so safe you cannot drown.
Use your imagination and create a magic space where all feel safe so that you can begin to open communications between yourself and your alters plus between the alters.
Remember to Be Kind
Once you have your safe place, keep in mind the others may not trust you at first. Do not be afraid of the other alters and treat anyone who comes forward with the utmost kindness. You may find it difficult to treat the alters with kindness after you have never known kindness from the adults in your life who were tasked with caring for you.
Be prepared to deal with angry and hurt parts who may want to treat you with disdain. Be kind but also firm as you do not deserve to be treated badly. Some of your parts may be upset and crying, it is okay to be confused and uncomfortable with them. Cry along with them and practice good grounding techniques to remain in the present while the pain of the past encompasses you.
It is also okay to hug your alters when they will allow it. Yes, I know, they are you and you are them, but it is okay to hug the alters because you will be hugging yourself.
We all need a hug sometimes.
Open Your Eyes
The memories your alters hold are horrendous but if they are allowed to remain hidden inside alters formed to protect you from them healing will not happen. Liberating our insiders from the duty of hiding from us the dark memories from the past holds them prisoner and keeps us from healing.
It is vital that we allow ourselves to see the memories and feel the emotions that we have hidden away for so long. We are no longer fragile children we are now strong and vital adults who can handle the knowledge of what happened to us.
By courageously opening our mind to the heart and soul that have been captured in our alters we in essence gain back who we were meant to be because we release those little ones to grow up and share our adulthood.
Get to Know the Others
To learn what happened and open communication among our alters and with ourselves we must first learn about the alters who have hidden our past from us for so long.
Learn about their biographies (how they came into existence, how old they are, and how are they internally (are they in a cluster or alone.) You also need to learn which other alters they know in the system and what their roles are such as persecutors and protectors.
Do not wait for your alters to ask you for help, offer them to come and live in the present where there is plenty of food, good shelter, and anything else they may want.
My alters wanted to feel safe at home and I offered them a place where they would be not just safe but also heard. They also had a real interest in having their own refrigerator and their own Coca-Cola, and since I had both, my alters were more likely to come and live in my present.
I also bought age-appropriate toys for a while to encourage the children to play with me giving me more opportunities to communicate with them. I offered them stuffed animals, blankets, and pillows too to make them feel happy and safe.
Talk to Your Insiders
To encourage your alters to speak with you, you may need to instigate the conversation. Try to avoid heavy topics at first if possible, to help the alters feel they can engage you without being triggered.
Whenever you can thank you for keeping you sane and alive throughout the ordeals they encountered growing up. Tell your alters you appreciate what they did for you and repeat as often as possible how you only want to help them get out of pain.
Ask your alters what they want to speak about and listen respectfully to what they have to say. It is not necessary for you to agree with what they have to say, in fact, at first, they will have a lot of distorted feelings and emotions clouding their reality.
Tell your alters you love them but only when that is a true statement. You might be afraid or angry with the alters at first, this is normal. However, eventually, when you get to know these alternate parts of yourself you will be able to say “I love you” for real.
Do Not Take Hateful Speech from Your Alters
Yes, the alters have been through hell and you need to respect them but that goes both ways.
The alters have, by the time you receive your diagnosis, put you through hell too. The chaos that ensues when an alter decides to take the reigns of your life cannot be forgotten.
Respect what the alters have been through but do not allow them to abuse you. If one of your alters becomes too abusive for you to handle, tell them you cannot speak to them alone and take them to your therapist to work with.
Be firm with your alters and set boundaries that they may not cross. Set rules for the littles in your system and do not forget your teens. Your teens will need curfews and rules laid out for them as well.
My 18-year-old Bianca has rules for her behavior. Bianca does a stellar job sticking to them. I give her an allowance each month, and she knows the rules, no porn, no alcohol, and no drugs may be bought with it.
You will be surprised how much safer your alters will feel with some simple yet important regulations to their behavior.
Communicating with your alters should be no different than speaking with any other outside person. Dignity, respect, and kindness are the three pillars on which good communication with the alters are built.
If at any time you feel overwhelmed by what you are hearing from the alters, do not hesitate to take what you have heard to your therapist. I have taken my child alters to see mine several times and have always left with all of me feeling better.
Open an honest dialogue with your alters and after the horrible stuff is out of the way you will be on a clear path to integration.