Alters are often unruly and cause some of those who have dissociative identity disorder (DID) problems. For instance, a very young alter (little) may want to drive the car or a teen alter may want to drive up the credit card.
How do you handle such problems? You make rules that your alters must follow. This article shall discuss the different ways you can set rules for your DID system.
Children Need Rules
All children need rules to feel safe and to know their place in the world. Children thrive when they know how far they can go and what behaviors are unacceptable. Children who do not have rules feel insecure as they blunder about trying to get their bearings.
It is up to their parents to set rules for children, laying out exactly what will be accepted as behavior. The parent must leave room for changing of the rules in case there is a drastic change in circumstances.
Children need rules to be fair. If the rule is one that rubs against a child’s morality or keeps them from achieving their best, the rule may not be followed and punishment that is unfair will follow.
Setting rules that are fair and equitable is vital to helping children (or child alters) grow in self-confidence and feel comforted, secure, and loved.
All these statements about actual children apply to the children living inside a person with dissociative identity disorder.
Adults Need Rules, Too
Adults need rules to help us keep in line and in touch with the world. When we break societal rules, we are punished through the courts, and in some circumstances, pay a high price for our disobedience.
Adult alters must know they cannot break the bank through spending, nor can they steal or commit fraud no matter how they think they are helping. By setting distinct rules on adult alters, one can achieve peace of mind that you won’t wake up some morning with the police at your door. This has happened to me and it is not fun.
I have set rules for my early adult alters that say they can have $50 per month to spend on whatever they want, thus keeping them out of my bank account and off my credit card. There are acceptations to this freedom. They may not spend money on booze, drugs, or pornography.
How To Set Rules for Alters
The best place to set rules for your alters is to first form a safe place in your mind where you can all meet. Then, establish yourself as the leader upon which your alters can rely.
Mostly, alters do not want to be disruptive. They are trying to help but are confused by the rules of society. That is why it is imperative that you set rules for them to follow.
At first, setting rules for your alters will meet with stringent opposition as they feel impinged upon. However, it is critical to keep explaining to them why each rule exists so they will understand how vital the rules are to their happiness and safety.
Remind your alters that you are they and they are you. If they get into trouble with the law, it might be you who gets arrested, but they will by default be dragged into court, too.
Reassure the alters in your system that there are better ways to handle needing clothing, etc. than doing something irrational. Tell them as many times as it takes that you can handle life without doing something against the rules.
Remember also that your child alters are for all intents and purposes children and may not understand the concept that what they have done is wrong. You may need to explain in depth why they may not do certain things that are wrong.
Ending Our Time Together
Having alters is challenging at best and disastrous at worst. Learning how to control everyone is perhaps the hardest part of the healing process. Setting rules and boundaries for your alters is vital to staying safe and out of trouble.
Do not be afraid of your alters, they are parts of yourself stuck in trauma-time that need to be loved to health. Only you can provide what they need to feel secure and loved.
I know that loving alters who have caused problems is difficult. If you are as I was once, you would rather ignore them, but you do so at your own peril. Instead of ignoring their needs or getting angry when they express them, try fulfilling them. You will find that your alters will respond much better to you if you show them dignity, respect, and most of all, love.
“Love yourself for who you are, and trust me, if you are happy from within, you are the most beautiful person, and your smile is your best asset.” Ileana D’Cruz
“Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself, that’s when you’re most beautiful.” Zoe Kravitz