Many survivors living with dissociative identity disorder (DID) have a unique set of problems associated with having one or more alters who exhibit anger toward the host and the others in the system.
That’s what this article is about today. I will cover my experiences dealing with angry and insulting alters who brought a lot of chaos into my life. Granted, this piece is not set in undeniable science, but it is grounded in personal lived experience.
My Story in Short
I will not bother you with all the details of my healing journey as much of it is irrelevant to this piece. However, I remember well when I first began to meet my alters face-to-face, so to speak. I had three teenagers who weren’t a bit happy about me coming to the scene to take over and handle our lives. You see, I wasn’t born until 1990, the year we began therapy, and there was a great deal of resentment toward me at first.
I had one teenager in particular who was burning hot with rage over my taking over the finances, and her name is Bianca. She is between 18-22 years old and at that time was my worst nightmare.
Bianca had a nasty habit of raging at me not by yelling at or insulting me but by going shopping on my small budget and buy things we did not need to prove she was still in charge.
Bianca also fought with my mother. They hated each other, which made life a little more complicated, and I did not need that further complication in my life.
Others in my system would take me places I didn’t want to go and would say horrible things to people, even threatening a coworker’s life. I was humiliated, and my coworker was terrified of me. I lost her friendship.
They Were Afraid
I had no clue how to get my others under control and get the chaos down to a dull roar, but I began to hate my alters, and in the process, of course, I was hating myself.
Then one day in a session, I said I hated my alters to my therapist, and she quickly answered me that it wasn’t right to be hateful toward frightened and hurting children. I started to argue that the teens indeed were not children, but she stopped me.
What she taught me next has helped me enormously.
Didn’t I realize that all my alters were just children caught in trauma-time? In a time when the abuse was still happening? All they feel they can do is strikeout, and the fact they are doing so to you is a great compliment.
Children and adults only get angry and show it with people they trust not to harm them if they do so. They trust you, she told me, they trust you.
Two lessons came out of that session.
One. These alters are just hurting, lonely, angry children who need love, respect, and dignity. The only person who could give that to them is me.
Two. Even though they didn’t know what to make of me, as I began to take care of my body and the finances without raging at any of them (although I was about to), they were learning how good that felt and had begun to trust me.
Don’t Be Fooled
Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by that tough personality you find is causing chaos in your system. The alters were having a hard time adjusting to getting well. Allow them room to vent safely and make concessions whenever you can.
For instance, since Bianca was so into stealing money from our own bank account, we agreed between the two of us that she would receive an allowance of $30 a month and more if I could afford it. It worked! Bianca was content, and she became my best friend in my system. We have worked together to help others understand that I’m not their enemy but their best bet for life beyond trauma.
It might be necessary to stop being afraid of an angry or destructive alter. Try hugging and talking quietly to them instead. Yep, they’ll fight it tooth and nail at first and act eager to get away. But in the end, the angry alters will learn that hugs and affection from you are wonderful.
I Am Hopeful
I am hopeful that this piece helped those of you who needed a little guidance on how to handle a hostile alter. Perhaps the most important tip to remember I have saved for last.
Remember, your alters are not aliens from outer space or other people living inside your head; they are all you stuck in different events of your past. To be afraid of them is to be afraid of yourself.
Give yourself a hug and speak to yourself in loving words and tones. You’ll be surprised how, after a while, it sinks in, and the angry voices will subside.
A shout out to one of my readers for suggesting this topic!
“Before befriending others, you have to be your own best friend.” ~ Author Unknown
“Keep looking up. Keep moving forward. No storm lasts forever. You will get through, then you will look back and be amazed at what you see……Your strength, your courage, and your determination are much greater than you could have imagined.” ~ Zimmerman