Most newly diagnosed systems with Dissociative Identity Disorder have a problem with some alters really struggling when they front. Their actions can vary dramatically but the one thing it all has in common is that it’s not productive for creating a safe and healthy life. While your headmates’ behavior can be baffling and frustrating, there is one quick thing you can do to help cut down on many of those issues. And that is to bring all of your alters to the present day.
WARNING AND DISCLAIMER
Because of the nature of D.I.D., it’s possible that something in this article could be triggering to your system. Please use caution and your best judgement when reading this article. Safety first!
Disclaimer: We are not doctors, therapists, or mental health professionals. We’re just a bunch of alters that are speaking from personal experience to help other systems live their best lives.
What Does This Mean?
So what does it mean to “bring your alters to the present day”? It means that you’re going to find a way to help your alters understand what the current day actually is; not just what they think it is. When an alter is not fronting, they go into the internal headspace. Often times, they go back to an internal version of where the body was living when they were created.
What this means is that, when your alter is not fronting, it’s very likely that they’re reliving the past. For some alters, they’re even reliving their trauma every time they’re not fronting. They currently have no evidence that this is not true so they never question it. From their point of view, their time fronting may feel more like a dream than reality.
Why You Need To Do This
As I’m sure you can imagine, being forced to possibly relive your trauma over and over is not good for anyone. By bringing your alters to the present day, you’ll be able to help them break free from whatever is happening inside of the headspace.
Because some of your alters spend a majority of the time inside of the headspace, they legitimately may not understand that the body has grown up and is far away from their trauma.
If an alter does not know that they’re in an adult body, they’re going to understandably having a hard time adjusting to life while fronting. By bringing them to the present day, your headmates will have a much easier time adjusting to their time fronting.
Your alters will also be more likely to start healing from their trauma if the trauma has stopped inside and out. Since you all share a brain, when one alter improves, the whole system improves.
Overview Of How To Bring Your Headmates To The Present Day
If you want to bring your alters to the present day, you essentially need to get them to start questioning their reality. They have been living like this for so long that they’re not even aware that things could be different.
You’re going to show them that things are different. You’ll do this by stating facts so that, the next time they front or think about fronting, they’ll start to see that their perception of things doesn’t match up with reality.
Overall, you’re just encouraging them to question their reality by lovingly stating facts that they can’t explain away. It’s a very gentle process that they’ll be able to take at their own pace.
Five Step Process For Bringing Your Alters To The Present Day
In order to bring your alters to the present, you’re going to need to go somewhere where you won’t be disturbed for about 15-20 minutes. Once you’re somewhere that you’ll be able to focus, you’re going to enter into a calm and relaxed state of mind. If you’ve meditated before, that’s just perfect! That’s exactly the kind of state you want to be in for this exercise.
Take a few deep breaths and call your alters to you. Inside of your head, try saying something like this three times:
I’d like to speak with all of the available alters. Please let me speak with you.
Hopefully some or all of your alters will answer you. Even if no one comes, proceed anyway. The things you say will become part of the available information for every alter to possibly pick up in the future.
Once you’re ready to talk to your alters, the first thing you’re going to do is to state the current date. Repeat this a handful of times in a variety of ways. For example:
Today is X (month, date, and year). It’s less than a month after Christmas. Our birthday is in X months. We’ll be X years old. That’s because today is X (month, date, and year).
Now you’re going to start stating facts about your current situation and how it’s different from when you were younger. Try something like this:
The body is X years old now. We live in X. We no longer live with X. We’re no longer forced to X. We are safe.
**Pro tip: No matter what you say, make sure that it’s something you’d be comfortable with a five year old hearing. Any information you put into the headspace becomes available to ALL of your headmates so please make sure it’s safe and appropriate.
After you’ve stated some things like that, it’s time to state some evidence. For example, cell phones may not have been a thing when you were a child. Point that out. Go ahead and point out anything that proves to your alters that things are different now. For example, you could try saying something like this:
When the body was five, we lived near a X. Now we live near a X. When the body was fifteen, we had (past body description). Now we have (current body description.
While your headmates may not believe you right away, the next time they are fronting, they’ll begin to notice that everything that you said was true. This will help them to start believing that they are no longer living in their trauma.
**Pro tip: If your body has any new scars, tattoos, or identifiable marks, this is a big thing to point out. This is true in the opposite direction as well; if your body had a mark or injury when you were younger but it’s gone now, point that out. All of these are undeniable proof that your alters are no long in the past.
Let Them Know Why You’re Doing This
After you’ve said things to bring your alters to the present day, go ahead and let them know why you’re doing it. It could be as simple as this:
I’m telling you all of this so that you’ll know that your trauma is over and that you are safe. Things can be different now.
Ask if anyone has any questions for you and address those as you see fit. When you’re done, just open your eyes and bring yourself into the present moment by doing a grounding exercise or two.
**Pro tip: Our favorite grounding exercise is the five finger count down. Quick, easy, and fast!
“No one came when I called to them. Will this still work?”
Yes! Because you and your headmates all share one brain, anything one alter puts into the headspace becomes available for every alter. That doesn’t mean that your alters will do anything immediately with it, but it does mean that it’s available to them when they’re ready.
If you like to be on the safe side, you can repeat this exercise as often as you’d like until you’re sure that all of your alters have heard it.
“I felt like someone was watching me afterwards. Is that supposed to happen?”
Yes, that can happen. What you’re feeling is one or several of your alters being co-conscious with you. This is a good thing! This means that they’re willing to question their reality right away and they’re watching what you’re doing to find evidence that you’re telling the truth.
If you’ve never knowingly been co-conscious before, this also means that your dissociative walls are coming down. This is fantastic news because this is how your system can better share memories and heal. While it can feel a bit different at first, being co-conscious is a sign of serious system growth. Congrats!
“My alter called me a liar and got very emotional. What now?”
First, let me say that their response is understandable and not unusual. Try to keep in mind that they’re having their whole reality flipped upside down. Big emotions are not uncalled for. What they need right now is comfort and the ability to safely express themselves. As best as you can, allow them to say what their feeling in a nonjudgmental and open way. Ask them, “What is it you need from me right now?” Often times, being allowed and encouraged to express themselves will quickly reduce a flair up.
“I felt a spike of anxiety afterwards. Is that normal?”
Absolutely. You’re likely feeling a spike of anxiety because someone inside of the headspace is having anxiety. While anxiety is never fun, it’s a sign that at least one of your alters heard you, questioned their reality, and found that you were telling the truth. For some alters, finding out that their version of reality is incorrect is a huge blessing because it will free them from a trauma.
But for some alters, finding out that reality isn’t what they thought can be massively disappointing and even terrifying. If your alter is feeling a spike of anxiety, the most important thing you can do for them is to offer them comfort and the opportunity to express themselves fully. The anxiety will pass for both of you and it will pass even quicker when you’re able to give your struggling headmate love and support.
Now that you know how to bring your system to the present day, what else can you do to keep your system headed for more healing and connection? Check out our course, Home At Last, to learn how to create an internal home and culture that all of your headmates will love!