If your system has told someone about your DID or your trauma, it’s likely that it didn’t go the way you had all hoped. Oftentimes, it can be downright devastating to open up to someone about something so intimate and to feel rejected by their response. If you’re in that position right now, we’re here for you. We’ve been there ourselves and these are the steps we took to help our systems to get through it. Let’s get started.
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.
Address Any Immediate Needs In The Headspace
The first and most critical step is to make sure that everyone in your system is safe. If anyone is experiencing self harm thoughts, make it your top priority to get them into a safer state of mind. After that, focus on anyone that is experiencing flash backs.
Once they’re taken care of, it helps to take a roll call of everyone in the system to see how their feeling. As a system, do your best to get everyone what they need to stabilize.
As a bare minimum, this means allowing every alter in your system to express their emotions in a nonjudgmental environment. By encouraging everyone to say how they’re honestly feeling, they’ll feel validated and your system will know better how to help them.
Remind Everyone That None Of This Is Your Fault
After everyone in the system is stable and feeling cared for, make sure that everyone understands that this situation is NOT your system’s fault. It can be incredibly easy for some of your alters to fall for the trap that they should have “kept their mouth shut” and that it’s their fault for how things are turning out.
This is simply not true. But it can often feel true; especially if that specific alter has a history of trauma that makes it seem true. It’s not unusual for a system to have at least one alter that was the “scapegoat”. They’re used to being blamed for things that are beyond their control and being punished for things that they couldn’t have possibly done. These alters need extra attention at this time to help them remember that there is nothing wrong with your system taking care of itself.
If an alter does believe it’s their fault (or the system’s fault) for telling someone about your DID and/or trauma, make sure to give them extra attention for at least a few days. This means checking in with them throughout the day to see how they’re feeling, asking if they need anything, and just all around reassuring them that their feelings matter to the system.
Remind Everyone That Their Reaction Isn’t Your Responsibility
On a similar note, do what you can to remind your whole system that this person’s reaction to what was said is that person’s responsibility; not your system’s. Sometimes, when someone hears something that they don’t want to hear, it can be much easier to blame everything on the messenger. While it’s a common reaction, this does not make your system responsible for their actions.
This can be a very hard pill to swallow for some alters since many headmates have been conditioned to believe that they were harmed because of something they “made someone do”. None of that is true. Each individual is responsible for their own actions.
Depending on who you told, brace yourself for the onslaught of blame that may be coming your way.
If the person you told feels sad/angry/hurt/enraged/whatever, the best thing your system can do is to lovingly allow that person to experience their emotions while protecting your system. This does NOT mean accepting blame for anything that you said or had happen to you. This means understanding that the person you spoke with is having emotions and those emotions in absolutely no way affect your system’s needs.
Try To Remember That That Person Will Make Choices That You Dislike
Just like none of this is your system’s fault or your system’s responsibility because it was outside of your control, this person’s actions moving forward are also outside of your control. It’s important to make sure that all of your alters understand that the person you told is going to make their own choices and that you may not agree with those choices.
Many systems have at least once alter that “held it together”. These alters often felt immense pressure to keep the body (and possibly others) safe. Oftentimes, that meant attempting to control situations that should have never been forced on them in the first place.
Now that your system is older and away from your abuse, it’s important to help these alters to practice letting other people make decisions that you will not like. In the past, this was an attribute that was for survival purposes. Now that the system is safe, it’s time to thank that attribute for it’s help and let it go.
What this means is that your system may need to watch an individual make some very unwise or unhealthy decisions. And even though it may feel like you should stop it, ultimately, this person’s choices are their own. This most often means that they’ll engage in various forms of self harm. While it may be very hard to watch, it’s not your system’s fault, responsibility, or right to try and control the situation.
The best thing you (or anyone really) can do in this instance is to keep taking care of yourself and to be a good example of what real love and care look like.
Have A Team Meeting To Discuss How To Respond
Once all of your alters have received the care that they need and they all understand the things written above, the next important step is to have a team meeting. During this team meeting, address any lingering concerns and make sure that everyone is feeling supported.
Since your relationship with the individual you told may have changed, it’s time to discuss as a team what is best for everyone inside of the headspace. Things like the following may need to be addressed:
Make sure to get everyone’s input regardless of their age or current fronting time. Having a disappointing conversation regarding your DID or trauma can bring up a lot of past trauma tendencies but your system can get through this together. It’s important going forward that everyone in your system feel safe and supported both inside and outside of the headspace.
Now that your system knows how to recover from a conversation that didn’t go as well as you’d have liked, what can your system do to keep healing? Check out our course, Release The Past. This course goes over how to prepare all of your alters to let go of the pain that has seemingly become a part of their identity, how to actually heal, and how to prevent future issues.