When someone first finds out that they’re part of a Dissociative Identity Disorder system, it’s natural for them to struggle with their diagnosis. But once they’ve come to terms with their DID diagnosis and have decided to tell someone about it, it can be downright devastating to be told that it’s “all in their head”. If your system has been told that your DID or trauma wasn’t real, this article is for you. We’ll be going over what your system can do to recover as a team when you’ve had your reality dismissed and discounted. Let’s jump right in.
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.
Before your system does anything else, make sure that all of your headmates are safe. Being dismissed can cause big emotions in anyone but some alters in your system may be particularly affected depending on their life experiences.
As best as you can, check in with each alter to make sure that they are safe and taking care of themselves inside of the headspace. Encourage all of your headmates to express how they feel about this situation; no matter how ugly or “wrong” the emotion feels. This will help everyone to return to center more quickly.
If anyone is struggling with self harm thoughts or actions, make sure that they get partnered up with an alter that will be able to help them stabilize. Check in with them frequently to make sure they’re getting what they need.
Remind Everyone That It’s Real
Once everyone is steady and safe, genuinely ask if anyone is struggling to believe that their DID/trauma is real. If anyone is starting to think that they’re “making it all up”, follow the steps in this article to make sure that your subconscious mind isn’t throwing up dissociative walls as a defense mechanism. If any of your alters seem to be “living in the past” again, follow the steps in this article to bring them back to the present day.
Once all of your alters seem to be in the present day and to be aware of their DID, have a talk with them where they can say whatever they want about their feelings regarding their DID or trauma. Make it a talk where no thought or feeling is off the table. By being able to freely talk about this stuff, your alters will be able to emotionally stabilize and confirm that their reality is in fact real.
After your system is all back to remembering that your DID and traumas are real, it can be very helpful to ask your system “Why do you think X would say that they’re not real?”. Having a team meeting where every alter is ping-ponging ideas off of each other will lead your system to quickly come up with some plausible reasons.
Some common reasons why someone might tell you that your DID/trauma isn’t real is that they:
Are all of these possibilities true for every situation? No, but one of them might be the reason you were told that your DID/trauma isn’t real.
By understanding that this person’s reason for dismissing your situation doesn’t really have much to do with you, your system will be better able to let it go. Your DID and traumas are real and someone else’s belief or disbelief doesn’t change that.
Update Safety Plans
The next and final step is to plan for how your system will stay safe. In addition to protecting your system from triggers and unsafe situations, there may be some new things that your system will need to add.
Depending on who told you these things, your system may need to take action. For example, if a therapist said that, your system may need to start looking for a new therapist. Or your system may see that it would be best if you all expanded your support network.
Every system’s needs are unique so make sure each of your alters are giving their input to keep your system as safe as possible.
Now that your system knows how to recover from being told that your DID/trauma isn’t real, what can be done to keep you on the road to healing? Check out our course, Of One Mind, to learn how to care for littles and unstable alters, teach life skills to every headmate, and to increase the internal and external safety of the system. Your system won’t ever be able to control other people’s actions but this course will teach your system to act as a team when it’s your turn to act.