Coming back & self injury

Looking at the blog posts and polyvore sets we’ve created over the past few months, it’s obvious (to us) that Management hasn’t been around much.  Our focus has been lacking and much of the structure that she introduced into our life to keep us safe has been lost.  I’m not quite sure why Management hasn’t been present – I think it was a combination of the way in which Bob (previous therapist) wanted to use her within the healing context and the way in which she has been treated by some people (the American friend used to call her a bitch).  She’s not a bitch.  She’s rule driven and incredibly focused which can be intimidating, but it doesn’t make her a bitch.  She isn’t intentionally rude to anyone and is incredibly gentle with the younger ones on her floor and any external children.

By the way, she’s smiling at the concept of me defending her :)

What’s interesting is that Management, one of our most functional and high achieving ones, has been absent predominantly because of people around us putting her down or using her in subtle ways.  Even our high achiever has insecurities.  I think this links into the idea raised by Samo’s site Who do you love when you say I love you.  When we tried going through the questions posed in the site, we replied “No” to the first one.  I think the big problem for us, is that we don’t understand each other or what we do.  We can often see the actions of the different ones, but we don’t know the reasons – or if we know the reasons they are so different from our usual morals that we can’t identify with the need for them to be there.  This again became obvious over the weekend.  We were very low because of the memories surrounding the loss of our unborn baby, and this allowed/encouraged the dysfunctional patterns of the old behaviours to kick in.

One form that this dysfunction takes is the need S has to please men.  We know that this behaviour saved us from greater hurt when we were growing up, but it scares us now.  We respect S for the role she played in keeping us as safe as possible while we were young (that is we love her), but we don’t understand her role in our life today (that is, we don’t love her behaviour).  Intellectually we know that she helps us cope with sex, but we also know that she uses it as a form of self-injury.  Over the weekend the pattern started again.  Thankfully nothing happened, but it added a feeling of self-disgust to the other layers of rubbish that we were already heaping on ourselves.

It’s so frustrating…


6 Responses to “Coming back & self injury”

  1. 1 davidrochester April 9, 2009 at 3:52 am

    we don’t understand her role in our life today

    I think it might be more accurate to say that S doesn’t understand her role in the current life of your body. One of the things that seems to be somewhat useful, with destructive-behavior alters, until their trauma can be released a bit, is to try to identify a more healthy way for the basic behavior to be expressed … to just achieve a teensy shift, just as you would with an external person who had a problematic behavior with a good-hearted, but confused, underlying motive.

    As you’ve said, S’s role was to protect you. I’m sure she doesn’t understand that things have changed, and so when you feel stressed and unhappy, her behaviors resurface because she’s triggered by those feelings. I know how frustrating that can be, and how confusing. One of the key pieces is that you’re able to recognize the trigger rather than immediately acting on it — that’s so hugely significant and healthy for you. Even if you can’t do it consistently, the fact that you can do it at all is fantastic.

    Anyway, back to what I was saying … since you do know that S’s motivation is protective, and you have some knowledge about when she’s triggered, I might suggest talking to her just as you would talk to any woman you know and care about who is confused about the appropriate use of sexual expression. She herself is not wrong or bad or disgusting or anything like that … she simply has some beliefs that were wired into her long ago, and which she doesn’t recognize to be no longer helpful to your collective life.

    What I’ve found, with a couple of my self-destructive alters, is that it has been very helpful to ask them whether there’s something else they’d like to do to help or to express whatever they’re feeling. A very clear explanation of why it’s not good to do what they want to do — devoid of judgment about them personally — tends to be a helpful way to open the conversation, and then I ask them what else they’d like to do, within the parameters of safety.

    I had a sexually reckless alter whom I have had to block and reframe all my life, which was easier for me than it is for a lot of folks due to the incredibly strong will of my primary alter, who absolutely would not let me do anything to endanger the health and safety of the body (except when we were on SSRI antidepressants, which effectively dissociated him completely from my brain, at which point I did several things that were completely uncharacteristic of me … or seemed to be). Anyway, my point is that I’ve had a lot of practice redirecting that type of energy, and in my own case, I found that the essential part of doing that was to discover what actually motivated the part. For me, the part really was about sexual self-expression, and so I allowed him to express himself, without a partner,as elaborately as he wanted to, and that seemed to work for him. We also found that there was another of our alters who found him very compelling and who was willing to be a partner for him, which helped a great deal.

    You may have similar inner resources for S — someone else who can hold or diffuse her behavior … or since her behaviors seem to be about safety and service, there may be a completely non-sexual way that she might want to behave, if she’s willing to consider that as an option.

    Sorry for the very long comment!

    • 2 castorgirl April 12, 2009 at 9:53 pm

      Thank you for your thoughts David.
      Sorry, ours aren’t all that coherent at the moment, but here goes…

      I can see what your saying, and it makes sense. This is how we would like to proceed with healing – small changes in positive ways which expand each ones world and understanding.

      S has very little respect for any of us and as far as I’m aware has only spoken to a therapist very briefly. Her demeanour is totally different in front of our female therapists and the barriers she throws up are incredible. I can see that she uses her sexuality as power – I think she initially saw pleasing men as a way to get the experience over quickly and then evolved into trying to control the situation.

      She is on the second floor of our internal house, which unfortunately is the same floor as Frank – an alter who took on many of the aspects of one abuser. So she does have someone within to enact her desires, but none of them are positive and are another form of self-injury. Ellie tries to stop it, but can’t. We also tried moving Frank to another floor, but that was a major disaster.

      She has still to work out Kriss, as he consistently (gently) questions her understanding of the situation as a way of challenging her belief that all men just want to hurt or orgasm without regard to anyone around them. He is the one person who she has actually talked to about what happened, so she knows he’s different. She doesn’t understand him, but usually laughs, tells him what he’s missing out on and then leaves.

      I know this is very difficult for the rest of us to understand as we are quite asexual, so having one who is solely geared for sex triggers all sorts of feelings for the rest of us. She’s a mixture of bravery, aggression and terror… I admire her in so many ways, she does her job so well…

      I’ll try talking to her…

  2. 3 jumpinginpuddles April 9, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Im a protector was used and abuaed by our previous therapist (you know sa’de can fix anything even her mess ups)have been known to also be gentle to littles and am now thriving with a better therapist.


    • 4 castorgirl April 12, 2009 at 9:57 pm

      Hello Sa’de,

      Yes, people don’t see how someone who protects can be gentle when needed. It sounded like a nasty situation with your previous therapist, I’m glad you got out of that situation and are now with someone positive.

      There’s no worse feeling as a protector to see that you’ve made a mistake; but you’re correct, it’s the putting right that counts.

      Kind regards

  3. 5 Sam April 11, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Nodding… nothing to add to David’s words.

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