Host personality & secrets

Just read an interesting post by Faith Allen about the Importance of integrating the host personality.  This post hit a sore spot in that were not really sure who or what our host personality “looks” like.  Surely this is the sort of thing you’re meant to know?  I know more about who ISN’T the host, than who is…  You’d sort of think that this sort of thing would be obvious – ok, so maybe they haven’t got “Host Personality” tattooed on their forehead, but something would instinctively let you know surely???

We did have one who was the predominant fronting personality for much of our adult life, and her name is the one given to this body at birth, so maybe she’s “it”?  Only problem is that a couple of years ago  T thought the body was curled up on the couch reading, but it was actually S fronting having to have sex with the then husband and S forced T to see this.  At that point T went into her room in our internal house and locked the door.  We haven’t seen or heard from her since.

Feels like we’re trying to do a puzzle with most of the pieces missing and no idea what the final picture is meant to look like…

The following may trigger as a mild incident of abuse is discussed.

So onto secrets…  Over the last few weeks we’ve been struggling because we knew there was something going on internally, but we weren’t quite sure what it was.  We knew there were external stressors – ACC mediation, applying for a new job, finding a therapist etc, but this was something internal and quite different.  On Thursday we had another appointment with the woman’s support scheme/group that Bob encouraged us to contact.  In the morning we’d had a meeting about the review of the re-structuring that had occurred last year, so were very on edge and dissociated because of the stress.  When we got there the woman realised we were a bit out of it and suggested we do something other than talk.  She suggested drawing with crayons, which immediately fitted with what we needed to do.  After a bit of hesitation we agreed and sat on the floor with these crayons.  Thankfully the woman had to leave the room to go get some more colours (maybe just a good excuse?), so we could sit and gather ourselves.  There was an immediate need to go crazy on the paper with lots of red and black – just ram the crayon into the paper and rip it across so that it became covered in the black redness.  Sophie was overwhelmed at this point and a young one came forward.  She picked up the brown crayon and drew a table and chairs…  It was the classroom.

When we were in primary school there were a few students who knew quite a bit about sex – beyond the normal exploration.  We were one of this group.  Because this behaviour was such a normal part of our lives, we carried this sexual behaviour into the classroom.  One day we were under the table in the classroom pleasing one of the boys while a lesson was going on.  A student at another table suddenly yelled out “Look Miss Y, they’re doing dirty things”.  Miss Y looked straight at us while we were still under the table and as we moved to get back onto our chair, then she looked away.  Nothing happened as a result of this incident.

We’ve always wondered why this incident has affected us so badly.  It certainly wasn’t the worst thing an adult did to us.  Plenty of other adults had already turned a blind eye by that time.  Over the last few weeks we’d noticed this incident just sitting under the surface, chipping away at our safety.  After the young one had drawn this picture, the woman asked us about the incident.  It was only then we realised the true impact of this incident – we did more than tell the secrets that day, someone saw them and THEY DID NOTHING!  If a teacher saw the secrets and did nothing, what is the use of talking about them now?  No one will believe us.  So there’s no point in going to therapy, it’s all hopeless.  It was good to finally realise what the problem was.  We know what we’re facing again…

—————-
Now playing: I’ll follow you into the dark – Deathcab for Cutie
via FoxyTunes

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18 Responses to “Host personality & secrets”


  1. 1 faithallen May 9, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Hi! It’s Faith Allen from Blooming Lotus.

    Someone else asked a similar question, and here was my response:

    This is a description from “Safe Passage to Healing” by Chrystine Oksana:

    Some survivors develop an alter to function more or less steadily in day-to-day life. This self typically has no awareness of the abuse and may be known as the host. The host, too, feels overwhelmed. In the November/December 1992 issue of “The Sciences,” Dr. Frank W. Putnam writes:

    Typically, the host is depressed, anxious, rigid, frigid, compulsively good, conscience-stricken … and suffers any number of physical symptoms, most often headaches. Host personalities usually feel overwhelmed by life, at the mercy of forces far beyond their control. In many cases a host is either unaware of the alter personalities or, in the face of all evidence to the contrary, strongly denies their existence.

    ~ Safe Passage to Healing, p. 115

    +++++

    The host … is the part that may have emerged over time to function in day-to-day life. She or he usually stays out more continuously once the abuse has stopped. The host may be the person reading this book or looking for help through therapy. A host is often the personality who manages the other parts. Some have absolutely no awareness of other personalities. They may be unconsciously controlling other alters, preventing them from emerging. Once hosts learn how to safely relinquish control, they become key facilitators in the healing process.

    ~ Safe Passage to Healing, p. 141

    ++++

    I don’t know if all people with DID develop a host personality. I definitely had one, and integrating that part was transforming on so many levels. If you have multiple parts that rotate out and have never had one steady part that served as your usual “front man,” then you might not have a host personality.

    I hope this helps.

    Take care,

    – Faith

    • 2 castorgirl May 10, 2009 at 2:03 pm

      Hi Faith,

      After reading the information you’ve provided, we realise that we probably don’t have what would be described within the literature as a host personality. T did much of the fronting for most of our early to mid 20’s, but was heavily supported by the more functional (and complete personalities) E, M and Sophie with B acting as a filter for us all.

      The description of the host’s state of being, definitely describes how we were prior to therapy – and how we still are to some degree today.

      So while we don’t strongly identify with what you experienced with integrating the host personality, it gives us hope and reason to continue with this healing. Things can get better.

      Thank you and take care,
      CG

  2. 3 mindparts May 9, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I’m sorry this happened to you.

    So, I thought I was the only one who colors in red and black! Thanks!

    As I posted on Faith’s blog, I too don’t know who the host is. I think maybe this really doesn’t matter much. I think it was Faith who posted that all of us have to work towards some form of integration (or at least communication and collaboration).

    So I don’t sweat the names.

    But great posts to think about.

    Paul

    • 4 castorgirl May 10, 2009 at 2:12 pm

      Hi Paul,

      I think that part of our reaction to the post was that feeling of not fitting in again – not even fitting in with the DID community and the literature describing the disorder. It’s good to know it’s not just us who doesn’t associate the names/labels with their experiences or system.

      The times we have allowed ourselves to totally relax and draw with crayons it’s usually in red and black. It feels like a young one wanting to do it, but I’m not really sure. Sometimes it feels too scary to allow happen, so we only do it when we know that we’re going to be safe.

      I agree with moving towards a point of communication and collaboration – this is what we’re aiming for at the moment.

      Take care
      B

  3. 6 Ivory May 9, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Castorgirl,

    Imagine that all of us who know how you feel, share your confusion, share your frustration, and/or care about you take the people who abused you and while someone holds them down, we all take turns branding their foreheads and the backs of each hand with words like: Abuser, sexual pervert, perpetrator, and the like. And then we turn them loose in public where there are a lot of people, maybe angry parents – the kind who care.

    I love it when I get to imagine junk like this!

    Maybe that you’re understanding, or realizing what the problem is, you can now hold it down and … well, you know.

    Ivory

    • 7 castorgirl May 10, 2009 at 2:48 pm

      Hi Ivory,

      We’re much more settled now that we know what the underlying problem is. Depending on how we go with therapy tomorrow, we might bring it up to see what Liz makes of it.

      I really wish I could feel some sort of emotion towards the people who abused us. But we can’t access it at the moment. We can feel confusion and self-disgust, but not much aimed towards them.

      Take care,
      B

  4. 8 Emily's Camigwen May 10, 2009 at 5:12 am

    I agree on perhaps being aware of who is the host, but for SURE being aware of who is NOT the host. Learning process of letting down the wall but so hard.

    I agree with Faith Allen and the content she quotes. The idea of the host being front for so long after the abuse to get away from the idea of it. Trying to be perfect, anxious, etc. Hiding or not even being unaware of alters. All me. The idea of having to relinquish control is a real problem – I go through periods of feeling no need to acknowledge, let alone allow contributions, and then realizing that I have parts of me spread everywhere who are intruding with agendas and needs that I don’t understand.

    Good stuff.

    • 9 castorgirl May 10, 2009 at 2:57 pm

      It’s good to see you around :)

      I agree that many of the traits described are accurate for our experiences – especially about being anxious and a perfectionist. It’s more that the label didn’t quite fit, but then as Faith mentions amongst her responses…

      “Anything is possible with DID because the only limits are the child’s imagination.”

      All we can do is keep on working on healing…

      Take care
      B

  5. 10 davidrochester May 11, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I don’t have a host either, fwiw.

    And I am appalled that any adult could have behaved as blindly as your teacher did.

    • 11 castorgirl May 11, 2009 at 4:50 pm

      It’s good to know we’re not the only ones :)

      To put the incident into context, it was the late 70’s when there was little awareness of child abuse. She may have considered it a one-off incident, I’m not sure. I get the feeling that she treated us differently after the event – more distant. But this feeling could be due to our shame.

      Take care…

  6. 12 Sam-Embracing-Samo May 12, 2009 at 12:49 am

    Sometimes I’m called host by other alters in our system (especially by The Bold One) – but I myself don’t really feel any more of a host as the next alter..

    I prefer to see myself as The Scared One if anything at all b/c I am too scared to refuse any label given to me by anybody (if I am called host or anything else :) )

    That’s why I drew a little picture where all alters are named by the kind of extreme emotion they feel, not by some role (i.e hosting) they are supposed to act according to. Here it was – http://sam-embracing-samo.blogspot.com/2009/04/special-and-general-theory-of.html

    • 13 castorgirl May 12, 2009 at 1:19 pm

      Your diagram shows an understanding of your system that we admire.

      Our first instinct is to be hesitant in that our non-readers just see the arrows going one way which to them is a scary and negative thing. We know what you were doing with the sociogram, and it makes sense to those of us who can read. We’ve tried something similar as a way to communicate the system to Bob, but it didn’t work very well for us. Maybe we need to try again.

      Take care
      B

      • 14 Sam-Embracing-Samo May 12, 2009 at 9:11 pm

        Our non-reading alters have had similar reaction to the diagram and didn’t like it very much (despite our trying to explain to them that they can imagine a mirror picture where lines go in the other direction, since it is a mirror image, but… they would prefer to see… ).

        Thank you for reminding us that we can do it better and make a bidirectional image so our younger alters will be able see (not having to imagine both directions, anymore). thenky

        • 15 castorgirl May 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm

          I wasn’t meaning to criticise you or the sociogram Sam. I do see it as a great way to show the connections. It’s just that arrows (for us) have negative connotations, for example: being pointed at; communication is only one way; my way or no way; authority etc.

          Have you seen the sociograms that use distance between the names or roles as a way to indicate closeness? That might be worth trying??? We’ve created mind maps and layered images through GIMP as a way to try and show the connections.

          Take care…
          B

          • 16 Samo May 13, 2009 at 7:35 pm

            I know you were not meaning to criticize, it is ok, we’re grateful for your ideas. They make sense. Thank you for mentioning distances as a way to show the relationships between alters, great idea!

  7. 17 jumpinginpuddles May 12, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    i think intergrating our host alter would have some devasting results.

    • 18 castorgirl May 12, 2009 at 1:14 pm

      Yes, I think it would have to be something that is only done after a great deal of healing. Otherwise the trauma could be too much and the results not the positive step that was hoped for.

      Sending positive thoughts…
      Take care
      Sophie :)


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