Carrying on from my last post “The Great ‘D I D’ Dialogue” I wanted to share and answer an excellent question that our blogging buddy Bourbon from over at ‘Crazy In The Coconut’ asked in response to that earlier piece.
Bourbon’s questions was as follows…
“I saw you mentioned the phrase “core self”. Do you believe that somewhere amidst all these alters there is the “core self” who everyone was split from? Or do you believe that the core self is made up of EVERYONE and no one is as “core” as anyone else in the system?”
This really is such an excellent question and so I wanted to give it the respect it deserved by answering it fully.
Again I point out that this my own personal view and not an expert view and again I invite others to comment. (REMEMBER you can do so anonymously by prefacing your comment with ‘ANONYMOUS COMMENT’ and I will publish that comment under my own name.)
In answering Bourbon’s question I think for me the distinction between the two schools of thought is less relevant in terms of ‘the event’ or ‘its causality’ but extremely relevant in terms of our approach to a) its management and b) it’s healing.
And to explain that fully and indeed to demonstrate why I favour one over the other I think we have to look at the different aspects and implications of those two current schools of thought on the matter…
Let’s be honest and candid here. Some mental health practitioners believe ‘DID’ to be a recognized disorder and some believe that it should not.
Consequently, some believe in lets say the ‘one system comprising of several parts’ concept, some believe in the ‘one core – several fragments’ concept, and some believe it all to be misunderstood and thus not valid.
(As offensive as the latter one is, in order to be candid and objective it does need including.)
For me personally as a sufferer, I have extreme difficulty with the latter of those (obviously) and great difficulties with the first of them. And here is why…
In essence I am one who believes very firmly that life is in itself a journey. One in which we grow and develop. I am also one who believes that how we grow and develop is shaped and influenced (to varying degrees) by what we learn, witness and experience along the way.
It is, in my opinion, very hard to argue that if 10 different people experience the very same traumatic experience all 10 of them will react in exactly the same way. Yes there will be some commonalities but not exactly the same reactions.
Why not? Are they all not human? Yes of course, but they are not all the same human and thus are bound to react differently. And in part how they react will be influenced by the way in which they have grown and developed up to that point and that in itself is in part as a result of their individual past experiences.
So, if we accept that premiss, the young boy who faced the trauma which he couldn’t cope with, would have been armed with (among other things) the experiences and knowledge and intellect and securities he had developed up until that time.
The fact that he could not cope with that trauma, I believe, resulted in the fracturing or dissociation which took place and this in turn resulted in said personality or alter.
Let me introduce at this point, one of the two criteria proposed for inclusion in respect of ‘DID’ in the up-coming DSM V (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5)…
Disruption of identity characterized by two or more distinct personality states or an experience of possession, as evidenced by discontinuities in sense of self, cognition, behavior, affect, perceptions, and/or memories. This disruption may be observed by others or reported by the patient.
The key phrase there is for me “as evidenced by discontinuities in sense of self, cognition, behavior, affect, perceptions, and/or memories.” and the key word in that phrase is “discontinuities“.
Discontinuity is defined as a “Lack of continuity, logical sequence, or cohesion.” and/or “a break or gap”
Whilst I think both of the suggested relevant schools of thought have some validity the ‘one system comprising of several parts’ concept comfortably fits mainly to the lack of ‘cohesion’ part of our recognized ‘discontinuities’ criteria whilst the ‘one core – several fragments’ comfortably fits all of it.
And that, taking into consideration my belief that life journey of development and growth is the key consideration here. The trauma disrupted, that journey causing a ‘break or gap’ or ‘fragmentation or dissociation’ which caused a “lack of continuity, logical sequence, and/or cohesion” and so healing could therefore be possible when that “continuity, sequence and cohesion” is replaced.
So for me personally, and I stress that it is very much for me personally, I favour an approach which recognizes one central journey – the core and a fragmentation from that which needs to be integrated back into that core.
And my primary concern with the alternative approach – that which recognizes and accepts the ‘one system comprising of several parts’ concept – is that it is all too easy to seek an equilibrium within the ‘system of many parts’ which is in itself counter-productive to achieving the healing which is so desperately needed.
And so there you have it. My personal approach to it and why I am of that opinion. I sincerely hope that helps, and I apologize if I have made that all too complicated in my explanation. But it is a very complex issue.