We cannot stress the importance of having a good support system! You need to have someone you can turn to in times of trouble. You don't need a large support system but it's good to have several people who can help you if needed. Here's a list of our support system to give you an idea:
- Best friend
- Online groups
Of course, your support system needs to be aware that you are DID! You must make certain you only involve people you can trust and that you feel comfortable with. We are cautious with who we share with that we are multiple. Not everyone will respond as positively as you might think. Being multiple is nothing to be ashamed about! It may feel like you're having to keep another "secret" but you are only protecting yourself from those who may not be willing to understand.
Having a support system is important when you are having problems staying grounded or are facing some difficult memories. The purpose of the support system is that there is someone there you can talk to, cry with, hug you, whatever it is you need. Another good idea to have as a backup to your support system is a calming kit. What this consists of are things that you can use to help yourself relax. A kit could include:
Scented candles Stuffed animal Crayons and paper Play dough Favorite CD and CD player Blanket Journal
You can put whatever you want in your kit. It's what makes you relaxed that matters. You can keep your kit in a simple box or tote bag.
We are very thankful that we have a solid support system! It's reassuring to know that we can pick up the phone and call someone when we feel depressed, scared or angry. You should not go through the hard times alone! We are only an e-mail away if you should like to write us if you need someone to talk to.
A word for significant others
Here are some ways you can offer support to your loved one with DID:
- First and foremost you must believe what she says even though, at times, it may seem unbelievable! It may be painful for you to hear of her past but you must be willing to listen and accept what she and the others talk about. Let her know that you will be there for her no matter how many times you have heard her story. Sharing her painful memories is a way of validating her feelings.
- Never downplay the abuse she endured. Any kind of abuse is damaging! Do not tell her you understand because you were not there and do not know how she feels. You can be compassionate to her emotions but do not compare her pain.
- Make sure you never imply that the abuse was somehow her fault! Children do not ask to be abused! She may carry guilt for not telling anyone or for not putting up a fight. She was a child and the fears she had during the abusive acts were a powerful silencer. The important thing for her to understand is that she is a survivor and she is healing.
- Allow her to express her emotions! Do not tell her not to cry or it's okay. It may be frightening to you when she has emotional responses to the memories that emerge. Let her scream, cry, pound a pillow. This is a healthy release of feelings that were locked away for so many years. You are a supportive sounding board for her. Love her by just listening.
- If you are unfamiliar with DID or child abuse you may find it helpful to visit your local library. There are many books about it and the more you educate yourself the better support you will be able to give.
- If your loved one is deeply depressed or speaks of suicide you must take her seriously! Call her therapist or local emergency room. You should not attempt to help her on your own!
- It is extremely important that you remain patient with her during her healing process. It can be a slow painful journey. Every person heals at their own pace and cannot be pressured to move faster.
- You absolutely have to accept all of her individual parts. There may be an alter you do not like but you must remain neutral. Do not express negative or hurtful feelings towards them. It will make the situation worse! To the opposite side, do not play favorites! That can cause great animosity in the inner system.
- There may be times during her healing that she will not feel sexual. Respect the fact that her abusive memories are too fresh for her to be intimate.Do not get angry with her or make her feel guilty. Remember she is now learning what it means to no longer be a victim! She needs your understanding and love right now.
- There may be times you feel like giving up or leaving. It can be difficult to maintain a strong relationship when you have to share her with so many people. She may intentionally create chaos because she is comfortable with what is familiar to her. This is why you need to have support, be educated and have the patience of Job! Be prepared for the bad days, as they will consistently be there, and learn how to handle those days. Being in love with a multiple can be exciting, fun, chaotic, stressful, interesting and most certainly not boring!Support for people who have a loved one with DID is very important!! I can't stress this enough. You must have an outlet, whether it be a therapist, chaplain, TRUSTED friend or support group. If you have no one to vent your frustrations to you'll end up blowing up on your loved one, which in turn can trigger a sequence of chaotic events!
I highly recommend you go to http://www.op.net/~jeffv/so1_right.htm and download the significant other's guide to dissociative identity disorder. It's 43 pages but it is packed with awesome information and it is written by the spouse of a multiple.