A Recovery Blog
This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
A Story About Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD)
Imagine entering into this world from the body of a 16 year old girl, a girl who had been abused sexually as a child, a girl who had sexually abused her younger siblings because she was taught to by her family, a girl with an abusive alcoholic father, a girl who endured poverty, a girl rejected by her family when she got pregnant, a girl now living with her teenage abusive alcoholic boyfriend somewhere in a big city. She has just returned to their apartment from the hospital with her newborn son. She must take care of her son's bodily needs, feed and clean him as she did with her siblings. Anal penetration with her finger or other tools is a part of her idea of normal cleaning. Genital molestation was common in the bathtub afterwards. She took care of her infant this way while engaging in domestic violence with her boyfriend. This infant was repeatedly exposed to violence, to danger.
An infant's mind is naturally extremely sensitive and vulnerable in any situation from very safe to very dangerous. In this situation this little boy's mind began to split up into defenses. Whether he ever had the chance to develop a core personality is questionable. Normal for him is to go through his life with multiple personality parts. And each personality part has its own center, a vulnerable core. I imagine it as a kind of kaleidoscope that shifts as the child reacts and responds to stimuli. But it is different from the average kaleidoscope in that some parts recede and others parts come forward or one part expands and overtakes the other parts. Parts go in and out of focus while changing colors and temperatures. Some parts over attach to the environment (people, places, things) while others become very detached.
I imagine that it is very normal for an infant in a dangerous environment that involves sexual molestation/rape to develop a serious personality disorder and also to develop obsessive/compulsive disorder simultaneously. Obsessive compulsiveness revolves around fear. Because the infant's life is in danger, he attaches intensely to his environment (people, places, things) searching for a way to protect himself, to survive. But too many repetitions of this overly attached state of being must mean that parts of the personality would have to detach from the situation to ultimately protect the most vulnerable center of the soul.
So in this scene we've got a mind split into personality parts becoming obsessive compulsive in some parts and extremely (perhaps even psychopathically) detached in other parts. All inside an infant's mind. This is his "normal". This begins happening way before any language is learned. And it is geared around a self preservation instinct.
For this child the sexual abuse continues and turns into full blown incest until he runs away from home at age 15. All this time, at different times, in different stages, his mind keeps splitting. He has an incredibly resilient, intelligent spirit and he survives the experience. But this is all he knows and other people start to prey on his vulnerability. For a time he becomes homeless and a prostitute. He joins a Christian cult and finds a measure of safety for a few years while continuing to be sexually abused by older adults. He doesn't realize that he's become a sexual/romance/relationship addict.
What must it be like to be practically born with multiple personalities and to remain in that condition till the age of 50? To always have multiple lovers for the multiple parts and remain in an addicted state? The boy was forced to adapt to a sick circumstance; he had no choice, especially with the lack of resources available when he was a child and adolescence. Lying became second nature in order to protect himself and his first lover, his mother. Later, the lying became compulsive.
His body matured into adulthood, but did his mind and spirit? No. The parts that continued to grow past adulthood progressed more deeply into sexual/romance/relationship addiction and yet managed through diligence and a resilient intelligence to become financially successful. Unfortunately this financial protection also protected his personality disorder and various addictions. Also a large part of this wealth was due to other people exploiting his natural talents, which were many. He became locked in, emotionally and sexually dependent on his group. Addicted. The group, the lovers came to replace the mother.
When he became financially successful parts of him became aware that he was a sexual addict. The more addicted parts remained in denial. The hardcore addict parts had much more invested in the group and its business and so they remained in the body much more than other younger, healthier parts.
The boy and then the man (with many boy parts) responded normally to a severely abusive setup. One of the normal reactions from children who have been severely abused, especially sexually, is to think that they did something wrong or were in some way deserving of having been abused over and over and over again. They internalize the sickness and live a shame based life. Ironically, deep shame can be a great motivator and can lead to perfectionism and workaholism which can lead to creativity which can lead to "success" especially in the capitalistic United States. And so it was for this man.