On Dissociation and Multiple Identities: In Reference to “Paige”

I made a post the other day entitled Paige. Well, Paige did. I’ll try to ease you in here.

I have Dissociative Identity Disorder. It is more commonly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, which is still a misnomer, but can at least give you a basic framework.

I went through severe trauma as a child. Multiple times. And when it happened, what I experienced was so horrifying that I sealed it off, blocking all memory and emotion of it. But doing that splintered me. Those feelings were too heavy, too big, to just dissipate. All that anguish had to go somewhere, and all those emotions took with them a piece of myself.

I have never given my real name on this blog. I don’t intend on ever doing so. I had not figured out pseudonyms for my alters yet, and was wary to break the process down to begin with. It’s the secret so deep I kept it from myself for years, and the thought of sharing it publicly (even anonymously) was and is terrifying. I planned to eventually do so, but with more care and explanation.

Things don’t always go according to plan.

One of my 4 alters, Paige, came out and was in a terrible emotional state (which is not her normal temperament), a few hours before the blog post was made. I will spare you the particulars of the why, but I do want to address the what and how and who.

Once my identity had split once, it seemed to become easier for it to happen again. Or perhaps the later traumas were still, well, traumatic enough to cause an already unbalanced mind to continue to sever pieces of itself off that it didn’t know how to cope with. I don’t know. I’m not a psychiatrist or a therapist. I’m a “patient with insight”, as one of my therapist’s put it, and that is all I will ever claim to be. But I have lived it, and I can speak authoritatively on that: what it is actually like.

Imagine that your body is a car, and you, your soul and mind and consciousness, are the driver. You see the view out the windshield, you feel the wind coming in from the open windows, you smell the blossoms on the trees as you drive by them. And you also turn the wheel, apply the brakes, honk the horn, and in general, control this vehicle as the real you sits inside, travelling throughout the world.

Most of you who will read this, statistically speaking, are alone in your vehicles. Not only are you the sole passenger’s of your vehicles, but that is a fact that has probably seemed so obvious to you that you’ve never even imagined there could be additional passenger seats in the first place.

I do not travel alone.

If you count me (ananonymousoutsider, that is), there are 5 of us, 4 if you only count my alternates. Anise. Emily. Paige. Nadia.

Nadia was created first. She is very young and very shy and timid. If she ever feels that she wants to express herself and share her story on this blog, I won’t try to prevent it, but it is just that: her story, not mine. She is a part of me, and yet not me, as we were set down different paths so long ago.

Paige came along a bit later. She vacillates between 6 and 8 years old. She and I have the most functional relationship out of all the relationships in my head, a truth that is not shown very clearly by her post, but is true nonetheless.

Emily is… well, there is so much to say about Emily that a zillion posts probably wouldn’t sum it up, but for anyone who has seen the show The Blacklist, she’s Raymond Reddington. She’s manipulative, sly, clever, and ruthless, and flirts unabashedly with any and all moral and ethical boundaries. One of many reasons she isn’t out much. More on that in a bit.

I know shockingly little about Anise, other than that she primarily consists of anger. I silenced her voice so strongly, out of so much fear, that she is practically mute (something I am in no way proud of). She primarily speaks to me through music, running songs in my head that conjure her anger in me. She has not come “out” in over a decade.

Back to the vehicle analogy.

When I first had an alter take over in such a way that I understood(ish) and was conscious of, the vehicle analogy was the only “why” I could find to explain it. Many people with DID (or MPD, if you prefer), black out when an alter takes over. One woman that I knew with this disorder lost up to three weeks of time in a stretch, just, blackness, nothing, as if she had blinked and it was suddenly 3 weeks later.

I, on the other hand, seem to have a different variety. I experience everything, though sometimes it feels almost far away. I see it as if I’m sitting in the passenger’s seat, looking out the same windshield, feeling the same air, smelling the same aromas. But I am no longer holding the steering wheel.

With Emily in particular, it is like the steering wheel is wrenched out of my hands. And she is a scary-ass driver. There is a lot that goes on internally between the two of us in the process, but that’s the simplest way to explain it.

For Doctor Who fans, the episode Midnight, from Season 4 with David Tennant is actually a frighteningly accurate depiction of what this process (with Emily) feels like. For those who are not on the Doctor Who train but are still curious, I’m including a link to a streaming video of the episode here. Be warned, here there be spoilers: The Doctor is traveling across a world that has never been fully explored, and the alien being that attacks the bus like vehicle he and other tourists are riding in, basically “possesses” one of the passengers. She repeats everything that is said by everyone around her, apparently learning and adapting, soon, she is speaking with everyone: repeating, but at exactly the same time. To skip to what comes next, and the most relevant part of the episode, skip to 32 minutes in. Daily Motion – Doctor Who Midnight Full Episode Here.

Paige is almost always different. She is young, and sweet, and gentle. She has a huge fear of abandonment, stemming from a traumatic separation and rejection from our father. She doesn’t force her way in anymore: we have learned to work more cooperatively. It’s like she knocks on the door and I decide to let her out, to take her place in the cell that she lives in and let her have life. This is, in theory, progress, as accepting these parts of myself is a part of becoming whole and healthy again, of being able to “integrate” myself. But for her, and the others, integration looks a whole lot different than it does from my vantage point. It looks like death, and, as exposing and anxiety inducing her posting on here was, I’m glad that she is expressing those feelings instead of holding them in.

I will eventually post more about each of the others as becomes necessary. But for now, I simply wanted to give insight into what it is like for many of us with this strange and not very well understood disorder. I have been locked in my own head before, watching myself beat my head into the floor and rip my hair out, screaming in emotional agony, trying to control my lips and finding them inaccessible to me, hearing the words and thoughts and voice of someone else, who is me but not me, escape my lips instead. For a long time I was so afraid of them that I locked them away further, convincing myself they were a figment of my imagination (It’s all in my head, does that make is any less real?).

But secrets come out, emotions pour out, and nothing stays silenced forever. Nor should it.

Paige, I’m proud of you for sharing. I’m proud of the courage that it took. I forgive you for what you did, for the pain you felt the need to inflict on me, us. I cherish you, and you are always welcome to be a guest writer. 🙂 ~ AnAnonymousOutsider And in case anyone wants to check out what she said, the link to her post is here: Paige’s Post.

An Anonymous Outsider

If you have any questions or comments for me that you would like to share or discuss privately about this, you can email me at anotheranonymousoutsider@gmail.com

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58 thoughts on “On Dissociation and Multiple Identities: In Reference to “Paige”

  1. Pingback: Paige | ananonymousoutsider

  2. This is an interesting phenomenon. So you’re aware of the others coming out, like watching things through their eyes? It’s fascinating. I imagine its fairly rare to be aware of these alter egos when they’re present, rather than just “becoming” them? I know very little about this topic, so please take no offense if I say or ask something stupid. 😕

    Liked by 1 person

    • No offense taken, there is little awareness of what multiple personalities actually look like in reality, not pop culture, and I don’t fault anyone for having questions. Hell, I’ve had it for most of my life and I’ve certainly got a long list of questions myself lol.

      I’m very much aware of them. It’s as if I am paralyzed in my own body, watching and experiencing everything, but not being the one in control. They make the choices, and I experience whatever they experience.

      The woman I knew who blacked out whenever her alters came out, had a horrible time with the constant wondering of what she may or may not have done during her blackouts. I, get to live with seeing what I do firsthand, which is it’s own curse. But there are blessings too. I like to believe, and hope, that I can connect with my “others” better because I am more aware of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure that’s true, and it seems you’ve embraced them as being part of you. It’s such an odd thing. Is this usually a result of trauma, like in your case? Are there treatments, tools, therapy that helps you deal with this? Do you have some warning it’s about to happen? Very interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Trauma is the primary cause, yes. One study I read estimated severe past abuse or trauma in up to 97% of documented cases. In my case, as my parent’s did not know that I was being molested, they couldn’t do anything to prevent it, and it was an ongoing situation lasting multiple years. I believe that is part of why it had the power to fracture me as it did. There does appear to be some clustering within families as well, suggesting a possible genetic predisposition could be in play, but the line between nature and nurture gets very murky when it comes to that.

          There are treatments in the form of talk therapy (which I am a huge proponent of, and hope to get again once I get my health insurance back), and drugs that are great if I want to abandon any identity at all and just be a zombie. Most of how I cope is through coping skills I have either taught myself, discovered through research, or learned from fellow sufferers. I’ve often found the afflicted have better answers than the professionals.

          Most of the time I have some warning. It wasn’t that way at first. It used to be like a switch getting flipped. Sometimes it still is, with Emily in that she usually manages to trick her way out, or with Paige if she is having trouble containing her emotions and accidentally bursts out (which is how it happened prior to her blog posting adventure). Her emotional development is in many ways trapped in that 6-8 age range, but she has the thoughts and experiences of a couple extra decades, so sometimes it becomes too much for her to metaphorically “ask politely”.

          How much warning I get and how the transition goes down seems to vary from alter to alter.

          Liked by 1 person

            • The only dumb questions are the ones that don’t get asked 🙂

              It has effected my relationships, yes. Some for the better. It caused some people to leave my life, which is a blessing in it’s own way. And the one’s who stayed have shown me love and compassion beyond what I could have hoped for.

              Paige is in love with someone other than my husband. Luckily, given our rather unusual lifestyle, we make that work surprisingly well.

              The main area that I see that could have been affected horribly but has not, thank God, is with being a mom. All my alters have the ability to basically impersonate me. Even the ones that are so young that you wouldn’t think it possible. If they have to, they can pass as me (something Emily has used to her advantage against me many times), with remarkable accuracy. And in spite of all the differences we have, all of them, all of me, is mom to my kiddo, on a level that seems to run deeper even than the schism in my identity. They all feel a sense of duty to protect him. They all love him, even Anise, who is basically anger personified. They would all die for him as I would.

              Motherhood runs deeper than mental illness. It’s in my bones to protect my child, and those are their bones too. So it’s surprisingly a non issue there. He doesn’t know (I will tell him when he is older), and in the meanwhile, I know I can trust them when it comes to him because they instinctively love him as I do.

              Liked by 3 people

              • Wow, it’s just fascinating to hear you describe it, just matter of fact. I’m guessing it was tough on your husband? Good for you, and him, for being in love enough to take on this sort of challenge. I know someone on WP who likes to say “go where the love is”. Sounds as though you have. 😃

                Liked by 2 people

                • I’m blessed to have it in spades. 🙂 My husband is an incredible man, and he already is understanding of my BDSM lifestyle even though he is not into it himself, and he allows me to pursue my needs and passions in a way that I can’t imagine another man being understanding enough to do.

                  I’m very blessed.

                  Liked by 2 people

                    • That’s me, though it does bleed over into my alters a bit (they are me as well), and I do believe it’s quite possible that the events that created the alters also gave me a different view on pain and dominance, predator and prey, which may have led me down this path.

                      Regardless of what led me here in the first place, I’m glad I walked this road. I was involved with kink before becoming involved with my husband, when he was just my friend, and he was supportive, and seemed to understand it more than most of my friends did. At that time I was in a 24/7 Master/slave styled relationship, as a submissive. When that relationship ended, the breakup along with other factors made me believe that I was done with BDSM for good.

                      After the hub and I had been married for a couple years, I kind of stumbled into my own Dominant side, and discovered I was much more at home there. Since he wasn’t submissive, and I didn’t want him to be my sub or my Dom, but my equal, he allowed me to pursue external relationships for BDSM purposes. My sub has been with us for 5 years now, living with us, being basically an honorary uncle to our son. Even after 5 years though, my sub and I have never had intercourse: there are ground rules and that is one of them. I follow the rules to the letter and my husband and I are great communicators. It’s a unique situation, but we make it work.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I’ve about scenarios like yours. I can’t say I understand them, but I’m not opposed to them. You guys are adults, needs are being met honestly and openly, and all seem to be on board. Shit, most traditional marriages are a hell of a lot more dysfunctional and deceitful. I think what y’all are doing is terrific, mainly because its true to each person and just plain truthful.

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Thank you so much. As someone who has to hide this from the world out of fear of stigma, knowing that not everyone is so quick to judge is more encouraging than you know.

                      Honesty and truth are massive parts of what makes it all work. My dad was a serial cheater, and I’ve seen the damage that cheating can do. So from the beginning, the hub and I agreed that we would do this only as long as it was helping us and our marriage grow, and that it would all be completely open and honest. He and my submissive are best friends.

                      I believe that love is infinite. If you have a child, you love them with your whole heart. Does that mean that when you have another child they split the love that the first child had to himself? No. Time and energy, perhaps, but not love. We can simultaneously love multiple children with our whole heart, because the heart just grows to accommodate more giving of love. We do the same with friends, with family members. And yet society doesn’t see that love can be like that in any arena. You don’t have x amount of love units in you and once they’re spent, they’re gone. We all have an infinite supply.

                      Liked by 2 people

  3. Whelp. That’s frustrating. I left a lengthy comment here but it appears to me to have disappeared upon posting. I hope it didn’t, because I don’t have the patience to retype that darn thing. If it did disappear…I guess all I have to say to is this was an interesting read that gave me such much needed insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are so courageous in sharing your experiences, anonymousoutsider. You explain what it is like having DID from the inside, out. I cannot say too much as what you have written is dangerously and frighteningly close to my truth too. Painful indeed but my heart goes out to you all as I truly understand but am not brave enough to ‘come out’ publicly yet even under a pseudonym. My blog is written by one of ‘my people’ as I prefer to call them. ‘Cody’ who writes Blame It On The Donkey is the light-hearted part of my whole (if that makes any sense). God! DID is so difficult to share about. I have another blog written by a younger one of ‘my people’ but am not ready to expose it publicly yet, not even anonymously. However, if I may email you at the above address, privately and confidentially, I will share this with you and you alone because I know that you understand. I read Paige’s account of how she feels and it certainly hit raw nerves for me but I felt huge compassion for her. I am sending safe love to you all, Cody xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. All I can say is that you are the only person I’ve ever read who has discussed DID. I also suffer from this disorder due to traumatic child lhood events I don’t want to remember. I do not black out when my other selves manifest, but your car analogy was exceptional. I’m constantly a passenger in my own body and probably will be for the rest of my life. I also don’t openly discuss it on my blog. This is actually the first time I’ve gotten into this much detail about it. But I’m literally awe struck by the magnitude of your disorder and the strength you have to share your life with the other ‘selves’. Bravo.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: #LoveMe Challenge Day 14: Share a Fear You Overcame | ananonymousoutsider

  7. Pingback: The Lost Girl and The Wounded Woman | ananonymousoutsider

  8. Hey 🙂 Though I don’t understand DID or MPD ..I have just read about it or seen movies on it …it is the first time I am reading account of some one as first person 🙂 I am trying to understand you ..though it is difficult but I am here to listen you 🙂 You are brave to come out with this blog 🙂 it’s not at all easy to explain someone what you suffer from but you are explaining it brilliantly 🙂 Take care dear 🙂 I would be a frequent visitor 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Verde and Nadia (Trigger Warning) | ananonymousoutsider

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