I don’t suffer from multiple personality disorder. I am not the next Sybil. I don’t have other personalities take over my body and mind. But, I do have “friends” inside me. My therapist calls them “others”. Some professionals use the lofty term “fragmented selves”. My therapist assures me each of these “others” has my best interest in mind – or at least had my best interest in mind at the time I invited them in. Today, however, these parts get in the way of my rational goals. Let me give you some examples and see if you can understand.
How many of these scenarios can you relate to?
Do you feel the “other” when events make you stumble? Do you feel this “other” encouraging you, demanding you, arguing with your good judgment? Do you feel this “other” wins too often?
I am an intelligent adult. I am more than capable of choosing a goal, picking a path to meet that goal. And then BAM! I end up fighting myself – fighting some part of myself.
These “others” are fragmented selves that need something – the trick for me is to spend the time and find the compassion to understand this part of myself and then listen.
I’ve been told that I have to have compassion towards these saboteurs, these parts. I’ve been told I need to give them voice. So, I’ve been trying really hard to identify – literally see and hear – these extra parts of me. It’s been remarkable how clearly the images come to me – kind of scary and woo-woo. But, I’d not be honest with myself or you if I didn’t admit that I am beginning to engage these others as identifiable pieces that may be soothed if I give them time/space/compassion/VOICE.
Several months ago, I completed this painful “What is your heart’s desire” activity. During that process, I was finally able to identify what I needed – a voice – to be heard – to be accepted regardless of my ‘craziness’. That’s the germ for this blog. Anyway, I’m coming to realize that each of these parts also needs to speak – if only I’ll let them and accept what they have to say as “their truth at this moment” …
Let’s see if we can hear one of my others now …
Today, I’d like to introduce you to the Guardian of the Cabinets. She – and yes, she’s female – wears a white lab coat and she prowls inside a commercial kitchen. This kitchen is large with gleaming stainless steel cabinets. It’s blinding. In the center is a large stainless steel work table – kind of like you’d see in a school or a morgue. (A side laugh: can you imagine the fun my therapist will have with the dual imagery of a school and a morgue?) Anyway, my Guardian of the Cabinets is tall, thin. I can’t clearly see her face because she paces back and forth, ensuring I don’t open those cabinets. She is super protective of those cabinets.
Now that I’m writing this – and trying to sink into this part of me – I’m realizing that the room may not be a kitchen at all. It’s too cold. Too clean. Clinical. I’m not even sure there are appliances or a sink. What could this room be? Wall-to-wall gleaming cabinets with a guard. The guard – she snarls at me when I try to enter. She’s quite aggressive. Whatever she’s protecting – or believes she’s protecting – scares her.
I’ve never acknowledged her before. Now that I have, she’s a unique mix of aggressive and relieved. Maybe she’s relieved to finally be noticed? Maybe she’s relieved that now that I see and feel the fear surrounding these cabinets, I’ll be willing to leave them closed tight? Maybe she’s relieved that I’ll finally hear her? Whatever it is, she is freaked that I might open those cabinets…..
I’ve had to back out of the room. Her anxiety is in overdrive. She’s pacing and her fingers are flexing open, closed, open, closed.
From outside the space, I try to ask her for a name, for her purpose, for details on how she’s a protector, a friend. Her head shakes and she refuses to look at me. My getting this close is too much for her right now. Still, I can sense her relief that I’ve found her. Maybe next time, she’ll be willing to at least look at me.
My husband assures me that this post doesn’t make the greatest sense. I thought about just not posting it. But, then, I decided that maybe this is a perfect glimpse in the mind filled with “others”. It’s a confusing and bewildering place.
In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....