Lacking Relationship Skills

Shame When the need for MAKING HUMAN CONTACT, the need to have intimate and close relationships, and the need to be loved grew stronger, DID clients realised that they had no idea how to do ‘IT’. Don’t Know How To Relate demonstrated the need to have social skills in order to make connections and contact with other people. Clients discovered at this point that they lacked the skills needed for communication and for forming relationships. How do you relate, how do you have small talk, how do you initiate contact or a conversation? What do you say, after you say ‘Hello”? And then what happens?

What happens when you come close? What are the rules? DID clients entered into a field that was truly bewildering for them.

I never had a relationship until my boyfriend, and it’s like wow, if I do get a relationship, what the hell am I going to do? (Carol 2/8).

Because when we come in, because we know so little about relationships, we don’t even know how to talk intimately to someone (Treena).

DID is intrinsically about disconnection, being separate, not being aware of others, and hiding from others. Concepts of linking, connecting, and relating are completely alien to Did clients. Only after much therapy and hard work, after connecting with the therapist and with the self, were they able to make connections with other people.

I don’t go out, it’s too hard (Ruby 3/1).

The give and take of interactions was very hard, because you are either dominating or controlling, or you are left right out. And it is hard to get a balance. Ah, receive was so unfamiliar. So unfamiliar to know how to do it properly (Treena).

It’s almost that you have the ability, you know you are OK and that you want to be friends with people. And you know you have the ability to do it. But you kind of have to learn the skills to do it. To get in the habit of doing it. The fundamental mechanics of it…. It’s like kids have to when they are growing up. In a way it’s like going back and doing all the stages of development again (Mona 2/12).

People learn relationship and communication skills by interactions with others and themselves. “Human nature is not something we are born with: instead, it arises in social interaction” (Charon, 1998, p. 156). Other people’s responses continuously shape and inform our understanding and influence our perceptions of things (Charon, 1998). DID clients with their fragmented sense of self would only marginally have benefited from such intricate interactional processes. As a consequence they find themselves ill prepared for any social contact.

One thought on “Lacking Relationship Skills

  1. ne says:

    Maybe here are some of the answers – should of read this first. I have come a long way in this and at least I have found a place where I can feel safe. Its a good start. I am not going to give up on it though. Just every now and then I just get disheartened. I think I am on the right track and I know that God is beside me helping too. So I am gonna stick with it and keep plodding along and hopefully one day I will get it.

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