Most people would agree that working through the traumatic memories of abuse and neglect is one of the main pathways that lead to co-consciousness. However, trauma work does not stop once a memory has been shared with the therapist and its meaning has been interpreted in a new way. Trauma work also means to restore self-capacities that were arrested or did not develop. Take for example a memory that led to the part holding it coming to the conclusion “You can’t trust people” and acts accordingly.
In general I have a great aversion against labels – certainly against psychiatric labels that put a person into a defined box. Labels often have a stigma attached to the, for example DID, borderline, bipolar, or narcissistic. I am going to use narcissistic self parts here because if anyone wants to read up on this particular point, you can go on a google search and find plenty of information out there.
Narcissistic wounding, like other emotional wounding, often occurs early on in childhood. These wounds usually affect a person’s behaviour and personality throughout her/his life unless healing of these wounds is taking place.
On the first glance people may ask “What has co-consciousness to do with loving yourself and accepting all the different parts of you?” My answer to that is “Everything!”
If there is a part of you that you dislike, are afraid of, or even feel disgust for, you will stay away from that part ‘full stop’. If co-consciousness means to know to a large extend what other parts know, feel what they feel, and be able to act as they act, staying away from a part of you will increase the walls that divide you and prevent co-consciousness, not decrease them.
When a multiple notices that s/he is starting to remember and feel things s/he hadn’t before, things normally felt and remembered by another part of her, a very important milestone of recovery has been achieved.
A great deal of self-acceptance, learning to tolerate distress, and working on hard to hold memories will have occurred when a Multiple has gained co-consciousness. It’s a great achievement given that DID is all about having experiences that are too hard to hold in one place and therefore being ‘stored’ in the corners of one’s mind that are fiercely protected from access. A bit like Fort Knox, you just can’t leisurely stroll in there.
So, how is co-consciousness achieved, and how can a Multiple be helped or help her/himself in that process? That’s a great question I have been asked a few days ago. I wished it would be a simple one to answer. But it’s not! Well, what did I expect, if it were simple people would do it at the drop of their hat and not wait for a therapist to come along to enlighten them.