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.
I remember some time ago a client asking me “Why am I still losing time? I am ready to know and feel what my parts feel! What am I not doing that the integration process is pushing ahead?” This was followed by an annoyed part of her proclaiming ardently “She isn’t ready!!! She doesn’t even want to know! She doesn’t even like us! All she wants is to be integrated! This statement shows beautifully the main aspects of gaining co-consciousness.
- Trauma-work with individual parts including developing distress tolerance skills
- Healing narcissistic self-parts
In the next few days I will write to each of the three items. A disclaimer may be needed here: It sounds like three simple steps, but, more often than not, it’s very hard work that could take years to achieve. Healing from severe trauma is not a walk in the park but fighting formidable odds:
- You fight nature by threatening the attachment bond to the perpetrator(s).
- You fight biology by aiming to ‘retire’ established neuro-pathways that had years and years of re-enforcement.
- You fight against your own fears and panics evoked every time to approach your ‘Fort Knox’.
- You fight your environment that knows you the way you are now and will, unconsciously, behave in ways to maintain the status quo.