#1 Common DID Myth

Myth # 1: It’s easy to spot if someone has DID (Multiple Personalities)


This (like this picture) is what you’d expect if you believe the depictions of DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder), former MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) in movies or TV. They are weird looking, weird behaving, and easy to spot. And if you take the latest movies featuring a main character with DID (Glass, Split) you better be careful, because THEY are lethal on top of being weird.

I’ve just released the psychological thriller GIRL FROM THE TREE HOUSE about Elise, a woman with multiple personalities who’s fighting for her sanity and freedom as she is accused of murder. A friend of mine said the other day, “Watch out, soon you get a movie contract for the book.”

I had to disappoint her because, movies especially, sell bizarre, exaggerated, sensationalized portrayals with heaps of horror, blood, preferably good looking young girls stabbed to death…and perhaps even a landing of an alien spaceship thrown in. So I’m not staying awake waiting for Hollywood to knock at my door.

The reality of living with DID is much more mundane, much more subtle. Often friends, colleagues, or neighbors don’t have a clue. Even professional health providers don’t always notice. People with DID can spend years in the health system without being diagnosed. Co-morbidity is high among them. Topping the list are severe depression, PTSD, eating disorders, and substance abuse. If treatment focuses on the latter, the person with DID will not get much better.

My aim with my book is to debunk the myths about DID and show the heartwrenching and heartwarming struggle they call ‘life’ as well as show pathways of recovery…all wrapped into a thrilling plot. Sorry, no human monsters, no silence of the lambs. The ordinary, daily life delivers excitement enough.


I think I achieve it, going by the reviews that are coming in, for example:

What an incredible story! Stepping into the world of a person with multiple personalities was fascinating. This psychological thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat. Beautifully written, hauntingly powerful, and a true testament to the power of the human spirit. Highly recommended. (Leeanna Morgan, USA Today bestselling author, BookBub)

Easily the best book I’ve read about DID (dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personality disorder) with clear insight into how, why and when the personalities surfaced and interacted with each other, and how it affected the life of a young girl in New Zealand.
This helped me understand much more about how the disorder can consume the mind and life of people and how their emotional well being is further constrained by society’s stigma and their own fear of being hospitalized.
Well written and engaging, I look forward to the next book in this new series.
Thank you to the publisher and author for sharing this e-book ARC for review. (Dorie, Goodreads)

What do you think? If you haven’t read it yet, get your copy and let me know if I achieved what I set out to do. I love hearing from you.

New: Moving Past Sexual Abuse Seminar

Raeburn House is running again a sexual abuse survivor group. In previous years the survivor groups were ongoing support groups that accommodated survivors to attend for several terms. They were designed following the three stages of Judith Herman’s model described in Trauma and Recovery (1992). Since then our understanding of recovery has evolved and the new group will take place with an emphasis on learning rather than sharing one’s experiences.

We will explore the three principles that are behind our psychological experience so that people can overcome the debilitating symptoms often found in the aftermath of sexual abuse. That involves gaining an understanding of how our feelings are created, how to deal with low moods, how to discern between low quality of thinking and high quality of thinking, and how to cope/deal with distressing feelings.

When: Wednesdays, 8 weeks, Starts 2 May 2012
Time:·12:30pm – 2:30pm
Total Cost: $60
Facilitator: Gudrun Frerichs
Venue: Raeburn House, 138 Shakespeare Road, Milford

To enrol contact Raeburn House directly on (09) 441 8989 or email learning@raeburnhouse.org.nz.

Moving Past Sexual Abuse Support Group

The next sexual abuse survivor support group with the focus on moving past sexual abuse and creating a life worth living will start on:

Thursday, 28th of July 2011, 7PM – 9 PM
Raeburn House, Takapuna

The group runs for 8 weeks – there is space for 2 more people to join. In the past the cost has been $45 for the 8 weeks. For more information and/or enrolment contact Raeburn House, phone: (09) 441 8989 or email learning@raeburnhouse.org.nz.


I Can’t Trust My Memories

Upon the Sharon Armstrong post from a wee while ago where I talked about NLP and eye accessing cues that can indicate whether a person is remembering or is constructing a memory, I received an email from a reader asking whether there would be a way for her to know whether she is making up what she has been telling her therapist. I have heard over the years from so many survivors that they find it hard to believe that they have been abused.

Firstly, there is a difference whether you make statements to justify or explain the fact that you were recently caught with Cocaine or whether you talk about something that happened many decades ago in your childhood. Memories are not set in concrete like the content of a printer’s typeset drawer. They are subject to change over the years, some parts get ‘trimmed off’ and other parts get ‘added’ depending on what you do when you re-visit a memory.

Secondly, if you don’t believe that you have been abused, if you doubt your thoughts, wouldn’t it be a good idea to examine why it is important for you to know whether you have or have not been abused and to what extend? And thirdly, whatever the past trauma was, isn’t it important today to deal with the legacies of the trauma (depression, anxiety, stress, low self-confidence, poor social skills, dissociation, and overall poor self-relations) and re-build a healthy, happy, and balanced sense of self?

I think these are great questions to ask and work through with your therapist when you are not quite sure what it is that you are doing. Your therapist can give you an outside perspective that, together with your inside wonderings will hopefully form a picture that gives you peace of mind.

16 Sessions Funded For Sexual Abuse Counselling

Flower in water Survivors of sexual abuse can access now 16 sessions of counselling funded by ACC when they either lodge a new claim or have lodged a claim recently and are still waiting for a decision from ACC.

This funding was made available after the independent review panel has sharply criticised ACC's handling of sexual abuse claims.

Survivors who have felt discouraged to lodge a claim will now be able to contact a therapist and start a course of 16 sessions. For many survivors that will be all they need. Those who need further sessions will need to go through some assessment procedure. How that procedure will look like is currently unclear, because the review panel has instructed ACC to devise a process that guarantees client safety.

If you are thinking of starting sexual abuse counselling funded through ACC and you live in the proximity of Takapuna, you can follow the link or contact me on 027-486.3770

Goodbye Dear Jacqui


Christian_lb0007 The unthinkable has happened! A very much loved and admired member of our support group has cruelly been robbed of a promising future, has been torn away from her family and her friends. Has been torn away from us.

Her commitment to healing the past and embracing all the different parts of herself was a glowing example to all of us. Her love and support for others seemed to flow from an inexhaustible well deep inside her. Words can not express how much she will be missed. Jacqui loved angels – she sure will be one of them now!

What happened to Jacqui affirms what this site is all about: We have to stop the violence against women, men, and children. We have to – the cost is too high!


Action Against ACC Funding Cuts For Counselling

Sunflower Nick Smith, Minister for ACC, has promised an independent review after 6 months from implementation of the new clinical pathway ACC has pushed through inspite of wideranging protest from survivors and clinicians working with survivors alike. Sofar nothing seems to have been organised and the action group (therapists, counsellors, psychologists, doctors, psychiatrists, social workers and more) is still waiting for information about how the review will be conducted, who will conduct it, and what will be the reference points.

Those who have followed my reports about ACC will have cottoned on that I am mighty frustrated with the whole thing. I certainly don't think that we have been told the ugly truth yet about the scheming and hidden agenda that drove the government and ACC to act as they have. One thing is certain, it has nothing to do with improving services for survivors.

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Forgivenessao4 Forgiveness is an interesting issue and readers have commented lots on posts touching on forgiveness (see comments here). It seems that to forgive is very difficult. I know, it has been a difficult issue in my recovery. I never felt compelled to forgive my abusers because it felt I would let them off the hook. It felt they would get away with having hurt me. I wouldn't have any of that! Instead I had phantasies of them regretting their actions and understanding the impact of their actions.

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Sexual Abuse Survivor’s Support Group

Happy sign It's a new year and for those who live in the Auckland/North Shore region, Raeburn House is running the support group 'Moving Past Sexual Abuse" again for this year. Here are the details:

When: Thursdays, 8 weeks, starts 11 February
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Total Cost:
Gudrun Frerichs

This group creates a safe community of women who share their experiences to recover from the affects of abuse and transform them into strengths. Covers issues of safety, trust, boundaries, assertiveness, self-esteem, relationships, sexuality, and intimacy.

For more information contact Raeburn House, phone: (09) 441 8989 or email luciana@raeburnhouse.org.nz.

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SELF LOVE discussed in February Edition of Blog Carnival “Recover From Sexual Abuse”

Kid pusteblume The upcoming edition of the Blog Carnival "Recovery from sexual abuse" will cover SELF LOVE as an important aspect of recovery and healing. Contributions are invited that explore the meaning and importance of self love, the difficulties people encounter in their attempt to love all parts of themselve, and how they achieve self love. Follow this link to post your contribution. You can nominate an interesting blog article you've read somewhere or one you've wrote yourself.