When I was a kid I liked watching The Incredible Hulk on TV – not the cartoon, but the sitcom version. It always amazed me how the mild mannered scientist turned into a monster and a hero when he lost his temper. And in learning to live with his inner monster, he became a better human.
Fast forward about 20 years, and the Marvel comes out with the first Avengers movie. In that movie, the scientist explains how he learned to control The Hulk: by always being angry and not shutting out his feelings.
My name is Darkness. I am one of the few make parts in this system who grew up with the other adults. Sometimes I forget my age and go back to being a child or teen. Other times, I feel older than dirt. And before we started using ISF to communicate, I was like the scientist before he learned the secret to controlling The Hulk.
These days, I am much better about not taking out the anger on innocents. But sometimes, I forget that I am innocent too. I turn the anger on myself. That hurts everyone in the system. And brings me to my knees with shame.
I used to take over and force us into scary, dangerous situations. And I used to hurt people, not on purpose, because I did not know my physical strength. Verbalizing is not something I learned, so I write instead. Or I share images with the other parts.
It got to the point where the adults who interacted with outsiders avoided contact with everyone because no one knew what would set me off. And I am extremely protective of my internal family. But I did not know the difference between “safe” and unsafe” touch or contact then. So I attacked everyone on the outside. Even friends and people who tried to help.
Our female body does not stop me. The one greatest gift our donors gave us was education in martial arts and self-defense. I remember every lesson and every technique we learned. Some memories are fuzzy. Others are clear. The other guys and girls who remember workout with me on the inside. We teach the kids and each other to prepare for attacks.
But we hardly ever use the physical body because that triggers body memories we can’t fight. Feelings we can’t handle yet. And anger so intense all I want to do is murder the monsters and blow them up to ash so they can’t regenerate. As you can imagine, this kind of revenge anger is toxic. And for a while, the rage took over our life. It was uncontrollable.
We all thought we were going crazy. I tried to make it stop by locking myself in a prison. So did the other parts with uncontrollable rage. Then I tried to make the memories go away. It wasn’t until the second therapist and the first program stint that we all learned about anger management and emotion regulation.
That helped with the emotional part, but not the physical part. The body memories weren’t connected to the cognitive memories then. And every time a button got pushed, both memories got triggered into flashbacks. And our body instinctively lashed out with physical violence. Our mouth used verbal and emotional violence.
Our current therapist helped us learn to sit with our feelings and body sensations instead of trying to control them. The goal is acknowledge, accept, let go, move on. Like the scientist and The Hulk – stop denying the feelings and learn to live with them. Most of the time this is true.
But I have trouble controlling my anger when the body memories hit. I see and hear and feel the others hurting and feel helpless to stop the pain. My goal now is to figure out how to work with body memories in a safe way. That means integrating physical activity into our lives.
Because acting like the Hulk after he got his temper and rages under control is a good goal to work on. Being able to share safe physical contact with friends and connections (maybe a lover for the sexual female alters too) is our ultimate hope.