I have a confession
My mind set has regressed into old patterns again. I am back to feeling paranoid and unsafe in my own mind sometimes. I am letting my family treat me like I was before and then stewing over it. The stewing is triggering flashbacks and switching. I am feeling less grounded and more like my old self before this blog. A self that had more inner turmoil and less confidence in her/their ability to cope.
How I know this?
A good friend gave me a much needed kick in the ass today as she called me on my behavior and my thought process as verbalized in our conversations for the past 24 hours (for more on that read “Alter Post: feeling conflicted“)
- Switching alters and then talking or behaving different without awareness
- Alters taking over are triggered and not present; could be victims still or experiencing flashbacks and speaking from that point of view
- When this happens, the host personalities cannot take control long enough to implement coping strategies or explain that the “individual” talking is not who the other individual believes she is
- Not being allowed to tell the person I/we are talking to that he or she is talking to the alters instead of the “usual” host personality
- Talking about myself too much – something I do as a way to annoy other people and turn them away OR when I am switching without awareness and my alters are talking from their points of view
- Over-apologizing – saying I am sorry for everything because I (or the alter in charge) feel shame for being myself around her
- Making connections between ideas and experiences that could be coincidence
- Thinking people are watching me again
- Using therapy talk styles to understand what the problem is in conversation with my friend and not explaining in advance that what I am sharing with her is NOT how I will approach family members
- Feeling insecure in my ability to communicate and be okay in my friend’s house so all of the topics I stored to talk with her about flew out of my mind
- Not being assertive enough during conversations to ask her to stop interrupting me so I don’t lose my train of thought and start repeating myself
- Allowing interruptions because the other person or persons assume they know what I am saying, but really don’t, and then moving on out of shame
- The part of me talking knows what is happening, but can’t get the words right to verbalize with clarity and conciseness and feels unable to assert the self in conversations
- Leads to anger, frustration, shame, and triggers
- Leads to varying ways to display that irritation & more switching to find an alter who can verbalize what is happening
The advice & my reflections
- Stop talking like I just left a therapy session or group session; it can annoy and turn other people way
- Instead reframe the words into a more conversational style that gets the point across without turning the listener away – especially if it’s someone I care about
- If I need help, call the hotline for assistance or tell the friend I am speaking with in advance what the conversation is about and why; then check in regularly to make sure we are on the same page
- Remember that I am safe here and am not a child or a victim anymore.
- Remember I have options to leave if necessary
- Remember to practice self care even if that means I leave the room for privacy to do what is necessary
- Remember we are all flawed and struggling to be polite to each other
- Remember that my being there is as stressful on them as it is on me – we are all walking on eggshells around each other.
- Use my grounding tools along with my physical armor – aka outfits & tattoos – to help all of us stay grounded in the present instead of switching and letting my alters use the automatic defenses.
- When I get interrupted, stop tell the person that I have a point to what I might have repeated before and would like to finish all the way rough.
- Ask the person not to make assumptions about what I intend to say. Being interrupted makes me lose my train of thought and repeat myself.
- Find a polite way to talk to my aunts about potential trips to visit me in my hometown.
- And make sure I get some alone time. I forgot what it was like living around them with the TV on all the time and someone always talking or playing on a mobile device.
The Honest Truth
I love and respect my aunts, uncle, and grandmother a lot. I enjoy being here and visiting my friends and co-workers. But I can’t wait to go back home.
Being here is too stressful and triggering. Even though I have access to resources, I still struggle to remember to use them along with everything I’ve learned in the past year. Especially when my alters are in charge.
Right now, many of the alters are struggling with shame for something that happened this weekend. They have some individual processing and coping to deal with and then need to discuss what happened with the rest of the system to share support & brainstorm a strategy for future experiences.
The rest are struggling to find balance and a way to express themselves/cope/feel acknowledged around a group of people who don’t know/struggle to understand them and that they exist. Mental Health issues aside, it’s necessary to utilize more grounding and self-soothing techniques to help us all find our balance instead of splitting off again.
Finally, all 88 of us need to have a discussion about how to explain to friends what is happening, why, and how to address the issue when alters who don’t normally talk to outsiders start taking over and talking over themselves through constant and seamless switching.
thanks for reading