DID: Controlled Switching – Harder Than It Sounds

‘I’ tried an experiment in our DID earlier this week.   By ‘I’ I mean “we” (the adult ‘host’ & various alters).  The situation: Going to the laundromat to wash a quilt that was too big to go in the home machine. The Problem:  The adult host and several other ‘parts’ hate going the laundromat – absolutely loath it!  Blame that on the Marine Corps.

But the ‘children’ (in me) absolutely love doing laundry – the clean clothes, the pleasant scents, the feel of soft cloth – folding those big ol’ things . .  .

By-the-way, this is a “DID”  problem while writing: There’s many ways to tell a tale, but from too many outlooks it gets confusing.  Wry feeling.

So I decided to do what we’ve been trying to do: learn to ‘switch’ to those alters who wanted to go (and actually enjoy the experience) while leaving ‘me’ (adult host) and some other parts out of it.  I won’t go into detail, but it worked . . . so-so.  As a ‘whole’ we kinda enjoyed it. Our teenager got to play his Galaga game (it’s an ancient arcade game they’ve got there – and scored 5 of the top scores on it, lol); our kids were fascinated by the laundry going ’round & ’round on the spin cycle (the quilt spread like a flower, centered on a geometric pattern, filling the drum), and our Marine had an okay time teaching them (over and over again, it seems) how to fold laundry properly (matching the corners) – and caught an old woman when she tripped over a rug (good deal & good going) – while ‘I’ and some of my others just hung back and kinda watched from ‘afar’ . . .

The end result, however, was like a twilight drug being administered to ‘me’.

I say that because I found two shirts I had not planned for washed & hung up to finish drying in my own laundry room the next day – they’d been thrown in with the quilt to ‘make up a load’.  The whole experience seemed extremely foggy.  What memories I do have are dim, and are from the very beginning and scattered throughout.  Just like snapshots thrown to the wind.  But (and this is the good part) mostly the feeling of enjoying myself doing something as mundane as laundry.

And that’s what it’s all about when it comes to life and feelings.  “I wanna be happy but I’ll settle on contented,” I say and that’s okay as well. But it always was not so, and we’re still working on keeping tempers under control.  Some of our parts still have some outrageous anger issues.

But consciously switching to a ‘state’ that is more accepting of an event, or finds something more ‘fun’ – while letting go at the same time is hard to do.  A host has a ‘job’ – overseeing everything, presenting a semblance of ‘normal’.  Recalling a child’s pleasure at being able to help with certain chores – not just ‘recalling’ but living it – is a good thing, in my opinion.  But it’s not so easy to do.

The reasons for this experiment?  Why try to control switching with a finesse I didn’t have before?  I would like to find out how to control some of those ‘tougher’ sides to my ‘personality’ – the sarcastic teen, the ‘defender/protector parts’ that find it hard to identify with some things; some who hate the world (but not the people – just their stupidity sometimes, how they hurt themselves and all) – those parts that can get enraged and that don’t really seem to enjoy any activity ‘I’ can allow, yet can ‘look on’ and enjoy another alter’s activity (as long as it is safe to do so).

The downside – the memory problem is a son of a she dog, tho.

That’s one of the things about having ‘switching’ and ‘alters’.  It’s bad enough I’m getting old.  Sacrificing more memory in order to ‘feel good’ . . . hmmm.  (pondering)  Everything in life is a tradeoff.  Do I trade off by allowing fuzzy (at best) memories (or no memories at all!) of an event / situation? What is the use in getting drunk to feel good if you don’t remember anything at all?  However, the elusive and yet tantilizing key dangles golden there – if I could manage to manage both – having the ‘good feelings’ while remembering what went on . . .

Perhaps I should just accept that warm & fuzzy afterglow; the feeling of feeling ‘good’ (or having ‘felt good’, tho’ it’s not ‘my’ feeling at all: I still hate doing laundry and some of the house chores) – and accept that I’m going to have to discard some things (e.g. the memory of what I did /went on) . . .

Can’t I have both?  I’m assuming that normal folks would: they would remember going to the laundromat in perfect, or semi-perfect detail; wouldn’t ‘lose’ a couple hours of ‘time’ (memory) . . .

However, I am rating this experiment as a ‘moderate success’ in that I was able to enjoy the feeling, albeit somewhat confusing (for what did I have to feel good for?) – the laundry got done – setting up a template, perhaps, of how it should be done, with ‘me’ looking around the corner (which is probably why I remember so much of what I’d done).

It’s been an interesting session.

 

(PS & By-and-by: it took me over a week to write this. So many alters wanting to express their views, emotions, thoughts, outlooks – some varying and different, with no “true” core of feeling . . . strange.)

 

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About jeffssong

JW is an adult childhood abuse survivor with DID*. He grew up in a violent family devoid of love and affection. He is a military brat and veteran. He no longer struggles with that past. In 1976 JW began writing "The Boy". It took 34 years to complete. It is currently on Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004T3IVKK ), or if you prefer hard copy, on Amazon ( http://www.amazon.com/Boy-J-W/dp/1461022681). JW resides somewhere in the deep South. He is disabled and living with family. Note: Please feel free to take what you need; all is free to all. With that in mind, keep it that way to others. Thank you. We have 3 Blogs - One for our younger days, 0-10 (The Little Shop of Horrors); one for our Teen Alter and his 'friends' (also alters) with a lot of poetry; and finally "my" own, the Song of Life (current events and things)
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3 Responses to DID: Controlled Switching – Harder Than It Sounds

  1. Very interesting and thought provoking post. I’ve always admired other multiples who can call up particular alters to handle certain situations or tasks. I’m not sure how they do it. Now, obviously when I drive there’s an adult alter at the wheel, but I couldn’t say how that happens. I’m not aware of any switching going on to make sure that someone responsible is driving.

    Living with so many inside sure complicates things (understatement of the year!) You couldn’t just go to the laundromat, as a singleton would do, and do what you went there for as a matter of course. It’s frustrating when even the most mundane of tasks take so much thought and mental and emotional energy. But I applaud your efforts, and it sounds as though the experience wasn’t too horrible if you were able to rate it a ‘moderate success.’

    Like

    • jeffssong says:

      “I’ve always admired other multiples who can call up particular alters to handle certain situations or tasks.” Me (and us) too! That’s part of the ‘problem’ – and IMO part of a solution (perhaps). We can do a certain amount of controlled switching, but it’s always the defenders/protectors – and it takes time, though they *will* come out automatically in certain situations.
      ‘We’ discovered during a life altering experience we *could* call up particular alters & assign them a task(s). That’s where we discovered where our pain tolerance lays: in the child. Strongest alter in certain ways. Complicated kid, he has alters of ‘his own’. One is a mimic of what he wants to be: the perfect child. Had ‘us’ fooled for years. Ever since that time it’s been in my mind to *work with* (not manipulate, the word I first tried to use – and then heard howls of protest) – the alters, get them – and ‘I’ – to understand sometimes you gotta ‘let go’ and sometimes you need to ‘come up’ – tho’ I can’t train them like dogs. They gotta mind of their own, to say the least and as you (thank god! for someone who understands that) know.
      Appreciate the input.

      Like

  2. Sam Ruck says:

    Hey Jeff and all,

    congrats on your “moderate success”! Let me encourage you to do that as much as possible. Yesterday I had a “date” with my “wife” (the host). I try to have dates with each girl on a regular basis. Anyway, 5 years ago ONLY the girl who was out could enjoy the experience, and yet yesterday I talked with one of the girls who I barely saw during the date time and she enjoyed the date just as much as the two I saw outside the most.

    I believe it’s all about practice. In my mind, the more I can get the girls to do activities of shared interest, the more strongly those neural connections are reactivated between them. I believe, just like muscles that atrophy from disuse, the various girls in my wife’s network became dissociated from lack of “talking” to each other. So the more I can get them to participate in shared experiences the more those neural connections strengthen, just like a muscle.

    so I hope you won’t get discouraged! “Good feelings” is a GREAT outcome!! Don’t talk yourself out of the importance of it. And the more you can do things like that the stronger, and easier, it will become for all of you to share events.

    Sam

    Like

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