DID Trauma Survivors and Getting Support from Other People – or not?

Kathy Broady:

Feeling lonely? Feeling isolated?
This article addresses some helpful ideas for getting helpful support.

Originally posted on Discussing Dissociation:

Listening to each other

As the show, “United States of Tara” is gradually starting to demonstrate, survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder have friends and family members that offer varying levels of support:

  • Those that find dissociative trauma survivors to be really good, kind, decent, and wonderful people, and will stand by them faithfully.
  • Those that genuinely love and support and accept them even though the DID survivors can be all kinds of weird and “nutty” and difficult.
  • Those that get angry and upset with them because DID survivors can be all kinds of weird and “nutty” and difficult.
  • Those that believe and support the trauma and abuse history of the DID survivor.
  • Those that do not believe that the DID survivor was abused at all.
  • Those that believe the multiplicity, are comfortable with a variety of alter parts presenting, acknowledge the switching as a very real thing and a natural part of DIDer’s life.

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Child Parts – When They Hold Suicidal Power and Influence

Kathy Broady:

Hello Everyone,

Finding gentle comfort, solace, and support when hurting is a key element to your healing.
Here is a difficult but important topic — suicidal child parts within the dissociative system. The original article has over 30 comments. Your thoughts and opinions on this topic are welcomed too.
Stay safe, and please do help your internal children to be safer too!

Originally posted on Discussing Dissociation:

Angry Children

We’ve had some very interesting discussions on the “What do you think about Suicide?” blog article.  Thank you to everyone who writes and comments on this blog – your participation is valued and appreciated.

One of the topics that surfaced on that thread is the idea that trauma survivors with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID/MPD)  may have child parts within their system that can be suicidal, and that the ability to control the suicidal behavior of these child parts seems overwhelmingly difficult, even for the adults of the dissociative system.

I’d like to write an official response to that.

Typically, one thinks of child parts as a permanently young child – an inside part that holds the trauma memories, feelings, rememberings, and experiences that happened when the body was of a young chronological age.  These child parts act like children, think like children, reason like children.  Their thinking is…

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Losing Someone I Love from an Overdose

My tall son with his dear dear friend, Gary.

My tall son with his dear dear friend, Gary.

. This is a sad, sad, oh so very very sad week in my household.

On Monday, we said goodbye to a very dear young man, only 27 yrs old, a young man that had been my neighbor and “second son” for many years.

This young man was one of my son’s best friends, my son’s dearest childhood pal. “Way back when,” he lived next door from us for at least five years, but he has been included as part of our extended family unit ever since, no matter where in the world he lived, or we lived.    Justin, Gary, and Shay

His middle name was Payne, and unfortunately, his personal life was full of pain. He experienced all sorts of family troubles, family dysfunction, abandonment, and loss. I had hoped and believed that semi-adopting him into our family, welcoming with wide-open arms for 20 yrs, would help fill the gap in his family wounded-ness.

Maybe we helped, but yet his pain was too great.  Chemical addictions lied to him, and sadly complicated so many already complicated life complications.

He felt discouraged, lost, hopeless. It breaks my heart to know he felt so down about himself when he had so many talents and abilities. He was intelligent, charming, witty, and full of fun. There was never a dull moment when my little “Gerkins” was around.

He will be dearly missed. And I will always and forever always love that young man.  As will my son, who will never ever have another friend like Gary.  My heart truly breaks for him too.

It’s just so sad.  So very very sad.

The official statement is that we lost this beautiful young man due to an accidental overdose.  And of course, that is possible.  Still tragic, regardless.

Unfortunately, suicidal feelings are very common.

Many dissociative trauma survivors I know have also lost someone they knew and loved to suicide. For that matter, most dissociative trauma survivors I know have had some very close calls with intense suicidal feelings and have made various suicide attempts.

For my neighbor-son, his depression and personal struggles overtook him. He couldn’t see his worth, his beauty, his talents. He began thinking and believing the world would be better without him.  Whether he meant to take his life, or whether he desperately wanted some temporary relief through drugged-out numbness — either way — his pain was too great for him to carry any longer. And he ddn’t see his own worth in the middle of it all.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  He was and will always be precious.

We all can hold a place of beauty, worth, and value. If you are struggling with suicidal feelings, don’t believe the lies of darkness. Your life will have more worth than you realize.

My Scary Gary “Gherkins” didn’t understand this.  And now, there are many of us in this world who will always carry pain in our heart for him.

Please don’t take chances so close to the edge of life and death.

Please don’t chose suicide.

Please don’t.

Just don’t.


With so so so much sadness,


A little gang if childhood friends all grown up. My son, and my second-son on the far right.

A little gang of fun-loving childhood friends all grown up. My son, and my second-son on the far right. Oh, and my third and fourth sons too. :)


Me, standing between my son, and my second-son.  And another childhood friend.  I sure do love these boys, now men.

Me, standing between my son, and my second-son. And another childhood friend. I sure do love these boys, now men.


My son, and my other neighbor-son.  Such dear friends for 20 years. We will miss you forever.

My son, and my other neighbor-son. Such dear friends for 20 years.
We will miss you forever.


Copyright © 2008-2015 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation

Reclaiming the Holidays

Kathy Broady:

It’s Easter weekend. Do you need some ideas for how to make your weekend better for your insiders?
This article can give you lots of ideas of pleasant things to do.
Remember…. You all gave had far tooooooo much abuse already. Do some kind and fun things with each other!

I’m thinking of you all….

Originally posted on Discussing Dissociation:

Having fun with Rainbow Birds!

Do you remember the DiscussingDissociation article from December 2008 called “Holidays for DID Trauma Survivors… Making it Nice for the Littles”?

If you have not yet read that article, please check it out.  It was written in reference to holidays during the Christmas season, but the points are still very much applicable today on Easter, and during Passover.

We have seen the numerous comments from people about how the Spring time holidays are difficult, painful, emotionally challenging, etc.  I have been listening to dissociative trauma survivors for many years, and that is a consistent theme for survivors with DID/MPD.

While you cannot change the past, you can make a few things happen that will help you to feel better in the present.

At some point that works for you — don’t put this off forever! – do the memory work that is connected to the pain you…

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Happy Easter – If not now, then soon.

Kathy Broady:

Hello Everyone,

It’s soon to be Easter weekend, one of the most difficult weekends for many dissociative trauma survivors. Please know that I am thinking of you. There are several Easter-related articles on this blog…. Please use the search feature to search through the years to find the different articles written specifically for a time like this.

Make preparations and plans ahead of time that will help you get through this week as easily as possible. You can make this the safest and calmest Easter weekend you’ve ever had. What do you need to do now to make it easier for you and your insiders in a few days from now?

I hope to write more soon.
I wish the best for you all.

Originally posted on Discussing Dissociation:

Lilyponds For dissociative trauma survivors, it can be hard to see the beauty of Spring when everything feels so black.

Hello Everyone –

pretty flowers I found just walking around one spring day…

How are you?

I’ve had another few weeks of extremely limited internet time, but it is Easter weekend, and I wanted to come and say a quick hello to you all.

I am aware that this is a very difficult weekend for many of you….  “Happy Easter” is more of an oxymoron than a reality for all too many of you.

For those of you that relate to that, I want you to know that I am thinking of you, and remembering that you are having struggles.  And flashbacks.  And body memories.  And fights against worlds full of darkness, experiencing that conflict from both inside and out.

Please remember:  no matter what you’ve seen in your prior years…

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12 Tips for Reducing Shame

Kathy Broady:

Trauma survivors often carry so much shame….. I wish I could lift that right off your shoulders and toss it away, far far away.
Maybe some of the ideas in this article will help.
I wish you the best in your healing journey.

Originally posted on Discussing Dissociation:


One of the hardest areas of healing work in trauma disorders is dealing with shame.

For many survivors of sexual abuse, healing work involves learning about a lot of intense memories that leave them feeling a great deal of shame, humiliation, and embarrassment.  These are difficult emotions to process, and the memory material is typically very overwhelming.

Some survivors feel immersed in shame from the very beginning of their abuse.  They are appalled at what is happening for them and hate every minute of it, even if they can’t get away from the predators. With every incident that happens, they feel worse, and worse, and worse.  The more degraded the survivors are during the abuse, the greater shame they feel.

Shame can become all consuming.  It drowns any feelings of self worth and erodes at self-esteem.  It leads to self-injury, increased dissociation, suicidal thoughts, suicidal behavior, depression, PTSD, anxiety, addictions, etc. …

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Being Kind to Your Internal System

Kathy Broady:

Helping each other

This is one of the first articles written on .discussing .dissociation — an oldie, but a goodie.
Treating your internal system with kindness! Absolutely essential for healing!

Very basic concept, but often a very difficult skill to learn for trauma survivors.
All too many insiders are treated with internal violence and left in dirty, messy, filthy conditions. That was how the abuse happened — I get that. But please move forward in your healing by giving your insiders a nice place to live internally.

How are you doing with these ideas?

Copyright © 2008-2015 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation

Originally posted on Discussing Dissociation:

Create a Beautiful Place

Hey everyone…

Thanks for coming back and reading more of the Discussing Dissociation blog.  It’s exciting to see the number of site viewers growing each week – I think you all must be spreading the news!  I appreciate all of you who have already become regular readers, and thanks for telling your friends.

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about giving- making- creating- providing new and positive experiences for your internal child parts, I want to encourage all the multiples here to expand that idea to include your whole system on an even wider scale.  This idea applies to non-multiples too, of course, but since we are “discussing dissociation” here, I’m going to write about these idea within the context of DID / MPD.

I have found that most dissociative trauma survivors have a fair bit of trouble understanding how to be genuinely kind to their inside people. It is…

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Turning Self-Injury into Self-Soothing

Kathy Broady:

Emotional Pain

On those really tough days, remember that it’s much better to do self-soothing than self-injuring. You’ve been hurt too much already. Give yourself the permission to feel better through gentle, comforting, soft experiences. Leave the violence alone. Decide to be kind to yourself and your insiders instead.


Keep reading the article below for lots of helpful ideas.
I wish you the best in your healing journey.


Copyright © 2008-2015 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation


Originally posted on Discussing Dissociation:

Self Soothing

Self-injury is a problem all too common for trauma survivors with dissociative identity disorder (DID / MPD) or borderline personality disorder (BPD).  For that matter, self-injury (SI) is an issue for other populations of people as well.  This discussion will focus more on the effects of trauma and abuse and how self-injury can be addressed effectively.  However, because self-injury is actually a very complicated topic, this particular blog article will reach only a few of those layers.

In my years of working as a trauma therapist, I have noticed that many DID survivors self-injure when they are in emotional pain.  They are hurting, their heart feels broken, they feel betrayed or abandoned, or they feel incredibly sad (but can’t cry).  Turning to various forms of self-injury and self-harm sometimes helps to temporarily relieve their emotional pain.  (Trauma survivors also self-injure when they believe they need to be punished, or when…

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Can You Lead Your System?

Kathy Broady:

Dissociative systems have leaders. Are you able to lead your system?
If you aren’t leading your system, who is??

Originally posted on Discussing Dissociation:

Leading Your System

Are you a leader?

Do you know what it takes to be a leader?

Multiples – trauma survivors with dissociative identity disorder – experience life as plural.  Dissociative systems may be internal sets of people, but they are still groups of people nonetheless.

All groups of people need a leader they can look up to – someone they can trust, someone they can depend on, someone with their best interests in mind even when times get tough.  These leaders help to make decisions that affect everyone else.  They hopefully will decide things on that are the best for the majority of the people within their group.  And these leaders need to care enough about what their people want and need in order to make good decisions. Talking Together

Dissociative systems need leaders too.

Who is the leader of your system?

And what does it take to be a good leader?

A leader…

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