Send Your Replies to Overwhelmed, who has a complex, polyfragmented system out of control

Dear Overwhelmed,

Within about a year of becoming aware of having more than one of me inside my own skin, I came across a personality that was livid, insulting, intimidating, infuriating. She had the other kids living in terror of her fury.
When she wasn't furious, she was like a pot on a low boil, just waiting for an excuse to blow up.
It took a long time to figure out how to deal with her. She was scaring all the other parts and all the work I was trying to do with them to bring about trust and hope and healing .... she'd short it out every chance she got.
We were all in a gathering one day, and this gal stormed in screaming and yelling that she hadn't been invited. I flat out informed her she was not listening if she had not heard the invite for all to gather. She went on screaming at first me then turned on one of the littlest ones. I looked around the gathering to see many of them just got scared of her. I asked how many would like to get rid of her. You should have seen the eyes shift from watching her with terror to a spark of hope as they would glance at me. A few even sparkled at the idea of revenge of any kind against one who had made their lives so miserable.
With everyone's agreement while she was screaming in some little kid's face the rest of us surrounded her. I asked her if she 'would please stop'; no reaction. 'She had to stop now,' brought her around to continue to scream at me. "You either stop now by your own choice, or you will not be allowed to speak again." She roared with the nastiest laugh, and then went to verbally attacking me in the most vicious manner, her face all screwed up, vocal chords standing out, finger being stabbed at me, eyes like flame throwers.
When I nodded at all the insiders a clear plastic appeared, completely coating her, freezing her in that position. We could still hear her so the kids added more and more plastic until she was in a clear plastic block. We couldn't hear her, and she couldn't move a single muscle - except her eyes.
We moved the block off into a dusty corner, patted her and walked away. I checked on her a couple of times way back when, her anger still very obvious, but I haven't been back in years.
That kind of anger was a repeat of my worst abusers worst behavior. We, as a group, are into healing, not destroying. She is into nothing but destruction. She gets to stay there until she changes her attitude.

With the work you are doing, however, I don't know if your 'angry one' is from 'saving our necks' by repeating our abusers attitudes (so we would behave in a more acceptable manner to the abuser), or whether yours is expressing the anger that 'you' allowed this to happen (didn't defend yourself, didn't stand up for yourself, didn't say enough, strong enough, etc etc etc) (all of which you could do nothing about!!!). I've had a few who have really reamed me for allowing my abuser to go on as she did without stopping her somehow, (which was impossible). Or maybe some one who is angry at the abuser.

For me the only thing that I have found to work at all is to isolate the one who is raising hell from the other kids, with me. I sit down and let them rant and scream and cuss until they begin to calm down. Usually I get to find out what is the source of their upset, if I listen long enough. For others, just listening to them is enough for them to unwind - because they are being respected, seen, heard for the first time in their existence. Maybe listening to this one, alone, would help you too.

I know, if we lead with our hearts, eventually they hear us. Some times it takes a few minutes, some times it takes several rounds of listening to get at the source of the problem.
I have had a hard time really learning that 'I', the one who has always been here, am the Boss of this Family of parts and pieces. It's taken a long time to take responsibility for control on the inside, because I was not allowed control on the outside.
Best of luck ...? Nah, you will figure this out, and you will find a healthy way to deal with this so ALL of you can get healthier and heal another hurting hole in your heart and soul.



Dear Overwhelmed,
A brief word of caution from Lynn W. about using "active anger" methods to reduce internal anger and violence: I am NOT a therapist, but I have heard real therapists (notably, Moshe Torem MD of the ISST-D) say long ago that it is risky for some people to throw dishes, pound on pillows, use bats etc. to "get the anger out." His reasoning was that, for some (not all) the violent tendencies gain strength from this vigorous type of activity, especially if you are not doing it with supervision from a trained counselor who understands what's going on and can monitor the situation before, during and afterwards. Be careful if you try these techniques, and please discuss with your counselor before experimenting.
Be well. You can feel better!
Lynn W.


Dear Overwhelmed,

I'm pretty sure I have what you have.I am fortunate to have a good counselor who listens to me. I don't want to be put in any boxes so I don't have your "titles", "designations" but it sure sounds like me.
My counselor and I just deal with whoever wants to come out, and has needs--whether it's journaling things, or coloring with magic markers. I have NO artistic skill in the area of drawing, but I've found something soothing in just filling a page entirely with lines. I think it lets me disconnect from the stuff and be able to then get help.

Now way back in the early days of dealing with MPD, as it was called then, I didn't get the help I needed. I now have the counselor and the wisdom on both our parts so there is forward movement.

I'm not sharing this to make you feel like poop. I'm doing this because I want to let you know you're not alone. I don't have the violent aspects that you have to deal with. The anger is there, but maybe not as intense. Have you ever had a good person in your life that could get either you, or a group of kids to behave? In a safe way? Or even take an idea from a book or movie? Take what you think might work for you and try it. If stuff hasn't worked before, why not try it?

You deserve to give it a try and give yourself a chance. I've seen on tv where they get cheap dinner plates, (Goodwill?) find a safe place to throw them and scream. A group leader of mine suggested that, too. Maybe you could tell the parts that hate each other that this is how they can get that hate out safely, even for the ones who want to damage others.

The hard part is finding a place that was safe to throw dishes in. Maybe there's a heavy bag you could work out on. While you're doing this hard work, or after, you could facilitate conversations with those who hate each other and they may be tired enough to not be all macho. You could even set communication rules, starting a little at a time.

I too have guys and girls and one animal so far.
I know this isn't enough, but you matter and I wanted to give you a reply.

Safe hugs,


Dear Overwhelmed,

The reason we all become multiple is because we couldn't cope with whatever was happening to us. It became our main coping skill to create someone else to cope with it. "This can't be happening to me!" "I wish I weren't here". Well we made it happen. Pretty smart huh?

But as we get older and we have so many parts the coping mechanism gets to be the problem. So if we learn better coping skills now that we are older we won't need to make new parts. Once we stop making new parts we can start learning how to deal with the ones we have. Communication or some form of understanding what each other wants and needs is important. Sharing with each other and knowing that we don't need to split anymore that we CAN cope now and still be safe.

Listening to the parts is hard. It's hard to believe that what they have to share and what skills they have were needed for survival. But YOU are what they all have been protecting. Once you can get some form of communication then some sort of agreements can be made, contracts, bargains. You need to honor these bargains.

The results of not honoring them can be disastrous. If internal bargains don't work then bargains with your therapist can sometimes work. Everyone was created to protect you so they need to continue to protect you by working toward the healing of each of you. It's long, hard, ugly work but it IS well worth it. I am so much happier and able to deal anything now. We were smart when we were kids and we are still smart now. You can do this!



Dear Overwhelmed,

It sounds as if you really feel things inside are out of control. When I was first diagnosed DD-NOS, many years ago, my therapist and I began with just a few different "names" for alters and put them on charts with their relationships to each other. But as time went on, we also kept finding new ones. My brain felt stuffed by all these "alters", as we called them 25 years ago. And they just kept coming. I had layers, too.

Finally I said to my therapist "no more naming parts and making charts." Instead I created groups that were either different ages, or genders, or had a particular history or capability. When I quit naming "individuals" I began to feel better, though it didn't completely stop the creation of new ones.

I'm not at all sure this is what you should do. I didn't have alters that were dangerous to others, as you have. Mine were just a pain to me, and crowded me inside. I was never hospitalized for any mental health problem including dissociation.

It took a lot of work and time for inner communication to connect ideas and feelings from one "group" to another. That process continues for me and at my age I just don't get hyped out over it. I learned so many tools and methods from years of individualized therapy that I can usually get mysel(ves) under control pretty easily now, when things inside start going nuts.

I stopped seeing a therapist regularly in the early '90s...but I continue to read books, listen to tapes, journal, talk to myself (when outsiders aren't around) etc. and keep working on healing inside. I do not consider myself "fully integrated" but I am much, much better and more functional--and far happier--than I was in the 1980s.

I'll bet other people have some great ideas and experiences that will help you cope with your "overwhelming" problem!
Don't give up!

Lynn W.