Dear Pat

I have dealt with my abuse in therapy for many years. In the beginning, I blanked out a lot.

I had friends who eventually told me. Before I started therapy, this happened with some frequency. Since I have been in therapy so long, the instances have become less and less frequent and of shorter and shorter duration.

Of late, there is only one part who is not co-consious when she comes out. I don't get as upset as I did before my integration was this far along. My current periods of losing time are three to five minutes maximum and happen only under extreme duress. When they are called to my attention, I am much calmer than I used to be. I can tell who is talking, since I all ever do now is talk.

The things that made this less terrifying for me? Accepting friends who would tell me when I blanked out. Therapy. Letting my parts holler about how rotten I behaved toward them and never let them out to do the things they liked to do (which I didn't). The coloring book wars were extreme and, thank goodness, mostly over. After my parts hollered and scolded me to my therapist, and after I started at least doing some of what they wanted sometimes, I could start of appreciate them, be grateful to them and love them for what they did to protect and sustain me in the terrible period of the abuse. The more I sincerely loved them the closer we became. The closer we became, the more they yearned for the closeness of integration. They would let me know when and how they wanted to integrate and we would.

I think everyone has a different metaphor for integration. Everyone that I knew or read about had a different one. The two that are now not fully integrated are a young one who is co-consious and cooks and grocery shops with me. The other is not co-conscious and is coming to trust my caring for her though it is very difficult for her.




It's dissociative at its best. I always hate it when someone tells me I was nasty and to me I wasn't. I've learned to accept it though and have learned that if I don't let myself get stressed out it doesn't happen. Keeping safe people around me has helped too. By doing that, I know that they will help me stay in the moment. That has gone a long way to not triggering those "away" times. I remember how I felt when I would "wake up" and not remember what had gone on for a space of time. Once I accepted what caused it, I have molded my life style around it. I stay in safe situations with safe people. Keep learning about yourself and what triggers you have, the more you learn the more control you will feel you have over your life.



Dear Pat,

Blanking out is very hard. I call it losing time. It has happened to me a number of times.

The first was when I was working. I had threatened a co-worker with a pair of scissors. The only thing I knew was the scissors were burning my hand. Thank goodness there were witnesses who were able to talk to my supervisor who was able to talk to my therapist.

I knew nothing--no details about it--until I got to therapy. The alter told my therapist everything my supervisor told him. The alter was actually boasting about it and said he would do it again. Needless to say that was the last day I worked. I've been on disability ever since.

Another time, I totaled my car. The same alter didn't want to go to a doctor appointment, so he took over the wheel, accelerated the car, made a sharp left turn. The car hit a pole broad side splitting it in half, then the car landed between two trees. Very lucky we were not killed. Again, I didn't know what really happened until I got in therapy. The alter said he just didn't like to go to the doctor and he wasn't going. So he made this little detour. This got me admitted to the hospital.

For me, "not knowing" is very scary. These other alters are taking control of my life. Acting up like this and leaving me holding the bag. The hardest part for me to deal with is realizing even if this is an alter that is doing this and I have no knowledge, I'm still responsible because that alter is me. The way I and my therapist handled this is by writing up a contract for this alter to sign stating he will not hurt self or others. So far the contract has helped.

Debi and the system


Dear Pat,

It really is so wonderful to read a letter that I didn't write and relate so well. Thank you.

Yes, I disappear (my way of describing blanking) and my parts come out. For so long I believe some were definitely in such excruciating pain and fear that their responses were frightening to people. I could swear up and down "I didn't say that, I didn't mean to hurt you, I didn't," but I did....or at least parts of me did.

The worst is hurting my children and then grandchildren. With therapy, with my own diligence I am so much better now. I can talk to myself, I can reason with me, and the war is almost over inside.

My worst enemy and fears have been my internal wars. Even using the word "my" or "I" have become part of my healing process. For a while now, I have Co-consciousness which is an awareness of what is happening although I don't always know who is driving the bus - who is up front - but am able to watch at least most of the times....

Talk to yourself. Love every single part especially those who feel that you need them to protect you. Treat each and every part to every wonderful day and if you can meditate that you will help so very much too. Cooperation from within will follow, I just know it, although I never believed (before) that it even existed. And most importantly I had to learn NOT TO BE ANGRY when my parts came to help me. I am grateful it has been almost ten years of therapy and it does work if you work it. The very best to you and I am sure it will come,



Dear Pat,

Abuse is really difficult to face and resolve, as it is so painful, but it can be done. You mention the abuse by your family, and then the blanking out, and so I wonder if there is a connection? I know for me, abuse by people I loved and who were supposed to be able to love me and care for me in healthy ways- but couldn't- set up some conflicts in feelings that were incredibly difficult to contain. Children can't manage those conflicts developmentally (I love and/or need my parent, but am terrified of and/or angry with my parent) and so must rely on their internal resources (dissociation, in many instances). In my experience, those conflicting feelings around the abuse were separated and dissociated from eachother. When something happened in the present that reminded me of the abuse, I could have those separate alters or states elicited, if that makes sense.

Sometimes it helps for me to remind myself that it is okay and healthy to feel anger, disappointment, rage, grief, and all else. If the part of me who surfaces is a real challenge or is extremely angry- it helps me to remind myself "It's okay to feel angry. It really is." I also know that I need to behave responsibly and manage anger effectively for it to be healthy for me. If I am not aware, I attempt to give myself permission to be aware and to reward myself when I meet therapeutic goals or goals that I set for myself, even a little bit (with treats just for "us"). It does get better with co-consciousness.

The more aware you can become, the more you can help each other to manage what is unbearable alone. There may come a time when you will be able to be aware of those blank times, and the feelings that go with them. Then you will really be on your way to healing! Just give yourself lots of time and space- this isn't easy, as you know, and it won't help you to push yourself- the more accepting of yourselves you can be, the more the chances of you increasing awareness, I think.
All the best,



Hi Pat,
welcome to our world. I know when I first realized that it was happening it was frightening for me. For me it (blanking out) usually happens when I'm under a lot of stress, and not taking care of myself. I would forget to take my medication and become very manic. It took me a lot of years to convince the body as a whole that I needed to take my anti-depressants and anxiety medicines no matter how well I felt. For many years I didn't want to take any medications at all, since I had stopped taking drugs (not legal ones). It took many years for me to understand the doctors telling me that I needed to take certain drugs. My addict brain was confused, between needing to take a drug (for better health) and having to take a drug (an addiction).

I had a hard time in 12 step programs due to the fact that people who aren't like us do not understand the concept of blanking out. The only people who can relate are those who have been in black outs and done some things they don't recall either. The difference is that their problems are caused by putting too many chemicals into their system. and mine is because my body doesn't make enough of certain kinds. Of course we know there is more to it, but that's all they need to know to relate.

If you find some of us to email one on one, it will help you a lot. It's very empowering to learn you are not alone and there are people out here willing to share what works for us.

What works for me is taking the right medication, not using other drugs or alcohol, taking care of my self, staying with safe people, and having a trusted friend to call when I need someone. It's taken a lot of years to really come to terms with it. My last breakdown 5 years ago started with drink. I didn't drink a lot, but it sure did mess things up for me for a while. It's been such a long journey back that I'll think twice before I knowingly do that again.

I'm stable enough now that I am able to make a move and start a business again. That's a mile stone for me. Just keep talking and learning. The more you learn and empower yourself the better this life gets.