a friend of ours, a fellow plural, recently sent us an email, asking us “Is there a prize at the end?”. A question that is directed towards the relationship issues that those inside a plural system, always encounter. Yes, just because we are all in the same body, does NOT mean that we are at all on the dame page about our interpersonal choices. That is putting things in an oh-so friendly context, lol.
Being multiple, does have one very unique advantage, we have a multitude of perspectives from which to see things. However that does not mean, that we can all come to a consensus, or even a reasonable understanding of each others desires. With varying maturity levels, coping skills, and personas, we moreover resemble something from One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest. In times of greater stress, fear and anxiety, we change more often and become more pumped full of adrenaline, effectively shutting down the reasonable side of our brain, and instead m,,ring swiftly into survival mode, time to run. Even then, when we decide to run, we cannot all agree, and thus we end up in a state of perpetual Optimistic Depression.
We know, you think that the term Optimistic Depression is actually inaccurate on face; You may be right in a rationale world, here in the Outer Limits fo consciousness and despair, the rules of reason are scrapped for the programmed fight or fight response. We are runners, we were punished for tryin to fight. We run.
For many readers, looking from only one set of eyes, the idea of fight or flight is an easy one to comprehend. The vast majority of people have felt scared, have felt uneasy, and then it passes. They have a place to feel safe, secure and wanted. The plural has never felt safe anywhere, and thus the regions the brain which control fight, flight or freeze, are engaged primarily. This is a primitive part fo the brain, and cares not about what the conscious mind wants, and thus you end up with people labeled as crazy, scary, disturbed, and things to be feared.
Now, let us take years of this baggage, and introduce someone that cannot even come close to comprehending your experiences, or coping skills. Even for us, after many failed relationships, and valiant efforts by all involved, we have found only that the heartbreak hurts more every time. Pain never gets better, only worse as the outcomes only go to reinforce the programming that made us the way we are. All the negativity and self loathing, emerges again, rearing its ugly head ready to strike.
It would be easy to blame our failures on our selections of partners, or even on others in our system for the seeming sabotage when they were unhappy. But in truth, it is my desire as as individual, due to a lack of stability in my identity and our consolidated abandonment issues, that have primarily contributed to the downfall of my relationships. In short, we are broken, and we have to live with that. We need to be more realistic in our expectations. Sad, but so very true.
Larry, one of myself system mates, has no use for romance, whereas I am the opposite. Brian, thinks that relationships are messy, unrequired, and something to avoid. These opinions, although are not mine, have to be repeated in the system. Before we entered int o therapy, the last time, we were oblivious to the actions of the alters. Frequently losing time, leap frogging from one moment to the next, and trying make sense fo it all. We truly felt as if we were crazy!
Even today, as we are involved in yet another strong and stormy romance, we see not shadows of the past; We see raging infernos of feelings and emotions. Even as we are a fairly well organized system, and I am the host, trying to force an alter to comply is like trying to force the weather. You will get stuck in the storm, and Mother Nature really doesn’t give a shit. Compromise, communication and validation are all required, at every level.
I am involved in a very committed relationship at the moment. Members of our system are being somewhat cooperative with me. Larry, still chooses to play games with her every chance he gets, and she still struggles to handle the crazy. Honestly, we have to be honest with ourselves here; Are we bing reasonable when we ask these unlike us, to understand our multiplicity? Mot people have been used to autonomy, especially in their adult lives. How could they every comprehend having zero autonomy in their significant other? We get it. However, that doesn’t stop us from seeking connection with another human being. The one thing we have always desired the most, and the one thing that eludes us. Much like trying to catch the end of the rainbow, this is our perspective on interpersonal relationships. Looks beautiful from a distance, but as you get closer you find the pot of gold is nothing more than a pothole with some sun reflecting off the water inside.
So as we trudge further into time space, we wake up every day wondering if she will still be here, will she see me for the POS i really am, why is she here? I listen to Larry and the others incessantly in my head all day and night, and look into the big brown eyes of my girlfriend, wanting to feel loved, connected, and wondering if we are, and if this is what it feels like? Maybe the reason we cannot connect, is because we have never seen it or felt it before? Why we feel the need to connect to people, when people do not mesh well with us? Age old questions that we will surely want to explore.
The prize, we think would be to KNOW when we are connected and loved, because then we could know what to feel for. We would like to feel secure in ourself, so that we can then begin to feel safe with others. We are not sure of these concepts exist for us. Although we have no doubt for many, they can achieve these with some ease. The prize for us, yes, feeling safe around others. But we cannot find it either.