For the longest time, in fact forever in our eyes, we have felt completely out of control. The truth being, the system was in control, because I was not. When this truth came to us, the world began to change. For many years we world in management, and held leadership positions in most roles. However the truth is, Larry was just being, Larry. The leader, the charismatic, charm you to death salesman, that always gets his way. Why did I require someone else to manage my body? The truth sd simple, the cause is horrific, and the remedy is out there.
If living plural is proof of anything, the failure of the human condition becomes very apparent. The one thing that is mean tot set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, our consciousness. In fact we feel as if the human being, is actually lower on the food chain that many would like to believe, based on the way that they care for each other. For us, humans have forgotten humanity long ago. We are positive that many readers of this post can agree with us.
Being an abused child, manifests in many different ways. There is no scale of abuse the can be considered accurate. We have drifted so far into a culture of justification, that we have literally sold the safety of our children to the lobbyist and lawmakers. There is no justification for abuse. There is no rationale for hitting a child and causing pain, fear, shame and guilt. There are no good outcomes. The pressure that children must bare is one hundred fold more intense, tan anything the corporate world can throw at anyone. The constant bullying, the labeling at such a young age, the humiliation and shame mot children of trauma face every day as they goto school is overwhelming. The child has no safe space to go; Home is a minefield, grandpa loves his special boy, mom was off the rails and a suffered from trauma herself, and lets not forget school officials who only seek to raise their own station.
How could we ever develop? This is seen in many severe trauma patients. The lack of a safe space, or even just a space where they are not made to feel small, all of the time, is critical. The body becomes flooded with cortisol, and adrenaline all the time. The brain becomes programmed to cope with these stressors, that a grown person could never handle. This is the time when the original fracture begins to grow at an accelerated rate. The original mirror, now since weakened, beiges repeatedly fractured. The child knows only one way to escape the hell he lives in, to dissociate. To create the persona he believes, he needs to survive the situation. This is a skill that will forever stay with that child, leading to even more problems in adulthood.
We spent the yers of our life before we ran away, trying to find an escape to run away too. We never stopped running, even to this day. We have just slowed down considerably. The urge to run, to go somewhere else on the planet, is always just below the surface, begging to save us once again. Even as we cross the half century mark in body birthdays, we still feel like the small boy, sneaking out into the snow at night too scared to look back. The fear of what may be chasing him too great to let the cold freeze us. This was one of many attepts to run away that we had tried, thistle we were never going back, till the next time. The system grew strained and exhausted wit the failure of my resolve. Slowly, and surely, the system began to take over our every day life. I was no longer the driver, I was a back seat passenger without a way to stop the bus.
You may ask us how we succeeded in life, I simply say this, our system is smart and the alters are ruthless. We developed a complex system that enabled us to work, succeed and even attempt at raising a family. They were not however able to maintain the illusions fo every long. This caused chaos and confusion all around us; Some of the chaos was by design. It allowed us to stay fairly under the radar, while at the same time allowing us accomplish things. Larry, my master of chaos and other affairs, gets lazy. When his crisis is resolved he disappears and left the rest to an unknowing, and sometimes unwilling system. This caused many problems in our personal life and especially in our relationships.
Everything from getting out of bed, to leading a meeting was handled by our system. We had abandoned them, to the point they lost their confidence in me, the body owner and host. “As long as you pay the rent, you can do what you want in this place!” Larry would scream. Speaking to our body as if were a rent house. But if you think aboutt it, he i correct in his assessment. If the landlord uoestn care about t your house, you pay the rent, but you just do what you need to to survive. You also begin to feel as if you have an ownership interest in the home. This happens all the time in plural systems, and is the key to system management.
Our alters are not silly, they are intelligent and willful. Why would they ever respond to me as the manager of the system? According to Larry, I am a pussy. I am weak, moody, and unreliable. How could we ever depend on Kevin? His remarks at the time were absolutely true. I had absconded from my responsibilities to the system, thus causing the system to run me. Twelve pieces of a broken child, different maturity levels and ages, trying to make a body not only appear normal, but successful. Have you ever seen two people try and make a horse costume for? The back and front can never get in sync. Nw try that with a total of thirteen in the same costume. The results are quite obvious.
How was I then to ever take control of a group that was so different? This was hard for us. Having always believed that Larry, was the smart one, and that Brian was his best friend, how could I ever get control back? The fights between Larry and i are legendary. He finds ways every day to mess with my personal life. He still controls the money, and even more importantly, it is his signature on file at the bank. They were dong exactly as the need to, running the body. Bit being a human being is about so much more than making to from one moment to the next. The gifts of existential freedom and authenticity, are too much to abandoned. How could we then take charge? We had to believe in ourself. We had to see many tings through that lens looking back into ourselves.
The easy answer here is to say I needed self confidence, to start to gain control over my body. This would be true, but so far from the full detail of it all. The process for which we had to gain the confidence of our system, first came from helping each member validate their existence. We had to gain the confidence of a room full of people, that had known us since our teeth were still coming in. You cannot bullshit a group like that. We had to be authentic in every choice we made, and transparent about everything we thought. After all they are inside my head too.
Every member of the system has different characteristics. We earned long ago, working and living abroad, everyone has their own perspectives, formed by their own experiences and interpretations. The same is true, even when sharing the same body. This tick time, and a great therapist. Our therapist aways told us, she was just there to ask mw questions, the answers we already had. So many times, the difference in a good or bad outcome, is how someone communicates. Plurals, are extremely sensitive individuals. Just the same as when a significant other is easy to break out in tears. For all appearances, there ei nothing to cause such a dramatic response, however the perspective of the significant other is very different in deed. Living in fear, every day wondering what was coming and when, so that the emotional scabs never really heal even when the physical ones do.
When the system and I began to really communicate, things began to change for us on a large scale. Everything from our relationships, our children own behaviors, and even allowing ourself time to relax, was all happening. These were all positives, however, as laws there are reactions for every action taken. We now had there in the system, that were used to living their life as a singlet. They had forever only known themselves as one person, just a fairly erratic person at that. This includes me. The same emotions and feelings of powerlessness, emptiness, and having no idea that we are worth more than a stain on humanity, are still ever-present. This is the real challenge for us moving into the future, continued validation of the groups members, to provide stability, communication and organization. This first comes from the belief in their landlord, me. I must always keep in mind the wants, desires, fears and issues that each mender has, and validate them. I must gain the confidence of the group by actually making choices, and holding myself accountable for the entire system. We cannot throw other members under the bus when it suits, and yes, many plurals can be guilty of this. Do not be angry at us for this is simply a coping skill borne from trauma.
Taking responsibility for a large group of people is never easy. In our lifetimes, we have managed as many as six thousand at one time, through delegation. Most battlefield commanders will tell you, six is about all you can effectively manage. We were forced to learn delegation, which requires trust. Trust is a word that strikes the most fear, into every member of our system. Firstly, because we have no idea what trust looks, or feels like. This caused us at first to become micro managers, literally destroying our teams, as well as our delegated line mangers. Nothing is more invalidating than appointing someone to a position of authority, and processing over them, around them and even through them, to undermine or even destroy that power. If you want to make enemies in the workplace fast, micromanagement is the quickest way to ruin a team. The same applies to system management.
We had the hardest time trying to decide who the real Kevin was. For so many years, we were all Kevin. Many singles still fail to realize, when we develop different names, this is for the outside world to be able to delineate us, from one another. However, we all are Kevin. When we truly became aware, and began communication and organization, we also use our alters names, to help us sort through the volumes of information that began to pass back and forth between us. Like a telegraph office running full on, all night and day, the world was opening up to us. The time came to declare the body owner, “Will the Real Kevin please stand up!” This is shockingly accurate, as it were.
The struggle can still come to pass at times. We had help from a brilliant trauma therapist, who we spent hours and hours with every week, trying to decipher the code, allowing us to unravel enough, but never too much we could not reweave the fabric. Larry, of course was the hardest to fight, as was Brian. Pat still does not want the role. I felt weak and powerless in the struggle and surrendered to process, not having g the constitution to fight anyone. We are the heart you see. We are also afraid to fight, having been terrified into submission at every corner of our life.
When the results were in, Becky out Therapist, was happy to announce that she was convinced I was the body owner. I am the Kevin that was always meant to be, whatever that was. The hardest part for all of us now, was learning to truest me, Kevin, as the owner fo the body. I had to learn how to delegate my team, to best serve the whole system, and make the decisions fo r what’s best as a collective. The tricky part, after making myself believe I can do it, was getting Larry and Brian onboard. How do you persuade competing factions to submit? Through compromise and validation.
We took a chance and started stepping up to lead, scared as hell. What if we make mistakes? What if they hate me?, Am I even capable of doing this? Larry had always been the natural leader of the system, and always leading us into his tailored chaos. This time, we started to make ourselves accountable, for the entire system. We do not throw them under the bus anymore, even when I think Larry deserves it for his mischief. We have started to see something very cool in our system, they leave us alone most of the time. They quietly perform their tasks in the back ground. The civil unrest that used to plague us is quietly subsiding most of the time. This has allowed us to focus more on gaining focus as a group, and less about just making it through the day. When we do not always live in a state of crisis, we start to experience some pretty amazing things. We can start to see the good in life, and not just wonder what it feels like. We can learn to trust again, in small steps. We are able to see ourselves fas a leader, and responsible father not only to the children we raise, bit to the system we serve.
We truly believe that our management style is effective. We simply had to take a chance, and even when we did not believe we were capable, take a chance and make a decision based on MY true beliefs. Embracing individual authenticity, as a collective singularity. Today, our system is imperfect and does not always resemble a pool of tranquility. There are many days where our stress levels are peaking and the system is wrought with desire to react. I have learned however, that I do not need to fear what stresses me. I am running my system; We all know our roles to play, and we are all human. My ability to withstand stress is greatly expanded now. My ability to stay in the present, through even the most uncomfortable moments, has allowed the system to gain confidence in me. They are no longer required to respond to every spike in my adrenaline. They do not feel the need to manage my life, as they are comfortable, validated, and safe within me; Mostly.
If you have read this far, you are most certainly a brave soul. We encourage you to post a comment about your feelings about the post, and any related feelings. We wan to really engage with our readers, as lately the ideas for me to write have come from outside, rather than inside. We gain a great deal of processing power from these interactions. Please feel free to express your heart here, and as always like and follow if you choose.
3 thoughts on “System Management”
I, Jus, am new to our DID. I am the host but I don’t think there’s an original for various reasons.
None of us, even me for the 30 years I believed myself a singleton, have ever identified with the legal name or the body. I just chalked it up to being transgender and very traumatised. Found out about the system only after leaving our abusive family. We broke cultural taboos by leaving — even as a legal adult.
For us, we’re working on system guidelines. I suppose I’m striving to be a respectful and good leader, a nurturing “parent” too. Not because I’m the oldest in chronological age but because well, I had the fortune of being in helpful therapy for our complex trauma for several years. The DID showed up only after I’d left our abusive family, and someone within did tell me I was now ready to know. Denial is such a struggle for me, though I’m trying to accept things. Nothing hurts my system members more when I deny the DID out of fear and uncertainty.
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We too understand the pressure of being the responsible one. I leaned on Larry and the others since we were nine. We had so little confidence in ourself that there was no way I was going to take charge of anything. The very thought of trying to decide what to eat was enough to send me into a panic.
When they first told us and still today, we fight the truth about our multiplicity. Our system has its ups and downs, but the day that Larry came out in therapy and told our then therapist that she was an idiot for not seeing, wow.
Larry gets the most upset about losing the real an on the body and his life as he saw it. We struggled for two years trying to figure out the don’t was me, Larry or Brian that owned the body. The rest didn’t care, just wanted peace internally. Yes think the hardest thing for me was convincing myself I was plural. Even now there are times where we just think we are making up an elaborate lie, to gain attention as our parents would say. But it’s been 44 years of the same stuff. Maybe they are right!
I wish I could give you advice on how to make the pressure of leading a system less stressful. But I still haven’t figured it out. Yes nation out a lot of things to our executive committee. We all have very structured responsibilities. We believe without those tools, and having almost absolute control of our home environment, we would be lost.
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Denial and doubt seems so universal, it’s a little flippant/humour perhaps that the plural community makes memes on Instagram about it. Almost joke within ourselves (especially when I the host doubt) it ought to be a hallmark “symptom”. All of you have built communication and cooperation despite having had so much struggle. And we want to laud that.
It’s eerie how parents can be adamant on overriding a child’s reality so thoroughly alongside abuse that the at least one self/system member believes the parents are right.
One of us nods as they consider your words. Trying to decide what to eat resulting in such panic – it makes sense that confidence has to be slowly built with suppoort from other system members. The shame over so much struggle over an ordinary task “regular” people take for granted is something some of us relate to.
It makes sense you, Larry and Brian struggled – authorship ownership… it’s grounding. I believed for 30 years I was a singlet, I can understand the turmoil of realising what I thought to be “mine” (life, body – however unreal and no attachment) actually wasn’t.
I believe these days for my system, everyone “owns” the body. Its like a family car.
Though I get stuck with “doing daily life”, and so seem competent compared to a more vulnerable system member, I know they sacrificed immensely for me, took the abuse I don’t remember. You probably held the panic and terror so others could carry out their responsibilities. It’s like system members who hold chronic body pain — a sacrifice.
And control of home environment is important for many plurals’ stability, definitely. We feel immense gratitude that our plural friend is a good landlord. We were afraid we would be too difficult to live with since we were regularly told since a child that any friends would come to despise us. And so leaving the family household against culture and deemed unworthy of domestic violence shelters… they truly saved us. Not good for a single Asian female body to be horseless.
We’re rambling. We just want to say that we are happy to know plural people and of course in time, individuals within systems. 😊 🌿– Jus
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