Fifty-year-old Regina experienced early childhood trauma in the form of sexual and physical abuse. She learned to adapt to the abuse by dissociating the trauma and dividing into different personalities. She now holds the memory of these childhood events and feelings within ‘parts’ of herself that represent her as a whole person. She has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) – meaning that the ‘parts’ of herself or ‘alters’ experience themselves as separate personalities. Some of these ‘alters’ have names, different ages, likes, needs, and dislikes, etc. For instance, when Regina was being abused as a young child, she never received the love and care that all children need and deserve from their mother. Her mother was her ‘abuser’. She never had a doll or a stuffed animal or toys. Rather than hugs, her mother beat her. Regina’s little parts continue to crave love and the attention of adult women – despite the fact that she is actually a fifty year old woman.
‘Multiples’, as we will refer to people having created ‘systems’ during childhood trauma often relate in their ‘now’ world as if they still children. As happened with Regina, the person may not be aware that these ‘little parts’ have such extreme needs as the basic love and nurturing of a parent or caregiver. Thus, we have an adult very vulnerable to anyone offering to fulfill these needs. Multiples also report symptoms of ‘losing time’, meaning that there is amnesia between parts. During ‘lost time’, vulnerable parts are literally in danger of being accessed by anyone who knows how to ‘play the part’ of the nurturing mother or child friend.
DID is what could be considered by some as a ‘controversial disorder’. It is, however, accepted internationally by the mental health professional community (NAMI, 2014). The controversy of this disorder was created by a group called the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, who during the 90’s tried to create a false public opinion that people with DID are reacting to therapists’ suggestion and/or a need for attention. Thus, survivors suffering with symptoms of early childhood abuse have found it difficult to get quality mental health care. And, social work students and psychiatrists are either ignorant of how to treat DID or learned to misdiagnose, despite that the common symptoms of DD do not fit any other classifications in the DSMV. They are taught to believe that DID is not ‘real’ and to accept that accepting it will somehow discredit them.
Though all of this is nonsensical and ridiculous, it is a reality. As ‘public opinion’ happens, we all are subject to adapting. And, in this case, public opinion has succeeding in silencing survivors of childhood trauma in a fear that they will be judged by the public as looking for attention and/or the victim of some crazed therapist.
But, times are changing. The FMSF is falling into decay, as more and more people begin to realize that they never were a ‘scientific community’, but bullies with enough money to publicize their agenda to a public that did not want to believe how rampant child abuse is in the world.
This whole scenario has left many adult survivors scrambling for some kind of support and validation with little knowledge of their own systems or vulnerability of the very system that once protected them. It has also left abusers whose fear is that survivors will ever become vocal, and they be discovered for their crimes. There are also members and followers of the FMSF who will do anything to silence survivors and the mental health professionals who treat them.
What I have shared so far are simple facts. You can do your own research – it is all there. This article is being written to relay a very simple warning to multiples who make themselves vulnerable to any perpetrator, regardless of their body age or knowledge of their own diagnosis.
So let’s take a look at how perpetrators can take control over someone like Regina’s system. We have to remember that perpetrators are experts at controlling children during abusive situation. They only need know that these children have basic needs of any child and will do anything to get those needs met – and offer to fulfill them.
Most of these perpetrators find multiples who are on the internet in support groups or meeting in real life groups looking for support and validation. These perpetrators are often called ‘trolls’, because one troll can quickly go through an entire community by accessing one ‘weak link’ – as they call the person they target – generally someone in a trusted position within the community. How is this done?
Perpetrators not only are aware that DID is a very real condition, but how their systems generally have and do adapt to the world. First, dissociation ‘is’ hypnotism. Multiples are experts at hypnotism. No one needs to sit them down and perform any act, but just need to talk to them in a kind, quiet voice, look them in the eye and, poof – they are in a trance. Or, Multiples can be triggered to switch to other parts by certain stimuli in their environment: toys, a motherly voice, a suggestion of love and attention, etc. Multiples must dissociate before switching. Perpetrators know that the best way to succeed is to get the victim either on the phone or in person for this to happen. Once they have control over the victim, they have control over adult actions. Befriending Multiples’ little parts through the internet is enough to gain trust.
Let’s take a look at what happened to Regina. She innocently joined an online support group. She earned other members’ complete trust within the group and became an administrator of the group. She became so close to the members of the group that she began spending large amounts of time interacting on the telephone and even in real life with them. New members gave over their personal information without a thought.
Then the perpetrator easily infiltrates the community as a fellow Multiple. He/she portrays as nice, understanding, motherly, and controlling. Within just a couple weeks, she/he accesses Regina and gains her complete trust. How? She simply tells Regina how much she ‘loves’ her, sends her gifts that would normally be for small children, and treats fifty-year-old Regina as if she is four or five-years-old, triggering ‘out’ Regina’s little parts, and fulfilling their needs. The troll soon learns the names of Regina’s little parts and spends most of the time talking to them. Regina is not aware, but in her adult form is loyal to the troll, believing he/she to be totally and completely trustworthy following their lead and actually ‘changing’ – acting as if in a ‘trance’.
In a ‘normal’ relationship, this would seem so strange and inappropriate. Everyone has parts, of course, but to hear an adult woman talk like a child or a mother to another adult woman would be odd and intrusive. It would be sort of like someone being hypnotized to believe that they are five years old and within this trance, they follow around the hypnotist as if they were their mother – who instructs them how to act and behave – as well as putting a suggestion that the love will be taken away if they don’t behave as instructed.
Now, we have Regina accessing an entire group as instructed by the troll. Regina believes that the troll is trustworthy. Regina even works to give his/her more and more access to all of the members. Regina becomes loyal to the perpetrator just as children become loyal to their abusers.
Why would perpetrators care to do this sort of trolling – looking for people and groups on line to access? That is simply answered. This sort of intrusion effectively keeps survivors from trusting each other. There are always survivors who will not fall for this sort of activity. These survivors know not to trust adults who call them on the phone or tempt them with baby talk, etc. Once a group is accessed by trolls, members will either follow them or refuse to trust anyone in the community any longer. Either way, the group has been torn apart with the very drama and chaos they know will silence survivors. Trolls sit back and watch as survivors actually turn on each other.
This is a case of perpetrators having access to survivors who are grown, by knowing that they continue to react as if they are children. These survivors probably do not have qualified therapists who have taught them how to relate to the world as adults. They have not taught them that no one will ever fulfill the basic needs that they did not get as children. Anyone who tries is a dangerous person. Survivors need to teach each other to relate to the world as one whole adult person. Yes, we all have parts and some are little and vulnerable, but still parts of the whole adult woman. Therapists who ‘separate’ out the littles as if they are different people are not helping the client. The most difficult part of healing is accepting that we will never have a mother who cares, toys, stuffies, or a normal childhood – including the basic love that all children deserve – NEVER. That very fact gives perpetrator access to every Multiple who has not done the work of mourning the loss or their childhood.
I am writing this as I have watched perpetrators so easily access Multiples on the internet and in groups. I have watched as good people became their victims for many, many years – ultimately inhibiting healing as they search for happiness and security within a false person who is using them for their own benefit.
Regina did finally gain help through a good therapist who encouraged her to mourn the loss of the childhood. The therapist helped her investigate enough to realize that the person that she so trusted was sent to target her and use her to disrupt the group. Once she realized that all of her alters were part of herself, she began relating to the world as such, returned to the same group and helped it be a safe place for everyone by sharing her story.
Thank you, Regina. Survivors do need to stick together and learn from each other and to help therapists realize just how vulnerable we are without their help.
It is my belief that with 49 million survivors in America alone, we all need to support each other. We need to be wary of wolves dressed in sheeps’ clothing. An adult ‘playing’ to be multiple by ‘befriending’ and offering presents, motherly and child talk is someone NOT to be trusted. To act as they ‘expect’ is to let them take control. This is not okay – Everyone should ‘trust’ according to if and how people respect you as an equal and intelligent adult. That is just commonsense.