So you’re going home for Thanksgiving… and your abusers will be there. There are many different types of abuse and many reactions to it, but the fact is, many of us will be in the presence of those who have abused us tomorrow. Here’s how to deal:
- Make a list of what they’ve done to you.
There’s a problem when people would place DID in List A instead of List B. DID is a mental health disorder. It is not a lifestyle choice. I don’t want to comment on why this problem exists (feel free to form your own opinion!), I just wanted to point this out and say that it IS a problem.
Also, can we skip the part where someone argues that the things in List A are also mental health disorders? And the part where someone argues that the things in List A are NOT lifestyle choices? Thanks!
I’ve noticed a trend lately that I have to say that I don’t approve of. There’s always been those who fake DID for whatever reason, and that’s not going to change. What’s beginning to bother me is that some of you in the DID community are acting like this is alright. Not only do you refuse to call anyone out on their behavior (which is understandable; not everyone is up for confrontation), but you actually encourage fellow DID-sufferers not to call others out on their behaviors, as well. Why is this? You’re convinced that it’s better to allow someone to make a mockery of DID than to accidently insult a real DID system and possibly knock them into denial. I disagree with that logic. Here’s why:
1) Tumblr is not a “safe place” for DID systems. In the real world, not everyone will believe that you really have DID, let alone that DID is a real thing. Because real people use Tumblr, that attitude extends to Tumblr. You can’t expect everyone with DID to automatically trust that you’re telling the truth about having DID, either. Remember that those with DID have been severely abused. Trust can be hard for them. When accepting that someone else has DID often means that at least some community members will form a bond with them and end up sharing personal information, is it any wonder that some DID systems avoid trusting other systems at the drop of a hat? When some “systems” are acting in a manner that suggests that their DID isn’t genuine, of course some people with DID are going to be weary of them! And these doubt filled systems have every right to point out what behaviors make them uncomfortable. And yes, it makes some people pretty damn uncomfortable to think that some of the people trying to gain access to actual safe spaces for people with DID (such as some forums) might be lying about having been diagnosed in order to do so. Whether someone is maliciously faking DID or just mistaken, it makes me personally extremely uneasy to think of them fooling people with DID into trusting them with details about their own system and even abuse, possibly strengthening the faker’s story in the process and allowing them to better their own fabrication. Keep in mind that the systems you might mark as “trolling,” “stirring up trouble,” or “paranoid” have, in true DID nature, probably survived the worst shattering of trust imaginable. They were hurt by those who should have protected them and not saved by those closest to them. They were shown that any promise can be broken and that no one really means them well. They know that no one is who they say that they are. Who are you to tell them that now that they suspect that someone else is being untruthful, they’re not allowed to voice that concern? You have no right to dictate whether or not they stay silent about how they feel about someone’s claims of having DID. Just like technically, the faker has every right to post their bullshit, and just like you have every right to bitch and moan about accepting everyone, they have every right to voice concerns without you trying to silence them. By acting as if no one has the right to point out when someone else in the community makes them uncomfortable or strikes them as fake, you’re just as bad as those who you claim are “silencing” everyone with DID by pointing out which “system’s” claims they don’t believe. Everyone here has every right to point out when they think that someone is actively lying in order to blend into a community of abuse survivors.
2) Not everyone who fakes DID does so unknowingly. Sure, some of the people who claim to have DID but don’t might have been misled because of other similar disorders that they have such as BPD or DDNOS. It could just be that the unknowing fake is a young teenager with no set personality or the inability to distinguish their muses from alters. Perhaps they even misunderstood the DID criteria or, in an almost ironic twist, were led to believe that DID is different than it really is because of other non-dissociatives who claimed to have DID and misrepresented the condition. It’s possible, however, that some of those who mimic DID have very, very dark motives. Some abusers would love to have the opportunity to infiltrate a community of wounded survivors and to cause chaos among victims. Perhaps some of those who fake DID really are survivors themselves, but they’ve become bitter over time. They might view those who claim to have DID as fakers, part of a false repressed memory movement, taking part in something that needs to be put down and stopped by those who really understand trauma and pain. Finally, some of those who fake DID are likely active trolls. They want to come into the community and see you at your most vulnerable. They want to laugh at fooling you, at tricking the “crazies.” They want to gather data on the things that you say so that they can show it as an example of how weird those who claim to have DID are. They may even want to put forth ridiculous claims themselves in order to trick other people into thinking that DID is something other than what it is!
3) Those without DID who claim to have DID often completely misrepresent the disorder. You may think that that doesn’t matter, that everyone with DID presents differently, so what does it matter if this one “system” is just a little too different? It doesn’t affect you! Except, of course, it does. Have you ever told anyone about your DID? Literally anyone? Have you ever been rejected because “that’s not what DID is like” or even “DID isn’t real!”? Well guess what? These “systems” are the ones who are making it even harder for actual systems to be taken seriously. Think about it for a moment. Imagine that someone was on the cusp of whether or not to believe you about your DID. They believed that DID sounds reasonable, and your family is kind of strange, so maybe… but then they see a post on Tumblr. They follow the trail and hear about systems who claim to have DID just because. They read about systems full of fictives and past lives and walk ins from another universe. They see stories of headspace hopping and alters who were created with knowledge of a different language that the host has literally never heard anywhere or with math skills unparallel to that of anyone else in the world (that are blocked by the ~glass wall effect~, of course, what a shame). Whats more, they notice that not a single community member is calling out this bullshit. All of a sudden, what looked like a reasonable condition looks like a bunch of kids playing pretend. More importantly, can you imagine if one of the people exposed to this information later grows up to be a doctor, psychologist, researcher, or even news reporter who’s adamant that DID doesn’t exist because of the bullshit they saw here? Do you really want to be responsible for that? Not calling out fakers makes us all look like fakers to outsiders. In fact, it may affect how we see ourselves, as well.
4) Supporting trolls out of fear of triggering a real DID system into denial only makes it easier for genuine systems to fall into denial. That may seem a bit strange, but the logic behind it is actually pretty clear once you come across it. It’s because it’s really hard to believe that you have something when every third person that you see claiming to have the same thing is faking/mistaken. If those without DID but claiming to have DID aren’t called out, you may begin to wonder if you yourself are just mistaken about your condition, if everyone is silently judging you behind your back but too scared of being judged in return to bring it up. If you really see fakers everywhere but the few systems you do believe never say anything about it, you may begin to wonder if perhaps DID is a real condition at all. After all, there seems to be a few people who have it, but if so many people can falsely claim to have it and never be recognized as doing such, what if everyone who thinks that they have DID is just mistaken? And why wouldn’t people come to that conclusion? It’s the conclusion that many outsiders reach, and you’ve already admitted that denial can be easy to trigger in someone with DID. Yet you choose to maybe spare the feelings of a DID system that may not actually have DID in lieu of protecting actual systems who can’t feel secure when they can’t trust everyone around them not to be lying about having DID.
Now, you may think that this is all well and good, but it’s not really applicable. After all, you’re not really a confrontational person, so it’s not like you would be calling anyone out, anyway. But surely if someone really believes that they’ve come across a fake, and if they’re really brave enough to say so, of course they’ll do so themselves! The problem is, another trend accompanying the first seems to be that whenever anyone voices any concern about any “system” with “DID,” they’re immediately attacked (or “burned” with a “take down” that honestly couldn’t scare off a preschooler, but that’s another story) and called a troll. Have you ever considered that the DID community as a whole is scaring systems into silence because if they now try to call out anyone, not only will the person themself retaliate (of course they will; no troll gives in easily, and if they’re just mistaken, they think that they have the rest of the community’s support and so obviously must be genuine), but the community itself might turn on them! But here’s the thing:
Trolling does not mean pointing out an issue.
Trolling does not mean pointing out an issue.
Trolling does not mean pointing out a goddamn issue.
If someone messages a system, any system, and tells them that they doubt their DID? Yeah, sure, they might be trying to be an asshole just for the sake of being an asshole. But they might honestly be trying to voice concern. Maybe they don’t know about every second of your life and exactly how your switching works and exactly how you came to believe that you have DID in the first place, but you know what? When you’re posting every little detail about your system and inner life to begin with, they don’t need. All that they need to see is that multiple things that you’re saying don’t fit with DID. And no, you’re probably not just “unique” for the disorder. Certain things are universal with DID, and certain things are just impossible. And hey, maybe the person raising concern is wrong! Maybe you really were diagnosed, everything about your system checks out, and you have DID without there existing any room for doubt. Maybe they didn’t even bother to look through all 700 pages of your blog, the little stinker! But you know what? That still doesn’t automatically make them a troll. Maybe they’re another DID system who can’t stand the things that they think that you’re implying about their disorder. Maybe they’ve actually seen you used as an example from people as to why DID isn’t something that’s genuinely found on Tumblr. Maybe they just plain and simple don’t believe you. They could be trying to help, pointing out that so-and-so makes no sense and you might want to look into a different cause for your symptoms. They may be trying to hint that you’re making a fool of yourself and should quietly move on to other things. They might even just be pointing out that even if you do have DID, certain beliefs that you hold about it are delusional or otherwise unhealthy. You can’t and shouldn’t label someone a troll just for voicing an opinion even ~gasp!~ they dared to do so anonymously in your inbox.
Keep in mind that this post itself was written/looked over by three different professional diagnosed DID systems from opposite ends of America and Europe who have been in the DID community from three to thirteen years. This post is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause upset. We’re posting this because we’re sick and tired of watching actual DID systems be hurt, directly or not, by the toxic behaviors of the DID community. We do find it extremely important to point out fakes, but if you’ll notice, this isn’t actually a direct attack on anyone (yeah, it uses second person language, it’s a writing technique and not actually directed at you, whoever you is at the moment). We’re not saying “oh yeah, this system and this one and that one are all fakes and should be burned at the stakes!” We’re asking our fellow DID systems to take care of themselves. Seriously. Don’t believe every single person who tells you that they have DID. If you doubt someone’s sincerity or validity, that’s okay. If you don’t want to call them out on it, fine. Good for you. But you’re not obliged to stand up for them. You don’t have to act as if pointing out that someone might be mistaken in their self diagnosis or even blatantly lying about their condition is a bad thing. If the person being called out is just mistaken, you might actually be saving them a lot of trouble by opening the door for more introspection, encouraging them to seek out a professional for an actual diagnosis, or saving them future pain or embarrassment if they decide to falsely inform others of their “condition.” If they really are lying, obviously, calling them out is a good thing! It shows that your not a potential victim, and it may alert others to their questionable behaviors, as well. On the off chance that the person you finally build up the courage to call out on their behavior really does have DID: if you realize it, apologize, explain yourself and move on; if you don’t, what one person says over the internet shouldn’t be enough to wreck someone’s day anyway, let alone their week or life. Sometimes, it’s better to stay safe and allow yourself to voice skepticism than to risk hurting someone’s feelings.
-Kayden and Rage
Just needed to add that I really identified strongly with point 4.
It’s because it’s really hard to believe that you have something when every third person that you see claiming to have the same thing is faking/mistaken. If those without DID but claiming to have DID aren’t called out, you may begin to wonder if you yourself are just mistaken about your condition […]
The first person I met offline that has DID really helped with this, though. I’m able to relate to and understand her and her struggles in the way I always expected to be able to with others, but was never able to online. It’s interesting that one of the first things she suggested was that I take a step back from online communities.
I don’t think this is only a problem for the online DID community. It’s difficult to find authentic people anywhere. It’s especially difficult online.
I agree that it’s important for any community to be able to define itself in a way that actually promotes healing and acceptance instead of ridicule and disbelief.
DID is not all bad!
i’m pretty sick of seeing people who expect that we should hide away in shame or we should be pitied because it’s so dreadful.
of course it isnt all sunshine and rainbows, it can be stressful and scary and just plain horrific to live with at times. i wont deny that and i…
What does this even mean?
The mix of functioning labels with a complete lack of presumption of competence is telling, I guess.
Also, I’m really good in a crisis. Often, I’m the only one not freaking out. I think my tendency toward emotional detachment and my problem solving instinct both work in favor in crisis situations.