Demonising parts

I was talking to someone yesterday who got me thinking…  I’ve talked about S several times in this blog – she was born to protect the rest of the system from the sexual abuse and to cope with the psychological and physical abuse from the sister.  I’ve said that I respect her, but I’m also scared of her – what she holds and what she does.  I’m now wondering if is it possible for those factors to co-exist?

Yesterday, I became very aware that I have pigeon-holed S…  I am comfortable with labeling her as the “sexual one”, and the one who “lives and breathes sex”.  But what I forget when I say that, is that she is more than just “sex”.  She has shown this in the past by talking to other survivors and NOT turning the conversation to sex.  Another indication that she is more than what I imagine her to be, is one of her interactions with Kriss earlier this year.  Yes, that conversation involved sex, but it was discussing the past.  She was trying to heal.  I wonder how often I have put the brakes on her healing…

I’m not really sure how to deal with this information.  I know that I’m not ready to face what S holds.  I also know that I don’t have to re-experience every aspect of the past in order to heal from it.  But on some level, I will need to face what S had to do.  I truly admire her strength and courage.  She stood up to the sister when no one else could or would.  She has come forward at other times to help us when we’ve felt bullied, so I know she is more than sex.  But it’s so easy to pigeon-hole her with that label.  The ultimate in irony and hypocrisy – we HATE being labelled with a diagnosis, yet I gain comfort from labelling S.

Realistically, my next step should be to talk to Liz about S.  But this will bring up the whole sex issue.  I don’t think I can do that, there’s so much shame, disgust and rubbish tied to our ideas and feelings about sex that I don’t know if I can.  But I also know that I need to do something.  S is acting out in ways that are harmful, possibly as a way to gain some needed attention.  If I don’t act soon, how much damage will I do?  What is worse, finding out what it will take for S to be heard and healed, or ignoring it all?

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10 thoughts on “Demonising parts

  1. This seems like a major leap forward, to me.

    FWIW, I think it is perfectly possible to respect someone and be afraid of that person at the same time. In fact, I think it’s pretty common.

    I think the reason for this has to do with balances of power. S, as a strong part, has a lot of power within your system. While she is cut off from you, and while communication is limited, that power is also held separate from you, so it makes perfect sense to me that you would fear her, or that members of the system would fear her, while also recognizing her value and her strength.

    Maybe rather than talking to Liz, if that seems too much too soon, the next step might be to talk to S, and ask her if she knows what she needs you to do next toward her healing?

  2. From experience, bringing out the issues of an alter (and the alter) for the purpose of healing is very difficult. It’s also been my experience that the healing derived from it eventually outweighs the embarrassment of the moment. I know that is easy to say, because it’s difficult to achieve that “moment” of revelation allowing one’s self to basically become emotionally naked and open to the possibility of change.

    If your thinking about discussing it with Liz, it will likely happen, S deserves it. Hang in there and let it happen when it will.

  3. I can’t offer any advice about dealing with alters, or when is the right time for you to confront what S holds. But I can say, based on my own experience, that facing these demons and talking about the nasty stuff really does take the power out of the secrets. Even “sex” starts to be seen differently. It’s what Ivory says, that “the healing derived from it eventually outweighs the embarrassment of the moment.” That doesn’t make it easy to do, but know that it is helpful.

  4. Yes, absolutely, we can have respect and be scared at the same time. I think, though, that the two are in equilibrium and the more respect one has, the less scared you have to be. Because the respect cuts both ways.

    Yes, S is more than sex. Sex is just a way she copes. But there is a lot underneath all of that. This is what I hope you get to know.

    S has a very important job in your system. Her issues, which are all of your issues, deserve to be talked about. Whether you or S talks to Liz doesn’t much matter. But at this point, you have too much awareness of what it’s all about to not bring it up. I hope you do.


  5. Hi Paul,

    I’m going to try my best. A few other thing have come up this week which mean that one session won’t be enough time to raise them all. My problem is to try an prioritise them, and I’m not really sure how to do that. I think this is part of my problem with therapy as a whole, I get overwhelmed with all of the issues and words being thrown at me internally that I don’t know how to cope so shut it all down and end up freezing.

    One day at a time…

    Take care,

  6. Pingback: Pigeon-holing | Scattered pieces

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