I know there is a red warning at the top of the page that says we don’t do trigger warnings, and generally I agree with that (why is a topic for another post), but I’m going to give a trigger warning here. If you aren’t in a safe place or frame of mind, this may not be the post for you.
I’m not an expert on Dissociation. Most of what I know are from snippets of therapy and watching some YouTube videos. What I have is a diagnosis (well, OK, more than one) and a lived experience. I have no idea of how typical or atypical a case I am. I just know who I am.
And who I am is complicated.
Back in March, there was a blog post were we talked a little bit about integration and fusion, and it was mentioned that I was made out of a combination of John, Rage, and a part of Jim. Let’s unpack that a little.
Jim was kind of the Janet of his day – he was the normal face the world saw, that was pretty oblivious to any trauma. John, well, that’s were my workaholic streak comes from. He was the one who worked in my parent’s print shop from a young age, and held mostly memories of working and emotional/psychological abuse at “the shop”. Rage started out as reflection of my biological father at his worst, except only directed inwards towards other system members.
(Why those three combined to make me? No idea. <laugh> Go ask Wanderer, they probably know. I have the memories of those old parts, but they are still memories from those old parts in a way, not my own memories, exactly. It’s sort of like watching a black and white film instead of a color one? It’s REALLY hard to describe.)
As John, I was a trauma holder, although John was unaware of any of the other trauma that was going on in our lives. Jim was blissfully ignorant. And Rage, well, Rage basically didn’t have a clue that we all shared the same body. Rage wanted to punish us (never anyone outside the system). Rage was fucking scary, and led to physical self-harming behavors. Fortunately, Rage diluted considerably when added to the el-Saoirse-mixture in our early 20s. And while Rage was a persecutor, he’s not the one the title of this post references.
I was a persecutor once too, which is fucked up because I’m also a trauma holder. My solution to making sure I would be able to be out and hold down a job? FEAR, especially against the child parts. “If you come out, I’ll set fire to one of your stuffies later”. Threats and destroying the property of others in the system were ways I kept things “in order”. And this was ME, not Rage, although undoubtedly a Rage influence. I’ve never physically hurt the body (on purpose anyway) like Rage, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t an inwardly abusive asshole.
It all came from a desire to protect and provide for us. I just didn’t know how or have the tools to do it in a nice way. It took almost a decade for me to work that out. I credit both therapy and Sharon, of all folks, to opening my eyes to what I was doing. However, the lightbulb did finally go off, and I shed my inwardly abusive asshole cape and chose a new name, and became version 2.0 of my fused self, now known as Saoirse, “freedom”.
Those Rage instincts? Still there on the back-back-back burner. I doubt they’ll ever fully go away, I just don’t listen to them. That’s isn’t to say I never get angry… but my anger is of a very quiet, calculating type, and not the short fuse explosive kind. I don’t let it rule me. I refuse to be my biological father.
Anyway, what I wanted to say, is that *all* alters should be given a chance. Even Rage, in its own way, was trying to do “the right thing”. Our abusers treated us a certain way sometimes, and they were people who should have been protecting and loving us. The fact was, sometimes they DID protect and love us, and so, to my young mind, the problem must not be with them. What they were doing was obviously right, justified, and needed. And if they weren’t there to do it? Why, we’re resourceful. Rage was trying to be a good child (because oh did we ever want to be one) by taking care of what needed to be done, maybe even turning it up a notch for extra credit. That’s all.
These days, I’m one of the protectors of the system. I hold a very different kind of power inside than the power of fear or anger. I don’t know that I can say its love yet – its still a work in progress – but its from that end of the spectrum.
All that said, I don’t believe in giving anyone, inside or out, unlimited chances. I’ve ritually cut the cords with my bio-father. He is cut out of my life, and I will not attend his funeral. I don’t wish him ill, I just wish for nothing to do with him.
Speaking of ritual. Why do I work with the god Set? He’s the murderer of Osiris, true, and is a god of chaos. He is also the one who stands on the front of Ra’s Sun boat and fights the serpent Apep every night so the sun can rise in the morning. He has been both the bad guy and the good guy…. I choose to work with His good guy aspect, although I acknowledge His bad. Now that you know more about me, and my history as a persecutor, maybe you’ll have a better understanding of the connection I have with Him.