Two weeks ago I woke up to a cacophony of angry and upset voices. All my alters were talking at once. It was a Monday morning and my boys had left the Friday before to spend the week with their dad. I usually take Saturdays as a rest day but I was so busy with getting taxes done for me, my ex and my mom that I worked through the weekend. I had made promises to give my littles time doing things they like to do but had not kept them. I guess I should have expected some anger and resentment but it took me by surprise. I’m very much still learning to live with all these people inside of me and it often feels easier to pretend they are not real and go about my business as if it were just me in my body.
They had my attention and I chose to give them an opportunity to speak in a somewhat organized way so I opened a blank document and let them all type. I’m posting the conversation in an effort to be transparent with myself and own that these people have just as much a right to express themselves as I do. I’m honestly quite proud of them for talking to me instead of sending me into a panicked or dissociative state. I see it as progress.
Mina: Stop fucking around and just fucking type the question.
Me: Why are y’all ganging up on me?
13 yr old A: You said three days in a row that we could start the TAZ puzzle. There’s always an excuse. The taxes have to get done. You HAVE to do the work for mom.
Max: You’re spending a lot of time binge watching. Binge watching and coloring. You’re getting your time but the rest of us are left standing behind a curtain where you mostly don’t see us.
Little A: Yeh. You haven’t even been tucking in the stuffies like you were. That’s a pretty easy thing to do and it doesn’t take much time.
Mina: You think you’re going to get out of all this trauma bullshit but you’re never going to be like people who weren’t raped when they were kids.
Ruby: I feel like it’s my fault you’re doing this. I came up/out with so many feelings and new memories and you were there but when 13 yr old A finally decided it was safe and she came out, you shut everything down tight.
Me: I probably did. I hadn’t thought about it really.
Me: Ruby, it’s most certainly not your fault. You’ve been through so much, more than the rest of us, really. You remembered the abuse (kind of?) and then went through hell with a psychopath. My oldest kiddo just came in and said “they’re holding you accountable. That’s good.” I think it’s the right thing for y’all to do. I just felt jumped.
Lisa: I bet you did. But you deserved it. I don’t like not being listened to.
Max: It’s true. You haven’t been listening. And you fell back into your habit of blocking out the things you don’t want to see and feel. You’re good at it.
Me: I have to be. That’s a coping skill too.
Everybody wanting to speak.
Ruby: You’re using CBD, even yoga, to chill out your feelings instead of processing them. We have the power to force you to feel things and make you very uncomfortable.
Max: But we didn’t do that this morning, did we? We were simply trying to talk to you and you weren’t accepting responsibility so some of us escalated things a bit. Not that I condone the way you were being spoken to. Threatening to overwhelm you was inappropriate.
Me: What am I suppose to do? I really do have to do all this stuff and I know it’s overwhelming right now but it will get better.
Little A: Choosing to do stuff for mom before us is not ok. You’re even doing it to yourself. You wanted to sew yesterday and you didn’t even get to the machine.
Me: The stuff with mom is complicated. Yes, I feel like I should help her AND I need the money. I’m supporting 5 people half the time and 3 the other half. I’m trying to set boundaries around it but right now, she needs a lot of help. I really do think things will get better in a few months.
Max: You could choose to give up some of your time to us. When the boys aren’t here, you spend from 4:30am till 8am just watching your stories. Would you be willing to give up some of that?
Me: I can try. Yes, I’ll try. It’s going to be a big shift for me. I’ve been doing that for 3 years. And maybe we should set aside a few minutes a day for airing out stuff. I avoid listening because I’m trying to feel like things are less chaotic than they are.
Mina: That’s good. We’re going to hold you to it. And you will make time for that puzzle today. 13yr old A hasn’t been given the space the rest of us get. And she’s been waiting a long time. 34 years.
Mina: You said you were going to be open to the truth. You fucking tattooed it on your arm. You’re a fucking hypocrite if you don’t actually follow through. The truth is, we are a mess of feelings and fucked up thinking. You’re not doing the work if you aren’t acknowledging that.
Me: OK. I promise to give 13 yr old A time with the puzzle today. It’s going to be a rainy day. Sounds like a cozy thing to do. I’m also going to talk to Sarah about all of this later. Y’all can be there for the conversation and jump in.