Jeanette Bartha writes a blog entitled “Multiple Personalities Don’t Exist” (https://mentalhealthmatters2.wordpress.com/) and she’s having some troubles right now because she is under cyber-attack by some women who have gotten her blog suspended. Ms Bartha has gotten her blog back up but this is the second time they’ve shut it down, so I’d like to say a couple things.
First, I don’t know a whole lot about so-called “multiple personalities” but what I do know came from three women who were in hospital with me at very different times in my life. They were all given the diagnosis of multiple personalities.
All their stories started the same way: they were repeatedly raped as very young children. At a time when their little psyches were developing and trying to understand the world, they were repeatedly subjected to horrific trauma. A little kid can’t cope with that. A girl-child can’t grow up straight and healthy while carrying that kind of burden.
Two of the women told me about their blindness—they had blocked out what had happened—and they didn’t know why, as adults, they were behaving the way they did. One woman started therapy after she “woke up” standing on the top of a building and about to throw herself off it.
The third woman didn’t know that she was having episodes where she was not present; I figured it out for her. She was gouging deep cuts in her stomach at night but had no memory of it. The staff was punishing her instead of trying to understand her. She didn’t understand herself. “How could I do this,” she asked me, “when I can’t stand pain?” Then she told me about her childhood rapes.
I went to her psychiatrist and told him my theory. He looked at me silently while he thought it through, then said softly, “You are very smart, you know?” After that he tried to get her into a specialized treatment center.
The treatment is not punishment, nor is it drugs. Human beings hurt these people and it is only through relationships with wise and compassionate other human beings that these women can be assisted in achieving a healthy wholeness.
What I know is that the women with this diagnosis are enduring great pain, and struggling to understand what is going on in their psyches. I have not spent a whole lot of time educating myself on this, but Jeanette Bartha has—and she should be allowed to write about it. People with different ideas about the issue should not be spending their time trying to shut her down.
I don’t know whether Ms Bartha is right or not, but what I do know is that she writes with intelligence and courtesy. Go read her interactive stuff at https://mentalhealthmatters2.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-links/. She says things like, “I need to challenge your thinking…” and “I can’t be gentle here. You and the therapists you refer to are Wrong,” and “I do not delete opposing opinions on the subjects we discuss so readers can reach their own conclusions regarding comments as you have done.”
She is courteous, open-minded and willing to engage in respectful dialogue. Is there anything more we can ask of anyone on the Internet? If Ms Bartha is dead wrong, time will prove it. But what if she’s right? What if her opponents silence the one person who can show them a better way?
And why would people need to shut her down? What’s to fear? Ms Bartha is a reasonable person with an intelligent message. My style, when confronted by some complete idiot who suffers from raging stupidity, is usually to publish them on my blog, then publish a rebuttal. (The only time I’ve refused to print a comment is when it has too much obscenity to be tolerated.)
I print what I think and I print what you think and then we let the readers draw their own conclusion. It’s called freedom of speech.
So let’s let Ms Bartha have her say. If you don’t like what she says, then quit reading her blog. Don’t banish her from existence.