My Mom has Multiple Personalities: What the kids say

Children, teens, and adult-children, who cope with a mother with alter personalities have a variety of opinions about their home situation and their mother. Below are comments by those children, and adult-children:

Submitted on 2011/06/14 at 7:52 am | In reply to Jeanette Bartha. by “V”
This is reposted from its original location @ the post “How to Misread a Research Article”

“You are so right about the opportunity cost of DID. Years of life can’t be returned.

My siblings and I missed out on much of a normal childhood because of my mother’s DID. My mother pretty much missed out on being a mother… kids grow up fast and if you are pretending to be a child and speaking in baby voices and in the mental hospital for years, well, then you miss out on being a mother. She also missed out on having a career or real life. And, of course, she missed the chance to treat whatever real mental illness she had.

DID therapy is a deal with the devil. At first, it doesn’t seem so bad, but the losses escalate over time. In the end, the patient is left with broken relationships, no career, no retirement savings, years of precious life just gone… but the doctors have made lots of money.

My mother was definitely in a state of arrested development during DID, and after. It is impossible to calculate the costs of all of that wasted life. So many opportunities were lost, for her and for my whole family.”

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“we have been accused of being “fake” alot. even by our adult son who said we were using our DID as a crutch to not have to do something we don’t want to do. that hurt ” Retrieved 5/21/11. DissociationDisorder@yahoogroups #8362.

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Hello all,
…Because it’s so rare I’ve never found another adult child of an MPD parent to talk to. …She would suddenly start crying and nothing you’d say could make her stop, or she’d curse at you and start yelling then swing to crying and tell you how horrible you were for yelling at her (whether you did or not). Two minutes later it was as if the entire thing never happened …

…she used to come into my room sobbing and appologize [sic] for being such a bad mother. I’d tell her she wasn’t a bad mother, and she would believe me, even though I actually hated the horrible, insane thing she was.

I don’t usually share this given the culture of misunderstanding around MPD, but an anonymous post to strangers is oddly cathartic. Mel  Retrieved 4/4/11. http://pub2.bravenet.com

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Response to above post by Mel.

I can more than sympathize. My mom had MPD too, she had about 2,000 personalities and life was hard living with her, to say the least. I am 28 and I am still trying to deal with the effects that she left in her wake.

I have three siblings that had to deal with it too, but she liked to pick on me the most. She would do things to me like pick up something, something that I had mentioned I was looking for that I had just found, like a scarf, that I was going to wear when I left for school, and throw it away in the dumpster. When I confronted her about those things she would say that I deserved it because I left it out, or worse, she would claim that it never happened and punish me for saying it did. OR this sound familiar? she moves something, clear as day, and moments later YOU are the culprit who took it…

I have been through all of that and I really know about the anger you feel.. I feel it too. I still have nightmares about the things she would do.. in fact I just had one last night.

She would expect the whole family to revolve around her, everyone else’s problems didn’t matter as she was so quick to compare them to her own abuse suffered as a child. I always felt guilty for even HAVING problems because hers were always the ones that deserved comfort and help, not mine or anyone else’s.

You can’t reason with someone like that, it’s not possible.. the tables are always turned on you.
Anyhow I just wanted you to know your not the only one out there who has had to deal with a parent who has MPD. I wish you the best and I hope we can talk sometime. Neeka   Retrieved 4/4/11. http://pub2.bravenet.com

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My 29 Mothers… Accepting my Mother with D.I.D. (aka MPD)

I have a mother who was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (used to be termed Multiple Personality Disorder) a few years ago….  How can i hate her when she has gone trough so much? But how can I pretend I am close to her without feeling like I’m holding back?? She is a different person than the woman who raised me. I had an amazing childhood! …Then I feel GUILTY as hell for feeling this way when she has gone through so much yet is still here fighting… trying to get better.
I am currently training to become a counselor… but this demon of anger and sadness suppression will continue to hold me back from being my best… Is there anyone out there who knows of a support group in California? I hate feeling like this. -eileen  Retrieved 4/4/11  http://pub2.bravenet.com

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Book Review

My Mom is Different by Deborah Sessions

This activity book for young children is designed to be used as a supplement to My Mom Is Different. It enables children to create their own scrapbook of photos, drawings, and writings that illustrate different aspects of life in a family with a dissociative parent.

An appealing, personal workbook, this is a valuable tool for self-esteem building in young children, and a means to express their range of thoughts and feelings about their “different” families.

Review by The Sidran Foundation Bookshelf

Multiple Personality Books accessed 3/8/11.

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by Tiffany Fletcher

“Every day was confusing — sometimes frightening … mother became suicidal after her grandmother’s death and was put into the hospital. “When she came back I just remember thinking, ‘Where has my mother gone? She’s not here anymore, she’s different,” Tiffany said.

“We had to help clothe her, we had to help feed her, had to help get her ready for bed, had to help drag her to bed as best we could.”

“It’s hard to love someone who’s hurting you, but at the same time it’s hard not to love someone who you are caring for.”

A Mother’s Multiple Personalities Healed her Family Accessed 3/3/11.

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My mother is 55 and talks like a baby to friends and family.

Posted by kaycurry77
“My mother has talked like a baby for as long as i can remember. My family members always find this a problem. … She makes up stories everyday, lies constantly. … I think she needs to be in a institute and get help.” Accessed 2/21/11. Answers.psychcentral

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by AngelEyes

“I grew up with a Mother who had multiply personalities. I never knew when I came home from school each day which person would be there to greet me. Some of them, could be nice, but others were mean spirited and even abusive to me. … As a child of a parent with multiply personalities, it was a horrific childhood for me. It’s one of the worse of the many mental illness diseases and one of the hardest to treat. You sound like a loving, caring and compassionate person. But, bear in mind you can’t save her, you can try to help her, but you’ll never save her. I wish you the best of Luck. Downloaded 2/18/11. Answers.yahoo.com

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A loving relationship IS possible with people who have DID. My mother is an example. She has DID due to extreme childhood ritual and sexual abuse. She’s the most amazing and resilient woman I have ever known, and I am proud to be her daughter. My father has been married to her for 35 years and has supported her unconditionally. It can work! Please educate your readers and provide some useful information about the courageous people who live with DID. –Proud of Mom in Pennsylvania

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13 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  07/03/2016

    I am 20 years old with a mom with MPD. She has over 30 personalities and a couple I have nightmares about. I have been moved out for about 3 years now and still have terrible nightmares about her. When I was living with her I would barricade my door at night because she would wake up in the middle of the night with episodes. One night I woke up to this laugh in the hallway. It was a really deep evil sounding laugh. Like a demon one would say. So I waited by my closed door to see if she would go back to sleep. But instead I heard her go down the stairs. It sounded like she was having a hard time. So I opened my door and went to turn the hall light on but my dad stopped me. He said that it wasn’t her and that he didn’t know what it was. He had scratches on his arm. So we both went towards the stairs and turned the hall light on and when we did she was standing at the bottom of the stairs looking up at us with her mouth all contorted. Then she started to come up the stairs towards us laughing that evil deep deep laugh while being completely on her tip toes. Like just her big toes were touching the floor. We ran in their bedroom and shut the door. I was crying being 10 years old and seeing this was a little much. But then she was at the door. Scratching at it. Yelling for us to let her in. I told my dad to not open the door but he said she was back. He opened the door and it was her. She crawled in cuz her toes were bleeding and sore. I’m guessing she went down the stairs the same way she came up. We all sat together after it happened and she said she didn’t know. Then she asked me to come to her so she could whisper something in my ear and I looked at my dad and he said it was ok. So I did. When I got close I seen some thing change in her. I got my ear to her and I heard that same laugh and then in the deepest most manly sounding voice she said “I love you” I freaked out and ran away from her and she started to have a seizure like thing and my dad told me to call my grandpa. To this day I have nightmares about turning that hall light on and seeing her contorted face looking up at me and then her running up after me. She was a very good and nurturing mom growing up. But things changed when she developed this demonic like personality. I don’t think anyone can relate to this.

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    • What an awful situation you are in. I’d have nightmares too. Kids shouldn’t have to worry about their Mom & Dad. I’d run away too.

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  2. Hello, I’ve just recently was adviced that my mom undiagnosed could have DID and after research it almost sounds spot on.. Its hard because we have a huge family but we’re so disconnected. My mom and dad both have mental struggles. Its hard growing up feeling like you never have had a mom and I’d never in a 1000 years day that to my mom. She loves me but she’s never looking out for me..23 with kids of my own and this is hard. It hurts to feel like there’s something missing.. I think of all the things that my mom didn’t prevent because of her ways and all the things that could have gone way worse and it is killing me inside. Can’t really talk about it with the person that i really should..but i guess you all know how it goes… Still love you mom always have always will.

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  3. V

     /  04/27/2011

    Wow, I relate to most of the stories you quoted. When you said you were moving my posts I didn’t understand at first. I never saw this post.

    This one I relate to: “She would expect the whole family to revolve around her, everyone else’s problems didn’t matter as she was so quick to compare them to her own abuse suffered as a child. ”

    That was my mom, and also my dad. Nothing that went on in my life in the moment was ever as important as what happened to my mom in 1960. All of my (and my siblings’) problems and emotions were considered trivial and selfish.

    When I think about it, I guess that this was part of DID therapy robbing my mother of a chance to be a mother. I imagine that part of being a mother is being empathetic and guiding your kids through life’s ups and downs (trivial or not). My mother did not do this, because her focus was elsewhere. My dad’s focus was on managing my mother’s outbursts. And so we were without parenting much of the time. (I was also expected to be my mother’s parent, but that is maybe a separate issue)

    And then, when I figured out that DID wasn’t real, and that many if not all of the memories my mother recovered in therapy were not real… well that was quite a head trip.

    In retrospect I was too quick to put aside my own feelings to care for my mother’s and to keep the peace. As a result, I completely lost touch with myself and became one of these super independent people who doesn’t need anything from anyone ever. I really thought that having any wants and needs made me bad, and so I pretended I didn’t. That pretending didn’t make the needs go away, it just made me an emotional wreck, and also passive aggressive.

    One of the posters also describes his mother as an “insane thing.” This is one of the hardest issues. DID made my mother act like fake people (kids mostly). It is not possible to love an imaginary construct. My mother was also so psychotic and so inappropriate I wouldn’t want her to touch me, but I always hugged her to avoid her wailing. I was always smiling and acting happy and loving and seething inside.

    I came to think of her as a thing and not a person. I suppose I never knew her at all, and it is not clear to me whether it is possible to know her. She has another mental illness on top of fake-DID and that complicates things also.

    Last I spoke to my mother, she was still accusing me of abuse. She has lately become convinced that I abuse my pet cats and she is very righteous about it. I think that it would take an emotional black belt to deal with that, and I am no saint. I didn’t even have normal parenting to teach me the skills necessary to handle such a difficult situation. I am trying to catch up on all the emotional skills I missed learning but I have so very far to go. For now I avoid my parents because I do not have the emotional resources to deal with them.

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    • V, I have moved your post from the conspiracy theory post to this one. You have so much valuable insights to share I’d like them to be easily accessible and not buried.

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      • V

         /  04/29/2011

        V

        Submitted on 2011/04/29 at 2:02 pm | In reply to Jeanette Bartha.

        Wow that is incredible. I am amazed you managed to get out after all that.

        I think this is one place I was very lucky and maybe where my mother’s fake-DID differed from other types of fake-DID. I believe that my mother shut the doctors down on the satanic stuff.

        I can’t imagine what it must have been like for people who came to believe these sorts of things. I think that my mother only believed things she wanted to believe and was predisposed to believe. The same was true for me in a way.

        I *wanted* very very much to believe in DID, because I was unable, unwilling, or just too immature to face the possibility that my mother was making these things up.

        I had no sources of information on DID other than my parents, but there were still definitely moments when I knew or strongly suspected that something wasn’t real. My mother was no great actress and couldn’t keep her personalities straight, and she often switched personalities at suspicously convenient times.

        Whenever I had suspicions, I always chose to push them out of my mind. Each and every time I was confronted with reality, I deliberately turned away from it, in order to avoid emotional pain. The ironic thing is that the lies I told myself came back to bite me and made my situation worse in the long run. I suffered serious consequences for ignoring reality.

        My mother was the same — it is part of her personality or mental illness or whatever to see herself as a pure and innocent victim of circumstance, with little or no agency. She feels quite persecuted by life. When the doctors told her nothing was her fault and every problem she had was because of something someone else said, she was very very eager to accept that. At first DID was great for my mom, she had a great time causing drama and running amok and pointing fingers. It was later that she started to have serious consequences and became suicidal and self-harming, etc.

        I don’t mean this to sound like I am blaming my mother too much — she is a very mentally ill person and it was totally irresponsible of those doctors to play up to her illness like that. When you have a person whose grip on reality is not strong, the job of a doctor should be to help being them back to reality, not push them further into madness. However, as long as the doctors told my mother what she wanted to hear, she kept coming back and the governement kept paying them.

        At any rate, when the satanic stuff came up, and with the Drs report I found, my mother rebelled. She dumped several therapists and left one dissociative disorders clinic. She was not having any of that — she was the victim always, never a perpetrator.

        This characteristic of hers made my life quite difficult at times but I think it probably saved me. My siblings and I never saw psychiatrists, and I assume that was because my mother could not accept that we might ever be anything other than perfectly happy, because that would then mean that she was a bad mother, and she would never have allowed anything like that to even be hinted about. We were perfectly happy at all times, in her mind.

        I am so very very grateful that my siblings and I were not pulled into DID therapy or anything like that. I have read about children of DID patients being treated themselves and I am so grateful it didn’t happen to me. That would have broken me.

        I pretty much told adults whatever they wanted to hear when I was a kid — after all I played along with my mother’s personalities over and over — and if a therapist wanted me to admit to being in a cult, or to accuse a teacher of molestation or pretend to have alters or whatever, I would have done it. I could not have lived with myself if I had accused someone wrongly, but there is no doubt in my mind that I would have, had a doctor asked me.

        So I am very lucky I think. The suffering from DID therapy can seem infinite to me. I can’t believe what people have had to go through, it still blows my mind.

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        • Hey V,

          This comment caught my interest: “she was the victim always, never a perpetrator.” Again, not a thought I entertained.

          Keep in mind that the time your mom was in DID, it was a cultural norm to blame someone else for your problems. So on that score, she was quite normal.

          You mentioned making an erroneous accusation of child sexual abuse and how you couldn’t live with yourself if you had. I made no accusations outside of therapy. Even though I was coached, coerced and prodded to do so, I refused to accuse anyone of abuse until I was 100% sure and had evidence beyond my new memories. I went so far as to write in my journal that I was 99.99% sure what I was remembering was true. I am blessed and forever thankful for the .01% that kept me from burning the heart from an innocent person with horrific accusations that I would never be able to retract.

          You speak volumes to the stress children are under when a parent “has” DID. I had my suspicions about issues to address because I lived the lifestyle of a DID person and was steeped in the beliefs that go with it. But until you came along and began to share so openly I was never sure. I am overwhelmed by your experiences. You are to be commended for being an intelligent and resourceful child – and one with more abilities of deductive reasoning than many adults dealing with similar circumstances. Good for you. I just wish your siblings could have done the same and hope they will find their footing and move forward someday. But as you so apply put it, you’ve done your best – now it’s time to live your life, as difficult as it can be with all you went through.

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  4. V

     /  04/27/2011

    Submitted by “V” on 2011/04/27 at 9:05 am | In reply to Jeanette Bartha.

    One thing about a scientific claim is that it has to be falsifiable. You have to be able to design an experiment to test its claims, an the experiment must have a chance of producing a negative result.

    A scientific theory should also, ideally, have predictive value so you can take a given result and extrapolate to solve other problems.

    A more cultural or social aspect is, the more radical or surprising a claim is, the more evidence is required. If I designed a study to show that people who take more vacations are less stressed out, the “burden of proof” is pretty low. If I designed a study to show that airplane rides cause cancer, the burden of proof is very very high.

    This is another thing that made me realize my mother’s DID diagnosis was not true — I have some scientific training and have access to pretty much any scientific journal, and the DID literature is very scarce and not convincing. For such a radical claim, there should be a lot more evidence, but there is little. You don’t have to be a doctor to see that the evidence is thin and speculative at best.

    However, this is one thing that also makes me feel dumb. I refused to think about DID, maybe because I was traumatized. I believed just by default, and also because I emotionally was not ready to know the truth. I wanted to believe my mother and in doctors because I was afraid.

    I sometimes feel like I have been too gullible to be in a scientific field, and that my acceptance of DID makes me unqualified. At the same time I have a very real aptitude for math and science, and I have done my best with what I have, such as it is. I will likely have a PhD soon, who knows whether that is right or wrong.

    Sometimes I think that this experience with DID may even be helpful in my field because I know more about the limits of human knowledge and how belief can influence perceptions. I am in a better position to doubt the things that I want to believe now.

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    • I am so glad you are a scientist and can explain the questions people post to me using better words and explanations. Thank you for doing so.

      Your point about the more radical the claim, the more evidence required is one I keep forgetting. Interesting how this is ignored by proponents of DID and other fringe or pseudoscientific therapies. Perhaps it’s because they are so lacking in science that they don’t know this in the first place!

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    • Submitted on 2011/04/27 at 11:23 am | In reply to V.

      V. I agree with your last statements about knowing more about the limits of human knowledge. You also have additional insight about how easy it is to be duped into believing erroneous things and how that happens.

      Heck, I believed DID by default too. You have a lot of company. I went for help for depression. Since no prior treatment had any lasting relief, I believe this kooky doctor who coerced me into believing I had been sexually abused as an explanation for the depression. I didn’t know better at the time, the Internet didn’t exist and once in the hospital, I was denied access to information.

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  5. V

     /  04/25/2011

    Submitted on 2011/04/25 at 3:49 am | In reply to Jeanette Bartha.

    I think that I did blame myself for DID, but not because of my play-acting with her personalities. I actually really really thought I was “helping” with my play-acting. It was one thing that gave me an illusion of control.

    When I realized that my “help” actually hurt it was one of those cold splashes of reality that hurt emotionally but helped me understand.

    I wasn’t terribly clear-headed as a child. I am somewhat clear-headed in hindsight only.

    There are a lot of ironies in DID therapy. One of these was that my “help” and “care” were really totally counterproductive.

    Another giant irony is that our excellent health care coverage — which would seem like a “benefit” — directly led to DID therapy and to so much suffering for my family. We would have been better off without insurance.

    Giving my parents a giant health policy like that was like giving a 7 year old a wagon full of money and asking him to drag it across town. There was simply no way that money was going to remain intact.

    It was probably always a matter of which predator took advantage of my very vulnerable and marginal family. DID therapists are among the biggest and meanest predators, and I think they beat out the others to this “prize”

    And, once we were maimed by DID therapy we were limping and even more vulnerable to other predators. I have seen this in my and my sibling’s lives, where people take advantage because we are hurting and don’t have strong family resources to draw on.

    I think we live in a very terrible world, but luckily not all people are terrible. There are brave people, like you with this blog, who can at least try to stand up to the predators a little bit. I think that understanding and awareness help me, too.

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    • Dear V

      I posted your comment above from the “self-harm” post so people can find it and hopefully comment so we can get more insights into what children of multiples live through.

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    • Thank you for your kind words – they are most encouraging.

      Your point of “play-acting” is most pertinent to this entire diagnosis and treatment. I am reading Scott O. Lilienfeld, et al, eds., Navigating the Mindfield: A Guide to Separating Science from Pseudoscience in Mental Health. (it will be on the reading list page). In his introduction he has this to say about alter personalities:

      “Many clinicians use hypnotic age-regression techniques in an effort to “return” clients psychologically to childhood. Some purport to reinstate clients’ exact memories of the womb or even of their past lives. Nevertheless, a large body of psychological research demonstrates that regression techniques do not return individuals to the psychological state of childhood. Instead, age-regressed adults are merely role-playing behaviors they believe to be characteristic of younger ages. Moreover, age-regressed individuals exhibit the brain waves of adults, not of children, and they respond to advanced language that only adults can comprehend.” p20. (italics mine).

      Yes, DID pulls everyone surrounding the client/patient into its claws. And what seems like help & care, as you noted, only supports the delusion that other personalities exist.

      How did playing along with your Mom’s personalities give you a sense of control – I find that interesting. Was there a time where you could say to yourself, “Nope, not playing Mom.”?

      Regarding insurance, I had 100% hospitalization coverage when I started treatment. After time, I knew I was a “cash cow” but I didn’t know the implications of that until later. As far as I am concerned, my former doctor used me for his MPD experiments – which was no more than unscientific medicine untested and unconfirmed and totally lacking in scientific evidence. But he didn’t, of course, tell me that. He was building his career on my shoulders.

      Regarding predators. I have difficulty with that word and its implications. I was preyed upon, no doubt about it. Emotionally, I don’t want to accept that “doctors” can be predators, and that one got me. The therapist I found to help me recover from MPD therapy was not a predator, but was extremely abusive. For example, she thought that yelling at me was perfectly OK. Since my powers of reason had already been destroyed, it took me too long to realize she was a loose wire and one day, after receiving a lot of screaming from her over the phone – I fired her. That left me scared and alone, but with a feeling of self-preservation & respect I hadn’t experienced in years.

      When we don’t have family resources to draw on, yes, we can easily become prey. That is an important component of DID therapy – (or any cult for that matter) it gets rid of anyone who is not totally supportive of the patient’s pseudomemories and/or newly altered beliefs and rewritten history. Once the patient is alienated from friends and family, and they think they have chosen a “family of choice”, they are often more vulnerable, but don’t know it. I suppose its a “divide and conquer” mentality.

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