Littles aka young personalities

What is a little? I’ll boil it down to its most simplistic form: It is an adult who is acting like a child. We can argue all day about whether the alter/insider personalities are real, imagined, made-up or don’t exist at all. It doesn’t matter. The fact remains, they are adults acting like children. Moreover, they want you and I to view them as children and treat them tenderly as we would an actual child.

I am accused by some patients who think that they have multiple personalities of using their blog posts rather than writing my own to make my point, or to advance my “agenda” if a pejorative term is preferred. I am not multiple. I don’t have child personalities, inside personalities, littles, babies or other aged entities living in my head. Other people claim to have these entities in Their heads so instead of taking it upon myself to speak for them, I allow them to do it for themselves.

I quoted the patient (post below) verbatim. Since the growth of Internet shorthand & twittering, the text is not as odd as it was several years ago and is probably a little easier for computer users to read. Remember, patients usually refer to themselves using the pronoun “we” instead of “I” to indicate their belief that they are more than one person and they want to claim that status. There will be times within the text, however, where the patient/multiple slips and refers to themselves as the singular I.

his little/small child personality is  expressing him or herself by writing. It’s an excellent attention grabber. What do you think?

The patient:

“How du yu mak frends?  We haf bin triiin tu help Joy (owr big) wif makin frends bt iss nt wurking. Its so hrd tu trust pepl and Joy awyz seemz tu messup wif wen tu tel nu pepl abowt persnl stuf an how much tu tel an how soon?  how do yu no? how do yu no if a pursin is saf r not? how do yu no wen yu kan tel sumwun abowt sum uf da importint sekrit stuf lik dat yu ar a survvior or dat yu haf udr pepl insyd?” Multiple Treasures

Translation by JB

How do you make friends? We have been trying to help Joy (*our big) with making friends but it isn’t working. It’s so hard to trust people and Joy always seems to mess up with when to tell new people about personal stuff and how much to tell and how soon? How do you know? How do you know if a person is safe or not? How do you know when you can tell someone about some stuff that’s important secret stuff like that you are a survivor or that you have other people inside?

*a big usually refers to an adult or older personality

 

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16 Comments

  1. Hi Jeanette,

    you know I follow your blog even though I don’t often post. We fundamentally disagree and there’s no need to try to “convert” each other. But if I were truly an impartial reader, I wouldn’t listen to your arguments because you don’t really make any.In today’s post you caricature the pro-DID position and create a strawman that no one in the pro-DID position holds. A little is NOT an adult acting like a child. A little is a part of the brain that has been sectioned off from the main personality of the brain. The trauma it experienced would be the causitive agent. And this new personality would be emotionally and developmentally that of a child. In the beginning it is totally separated from the main personality and typically it is the age when the trauma happened. That is largely what pro-DID people believe. From your position you believe it’s just an adult acting like a child but you misrepresent the other side and don’t even back up your position. You simply state it like fact.

    Maybe you aren’t trying to convert “true believers” but you aren’t giving real answers to those who might be open to your arguments. Just because you “say” mpd/did doesn’t exist doesn’t make it so. You come off as a digruntled former patient who happened to win a lawsuit. If you want anyone other than your little band of believers to listen to you, YOU need to explain how it is that people like my wife can effectively fool me and my son, 24/7 into thinking she has multiple personalities. How can I interact with one personality and then when a switch occurs, the next personality may or may not (depending on whether they were being co-conscious or not) have any clue what just transpired.

    You are going up against a culture that has “Seen” did/mpd at work thanks to United States of Tara and many other similar shows and many, many people personally know people with DID. So what is YOUR explanation of not only how the sufferer can “fool” him/herself into believing she has multiple personalities, but how family and friends can be fooled? My wife is the world’s greatest actor if she really doesn’t have DID because whether she is asleep or awake, whether she is talking to someone or believes herself to be alone in a room and just talking out loud to herself, she is ALWAYS in “character” and it’s not normally my wife, the host. Normally it’s one of the little girls.

    Trust me, I understand being marginalized. My “insider-centric” approach has been marginalized because ISSTD and company have largely adopted a (failed) but ubiquitous “host-centric” approach. And so I have many of the same problems as you do trying to get people to listen to me. But I hope I offer something real as to why my girls are doing fantastically, don’t need medicine, do not have any major self-injury issues, never have needed hospitalized, etc.

    Maybe you won’t want to post this comment, but over and over as I read your blog, I keep saying to myself, “then what the hell have we been experiencing if this isn’t real because there’s NO WAY my wife could fake this so effectively!? No amount of ‘the power of suggestion’ by a “greedy therapist” could possibly alter her so completely and thoroughly with out her ever slipping up just a little.”

    Sam

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    • “No amount of ‘the power of suggestion’ by a “greedy therapist” could possibly alter her so completely and thoroughly with out her ever slipping up just a little.”

      I don’t know your story, but so what I am about to say may not fit.

      Consider how intelligent, accomplished people can get trapped in cults. They believe spectacular, incredible things, they abandon their families, hand over all their money to the cult, engage in bizarre sex practices, and do much worse (murder, suicide). How does it happen? Cults use specific psychological techniques to make it happen. They also bait-and-switch people; they never tell new recruits they are joining a cult.

      A therapist can use these same psychological techniques on a client. There are therapy cults, and “cultic relationships” between a therapist and just one client. So it can and does happen that an unethical or incompetent therapist leads a client into doing or believing very strange things.

      So I’m wondering: Did your wife have any MPD/DID concerns before seeing her current therapist? Have you gotten a second opinion about the diagnosis? Is therapy achieving any improvement or are things just getting worse? Not that you have to answer my questions – they are just the ones that came to mind.

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      • When in a cult or therapy hold, you don’t know you are in one. I sure didn’t until I escaped therapy. To this day, I am undoing the brainwashing.

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        • therapyisacon

           /  04/20/2011

          So true. Heck, I had only 11 eleven sessions with my therapist, and it was only the last six that got really weird (though there were some red flags beforehand), and yet I did get somewhat stuck in a therapy hold. It was more my gut instinct that got me out, I just knew SOMETHING was very wrong, but it took months to figure out exactly what had been happening. It took me more than a year to re-balance emotionally and feel like my old self. That’s how much damage can be done in a few sessions.

          Sam, another thing to consider re: the power of suggestion – advertising. It works. It actually changes what we believe, effectively enough to get us to part with our money. Even when we know we are being lied to (e.g. anti-aging skin cream), it still works! Advertising is low-intensity manipulation compared with therapy.

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      • Hey Therapyisacon,

        Did my wife have DID concerns before her current therapist? Yes and no. (Trying not to sound bragging) I have had women literally beg me to teach their husbands to be like me and yet no matter how good I was to my wife, she still had major issues in her relationship with me as my wife (she was a great friend and mother, though). Once she finally realized she needed to try to change the way she treated me, and the girls started coming out, in retrospect, it was pretty obvious and the DID diagnosis made total sense. But never in a million years would I have ever thought my wife has DID, until I understood it was not what Hollywood portrays.

        Improvements or getting worse? Not at first. In the beginning things got MUCH worse. 40 years of her ignoring her past sexual abuse meant there was a lot of emotional festering. She remembered the abuse in a general way, even told me about it before I proposed to her, but she never really dealt with it. Now things are getting better. Deep issues are finally getting resolved. She isn’t done yet, but I see fundamental paradigm shifts in the way she acts and perceives herself.

        Oh, and I see myself as my wife’s primary therapist. She goes to a theophostic facilitator, but NOT any professional therapist.

        Sam

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        • therapyisacon

           /  04/20/2011

          Just saw your reply Sam, thanks. Not that you’ve asked for my opinion, but here it is: A serious mental health problem like MPD/DID requires assessment and treatment by a medical doctor with specialist training. Not a pyschologist, not a therapist, not a social worker, not a pastor/rabbi/priest, not a friend or family member. Based on Jeanette’s experience we know that there are bad doctors out there, so I in your case I would recommend getting second and third opinions.

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          • Couldn’t agree with you more, T. Please be pro-active and let the governing bodies overseeing teaching and credentialing of counselors know how you feel and what you think. Write the American Psychological Association, The American Medical Association, The American Psychiatric Association, as well as psychological associations in Britain and Canada. And at least write your state’s licensing board know. I think you live in the US but if not, letters need to be written to them as well.

            Stating our opinions are the only way to stop an epidemic that has gone unchecked.

            I don’t understand what you mean by: “in your case I would recommend getting second and third opinions.”

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          • therapyisacon

             /  04/20/2011

            “I don’t understand what you mean by: “in your case I would recommend getting second and third opinions.”

            I meant in Sam’s case. If his wife sees a doctor about her MPD/DID, she should see more than one, since not all doctors are any good and they make mistakes too. And in general it is a good idea to get additional medical opinions for serious health matters.

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          • T I’m glad you stopped by. I made a mistake. I was catching up on conversations & lost sight of who I was replying to. As for my comment on writing letters – It was an idea for those who are not writing blogs or being pro-active in other ways. Everyone needs to do their part to make sure we all have good health care – which includes mental health care, of course.

            You are doing a great job of informing the public & I appreciate every step you take and every word you write. Best.

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          • You recommend going to a medical doctor with specialist training.

            Specialist training in what? The medical model is not the correct model of understanding DID or any mental illness, therefore this would be like asking a florist for an opinion on how to fix your car.

            Having talked with Sam privately, his wife is actually going to someone with specialist training in the field. She is actually in very good hands, unlike anyone who goes to a medical doctor.

            I have anecdotes to back up what I am saying, but I am subject to confidentiality. In general however research shows that those with DID suffer numerous misdiagnoses before they get a correct diagnosis. I will add that in my experience it does not stop there, misdiagnoses continue afterwards too!

            In the UK, psychiatrists do not use any formal methods to diagnose, and the error of this approach is written about in the book “House of Cards”. So according to research, the “medical doctors with specialist training” have a very bad record.

            I think Sam knows his wife well enough to know if she has dissociated parts, whether they have an amnesiac barrier or not, what age they are, what sweets they like, what drinks they like, and what his wife’s emotional state has been like over her lifetime.

            None of this information would be readily available to a medical doctor.

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          • Hi Keith,

            I cannot find the comment where we were talking about specialist training – so I can’t address your question, can you help?

            It’s been said for over 20 years that it takes, what? 6-8 years to get the correct diagnosis of MPD? Misdiagnosis about too much in psychology? Why do you think that is? Of course, confidentiality issues will keep you from sharing anecdotes, I understand.

            I don’t understand why a medical doctor would not know an alters likes and dislikes? Perhaps not as well as the person she lives with, but surly they would know. Isn’t that what alters talk about in therapy so the therapist can get to know them and distinguish one from the other?

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    • Hi Sam, Thanks for posting again.

      you said: A little is a part of the brain that has been sectioned off from the main personality of the brain. The trauma it experienced would be the causitive agent. And this new personality would be emotionally and developmentally that of a child.

      Me: Yes, I know that belief and that argument. I don’t subscribe to it so I don’t discuss it perhaps I should. I’m sure some in the DID community have questions similar to mine, but it would not be advantageous to vocalize them because their support system,among other things, would be in jeopardy.

      Of course my position is at the other end of the continuum of the DID community. That doesn’t mean I don’t have an argument.

      Sam: From your position you believe it’s just an adult acting like a child but you misrepresent the other side and don’t even back up your position. You simply state it like fact.

      JB: Correct this is my position and I don’t have a responsibility to represent opposing points of view. That’s why it is important for people like you to come here so we can debate. Right again, my opinions are facts – from where I sit. Where is the evidence behind the notion that a child part separates from the main personality? Is it because the little wouldn’t be there otherwise? Tell me why you believe this?

      Thank you for the ideas about how to shape my arguments. I am new to this blogging, debating, and arguing and I appreciate your input and I see your point.

      Sam: If you want anyone other than your little band of believers to listen to you, YOU need to explain how it is that people like my wife can effectively fool me and my son, 24/7 into thinking she has multiple personalities.

      JB: You’re right I am not trying to convert anyone. I just want to share my experiences and offer my opinions. I can’t explain how you and your family have been led to believe your wife is DID, you would need to tell me how it happened. If you thought she wasn’t DID, and you didn’t buy into that belief system, would she have it? It is not I who needs to prove anything. You are the believer. And yes, as you say, she has fooled you into thinking she has multiple personalities – that is not to say she did anything intentional or nefarious or malingering. If you stopped pandering to the insiders, I bet they will go away rather quickly. Multiple personalities is a huge issue in your home from what I gather. What if all the SOs stopped acknowledging the existence of insiders?

      I think it was Paul McHugh who wrote about this. I’ll look for it. The theory is that if the alters are ignored, the person will change. Or, as I’ve seen many times, (even with myself) if anyone does not believe whatever the multiple person says, then that individual is cut off from being part of their/my life. That can be a parent, sibling, friend – everyone. Non-believers or skeptics are cut off. Why?

      Sam: So what is YOUR explanation of not only how the sufferer can “fool” him/herself into believing she has multiple personalities, but how family and friends can be fooled?

      JB: That is an excellent question and one worthy of just a quick answer here – I will give it more thought and write a post. For now, I will say that it is coercion, manipulation, and suggestion from a person in the position of power or trust. Could be a therapist, doctor, clergy, friends, whomever. These are power psychological tools and consume the patient who in turn consumes the family who loves them and wants to be supportive and helpful.

      I mean no disrespect Sam but what you described as your wife always being one of the little girls – well, maybe something else is wrong? It is a scenario that I find disturbing. Why does that have to be personalities? Perhaps a second opinion from another point of view would shed more light on her plight.

      Sam, yes yes yes. The power of suggestion is just that – powerful. Beliefs are powerful. It isn’t about faking something as if your wife decided she would make up characters to manipulate and deceive you. I am not saying that at all and I am glad you brought this up. And, I don’t think most therapists are essentially greedy – but I understand why you would think that I do. Therapists who treat DID are powerful because they believe in what they are doing. That, IMO is what makes them potentially dangerous. They believe, they are loving and kind – how could they possibly be wrong?

      I am soooo glad you brought up the points that you did. I will address your thoughtful insights and questions more thoroughly in posts as this response is about 15 pages by now. Best.

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      • Jeanette,

        You and I are both in the same boat (being in a minority opinion), we’re just fighting different wars. As I wrote my previous comment, I thought some of it applied to myself.

        I don’t really get into the logical or scientific arguments about DID on my blog (my war is “there’s a MUCH better way to treat DID; that’s my focus). So for me to get into a debate with you here would take me way out on a limb. My “a priori” right now is DID exists. Period.

        The questions I threw at you tonight were just ones I think I would want answered if I was in the middle of the debate as an impartial reader. You don’t HAVe to prove your side if you don’t want to, but as I follow your blog I have continual questions about statements you make. And though you feel you “back them up”, I don’t or maybe I have simply missed the entries that did back them up.

        Sam

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  2. V

     /  04/19/2011

    I keep posting to your blog! It is exciting to be able to talk about these issues with someone.

    I think that one of the giant milestones for me in figuring out that my mother did not really have DID was that I got to the age when my friends started having kids. I was around these kids and I compared them to the way my mother had acted (she spent most of her DID time as a “little”) and I realized that real children were in no way similar to my mother’s child personas. This was one of those really big things that made me question the diagnosis.

    I had to piece together the whole thing over a period of years. My mother stopped having DID after she stopped therapy but she never said that she didn’t have DID. The subject was forbidden to speak about in my family so I never quite understood what happened. When I (many many years later and after more doubts) confronted my mother about DID, what she said was, “You know what that was? Those doctors give you drugs and they brainwash you and they make you do things!”

    So, I had to figure it out myself. It took a long time, and I really, really wanted to believe in DID, because the alternative was so painful, but all the evidence pointed against it. It was quite a thing, to learn that all of that was made up.

    I actually never wanted kids because I spent ages 10-14 caring for my mother while she pretended to be a kid. These child personalities were extremely emotional and always accusing me of abuse. I came to hate children. I then at age ~30 figured out that DID alters bear no resemblance to real children. I am still not sure if I should ever have kids, because of my experiences with DID.

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    • Wow. V you are incredible and an asset to this blog – I am glad you are coming here because you are helping me to think of angles that I never did and in ways I’ve not been confronted with before you arrived, so thank you.

      I think the existence of “littles” is what an adult perceives or thinks a child would think. I know that came out awkward. It’s play acting in my opinion. Kind of a never ending Halloween party with adults dressed up as little kids and acting goofy. When I was in treatment, I was never comfortable with the “kid” personalities. It didn’t seem real nor did it seem real when I watched the behavior in other multiples. Remember, we all lived at the hospital together for long periods of time so I experienced other multiples at different times of day, under stress, tires, angry, happy, et al. I never thought it was real, but that thought alone made me think I needed to work harder in therapy until I could see that it was indeed real – how is that for manipulation & coercion? Something was wrong with Me, not the therapy. Gees.

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      • V

         /  04/20/2011

        Hi Jeanette,

        Thanks. I am sorry about the manipulation and coercion. I think that your doubts and your doubts about your doubts are probably symptoms of your being human and having actual critical thinking skills.

        DID therapists seem to live in a world where they are 100% sure they are right 100% of the time. That certainty itself makes a normal person doubt. But it’s really sick and abnormal. It’s a sign of really broken reasoning,

        No one is that certain or that smart. Even Einstein doubted himself — he never quite accepted his own quantum theory.

        I used to feel so dumb for believing in DID for so long. It’s the sort of thing that some (but not all) of my friends see as nonsense from the get-go, and I have to explain how I could have been misled. I was misled because I am a human being. Luckily I can learn new things and change my mind.

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