This post offers a different perspective on anger expression – and the perils of doing so – that I think is pertinent to discussions about treatment for multiple personalities via the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).
Unfortunately, many therapists who treat multiple personalities believe anger is an emotion that needs to be expressed as often and as deep as it runs – if one desires to get better.. crap, crap, crap thinking. Been there, bought the script.
What I experienced (and witnessed from other patients) during Repressed Memory Therapy, is that anger leads to more anger the more the expression of anger is angrily encouraged and expressed by angry alter personalities. Make sense? Of course not.
Treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder is largely about suppressed or repressed anger and how it impacts the sufferer. Therapists and patients alike think that expressing deep anger is cathartic and, therefore, doing so is one of the focuses of treatment.
I have a few simple questions:
- How many alter personalities does one need to create before the anger-well dries up?
- How many years do alter personalities have to express themselves before the anger-well dries up?
- At what point is the expression of anger finished?
- How much anger, and the expression of it, is too much?
- At what point do alter personalities learn that living in a state of anger is not physically or emotionally healthy?
- When are rageful alters calmed?
Coping with disappointment, hurt, and learning to deal with anger and other uncomfortable emotions is not usually an important focus during treatment for multiple personalities. The primary focus of this long-term treatment is trying to remember abuse, sometimes decades after it allegedly occurred. Be mad, be angry, rage.
What happens when someone becomes overwhelmed with intense emotions and does not know how to come down or cope with the aftermath? Spiking up and down emotions is a hallmark of Dissociative Identity Disorder treatment.
I have an idea.
Lets encourage DID treatment to shift it’s focus from the right-to-rage- like-a-child to the right-to-act-like-an adult model of mental health care? Raging is not necessarily cathartic and can become a vehicle to more anger and out of control emotions.
Give Carol Tavris, Ph.D. a read. Pick any publication or book. Take a peek into a different way of being – challenge archaic ways of thinking. Come on – take a chance on a more peaceful existence.