Persecutory Alters and Ego States: Protectors, Friends, and Allies

by Lisa Goodman & Jay Peters

date of publication unknown, appears to be around 1992

Abstract

Persecutor alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder are uniformly described in behavioral terms as belligerent, abusive, and violent. While most authors agree that persecutors begin as helpers there is no consensus about their later development or function within the system. This paper presents a theoretical model of the etiology and development of persecutor alters. It elucidates the underlying and continuously protective nature of the alter which becomes masked by the apparently “persecutory” behavior.

Using clinical examples which build on their appreciation of the positive function of persecutor alters the authors present their treatment techniques, which include: engagement, building rapport with the underlying protective function, psychoeducation of the alter, and finally, family therapy style negotiations of roles, expectations, and boundaries.

The paper concludes with an examination of the countertransference issues which commonly arise in working with persecutor alters and their impact on the clinician and the therapeutic task.

Retrieved 07/15/12. http://www.umaine.edu/sws/Writing/persecut.htm

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20 Comments

  1. Chelsea

     /  06/10/2013

    I am an unfortunate victim on the DID pandemic. Psychiatrists have tried to sweep my symptoms under the big throw rug of DID when it appears that I am likely struggling from seizures which have been causing brain damage. My memory is poor. My attention span is sickening and my life is ruined. And to add to it I am traumatized by the memories they dug up that never existed. Not as traumatized as I was when I actually believed them, but I feel like I just got off a hamster wheel that I couldn’t catch up with. It just kept spinning around and around and it tossed me when I ran out of breath. I don’t know what to do. I feel so lifeless. Is it horrible that a seizure disorder with brain damage is better then the hell the psychiatric world put me through? Because it is. It’s a relief.

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    • Jeannette Bartha

       /  06/12/2013

      Quite understandable that a diagnosis based in science would make you feel better.

      There is a new Facebook group called: False Memory Syndrome Action Network. Check it out. There are many there who have experiences like you as well as siblings and parents. You might find it helpful. It’s by invitation, so I don’t know how much you can read first. Let me know and I’ll get you in.

      Glad you stopped by.

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      • Chelsea

         /  06/13/2013

        It’s not a relief because I have a disease of physical origin. Mental illnesses are of physical origin as well. It’s a relief because I can go to bed at night, knowing that my so called abuser lives three miles down the road and I know I’m not guilty for not turning him in. I’m not thinking about the little girls he probably has locked in his basement that I am hurting. I can stop hating my parents for letting something like that happen. I can walk down an aisle at the grocery store and not cringe in fear of every man that walks by me. I can remember things in my childhood and not chalk them up to be of some origin of some terrible sex and pornography ring.

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        • Jeannette Bartha

           /  06/13/2013

          Understood, Chelsea. I was hyperviligent during treatment too. Sure changes life when we aren’t looking for the dark side and trying to find evidence in everything.

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      • Chelsea

         /  06/13/2013

        I guess I should also add that I am a victim of Mercy Ministries, but I don’t know if my false memories started there and I have no proof. I didn’t have the memories prior to Mercy, and they started directly after I came home, but I have no memory of my counseling sessions at Mercy, besides the first few. I openly speak against Mercy, even had a piece published on MTV voices website, but again I have no proof that they started the memories. Besides them I had one therapist in that time, who spent one session in three years talking to me about a flashback and after that I refused. I was diagnosed DID by Sheppard Prat Hospital who noted my abuse, who noted my memory issues and apparent pseudo seizures and my out of character outbursts.

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        • Jeannette Bartha

           /  06/13/2013

          My Chelsea, you were at Sheppard Prat too? They are know for their DID diagnosing, but you probably know that. I hope you are doing OK/ You’ve been through alot.

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          • Chelsea

             /  06/14/2013

            When I went the one girl told me 9/10 of us are DID. I thought “wow that’s a lot”. lol

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          • Jeannette Bartha

             /  06/15/2013

            That seems to be the way diagnosing DID works. Some facilities find it in everyone – others have never seen it. Who’s right?

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          • therapycandoharm

             /  07/02/2013

            It really should matter who and what is right in regard to this issue. Comments on this blog and elsewhere appear to make evident DID/MPD is still very definitely being attached as a label to a number of individuals. It is seldom clear just how any one victim’s “diagnosis” of MPD was made. I have yet to learn of a purported “case” in which independent, unbiased, non-ISSTD professionals were consulted in order to corroborate or refute the “diagnosis” of DID, even though there exist psychologists specialized in administering and evaluating the most accepted psychological inventories/tests. Why do so many people care a whole lot about false memories, per se, and seemingly almost none seem to think it critically important to question the entirety of an approach that inherently breaks down people already suffering, the means used to “diagnose” DID, and what is done to victims once a dissociationist, who is biased toward viewing clients as parts, decides to label that client as having “DID?”
            Why don’t all victims of DID diagnosis deserve advocacy?

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          • therapycandoharm

             /  07/03/2013

            Wow! Chelsea, that’s truly incredible!! 9/10??? OMG! These people are so wrong and so dangerous (those diagnosing “DID,” I mean)!!

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