Years ago, while searching online for information to help me in dealing with my mother’s DID, I found an excellent source of support and quickly signed up. In the decade or so I’ve been part of that group, I’ve been fortunate to meet people, some online and some in person, who have become like family to me. When someone I consider family is being disrespected, I get annoyed.
Let’s face it– being in a relationship with someone with DID, whether romantic, familial, or friendship, is hard. As with any other relationship, there are highs and lows. The lows with DID, though, can be a bit stranger, for lack of better terms. I say all of this from the perspective of someone who was once a Significant Other (SO) and as someone who brings DID into a relationship herself. My best friend can attest to the fact that, even though we both consider our friendship to be unbreakable, there are times when my insiders and I do not make things easy.
Those in relationships with people who have DID need a bit of support all their own. They need a place to share the things that make their unique relationships special, but also a safe place to vent about the inherent difficulties. That venting might seem resentful at times, and it might actually *be* resentful– I remember many times writing in complete frustration that I simply wanted a mother, not a mother with children, teens, protectors, and a whole host of others who sometimes required me to act as parent for them. Guess what? Feeling resentful at times is OK. It’s done in relationships that don’t involve multiplicity as well. In the end, the SO feeling resentful at that moment likely loves the other person in the relationship quite strongly. There are just times when the relationship gets overwhelming.
I’m writing this because I feel that a dear friend of mine is being attacked by a couple of people in an environment that has always been supportive. The environment, by large majority, still is supportive. I just feel like a couple of people have really singled out my friend and are being a bit attacking. This opinion is mine alone. I haven’t even mentioned it to my friend and am not likely to. It’s just my perception.
The golden rule in relationships with multiples (as well as with non-multiples and probably in pop psychology overall) is that it’s not about our SO– it’s about our *reaction* to them. In the end, that’s really the only thing we control. Those of us who have at one time been SO’s of multiples, whether or not we ourselves are multiple, understand that our emotions about the situation run the gamut from bliss to anger. And that’s OK. We’re allowed to feel and express our anger, fear, and sadness regarding multiplicity in a safe environment where our SO’s won’t be triggered by our reactions. Our relationships are actually stronger for that. We’re also happy to talk about the wonderful times we’ve had with our SO’s as well as their others. I *loved* playing with my mother’s child alters, and some of her teens were hilarious. I shared coffee with some of the adults from time to time. Each person brought another dimension to our relationship.
As SO’s, we learn from each other. We rant and receive support from those who have faced a similar situation. Sometimes they can even tell us how *they* dealt with that situation and help us in facing our own. We share good times and provide hope for those who feel like they have nothing left to give. We support each other as we learn to support the special person in our lives who just happens to have brought along a few extras. Becoming catty and attacking amongst ourselves hurts everyone involved on both sides of the relationship. We can certainly disagree with each other, but respectfully. A quick glance at any reference book will show a simple truth that I think sometimes gets forgotten– the words support and attack are opposites. In discussing our relationships, it’s so important to remember that.