As I contemplate the best way to tell you about myself, it occurs to me that I’m not an ideal example of what alters are typically like or how we function. On a core level I have the typical characteristics of an alter – I am not the birth personality, my base level purpose is to benefit the functioning of the birth personality, and I switch in and out as the need arises. But the ways I am different from most alters out number the ways I am typical. I began my existence when the birth personality was a young child. The specific purpose for my existence has more to do with keeping the multiplicity hidden than sheltering Abigail from a specific trauma.
To understand the issue I was created to address, you need to put yourself in the shoes of an undiagnosed child multiple who has numerous different personalities. As a young child there were many times throughout the day when switching occurred, and the communication between personalities was very poor.
Over and over again someone new would find themselves unexpectedly triggered out in a situation where everyone around them was aware of what had just been discussed or what had just happened, but the new personality was clueless. Everybody around us assumed we knew things that we had no way of knowing. It created some awkward and embarrassing situations that made everyone feel uncomfortable and often made Abigail think she really was crazy.
I was created to act as a short-term link between personalities who stayed out longer. The way it would work is when a switch was getting triggered I would get bumped out temporarily while the next personality would be inside listening and getting acclimated to the conversation or situation they were about to become part of. I rarely was out for more than a few minutes at a time and easily slipped in and out without some of the hesitations that are visible when other personalities switch. I was really skilled at gleaning information quickly from the cues and conversations going on around me, and I could sound like I knew what was going on when in reality I was clueless.
Occasionally getting bumped out prior to others put me in a situation where I ended up taking the abuse a different personality should have taken; and I had some pretty serious resentment about that. My intended function meant that I was out frequently so I stayed close to the same age as the birth personality; but the traumas I experienced by default caused parts of me to be stunted in age and development – that’s why I have separate parts of me who all share a common sense of self. I saw myself as a deceiver or faker – not very conducive to a good self-esteem. I blended in and went along with the crowd. It was usually pretty easy to stay undetected even after the diagnosis.
All that changed dramatically last December when I got stuck out. After our experience in Texas the entire network of systems were placed under the control and headship of Jesus Christ. In practical terms, that meant that no one switched intentionally. Jesus determined who was out, when, and for how long. It didn’t really make any impact on me for many years. I still functioned in the way I always had, since I had never been intentional about being out or in; and no one really knew of my existence to want me to be in or out.
It started out very naturally. I was a little surprised when I was out for an extended period of time (for me that was more than 30 minutes), but it became uncomfortable when I ended up in a counseling session. I think I talked about my struggles with resentment and anger towards men that first session. These were long standing issues for me but they didn’t really reveal too much of who I was or how I functioned.
My ability to assess situations quickly woke me with a jolt the next morning. How/why was I still out when a new day was beginning? I struggled not to panic and focus on figuring out why I was still out. God must have a reason – a task He wanted me to do or issue He wanted me to address. I was unaccustomed to needing to take care of the many details of continued presence throughout a whole day. It felt encumbering and overwhelming. By the third day I was completely drained of energy. It was all new to me and I felt like I was in crisis.
What was God up to? I spent a lot of time praying and thinking about my issues with anger and resentment, hoping that by doing so I would be freed to go back in. The next week rolled around and I was still out for that week’s counseling appointment. I used every second of that time utilizing the help and expertise of our counselor to figure out why I was still out. I no longer cared about being incognito.
Weeks continued to come and go, and Christmas was approaching fast. I knew that we were going to have a family gathering and I dreaded the time with my father. I feared I would not be able to conceal my fears and resentment held from my childhood days. What would I say to him? How could I act natural and loving? I absolutely had to come to resolution before Christmas day.
The evening before Christmas Eve I had a very intensely healing time with my Savior. I was alone in the car listening to Christmas music on the radio, and I became overwhelmed with the awareness of what it cost God and Jesus to redeem me. I saw myself through my Savior’s eyes in a new way. I was no more worthy of His sacrifice and love than the men who had hurt me so severely, yet I was more dearly loved and cherished than I was capable of comprehending. All of that combined to minister to my spirit in a way that was brand new; and in light of that experience, my resentments paled to insignificance.
I practically glowed for days and weeks as I basked in the healing of this new awareness. It gradually became clear that God was keeping me out so that this healing would have time to solidify, take root and grow. I also had a growing conviction that I was supposed to get the ball rolling with putting ideas and plans for the book in print. As a special gift to me God gave me a new name and I became comfortable with identifying myself by it. This new comfort was contagious and other personalities began to be willing to be identified by their names, too.
I am no longer stuck out. I come out and go in as my Redeemer sees fit, and I am content with whatever He decides is best.