In a post last week I talked about how I think my personality split into Director and Passion came about. My idea is that it was a result of severe problems with kids at school when was in the 10-14 age range, and since all the pieces fit quite nicely the theory seems sound. Of course with it being 25 years ago there is no way to be certain and I should definitely have some reasonable doubt as to whether or not I completely believe my own story.
Which is to say that I don't doubt my theory at all but you probably should because science.
I got a couple of comments and a concerned email about the post so I figured I should say some more things on the topic.
The first thing is that I used the word 'broken' in the post. That isn't to suggest broken as in dysfunctional or wrong or needing immediate repair. I don't think that is accurate at all. I meant broken in the sense of being in two pieces, which is true. My pieces work together pretty well though, in fact I think I work better in this regard than most everyone else I know. All these revelations over the past year about how I work internally have been extremely useful in helping me figure out why I do things and how I can be happier and more effective, and I am confident I am in better shape now than I have ever been before in my life.
Even over the past few months I have found things being better because I am developing better routines to make sure I keep balance between my two parts. My new exercise regiment has been really helpful in this regard because it has allowed me to express Passion in a way that I can do by myself.
A lot of people would be really upset and need help after expressing things that I did, revealing suffering like I have, but my reaction is not at all like that. I always knew those things were terrible and I have long since moved past them. Even writing about them was not upsetting, really, and my mood was really all about excitement at my new understanding rather than sorrow brought on by terrible memories. I talked about the things that happened to me because they were useful context, but this is all old ground aside from the connection to my split personality. I don't need catharsis, revenge, closure, or anything else. At this point it is just shit that happened.
That makes it interesting to consider the idea of therapy. A couple people suggested it and I suppose if your friends are chiming in on your blog with 'uh, dude, consider therapy...' you ought to think real hard about it, but I don't see it being useful. Having read a lot about therapy for multiple personalities and talking to people about their therapists and what they get out of it I can't see what benefit there would be. I think therapy is a great thing and I don't judge anyone in the slightest for getting it. We should all have people to talk to who can help us with our problems, especially people who are neutral, not socially connected, and trained to listen and coach constructively. Wanting that in your life is normal and not at all shameful, despite how it is often treated.
But when I think about visiting a therapist it just makes me giggle. What would I say? 'Yeah, so, there was this bad stuff that happened when I was young. I was mad, upset, and sad at the time. But I got past it, and now it is just history.' That sort of statement is where you are supposed to be when you are *done* therapy, not the starting point. I can imagine the therapist asking me what problems I might like to discuss, and my response being that I have problems here and there, but that I have figured out coping mechanisms for them and that I can't really see better coping mechanisms so I am comfortable with the ones I have.
For example, I hate secrets and I hate the idea that people will be close to me without knowing who I really am. My coping mechanism is to put all of my important thoughts, feelings, and ideas on the internet, even when most people would find that uncomfortable. This does irritate some people, relatives in particular, but I am confident that it is far better to irritate them than to remain silent and unhappy because of course they can decline to read my ramblings should they find them unpalatable.
For better or for worse I think the internet is my therapist and I can't imagine sitting in a room with a random psychologist actually being better than what I get from writing like this. For example, when I sat down I thought I was going to write a balanced sort of piece about how I might go to therapy and maybe it would have things to offer, but after trying to write that I realized I didn't buy that at all and it would just be a waste of time and money. Blogging brings great clarity, for me at least.
My brother commented about the way that schools approach bullying and dealing with kids who are being tormented by others. He is an education geek and I think for him this is a potentially useful exercise in understanding how this stuff worked back then because it could potentially inform future changes. That is a fine idea, but to get much of use out of it I think we would need much clearer information. Were my teachers trying to stop me getting beat up, insulted, left out, or otherwise hurt? I don't know. Maybe they were and they just failed, and maybe they had no idea. Perhaps they succeeded, and things would have been even worse without their intervention. Unfortunately memories this far removed are so unreliable I don't think we can get much out of it.
We definitely know that things are better now though! When I see what sorts of things kids get hauled into the office for these days it takes my breath away. I would have been happy to only have to deal with one of those things every recess, much less one of those things a month. Partly it is big changes in the way children are taught, partly it is culture, partly it is rules and enforcement, and we can't ignore that my particular class was a terrible outlier in its cruelty and brutality. Pick any random class, any random kid, any random year, and things are likely a lot better for them than they were for me. The world is a better, kinder, less violent place, and that is certainly true in our schools.
Lastly I think it is important to be clear that the terrible things that happened to me and the awful things that I felt had some good consequences. They made me strong. I learned that the world is full of assholes and that those assholes will sometimes try to ruin me. They have tried to ruin me.
They will always fail.
When the world took a dump on me before, when children told me I was worthless, pathetic, that I shouldn't even have been born, I cried. Now I smile, raise a giant middle finger, and keep on doing my thing. You don't like me? So what? *I* like me and I give zero fucks about your disdain.
That confidence might have developed without my negative experiences. Hard to say. But I think a big component of it is surviving abuse and coming out the other side, of being able to bring up previous terrible experiences that make the current situation laughable in comparison. The things I suffered are my armour, and though they were terrible, I don't know that I would have the strength that I do without them.