DID Being in a relationship when you have DID

that_1_girl

Confident
My boyfriend has been hurt a lot in his life (childhood trauma, and his high school fiancée died before they could get married, etc.) and he’s also been hurt a lot by women specifically, which leaves him with a lot of insecurities about infidelity in his relationships. He is a recovering drug addict and has done a lot of things while active in his addictions that he’s not at ALL proud of now that he’s in recovery, and he has been honest with me about a lot of it (at least I believe him because he’s told me stuff that reflects very poorly on his previous behavior/integrity.) No matter what way my CPTSD-paranoid brain negatively twists things, I cannot figure out a single way he could possibly benefit from telling me these things and also with my more rational brain I know we have promised absolute honesty with eachother.

Here’s the real problem: I was very recently diagnosed with DID. I have been honest with him about having parts and littles for as long as I’ve suspected something of the kind. I do not always have total amnesia for every switch (I do sometimes) but I often have partial/quite a bit of amnesia from switching and sometimes I’m completely co-conscious with some of my parts. I have also been called a completely unfamiliar name by my “safe dad” and had no clue why he was calling me that name and he’s told me that I had just told him 10 minutes before that I was 7 years old and my name was Amy. That is DEFINITELY NOT my name.

So naturally my boyfriend is getting paranoid that I’m going to unknowingly cheat on him and/or that I’m making up the DID either for attention (cue my introject part that is really good at sounding exactly like my ex-therapist who denied all of the trauma “we” as a collective have been through, and insisted I was borderline and there was something fundamentally wrong with the core of who “I” was, hence it’s one of my biggest fears and insecurities and I’M still scared I’m making ALL of it up— DID, CPTSD, trauma, and everything), OR “to see someone behind his back.” That one really bothers me because I as the “usual me” am 100% monogamous and always have been my entire life. The rest of us are either minors and littles and it would be extremely inappropriate for them to “see”/“talk to” ANYONE, or a-romantic, asexual adults of a variety of gender identities. I MYSELF as “the mod” (“the moderator” is what I call myself —I do have a name too—because I’m a STEM nerd) am totally in love with him and love him and I told him tonight as usual that I love him and I’m not going anywhere, and also for the first time that he is ENOUGH for me and that I want my best life and I want him to have his best life and I want us to have them side by side.

Does anyone have any experience with relationships when you have DID and the other person doesn’t, but has serious insecurities about relationships? I am doing my best and he is truly doing his best and owning his issues and I am trying my hardest to own mine, and we’re both in individual therapy, but I think it might be time for a couple’s session or two with a third party (as in neither of our individual therapists)….?

EDIT: I’m every bit as scared of having DID as he is scared about me having it. I’ve honestly been switching for decades but I had no idea what switching was. And the antipsychotic meds masked it up largely for a long time, like 14 years. So it feels brand new but in fact it’s nothing new.
 
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Sideways

Moderator
I’m making up the DID either for attention
This is a ghastly thing for him to say, irrespective of how you feel about your diagnosis. I hope he has since apologised?

You've accepted his ongoing issues and seedy past, and he can't accept a medical condition you have - wtf!?
I’m going to unknowingly cheat on him
Are any of your parts against this relationship? If so, you can work on making them feel safe.

Beyond that? His irrational insecurities are, unfortunately, his issue to work on. You can offer compassion, and encouragement, but beyond that? It's something he needs to fix (by deciding to trust you), not you.
I told him tonight as usual that I love him and I’m not going anywhere, and also for the first time that he is ENOUGH for me and that I want my best life and I want him to have his best life and I want us to have them side by side.
Great. Supportive. Compassionate.

But stop there. Don't go legitimising his insecurities by giving them substance. You're trustworthy? Then you're trustworthy.

His insecurities about you cheating are his personal problem to deal with. You can't love him out of his personal issues any more than he can do that for you and your cptsd, or your DID.
I think it might be time for a couple’s session or two with a third party
Is he working on his insecurities and trust issues with his therapist? Maybe ask. Because it effects you and whether or not this has a chance to be a healthy and viable long term relationship.

If he is? Support him continuing to do that.
If he's not? Your relationship depends on him making that one of his priorities.

Him having trust issues is not justification for him treating you like you're untrustworthy. While we can understand where that behaviour originates, and have compassion for that, it doesn't make it excuseable. Long term, he needs to treat you like a trustworthy partner if you're going to be partners.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
So naturally my boyfriend is getting paranoid
No. I understand there are things in his past that could lead to him becoming paranoid....but that's something he is in control of, and needs to manage. If you start taking on any responsibility for proving to him that he has nothing to be paranoid about? That's basically the end of the relationship, right there.

Either he is capable of accepting you along with accepting your illness, or he's not. He's either willing to try, or not.
My boyfriend has been hurt a lot in his life (childhood trauma, and his high school fiancée died before they could get married, etc.) and he’s also been hurt a lot by women specifically, which leaves him with a lot of insecurities about infidelity in his relationships.
hence it’s one of my biggest fears and insecurities and I’M still scared I’m making ALL of it up— DID, CPTSD, trauma, and everything)
You can't help him work through his insecurities before you've been able to work through your own. So, in a strange way - he also needs to understand that he has to work through his own insecurities, and until he's done that? He can't be there for you, with yours. Nor can you really expect him to.

It sounds like you are willing to try and manage both sides of this...but it doesn't sound like he is.

What do you think would happen if you told him what you need from him?
 

that_1_girl

Confident
This is a ghastly thing for him to say, irrespective of how you feel about your diagnosis. I hope he has since apologised?

You've accepted his ongoing issues and seedy past, and he can't accept a medical condition you have - wtf!?

Are any of your parts against this relationship? If so, you can work on making them feel safe.

Beyond that? His irrational insecurities are, unfortunately, his issue to work on. You can offer compassion, and encouragement, but beyond that? It's something he needs to fix (by deciding to trust you), not you.

Great. Supportive. Compassionate.

But stop there. Don't go legitimising his insecurities by giving them substance.
(Sorry I am still trying to figure out how this whole website works and it isn’t letting me edit my OP or alternate quotes of my own at the appropriate places in you quoting me right now, I’ve tried both browsers. Either my phone needs to be restarted, or it just sucks, or probably both. Ha.)

Anyway…MY BAD. I NEVER intended to imply, by saying the first thing my boyfriend is paranoid about, that he said that/suggested it without ME saying I’m scared of that *first*! I’m *so* sorry if I misled either of you, @Sideways or @joeylittle or anyone else who reads this! I’m stuck with this neurodivergent difference (ADHD—it has its good points too!) that my brain has, that I was born with, but a lifetime of trauma and it being just a few hours after I switched in front of my non-trauma therapist for the first time, after we went over the DSM-5 criteria for DID for the second week in a row, and I went, for about the 10th time in the past week in a DID context, “I’m up the creek with no paddle”. And then suddenly and with no warning and at the worst possible time, the last 4-5 minutes of the session, my 16 year old part Amaia who I’m always co-conscious with…well I guess not ALWAYS…came storming to the front very defiantly (with my trauma therapist she was legit terrified!) and said “this is all complete BS and I’m leaving and plus you have another session and did NOT introduce herself.” So yeah I was pretty upset, and that only makes my ADHD symptoms much worse…) but none of that excuses the following completely unintentional omission… @Sideways , *I’m* the one who suggested that I was “afraid I’m making it all up for attention” first! Yes he did say it and no he has not apologized. Yes it hurt. But it was only yesterday and he hasn’t had a chance yet.

Also I did not mention (on purpose, because it’s his business) that he deals with external “heard” voices that tell him horrible things and is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, imho it’s “only” CPTSD, with a whole host of externalized toxic inner critics, but I’m not a MH professional so what do I know. So it really isn’t his fault, especially given his specific trauma history (both big T’s and little t’s). So I was trying to avoid saying that but in this specific context, I think that piece is relevant. So I really don’t think he can help it.
Also he definitely verbally owned his insecurities and said that it wasn’t *me* who has caused him to be paranoid about that specific issue (issue #2). So please, give him at least “half a break”? I really don’t think he can help his distorted thinking, *and* he has and during that conversation *did* own his insecurities, and said that he does need to work on them. Also we are quite serious and basically positive influences in each other’s lives (imho) in most ways this is really the biggest issue we have faced so far. And this IS a brand new diagnosis and I AM also very, very upset and distressed by this development in my mental health since I went off antipsychotics (at least all that were acting in an antipsychotic capacity. I’m still on a residual 50mg of Seroquel (quetiapine) and an FDA approved antidepressant dose of Rexulti, but will eventually get off those as well. As well as a whole host of other meds. I digress.)
But this diagnosis is *brand* new like in the past 1-8 days. So yeah. We’ll get through it. I probably voiced that insecurity about attention seeking out of my immense amount of denial, and almost refusal to accept it, and also *simultaneous* and *immense* amount of fear that this explains *so much*….and I’m guessing (he didn’t actually say this) that I unintentionally triggered his *huge* trauma-related insecurities and probably “turned his voices’ volume” way *up*, and his normally amazing ability to tune them out way *down*. It’s probably my fault, honestly, and *NO*, I am *NOT* saying that as a passive/passive-aggressive attempt to get someone to validate me.

(Hmmmm… looking at the emphatic-ness of that last sentence I possibly but not definitely just micro-switched and then switched back…)

**enter insecurities**
 

that_1_girl

Confident
You can't help him work through his insecurities before you've been able to work through your own.

What do you think would happen if you told him what you need from him?
Also, @joeylittle you make a couple of *very* good points!

First point is the first sentence I quoted! VERY true. I don’t know if I *can* work through them. I have zero professional help for the DID. I’m doing regular therapy and skill building. Honestly that’s the point I’m at right now, I’m only 6 weeks and a day clean from self harm right now and in a severe and long term relapse with my eating disorder, which at the moment is atypical anorexia, meaning I am currently NOT underweight (actually I’m currently losing the excess weight from 14 years of antipsychotic meds in enormous doses because they frequently made me worse, at best they did nothing because I was only actually psychotic under extreme and very abnormal circumstances, like not sleeping for a week or sleeping very little for weeks/months, or mixing drugs/alcohol with psych meds.) It was typical anorexia fairly frequently in my teens and early 20’s, been struggling with this *beast* for 23-25) years depending on “who” inside me you ask and what day. I honestly need halfway decent NON-self-destructive coping skills before I can do much trauma work at all. Also I have extreme amnesia for *almost* all the sexual trauma, which seems to have been extensive. The parts won’t tell me or anyone what happened to them, at most they will have non-specific body memories or feel extremely nauseated out of literally nowhere when they’re “front”. And then the “introject parts” of which there are several as well as my own toxic inner critic all scream/yell in my head (silently, can’t hear them with my ears at all, completely inside my head) that I’m “making it all up”. As for trauma therapy, I’m doing Somatic Experiencing which is indicated for DID in theory but my SE therapist, who is awesome btw, has no SE training in DID. But she has worked with patients with DID in previous capacities.

So yeah, you’re very right, I can’t help him with his insecurities until I’ve worked through mine. But I honestly have zero DID support except here and a few online-only friends/email-“pen pals”.

Onto your second point, I am working on doing that. I think he will agree to couples counseling. I am wearing his promise ring that he gave me, and he is wearing mine that I gave him, and we are quite serious about this relationship and have discussed couples counseling at length as a prerequisite to breaking up or even “taking a break”. Problem is, I’m a psychiatric survivor/complex trauma survivor on Medicare (38, on disability, broke student, living at “home” with my “safe parents”, taking one 2 credit class and focusing very hard on mental health/getting into anorexia recovery again/maintaining very early self harm recovery this semester, not working at all right now), and he’s a complex trauma survivor on Medicaid (46, recovering drug addict, aspiring student and musician, focusing very hard on mental health/recovery right now, living in transitional dual-diagnosis clean/sober housing on a $94, 4 weeks a month, NOTHING if there’s a 5th Thursday). We love each other an awful lot and our promises were both complete monogamy/commitment to eachother, AND complete to getting back into (me)/maintaining recovery (both of us)/seeking any and all treatment and counseling necessary to support ourselves first and one another a close second, to live our best lives together. So honestly I think it’ll go well. I was just very discouraged yesterday. Thank you for the thoughts and the thought-provoking question! I hope you got a thoughtful answer! I realize now it was probably a rhetorical question though….

**enter insecurities**

(Sorry I am still trying to figure out how this whole website works and it isn’t letting me edit my OP or alternate quotes of my own at the appropriate places in you quoting me right now, I’ve tried both browsers. Either my phone needs to be restarted, or it just sucks, or probably both. Ha.)

Anyway…MY BAD. I NEVER intended to imply, by saying the first thing my boyfriend is paranoid about, that he said that/suggested it without ME saying I’m scared of that *first*! I’m *so* sorry if I misled either of you, @Sideways or @joeylittle or anyone else who reads this! I’m stuck with this neurodivergent difference (ADHD—it has its good points too!) that my brain has, that I was born with, but a lifetime of trauma and it being just a few hours after I switched in front of my non-trauma therapist for the first time, after we went over the DSM-5 criteria for DID for the second week in a row, and I went, for about the 10th time in the past week in a DID context, “I’m up the creek with no paddle”. And then suddenly and with no warning and at the worst possible time, the last 4-5 minutes of the session, my 16 year old part Amaia who I’m always co-conscious with…well I guess not ALWAYS…came storming to the front very defiantly (with my trauma therapist she was legit terrified!) and said “this is all complete BS and I’m leaving and plus you have another session and did NOT introduce herself.” So yeah I was pretty upset, and that only makes my ADHD symptoms much worse…) but none of that excuses the following completely unintentional omission… @Sideways , *I’m* the one who suggested that I was “afraid I’m making it all up for attention” first! Yes he did say it and no he has not apologized. Yes it hurt. But it was only yesterday and he hasn’t had a chance yet.

Also I did not mention (on purpose, because it’s his business) that he deals with external “heard” voices that tell him horrible things and is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, imho it’s “only” CPTSD, with a whole host of externalized toxic inner critics, but I’m not a MH professional so what do I know. So it really isn’t his fault, especially given his specific trauma history (both big T’s and little t’s). So I was trying to avoid saying that but in this specific context, I think that piece is relevant. So I really don’t think he can help it.
Also he definitely verbally owned his insecurities and said that it wasn’t *me* who has caused him to be paranoid about that specific issue (issue #2). So please, give him at least “half a break”? I really don’t think he can help his distorted thinking, *and* he has and during that conversation *did* own his insecurities, and said that he does need to work on them. Also we are quite serious and basically positive influences in each other’s lives (imho) in most ways this is really the biggest issue we have faced so far. And this IS a brand new diagnosis and I AM also very, very upset and distressed by this development in my mental health since I went off antipsychotics (at least all that were acting in an antipsychotic capacity. I’m still on a residual 50mg of Seroquel (quetiapine) and an FDA approved antidepressant dose of Rexulti, but will eventually get off those as well. As well as a whole host of other meds. I digress.)
But this diagnosis is *brand* new like in the past 1-8 days. So yeah. We’ll get through it. I probably voiced that insecurity about attention seeking out of my immense amount of denial, and almost refusal to accept it, and also *simultaneous* and *immense* amount of fear that this explains *so much*….and I’m guessing (he didn’t actually say this) that I unintentionally triggered his *huge* trauma-related insecurities and probably “turned his voices’ volume” way *up*, and his normally amazing ability to tune them out way *down*. It’s probably my fault, honestly, and *NO*, I am *NOT* saying that as a passive/passive-aggressive attempt to get someone to validate me.

(Hmmmm… looking at the emphatic-ness of that last sentence I possibly but not definitely just micro-switched and then switched back…)

**enter insecurities**
@Sideways , meant to thank *you*, too!!
 
A

Applepear

Hello,
Therapy is a hard one. I spent 20 years talking to no avail with no symptoms of DID but have recently due to a breakdown then alters emerged,I prefer to call
parts, alter seems to me to suggest that the trauma has taken the brain to come to a state of different personality states as labeled many years as personality disorder instead of DID. I did not know I had trauma, my whole life of amnesia makes sense.

With all my experience, I knew talking therapy would not work, you have to get to the root of it, so I have a therapist who deals in somatic ( bodywork ) and parts therapy where all parts memories are processed so the psych develops more like a child should have. DID forms as a result of trauma. The parts were created to keep you as a child alive from unbearable uncopable feelings at that time. Parts therapy acknowledges the memories and the parts as separate, well I call then my community, others would say the system and you dissociate in therapy sessions to parts to talk to them so it's more controlled.

They then learn to talk to each other, things are not so disorganised so your life is not disorganized,eg,I know which part causes me to be suicidal so negotiation happens...its a bit like the UN! You learn when each front, the feelings of you learn to recognize dissociation before it gets to a state where it's disruptive. Fronting of parts...it's like a cloud comes over my left temple and vision is slightly fuzzy, it's a bit painful and you learn which part is fronting. I read of couples who are in intimate situations, stopping intimacy until the part has gone....its nothing to do with the relationship of the adults (couple) so couple therapy would seem inappropriate.....??.

After all, these parts have their own needs as a result of splitting off eg looking after a baby ( you could you as a child were trying to look after yourself, or finding it difficult to be in a loving sexual situation,it reflects what that part experienced as a child so the part that is young front's. ( So your behaviors become young ).

When it started for me,I found the work of Carolyn Spring useful. If you are in the UK there are specific support lines available.They are manned by people who are trained and in a crisis have grounded the parts over the phone between counseling sessions.

When this happened to me,I completely rejected the medical model having been labeled and drugged to a zombie-like status to infinity for a mood disorder. There are no drugs available for this, you may end up being given CBT......can you imagine how traumatizing that is for a young part ? How can 2-year-old access that? Or other talk therapies?

I survived by intellect, great for an adult......there are a lot of small people having to try to be adults and failing within me. I do take anti-anxiety because it is anxiety-inducing. Recovery from this is like doing a Ph.D. but with the right support, it is possible.

I was labelled as Bi-Polar behaviours.....Those behaviours are of my small children...............we are a family coming together so no one is as scared....how far we want to integrate will be up to use, myself as the adult will have to decide what is workable in my adult life.
 

Friday

Moderator
you may end up being given CBT......can you imagine how traumatizing that is for a young part ?
Not particularly. Since that’s known as “good parenting” when one is talking actual toddlers. Roughly 92% of CBT is repeated almost constantly -in chorus, from every adult in the vicinity, on different points and with different wording- around small children. It’s teenagers who rebel against their thoughts and behaviors being challenged, or redirected. Meanwhile older children -betwixt toddlers and teens- tend towards embarrassment at being reminded of things “I knoooooooow. Mom! Yeesh.”

So, to me, it seems far more traumatizing & retraumatizing, to continue the neglect of not helping guide and shape a child’s thoughts… but to leave them heartbroken over misunderstandings, devastated over things they could be happy -even excited- about, afraid of things rather than taught to believe in themselves, alone instead of with trusted advisors and allies, drawing the worst possible conclusion rather than shown many possibilities, list goes on. And all of that is before choosing to not counteract the lessons they were taught & absorbed in abuse and neglect.

“To give a child liberty? Is not to abandon them to themselves.” - Maria Montessori.

Unless you’re not actually talking DID, but a childish facet -or personification of an aspect- of a totally adult personality? An idea of what a child might think/feel/act like, rather than the real thing?
 

ruborcoraxxx

Sponsor
In all honesty, this doesn't sound great to me. I had an ex like this who understood that I "switched" before myself did understand it, and assumed I was going to cheat him. Same as you, he told me aaaall about his past life and mistakes and there is an objective for that: making you feel like he's honest with you while you aren't (or not enough). So he can paint himself in a good light of repentance so you still are the one with problems, especially something as big as DID. I have much more an OSDD presentation so I don't typically have time losses but some switches can be spectacular (most of the time they aren't) and it's easy to pin you on this. I have several adult parts but they all obey to the same chain of command, at least for the important things. And cheating isn't part of what's okay.

Don't let yourself be gaslit because it's something that happens easily when you're in love and your memory already problematic.

I do think now that if you have a serious mental illness and issues, it's really much better to find yourself someone who is kind and also well grounded and happy with themselves. Because I'm not gonna joke around the entire territory of CPTSD OSDD and DID can be very scary and difficult for one to take, for the sufferer and the supporter alike.

And unfortunately, this isn't something that love on its own can win. I did love my ex so much I cry every time I think of it. And I do know he loved me too. But the paranoia of cheating really has a way to rot everything that it touches.

Please be careful and care for yourself too. I don't mean to come accross as harsh or demeaning but as I have seen this in many couples and experienced it myself, it's really something that has to be worked out and eventually in therapy for him.
 

Digz

MyPTSD Pro
I was diagnosed with DID over a decade ago now. The initial diagnosis is scary and it makes you worry about not being in control and about whether you're crazy. My T describes it as actually a beautiful way the mind protects itself and adapts to the situation it's in.
My husband is aware of my DID and my alters, we've been together for most of our lives. Just remember that you have a lot to work through yourself and it's important that he is supporting and helping you just as much as you are, him.

From my perspective and experience, therapy with a well experienced psychologist is essential to learning how to accept, manage and live effectively with DID. One of the most important steps is learning to accept the other identities and learning to love them and work together. Your identities were all created for a reason and that reason is likely they were protecting you and have experienced some horrible stuff which they have been holding onto for a long time in order to protect you. Achieving open communication with different identities and cooperation is not easy work and takes time, but it can lead to better understanding of yourself and greater peace within yourself as these identities can often be at odds with each other.

I remember how scary it feels when you're first told about having DID, but remember that all those parts, they're not separate from you, they are you. Your identity just didn't get the chance to develop into a more merged version like other people's because you experienced trauma so young. It is a common myth that our identities split because of trauma, but we actually all start out with more separated parts that develop into a more integrated self as we grow. But even still, as adults, all people have different 'identities', just on a lesser scale - we all have a child self, an adult self, a parent self operating inside us.

I guess, all this is a long winded way of saying, you are perfectly normal but you have suffered and if possible please seek out support and help with your journey of recovery. You are not necessarily more likely to cheat on your partner because you have other identities. I have been with my husband since I was 16. My identities feel safe with my partner and our relationship has been healthy and strong for 20+ years, longer than many other couples without DID. Most of the time, I have found that whether my identities are angry or scared or sad, all they want is to be cared for and loved because they never were growing up.
 
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