Perpetrator idealizing part/Perpetrator introjects

Rani G2

MyPTSD Pro
Hello to anyone who has the capacity to read this,


I’m being confronted with parts that are having an abuser idealizing voice. I’m aware of the fact that it is always complex and very individual how inner Part landscapes are being created and that it needs to be tackled with the therapist, but I feel it’s becoming more and more disturbing that I would like to know how you have dealt with it so far, if anyone can relate? It becomes more concrete so this also could be seen as progress, although very unsettling at times.

A long story short: Grew up with a violent father, boarding schools with nuns, Bipolar stepfather and moving around a lot as a child and sexual abuse. As a child I was disciplined with being locked in a room for -I don’t know how long, or other punishments.. (Not sure if they were sexual also)

In therapy I have learned to get to know my parts, create an inner safe place and be aware of bodily sensations.

I sometimes feel this deep inner desire to be punished, that I am an evil person , and that I (The Part) wants to be held captive.

It’s very disturbing and I get intrusive thoughts about this.

What I am doing now is EFT, speaking to my helper parts, Yoga which is helpful but I’m still struggling now and then. I will be addressing this with my Therapist soon.


Just wanting to get this out of my chest.. maybe anyone is able to relate? Maybe this is too specific .. and if not thanks anyway for reading.

Rani G2
 
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Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
Yes I can relate. Yes it’s very difficult and good you are talking about it. It’s really difficult to see a part of yourself as complicit. I have this and have had to face the fact a lot of my troublesome behavior has to do with wanting to be “abused”, which has a different meaning to different people. It’s great you are wanting to start to process. I hope you end up with a good therapist and things go well.
 

Sideways

Moderator
I sometimes feel this deep inner desire to be punished
I relate to this a lot.

I've only just recently started confronting the reality that I seem to have an introject part. Intellectually, I understand that my brain created this split in my personality for the same reason it created all my parts - to help survive with dangerous and traumatic situations. And although identifying the introject is a new thing for me, I know that it's been there in my mind for more than 2 decades.

It's still pretty scary. That part believes it is my abuser. Some of my other parts seem to recognise it as my abuser. And now, it feels a lot like my abuser exists permanently inside me. The recovery road from that isn't going to be easy.

For quite a while I've known that I have multiple other parts that are 'aligned with my abuser'. They feel safer when they are doing things that would have made my abuser happy.

It's an understatement to say that's easy to deal with. It definitely explains my ongoing feeling of the need to punish myself. Because those parts, that lived through what my abuser did to me, would have felt that it was safer to appease my abuser. That's how I survived. And for those parts, nothing much changed just because I moved on with my life with them compartmentalised away in my mind as seperate personalities.

But for me, it always starts the same way with these parts: establishing a new normal with them, where we communicate with each other, listen to each other respectfully, and I demonstrate to them, over time, that they can trust me to keep them safe now.
 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
Rani, something similar happens to me a fair bit. Less Idealising than - over empathetic ? Aligning? But some idealising of some aspects of a person too.

I’m my t has encouraged me to look at what those aspects of the person fulfilled in my life - what I am ‘lacking’ in my life that saw these qualities and attributes as so remarkable. This is without doubt one of the hardest things I return to in therapy - because it demands frank evaluation of circumstance and situation now .

I think it’s also ok to see that the people we were might have been drawn to the good qualities in perps or forgiven family members because we needed to feel safety and love.

we need to find those people ‘worthy’ to find any sort of place in the world. People normalise their circumstances- Have you ever noticed how people center their experience as standard? Or assume that when people are saying ‘I have always done it like this’ people must be saying it’s the best way? Because it’s so common we center our normality as ‘a standard’ or ideal to meet. So it’s quite logical we do the same about perps- if they were known to us and valued by us at some point.

Thinking about that helps me be a bit easy on myself which helps me look at the harder stuff of ‘what is lacking’. That’s really painful work .

it might of course not be the answer for you .
 

Rani G2

MyPTSD Pro
Thank you @Mach123 and @Freida


Intellectually, I understand that my brain created this split in my personality for the same reason it created all my parts - to help survive with dangerous and traumatic situations.
Yes, it helps to know that there is an inner organization that helped me to get through these traumatic events.. there is a destructive part that is the abuser and also a part which is prideful to have once collaborated with the perpetrator. It’s tough to even interpret this, because there is a sexual component to this, attachment and a wanting to be finally acknowledged by the abuser.
Some of my other parts seem to recognise it as my abuser.
The process of getting to know each other is definitely a process. I dont think my parts are aware of him.. I’m identyfying a male voice, the part that is destructive and Insidious.

They feel safer when they are doing things that would have made my abuser happy.
Head nodding, YES!

Thinking about that helps me be a bit easy on myself which helps me look at the harder stuff of ‘what is lacking’. That’s really painful work .
Thank you @Mee for sharing.. I’ll Do some thinking about this.
 
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Rani G2

MyPTSD Pro
Just to make something clear, it’s not about taking on other perspectives, to understand aftermaths of these life events, not underestimating the bigger picture, it plays a huge part in healing, but I’m speaking of deeply internalized core perpetrator voices or the parts aligned with them and their motivations.

Will be talking about this with T soon.
Thank you
 

grit

Not Active
I do not use exactly same language as you do but I do recognize my voice can mimic my mother's voice - very stern, very authoritative like I know what I am saying is the gospel sort of way. I used to hate this voice in me.

I remembered thinking one time that with this voice, I could not get into profession of helping others. What I learned after few years of therapy is that: first I have to accept this is one of my voices of many as I also have soft, sensitive, or even child like when I am super excited, or angry voice, or professional voice, or even presentational voice etc. I do not need to devalue one over others but more importantly, recognize what that voice serves for me. To add more insult, I do have my mother's DNA too and cannot cut that out as well so acceptance and finding the silver lining become part of my recovering.

So what is the purpose of this voice (my mother's voice)?
In my subjective experience, I travel alone a lot for many years and knock on wood, I find I am often the kind of person that gives some sort of energy that makes people to listen or do what I need (i know sounds lame writing) but that voice sort of shuts down my flirty, sexual energy, or even some of my femininity....and I feel safe when I use it cause it makes others not find me vulnerable.
Now when I see sounding like that around the house or with my husband, I learned with him, the underlying affects are I am annoyed or in a dismissive mood where I need to be alone but not getting what I need...it is a signal that I am feeling sort of aggressive or caged. So I take it as information of overall like why am I feeling this now? What is happening that is alerting me to act this or notice I am acting this way? Rather than my old way of hating it and trying to find ways to stop it....I just take it ooh I did not know I was annoyed or angry or feeling overpowered by blahahahahah whatever that might be.

I do not use parts because these feelings for me are not well developed into full persona more like mood states or affects...but I do treat as if I am learning something new about the moment and my invisible reaction showing up in my voice. Before therapy, I did not even know I sounded like this and often some people would tell me to chill or relax and I would be like WTF? What are they talking about ...just getting more and more...ironically and maybe luckily I have not been told this for a long time and maybe cause I am recognizing the feeling before others and managing it my own way. I do not know for sure but just writing this sort of reminded me.
 

Sideways

Moderator
Will be talking about this with T soon.
Very interested to hear about your T's approach to moving forward, since I'm trying to deal with a similar issue right now myself. Hope it goes well for you, but understand that parts aligned with the perpetrator are really difficult to manage and coexist with. Having an introject alter is next level, and I'm not coping with that situation so well right now. So sending courage and gentle compassion your way as you take this on.
 

Rani G2

MyPTSD Pro
Hope it goes well for you, but understand that parts aligned with the perpetrator are really difficult to manage and coexist with
We’ve been trying to keep the constant dialog with the inner parts, mostly trying to encourage their (Destructive and sabotaging parts) presence despite their suspicion with some other parts. We work a lot with symbols, Body work and kinesiology. I’m doing a video session today, I cancelled because of Depression.. or Sabotaging.

Thank you for your kind words Sideways.. I’d like to know how your T approaches?
 

Sideways

Moderator
The foundation with all my parts is communication. I talk to them a lot inside my head. The interrupt my thoughts in therapy in particular on a regular basis, because they know I'll stop and hear them out, and either respond to them internally, or communicate their concerns or issues to my T to work through. It's disruptive, but for me that's how we function best - with an open, respectful dialogue. All my parts have their own private safe space in my mind that they can retreat to at any time as well, and some of them spend most of their time locked in their rooms.

One of my older parts that's aligned with my perpetrator hasn't been willing to communicate respectfully with me yet, and she's physically dangerous to me when she takes over, so she's currently locked up internally. I reopen dialogue regularly, so far she isn't willing to accept working collaboratively with the system, so she has to stay secures. When I get really dysregulated for a long period (like a recent trauma anniversary), she gets out and runs amok. I have to do a lot of grounding and personal safety work (setting up and following safe behavioural boundaries) for myself to get her secure again.

I have 2 12 year olds who are both very aligned with my abuser, and one of them I've been communicating with for several years. She's used journalling and art therapy (trauma-focused) a lot in the past and that's been really helpful for her. I also know from our history of communication what a lot of her triggers are - I essentially don't have male relationships at the moment because they're not something I can navigate in a way that everyone feels safe just yet. She will tap the air with my right hand when she's getting distressed, and I always make a point to talk to her and re-establish safety when she does that.

There's also things I know she enjoys (playing with my dog, swimming) which I make a point of doing, and I invite her along. Doing those things regularly keeps our relationship and communication quite good. When I stop doing those things for her, communicate tends to break down and she talks to me less.

My other 12 year old is very different. She doesn't talk to me. She doesn't journal. She doesn't give any indication that she likes any particular things. But she has been more present recently, so I chat to her about benign things, like you would if you're establishing a relationship with a new coworker who seems too shy to talk. She threw a tonne of very distressing flashbacks at me recently. That was painful, but I made a point of thanking her several times for communicating with me about her experiences.

Now that she's done that, me and T will work through some of those experiences in therapy, with her being part of that process. We're optimistic that we can do that in a way that respects how she feels about our abuser, while also establishing that I am a new, safer person for her to trust and rely on. That will take some time. It will be rocky and painful. I'm hoping that maybe art therapy will be helpful for her as well. But going through with her what she experienced, and having her express and process her feelings about it, will be the cornerstone there. That's where there's potential to shine a different light on things for her - respecting that aligning herself with the perpetrator was a safe and smart thing to do at the time, but also giving her a new option moving forward where she doesn't feel like she needs to rely on him.

My introject is in the background sabotaging all of these things as we go through them. It's incredibly helpful to know that he's in there. I didn't know that before, but now I can make sure that my parts know that they can come to me if he's confusing them or pressuring them, and we can come up with strategies together about what to do to make them feel safe and less confused.

Dealing with my introject is something I've booked into my inpatient trauma program for. It will not be a big confrontation or showdown. To the contrary, I need to respect this part thinks it's keeping me safe just like any other part. Because an introject believes they are a different person to me, he will also assume he can hurt me, or my parts, without hurting himself. And he's big on the "necessity for punishment" to keep me in line.

I'm not entirely sure how we're going to handle that. But I'm imagining it will be a lot to do with assetive (but respectful) communication, trying to open a dialogue, trying to agree on boundaries together (to at least stop the self-sabotage going on internally), and making it clear that I'm in charge of looking after our system, not him.

Knowing he's in there in my mind? I can now also constantly stop and check in with myself: are these thoughts being driven by my introject? Is this behaviour something I want to do, or something my introject wants me to do? That gives me space to make better choices for myself, and also takes away a lot of the power he's had.

Sounds good in writing. But the truth is my introject terrifies me. He's definitely got the whole mind games thing happening in a big way, he knows that he has certain parts who (currently) see him as a somewhat godlike figure, he knows how to disrupt the system, he knows how to undermine my attempts to get my 12 year olds doing what he says. I'm terrified of him. Getting past that terror will, in itself, be a huge step.

To that end? What I'm working on prior to my inpatient admission is constant internal reminders: he is just another part my mind created to try and keep me safe. He is not actually my perpetrator. I can find a way to live where I am in control, not him. Because he is just a part of my mind. Nothing more, but also nothing less.

I'm not great with bodywork. I've never had a good bodywork-based T. When it comes time to deal with my much younger parts (who have a different perpetrator), I suspect journalling will be out, and bodywork may be something I'll need to look into.
 
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Rani G2

MyPTSD Pro
that he's in there. I didn't know that before, but now I can make sure that my parts know that they can come to me if he's confusing them or pressuring them, and we can come up with strategies together about what to do to make them feel safe and less confused.
Thank you for sharing your process @Sideways.. especially this stands out because it gives me a spark of reassurance, and taking the time to offer the parts their safe space, respecting their boundaries, keeping the connection, also knowing that they have their individual place of retreat.
You mention journaling, have never truly tried the jounrnalling thing, there is an inner refusal to do so.
Does your T work with objects? With objects I’m talking about symbols, soft toys, wood craft? I suppose it’s very individual, situational, and who has which priorities and needs?!
I’ve been told that I change my voice and mimic like a man, and become extremely aggressive, I realize when he is appearing, now more than a few years ago.. cannot say much about it, because it’s very nebulous. Unfortunately (I’m saying this because a part of me regrets choosing this job) I must work with human beings and I have become aggressive with other people, and I was Sent Home due to disciplinary action.. it took me a few years to get stable and handle a job. In my mind I always thought that I will live in a psychiatric institution the rest of my life.. because of suicidal tendencies ect that was somewhere around 2005.

Sorry.. too much info maybe.
I've never had a good bodywork-based T
You might know Pat Ogdens work?
 
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