Update: my girlfriend also went to therapy today and was finally able to put into words what she's going through right now. The deepest, darkest fear and shame. She said when it comes it's like black, inky air that chokes everything else. Her ex is the only person she's ever let see that, so he's the only person she feels like can handle it. Regardless of the abuses she suffered at his hands, he's the only person she can be around right now until this feeling passes. She said she knows she needs to be able to talk to me about this when it happens, but I guess it's just going to take lots of time and therapy for her to slowly break that bond with him and trust me enough to not leave her when she's at her most vulnerable.
So where does that leave you and what do you plan to do about it?
Has this happened before during your relationship? Are you prepared to continue going through this until she learns to trust you?
What if she never trusts you enough?
Tbh,I'm not really sure whether I would buy this story/excuse or not if I were you. Unless she's been going through this same thing since you've known her then it's possible she's using the DID diagnosis to her advantage.
This is a c-ptsd issue, not a DID issue as it turns out. She was already in such a distorted frame of mind when our therapist brought up fractured personalities, she assumed she had DID, and without me being present for that session, I believed her because she was still presenting as coherent, albeit depressed and scared of the implications.
As far as what I plan to do, I'm giving her space until she reaches out to me again. She's been texting a few times today already, explaining things as much as possible so I'll understand why she's doing this, even though she doesn't fully understand yet either. Until we can have an actual long, in-depth discussion about what all this means moving forward, I'm not making any decisions. Just thinking a lot about what I will be ok with if we continue our relationship, so my boundaries and needs are respected as well.
This happened a year and a half ago also, but back then she didn't understand anything and was still trapped with her ex, and he had all the control. It's unfortunate that he's the only person she feels like she can be this broken around, because he caused a lot of the damage she's struggling to come to terms with. I'm just glad she's able to communicate with me right now, because when this happened before he wouldn't let her. She's grown stronger as far as boundaries with him go, and stands up for herself and recognizes his controlling behavior. But they have kids together, so that complicates things, because they need to be taken care of when she's unable to.
In summary, it's confusing and complicated and I have no idea what I'm going to do. Just waiting until she is ready to talk so we can figure out what to do.
She is hiding from everyone, not just me. Her ex and her kids are the only people she's seeing in person, and he's keeping the kids at his mom's some, too. It's not like I haven't seen her at all, we watched a movie together Sunday night, and I saw her briefly Tuesday when I had to grab something from the house. But she's beating herself up really badly right now for "being the poison in the well" and her shame/fear makes her isolate so the people she cares about won't make it worse somehow. Distorted thinking, but she's never known anything except trauma and neglect and abuse, so her road to healing is going to be a long one. And she's still barely gotten started.
I'm just going to focus on work and spending time with friends and family for now. Trying to stay balanced and as healthy as I can.
That sounds like a good idea. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Sometimes the best way to handle a toxic situation is to remove yourself from the brunt of it. That mess with her ex sounds toxic AF.
Co-parenting is tough under the best of circumstances. Just because they coparent doesn’t mean he has to be all up in her life and house though. In fact, it’s probably better if he isn’t. I get it... I’m divorced with kids too, and my ex is a f*cker. Before he buggered off for good, we were cordial, but he was not in my life. He was on a need to know basis. Kid stuff only. Her ex dictating “morality” is BS. Those morality clauses are so antiquated I can’t believe he was able to get one.
Like I’ve said before, I’m always on the supporter’s side. Just make sure you don’t let your compassion turn you into a doormat in this whole thing.
Well, we live in Alabama, so everything in the court system is pretty much antiquated. Plus he wouldn't agree to a divorce without it (because of me), so it was either moral clause, or no divorce. And up until this recent turn, he has been on a strictly need-to-know, kids only basis. So it's definitely weird for me, and she feels ashamed that she can't help feeling like she needs him to be more present right now. In her words, all she feels now is ashamed, sorry, sad, angry, and black black black fear.
I am not sure I understand this, Alabama is a no fault divorce state meaning if he wanted this requirement it just means that the divorce is considered "contested" rather than "uncontested", it makes divorce a bit more complicated but was not the only way she could get the divorce.
I think your decision to momentarily step away from the situation is a good one. I hope things work out for your partner - she may need to lean on you in the future, and if you're in a rock-solid place with yourself, and have nutted out some clear and healthy boundaries for your relationship moving forward? That's good for any potential relationship you have with her in the future, but also just good for you, period.
Just to address some potential info in this thread that I think could be misinterpreted (or is just flat-out wrong)...
It's a scary thing to be diagnosed with a mental health condition. Any mental health condition. Even if you already have one, adding a new diagnosis is a scary thing. It's a diagnosis that will likely follow you for the rest of your life, even if the condition goes into remission.
It doesn't surprise me that, in your SO's case, it may or may not be DID, but is some kind of 'dissociative disorder' atm. Uncertainty there is scary for her, but reflects the difficulty in diagnosing dissociative disorders. It takes an average of 7 years in therapy for DID to be diagnosed, so - it's not the case that her T can, at this point, necessarily tell her if it's DID or not. They may not be sure yet. Which is more scary stuff on her plate.
With DID, it's not the case that "You'd know by now", or that all of her parts would have presented themselves to you (or her ex) at some point. Most people in my life don't know I have DID, and are only ever likely to meet one or 2 of my multiple parts. So, the info you were given about that is incorrect.
It is definitely the case that, when a person is diagnosed with DID, and their parts are introduced to each other internally for the first time, that can (and often/usually) does result in a really difficult period of dysfunction and instability for the sufferer. These are parts of her identity that haven't necessarily been aware they share a body with other personalities, and you can almost guarantee that, at least at first, some of them will definitely not get along.
Me personally? My life blew up fairly spectacularly the year following my DID diagnosis, as my parts had to learn how to coexist. And they had very different ideas about what was 'safest' for me, which led to a host of incredibly self-destructive behaviour till I got that stabilised.
So, there is hope. But you'll need to be patient. This is likely pretty scary for her. If you can be a stable friend, with clear and consistent boundaries, even just at the other end of the phone for a while? That would be brilliant.
But put yourself first. Put your safety first, and your own well-being, which includes your mental health. "My girlfriend has let her abusive ex move in" would punch a massive hole in a lot of people's self-esteem. So, good on you for caring. And I hope this works out okay for you both, whether that happens to be in a relationship again at some point in the future, or not.
And I stand firm on that. The parts are triggered out and do their role/job/sense of agency from the time they are created in young childhood. So yes,he would have encountered those parts in 9 years whether he realized it or not. There's normally a set pattern,specific triggers,etc. and usually a common reaction to those triggers. While an outsider may not realize it's DID,they can and do usually notice reactions because they tend to be consistent.
What I was referring to was getting a diagnosis like a week ago wouldn't suddenly cause her to move her ex in his house. Or cause parts to suddenly appear if they weren't there before.
Please don't put words in my mouth that I didn't say. I didn't say he would know by now nor did I say they would have presented themselves to him by now.
I agree with the rest that you said though about the dysfunction after the diagnosis and parts being introduced to each other and the rest that you said. But that wasn't even the case in this situation from what the OP said.
Furthermore,he already said it's not DID, it's CPTSD. Big difference in the two.