Other Trauma-Splitting/Parts

Roland

Confident
Hello everyone.

When I had my psychological evaluation, it was determined that my personality is split, not like DID, but like trauma splitting, common for people with childhood trauma and ptsd. One is a direct mirror of my dad (this showed on my psych eval), this part is narcissist, schizoid, antisocial, masochist, and turbulent. It's are self-defense coping mechanisms. The narcissist one shows up when I feel threatened, especially by men. I also have a suicidal part.

I'd like to discuss one that I believe is a part, I just don't understand how it works. When I'm around groups of people, I assert social dominance, by being loud, acting kinda crazy, like a clown. I make fun of people, everything is a joke, etc. This is NOT my main personality. In general, I'm a relatively quiet person, I only really act crazy like that in groups of people, I feel anxious and don't really know the people and act like that.

Those of you that have studied or done parts work, why would I do that? How is that helpful? What would have "made" that personality split? I just don't really understand it, and it didn't come up in my psych eval. Though, "Expressively dramatic" did come up, which is definitely a part of that "crazy part". Like if I have a minor injury on my foot I'll be like "I'm gonna cut my foot off, it's on fire!" and if I'm in severe mental pain I'm just silent, like I internalize everything, but if I can turn it into a joke than I'll definitely be "Expressively dramatic".

@shimmerz I know you may have some valuable insight
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Tell me more about the book, does it actually show you how to heal the fragmented parts?

Thank you
It doesn't do a 'how to guide' (if only!!), But it helped me to understand what parts are, how they are formed, how to think about it, and normalised it. I have re read the book at various points because I usually can't hold it all.

I found parts work really really scary and confusing. And trying to build communication with parts is very hard work. As for decades neither knew the other existed. So it's relearning who we are and how we are formed.
But sticking with the frustrating process of parts work has helped me. And I feel mostly integrated now.
I have no diagnosis of anything.

In other posts in this thread it looks like you're exploring how you might have gotten parts. But perhaps for the same reason you have a personality disorder?
I think a lot of the answers are in what you have already written. You've explained the different parts of yourself, and how they behave, and how they feel, and why they might feel like that. Which is a lot of the work in parts work.
The next step is communicating internally to help reparent those parts and integrate them into you. What do they need to feel ok? How can you show them things are ok now?
 

Roland

Confident
It doesn't do a 'how to guide' (if only!!), But it helped me to understand what parts are, how they are formed, how to think about it, and normalised it. I have re read the book at various points because I usually can't hold it all.

I found parts work really really scary and confusing. And trying to build communication with parts is very hard work. As for decades neither knew the other existed. So it's relearning who we are and how we are formed.
But sticking with the frustrating process of parts work has helped me. And I feel mostly integrated now.
I have no diagnosis of anything.

In other posts in this thread it looks like you're exploring how you might have gotten parts. But perhaps for the same reason you have a personality disorder?
I think a lot of the answers are in what you have already written. You've explained the different parts of yourself, and how they behave, and how they feel, and why they might feel like that. Which is a lot of the work in parts work.
The next step is communicating internally to help reparent those parts and integrate them into you. What do they need to feel ok? How can you show them things are ok now?
Thank you that makes perfect sense

Yeah a lot of times people just need to “talk” things out, they already know inside

I’m still unsure how the clown developed but at least now I see how it works
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Roland

Confident
I think you might be veering off-track a bit. You have a Personality Disorder, and Splitting is a recognised 'thing' that is associated with some personality disorders (including, for example, Borderline Personality Disorder, which has a lot of the same symptoms as cptsd as it was traditionally understood).

Splitting is not a dissociative phenomenon. My knowledge from that point on is sketchy at best, but my understanding is that it's an emotional response, or emotionally triggered.

Dissociative Disorders are distinct from Personality Disorders. Two very different psychological things going on.
I've been diagnosed with PTSD and Avoidant Personality Disorder and the trauma splitting was recognized in my psychological evaluation as a PTSD thing, I can easily see how Avoidant Personality Disorder when come into play with that too
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
I haven’t been formally diagnosed since I got pushes and pulls in therapy and had unstable care, but my last pdoc suspected something like structural dissociation when I accounted for events that I felt as being very eerie or foreign. But—it can variate in expressions. How to say, there are moments I know the only thing I can do to survive specific situation is to engineer a complicated pawn of myself, that pawn has qualities X and Y, and I go and everything goes well. Except, it doesn’t always disappear. They carry on with their own ideas and wants, which fortunately aren’t too far away from "mine" (I do actually struggle to grasp the idea of identity) or say, a main state.

In some occasions of stress, it really felt like a possession, and what brought the pdoc’s attention was the immediacy and the out-of-character quality of it. It’s not that the mood changed. It’s that the entire perspective changed. I don’t want to be doing the same things with the same people and what seemed fairly logical and desirable the second before becomes annoying or just strange. Or sometimes I see myself doing something that I do not want to do. That would be mostly be being quite to extremely mean and cutting, regretting it immediately after and wondering WHY WHY WHY for ages. That lasted for dang years. I lost acquaintances and friends because of it. It made me f*cking suffer. And it wasn’t as if I wasn’t realising what I was doing, I could watch it real time, and be incapable of blocking it. It went to the point some of the instances of this I’m so ashamed about I haven’t even wrote or spoke about it even once.

There was a moment I kinda got into inner child work and internal family systems, except that nothing that I was finding was actually fitting the models. Instead of moms dads or whatever I got a collection of different beasts, weird copies of myself and whatnot. It’s easier to give them nicknames than to go full like "that one that manifests when this and that". Some do act as intercessors, it’s hard to explain. Also if the stakes are big enough it’s possible that it simply erases memory in a strange seamless manner, like you can’t even realize you lost time, but you find evidence of it later.

Structural dissociation can manifest in very distinct parts of the self, or less so. It’s really dependent on the specific history that is behind.

But anyway, besides psych box talk, how to improve this if you find this behaviour invasive or problematic? Address it. You can try to talk to whatever / whoever is causing this, in the form of a letter or even aloud (but writing feels less crazy). Follow the train of thoughts, see what it has to say. I had incredibly thoughtful dialogues with myself in that way.

But the most important is to understand that any behaviour is trying to achieve something. It might be doing it wrong, but it is trying in any way. Be it a structural dissociation or just dissociation or just splitting or whatever this is called, animals as humans do shit for a reason. Sometimes it’s so maladaptive all that is similar are a few external signs of a situation, but these ensembles of reflexes are trying to pursue something while getting stuck in the wrong context, or stuck in the wrong manner.

In your case, it really does look like it is an anxiety managing thing where there is an optimum between being well-liked by others (the clownliness), the need for keeping things in control (bossiness) and the need to remain distant enough (intimidation) and add the need for attention (foot drama) then sparks of shutdowns when faced with something serious (freezing with a real injury or issue). Nothing in here is entirely illogical, it just takes a shape that is very unhinged.

For me it really was about understanding the goal of these behaviours. For the issue mentioned above, being mean is an excellent way of losing friends. It’s lightning fast. It’s an excellent way to be shunned of a group too. But hey. I did need that before. I did need that people would stop messing with me and get the f*ck away with a single dead look. The objective was exactly that one: to intimidate, scare and get off of me. Except that the context was entirely wrong, I was feeling threatened because overwhelmed by the connection of a certain type or simply the amount of people, so the mean thing would just come off. It still happened two weeks ago, albeit in a less critical context.

So, identifying the fear that triggered that aggression (no aggression exists without a sense of threat, sometimes it can be nested, but aggression always implies fear in some capacity) and addressing that specific fear did diminish the "aggressive part". I do think this logic is valid in a structual dissociation framework as well as in a normal one.

It demands quite a work on reconnecting to things that we might even have forgotten because they’re too painful or ancient or both. We form these reflexes in a way that is quite on the go and they keep on according to their feedback efficiency, which is distinct from actual efficiency. To take my example again, as much as I dreaded the aggressive incursions I also very distinctively felt a woosh of satisfaction to see how a specific comment hit the person targeted by it. This is feedback efficiency—the pleasure system gets engaged because the response from the person is perceived as a reward, ups the dopamine, your body thinks this shit is right even if intellectually you are crushed at the stupidity of what you just have done. I mean, your mileage may vary, but that was very true for me and I got a lot of shame for it especially because it was pleasurable in some capacity.

Understanding why that aggression was necessary made it less shameful. So I could actually look at it. Once I could look at it, I could understand when it occurred. Once I could identify the context, I could identify the possible reasons. Then I could try both to anticipate instances and prevent them, while also working on the underlying reasons. It really takes a lot of time and it is expected that cannot be changed at once. There is quite an excruciating lag of time you’re gonna watch yourself going through all the difficult motions without being able to do much about it, until you do.

I hope this helps feel free to discard if not.
 

Roland

Confident
I haven’t been formally diagnosed since I got pushes and pulls in therapy and had unstable care, but my last pdoc suspected something like structural dissociation when I accounted for events that I felt as being very eerie or foreign. But—it can variate in expressions. How to say, there are moments I know the only thing I can do to survive specific situation is to engineer a complicated pawn of myself, that pawn has qualities X and Y, and I go and everything goes well. Except, it doesn’t always disappear. They carry on with their own ideas and wants, which fortunately aren’t too far away from "mine" (I do actually struggle to grasp the idea of identity) or say, a main state.

In some occasions of stress, it really felt like a possession, and what brought the pdoc’s attention was the immediacy and the out-of-character quality of it. It’s not that the mood changed. It’s that the entire perspective changed. I don’t want to be doing the same things with the same people and what seemed fairly logical and desirable the second before becomes annoying or just strange. Or sometimes I see myself doing something that I do not want to do. That would be mostly be being quite to extremely mean and cutting, regretting it immediately after and wondering WHY WHY WHY for ages. That lasted for dang years. I lost acquaintances and friends because of it. It made me f*cking suffer. And it wasn’t as if I wasn’t realising what I was doing, I could watch it real time, and be incapable of blocking it. It went to the point some of the instances of this I’m so ashamed about I haven’t even wrote or spoke about it even once.

There was a moment I kinda got into inner child work and internal family systems, except that nothing that I was finding was actually fitting the models. Instead of moms dads or whatever I got a collection of different beasts, weird copies of myself and whatnot. It’s easier to give them nicknames than to go full like "that one that manifests when this and that". Some do act as intercessors, it’s hard to explain. Also if the stakes are big enough it’s possible that it simply erases memory in a strange seamless manner, like you can’t even realize you lost time, but you find evidence of it later.

Structural dissociation can manifest in very distinct parts of the self, or less so. It’s really dependent on the specific history that is behind.

But anyway, besides psych box talk, how to improve this if you find this behaviour invasive or problematic? Address it. You can try to talk to whatever / whoever is causing this, in the form of a letter or even aloud (but writing feels less crazy). Follow the train of thoughts, see what it has to say. I had incredibly thoughtful dialogues with myself in that way.

But the most important is to understand that any behaviour is trying to achieve something. It might be doing it wrong, but it is trying in any way. Be it a structural dissociation or just dissociation or just splitting or whatever this is called, animals as humans do shit for a reason. Sometimes it’s so maladaptive all that is similar are a few external signs of a situation, but these ensembles of reflexes are trying to pursue something while getting stuck in the wrong context, or stuck in the wrong manner.

In your case, it really does look like it is an anxiety managing thing where there is an optimum between being well-liked by others (the clownliness), the need for keeping things in control (bossiness) and the need to remain distant enough (intimidation) and add the need for attention (foot drama) then sparks of shutdowns when faced with something serious (freezing with a real injury or issue). Nothing in here is entirely illogical, it just takes a shape that is very unhinged.

For me it really was about understanding the goal of these behaviours. For the issue mentioned above, being mean is an excellent way of losing friends. It’s lightning fast. It’s an excellent way to be shunned of a group too. But hey. I did need that before. I did need that people would stop messing with me and get the f*ck away with a single dead look. The objective was exactly that one: to intimidate, scare and get off of me. Except that the context was entirely wrong, I was feeling threatened because overwhelmed by the connection of a certain type or simply the amount of people, so the mean thing would just come off. It still happened two weeks ago, albeit in a less critical context.

So, identifying the fear that triggered that aggression (no aggression exists without a sense of threat, sometimes it can be nested, but aggression always implies fear in some capacity) and addressing that specific fear did diminish the "aggressive part". I do think this logic is valid in a structual dissociation framework as well as in a normal one.

It demands quite a work on reconnecting to things that we might even have forgotten because they’re too painful or ancient or both. We form these reflexes in a way that is quite on the go and they keep on according to their feedback efficiency, which is distinct from actual efficiency. To take my example again, as much as I dreaded the aggressive incursions I also very distinctively felt a woosh of satisfaction to see how a specific comment hit the person targeted by it. This is feedback efficiency—the pleasure system gets engaged because the response from the person is perceived as a reward, ups the dopamine, your body thinks this shit is right even if intellectually you are crushed at the stupidity of what you just have done. I mean, your mileage may vary, but that was very true for me and I got a lot of shame for it especially because it was pleasurable in some capacity.

Understanding why that aggression was necessary made it less shameful. So I could actually look at it. Once I could look at it, I could understand when it occurred. Once I could identify the context, I could identify the possible reasons. Then I could try both to anticipate instances and prevent them, while also working on the underlying reasons. It really takes a lot of time and it is expected that cannot be changed at once. There is quite an excruciating lag of time you’re gonna watch yourself going through all the difficult motions without being able to do much about it, until you do.

I hope this helps feel free to discard if not.
Thank you so much for taking the time to thoroughly discuss yourself and things I said. It always helps to hear that someone knows what I’m talking about. It’s like a maze trying to figure out sometimes, different parts, different behaviors, all erratic and inappropriate. Not many people get it, “it’s normal to have different aspects of your personality” and also explaining what’s happening in my fractured personality without it seeming like I’m not taking responsibility for my behavior. Being out of control, but in theory, I’m me, I should be able to control myself right. I think from this post, I’ve figured out the clown and how it works and why, I’m just not sure when it was developed, so I suppose there’s more digging as always
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
Thank you so much for taking the time to thoroughly discuss yourself and things I said. It always helps to hear that someone knows what I’m talking about. It’s like a maze trying to figure out sometimes, different parts, different behaviors, all erratic and inappropriate. Not many people get it, “it’s normal to have different aspects of your personality” and also explaining what’s happening in my fractured personality without it seeming like I’m not taking responsibility for my behavior. Being out of control, but in theory, I’m me, I should be able to control myself right. I think from this post, I’ve figured out the clown and how it works and why, I’m just not sure when it was developed, so I suppose there’s more digging as always
For the responsibility thing I think there was a British judge who ruled something like "in the absence of an alternate body to embody your responsibility, I hold the one I have on hand as responsible". It doesn’t matter parts of self when it comes to these things. At the end it’s still you, but it’s very conflicted to the point it can feel like a totally unknown person. But it’s up to you, yourself alone or collectively, to adapt enough to behave in a more harmonious way that feels good for you and doesn’t cause harm.
 

Roland

Confident
For the responsibility thing I think there was a British judge who ruled something like "in the absence of an alternate body to embody your responsibility, I hold the one I have on hand as responsible". It doesn’t matter parts of self when it comes to these things. At the end it’s still you, but it’s very conflicted to the point it can feel like a totally unknown person. But it’s up to you, yourself alone or collectively, to adapt enough to behave in a more harmonious way that feels good for you and doesn’t cause harm.
True
 

Roland

Confident
So after some further reflection, I realized the clown only really appeared once I moved out when I was 17. At least in that type of way (in social settings). But then again, I only became aware of most things around that time. Don’t personality splits happen in early childhood? Would that make this one just maladaptive coping mechanisms for fear/social anxiety, avoidant personality disorder, and needing attention?

Could also be related to the narcissist/mirror image of my dad split. Actually he acted super goofy around people and some other random times. He developed this after mom said if he’s ever out of control suicidal she would leave. He never got that depressed/suicidal again, instead he was euphoric.

Idk it’s really hard to sort out and identify. It’s hard to be aware and out of control while kinda still in control.

@shimmerz @Movingforward10 any ideas?(anyone else is welcome to chip in too off course)
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I think it's complicated. I'm not sure behaviour is necessarily a sign that the part was formed when that behaviour was initiated. It could be that part was formed much younger, but that circumstances meant that part started to develop that behaviour?
If that makes any sense?
 

shimmerz

MyPTSD Pro
Could also be related to the narcissist/mirror image of my dad split. Actually he acted super goofy around people and some other random times. He developed this after mom said if he’s ever out of control suicidal she would leave. He never got that depressed/suicidal again, instead he was euphoric.
Idk Roland. I had (maybe still have?) some pretty clear splits that happened well before I can remember what happened to cause them. I can only guess. For that reason, I didn't spend an awful lot of time on figuring out why, but rather,
1. how did I want the behaviour to change?
2. If the troubling behaviour were to be spearheaded by me alone - how would I want it to look?

I mean, I am pretty certain my 'I need to die' split happened because my birth parents wanted me dead. I don't know that for sure, but it sure hasn't served me to keep up with this behaviour. Problem is my nervous system is wired to cope in this way.

What I have learned is that for myself these behaviours are triggered by emotions that have been compartmentalized. That, to me, is what these parts are all about. Behaviours triggered by emotions that were used to adapt to f*cked-up-ed-ness in my life.

So do you get a sense that this is just a learned behaviour or do you feel it is wired into your nervous system? What emotion are you feeling when this comes up? Which is hard to identify if it is compartmentalized. A compartmentalized emotion is walled off exactly for that reason. So to get at it, there needs to be some pretty good work on what emotions we feel. Sometimes these can be a combination of several emotions.

Does it seem like you are self conscious? Feeling you have to be centre so nobody can threaten you? Or did you learn from someone that being a clown was a great thing and funny, but you just don't feel comfortable with it because it isn't you? <-- this I feel would be a learned response.

How do you want yourself to react? Would you rather be thoughtful in a crowd? The strong silent type? The smart one in the crowd? The sky is the limit and once I figured that out it was a much easier process to settle into. I could use my conscious upper brain to plan out next steps and 'grow' my emotionally stunted responses into full on adult ones.

Just a few thoughts on how this went for me. The emotional work I did, really cracked open all this parts work for me and was the beginning of the end of the tremendous amount of suffering these parts were causing me in my life. Emotional work seems daunting, but actually, with a focus on positive emotions at first, I found it just all worked out.

At the end of the day for me, it is disorientation and confusion and feeling lost that cause my 'I need to die' part to take me over. I have taught myself how to notice these things so I can nip them in the bud, so to speak. No idea if this is helpful to you. I hope you are finding some of the answers you are looking for. Best luck in all of this.
 

Roland

Confident
I think it's complicated. I'm not sure behaviour is necessarily a sign that the part was formed when that behaviour was initiated. It could be that part was formed much younger, but that circumstances meant that part started to develop that behaviour?
If that makes any sense?
Yeah, that's a good point. It could just easily just be a behavior.

Idk Roland. I had (maybe still have?) some pretty clear splits that happened well before I can remember what happened to cause them. I can only guess. For that reason, I didn't spend an awful lot of time on figuring out why, but rather,
1. how did I want the behaviour to change?
2. If the troubling behaviour were to be spearheaded by me alone - how would I want it to look?

I mean, I am pretty certain my 'I need to die' split happened because my birth parents wanted me dead. I don't know that for sure, but it sure hasn't served me to keep up with this behaviour. Problem is my nervous system is wired to cope in this way.

What I have learned is that for myself these behaviours are triggered by emotions that have been compartmentalized. That, to me, is what these parts are all about. Behaviours triggered by emotions that were used to adapt to f*cked-up-ed-ness in my life.

So do you get a sense that this is just a learned behaviour or do you feel it is wired into your nervous system? What emotion are you feeling when this comes up? Which is hard to identify if it is compartmentalized. A compartmentalized emotion is walled off exactly for that reason. So to get at it, there needs to be some pretty good work on what emotions we feel. Sometimes these can be a combination of several emotions.

Does it seem like you are self conscious? Feeling you have to be centre so nobody can threaten you? Or did you learn from someone that being a clown was a great thing and funny, but you just don't feel comfortable with it because it isn't you? <-- this I feel would be a learned response.

How do you want yourself to react? Would you rather be thoughtful in a crowd? The strong silent type? The smart one in the crowd? The sky is the limit and once I figured that out it was a much easier process to settle into. I could use my conscious upper brain to plan out next steps and 'grow' my emotionally stunted responses into full on adult ones.

Just a few thoughts on how this went for me. The emotional work I did, really cracked open all this parts work for me and was the beginning of the end of the tremendous amount of suffering these parts were causing me in my life. Emotional work seems daunting, but actually, with a focus on positive emotions at first, I found it just all worked out.

At the end of the day for me, it is disorientation and confusion and feeling lost that cause my 'I need to die' part to take me over. I have taught myself how to notice these things so I can nip them in the bud, so to speak. No idea if this is helpful to you. I hope you are finding some of the answers you are looking for. Best luck in all of this.
Thank you, that makes sense. I honestly can't tell the difference between learned behavior and 'wired in nervous system'. But you do draw a good comprehensible roadmap for working through it. It's kind of a maze. In theory, I'd like to be able to be 'myself' in groups, authentic. I don't feel like it's appropriate like I don't know how to express my 'actual' self and how I feel without being silent or attention seeking. like it's really one or the other. The more attention-seeking I act, the fewer people will take me seriously or respect me. So it's like blahhh.
 

hithere

MyPTSD Pro
I haven't read other people's posts responses. My initial reaction to your post is have you sat down, got quiet internally, and imagined that loud, crazy part is sitting next to you and ask it your "why" "where" "when" questions, and be as non-judgemental as you can be, and promise yourself you will be welcoming? and then wait to hear the answers? My guess is they will come very quickly and readily.
 
Top