Educating Structural Dissociation

The Observing part of our personality

The Observing part

Lets explore the part of our own being which dances its way trough the interactive brain systems

yogaroots.be susie

Introspection !

And the Observing part of our personality

We are all able to observe or examine our own mental and emotional state, mental processes, etc.; the act of looking within oneself we call ‘introspection’.

The observing part we call the part which carries this ability of ‘introspection’. So you could say it’s normal to have an observing part. An observing part is not a traumatized Emotional Personality part or state, because than it wouldn’t be able to observe or examine our own mental and emotional inner self.

Introspection is a normal human capacity.


 

 

But what happens to this part of our personality if we become traumatized?

 

Then we don’t lose the ability of introspection but a traumatized personality doesn’t like to go on a exploring introspective adventure, so the main personality shuts down or ignores the introspective personality part – the ANP gets phobic to explore the inner self. Yet this observing part of our personality plays a very big role during therapy and the recovery process after trauma. It’s the communication line between our ANP and EP parts. If the apparently normal personality isn’t able to reboot the observing part after Trauma, or worse – never learnt to use this part proper – than this will slow down the recovery process. To recover from trauma we need to regain trust in our own capacity of ‘introspection’ – our own main observing part.

observing part

What if we suffer a tertiary dissociation of the personality,
also related to DID

 

If we suffer a tertiary dissociation of the personality than we also get acquainted with more than one ‘apparently normal personality’ state. And there it is also possible that every ANP has created their own misleading observing part which tells the ANP that it’s not their own emotion, or this memory didn’t really happen to us.

Those misleading observers are called OEP’s, the observers of the EP’s. Sometimes also called the inner gatekeepers. Their function is; helping out the ANP to ignore the nasty EP’s and reject the other ANP as being also parts of the own personality. And although those observers are very misleading, it’s also very important to gain there trust during the recovery process and ask for their help during therapeutically sessions. Because they also can tell a lot about the EP’s and they can be very functional as communicators of the inner self.

 

Now the question could be:
What happened to the main observing personality part if you suffer a tertiary structural dissociation of the personality?

It’s in there somewhere. It’s a part of our main personality so it can’t be gone. And within a tertiary SD, one of the ANP’s is very often able to communicate with the other ANP(’s). And mostly this ANP holds also the main observing personality part. Very frequently this is also the most numb ANP because there the observing personality part survives and function at its best.

 

A personal note to the understanding of the ANP parts
Not so long ago I got confused by the distorted information which is spread on the internet about the theory of the structural dissociation of the personality. So I asked my Clinical psychologist and therapist (traumatology) at the Dutch Top referent trauma center Assen-Drenthe:
“How many ANP’s can a person own which developed and suffers a tertiary structural dissociation?”

And he answered to me:
“In all those years that I treat, teach and contribute to the research of traumatology and also contributed in the writings of the book The Haunted Self, I personally have never met or heard of someone having more than three main ANP’s.

 

The more I understand, the more I start to recognize and feel
although I still not understand why I feel scarred of a task such as ‘body hygiene or body care’.

I can’t feel my own body as my own body on those moments and the world around me seems very small,
very close and nearby but also locked away in a very thick Fog.
I don’t see sharp and I’m still not able to think clear on those moments.
I function mechanic on those moments and do what has to be done.

It doesn’t feel as me taking care of me, but it is me ANP ‘Nique’
If we need to survive, the mind is stronger than our soul.
Maybe I have lost contact with my own inner soul, who knows.
But I will beat this monster inside me 

Complex Trauma PTSD

Structural Dissociation and amnesia

attention
But first a note of attention:


To all the professional mental caretakers and psychotherapists out there

please inform yourself on a professional way about the trauma related structural dissociation of the personality such as given by Kathy Steele, Onno van der Hart and Ellert Nijenhuis.

And to all readers pleas note
In order to correctly understand the explanation of my own personality systems, you need some knowledge of the summary of a SD. Be ware: Switching between personality parts is not a phenomenon that only belongs to a trauma related Structural Dissociation (SD) – such as a very complex PTSD the dissociative identity disorder (DID) – or a complex PTSD Secondary SD (OSDD) – or a less complex Post traumatic stress disorder PTSD.

There are other disorders that have symptoms of identity problems and switching behavior between personality states such as a theatrical personality disorder, a Borderline Personality disorder, a bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. A Dissociative Disorder (DD) has a wider range of being a co-morbidity disorder. And also the tertiary SD, DID, the trauma related Dissociative Identity disorder is a polysymptomatic condition which is characterized by a hidden presentation (S.Boon & N. Draijer).
So keep in mind: Diagnoses of a ‘trauma related’ structural dissociation of the personality can only be done by an experienced clinical trauma psychologist/psychotherapist which is specially taint to do so. 

*  *  *  *  *

Structural Dissociation and amnesia

ptsd vrijFirst notice:

The memory loss is not caused by a physical neurological or a somatic problem.
If caused by psychological Trauma;
The memory loss is often not permanently.

 

How to explain memory loss to a Trauma related Structural Dissociation

  1. PTSD – DD – primary
    partial or full dissociation of the traumatic experience (the ANP is phobic to remember the traumatizing experience)
  2. Complex PTSD – OSDD or DDnos – secondary
    partial or full dissociation of more than one traumatic childhood experience. The ANP suffers big stress under the influence of more than one EP which holds traumatizing experiences of the past or which go in contact with memories of the past (EP’s).
  3. Very Complex PTSD – DID – tertiary 
    partial or full dissociation of more than one traumatic childhood experience
    but also amnesia during and for daily life tasks (not traumatic experiences)

I start again with a very small summary of the three levels of a Trauma related Structural Dissociation of the personality, and the understanding of an Apparently Normal Personality part and an Emotional Personality part which holds a traumatic experience or a part of a traumatic experience.

 

scaredParagraph 1)
Dissociation between ANP & EP (PTSD dd – CPTSD osdd ddnos)

Traumatized experience – a memory (EP) – can be:
partially dissociated
ANP can remember a part of the traumatizing experience
fully dissociated
ANP can’t remember a thing of the traumatizing experience

this can occur within
1. primary SD
2. secondary SD
3. tertiary SD

Note: partially or fully dissociating of an EP, a traumatized memory of the past

 

A note to paragraph 1

Not remembering the past or a traumatizing experience we call ‘dissociating a traumatic event’. The ANP is Phobic for remembering the traumatizing experience. If the EP is triggered and starts to influence the behavior of the ANP, or even takes control of the ANP’s behavior by switching to an emotional personality state, then the ANP loses the ability to comprehend the implementation of a daily requirement or task. The influence of the EP (or more EP’s) on the ANP can cause severe agony in daily life.

This can happen within all three the levels of a trauma related structural dissociation,
primary, secondary and tertiary SD
Because all three levels have an ANP and EP part.

silence


Paragraph 2)

 

Amnesia ANP & ANP   ( tertiary SD – DID)

amnesia of daily life activities which are taken care of by more than one ANP.

example:
On a daily life base losing track of time, or not remembering doing things (tasks) in the present time. Like not knowing what you did this morning or not knowing that you did already take care of the groceries or not remembering that you did go to work this morning etc. the present time tasks (amnesia)
Amnesia caused by switching between more than one ANP.


A note to paragraph 2

This we call a Tertiary SD which is related to a Dissociative identity disorder

Amnesia for daily life tasks or daily life events, caused by more than one ANP which goes in control of taking care of daily life tasks. This only can happen by the tertiary SD, because this is the only Trauma related SD level which has more than one ANP (DID)

An example of amnesia caused by more than one ANP
Let’s take an example of 2 ANP’s

Trauma Fog

One of the tasks of ANP 1 system is:
going to work on a daily base and she/he doesn’t like physical contact

One of the tasks of ANP 2 system is:
taking care of the kids, husband/wife, and she/he has no problems with handling psychical contact.

Both ANP’s leaves aside the EP’s (memories of the past) and together they don’t leave a lot of room to the EP’s to take control of their consciousness mind. On this way they minimize and avoid the influence of EP’s on their daily life. The ANP’s focus purely on surviving daily life tasks and emotions.

If someone, without a warning, touches ANP1 on a physical way, an EP could get triggered. Then a nasty memory comes to close to the consciousness mind of ANP1 and by instinct this ANP will redraw to avoid the EP. Forcing ANP2 to take over the moment of daily life. Normally the ANP’s switch during the day by doing the tasks they each are best in and trainet to take care of, but they also provide protection against the influence of nasty EP’s

The switching moments between the ANP’s can be experienced as coming out of a very thick Fog realizing by an instant of being in the kitchen without remembering how he or she did get there. ANP2 gets confused for a moment and needs to adjust to the situation. But ANP2 can’t remember the nasty feeling which hit ANP1 before the switching moment. And ANP2 also can’t remember what took place on the moment that ANP1 was in control. Now ANP 2 suffers amnesia for the time being of ANP1 was in control, and ignores or avoids thinking about it. Likewise the other way around.
Both ANP’s are focust on thinking, there is only me and I don’t suffer a Trauma or trauma related disorder.
numb

And although the memory is not really gone….

ANP2 suffers amnesia for the time being that ANP1 was in control. They never learnt to communicate and work together and they are dead-scared for their own – but also for each others – memories. They only learnt ‘how to survive pain and nasty traumatizing events and memories’.

So here the EP’s couldn’t take over the consciousness mind of the ANP. Because if the EP’s had succeeded  ANP1 would have experienced the same agony and suffering such as described under paragraph 1 – a switching behavior to an emotional personality state – a personality state that goes under the influence of an EP –  caused by a trigger moment such as a physical touch.

ANP living
Being traumatized is also very often explained as living in a Fog
The ANP does the job that has to be done – as being on an automatic pilot.
A foggy mental state, not fully mentally sharp and or touched by daily life emotions.
Sometimes a very deep fog is needed to keep a distance of traumatized memories (EP’s)

 

 

Complex Trauma PTSD

A clinical glimpse into my own DID personality

Part I & II

(c) Nique
My own therapeutic inside out 

The progress we made during the last therapeutically year 2013 -2014 

 @M  our whole personality state
         which suffers a trauma related tertiary structural dissociation (TSD – DID)

 copyrighted

I will give you all a small glimpse into my own being and functioning

 

Maybe it helps  to make even more understandable a trauma related tertiary SD by sharing the charts we made during the past therapeutically year and the progresses we had made at the end of that year. An achievement that we hadn’t accomplished without the help of our trauma specialized clinical psychologist/psychotherapist at the Dutch Top referent trauma center TRTC Assen –Drenthe.were we have our weekly private sessions.Thank you BMC !

attention
But first a note of attention:


To all the professional mental caretakers and psychotherapists out there

please inform yourself on a professional way about the trauma related structural dissociation of the personality such as given by Kathy Steele, Onno van der Hart and Ellert Nijenhuis.

And to all readers pleas note
In order to correctly understand the explanation of my own personality systems, you need some knowledge of the summary of a SD. Be ware: Switching between personality parts is not a phenomenon that only belongs to a trauma related Structural Dissociation (SD) – such as a very complex PTSD the dissociative identity disorder (DID) – or a complex PTSD Secondary SD (OSDD) – or a less complex Post traumatic stress disorder PTSD.

There are other disorders that have symptoms of identity problems and switching behavior between personality states such as a theatrical personality disorder, a Borderline Personality disorder, a bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. A Dissociative Disorder (DD) has a wider range of being a co-morbidity disorder. And also the tertiary SD, DID, the trauma related Dissociative Identity disorder is a polysymptomatic condition which is characterized by a hidden presentation (S.Boon & N. Draijer).
So keep in mind: Diagnoses of a ‘trauma related’ structural dissociation of the personality can only be done by an experienced clinical trauma psychologist/psychotherapist which is specially taint to do so. 

*  *  *  *  *

Part I
a glimpse into my own personality systems
 

In 2006 we started visiting the trauma center and in 2010-2011 we made our first personality chart. 

Chart A
 presents only a comprehensive inventory of our personality at the beginning of a new therapeutically year 2013 – 2014. A year of hard work and weekly educational psychotherapy and therapy. Ad the beginning of that year we already knew a lot about our own being and our traumatized personality.

 huizen01aChart A:  The inventory at the beginning of another therapeutically year 2013 – 2014

 

Our ANP’s and diagnoses


House ANP 1, 2 and 3
presents “Apparently Normal Personality” states which are parts of our whole personality @m. and which presents our daily life emotion and task oriented handling systems.The middle house stands for me ‘Nique’, ANP 2. And on my left and right wing you can see two other ANP-EP’s systems which also carry their own name. I blended their name.

We are known throughout whole our life, surviving by the existence of those 3 daily life emotion and task oriented handling systems which are called ‘Apparently Normal Personality states’ ANP’s.  For this moment I call them the left-, middle and right-wing ANP/EP houses. All three the ANP houses focus purely on everyday life tasks and leave aside the EP’s of their consciousness mind.
The ANP/EP houses carry all three their own name, behavior, knowledge, history (memories of a past), their own way of  thinking and reacting. But above all their own way of handling daily life emotions and tasks. They are the same age and they all three suffer the symptoms and behavior that comes with us also being Autistic. We are born autistic, so @M carries the diagnose High Functioning Autistic with high intelligentsia. We carry a diagnostically note to the autism: Asperger level.
So yeah, it won’t surprise you all that also autistic people can suffer a severe trauma related disorder.

So the whole personality (@M) carries the diagnoses of the Axis I DSM-IV which are in our case:
a trauma related Tertiary Structural Dissociation of the personality which is related to a DID
+ Autism + and we still suffer typical PTSD symptoms. We underwent more than once very extensive diagnostically testing, We had an observation period and a diagnostically trajectory of more than a year where we had again all sorts of clinical interviews. The results; we are free of a Axis II diagnose, or a other disorder such as schizophrenia or a personality disorder.
ANP EP systems

Besides the Big ANP houses which have there own task oriented smaller ANP parts
I include a chart of only the Big ANP’s and the small task oriented ANP’s

  • The BIG houses also store EP’s
    Emotional personality parts with there own traumatic memories of the past.

How much EP’s do we own?
We don’t know and probably we will never know because we don’t want to know and we don’t count them. We work on this moment, in the present time and only with the most nasty parts which prevent us from living – we survive but we don’t live.

The 3 ANP houses such as presented by Chart A, are the big ANP/EP’s every day handling systems. And each handling systems has their own good memories and daily life task ANP’s – smaller ANP’s, but also very nasty memories which are retained by trauma related emotional personality parts (the EP’s). Some of those EP’s are partial dissociated and some EP’s are fully dissociated by an big ANP house. And some EP’s can’t or don’t dare to go in contact with an other EP or ANP which are a part of another ANP/EP system. And in each cellar of the ANP houses life very scared and dark EP’s which don’t like human approach.

  • The smaller houses on the pictures Chart A and C, are also holding EP clusters 

We call them our small ANP ‘garden cottagesand such a cottage stores more then one memory part of a repetitive abuse during childhood which took place over a longer period of time. Each ANP/EP system, the big houses, own some garden cottages. Although we mapped on chart A and C only the garden cottages we were working with on that moment. Those cottage caretakers are also  (smaller) ANP/EP systems which belong to that particularly big ANP/EP house. But I prefer to call them our cottage caretakers which take care of a daily life task and a cluster of EP’s.
Very ofthen they also bin called a host or a alter part (ANP’s). 

On the left wing house, Chart A, we mapped a couple of those little garden cottages (small AN/EP systems).
And each cottage goes under the care of one or more stronger cottage caretaker –   which also has the ability to take care of a daily life task (small ANP) such as my shower and psychical care EP (further-on more about this cottage).

tertiary SD

Chart B

This left picture, Chart B, which I made to explain the development of SD levels

  • the purple EP’s presents the care takers of a cottage (cluster /  whit there own layered EP’s) which store memories of a repetitive abuse during childhood over a longer period of time
  • the orange EP parts are single Emotional Personality parts  (EP’s) which store a part of, or a whole memory of a traumatizing experience of the past
  • the light blue color presents our ANP’s, Apparently normal personality states, which presents the daily life emotion and task systems. Emotional life systems which didn’t integrate during infancy by the cause of very early child abuse and trauma. Those emotional life systems didn’t learn to function proper as team players of a bigger system ‘the personality’.
    Click here if you want to read a definition of the ANP and EP parts


EP clusters
, cottages which belong to that particularly ANP/EP system. 

Sometimes a cottage EP or a couple of EP”s from a particularly ANP/EP system wanders of and tries to disturb, or to influence, a other ANP/EP handling system (Big House). But the house where they don’t belong to, don’t accept or recognize them as an own experience or own memory because the EP’s don’t belong to that other ANP/EP daily life handling system. They didn’t learn that they all are a part of each other and a bigger @M system – the personality.

  • Identity and names:

The 3 big ANP/EP houses are identifiable by the use of their name and by their very recognizable stable and distinctively different behavior. And also by their ability to function autonomic on a daily base (in the present time). We don’t have, don’t need and don’t want to give names to the smaller ANP’s (daily life task oriented) and smaller ANP/EP systems (cottages). So in our case only the big ANP/EP systems, the big houses, carry their own name. The EP’s which are stored by the 3 big houses we eventually recognize by their traumatizing memory / experience they store. I’m Nique, the middle house.
We are aware of those three names as far as we can remember, but then we didn’t recognize them as a part of our own being and a bigger system, the other ‘self @M’.
Those three names and houses are the big survival players of our being, history and daily life.
Our personality

Part II
The progress we made during this therapeutically year

 

Copyrighted NiqueChart C, the progress we made during the past yeas

On Chart C you see even more smaller houses. ANP/EP Cottages:  EP clusters which are going under the care of one or more strong cottage caretaker. Such a cottage caretaker can also partially function autonomic on one daily life task.
For example: none of the three big ANP houses likes to shower, so a cottage caretaker takes care of that daily life task, but such a small ANP/EP cottage system is not able to functioning totally autonomic throughout all daily life emotions and tasks.

In staying by the example of this shower Cottage caretaker, it’s the little yellow one.
This cottage stores traumatic experiences (EP’s) which came with childhood physical pain and abuse during psychical care moments. The EP”s of this cottage holds memories of the past which caused pain, physical pain reflexes, fear, hate to the own body and being, pictured memories, physical memories, etc. which came with psychical care.
Two of the big houses are gone when you mention ‘shower’. In their cellar live dead scared EP’s for showering and hate EP’s to the own body. So they can’t handle the daily life task ‘showering, bathing and or body care’. The cottage caretaker has to handle those daily life task and this cottage belongs to the garden of Nique. So the middle house has to take care of making room for the yellow cottage caretaker in order to handle daily life hygiene and physical care.  And at the same time this cottage caretaker keeps in place all the nasty memories of the past (EP’s which are stored in this cottage). You could think of a archive where all nasty experiences of a repetitive event are stored and where a cottage ANP carries the key to it.

  • Although I can’t explain everything of our progress, I can explain the most important progress

At the end of this therapeutically year (chart C) the middle and the right wing house are connecting with each other. They start recognizing each other’s presence, feelings, emotions, and they already start to integrate some of their own but also some of each other’s EP’s (marked on the chart with a +).

Results and Prognoses:

The daily gapes of not remembering are slowly starting to shrink. But they (the big houses) aren’t yet so much progressed that they can integrate with each other. And maybe the maximum achievable is better teamwork and reducing the PTSD and dissociative symptoms, because there are still a lot of ANP and EP’s which can’t connect or don’t dare to go in contact with other human beings, each other or the outside world. And also, the EP’s which are in rest we don’t want to disturb or bring to life again. If they don’t interfere and mes up our daily life on a frequently base, then we let them rest and we choice not approach them.
We don’t stir in the mud when its better to stay away of it.

ptsd vrijOur goal
Our biggest goal is more inner teamwork, don’t have so much gapes in remembering things, get a knowledge of our own biographical being and history, to get writ of the not explainable and painful defense reflexes, and learn how to handle a more emotional awareness of living without a constant high alert feeling and the need to stay on guard, a high vigilance that comes with a none stop survival mode. We don’t live, but we survive. And learn to handle a more social and human contact.
For the first time in our life we learn carefully to fly as a butterfly from one to another blue rose

We start connecting one ANP house to the other ANP house.

The switching behavior that comes as a symptom of a DID

 

To make this even more understandable . . .

Although this isn’t the case in our situation, in other cases of DID and OSDD (1 big house), cottage caretakers or smaller ANP parts can present itself as a child or a teenager or likewise different Emotional Personality states. But we @M, the left, middle and right wing ANP don’t switch to such a Personality states under the influence of an EP. We switch only between the ANP/EP systems – the Apparently Normal Personality states which protect us against the influence of cottage EP’s or single EP’s. Our big ANP/EP systems are so strong that they usually stay in control as long as possible. And if all three the big ANP/EP systems lower or suffer a lower consciousness state at the same time, and none of them is able to stay in control, then the whole personality system risks a severe panic moment, a mental black-out and in the most severe cases a neurological black-out that presents itself as a serious ‘epileptic seizure’.

 

So our ANP/EP systems don’t like ‘the past at all’ and therefore they don’t leave a lot of room to the EP’s to take controle. So it’s hard for us to explore and integrate the parts which are messing up our live.

Stay in though with your inner self
@Nique  who is coming out of the Dark box

 

Complex Trauma PTSD