[This is a discussion that will contain many possible Trigger Warnings, so please make sure you are in a safe and stable place before reading on.]
This is Boss and today I will explain a little about what structural dissosiation is. It’s quite a complex topic to discuss so bare with me.
To make it simpler for you to follow I will be using the example of two children, I’ll call them X and Y.
X is a child from a toxic environment and experiences violence on a daily basis.
Y is a child from a healthy trauma free environment.
So Y will provide the counter example to child X.
Keep in mind I will be simplifying many things in order to make them more comprehensive and clear.
Child Y (age >5) is living in a healthy, loving and caring environment where all of his needs are being taken care of. At this stage of development the child hasn’t got a cohesive sense of identity and self (at this stage the child has different aspects of personality: Y.1 that’s hyper when playing, Y.2 thats fussy when he needs a hug, etc.).
Each of Y needs are being met and at this point his brain is developing correctly.
Child X (age >5) as I have said before is living in an unhealthy environment full of abuse and neglect. This child’s needs are not being cared for and child X also experiences extreme often life threatening abuse.
At this point just like child Y child X hasn’t developed a sense of self (child X.1 that’s hyper when playing, child X.2 that’s fussy when he needs a hug, etc.)
Unlike child Y child X doesn’t receive the love and attention he requires, but on the contrary is being abused for having thouse very needs.
Child Y (age 5-9) is still developing correctly and the aspects of personality begin to integrate into one singular sense of self.
This means that Y.1 hyper in pay and Y.2 fussy for food or attention starts identifying as one singular child Y.
Child X (age 5-9) is still experiencing extreme abuse. It’s here where Dissociative Identity Disorder begins to form.
Because of the abuse that is happening X.1 who is hyper for play may not be aware of the abuse that is being experienced when X.2 is being fussy for a hug.
At this point in very simple terms the brain realizes that if X.1 and X.2 integrate into one cohesive X the abuse experienced would render X incapable of functioning or even surviving.
Because of this X.1 and X.2 (etc.) instead of integrating like in the case of child Y begin to separate from one another more.
This forms what is called amnesia barriers between said aspects of personality. In consequence each of these parts may have little to no awarness of each others existence.
At this point X.1, X.2, etc. continue developing individual sense of self simultaneously.
This means that:
X.1 may develop as an outgoing, happy go lucky girl, that has no knowledge of the abuse that has happend to X.2. There for this person can function within the world unburden by trauma.
X.2 may develop into a quiet an shy boy, with a good sense of surroundings. This will enable him to easier stay out of the way of his abusor and aware of any potential danger.
It’s important to remember that while X.1 in the example I gave is the one that in simple terms ‘runs the life of the body’ unaware of the abuse, X.2 may still be able to take control of the body when more trauma occurs.
NEXT TIME I will explain terminology commonly used in the DID community.