Source: Labyrinth of People
- First and foremost you must believe what he/she says even though, at times, it may seem unbelievable! It may be painful for you to hear of his/her’s past but you must be willing to listen and accept what they and the others talk about. Let them know that you will be there for him/her no matter how many times you have heard their story. Sharing their painful memories is a way of validating his/her’s feelings.
- Never downplay the abuse they have endured. Any kind of abuse is damaging! Do not tell them you understand because you were not there and do not know how they feel. You can be compassionate to their emotions but do not compare their pain.
- Make sure you never imply that the abuse was somehow their fault! Children do not ask to be abused! They may carry guilt for not telling anyone or for not putting up a fight. They were a child and the fears they had during the abusive acts were a powerful silencer. The important thing for him/her to understand is that he/she is a survivor and they are healing.
- Allow them to express him/her emotions! Do not tell them not to cry or it’s okay. It may be frightening to you when he/she has emotional responses to the memories that emerge. Let them scream, cry, and/or pound a pillow. This is a healthy positive release of feelings that were locked away for so many years. You are a supportive sounding board for them. Love him/her by just listening.
- If you are unfamiliar with MPD or child abuse you may find it helpful to visit your local library. There are many books about it and the more you educate yourself the better support you will be able to give.
- If your loved one is deeply depressed or speaks of suicide you must take them seriously! Call his/her’s therapist, local emergency room, First Call For Help, and/or your local suicide hotline. You should not attempt to help them on your own but just stay calm.
- It is extremely important that you remain patient with them during their healing process. It can be a slow painful journey. Every person heals at their own pace and cannot be pressured to move faster.
- You absolutely have to accept all of his/her individual parts. There may be an alter you do not like but you must remain neutral. Do not express negative or hurtful feelings towards them. It will make the situation worse! To the opposite side, do not play favorites! That can cause great animosity in the inner system.
- There may be times during their healing that they will not feel sexual. Respect the fact that his/her abusive memories are too fresh for them to be intimate. Do not get angry with them or make him/her feel guilty. Remember he/she is now learning what it means to no longer be a victim! He/She needs your understanding and love right now.
- There may be times you feel like giving up or leaving. It can be difficult to maintain a strong relationship when you have to share him/her with so many people. They may intentionally create chaos because he/she is comfortable with what is familiar to them. This is why you need to have support, be educated and have the patience of Job! Be prepared for the bad days, as they will consistently be there, and learn how to handle those days. Being in love with a multiple can be exciting, fun, chaotic, stressful, interesting and most certainly not boring!
Support for people who have a loved one with DID/MPD is very important!! I can’t stress this enough. You must have an outlet, whether it be a therapist, chaplain, TRUSTED friend or support group. The one who you choose to trust with your venting outlet, make sure it is one that keeps your confidentiality. If you have no one to vent your frustrations to you’ll end up blowing up on your loved one, which in turn can trigger a sequence of chaotic events!