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Communication in Dissociative Identity Disorder - DID

Updated on June 24, 2014
Dissociation and internal communication
Dissociation and internal communication | Source

Abuse and Trauma Steals Successful Communication with Self

Abuse is real and it happens somewhere to someone every day. When you see someone who had been abused repeatedly the external effects are visible but the inside effects and losses are invisible.

One of your greatest losses experienced through repetitive abusive and/or traumatic life threatening experiences is the loss of communication with parts of yourself is a protective reaction. This disconnection can also be viewed as the separation of your head (thoughts) and body (emotions) otherwise known as dissociation. In very severe and complex cases, such as Dissociative Identity Disorder, communication with parts of self becomes non-existent, a complete compartmentalization of thoughts and emotions.

Abusers/perpetrators teach their victims, overtly and covertly, to not to listen to self because self caused the abuse or trauma to happen. Victims were taught that self was bad, dirty, damaged, defective, and worthless and especially sub-standard to everyone else. Realistically, if the aforementioned concept is correct, and self is at fault then why would the victim ever want to listen self (or parts of self), or have a relationship with someone (self) believed was less than others?

From that point on a victim only listens to information about themselves from external sources (abusers, or other people). Abuser's force the victim to adopt the abuser’s "false truth" about the victim, not the victim's truth about self. Acceptance of the abuser's distorted false truth and rejection of self is viewed by the abuser as a demonstration of loyalty to the abuser and a major indication that the programming or indoctrination has successfully been embedded.

What is the result?

As a result of no internal communication between parts of self there is a sense of emptiness, loneliness, fear and uneasiness. To counter those feelings, attempts are made to fill the emptiness with inappropriate relationships with addictions, self rejecting acts, other people, objects, jobs, money, symbols or status even though these relationships might be abusive, damaging, unhealthy, harmful or toxic. Self and parts of self no longer matter to the victim because the thoughts become “I would rather be with someone else then with myself, "I hate living in my own skin", "I hate me”.

Without this ability to communicate with self, the person lives with advice, lies, criticism, false perceptions, and distorted truths of self. Life’ direction and control comes from the outside – other people.

‘Without communication with self there is not self love. Vulnerability to outside attacks increases.”

In order to become healthier, you have to begin communicating with self (inner child) or parts of self all over again. This process is called internal communication (IT). Internal communication is a personal right, strength and healthy need. Internal communication is what helps healthy people keep his or her authenticity, balanced and truth of self. IT will increase degree of love and relationship with their self. Internal communication is an essential element for a successful recovery from Depression and Anxiety, Dissociation, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Stress Disorder and PTSD syndrome.

Dissociative Identity Disorders: Healing Together Presentation

Books and DVD's

Separated From the Light a Way Back Professional DVD
Separated From the Light a Way Back Professional DVD

Watch Dr. Bill as he teaches his theories and principles on Dissociation, Movement of self as a reaction to Trauma and abuse, Dissociative Continuum, PTSD, how clients dance with their symptoms, Incorporation Therapy and what lead him to develop the healing life skill: Rapid Reduction Technique (RRT). RRT is a life skill that effectively reduces the intensity of intrusive traumatic memories, flashbacks, and body memories by safely and protectively assisting in closure of the overwhelming emotions that were not dealt with during the original traumatic event. The RRT is explained, taught, and demonstrated in this DVD series is a helpful skill that for survivors as well as a powerful tool for the helping professional.


Internal communication

Internal communication is the most understood issue of recovery. By definition internal communication is simply the exploration your internal environment, otherwise known as self. IT is imparting or the interchange of thoughts, dreams, feelings, ideas, opinions, needs and /or information transmitted either on a mental, emotional, spiritual or symbolic level. If you cannot interact with your own inner environment, through talking, sharing, negotiating, compromising, understanding, accepting, trusting, forgiving, nurturing or comforting then you are only fooling yourself and your relationship is a false one.

Therefore without internal communication, you are unable to perceive what is harmful in other relationships, and you end up getting abused, hurt, abandoned, disappointed and disrespected. You will even hang onto and remain in very destructive or toxic relationships which resemble your past ones. If you do not change the pattern then you are destined to repeat it over and over again.

What to do?

One of the main aims of the recovery process is to enhance internal communication. Initially forming a relationship with self will feel like a betraying someone or something feels and very uncomfortable. But as you gain time and experience in this process your skill level will increase, flow easier and you will become more comfortable. Below are some tips to assist you in understanding and developing your own internal communication with you.

Create an Action Plan

9 Keys Steps to a more Successful Communication and Relationship with Parts of Self:

The key to being successful in creating internal communication, you have to dare to risk learning new skills and put them into action even though you were taught it was wrong and forbidden.

1. Focus on you

2. Like and Love you

3. Accept you

4. Forgive you

5. Be honest with you

6. Trust you

7. Never turn your back on you

8. Never break a promise to you

9. Always take responsibility for all your behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and reactions.

You will have to practice these new behaviors, thoughts and emotional skills in order to feel comfortable with communicating with self and parts of self. If you do then you will become increasingly more confident, successful, and whole as well as move into a healthier relationship.

For more information on DID, abuse and trauma recovery, then go to


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    • Dr Bill Tollefson profile image

      Bill Tollefson 4 years ago from Southwest Florida

      Put what you want into action. Talk to you every day and most important. is to listen to you. Things will improve after that.

    • tigerblue72 profile image

      tigerblue72 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      How am I supposed to change that cycle? I am absolutely clueless?

    • Dr Bill Tollefson profile image

      Bill Tollefson 6 years ago from Southwest Florida

      tigerblue72 - Thanks for your insights. When we are focused on finding out the answers for everything, we tend to be focused on the past and missing what is happening in the moment.

    • tigerblue72 profile image

      tigerblue72 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I am curious to know how can one person know what I am like or say what qualities I hold by a conversation, not even meeting face to face? That question still floors me to this day! Not that I am complaining, just curious. I do tend to be the type to need answers for everything, and I do know at some point I will need to do that on my own. I think?

    • Dr Bill Tollefson profile image

      Bill Tollefson 6 years ago from Southwest Florida

      tigerblue72 - The person you heard those three words from I am in total agreement with your statement. For years in my book and work with survivors of abuse and trauma, I have said that anyone who has survived an an overwhelming life event is strong, creative and intelligent. Also a true gift in life is understanding yourself and that you hold those three qualities.

    • tigerblue72 profile image

      tigerblue72 6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Someone recently told me that I was three words and I quote "strong, creative, and intelligent" however this person came to these words in one phone call lasting for about an hour or so, do I now realize where some of my problem lies, being misdiagnosed for many years has taken its toll on me. I do believe now I understand myself a bit more than I thought I had. Although I wish I could put a name to this person but sadly I cannot.

    • Dr Bill Tollefson profile image

      Bill Tollefson 6 years ago from Southwest Florida

      BobbiRant - I am glad you made such an honest comment. Everyone needs to know that this condition is a normal response to being put in an overwhelming situation like combat. No, not all Vets who suffer from PTSD are nuts or have a bad reaction.

    • BobbiRant profile image

      BobbiRant 6 years ago from New York

      Maybe my ex husband suffered from this plus PTSD, whatever he suffered from, he would deny being an abuser, but I chalked him up as a chronic liar. But maybe this was also it. But after while I just got fed up with making his problems my life's mission. I married another Vietnam vet and finally learned not ALL Vietnam vets are nuts. Sad to say,but true, I Really thought all were. Great hub!

    • Joni Lynelle profile image

      Joni Lynelle 6 years ago from Kansas, USA

      Dr. Bill,

      It is always nice to come across anyone who accepts that DID is real, but even nicer when it is a professional who works with those of us who struggle with it. Thanks for this article.

      I am going to try to find the episode of the Oprah show that you mentioned, I hope it is still available somewhere.

      Along those lines, CSI: Miami had a show based around a young women with DID and I was so thankful for the accurate portrayal. They did, for the sake of a one hour show, have to speed the process up for the amount of time it would take one to make contact with an alter, but I gave them props for depicting it as real, calling it DID instead of MPD, and giving the average person a little glimpse into what really happens within the mind of one who lives with it.

      Thanks again!

      Joni Lynelle

    • profile image

      Lambservant 7 years ago

      Dr. Bill,

      I believe this information will help a lot of people who are in the throes of this chaotic and frightening condition. There is hope and healing as you say. It is truly a gift to have you on hubpages.

    • profile image

      mkp 7 years ago

      Dr Bill

      thank you as always for the continued insight that you provide not only for those dealing with DID but also for those who don't have any idea what it's like to suffer with it. Hopefully it will allow increased compassion, love, understanding, and accectance both of oneself as the suffer and from others. Bringing it more into public awareness by Oprah's show and hubpages such as this is a great way increase awareness of the condition. Thank you for publishing the article.

    • profile image

      kimberly conway 7 years ago

      Dr Bill, one of the very few professionals who understands the challenges ,as well as the blessings, of having D.I.D. If you ever have the opportunity to meet Dr Bill, consider yourself blessed. He is a remarkable man!! Kudos to you, Dr Bill!!

    • webnatin profile image

      webnatin 7 years ago

      thanks for sharing. I was not able to watch this stuff like this on Oprah.

    • profile image

      kim nichols 7 years ago

      Dr. Bill,

      Thank you for a very powerful message. I'm working hard on my continued recovery. Each day is a gift from God. Thanks again, Kim

    • Sage Williams profile image

      Sage Williams 7 years ago

      Dr. Bill - Awesome job on this hub and welcome to hubpages. I did happen to catch Oprah's show the other day, quite by accident and I am glad that I did.

      I can relate to much of what you have written about. Although, I was never diagnosed as DID, let's just say, I was high on the dissociative continuum.

      Athough, there was a time where I may not have agreed with your beliefs. I can look at them today and say that you are right on the mark.

      My healing and recovery process took place many years ago. I will always be grateful to my therapist for his compassionate demeanor, guidance and knowledge.

      I would not be here today if it was not for the therapeutic relationship that was developed.

      It is really nice to see a professional, like your self on hubpages who is well versed and knowledgeable on this topic.

      As there are many people who could certainly benefit by reading your topics etc.

      Welcome to hubpages, rated up and bookmarked.