Posting this as T-E-C as we’ve been working on it off and on since the last blog post, and its kind of a community effort. (If folks are interested in how we communicate and collaborate with each other, ask, and we’ll write a blog post or two on it.)

Back to this blog post…

We’re going to lie to you.

We’re used to hiding behind a Janet mask. We’re used to being quiet and flying under the radar. Most of our instincts are to hide our identities. Some people may be able to tell us apart if they know us, but even our Mom doesn’t always get it right, and she knows us better than anyone. And that’s often because of deliberate deception on our part. We don’t want you to know.

We aim to please, to keep people happy so they don’t get angry with us. That’s very old programming that’s very deeply embedded. If we think you really want to see alter X, well, it isn’t as easy as reaching back in our head and pulling someone else out. It doesn’t work that way. Most of our switches are still involuntary. So we act the part of who you want to see, at least as much as we’re able to… Is Sharon going to be able to tell you how to configure BGP on a router? Nope. Is Saoirse going to care at all about the plot of Warrior Nun? Nope. That doesn’t mean we won’t try to hold up the facade, especially if that facade is being Janet.

We’re going to lie to you.

We’re going to say we’re “sick” with physical symptoms of X, when we’re not. This applies to work, social events, etc. This is because the real excuse can’t (couldn’t?) be offered. The truth is we ARE sick in a way, just not as described. Today would have been a good example if Saoirse wasn’t such a trooper. Zero sleep, stressed out, switching all over the place… yeah, in that condition we’re not going anywhere. We’re not safe to drive, for one. But explaining that is a lot of work, especially if people don’t know about or understand our disorder. It’s just easier to say “I have a stomach bug”.

We’re going to lie to you.

We’re going to say things are OK, when they really aren’t. Again, that’s in our basic programming – the system is meant to present an “Everything is OK” face to the world, even in the face of repeated abuse and trauma. If we do admit things are fucked, it paradoxically means we feel kind of secure in life – we feel safe enough to show a little weakness. It’s not unusual for us to fall apart when our life is actually going really well. That’s because we’ve been hanging on by a thread for a long time, and finally feel safe enough to open up, and possibly process some of the backlog of trauma circling around inside.

We’re going to lie to you.

Memory is a tricky thing for us. Different alters will hold different memories. Some memories might be shared between alters. Some memories might be available if we go digging for them, kind of like remembering a dream. While this applies to things from 40 years ago, it can just as easily apply to things from 40 minutes ago if there has been a switch.

Amnesia is not an all or nothing type of deal, there’s a wide and fuzzy spectrum. But, sometimes the person coming forward will have no bloody idea what’s going on. You see us get quiet? We’re assessing the situation. Is there a threat? Are we hurt? Or was this some random ass trigger? What day and time is it? Do I need to be doing something? Check apple watch, iphone, and/or computer… Are there calendar entries? Notes? Emails? What the fuck is going on? What conversational cues are there – do I need to lean in and nod? Laugh? Maybe I can interrupt the flow of conversation somehow. Let me excuse myself to go to the bathroom, then when I return I’ll be more grounded, and I can say “Sorry about that, now where were we?”….

We’re going to lie to ourselves and each other.

The best way to lie is to believe the lie. Back to that “everything is ok” facade. We keep things from Janet precisely so she can face the world. We keep things from each other for similar reasons. So, if you suspect that we’re not ok, but we insist we are, that may actually mean we’ve bought into the lie, and don’t all consciously realize things are amiss. Or we might really be OK. Learn to listen to our actions other than our words, because we are trixy hobbititses.

We’re going to lie to you… We lie to protect ourselves. We lie to keep people happy and avoid conflict. We lie to cover up our condition….

But we’re never going to deliberately lie to hurt you or somebody else.