Am I Fragmented Too? (Guest post: Robert Miller)
Today I have a very special guest writer with a guest post about fragmentation here on my blog. If you’ve read my recent newsletter then you know the significance of this man in my life. WINK WINK
It’s an honor to be an up-close witness to his story.
Fragmentation on a More Common Level
Jade talks a lot about the need to normalize discussion of fragmentation and dissociation. It’s a precious thing, but I agree with her that fragmentation is far more common than a lot of people would like to admit.
My name is Robert, and I do not have DID. I have, however, been through a lot of trauma, just like many of us have.
A little over a year ago I started an inner journey with a therapist, embarking on 6 months of EMDR, and during that time began learning how to do my own inner child work, and inner healing.
Like most common inner child therapy sessions, I was guided and instructed to go inside. There I found a version of myself. He was alone and scared, and needed a lot of comfort. I think this is a common theme among us, most can relate.
I spent weeks nurturing and spending time holding this child.
It did wonders for me.
That little one I was loving on was my inner 8-year-old. That was a hard year, full of rejection.
You see, I have built an inner world for myself to organize my thoughts and sort through my struggles, trauma and poor inner self-talk. To sort through my lack of self-love.
I had moved the boy into my inner “safe-house.” He loved it there. I set up an art table for him. I gave him what he needed to be free, unafraid and just rest.
For some time, I rode on the love I had given that boy. But then, a new trigger, a new event sent me spiraling into a PTSD frenzy. I couldn’t see straight. Something was wrong inside. I checked on the 8-year-old, but he was just fine. What on earth?
So, I went hunting in my heart and mind.
If there’s anything that I cling to, it’s this one bit of advice that my therapist taught me: Do not hate your fear and triggers. Thank them. They are a gift. Honor them. They have protected you when things were far from safe. They served a purpose.
But this time, I went a little further. I talked to it. I asked it what it was and what purpose it needed.
An 11 year old boy revealed himself. He was confused and crippled with fear, because people keep leaving. He has a name.
Now there were two boys living in my mental home. I walk and talk with them. They need to be heard.
Then, another event… now, I had a 17-year-old. He has no face, only smoke and flame. He blends in to whatever his accusers need in order to survive. He has a name, and he needs to be heard.
Then I go through a divorce. I am on my own for the first time IN MY LIFE. I’m crippled with fear of screwing things up. Again, I go inside, and a 25-year-old reveals himself. Desperate to keep his wife and his ideal of a life. He’s desperate… he WILL make things happen, but he’s exhausted. He has a name, and he NEEDS to be heard.
Fast forward to yesterday.
Jade and I are working through some internal friction. I was struggling and spinning, and I wanted to just tel it to shut up and shut it down. My emotions are intense (always… just ask Jade) and I couldn’t find a way to just set it aside.
I realize, it’s my 25 year old, and I decided to just let him take over and talk to a friend. Luckily for me, Jade doesn’t find this weird in the slightest.
So, we sat there for a good half hour, talking, crying, and venting. He just wanted to be heard.
It was cathartic and bittersweet.
So many times our inner turmoil needs to be heard. It needs a friend.
Often, it simply needs a hug.
I’m getting less and less afraid to explore my own fragmentation. It’s amazing to me how our minds file things away and store joy, sorrow and trauma. There really seems to be a spectrum in all of this, and I’ve actually been amazed at how much I’m actually learning to use fragmentation as a tool.
More than any of this, however, is the realization that often, pain needs to be heard. That empathy, both within ourselves as well as from without, saves lives.