Why Your Pity Doesn't Help With My Dissociative Identity Disorder

Editor’s Note: If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

I like to write about my dissociative identity disorder (DID) to educate people about the disorder, and because I selfishly hope it is somehow therapeutic for me to open up about the secret life I have lived. I will forever be an advocate for those in need of help.

At times, in order for people to understand the origins of my DID, I have written about the horrific abuse I experienced in my childhood. It is unimaginable to most people, and frankly, sometimes overwhelming to them. A common response I will get from people who have read about my history is pity. They feel so sorry for me, which is a hard pill for me to swallow. I don’t feel sorry for me. I feel angry and hurt and lost and sad.

I guess, if I was still a child, that pity might have meant something to me. Maybe.

I am a survivor now. I am way past needing anyone to feel sorry for me. Nothing can change my past. It is done.

As I sit here writing this, I realize this kind of sounds rude, and I really don’t mean to. It’s just hard for me to hear someone have pity for me. It doesn’t help me.

I am fortunate to have survived a childhood many children perhaps wouldn’t have. My DID allowed me to survive as a child. Now, as an adult, my DID threatens my survival from time-to-time and definitely makes my life more difficult, to say the least.

Still, I don’t want your pity.

I want your understanding of DID. I want you to be outraged about how people with DID are treated in the world and by the mental health system. I want you to be aware of the severity of child abuse going on in this world, and perhaps even in your own neighborhood. I want you to save a child you suspect may be getting abused. And I want you to contribute to making the world a better place by helping people with DID get the resources they need to heal, or at least live.

I am fortunate to have many blessings in my life, in spite of the DID. I have an amazing spouse and am blessed with two gorgeous children. I have had times when I have had really successful careers, and have felt good about the work I have contributed to this planet to make it better for others. I have a nice home, health insurance, cute dogs, and I live in a nice neighborhood with many loving people in my life.

If you read any of my other writings, you will also know my life is not a bed of roses. But, I am making it through life anyway, and I am hell bent on healing despite the odds and the naysayers.

For me, what matters most is the people behind me who aren’t as fortunate to have the resources and support I have. They are living in a daily hell, and they need all of our support, advocacy and love.

No one needs pity. When has pity ever helped anyone?

People who have been so severely traumatized as children that their minds split apart so they could survive need so much more from you than pity.

Start with trying to understand, and follow with compassion. And hopefully, the rest of my wishlist for you will follow.

If you or a loved one is affected by sexual abuse or assault and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

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Thinkstock photo via bobiwankanobi

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