DID: What Can Internal Cooperation Look Like?

We’ve always struggled to imagine what internal cooperation looks like. Our psychologist and psychiatrist have been gently pushing us to work on it for years now. We’ve always agreed with them that more cooperation inside would be better. It’s just, the whole thing is so abstract.

It’s not a difficult concept to grasp. All of us talking to each other more, working on things together, doing things for the greater good. It sounds alright. It would mean that life would run more smoothly, right? We wouldn’t lose as much time, there’d be less acting out from different parts. It sounds pretty good.

Until recently all of that was a concept. I understood the concept, but that was it. I couldn’t imagine what it might look like, or how we’d make it work. Now though, I think I get it.

Miss 19 has said that now there’s much less crisis switching, and that she thinks everyone understands that we’re all parts of a whole. She and Miss 16 are now helping out with day-to-day decisions and tasks.

That still doesn’t  quite capture what increased internal cooperation looks like for us. In the past we’d switch when triggered, and whoever was out would be solely focussed on meeting their own needs. That could be as simple as watching a TV show they enjoy, eating their favourite food, playing with a favourite toy, or doing whatever they felt was needed to manage how they were feeling.

That last one is the one that has caused the most trouble and conflict in the past. We’ll switch and someone who’s very distressed can be out on their own. Feeling overwhelmed they’ll do whatever they think will make them feel better. Unfortunately those things tend to be rather damaging and unhelpful, and most often involve self-harm.

How does internal cooperation change that? We help each other. We support each other. We talk about what’s happening and don’t leave one part to deal with everything on their own. If someone is out and feeling distressed they either won’t be out on their own, or they’ll be taken back inside and kept safe. Sometimes that means other parts forcing me inside so that I can rest, and they can do the things I’ve been struggling with.

Knowing that I don’t have to do everything on my own, that everyone inside will help with what they can, is a relief. Parts are no longer completely focussed on themselves. They still have things they enjoy doing, but they’re happy to be out and doing what’s best for all of us. That means a little less stress for me, and less day-to-day chaos.

I’m hopeful that this will be a longterm change, but I do realise that it’s something that we’ll all need to keep working on with support from our team.


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