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sinkorswim June 25th, 2008 11:08 PM

Introjected perps

Can u please explain the concept of introjects? I am ddnos and have one older ego state that is really mean. I have never been mean and my others are not mean either. This one is destructive and wants to hurt the others.(even the really little ones), she just doesn't care. I am thinking that I took this on from someone else. It could be that I just have one inner kid with extreme anger but to me it feels like it came from somewhere else. Can you explain this for me?? I haven't been able to find enough info to make it clear.

Sandra Paulsen June 26th, 2008 12:23 AM

Re: Introverted perps
I'll be happy to talk about this subject in general terms -- but they may or may not apply to you. I don't have enough info, but I'll try to make the points generally useful. Additionally, I only have a little time now, but I can get started and add more later -- it's a big subject.

I'm thinking you mean that you want me to explain introjects, rather than introverts, because the subject raised is about taking in meanness.

At the moment of trauma by a perpetrator, a child learns about meanness, cruelty, sadism, or maybe just selfishness....and they learn to be treated as if they are an object. They see themselves as the perpetrator saw them - an object to be used. At the same time, they may feel attached to the perpetrator, if the perpetrator is a primary caretaker, or a source of something resembling love.

So it is quite handy to be able to have one part of the self in charge of feeling attached, and another part in charge of holding the meanness. This is very clever, because it solves two problems, in a way, maintaining the attachment or "love" such as it is, and holding the meanness, which the child unavoidable learned about, and puts it over there, in that part that doesn't seem to be oneself. the unsolvable double bind, how can one be loved by someone who hurts one, is solved by only having one end of it in conscious mind at a time. Or maybe one part "owns" the attachment, and one part holds the meanness at bay.

Now, parts that hold meanness often are pushed away, hated, by other parts of the self, because both mean part and other parts may get confused, and think the mean part is ACTUALLY the perpetrator, not an internal likeness of one. At the time of trauma it was adaptive, but decades later, its like having an obsolete job description.

Ran out of time, will follow up another time about treatment and some other points. In the meantime, if this is unclear, do ask. Again, its a general description and as I always say, the kids don't get the manual, and therefore every self system is a little different.

If this is disturbing to any reader, well, take it to therapy, or invite parts of self in charge of forgetting to just let this slip away until the time is right.

sinkorswim June 27th, 2008 03:01 AM

Re: Introjected perps
Yes, I mean in introjects. Typed the wrong word . I have read some of your work and you have mentioned them. I would be glad to have more info when you have time. From what you have said it sounds like one alter takes on all the meaness since it is too much for the child to bear. And I do have a sense of this one not quite being one of "mine". If the others see this alter as the perpetrator that would make sense.

I understand you speak in general terms.. This is all so confusing and you can't know anything about me

Please come back to this when you have the time. I really appreciate the info. I have been trying to explain this to my therapist but I am not sure he totally understands what I am saying. If you would allow me to use your words to explain I would be grateful.

Sandra Paulsen June 27th, 2008 10:24 AM

Re: Introverted perps
Surely, print off anything here and show it to your therapist. Lots of therapists have not been trained in dissociation, probably most therapists.

There are several adaptive reasons why introjects come into being:
a) they hold all the meanness, which would otherwise be something the child would have to acknowledge is in herself (it seems to be in that one over there)
b) it keeps the child's behavior under the thumb of the internal perpetrator, which may make the external perpetrator less likely, or at least its a try,
c) it allows the child to maintain whatever attachment there may be to the perpetrator, by blurring the boundary between outside and inside, kind of cementing the bond across the boundary,
d) it "encysts" the meanness. This is similar to a) above, but here it refers to the way a cyst encapsulates pus, so the toxin doesn't spread all over the body. In a) the emphasis was on the child acknowledging that there is meanness (or other perpetration sensibilities) in her,
e) it is really the only way the child knows to go. At the moment of trauma, the perperator's narcissism causes him/her to see the child as an object to be used, not a person with humanity, deserving compassion. so the child learns, "I'm an object to be used, I have not human, I am defective." The identificaiton with the perpetrator, and the introjection of the perpetrator, means the child has adopted that point of view, through the eyes of the perpetrator (that's why the name of my workshop and forthcoming book includes, "looking through the eyes" in the tite).
f) with the perpetrators point of view internalized in an introject, the child gets to experience power the way the perpetrator did, instead of only getting to feel like a helpless victim,
g) any injured or traumatized child will be profound shame -- about being a helpless victim, or about having a body that responds the way it was designed to, about not preventing harm, about being "defective," about being to blame, and on and on. Not all of the above, but some of them or other beliefs about being shameful. When the child takes in the perpetrator's point of view, through introjection, it memorializes the dynamic of shame, repeating it over and over in flashbacks or nightmares or in reenactments of experiences reminiscent of the trauma,
h) behavioral reenactents of perptetration and being a helpless victim may be the only way a childl, or a grown up child, has to tell their story. When the experience is unconscious, in whole or in part, the story is underground and can't be told by words in the conscious mind. But "the body keeps the score", and the behavior tells the story of perpetration. So then the introject is a story teller, helping to memorialize what needs to be healed.
i) Finally, remember that an introject is a child part of self wearing an introject costume. When we remember that, it is easier to have compassion for the internal perpetrator.

Therapists also can get confused and incorrectly believe an introject is the external perpetrator in a way, and try to get rid of it or blame it. But this forgets the adaptive (and thankless) job a perpetrator introject serves in survival.

I still haven't gotten to the treatment piece. Out of time again.

sinkorswim June 27th, 2008 11:26 PM

Re: Introjected perps
It is going to take me awhile to grasp of of this. Unfortunately, I think that I "know" much of this already. It is just hard to digest in words. I am grateful that you have taken the time to answer my questions. I will have more questions after I have had time to think about it. The one I think is the introject is, as you said,, separate from the others. She has no pity, no feelings at all for any of the others. She knows there are others but they are nothing to her. She is the ultimate authority and they have no choice but to do whatever she wants to do.. :eek:

I am very discouraged Sandra, but I don't have much choice but to keep working at it. I need to learn to connect with my inner kids and have to learn to take care of them but I feel nothing at all. I can't work much on my ddnos or EMDR at all until I can connect with them. I can logically look at them and know what happened and what a normal human reaction would be, but it isn't there for me.

Sandra Paulsen June 28th, 2008 08:33 AM

Re: Introjected perpetrator
Speaking in general terms again, since I don't have the info to advise on your specific situation, for most clients who are quite dissociative, EMDR WON"T WORK if the "highest honcho" isn't on board, which is often (but not always) an introject of the perpetrator. It will just get stuck, because the introject identifies more with the perpetrator than the victim, and so will keep healing and talking about any secrets quiet. Also, that introject may think the victim is a nobody, and doesn't deserve to be heard or to heal.

Treatment (I'm finally getting around to treatment) typically involves the following and the sequence is very important:
1) it's not just the "front" part/s of self that need to be on board,
2) there needs to be a means to speak to parts of self, often the "conference room"
3) one mustn't prematurely get involved in talking to the child parts, because that may just inflame the perpetrator introject,
4) the therapist needs to address the highest ranking honcho/s first, and get them on board with therapy by:
5) orienting them, very concretely to Person, Please and Time. For example (and I am making this up), "By the way, Father-Part-of-the-Self, did you know that you are in the body with Greta-Marie? [he thinks that's ridiculous], "Don't take my word for it, but here, look in this mirror -- whose face is that through which eyes you are looking? And did you know it is 2008? and she is 47 years old? [he thinks that's bogus], look through the eyes at the body, if you would. Is that a child's body? Or Father's body? and here, look at this magazine, it says San Francisco Magazine, July 2008. And this newspaper. See? She isn't in Miami any more. And you aren't the external father, but an internal likeness of him. I'm guessing you originally came to protector her. Thank you for holding the Father energy all these years. A thankless job, but someone had to do it. Thanks for making her keep the secrets, that helped her survive. Do you have a burden too? [nods sadly]. I'll help you with your burden too, Father Part of the Self. You're not on the hook for his crimes, you took this job when she was a little girl. The shame was not yours, it was his."
There's a lot more too it, this is a summary, but once this (or a longer version of this) has been accomplished (sometimes more than once), and its harder with a more dissociative person, THEN the therapy can begin, and for some, the EMDR can begin, if other things are in place.

There is more to it, and the only place I know to find it will be in my "Looking Through the Eyes" book coming out this year. It is written for both the public and professionals and will have over a hundred of my original cartoons to illustrate key concepts of ego state work, including introject work.

sinkorswim June 28th, 2008 05:13 PM

Re: Introjected perps

I do realize that this is an EMDR website and that I am a bit off-topic but my Therapist would like to use EMDR in the future. As far as I can see, that will be quite awhile. We did it once and the results for me were truly tramatic. It was like being victimized all over again. Like being forced to comply in silence. It took me days to get over it. I was dissociated for a long time and that is a painful state to be in.

You are the only one who I have found who talks about introjected perps and that is the only thing that makes sense to me. I have never been a mean or evil person but sometimes my thoughts are really sick and it scares me that I could even think that way. They are detached thoughts, coming from somewhere "over there", and I beleive that they are from an introject. It is very hard to work with my alters because there is so much I don't know about them and I can't usually call them up at will. They usually just appear.

I know you are speaking in general terms but could you answer one more question for me? I think I am not the only one who has a feeling of disbelief about the whole ddnos thing. I feel as though I am a drama queen and am making everything up (even when i see from my own experiences of when an alter comes up that there is no way I could fake it). I feel fear and sometimes terror. Is there a way for me to beleive that it is real? I have trouble working on something that I don't truly beleive in.

There is not much info on ddnos. I think the experience varies so greatly and is not as defined as DID..And there is no info on introjects. I will wait for your book.. I wish it was out now :(

Sandra Paulsen June 28th, 2008 10:29 PM

Re: Introverted perps
Actually this is not off topic. Lots of clients, to use EMDR, need ego state preparations, in my opinion.

Everything nearly that works in treating DID works with DDNOS, including parts work. The only thing that one can't do with DDNOS is work behind an amnesia barrier, because there is none. Some use hypnosis to create an amnesia barrier, and that's one way to go.

Again, generally, it is enormously common for the part/s that "do life", the "apparently normal" ego states, to not believe the whole thing. That's ok, and its related to the amnesia barrier thing. In DID and in DDNOS, the front may not believe the parts business, but as long as they show up, let the deep necessary work happen, and show up to drive home, the work gets done. I've exaggerated that to make the point. Actually the front part/s also get therapy time too, just not the whole thing.

I remember 18 years ago when I first encountered DID and started looking to see what could be understood and treated using ego state work, I was dumbfounded by how far the application was. After getting past my own wonderment about whether what I was seeing could be true, I found that I could often produce great results for people wiht a combination of EMDR and ego state work.

Back then, in 1991, EMDR people thought I was off my rocker I think, but now that view is held by many EMDR practitioners and there are many presentations on ego state work.

Talk therapy that doesn't take ego states into account is only dealing with the front of the house that is the client. For clients to have to read about their own ego state therapy and theory is difficult, because often just the front of the house is doing the reading and writing on the internet! Now if people could get more of their self system to understand how, for example, their perpetrator introjects are misunderstood protectors, the inner world might be a different place. That's why in my book, I use over 100 original cartoons. Using metaphors, I believe it bypasses the front part and includes the peanut gallery and honchos deep inside. But not everyone is ready to do that, so it should be done with a therapist, not just from reading.

sinkorswim June 29th, 2008 01:14 AM

Re: Introjected perps
Thanks for your help Sandra. This is about as much as I can do right now. the front porch might be the one communicating with you but some others are listening because this is all making me very uneasy. You have given me alot of info and I am grateful to have it. DDNOS is sometimes a very lonely place to be.

Sandra Paulsen June 29th, 2008 01:06 PM

Re: Introverted perps
This internal work needs a chaperone, a therapist trained in ego state work, including working with introjects. Regrettably, we can't begin to know enough here to tailor comments to a person's particular situation or internal world.

Any reader becoming uneasy reading any of this would be best served taking their concerns, and perhaps a copy of these words, to their therapist, or, if they don't have one, an ego state therapist who can help identify the concerns from the vantage points of each part, including introjects, and untangle whatever knots are creating uneasiness. It varies from person to person.

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