Date First Written: July 2017
Multiplicity Is Not Easy
Multiplicity is not easy. In fact, being multiple is hard. It is not easy from within or from without. It took a lot of work and effort (and still takes work and effort) to be able to function and cooperate as much as our multiple system manages to. Our being able to function isn't a done deal. It is something we are always having to keep our eye on, perfect, and reevaluate. Just because we can cooperate on a daily basis now doesn't mean we are perfect or we have all the answers by any means. Our being as functional as we are is ongoing struggle. A work in progress. Maintaining and perfecting out ability to "adult," if you will. However that doesn't make us any less healthy than any average singlet. The average person is as likely ever working to keep their shit together as we are. Working to maintain what we have accomplished is not easy, and just because we have achieved that much doesn't mean everything is easy now and from here on. We still have to deal with various matters regularly. Multiplicity comes with challenges of various sorts. Some physical and some mental. Some originating internally and some originating externally.
Multiplicity is hard because of the doubt. It is hard living with a massive amount of doubt waiting around every turn even after all the years we have known we are multiple. Doubt even after having a mental health professional recognized our multiplicity. Doubt even after having two more mental health professionals do the same. It is a doubt that we are somehow faking. That we have somehow so thoroughly tricked and convinced ourselves we are more than one. Doubt that everyone else in the system isn't actually real. A haunting doubt that strikes without warning and usually leads to nasty episode of depersonalization and even dissociation.
Multiplicity is hard because of the unknown. The second guessing and mystery that can leave some of us awake late at times both fearing and longing for a clear answer on the matter. Wondering what really happened in our childhood that could have had a hand in our multiplicity to get its start. It is hard going through life not remembering basically anything of one's childhood, especially when so much hinges on what has been forgotten. Leaving us troubled as if the loss is hiding traumatic or nearly so. A lack of an unclear answer is hard to bare. Making us often wish we could remember even if would then have to bare it instead whatever might have happened or not. This unanswered question also leaves us unsure of our place in the plural community because of our unclear origins. Not knowing what subsets of the plurality community we really fit into. It is especially anxiety inducing when any other multiple systems start to demand other system's to explain their origins (and them almost always only taking traumagenic as an appropriate answer). Which makes us anxious about being open about the few people in our system we know showed up because of trauma after our childhood, some people showed up because of spiritual reasons related to our religions, and many people being complete unknowns.
Multiplicity is hard because of the confusion. Even after all these years, sometimes it takes us a minute to realize who is fronting at certain times. When identity confusion has taken hold and we have to mentally struggle just to reclaim things that should be easy such as awareness of name, gender, and general likes/dislikes. Identity confusion often strikes when dissociation is high is truly an awful feeling. Leaving us feeling blank and unsettled. Feeling uncertain or conflicted about one's own identity and sense of self is horrifying. When it strikes, it can to so much anxiety and disconnection with the world around us and inside us.
Multiplicity is hard because of the fear that lurks in the shadows of our minds. Fear that singlets will think we are faking if they found out or we come out to them about our multiplicity. Fear that singlets might think we are demonically possessed or a devil worshipper. Fear that they may buy into the media-created trope about members of a system being dangerous or willing to commit harm to another more than another person. There is fear that no matter what we show or do, we could possibly loose a dear relationship if coming out went badly. We fear singlets might even react violently, even if such an extreme might not be likely, but it is a fear nonetheless. Whether rational or no, this fear dwells with us on an daily basis in the background of our minds.
Multiplicity is hard because of secrecy. We are expected to function as a singlet to meet the skewed ideas of what society deems as "normal." The need to hide being multiple to practically everyone around us is a necessity, but the necessity doesn't make all the secrecy any less hard on the psyche. It is hard because so much of our daily life (inside and outside) is off-limited to explain or discuss to so many because it revolves around people in our multiple system. Keeping any kind of secret is hard but keeping such a complex one that hides such an important part of daily life and self for a lifetime is harder still.
Multiplicity is hard because of all the lies that that has to be told and the pretending that has to be done. Members have to pretend the body's name is their name. Members have to pretend to be the gender that the body's sex is. Nonhuman members have to pretend to feel human. Child members have to pretend to be adults. Members have to spend day in and day out pretending to be one single person. All of that can he hard on any person. Having to lie and pretend so much gets overwhelming at times. It is so frustrating. Lying to people we trust and should be able to be at ease and open around is the worst. It is also hard to sometimes keep our stories, stock phrases, and labels straight on what to tell people to help keep the disguise of being singlet in check.
Multiplicity is hard because of the shame. The shame that haunts us due to being “abnormal” as far as what society generally considers standard. No matter how many years go by, no matter how many mental health professionals we convince, no matter how many lay people accept our multiplicity, no matter what: we are always haunted by a faint shadow of shame. Shame that we didn't turn out "normal." Shame that we couldn't be the (single) person our family was expecting even if they accept the multiple people they got.
Multiplicity is hard because of the stigma. Either way it is sliced - spiritual or psychological - there is a stigma that exists with being more than one in one body. That stigma is hard to accept. Hard to live with. It is hard because multiplicity is highly misunderstood and people are ignorant about it on so many levels which fuels a stigma. A stigma fueled media using media tropes so regularly people mistake them as fact, misinformed ideas based on outdated psychology, religious intolerance/ignorance of religions other than mainstream Christianity, and so on and so forth. A stigma exists and its is not easy to live with it being used against you.
Multiplicity is hard because of the disbelief. Whether explained spiritually or psychologically, there is often so much disbelief out there when it comes to be many in one body. From a psychological perspective, there is some disbelief that people can be more than one in one body, or to use terms from psychology, that a body can house more than "personality state." Some of this disbelief can be found among licensed psychologists, and it can certainly be found amongst the general populous to an extent. This disbelief is sparked, in part, by a number of cases made famous by books and movies being revealed to be fake or greatly exaggerated later on, by the spike in people being (mis)diagnosed or worse hypnotized into having false memories with MPD during the Satanic Panic, and so on. It matters not the disorder is accepted as existing by many with academic articles to back it up, because it is considered "controversial" by some. From a spiritual standpoint, so many people have a strong disbelief on anything different than what is found in the monotheistic religions whether they themselves are Christian, Jewish, etc or not. Anything not standard within a monotheistic point-of-view such as there are or can be more than one soul in a body, or the belief in the idea of wandering spirits that might go into a body, is often rejected as being possible at all or is labeled as being somehow more "superstitious" or "primitive." Either way it is explained, it can be hard to get people to believe the experience of multiplicity is occurring. Having to fight to be believed as existing can be daunting.
Multiplicity is hard because differing viewpoints of the members found within a multiple system. We are different people, so we often have different perspectives on things. Living with these different perspectives can be challenging at times. As part of being able to function, we have to work together and we can’t work together if we always argue or are butting heads over differing opinions and views. Each of us have to accept over and over again that we do not always agree on anything and everything. We have to learn to live with our differing opinions. It isn't easy not always seeing eye-to-eye, but that is something we have to live with.
Multiplicity is hard because of time limitations. We only have one body and so we only have a finite amount of time in the day to do anything with said body. After all, we can’t be in more than one place at once. However, each of us very often have different ideas on what to do with our time. Our multiple system has things we need to get done to continue to function and live as we do like working, cleaning house, and so on. This leaves us with only so much "free time" to do what we want. This free time must be shared between us or, at the very least, those who wish to front. So we are limited on what all we can do and for how long. It is a challenge we must live with.
Multiplicity is hard because of dysphoria. Our multiple system is comprised of both males, female, and people who are neither meaning dealing with our body's gender expression is a haste. More dire still, because of our body's assigned gender at birth, those not matching our body's sex suffer from gender dsyphoria but because we are a multiple system dealing with the dsyphoria is complicated. There is also non-gender specific dysphoria that is experienced among many in our system. Dysphoria dealing with other traits of the body not strictly related to gender. Dysphoria caused by height, hair color, eye color, factual structure, and other differences between our body images and our physical body. Dsyphoria complicates daily life while fronting.
Multiplicity is hard because it means being a part of a group constantly. Cooperating and comprising over just about every little aspect of life is a daily process. Things have to be coordinated to some extent or another all the time. Sharing everything. It takes a lot having every little thing be a group effort can be taxing on so many levels. It is hard not sometimes get frustrated or upset with how much and often we have to share all the time. Sometimes we do not see eye-to-eye or even argue. Sometimes we stretch or even break our own system's rules just to keep the peace.
Just because we have come to accept with what life has thrown at us does not mean it is perfect or that it has always been as "easy" (compared to what it once was for us). Having ourselves organized now does not make the years of chaos and confusion that we felt with during our teenage years simply cease to exist in our past. Rather, it is a reminder of how things could go back to if we mess up. How things were when we did not work together, and we tried to just “stop being multiple.” So no, multiplicity is not easy. Our multiplicity is not easy. Not even after all these years and all the work we have done. It is not easy because real life is not easy nor is sharing a life with others. However, this life is our life and we will continue to strive to live this life with all of its challenges. Easy or not.