Here’s what I gained from attending The Infinite Mind D.I.D conference. In no particular order…
Conference Lesson 1: I AM NOT A THERAPIST.
A support person can only do so much to help a person with D.ID. We don’t have the training. We don’t have distance from the issue and often cannot see the overall picture. We can easily lose perspective. It’s not our role as a support person / spouse. As much as we want to be everything to the survivor, we can’t do it.
If we put overselves in the role of therapist at least two things will happen:
1. We will do a lousy job.
2. We will lose ourselves.
3. We will lose the ability to be a support person.
Repeat as often as necessary: I am not a therapist.
Conference Lesson 2: I WILL NOT BE A PERFECT SUPPORT PERSON.
As a child, it was drilled into my head that in order to please my parents, I had to be perfect. If I was perfect, every thing would be O.K. Despite years of my therapy, deep within me is the belief that I can be perfect. Or at least I can be perfect in some small area of my life. I can be a perfect driver. I can be a perfect father. I can be perfect in my work. I can be a perfect support person.
What a liberating message to know that I will not always say the right thing for Susan. I will not always do the right thing. I will not always modulate my voice; think twice before speaking; have the patience I need to have.
In one of the support persons group meetings, someone mentioned living with a survivor / D.I.D. is like walking on eggshells. Not having to be perfect takes away some of the eggshells. Not that I would go around stomping on the remaining eggs. Know that I do not have to be perfect allows me to admit my errors and try again.
Conference Lesson 3: PEOPLE WITH D.I.D. MAY BE FULLY FUNCTIONAL.
The conference organizer and many of the presenters have D.I.D. If you saw them in another setting and they told you nothing about their history. you would not suspect otherwise. They modeled high functioning, organization, and caring. I found hope for growth.
Conference Lesson 4: OTHER SUPPORT PEOPLE ARE AS SCARED / CONFUSED / ANGRY / LOST / AS I AM.
It is not comforting to sit alone in a leaky boat. While the boat is still leaky, there is comfort in knowing you are not alone.