You Go Girl!
Patty Hearst has had injustice done to her that was tragic. First by being kidnapped by terrorist organization (one that supposedly had ties to the religious cult 'Synanon"), then by a justice system that ignored her trauma. Fortunately President Carter, and then President Clinton released her from her sentence.
She was held, not just as a prisoner, but as a torture and brainwashing victim. They kept he in a closet, denied her food, drugged her, beat her and terrorized her. Then they began calling her a name they made up for her. Who knows what else they did to her. Eventually they managed to split her identity and she accepted the name and persona of "Tanya". At that point her torture and brainwashing stopped, but the very real threat of her going back into the closet was constant.
That any court could not see what had happened to her as being a psychological trauma over which she had no control, was handing out injustice.
Today, it was announced that she was a won a top prize at the famous Westminster dog show with her little french bulldog. Its a long way from "Tanya". Patty has also acted in a number of productions from film to television in the past several years. Her life has obviously turned around since the horror. One can only assume she got the help she needed. Good for her.
The splitting that results from abuse
In my practice I have had clients whom grew up in this cult. Synanon practiced and got quit expert at mind control tactics. They are reported to have learned how to shock, beat, humiliate, isolate and rape its members into complete acquiescence to their ends. Their leader was a power crazed psychotic that was eventually murdered by a former cult member. Reportedly, hundreds, perhaps thousands of people were indoctrinated in this way by their bizarre and cruel tactics.
How was Patty identified to be used in this way?
Perhaps it was desire for funding from Randolph Hearst, perhaps it was merely opportune. We'll never know. But what my experience with it's victims has taught me is that they knew quite well how to psychologically split personalities and to use those split off parts to their own ends.
Patty was not their only victim, just the most notorious.
When children are subjected to traumatic, horrifying experiences their minds naturally reject what is happening to them. While the event is so horrific it cannot be fully denied, it can be rejected as theirs. The child looks at what is happening and says to themselves something like "Oh, look at that poor little kid over there. What an awful thing."
Surviving at any cost
This splitting themselves apart from the experience allows them to psychologically survive the event. Many of us have experienced a few events that we experienced as traumatic, and we split off the experience, but because we did not continue to experience repeated traumas of a similar kind, we did not form separate personalities to deal with it. We may have split it off if it was foreign enough, or outside of our known family history (say a child molested by a neighbor and the family never knew). Or, if the event was a part of our family history but no one ever talked about it (say a parent had a mental breakdown and became self abusive in front of the child, but then received treatment and it never happened again), we may have split off the experience. Other traumas like our parents beating all the kids and all the kids knew and talked about it might not be split off, unless it went beyond beatings into repeated torture.
Understanding how DID happens
Okay I'll bet you've had TMI at this point, (too much information). These are the stories of what happens to sufferers of Dissociative Identity Disorder. They have had a series of horrific events happen to them (of course sometimes it can develop from an overly imaginative child left alone too long). But I give you this information to help you understand how DID happens to most sufferers.
My heart goes out to Herschel Walker, and perhaps Britney Spears, who knows what they have been through, too.
We all have "parts"
While we don't all have DID, we do all have separate ego states that we go in to under certain circumstances. When we feel threatened, overwhelmed or out of control we will move into certain behavioral sets that dictate our behavior and our choices. If we are DID we simply split off into a different identity.
Making the choice to respond differently to those feelings is not always so easy. In our culture we are taught to medicate our pain and fear with whatever method we can find. Some of us choose drugs and alcohol, others food, sex, work or exercise. We become our own Rescuer, doing whatever we can to stop the fear and pain. Of course we end up being a Victim of our own attempts to stop it don't we? We hurt ourselves and the people around us when we do it. Yet it is a accepted part of our culture.
<But,we can change EVERYTHING when we do things differently.
How about you?
How do you handle it when you feel threatened, overwhelmed or out of control? Do you know anyone medicating their pain? Someone with apparently split off parts of themselves? Comment below and let me know what you think.