Questions that Irritate
Now we are pretty receptive to questions
about our multiplicity. We understand that this is a complicated
subject and not one most people have had any contact with. So it
is understandable people will have questions about it. In face, we
see questions as a willingness to understand and discuss our reality.
by asking questions it shows us that the person accepts our multiple reality
and wants to learn more, as opposed to those that say, "ok you're multiple,
but just leave it at the door." To us there is no acceptance in that
later, so we accept questions about our multiplicity. Some even welcome
them, since it gives them an opportunity to talk about heir culture, their
reality, their life. However there are some questions that we consider
rude, irritating or just annoying. There are different from silly
questions, they just make us laugh, but the irritating ones, they annoy.
So what's your name?
This isn't actually that irritating from
those people we have developed a relationship with, a good amount of trust.
We understand that it helps people keep a track of what is going on, and
we don't change much to be able to tell without asking. However,
even with those people we get annoyed when they require a name, when they
won't take no for an answer. People need to respect our right to
not say our names, to know it's a choice each one of us have, some are
quite comfort with giving out their names, whilst others are more secretive.
But from people we don't know, strangers, or those that have not gained
our trust it becomes annoying. Especially when they demand to know,
when they get angry when we refuse to tell them. People don't have
a right to know our names, it is something we give to those we trust, it
is a decision we make for ourselves.
So what's your role?
One of the most irritating questions out
there. It basically relegates us to a part that is only there to
fulfill a need or role within the system. It removes all sense of
individuality, of person from us. We are more than one role, we are
mostly people, some caught in a place of deep emotion, or ability, but
even then they are still complex people underneath how they present.
Yes some of us have skills that stand out. An example of this would
be Kate, people know her as the cook. And although she is a very
good cook she is also a lot more, has a lot of interests and abilities.
We people say, oh Kate she's the cook, it negates everything else she is.
People in this world, aren't regulated to simplistic parts of themselves.
If you ask us what our role here is, maybe first you should think about
how you would answer that. I don't believe you could pick just one
thing that is your role in life, most would have a list. We are no
different. We are not just simply aspects to a person's life, we
are all people, individuals, we are just all stuck in this one body.
So how old are you?
Aside from age being a touchy issue for
a lot of us, yes we think we are too old *laugh*, it can also make for
some uncomfortable feelings. Not everyone is aware of their age,
they might be able to tell if they are a child, a teenager, an adult, but
specific age is something they will have trouble discerning. And
then there are those whose age is not static. This is something which
is called age sliding. It means that the same person may be different
ages at different times. You may ask Tryall how old she is, and one
day she will say 15, a few days later she will tell you 19. She isn't
lying, she isn't confused. She just doesn't have a static age.
This question isn't really a major issue, but it can cause stress and feelings
of stupidity when they can not answer what first appears to be a simple
Who were you when you did....?
There are many derivatives of this question.
It is about believing "I" become someone else. That I change into
someone else. But rather I am always me, even when I am not occupying
the body. It is not a case of me becoming someone else, but rather
me moving out of the body and another person, a totally separate person
coming back in. I therefore, might not know what that other person
did. I will almost never know what they were thinking or feeling.
Unless I, like you, actually go and ask them. We are all not one
person, taking on different roles, different demeanors. I can not
be responsible for the actions of another because I am not there.
I will make amends however, when it is necessary, but I can only do that
as a third person, someone that sees a joint collective responsibility
for the actions of this body. The question is offensive to us, because
it comes from a lack of acknowledgment of our individuality, and it implies
we are all really the same person.
Which one is the real person?
This can also come across as the belief
that one, usually the one they interact with the most is the real person.
This is actually the worst question and/or belief out there for us.
The belief there is a real person is not only inaccurate but offensive
to everyone. We are real people, even if there was the first born
child here amongst us, it does not make any of us less real. Most
of us have been active participants in this life for years, we have lived
it, we have struggled through atrocities, and have had a life of experiences.
Does that not make us real? Isn't living, thinking, feeling the prerequisites
of being a real person. We may not have bodies that you can see,
we may all look, from the outside as one person. But we are not invaders,
making some poor little thing's life a misery. There is no little
girl waiting here to be rescued. It is that belief that we have invaded
a body, that we are nothing more than parasites or delusions that need
removed to make the "real" person whole and happy that is offensive to
us. We do get angry at being seen as figments, as annoyances to be
gotten rid of.
How many are there?
Honestly I have never understood the fascination
with numbers. Really, what's the difference between 3 or 3000.
Would we be more multiple if we had 3000, or less crazy if we had 3.
Numbers change, how many we thought we were at the beginning of this journey
is a lot different than how many we know we are now. It doesn't really
matter though, it is just a number.
You must be a protector, an ISH, a child...?
There are a lot of those questions, statements.
But it is irritating to have ourselves catagorised. The assumption
that we will fit nicely into predetermined categories is along the same
lines as thinking we have one single purpose for being here. This
is a question we get a lot, especially from other multiples. It seems
a lot have read the "textbooks" and taken that information on board as
if it is gospel. These were broad categories that professionals created
to be able to make sense of what they were seeing. However when they
did they would ignore other parts of the person, squeezing them into a
category so they don't have to get to truly know the person. They
become a stereotype. Protectors are meant to behave in a certain
way, same with the other "types" of people. They do not want to see
a protector curled up and crying, or a ISH being secretive and uncaring.
We are more than a label, especially a label created by someone that has
had no first hand experience of multiplicity.
When are you going to be well?
This is generally code for when are you
going to integrate. Now I don't mind being asked if I am going
to integrate, but the assumption that one person/one body is the goal,
the definition of wellness is offensive. Ask if, just don't assume
it will happen. Also as a multiple that has had extreme abuse
in her life, the journey to wellness is a long and distressing one.
All my life I have heard the "get over it" statements. My abusers
would further abuse me if we weren't "normal" immediately it was over.
The need for people around us to have us be better is, not only, a reflection
of the attitude of our abusers but it also makes us feel guilty for taking
the time out to do the necessary work of recovery. We understand
that people that consider themselves our friends don't like to see us in
pain, but it is the imposing their schedule, their needs upon us that is
Please don't switch when with us
More a request than a question, but still
very annoying. The belief that someone else has the right to dictate
who is allowed out, and when is abhorrent to us. We will not be controlled
like that. Once again it happens from other multiples as well, usually
in the form of "why are you switching so much" There is a belief
we run into that healthy multiples don't switch, or at least can control
their switching. Whereas for us it is more the case of switching
as we see fit, not needing a reason. We will not pretend to be non
multiple to keep another person happy, and no one else has that control
over us anymore. Sometimes this question hides another one, the "will
they hurt me" question. There is a fear that the people that might
be there will be violent and out of control. This probably comes
from watching too many bad american programmes that show multiples as violent
and out of control, so of course real life is exactly like that.
It surprised me how many people could handle us as moody and erratic, but
as multiple people there was a problem. They wanted their friend
back, but usually their friend had been a variety of us, the same people
that are now seeing them, but it is ok as long as they can remain in the
dark on that.
Questions are going to be there, it's only
natural. But the thing to think about before you ask them is whether
you would feel ok if someone asked you the same question, or whether you
are putting your own assumptions and beliefs upon a person. Just
think first, and be polite. Then another thing, don't ask a question
unless you are prepared for the answer, sometimes things aren't going to
be the way you like it, don't think you have rights when the other person
doesn't. You might have a right to ask a question, but the
other person has the right to make what response they wish, or indeed no
response at all.