2012 Shows

(Original Air Date: 05/10/12) Tracy is a married mother of four who says her life was forever changed the day she was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, more commonly known as multiple personality disorder. She says she has five personalities, or “alters”: Emily, a frightened 5-year-old child; Becky, who cuts, bruises, chokes and has threatened to kill Tracy; Susie, an innocent 10-year-old child; Samantha, “the CEO” and Miss Anne, “the caretaker.” (Original Air Date: 05/10/12) Tracy says that she’ll oftentimes black out when an alter takes over and that the transition back to Tracy can make her physically ill. Joined by her husband, Tyler, the couple says Tracy's alter egos and unpredictable moods are causing strain on their marriage, and they're struggling to explain her erratic behavior to their children. Is Tracy’s diagnosis real? Then, in a Dr. Phil first, Tracy transitions between her alters onstage. Speaking as Becky and Susie, can Dr. Phil gather insight into Tracy’s disorder? Tracy’s therapist, Dr. Peggy Avent, joins the show and explains her diagnosis. Could a secret from Tracy’s childhood hold the key to understanding her illness? Tracy’s mom, Sandy, weighs in and shares why she blames herself.

Find out what happened on the show.
Replied By: kp_rice on Sep 13, 2013, 2:58PM
I have 30 + years in emergency and mental health nursing. I don't believe for even a second that this woman has DID. She is definitely suffering from borderline personality disorder, very likely narcissistic. No one is doing this drama queen any favors by feeding in to her delusions. The family "therapist" also needs to be sent for further education as she is enabling this woman to continue to perform. There are several key words/body language clues given out that are not true DID traits. I cannot believe that Dr Phil fell for this nonsense.
Replied By: loupugme09 on Mar 20, 2013, 12:01AM - In reply to kellbell5
this is for freedom four me..i cried reading your experiance words whatever its called on DID..its exactly how i feel..ive been working with a therapist on this for few years..hard to explain how i feel but i pasted and copies what you said cause its how i experiance it..i have over 10 people in me right now...lot a little people they protected me when i was raped by grandpa..and others  i went away..suzi went to the field until he done..the people in me come and go..they put others in front to talk while they watch..hard to trust..im at a cross roads in my healing..to talk with another person who works with mes..

Thank for telling i am normal in an abnormal thing..it meant so much
Replied By: sabeth on Mar 5, 2013, 2:33AM
P.S. I do believe that DID exists, read a lot about is, but I am not a psychiatrist.
Replied By: sabeth on Mar 5, 2013, 2:31AM
I do not doubt the fact that this woman has a problem and feel deeply for her.
I am well aware of the fact that I do not have enough information to be able to fully know what is going on. 
However, as a psychologist I immediately thought about' disowned selves', as written and explained by Hal and Sydra Stone in their books on 'Voice Dialogue'. These 'selves' can turn very badly if they are disowned for long enough and grow into demonic formes. This came to my mind especially when I saw her 'switch' from one personality to the other. 
Please look into these books and judge for yourselves.
Replied By: alegnat on Mar 1, 2013, 8:43AM - In reply to missyeire

I do not want to offend anyone but sorry, I don't believe her. I could understand why she starts behaving like this though. She needs help for sure. But I'm not sure if it is labeled correctly...
Replied By: lepasley on Jan 16, 2013, 9:25PM - In reply to shoutsecrets
Please tell me the name of one person involved with the False Memory Syndrome Foundation who has EVER said "incest isn't real."  That is absolutely one of the lamest comments I have heard.  You know nothing of the foundation and to make comments like that when there is not a shred of evidence immediately disqualifies you as a person with any critical thinking skills.
Replied By: potter61 on Jan 14, 2013, 8:56AM - In reply to kellbell5
freedomfourme your understadning of the complexity of DID was well spoken! much much thanks. i am a 20 year veteran social worker with an MA and am diagnosed DID. as you said, when DID is sensationalized the real issues of dissociation in our communites, families and individual lives go unaddressed. dr. phil's presentation was cruel, unprofessional and detrimental to the struggle too many people work very hard to manage with little support. 

when a child is put in an intolerable emotional bind the mind finds a way to compartmentalize the trauma so they can sit at a dinner table with their abuser or ride in the car, or call them father or mother... that this program further abuses the traumitzied by making a public mockery of a very creative complex way some have used to survive is abhorent. 

freedomfourme i love how you described the co-consciousness and developement of parts, the way we often watch ourselves function without connection was helpful and familiar. again much thanks. 


Replied By: lepasley on Jan 12, 2013, 8:14AM - In reply to shoutsecrets
If you knew anything about the foundation, you would know everyone who is a part of it HATES child abuse. Incest is particularly distasteful.  To say the foundation is pro child abuse, incest, etc... is ludicrous. I was sexually abused.  I also was abused for four years in counseling.  Trauma search and chasing monsters was what it was all about.  I saw people come in and in no time, they were accusing their parents of having satanists or parents and the murdering and eating of babies a ritual in their families.  Thank God I also worked for the police department since the age of 19.  I was invited to attend a child exploitation  seminar put on by the police department.  I had the honor of being on the front row when Kenneth Lanning gave his speech.  All we have asked is for people to look at the issue with their eyes opened.  I spent many hours with my eyes closed saying everything that popped into my head (while on heavy medications) and the therp taking every single event that went off in my mind as "proof" of my historical past.  Critical thinking - that's what I am asking.

Laura Pasley, Proud Member of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation
Replied By: kellbell5 on Nov 21, 2012, 11:19PM - In reply to freedomfourme
I am so glad you posted about the phenomenon of co-conscioussness. Most people do not understand that concept--alters remaining separate, but cooperating. The doubters who are passing judgment on the authenticity of Tracy's Dx are basing those opinions on definitions of DID that are presented mostly in media portrayals. These portrayals are not created solely for educational purposes, but for entertainment value as well. Therefore, the most dramatic and extreme symptoms are emphasized in these portrayals.

Some DID patients may experience their illness mainly in this kind of black and white way, but many do not. There is a spectrum of dissociative experiences. It's misleading to focus only on the extreme and assume DID always presents in such dramatic fashion. Even a full blown case of DID can have many shades of gray. I usually only experience complete loss of time if I am triggered or threatened in some specific way.

Most of the time, there is a blend of two or more parts sharing varying degrees of awareness and participation in body control. This "sharing" is probably a positive indicator that alters are willing to acknowledge and cooperate with one another, at least to some degree. People have difficulty understanding the experience of "de-personalization / de-realization." Most have no reference point to understand what it feels like to be experiencing a blend of two or more separate identities. It fluctuates, and yet is fluid at the same time; and it feels unreal. 

When switching seems contrived to outsiders, it's because they don't understand that alter "A" can be present, "watching" alter "B" who is controlling most, but not all of the body. This feeling can be unnerving because it is embarrassing to watch yourself doing or saying something that you can't control and doesn't represent your own concept of yourself. Because alter "A" is sharing co-consciousness with "B", part  "A's"  vulnerability can be outwardly apparent and co-occurring along with the demeanor and expression of "B".

This is precisely the essence of DID. It is some level of disconnection with one's own self. These parts have been separate for a long time. Each one can have it's own version of history, reality, experience and attitude. Or, two alters can share certain aspects, but differ on other aspects. Sometimes those differences are striking, sometimes subtle.  Tracy is probably unable to fully accept all aspects of herself without risking safety and sanity. 

There is also misinformation from more credible, informative sites on the web. The psychiatric community is still not entirely in agreement concerning the validity of DID, although currently, it is officially recognized in the DSM, the book doctors use to reference standard guidelines for diagnosing patients. I believe the parameters of this disorder are not fully understood yet because of its complexity. It's not surprising the public is so misinformed. I think the mental health community has more work to do in terms of truly understanding what DID is, and outlining more unified criteria for the diagnosis and treatment of DID. 

I also want to address the skepticism about the way younger alters present themselves. Please remember, these child parts are not the same as "real" children. Child alters are a representation of an unintegrated part of an adult self. One cannot compare a child alter to a "real" child as a litmus test. It doesn't work that way. Understand that child alters are merely one part of an adult DID mind, which happens to  experience itself as a child. That is quite different from actually being a child. Even though the child alter may feel stuck in another time or situation, the fact is he/she has been alive longer than a "real" child of that age, and they have been influenced by other parts, which are at developmentally different stages. The child part has a purpose for remaining childlike, so it is unable to accept itself as anything other than a child, despite the fact that other people see an adult body behaving in childlike ways. Child alters may not be wholly connected to older parts, but they are influenced by both internal and external interactions. Therefore, a child alter does not always present in identical ways with a "real" child of that age.

Please remember, someone suffering from DID is unable to accept the reality of themselves because if they did, they would also have to accept the reality of the pain and abuse they have suffered. DID is a defense against feeling that pain. That's why the personality split has occurred in the first place. It begins as an ability to mentally disconnect from overwhelming pain. During the period of mental escape, which is called dissociation, quite naturally the mind " fills in the blank", so the person's body is able to move, talk, and function, but the mind remains separate, in order to have respite from the abuse. The mind needs this separation in order to survive. Without the ability to preserve itself, total and permanent insanity or suicide is likely. DID is the mind's attempt to protect itself from that end. While the original mind is taking a break, other, separate identities form and "fill in the blank."

You have to remember, this process is also confusing for the person with DID. Only after many years of therapy can one begin to understand what is being experienced and why one behaves as he/she does. Let me tell you, sometimes (not always) I have an awareness of watching myself behave in a childlike manner at an inappropriate time. It feels like I am watching myself on TV, and sometimes I am absolutely mortified, but I cannot control it. It is a horribe feeling to not be able to conduct myself in the way I want to. Sometimes, I feel like I'm sitting in the background, watching myself do something ridiculous and I'm having very strong feelings of shame and embarrasment. Because I'm close enough to "watch" the personality in control, sometimes my feelings of embarrasment show through a little bit. It might be mixed in and occurring simultaneously with the child alter that is currently in control of my body. If people pick up on that, they could mistake the blend of personalities as proof that I am lying because to them, it looks incongruent, therefore, suspicious.

DID is so complex. Patients have commonalities, but there are also idiosyncrasies that occur in each patient. I ask people not to jump to conclusions because with DID, what meets the eye often misrepresents what is going on internally. The experience of having DID is confusing for the patient as well as for his/her loved ones. It's also extremely difficult to articulate and capture in words. Hopefully, I've been able to convey just how layered and intricate this problem can be to untangle. The last thing any DID patient needs are strangers accusing them of lying about their own internal perception of reality.  They are in need of support, not ridicule. If people are really concerned with helping, they will respond with compassion and be open enough to allow for the possibility that  people are different, and not everyone's life experience is like theirs. 

The following is a quote from anthropologist, Wade Davis, and I think it it's a good thing to share with people who cannot accept the DID experience, "The world in which you were born is just one model of reality. Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit."

In conclusion, after 30 years in therapy, the best advice I can give someone newly diagnosed is the following:

Make sure your therapist is---

1.highly qualified
2. specially trained in the treatment of dissociative disorders
3. unfailingly ethical; strict boundaries are imperative!
4. experienced
5. highly intuitive
6. sharp as a tack

Anything less is dangerous territory and you will get sicker.
Replied By: drcmarch on Nov 5, 2012, 5:44AM - In reply to icedlime
This is a suggestion I hope you take. 

Ridiculing others for their opinions will not get your point across any further than simply stating your point of view. If you are a person with dissociative identity disorder your roll can be helpful instead of judgmental. 

Take the high road next time, and don't get worked up over a blog post. It really isn't worth the extra wrinkle in your forehead. 
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