Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Internal Conflict

One of the most difficult things for me to deal with is internal conflict.  When more than one part is around at one time, my ability to think and make appropriate decisions is significantly weakened.  This is because each part has its own ideas about how things should be run, how we should behave, and how other people should treat us.

This creates situations where my external behavior is contradictory or erratic.  Obviously this happens whether or not I have parts out at the same time - when you have parts, you're going to seem a little frustrating and spontaneous.  Having more than one part out at one time just intensifies this, because the parts are either fighting for control or one has control and one or more are inside reacting negatively to the external one's behavior.

I guess the best way to explain this is to say that I have an internal and external frontal area.  The external frontal is the part that is most in control, the part who is currently speaking and moving the body.  The internal frontal parts are those who are "around" (as in, I can feel their thoughts and emotions), but they do not have control over the body and what is being said.  Often, the external and internal frontal parts will switch places back and forth and back and forth, trying to say what they need to say and obtain what they need to obtain (usually emotional or physical comfort).

The above drawing is one of the most common conflicts between my parts.  The angry part and the sad part tend to always come around at the same time and they seem to be a match made in a special sort of dissociative hell.  The angry part likes to hurt people.  She thinks that if people hurt you than you should hurt them back.  The sad part thinks that everything is her fault and that she is bad.

So in a situation when both parts are around at the same time, I get highly conflicting internal messages.

The Angry Part                                                       The Sad Part

"I hate you!"                                                            "Please love me!"
"You're wrong!"                                                      "Everything is my fault!"
"I'm gonna hurt your feelings too!"                        "I'm sorry!"
"You're bad!"                                                          "I'm bad!"
"Leave me alone!"                                                  "Please comfort me!" 

These contradictory messages are a nightmare when trying to prove a point or participate in a disagreement.  It creates a situation where I eventually no longer know who is right or wrong, who was behaving appropriately and who was inappropriate.  When I reach this point I am faced with the decision to either continue to argue my point or to drop it and blame myself for the conflict.  Most of the time I don't know which of these decisions is best, because I really don't know who is at fault.

This scenario is not helped at all by the fact that I do not have healthy concepts of boundaries and appropriate behavior.  I'll get into more of that later.

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