With Erin newly diagnosed with DID before she came here, I had asked her many questions trying to ascertain the stability of her internal system. Some might think the diagnosis itself would guarantee a state of upheaval but that is not always the case. There are no absolutes in the human psyche. For some this diagnosis provides much needed answers and it can actually provide relief and even an increase in stability. There are many high functioning people with DID.
Even knowing she had young alters didn't mean Erin was too messed up to be here. How Erin responded to her new diagnosis would depend on how honest she was both with herself and others.
Our conversations included alters and cooperation within her internal system and she acknowledged a need for toys for young children. She told me she wouldn't have enough room to bring all she might need because of luggage restrictions. I guess I thought the fact she was trying to accommodate these particular needs meant she was accepting her DID diagnosis but my assumption was not based on that fact alone. With my own experience I knew what to be looking for but Erin knew what to hide. Unfortunately, I would not get the real answers until after Erin was here.
When we talked about toys, I had told Erin I had plenty of them so I was sure she could find something suitable for her younger alters. Most of my collectible toys are stored in my barn loft with the boxes carefully stacked and covered with tarps to assure they stay protected and clean.
When Erin asked about the toys I told her where they were and that she could choose whatever she wanted to play with as long as she took good care of them and cleaned up after herself. She knew going in that these toys represent a considerable investment for me so it was important she treat them as such.
Erin came in from her search with some expensive, vintage toys. I was immediately taken aback knowing there were many, many toys that would have been more appropriate choices. Erin had to have done a thorough search to even locate these particular toys. I was concerned she seemed to have no regard for how much money I had tied up in these collectibles. All she saw were toys that were special to her so she wanted them despite the fact the represented an investment to me so additional wear would decrease their value. I never imagined she would help herself to so many or that she would choose such sought after toys. I had counted on some discretion and consideration from her.
I was not happy she had decided to take such advantage but I felt it was my fault. I had not set guidelines when telling her that she could play with some of my toys so I honored my word and I let her play with the toys she picked even though it was going to cost me more than I had anticipated or than I can afford. It did not occur to me if she had no consideration for my investment in these toys, that she probably had less for those still in the barn.
It wasn't until after finding what she had done with the brushes or some other big mess in my barn, that it occurred to me she could have done the same thing with the toys in the loft. If that was the case, there would be further financial repercussions for allowing her to go through those toys so I headed to the loft to see what I could salvage.
I didn't even get all the way up there when I spied the mess she had left. Boxes were strung around everywhere, on the stairs, in the rafters. The neat piles in the lift I had made to assure all of the toys were protected from dust, or even the roof leaks, were obliterated. The tarp that was supposed to be spread across the top and down the sides, as the final line of defense, was rolled back, completely out of the way.
There had been no attempt to pull the tarp back in place. Some boxes were still open. Lots of toys were exposed and filthy dirty and others were at risk from her inappropriate handling.
It was obvious Erin went through everything to see what was there and she had no qualms about pulling out many of most valuable item. She did not use the same thoroughness to assure all of these toys put away as protected as they were when she found them. It took me nearly two hours to clean up this awful mess and I am afraid to know what it cost me.
When I confronted Erin about this one, she made excuses claiming she had tried. The job she had done was the best she could do. This confrontation was the one that precipitated her desire to go for a walk so she could kill herself off of my property.
I know some of my readers think she was all about threats but this situation didn't feel like a threat to me. There were plenty of other times that we talked about her suicidal feelings that were much different from this day.
Much of Erin's time here what she wanted from me was attention......all the time.
On those days that Erin did go to the barn, she was continually running back to the house to talk to me. Her trips no more than 15 minutes apart. Even when I wrote down instructions she had to go over them everytime but there was never a change in the instructions or the horses' routine. Erin just wanted to be the center of my attention. She would even wake me to ask a question when she already had the answer. How do I know this? Because I would explain, she would tell me her way to do it and it never changed and she could easily repeat it to Dave or Lindsay without looking at the notes. Even Dave who is oblivious realized that Erin was seeking me out just for attention.
On the days she was too depressed to go to the barn, she would come in, flop in the chair and sigh until she got my attention. If I looked at her but didn't speak, she would leave for a few minutes and then yet again. This too
tended to be in 15 minute increments until I would finally give up and ask her what was going on. Then we would end up in what can best be described as therapy like sessions ending with her disclosure about wanting to die.
As a survivor of extreme childhood abuse who has done extensive work to heal, I understand the flawed thinking that keeps victims trapped. Over the years I have used those skills to help others. I believe this aspect of my life is a large part of what drew Erin to me in the first place those years ago.
Her efforts for attention designed to draw me into conversations like those on the phone when she first called me years ago. During these I addressed her flawed thinking, knowing it kept her trapped in darkness. Normally she would emerge from our talks lighter and she might even progress to happy and content but it never lasted long. Her perfectionistic views of how the world "should" be always led her to be disappointed. Then the spiral would start again. Erin thought it was anyone and everyone at fault but her, which is not anything she admitted before she came. It was a horrible cycle that seemed ongoing and it sure couldn't change when she refused any responsibility.
Without intervention, she just went farther and farther into the hole. Whether or not she would kill herself if left alone was beyond me. All I knew at first was that she was dealing with a crippling depression and she had history as a cutter. If or how we were affecting the downward spiral was not obvious early on, I knew she needed help but she told me she couldn't get it because she was out of state....and that she couldn't afford a ticket to leave until her next benefits check.
This was exhausting and I couldn't seem to get away from her until I finally resorted to locking myself in my room to get a break from her games. Until the day I confronted Erin about the toys, I hadn't seen the same threat she was serious about taking her life. Other days I worried about her depression and how much blacker it might get.....but on this day......I believed she meant to do it......and she meant it to cause me harm. Her body language, facial expression and the tone in her voice all said she wanted to die......and she wanted me to know it was my fault. There is nothing about such behavior that is typical. It takes a particular type of cruelty to make such a threat. The significance of it would escape me for some time.....but not forever. At least now.....Erin is gone....and she will never again be welcome here.
To be continued......