The sanity clause, or:
Are these nuts safe to play with?

Guest article by Bob King/ Firewheel

Bob King and his merry pranksters can be reached at webmaster @ graphictruth . com.
Someone asked me, in my multiple capacity as one of the few people out as both a multiple and as a Lifestyle BDSM'er,  the following thing:

Do you think someone with MPD or a possibility of even having MPD or DID should be practicing the BDSM lifestyle in any form?

Eloquently.. In fact, I had a long discussion about this on Soc.Subculture.Bondage-Bdsm a year or so ago; should be deja-newsable.

In fact, here's what I said  1998/07/01. (somewhat edited, to make sense out of its context.)

Well, been awhile. But sooner or later, if people are talking about MPD on Soc.Subculture.Bondage-BDSM, I'm likely to hear about it, seeing how "out" I am about that in my life.

Having read through the threads on this issue, I must say, I can't recall being insulted in quite so many ways in such a short period of time. So to keep things simple, I'll deal with the issues, one by one...

Repressed memories: ... It's a recognized phenomenon, has been for decades [in the concept of traumatic amnesia, as characterized by phenomena such as "shell shock"] - just as long as you aren't talking child abuse, incest, government mind control or satanic ritual abuse. If those issues come in - why then, it's False Memory Syndrome. (rolling eyes)


MPD doesn't exist:
"I've never seen a clinical case of it."
"Have you looked for one?"
"No, it doesn't exist, in my opinion."
Never mind this being a political position - this is a religious opinion.

Besides, O Great Guru, what makes you think anyone would be dumb enough to tell you? Up until quite recently, disclosing as multiple in any sort of clinical setting was a ticket to a rubber room and ten years of misery whilst your therp polished their reputation and publication list.

Attention Seeking Behavior:
So what the fuck is wrong with THAT? And don't you think that someone intelligent enough to devise dozens (or more) separate personalities, with distinct characteristics and ways of thought, could figure out a more productive way of doing it?

Of course, nobody says Frank Gorshin or Rich Little or Edgar Bergen were "Just Seeking Attention."

And to the gentle creature who suggested that I should just not have sex or, God forbid, PLAY with anyone until I was "better";  words fail. But you would have fit right in as a mental health professional around the early part of the century.

Why don't you neuter ALL the abnormal people, while you are at it? Wait, you are here talking with us, along with a HOST of homosexuals, lesbians and perverted deviants. ROLL IN THE CATTLE CAR, HORST!

About MP being a "mental illness." It ain't. It's an adaptive response to trauma, generally seen due to abuse, but I know of one case brought about by severe autism.

Generally, MP people function better than "normal" people would, given the level of trauma they endured. And from all my contacts, I can tell you one thing - while we may be consistently lousy at handling consistency, give us a crisis and boy howdy, we do keep our heads when all about us are losing theirs and blaming it on us...

The problems come - the "D" in MPD - when the trauma passes and the mind is already patterned to handle that level of stimulation. The rules change and there is absolutely no learned basis for dealing with any sort of normal reality.

Of course, that's true of any abuse survivor. But people don't think of it that way, even when the prisons are filled with the results of people made incapable of living in society by years of trauma.

Or in other words, the disorder isn't being multiple, it's being abused. Multiplicity is a response some of us were lucky enough to summon up. As a result, a fairly decent percentage of us have lead absolutely remarkably productive lives in spite of stuff that would gag a maggot.

Is MP over diagnosed? Sure. It's fashionable. But it's also under diagnosed. Because it's only fashionable in some circles.  Me, I've never been diagnosed. I just realized I likely was, tried out the idea, found that behaving as if I were multiple gave me a degree of stability orders of magnitude better than I had while trying desperately to be like everyone else, so I decided that any idea that useful just had to be true.

I also have a healthy skepticism as to the value of a "professionals" opinion. Because, when you think of it, who's the expert here? Should I value someone's view of what my reality really means than my own view of what it is? [snort] I think not.

I do value professionals and their opinions. But I also know that the question is often quite academic to them. Me, it's an everyday practical reality and one that I consciously use, manipulate and exploit to the best advantage possible. Look at my art sometime. See how many distinct and separate styles there are ...

But gloriously multiple as I am, and being fully capable of arguing with myself and losing, I never have and never will disavow the actions of one of me. If I did it, I own it. Mind you, if I don't know I did it I want some proof that I did.

I've had people jerk my chain this way, from time to time, knowing I was dissociative and often misplaced memories. But if I trust you enough to take your word - then definitely, I'll assume responsibility for what I said or did.

Don't you?

In closing, I don't think of being MP as being a problem. All the supposed problems attributed to it strike me as being more properly attributed to such traits as immaturity, irresponsibility or actual clinical mental illness, such as schizophrenia, chronic depression (Hello, over here, wanna see my pill collection?) or some other actual chemical imbalance. Try living with someone with hyperactive adrenals some time...

Anyway, as it is a coping mechanism, you ARE going to see it a lot in people with mental illness. And you are going to see it a lot in people with other personality disorders. And you are going to see it in other abuse survivors. But you are never going to see it in the general population. Why?

Well, why the hell would anyone who was functioning perfectly well go in to be officially diagnosed?

Personally, I think there are a lot of multiples who are perfectly normal and have never really thought that the way they think and cope with things is in any way different from the way other people do. And why should it occur to them? For that matter, why should it matter? For that matter, how the hell do I know how many personalities any one of you has?

Ever shook hands with a personality? Gotten a DNA sample? Lifted fingerprints off a glass? Of course not. I have to take your word (and the evidence of my senses) that any of you have a personality at all.

Of course, you might just be SAYING you have a personality, and just making it up to get attention.

Restating what I said above: If you go delving into what passes for current theory on what a "personality" is, you will find a near total lack of factual, scientific information. You will find a lot of outright religious dogma - like the idea that a person can ONLY have one personality. Since I wrote the above, I've come to the conclusion that people are probably born with the tendency to be multiple, and there are likely lots of multiples out there who have no idea that the way they think is in any way different than the way anyone else does. So, rather than MP being "an adaptive response to trauma," let us say that a multiple who is exposed to trauma will cope in a recognizably different way than someone who is not multiple.

We, for example, seem to be far less likely to grab automatic weapons and let God sort `em out.

Multiples are well documented throughout various cultures in the past; most cultures have understood us, or at least recognized us to some extent. Usually we have been thought of as being either spiritually gifted or possessed. And no doubt the multiples in question reflected the cultural expectations of them. Which is why, right now, most multiples talk of things that relate to abuse - because that's what they need to express in order to be considered "real."

Consider what single personalities put up with to be taken seriously. It's not a surprising phenomenon. Women who hate housecleaning, who clean frantically and obsessively because a dirty plate will make them "a bad mother." And for good reason - children have been taken from single mothers on the strength of a couple days dirty dishes.

Social pressures weigh on multiples just as heavily. And besides, a hell of a lot of us were abused, and those of us bent badly enough by it tend to be in positions where we can afford to not give a flying fuck* about offending the Nice Normalcy Police.

So the available sample is inherently skewed. In my case, by about 30 degrees.

Now, to the meat of the matter; can a multiple be insane? The interrogation continued, in it's innocently and unintentionally offensive way, much like the white baby in the old Uncle Remus fable, trying to scrub the black off a baby in the same tub.

"My question was brought up due to the fact that I am curious how this  can be sane? If not sane then how in turn can it be consensual or  safe? SS&C are the three main "rules" and guidelines the lifestyle is  built on."
Sanity is an odd and slippery word, and this person is using it in the usual sloppy sense, meaning " me."   I've seen quite impressively credentialed sorts do exactly the same thing. And their response is to grab a bar of soap and try to scrub the black off. That's what "Integration Therapy" amounts to. It doesn't work any better than it did in Uncle Remus's day.

No, we am what we is, we is what we am, and the only sane thing to do is to accept facts in evidence and move on from there. Which was the point Uncle Remus was making, by the by.

The only useful definition of sanity is functionality and responsibility. We are functional and responsible for our actions, this makes us more sane than well-known persons within the community whose functionality is questionable and whose responsibility is nonexistent; a standard based on evidence, not presumption. I am not the same, that does not make me insane. Nor am I more different than anyone else with a profoundly different world view imposed by a profoundly different cultural background.

I solve the issue of consentuality by telling  people I'm around that I am multiple, and what it implies. I then have to help them unlearn everything about Multiplicity that Maury Povich told them. Or worse yet, a respected authority like Colin Ross, who, being non-multiple himself, is quite sure that we are all delusions of a mythical original person that may never have existed.

If one is referring to the popular concept of a highly fragmented, traumatized multiple with poor or nonexistent communication between themselves, well, yes, that is a concern. But so would be leaving them access to a car or a credit card. A system can be so highly disordered by events they are non-functional. But that is no more common than for a singleton to be so highly disordered by events that they are non- functional.

It would be seen as absolutely improper to say that, for example, 'because we have seen Italians so overcome by emotion that they became dysfunctional, obviously no Italian should be permitted to see opera.'

It is in fact, a racist presumption; you may not see it as such, but nonetheless, it is such; as ugly as presuming that "darkies just ain't suited for freedom" or "woman can't be burdened with responsibility."

The assumption is that "different is inferior." Black skin is different. Bleeding seven days per month is different. Having many people in one bone box is different.

But to paraphrase Martin Luther King, let me be judged on my content of characters, not the container they are in. w

©1998, 1999, Bob King.   All rights reserved. Use only with permission. *AS FUCKING IS! :)

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