We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

Dissociative Disorders - Part 3

This blog continues my discussion about child abuse and Dissociative Identity Disorder. This documentation appears near the end of the 1800s about another woman’s case of different personalities.

“A Case of Multiple Personality” by Albert Wilson, M.D.

“My object is to demonstrate that the mind or personality which we call the “Ego,” the grand subtotal of our character and individuality, is capable of disintegration into minor personalities, good and bad, dependent on the condition of the body that sustains them.”

“The patient, Mary Barnes, was born in 1882 and saw Dr. Wilson at 12 ½ years old in 1095. After a serious illness and severe headaches, she exhibited intense fear of everyone, including her parents. She experienced severe rigidity 10-20 times per day. After recovering from these behaviors, she abruptly started behaving childish, labeled her parents, siblings, and friends with nicknames, and talked in a babyish manner.”

“It is quite apparent that this babyish mood marked the emergence of a new personality, for her memory of past events was completely obliterated, nor did she know the names of ordinary objects. Suddenly, she would look up with her natural facial expression and go on as if nothing had happened. This recurred several times a day with increasing frequency and lasted from ten minutes to an hour. I visited her almost daily for ten weeks before I saw her in her normal condition. On July 20, 1895, her father brought her to my house. She could not stand. She seemed completely lost and understood nothing. During her visit, she suddenly returned to normal.  She said she had only seen me once before. Then just as suddenly, her expression and manner changed. She looked angry and frowned, pouting and wearing a much annoyed expression. After that, her features relaxed; she smiled and again assumed the vacant childish look, and began talking baby talk. While normal, she had risen from her seat and stood in an ordinary way; but as soon as the new personality came on, she lost the support of her ankles, and her father had to prevent her from falling to the ground.”

“I call her normal state “A.” The abnormal state I call “B.” There were ten abnormal states. B1 was a condition of acute mania accompanied by intense fear, amounting to terror. Her symptoms enables us to diagnose it, not as ordinary mania, but from its sudden recurrence and disappearance, as a distinct phase of alternating personality. B2 was a stage in which she became a simple child. Her condition resembled that of hypnosis; for her normal state A knows nothing of the abnormal B, while the abnormal B has a faint glimmer of the existence of A and of what she does. On July 24, 1895, she passed out of B2 into a third abnormal stage into B3, while her parents named “Old Nick” because she was very passionate and bit her clothes. After the anger passed off she was very sorry and would say “it is a naughty man” and that he only comes for a minute and would not bite “them things,” touching her face and hands. In the B4 sub-stage, which occurred first in August 1895, she was a deaf mute. The B5 sub-stage occurred only on one occasion, November 26, 1895 and lasted until December 20. In this condition she had attacks of paralysis in the legs, became deaf and dumb for about an hour of the time, and lost all memory of events which had occurred more than 3 days before. On January 12, 1896, her memory went back to April 1895 when she had pains in her head. She changed to B2 and remained so until February 7. On January 22, 1896, she was shown to the Clinical Society to other psychologists. She was B2 but her father twice brought her to the normal state. This type of behavior continued until May 6 when the 6th personality appeared. She was a sweet, amiable child, but denied ever having seen me before. The normal A became a very rare visitor. On May 12, the 7th personality appeared. She only came once and lasted ten days. She had a clear memory of small events of her early childhood while all memory since her illness was obliterated. On July 8, B3 returned. She could walk, read and write. On the 23rd the 8th personality appeared, was dazed and mentally blank. It is believed two or three sub-stages merged into this one. B9 appeared on October 10. She chased her sister around trying to beat her with a stick. She said she had no name and did not know me. This state lasted for a week. She changed from one state to another for several months. On September 29, 1896, she gradually changed. B10 emerged as a blind imbecile. Her speech was incoherent and she used very few words. While Mary Barnes, the normal A never could draw at all, B10 could draw perfectly. On January 16, 1897, normal A appeared three or four times for about two minutes at a time. There was a changing period, from normal to abnormal, or vice versa.”

“Over time, there was a normal continuity of the same personality; but each one was ignorant of every other one…About 1900 I met Mary Barnes with her father. She is now to all appearances a healthy normal young woman, but her memory is bad. Nearly all her previous life is a blank…In reviewing this case, each sub-stage was a separate personality. These personalities were switched on and off without any apparent reason. There was generally some physical disturbance, such as shock, pallor or flushing, and alterations of facial expression.”

Dr. Wilson ends by showing letters written in different handwriting for each personality.

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Dissociative Disorders - Part 2
Why Not the Children


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