Sam, in the recent Best Tweets comments, mentioned his wife is the DID survivor. I pointed him to Jeff Vineburg’s outstanding work, The Significant Other’s Guide to Dissociative Identity Disorder, but realized I’ve been remiss in not publicizing it sooner and much more widely.
This guide has been available, completely free, on the Internet for at least 10 years, and is extremely helpful to the people in a DIDer’s external support system who probably don’t have therapy degrees. (It’s helpful to a lot of clinicians even with the degrees.)
Jeff covers the external headaches involved in finding a good therapist and types of therapy available, dealing with insurance companies and disability claims, dealing with people who “don’t believe in” DID/MPD, and false memory proponents. He spends the bulk of the Guide with the internal issues, such as “Where is my SO?”, how to deal with sexual relations with a DIDer, how to cope with suicidal tendencies and hospitalizations, types of alters, switching, contact with abusers, meds, and much more. He includes statements by multiples other than his SO to discuss some of these tricky areas.
From an SO viewpoint, Jeff says, “A common reaction of most partners is that all of the problems in the relationship stem from their SO’s disorder. They don’t. The problem isn’t about what SHE does – it’s about your REACTION to what she does. It’s really that simple.” (He includes feedback from a reader who disagrees a bit with this statement.) He gives pointers in how to process these issues in ways which are ultimately healthy for both partners. He discusses and warns on the issues of co-dependency.
The last section of the Guide is directed toward the person with DID’s relationship with his/her SO. “What can I tell my S.O. about trying to help me?” “What bugs you about your spouse?” He includes a sort of “you had to have been there” section on DID humor :), and provides an extended book list and some other resources. He closes with feedback he’s received over the years from many SOs, which I found very insightful as well.
A terrific resource!