Autopersonification Thread

Discussion in 'Brainbent' started by Elph, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. Ben

    Ben Not entirely unlike a dragon

    Huh, this is really interesting to me because of how it's different from my conceptualization.
    I think it's a little telling about my personality that my inner child expy is incapable of real anger. It likes the idea of a good, solid argument, and has the capacity to be frustrated, but... isn't able to be angry, no matter how justifiable anger would be. Instead, it avoids the anger and finds something else to do.
    • Like x 1
  2. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    There's a scene from the show My Mad Fat Diary where a therapist uses the whole "personify your inner child to encourage yourself to treat yourself better" thing, kind of like what you described, @jacktrash. It's obviously very dramatised/simplified, since it's a TV show, but it's really powerful to me, at least in the context of the rest of the show. (I love Sharon Rooney.)
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
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  3. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    was anger unsafe for you as a kid?

    i was an angry child, and i was allowed to express it at home. the house rule was 'you can be angry, just don't be mean' -- i.e. i could yell at my brother "stop taking my halloween candy, you have your own!!!" but i could not call him a greedy pig. at school, i couldn't express anything without making myself a target; i was in a constant state of being punished for my 'attitude' (autism) and mostly lived in a state of robot-like dissociation with episodes of sullen resentment and despair. so when i came home and emerged from that state, i tended to asplode. so despite my parents being good about healthy expressions of anger, i was just too much of a pressure cooker to express healthily.

    so i think that's why it's theraputic for me to visualize henry being angry in a regular kid way. not exploding, not having a meltdown, not shoving it all down deep to fester, just... being pissed off, and grumbling about it, and kicking puffball mushrooms to watch them go poof. which is very satisfying.
    • Like x 3
  4. Aniseed

    Aniseed Well-Known Member

    reviving this thread to share something neat i learned today

    basically this is a type of therapy that uses family therapy dynamics on the multiple dysfunctional sub-personalities a lot of victims of abuse, trauma, etc have.

    it resonated quite a bit with me and i am admittedly curious to whether or not it would work for me.
    • Like x 2
  5. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    I discovered IFS a while ago and actually thought I'd mentioned it in this thread before - it's one of the few sources of existing vocabulary for this kind of autopersonification stuff. [*edit* yeah, looks like I did talk about it in the first few posts, not in great detail though.] If you can find a therapist to do it with you, it might be good :) alternatively, you can just continue doing your own research and applying the concepts and information to yourself personally, even without a therapist. And feel free to share it here!

    I kind of wish there was a forum for this, not like a-forum-on-Kintsugi but an active message board of its own where people could talk about their experiences with this stuff & how to actively harness it for therapeutic purposes.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
    • Like x 1
  6. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    Observation from recently: I'm moving away from my interopopulus state and more towards a First Thoughts/Second Thoughts/Third Thoughts type thing, like in the Tiffany Aching books. I related to that concept the second I read about it, but didn't actually experience it that much compared to the inner dialogue between "people". I must think some more about what this signifies

    (also gotta do some more empty chair work soon, that's always good)
    • Like x 2
  7. a tiny mushroom

    a tiny mushroom the tiniest

    I feel like I need to name all my me's to talk about them, because [description]!Me is very clunky

    I want to call the mature me who makes good life decisions Shirley because I can feel her being pissed off by that bc it's such a grandma name (yeah well fuck you Shirley, you can't tell me what to do. Because you're also me.)
    • Like x 2
  8. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    @a tiny mushroom I love naming things and people and concepts, so am quite happy to help if that's not too weird :P
    *edit* the thing that would be the most weird to me is the idea of being able to name your parts by choice, rather than them just telling you their names or you "finding" their names, but if you can give the name Shirley against Shirley's will then that indicates a difference between how your and my naming stuff works?
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
  9. a tiny mushroom

    a tiny mushroom the tiniest

    Pls help me name my Me's!!!

    We don't need to name actual!me bc I know my name.

    The Team Disapproving Mother is now called Shirley

    We have the Pessimist, the Optimist Even In The Face Of Overwhelmingly Terrible Odds, the Bitch (think Mean Girls level nasty pettiness), the Violent And Very Angry One.

    I also personify my braindumbs but they aren't people so much as they are angry shouty clouds of bullshit so we don't needa name them.

    ETA: there's also the Very Hyper One Who Might Be A Small Child Who Just Wants To Have Fun And Has Zero Impulse Control
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
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  10. a tiny mushroom

    a tiny mushroom the tiniest

    Shirley is happy with "bitchy disappointed team mum." That's not a name, Shirley. Pick a real name, Shirley.
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  11. Vierran

    Vierran small and sharp

    I somehow missed this thread when it got made, but, wow, hello, yes. I do this a lot. I used to do it even more, but reducing number of me's to more like three or four, rather than like 10, was an important part of coming to terms with my mental health stuff. Like, I can be quiet and contemplative or hyper and sociable without putting those into different categories. Accepting my variability in moods and styles of interaction helped me have better relationships with friends and also be less judgmental about myself.

    Intrusive violent thoughts gets to stay in its own corner, though. I'm not interested in accepting that as part of my identity, thanks.

    Source of inner strength seems determined to not be me, too, which is okay, I guess. Means I can go looking for her when I need her, and just, having the gentle reminder that she's there, and she can get through anything, is really good.

    I do a lot of self-talk to get around executive dysfunction. Stuff like, "Okay, step one is to sit up. You can't do that yet? Okay. Five minutes. [...] Okay, now sit up. There, good job. Now, find your pants. The purple ones." Narrator/director can usually fake being normal even when I'm emotionally overwhelmed, too. That one is the part of me that's watching me all the time, but is not the same as the part that insists on playing my mistakes on repeat. Narrator usually is the voice of putting those into perspective.
    • Like x 3
  12. Lib

    Lib Well-Known Member

    That always resonates with me so much. Especially Second Thoughts. Though I've always also found it a bit weird: that implies that some people aren't constantly thinking about what they're thinking/saying/doing/moving/etc and how it might come across to other people. That sounds really restful.

    I value self-awareness but I find the compulsive/paranoid stuff surrounding it really wearing.

    Would you feel okay expanding on that a bit? It's okay if that's too personal, it just maybe sounds relevant to stuff I'm trying to work out.

    It meeeeeeeee.

    I don't know how common this is among people, but it seems to be not-all-that-common, given how people react when I try to talk about it.

    One of the most frustrating things is that it simultaneously helps me deal with mental illness a bit better, but prevents me from ever really getting diagnosis/treatment; people only look at your behaviour, and so they see 'Lib hasn't done major bad impulsive things', and don't listen to the experience of 'well, unfiltered!Lib is having really strong impulses and insists that it is necessary to go do [stupid impulsive thing] right now, but the watcher part is sitting here like 'no, we're not doing that. it's dumb. yes, I know you feel terrible about not doing it. I know you feel like you need to do it right now. we're still not doing it.'
    • Like x 1
  13. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    Narrator for me is kind of like what Terry Pratchett called Second Thoughts, yeah :)

    @Lib - I feel the same way. It's weird that other people don't think constantly about how they're thinking.

    As for the Empty Chair exercise: perfectly happy to explain! It's a Gestalt technique where you set up two chairs and put part of yourself in the other chair. It doesn't have to be a pre-personified part, and can just be a specific emotion you're feeling that you want to understand better. The first time I did it I discovered (or perhaps solidified?) another representative - instead of trying to explain the whole thing technically, I'll just tell you how my counsellor led me through it:

    I was talking about this drive inside me to hurt myself, to scream at myself in hatred and be horrible and violent towards myself as a person. I didn't know why I had this profoundly counterproductive thing inside me that was so determined to torture me all the time. My counsellor suggested the exercise, explained it in outline, and then set up two chairs for me, facing each other. (One of them may have been the chair I was already sitting on, but if it was, we moved it elsewhere because it was supposed to clearly be a different conversation to the one she and I were having.) She told me to look at the other chair and imagine that that feeling, that part of me that did that, was in the other chair. She didn't say to picture it with facial features or try to come up with an appearance for it or anything, just to concentrate very hard on the idea that it was sitting in the chair facing me. Then, when I felt ready, I was supposed to think of one question to ask it, and ask out loud.

    Next (again, only once I felt ready to do it) I was to get up and go sit in the other chair, looking back at the first one, and focus on the idea that I was [that part I had been addressing] and I was looking back at myself having just asked the question. Concentrate on this, try to put myself into the mindset of being that entity, and then when I felt ready, answer the question out loud.

    To my surprise, an answer did float into my head unbidden. This wouldn't have been surprising if I had put an existing inner-person in the chair; if it was Jamie or Micah or even Bee or Eleanor, I'd have fully expected an answer from them to arise instantly, in their voice and personality and in character with what I already knew they felt. I didn't think this part-in-the-chair was a person, and wasn't expecting it to speak up for itself. It did take concentration; it wasn't like I knew immediately what to say, and I also wasn't sitting there thinking to myself "Who is this part and what would it say to this question?" Instead I was thinking (as per the counsellor's instructions) "I am this part and I have just been asked this question, I am this part and I have just been asked this question, I am this part..." etc. (In a more abstract way, but you get the idea, I hope.)

    I don't remember the full dialogue but the part I do remember was an absolute revelation: I asked why it was so hell-bent on hurting me, and the answer was something like "I'm scared" or "I'm in pain". I didn't know it was coming until I said it, and suddenly in my head this entity's appearance materialised, complete with a name and a voice. It was my abusive brother's birthname. In other words, this part of myself was my brain's attempt to internalise my brother's abuse, to create an inner abuser to continue the punishment when he wasn't around. Of course, it wasn't an actual replica of my brother; this being my head rather than his, its (or rather, her) motivation for hurting me was different - well, I mean, in addition to my subconscious's reason for creating it (which was probably just "having been abused my whole life this seems like a reasonable course of action" tbh), she had her own drive: being in pain. She was lashing out at me in reaction to her own pain, like a mistreated animal.

    Since all of this is me, technically, what this means is that I was lashing out at myself because of my own pain, which is of course very counterproductive and ridiculous, but "counterproductive and ridiculous" is kind of what brains do best. And self-injurious behaviour as a reaction to distress is a pretty well-established Thing that animals in general will do - hurting yourself because you're hurting may not fix anything, but it's sort of a reflex, isn't it.

    I've done this technique on my own a few times with amazing results, which I will write up for you guys tomorrow as they're very interesting and potentially useful inspiration. I also led my roommate through it once, which she said was amazing. It's a very powerful technique! I do recommend looking stuff up about it, though, cause my version here is probably not a complete picture.
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  14. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    So what I could do if you wanted is just list names that come to mind to suit the image in my head based on each of these descriptions, but that does feel a little weird. For the meantime, I'll just say that Regina is an obvious choice for the Mean Girl, though Cordelia would be a funny reference if you're into that. As far as referential names go, Myrtle also popped into my head for a pessimist (like the ghost), but that was also because my brain was floating "M" names with R sounds in them. Morgan, Morwenna, Moore, that kind of thing. (Mordant is the kind of name mine would get stuck with but may be a little too heavy-handed.)
  15. Carnivorous Moogle

    Carnivorous Moogle whose baby is this

    i'll be completely honest, like 98% of my autopersonification consists of fictional characters i like, and i've been gathering them up for about as long as i remember being alive and knowing what stories were.

    they were there before i tried to tell my stepdad to stop touching me because 'you're embarrassing me in front of my imaginary friends!' and before having them around during Bad Shit that happened in secret--or that i knew would be gaslighted away by my family--helped me feel real and not alone,

    but i guess maybe that's one explanation for why they were some of the only friends i wanted for a long, long time. it's mostly never been anything as... i don't know, productive? as the personifications other people have talked about; i've just always been a lonely, neglected kid with difficulty speaking or maintaining friendships because of the nonsensical tangle of raw nerves in my head about other people, and the characters in my head were somebody to... well, witness me, i guess. somebody to be there for me emotionally and not treat me like an annoying pet. so boop, randall boggs is your best friend now, kid, have fun. (which is pretty nonsensical because most of the characters i picked--i went for villains a lot--would probably treat me like shit in-character, but i honestly think kid-me kind of knew that and having them like me anyway was part of the appeal.)

    i still do it, but i kind of tried to make myself not do it to that extent of immersion because it seemed unhealthy and i guess i'm not good at half-assing it. it's... actually really really lonely and i miss them a lot hahaha

    then there's when i got into tulpas for a couple years starting during high school. honestly i kept the ones i made, and i'm sure the concept has plenty of useful/healthy applications, but thaaaaat community is not particularly a place to find them, especially if you are a maladaptive-fantasy-prone abused and isolated kid as i was then. Yikes.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2016
    • Like x 2
  16. Codeless

    Codeless Cheshire Cat

    -lurks in a corner-
    Posting here to remind myself to maybe post when less terrified.
    • Like x 3
  17. paladinkit

    paladinkit brave little paladin

    I do this thing! My depressive/self-defeating thoughts are called "Denethors," after the character from the Lord of the Rings. There's more-ish but they get tied up in OCs I make sometimes.
    • Like x 1
  18. Inksalt

    Inksalt the prettiest yautja

    Kao has literally increased my meals-per-day in the last two weeks through sheer weight of loving disappointment
    i'm now habitually having breakfast??? and not then starving myself the rest of the day??? sometimes i'm even having three what is this magical bullshit

    (it also helps i've found an AU to RP him in so he's even more fresh in my mind)
    • Like x 1
  19. pixels

    pixels hiatus / only back to vent

    i have intrusive inner thoughts and i think their name is "shut the fuck up." like, not even a timothy or a todd or a chad or anything like that. just "shut the fuck up" as an instantaneous response from me.

    vertigo was probably this. epsilon, not so much, he was entirely foreign and a not-me.

    i always attributed this to bpd and weak self-image/personality coherence. there's lawyer-me and dutiful child-me and dutiful sister-me and self-me and friends-me and romantic relationship-me and never the twain shall meet. (thinking on this, i may have made a mistake letting lawyer-me off the leash, it tends to be unforgiving and exacting and demanding of me.)
    • Like x 2
  20. Technicality

    Technicality All's fair in love and shitposting

    It's really nice to know that whatever problems I have it's nice to know that I'm not completely crazy. Not that I'd wish my brain upon anyone, it's not fun.
    But yeah, I totally do this. I have an area in my head (my "frame" I guess) akin to the HQ from Inside Out. (A lot of this will be copied from a post over in the DID thread.) I'm going to try to use the words from before.
    The main personalities/subpersonalities are:
    1) Nikki. This is who I consider the main person in my head to be. ("Speaker") That's the closest thing to me! Basically, it's my conscience and what I feel like is the most natural. This image of me is female so that may be a source of dysphoria. That image changes a lot, but at the moment she has pretty short brown hair and wears comfy but practical clothes.
    2) Matt. The part of me that thinks mostly in the short term and wants to have as much enjoyment in the moment as possible. Great at times, but that often means I get stuck playing games when I should be studying. Usually exists by sitting on a couch. Doesn't really do much but likes to relax a lot. While studying will often think about games. Weighs quite a bit and wears a grey t-shirt.
    3) ??? (Blue). This is the person who embodies my antisocial personality. She doesn't really talk. At all. In fact, we don't even know her name, so we just call her Blue. She bears an extreme resemblance to Lapis Lazuli from Steven Universe, although until recently she was mostly incorporeal. (Although she isn't exactly corporeal now, considering she's part of my/our brain :P)
    4) "Malicious Intent." I haven't come up with a name for it, but it's basically a voice that says that whatever we're doing isn't good enough, reminds us of flaws and what we've done wrong. It knows me, because it is me. It is us. I hate it but it is still part of me. But it keeps us on our toes. Luckily does not have a physical form, I don't want there to be a fistfight in my brain.
    5) Dewey. The high-energy, low-focus part of me. Most of the time he and Matt go off and do something else while me and Blue work on getting through the day. A bit like an excited Golden Retriever, he's also the one that finds new hobbies for us to obsess over for short periods of time before he finds another. Has short, curly blackish-brown hair and glasses.

    There are others, but these are the main 5 people. Nice crowd. We occasionally try to consolidate ourselves into one person but more often than not that's very temporary, depending on the situation.

    tl;dr: I thought everyone did this but I was wrong
    • Like x 1
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