Families Within the System

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As we were growing up we got mixed signals about what a ‘family’ was supposed to be. One side, we got incest and a father saying that family is the most important thing. On the other, we have our mothers family, who showed love (if you could call it that) by in-fighting and then buying expensive gifts for the people they put down. TV always showed families being greatly diverse and loving one another despite whatever problems they may have been going through.

So I had no idea what a family was supposed to be like.

When we first all gained access to headworld, and we danced with each other to music playing through tiny earbuds, we started to bond. Our bonds are strong, and some of them have been in place even before we gained access to head world (at age 11). Kenny and Elijah have strong memories of being in headspace while being abused.

We don’t think of one another has being just broken pieces to some great fine china that now has to be glued together. No, we’re an entire set of dishes that all fit into a hutch perfectly together. Yeah, some of us are a little chipped and dinged up, but we display ourselves anyway.

That mindset was there even before we got diagnosed and worked on undoing the barriers that had been put up between us from being overly medicated and forced to think that our voices were a bad thing. Back when we would spend nearly two hours a day in headworld together- sometimes more. We have always been tightly knit.

I think that’s helped us in the long run. You see other systems online struggling to control one another and push each other away just to fix themselves. Or you see systems with ‘bad’ parts who lash out when they get a chance to front. We didn’t have that. We thought we were supposed to so much that we made it happen, we had a ‘bad’ part who everyone was afraid of/angry with.

Adopting the idea that we don’t have to hate each other like other systems seem to do helped us stop being silly and work together.

I can truly say that I don’t think we could be as close have we all are with one another to another human being. Even parts who don’t really talk, or who struggle with something are close-knit. We try to reward building friendships and being together.

I’ve totally gotten sidetracked here.

I think a lot of our relationships came about just because they felt natural. Now, I’m not talking about romantic relationships here, that will be another post. I’m talking about families, brothers, kids, stuff like that.

Kenny is a good example here, he has three brothers; Clarence, Levi, and Deirdre. Levi and he just seemed to automatically become close siblings the second they met each other. Kenny has always thought having an older brother would be cool (from too many overprotective older brother stories) and Levi just kind of took on that role for him. Clarence did the same, but with blinder over protectiveness and emotion. (Whereas Levi is more level headed and tries to make Kenny a better person.)

Deirdre and Kenny were always close before we got diagnosed (and before the block when up around Deirdre, Lolly, and Kuzu), but when Deirdre came back around Kenny started being an overprotective brother himself. Not like Levi or Clarence but more ‘let’s hang out and let me help you do stuff’ kind of way. Their brotherhood just kind of formed from there.

Cloud, Soe, and I are different. With our past ‘fandom’ identities we were kind of made to think of each other as brothers. When I first lost the barrier (Cloud had been around) Cloud and I were kind of awkward around each other. He’s a good older brother though, he cares a lot about people in this system so we warmed up to each other pretty quickly.

Soe came back in a big group of people. It was kind of wild, but I took him under my wing because I still felt that brotherly bond. Cloud feels the same, but around the time Soe came back Cloud started having some emotional issues and has been a little more absent (from everyone).

Some other system members are siblings too like Adam and Renau are twins. There are others but they are more speculative than concrete. Joji and Rude may be brothers, and Elijah and Riku may also be brothers but neither of them has spent time together outside of protector meetings so they don’t really know.

The kids really threw a wrench into everything we knew about our system. It changed how we view the world and really changed us as a whole. (Another post will be made about that.)

As a whole, we have always liked kids to a point. We have been a co-parent to our younger sister since she was born (we were 13 then). We have memories of her being very young and us being up at 2 AM bouncing her up and down in our arms while our mother cried and fought with my sisters’ father. My sister father would always go out to the front porch or his truck and wait until it was time to leave for work.

We used to say our sister was the only kid we could ever love. Our sister is one of the only people on the planet we’ve ever felt connected to. She is still our entire world. Each one of us feels like she has saved us from drowning in the abyss that abuse causes.

When the kids came around, it scared us at first. We hadn’t had to deal with kids yet (minus a then-puppy Pal). We tried to stay calm but it was a struggle when every day there was a new kid showing up.

We didn’t get to choose what kids we wanted to take care of. Our therapist kept suggesting having some kind of kid area where they could all stay and a few of us could take care of them at a time. I didn’t work out that way at all.

The kids came to who they wanted to be found by, and now those bonds are so unbreakable and strong. Take Chance and Adam; while Adam, Joji and I make up a little love unit, Chance was 100% Adams kid at first. He’s warmed up to everyone now, but at first, you couldn’t get them away from each other. Jonah is the same way with me. He only wanted to be held by me, only wanted to be near me. Now though he’ll go into other peoples arms and will sit happily in a swing, he likes being around me.

They’re kind of magical in a way, how they’ve totally gotten the people they connected with wrapped around their fingers. I thought for sure if a kid ever showed up it would send us into a spiral down a bad road.

When Matty came to being a kid Kenny was very level headed and cool about it. Kenny took in Kisa when he too became a fully formed kid. Zack was already living with Cloud’s unit so it was only natural he’d stay there. I think the way we found the rest of the kids was the hard part honestly.
I think my main point with this post was to talk about the bond between system members as a family. It’s so strange to think that we all have this little world going on in our head that no one else can see. Our own connections that outside people don’t understand.

It would be impossible to explain this to anyone close to me in real life, except a therapist (maybe). To me, being able to have this loving group of people, who I can connect with any time of day or night is wonderful. I don’t have to worry about upsetting Adam if I wake him up in the middle of the night because I had a nightmare. No worries about my kids growing up and becoming spoiled teenagers.

While some may think of this has sad in a pathetic kind of way, I don’t find it sad. My system brings me a lot of joy, more joy than any human could. Humans have hurt me beyond some peoples comprehension, my system mates wouldn’t do that.

-Roo

 

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