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It seems we've gotten a lot of questions concerning uncloseting, since we've come out multi to a fair few people with a wide range of reactions.  Feel free to bring up suggestions, arguments, or anything you see fit; I wrote this on the fly, and I'm more than willing to revamp it at others' behest.  It's meant for multiplicity, but I think a bunch of the rules can apply for about coming out anything.  So:

So You're Crazy: the Handy-Dandy Loony-Brain Guide to Uncloseting

Before You Uncloset

1. Think of your reasons WHY you are uncloseting.  Obviously, freaking out the easily-freaked-out can be entertaining, but it's not a good reason to go disclosing what can be diagnosed as a mental illness.  Uncloset for a good reason: because you have to tell somebody, and you think they'll be able to support you.  If your internal crew is in deadlock over even deciding whether to do it in the first place, try to find a way to come to a solid decision; the last thing you need is for an internal fight to ensue in the middle of what's already a stressful situation.

2. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.  Just because you think they'll support you doesn't mean they will.  If you don't think you can handle a reasonable worst case scenario, you should not uncloset.  You are likely to take a rather abrupt rejection or two, and it's no good if you fall to sobbing pieces for weeks every time this happens.  Accept that life is sucky and unfair this way.

3. Know the risks to uncloseting.  If your body is a minor, it is possible for your parents to call for institutionalization without your express consent or you being a danger to yourself or others.  A diagnosis of DID can bar you from some high-security work, if you're considering something in the FBI, NSA, or one of the other acronyms.  If you have a therapist, make sure they tell you any other possible setbacks in your state/country/what have you.  And of course, don't forget you might end up losing a couple friends.

4. That said, don't coop yourself up in a box of fear your whole life.  It's a crappy place to be.  You may have to buckle down and shut up for a few years if you can't pack up to find a safe environment, but still, compromising or suppressing everyone's voice is a pain in the ass, and in our case, caused more problems than the condition itself.  Be aware you have to compromise the desire to be open with security.

When You Uncloset

5. Above all: know that you rarely have to uncloset right this instant.  If the vibes look bad (your unclosetee is in a shitty mood, you're on the verge of a panic attack, the inner crew is revolting), don't uncloset.  You can always try again later, and a bad uncloseting can be hard to fix.

6. Try to rig the situation to be as comfortable as possible.  Make sure you have all the time you may need.  Be in a place you feel secure in, be it a loud noisy restaurant nobody'll hear you talking in, or alone in your room with your unclosetee.  Do you prefer to rehearse what you'll say beforehand, or do you work better on the fly?  Have a basic idea of what you're doing, including, if applicable, who will front for it.  Dress comfortably; if you're relaxed, your targetee will follow suit. (Of course, sometimes things will organically move in the uncloseting direction without any forethought at all.  If so, you're a lucky bastard; take advantage of it.)

7. Be calm.  Some news has more impact when you do it sobbing and emotional: coming out multiple is generally not one of these.  It can give off the impression that you're "being dramatic," so emotionally overwhelmed that you aren't thinking straight, or it might just alarm your unclosetee.  Not what you want.  If you feel like you're falling apart, you might want to delay the uncloseting until you feel ready.  In general, speak in a calm but reassuring manner: this may be serious business, but it's not the end of the world.  You're still functioning, and if you're not, you're doing something about it.

8. Take it slow.  It can be hard enough for the average Joe to accept the idea of multiplicity in general: you may not want to slug him with your internal vampires, fairy princesses, or axe murderers right off the bat. (It took our dad a gradual explaining over the course of a couple months, first that we had "voices in our head," then later explaining they were more like people, decent people, then finally that they controlled the body.  He completely accepted the idea, unlike the first time when we'd tried our more usual, "I'm multiple, here's how it works," which had completely failed.) It's usually easier for someone to accept the mundane stuff first, like how you argue with Alter Bob about whether to wear the sneakers or the boots.

After You Uncloset

9. Let them ask questions.  This is a really strange situation for most people, and they might worry they'll offend you or that they'll ask something really stupid.  And they very well might.  Still, cut them slack; they're trying to learn here, and being short with them will not help them feel more comfortable around you.  Nerves can make people sound stupider than they really are, including you.  Realize they're usually trying to be educated, not insult you.  Their tone is more important than the words they use.

10. Don't take it personally if the unclosetee admits they're overwhelmed, don't know how to respond to this, or that they might need some time to think this over.  You've told them something pretty strange, and they might need to just sit down and rethink everything in the privacy of their own room for a while; it doesn't necessarily mean they never want you to speak of this again.  Just be glad they respect you enough to tell you they're overwhelmed, rather than just exploding into a rant of "OMG U LIE!"

10. 5 THE MINA COROLLARY (donated by Mina of [ profile] menistelsiva
Happy uncloseting.


Date: 2007-10-13 05:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is a fantastic guide; thanks. I like number 8 in particular; when we were newly dealing with being multiple, we did have a tendency to rush in with THIS IS A HUGE DRAMATIC THING, SAY GOODBYE FOREVER TO THE WOMAN YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW, WE ARE SECRETLY CONJOINED TWINS AND A BUNCH OF WEIRD DEAD PEOPLE FROM REVOLUTIONARY FRANCE AND STUFF, and it didn't go over well. We've had a lot more success going the "Sometimes I feel as if I have more than one person in my head, do you ever get that?" route.


Date: 2007-10-13 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, some people seem to think they're on trial and have to "prove" themselves, when really it just comes off as a huge information overload. We generally don't even introduce Mac or his history until later in, because he's the hardest to swallow. (Too bad, since he's probably the easiest of us to get along with.)

And your old method would've made me want to hit you with a plank. Doesn't surprise me it didn't work out good.


Date: 2007-10-13 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It makes me want to hit myself retroactively with a plank. I think a lot of it came from nerves and from not being naturally good at what feels to us like "lying" (ie, not giving everything away all at once immediately), but yeah. Not fantastically successful, though I'm glad it didn't immediately alienate our parents too much.

Date: 2007-10-13 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank god we're better liars than you are. Sneak is compulsive about truth, but even she was willing to bland it down to "voices in the head" for our dad's sake, because I was on the verge of nervous breakdown.


Date: 2007-10-13 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, god, it's a real issue in here. Calla is, uhm, truthful to a degree that's actually a bit dysfunctional. I'm better than she is, but still.


Date: 2007-10-14 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, THAT... is bad. The truth ain't THAT sacred.

--Rogan, who happens to be a rotten liar most the time

Date: 2007-10-14 09:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, it's... less of a moral thing and more of a mild neurosis going back to some unfortunate childhood shit, etc.

Don't get me wrong, she's not the type to go around saying "Your new haircut looks like ass!" because OMGZ TEH TROOTH, but keeping a very major secret from people we love, for a prolonged period of time, was - really, really difficult for her. Which I think contributed to her just blurting out everything in one go because telling it at last was such a giant relief, even though that is really not the best strategy.

Date: 2007-10-13 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And PS: we saw in your memories you have some "plurality Q&A" entry, but it's locked to us. Is it private? We're curious to see.


Date: 2007-10-13 11:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's private, yeah; all old entries are, almost. We used the [ profile] senza journal for a bit in 2004, then abandoned it for ages and recently came back, but we locked all the 2004 entries because they were from so long ago they felt really unconnected to how we are now, and, uh, well, some of them were kinda embarrassing 'cause we were so clueless about plurality. XD

I'll go look it up though, and see if it's fit for public consumption - I think it was just a system q&a, so it probably is in horrible need of updating.


Date: 2007-10-13 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ok, unlocked it (! It is horribly out of date, but hey. :) Kinda weird to see how our system's changed - mostly it's just fucking tiny in comparison these days, having had a few people move out and the occasional weird-integrationy-thing and such. Might be interesting to re-post the q&a thing now, actually...


Date: 2007-10-14 04:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's... a really interesting idea. Wonder if we should make it on ours...

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