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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 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My Man Rogan... :)

thanks for writing this up -- I've added this to my memories so I can give it a full read later (I've just skimmed this)...

After thinking things over -- Your advice to Carrie about doing smaller frontings sounds like a good idea. (not in drag preferably at first). I've already thought of a "victim", and introduced myself online to her last night via AIM -- she's a good friend of Carrie's and well trusted by both of us. It turned out that her friend was going to volunteer for it anyways...(I think she has a lot of questions still and some I'm not able to answer yet).

We'll probably see her sometimes next week... since she lives in SF and our new job's there too...

I'm hoping that things go well -- if I get comfortable fronting with her (she'll be at that party)then it'll be a better informed decision and not a shot in the dark...

I appreciate your feedback and Carrie does as well...


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 10:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
:D This made me smile. I'm glad that you guys are taking your experiences and turning it into advice for others. I really admire your strength and will and positive outlook, with everything you've gone through, since I've known you. I can't imagine going through what you've gone through. I really respect you guys for it and often wonder why is it the ones who seem like they are the most emotionally sound, face the most trouble from "normal society"?

[hugs to all]

Date: 2007-10-13 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hi Rogan!!! This is great and well written and just full of win!!

Date: 2007-10-13 11:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Very nice. My unclosetings have all gone so well it's almost frightening, and I hope it'll continue to be so; but I think you make a lot of great points. #11 is particularly helpful and I should definitely return to this if/when I finally have a craptacular uncloseting.


Date: 2007-10-13 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Very nice. Can I make a copy of this and send it to my therapist?

Date: 2007-10-14 01:48 am (UTC)
ext_579929: (Group:myselves)
From: [identity profile]
This... this is love.

Date: 2007-10-14 05:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Excellent work, Rogan; I rather like it. *Smiles.*

- Richard

Date: 2007-10-14 06:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"Some people just can't wrap their minds around the idea any more than some people can understand advanced calculus..."

I can do both! I feel special!

I must say, though, this is pretty darned decent. Good job! :)


Date: 2007-10-15 07:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is seriously made of awesome. So much awesome.

Date: 2007-10-16 01:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Very nicely written ^^ :)

We'd suggest something about dealing with halfway acceptance, except neither of us has a clue what to do about it.

/ Cicci and mina

Date: 2007-11-17 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As a corollary, especially to points nine and ten, I'm increasingly starting to realise the importance of long-term patience, as an uncloseting even after the best of outcomes really is the beginning of a much longer process of acceptance, discovery and acquaintance on the part of the unclosetee. Expect things to progress gradually, even with the best of intentions.

At least, that's the pattern that's emerging here, regardless of whether the person is actively trying to learn, passively accepting or just weirdly quiet. I can handle that, but not everyone (in here or elsewhere) is as patient.

/ mina (sounding like Imin)
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