You're really looking good today!
June 24, 2011, at 10:06 AM
I believe the internal landcape is very helpful in keeping internal conversations manageable (people can "take their conversations over there" so that if small groups are talking I (as Front) don't have to "listen" to several conversations at the same time. It directly helps with internal communication via sign language (for our deaf resident) and non-verbal language. Some of our guests (those who are not willing or able to sign the lease) can give us an important lesson on communication in an internalized visual environment:
Shane lives in a dark box in a corner that is not well lit. Shane's box says "No No No No Go Away!" in crayon. When she's somewhat comfortable the lid is sometimes open and we can kinda see her hugging her dark stuffies. When she's upset, the box is closed and she's inside of it. She's one of 2 littles who are still non-responsive to attempts to bring them to co-consciousness or co-awareness -- out of over 70 people and fragments in our head. If we didn't have an internal landscape, we might not even know about Shane. With an internal landscape and these non-verbal cues, we can actually figure out some of what she's feeling, whether she's triggered at any given moment, and have several clues about where she came from. There are a few residents she's more comfortable being "approached" by; we can tell by whether or not the lid gets put back on her box. So she knows we're here, has some vague awareness of internal events, and communicates with us in limited ways as part of our internal landscape. Why force her to be verbal? She's clearly not ready to have a conversation.
Tina is in a coma. To describe her visually might be disturbing. We have some portraits of her (doubt they're "self portraits") courtesy of her representation in our internal landscape. She is completely traumatized and non-responsive to communication. Other than her appearance, she does not communicate unless she's "touched" in our internal landscape. When touched she screams, like her whole body is in pain. Due to her choices in representing herself in our internal landscape, we've decided that she's not ready to have a conversation either.
Some of us have other types of internal representations in our system. Our best protectors may somehow represent either our perpetrators in some way ("If you can't beat them...be them."), or take the form of beings that are generally regarded as very powerful. This is one possible reason (the reason that psychology claims) for why some multiples have demons, dragons, wizards, and other relatively powerful and invincible brutes in their system.
Being able to picture our guardians and protectors as being powerful helps our system feel safer. It can help us build self-protective mechanisms, and some of these brutes are the ones who will come to a meeting focused on developing house rules and not expecting much to come out of the experience, then insist on certain system protections being in place, usually accomplishing more than anyone will want to give them credit for.