Explaining alters to children

I have always wanted children. This I knew from an early age – I don’t expect that many high school kids actively envision what their family will look like in X years. But I did. I may have done this as early as 5th grade.. my recall of time is very skewed. But I envisioned 3 kids. I expected to have at least one boy and one girl – but I digress. Now, this was at a time before I realized how different I was. I never imagined that I would have to explain to my kids that I don’t work a ‘normal’ job because I have a psychological disorder.

[Fast forward about 20 years]

My wife and I have been married about 10 years at this point, and both knew we wanted kids. Both single children we agreed that we want more than one. We have spent years trying to have kids and after failing both spent some time in a quite depressed state. One day she asked me to go buy a pregnancy test, which I did. A short while later she came out of the bathroom hyperventilating, with quite a shocked look on her face. Almost scared, but definitely surprised. I knew the day we had both waited so long for had finally come.

[Fast forward few more years]

I spent my teen years with only one friend to speak of, but my alters hid from most people. Including my parents, even though they knew. Until about a year after my marriage, they remained hidden from even my wife (and me to be honest) [but that’s another post]. Now after they come out to my wife (let’s call her Ana) we have enjoyed being completely open about being multiple. She uses their names, the girls often go shopping together, and sometimes I am gone for more than a day solely because they are spending time together.

Now that our son is getting older and exploring his world I start wondering,
Do I tell him? If so how do you tell a child you have more than one ‘person’ in your body? If not can I really be happy anymore? How would I cope with him not knowing that there are more of us? If he knows, how will he deal with having a Mama, Papa and a Bobbie, Nicole & Fred?

One day Ana could tell I was deep in though and asked what was up. I don’t recall verbatim, but it went something like this:

I said, “Are we going to tell him about us?”
“Why wouldn’t you?”
“What’s he going to think?”
“That you’re his Papa and you love him.”
“How will he handle the others?”
“You’re all part of my life, don’t they want to be part of his?”
“Well, yeah.”
“Children are very adaptive, act like you always do and if he has questions we’ll try to answer them.”

Wow, mind blown. Problem solved. Case closed. It seemed so obvious after this discussion. Apparently, she had never had any doubt about changing the way we live all together. Bobbie was happy as pie to hear that. After taking care of littles for so long, and then not having any for a while [the littles integrated sometime before “Daniel” was born] she was as excited as … well, a new mom. She had been helping us take care of him for several years, so the thought of going unnoticed for the rest of his life was quite disheartening to think about.

So we have continued living the way we had been for years. I can’t say ‘nothing changed’ because just knowing that it was expected we would not hide from him was a huge weight off my back. Plus the fact that just having kids is the definition of life changing, as things are always moving forward. I am overjoyed to say that now have a second son; we have decided he will be that last one.

Bobbie did not get her little girl, but both our boys like pink and enjoy things such as cooking, painting nails, ponytails. The youngest is interested in dolls. I am totally for letting kids play with whatever toys they want. It was hard for us growing up sticking to the boy stereotype. I think society has changed a bit in that it is okay for boys to like traditionally feminine activities. But this sounds like a topic for another time.

2 thoughts on “Explaining alters to children”

  1. This is encouraging to me. My oldest son has started to talk about Train, who is Mommy’s friend, sometimes. When I ask him who she is, he says, “I don’t know.” (He is 4.) I have a LOT of alters, and some of them are better with the kids than others. I think the kids like Cobalt (one of my original selves, I, strangely, have two) best because she is fun. I think my “Insiders” would like for the boys to know who they are, and I know that my oldest sees me switching but doesn’t know what it means. Anyway, our family is a bit different and I am aimed at integration so it’s something my husband and I need to discuss. But I would love to hear how “Daniel” fares with your openness. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am excited to hear that my openness is appriciated and helpful. Bobbie took care of the inside kids, so she is naturally attracted to being a mom. The others that are left are more ambilvilant about being known by outsiders, but are open to people knowing about them. Further integration is not in our plans, but best of luck to you if that is your goal. “Daniel” knows all the names, but “Simion” responds more to hearing them. I will certianly update as they grow.

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