Co-conscious or Co-present?

“Co-conscious” or “co-present”?  Talk about anything related to these topics.  In our group, “co-conscious” was described as 2 or more parts being present together and knowing it/cooperating.  “Co-present” was described as 2 or more parts being present together but not really knowing it or cooperating.

15 thoughts on “Co-conscious or Co-present?

  1. ellis, mostly

    i’m often co-present with other parts without being co-conscious. what i mean when i say this is, there are two or more parts active, but we can’t really hear or communicate with each other.

    it’s taken some work to realize that this is happening, and it’s taken being self-aware enough inside that we can tell who is out, or at least that we think to think about it.

    some of it is that it’s kind of how my system has operated as far back as any of us can remember. i know that parts have memories of just segments of the same event–like, one part will hold the emotional content, one will hold the physical content, one or two will have watched what happened from the outside, one or two will have gotten away inside, but remember the beginning…. so it’s like, we often go through life with several of us acting simultaneously.

    it took a while to figure that out. maybe it’s because from around the time i was in middle school, i realized that there are things one can do with one’s brain that no one else seemed interested in doing. like discovering i could think three or four completely unrelated things at the same time. i don’t mean having mixed emotions. i mean, being able to simultaneously run through my times tables, conjugate a french verb, memorize my locker combination, sing a song, think through an essay, and write a story.

    the problem with co-presence without co-consciousness for me is that it makes it really hard to actually get anything done. because as soon as the part who is controlling the body stops focusing on it, someone else is right there to do something else. or a part might *think* they are controlling the body, and find it doing something totally different from what they intended to do.

    and part of it is realizing that just because i can’t *hear* someone else thinking something, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. i think a lot of us have to consciously think to think “out loud” so the others can hear us. not always, or, you know, if we’re trying to get someone’s attention. but a lot of the time, it’s hard to remember the reason stuff like this happens is that there are several people trying to do different things at the same time. i’ve described it like trying to go through the world in a three legged race (only usually for me in a six or seven legged race!) without agreeing on where you’re going or how to get there. like, if you couldn’t talk while doing it, or beforehand.

    co-consciousness is different for me, and it’s a much more relaxed experience when it works. less like a many-legged race, and more like… i don’t really have words for it. like sharing the body, but being more in harmony with each other, and just talking things through. that’s when we’re able to have the same goals, and the same ideas about how to achieve them. things seem more… seamless, i guess. less jerky and complicated.

    but thus far, it’s something that’s only happened kind of instinctively, and only rarely, and we can’t figure out how to make it work on purpose.

  2. Anya

    I just explained this to my therapist in an email and thought I was crazy and thought she might want to lock my up but she mentioned the the word ‘co-consciousness’ and said we would talk about it Wednesday at our meeting. Of course I had to google it, b/c I feel like I am going insane and you have explained in ‘co-present without co-consciousness’ what I was feeling this morning and what I have felt on many occasions for years.

    I don’t really think that I have felt the actual co-consciousness that you have describe above that is relaxing for you yet. Maybe that is b/c this, learning of my ‘inner family’ is all new to me. I just decided to go to therapy this past therapy and I like her a lot but I am still afraid of what the future holds.

    I was happy to read you comments and relieved to know that I am not alone. I am not sue what kind of site this is or what I have stepped into but I love what I have read and I thank you.

  3. chariots

    Hi Anya and welcome to our site! I am one of the group members of New Landscape. SEems to me you have “stepped into” a site where you fit just fine 😉 We are an actual group that meets – and we use this blog to continue talking about the topics that came up at the last meeting. And of course people can comment on any posts they want, not just the most recent ones. You are welcome to post here whether you come to meetings or not – so, welcome!

    I’ve experienced this co-presence thing this way: Where others are present – but I’m not aware of who or why – just a sense that others are “there”. And I find myself saying or doing strange things. Or later a part will say that they did this or that, or knew about this or that – and I didn’t think they were present at the time. Then I’ve had co-conscious, where I know it’s a couple/few of us, and I/we know who is present. There’s more awareness.

    I guess I see the co-conscious meaning I am also co-present. But being co-present doesn’t necessarily mean I’m co-conscious (aware).

    Hm – this is hard for me to articulate! …. probably because I’m just the not-so-aware “host”.

  4. Ruth

    Hi, Not sure if anyone will want to help, as I’m not a D.I.D sufferer. I’m writing a novel, where a character has D.I.D and am trying to understand co-consciousness. I’d like to try to write from the point of view of an alter. I know I’m going to have a lot of questions, and if anyone feels they’d like to answer them, that would be great, but I understand if you don’t want to.
    First question: Would an alter, having decided to be ‘out’ and intent on a certain course of action or activity, hear the thoughts of the ‘host’, if host is the right term for the original personality that is being protected?
    Second question: I’ve read that the ‘host’ can sometimes see the alters as well as speak to them. Could an alter, when ‘out’ see the host, as if they were really outside of them?

  5. michelle

    Thoughts on the questions by Ruth:
    1) yes, i can hear our “host” if she tries to talk while I’m out. most of the time she is not very aware when others of us are out. but when she is and if she’s trying to speak, i can usually hear her.

    2) yes, we can sometimes “see” our host. often not though too. she is usually seen as being asleep and on the outside of our internal “house”. well, that’s how it used to be. seems things have changed. but yes, we can see her.

  6. JigsawAnalogy

    Not all systems have hosts. 🙂 Members of my system get very irritated at the idea of an “original personality.” I know there are those where that idea works, but definitely not for everyone.

    That said, these days we can generally hear something if it’s said “out loud” (you know the difference between something you think, and something you mentally put into words, as though you were saying them with your voice? Like that.) Or a part will leave a physical written-down note, or something like that.

    We used to have a lot of problems with internal conflicts, and parts would work at cross-purposes. One side effect of that was getting a lot of headaches. Hard to describe them, but they were kind of like migraines, and were connected to internal conflict.

    We tend not to see ourselves from the outside of the physical body any more, but inside… yeah, we can see each other if we take the time to look. I first recognized that I was multiple (that would be me-the-part, because other parts had noticed before!) when I was building an internal “safe place” and realized that there were a lot of different parts of “me” moving around in there.

    I’m curious: what made you decide to write about a character who is multiple?

  7. Missy

    I’m not sure what I am or if I’m a we. I know I’m PTSD, so I’ve lost a lot of memory. I can also trigger to being catatonic. My brother has told me of incidents like walking in on an argument with my father where I was screaming that I would kill him, but I don’t remember that ever happening. I know that I don’t remember things but I also don’t have any awareness of losing time.

    This co-conscious,co-present makes more sense to me. I have a lot of experiences where I’ll do things (feel compelled) without any thought of it on my part. I think they are co-conscious and co-present with me being unaware. A few years ago I found some scares from abuse, and after finding them I had the most horrible experiences, I won’t say they were flashbacks but I don’t know what to compare them to…I felt like I was encapsulated deep inside myself. I couldn’t see, I had body memories of abuse, I could hear a multitude of thoughts and I had no access/control of my mind. For about six weeks following this all I felt was flooding/overwhelming shame and horror. I read something recently about parts being able to punish, and it is the only thing that makes sense of that experience. Since then I have definitely had thoughts, images, and feelings that don’t belong to me impose into my consciousness.

    I decided that I don’t know what’s going on, but have known since I was a teenager that I have an observer that sits just outside my head that sees/records everything and a little girl inside who was really hurt and wants to be held. So, I decided that I would talk to myself and accept this and have been talking to them about working together, taking care of each other, everyone expressing what they want and finding ways for everyone to do it.

    I don’t know, I don’t know what to think. This morning I was putting my lunch together for work and I couldn’t figure out how to package some of the food. I felt confused and overwhelmed. Then I heard a voice gently giving instructions to a child, and I just went through this whole experience of this child being walked through putting the lunch together. And as I’m getting ready to go, I was compelled (no thought, just action) to pick up items that needed to be put away and then that one helped the little girl figure out how to carry the trash and the lunch and the purse and keys all together.

    I’m kind of scared, and relieved and crying a lot. They seem to tell me things through songs, and want to be sung to…part of me thinks I’m manufacturing this, and I don’t want anyone in my life to know I’m experiencing this. But I don’t know – can anyone help – what do you think this is?

  8. JigsawAnalogy

    The approach that has worked best for me is to accept what’s going on with me without getting caught up in whether it completely meets the diagnosis or is “real” or stuff like that.

    For me, if it makes me feel calmer and more grounded to behave as though there are different parts, then what could be wrong with that? So long as we all take responsibility for anything someone who inhabits this body does, the only thing that comes out of behaving as though there is more than one person living in this body is that we’re able to communicate better with each other.

  9. doris

    I was diagnoised just a few months ago with did and experienced my first bout of coconscious this week I really freaked out but after my thearphist explained what was going on it made alot of since growing up my alters and me had a safe place to go and when I was diagnoised with did my mental illiness made alot of since none of my alters had never felt any kind of emotion and for the last couple of weeks there have been tears for the first time. I have 7 alters and right now I’ve made a a safe haven for them until I know what each one needs and began to meet those needs
    at first I really thought I was going insane but,each time I talk to my thearphist it gets easier I’m so glad I found this site because their’s not alot of us out there.

  10. chariots

    @missy – I identify with the fear you express. it’s taken a while to stop resisting what’s happening in me and start to accept it as it is. I did a LOT of trying not to be dissociative and not to hear alters inside, a lot of thinking it would mean I’m nuts and is embarrassing and shouldn’t be told to anyone. All I can say is it didn’t help at all for me to do that! The good thing in all my resistance though, for me, was that I now KNOW that I tried NOT to be that way. And I guess I had to try long enough to where I knew that I knew that I knew, that I couldn’t stop being this way – that it was real and there. No one could make me believe anything until I was ready to. I think we each have our own timing and way of coming to the truth of things. ….. I don’t want to give you advice because only you know you – but just wanted to share how it went for me. Sometimes it’s helpful to just hear others.

  11. Missy

    Chariots – Thanks so much for your post. I’m trying to get in to see a therapist who is experienced with DID. Part of me is willing to accept this and try to love and heal everything inside and there seem to be other parts of me that aren’t too thrilled about it. But I can only try to find out what is going on and accept it and work through it. I’m not so freaked out anymore and if I’ve made it this long, hopefully it can only get better. It may not be easy, but maybe it can get better.

  12. chariots

    Hi Missy –
    Hope you have been able to find a new therapist! I think things CAN get better.

  13. JigsawAnalogy

    Things definitely can get better. My therapist wasn’t very experienced with DID/MPD when I started seeing her, and in some ways, I think that was helpful, because she didn’t have any prior notions about the “right” way for me to heal–she was figuring it out along with me, and let me take the lead in it.

    It’s been 6 1/2 years since I started seeing her, and about 3 years now since I’ve been at a point that I would describe as “healed.” It doesn’t mean I don’t have issues to deal with, because I’m a human being living in the world. But I haven’t had severe depression, and when hard things happen, I have the tools to cope with them. The stability that I’ve had seems to be holding up, through some fairly challenging things.

    In some ways, I can even appreciate the really hard emotional stuff, because at a certain level I step back, and see how I’m handling it without suppressing my emotions, and without letting bad feelings overwhelm me.

    I do still struggle, but often enough, what I’ve struggled with in the past few years is wondering whether things were really as bad as I thought, or whether I just *think* I’m multiple, because we don’t have the problems I see other systems having. My system has had a lot less conflict, and we hardly even get triggered any more.

    But then I look around, and see the things that are in my life or in my physical space because of one part or another, and I figure that is probably fairly good evidence all by itself.

  14. Ruth

    I am so sorry I haven’t been back to thank you all for your comments: life went a bit pear-shaped. Your comments will take a while to digest but are most helpful. Why did I decide to write about a character who is a multiple? I am fascinated by what makes us who we are, and by characters who aren’t who they appear to be. Also I love a challenge, and I can’t imagine anything more challenging than having D.I.D. I have read some biographies that are very moving and inspiring. How any of you cope with it I have no idea. I am full of admiration for you all. Thank you all again. I hope to be able to begin writing this novel shortly and am re-acquainting myself with the research I’ve already done.

  15. Peanut

    Hello everyone,
    Nice to read your comments on co-consciousness vs co-present. My T and I were just talking about that and I wanted more info.
    Ruth, why don’t you read: Web of Angels by Lilian Nattel… It’s a novel and the main character has DID. It is very accurate (in my opinion).
    I am always curious as well about why ppl would want to write about characters with DID, And am usually a bit skeptical as we have been so badly portrayed in the media. Usually crazy, unpredictable, criminals. I for one have a pretty boring life- on the outside… And function very well as a professional. When I was first diagnosed it was a different story. But after several years of therapy, people can’t tell. I have a good degree of inner cooperation, collaboration, etc. No depression, no crises… There are still some internal struggles and we all deal with it.
    Nice to find all of you.

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