I resolved to come right to the point. Hello, I said as coldly as possible, we've got to talk.Yes, Bob, he said quietly, what's on your mind? I shut my eyes for a moment, letting the raging frustration well up inside, then stared angrily at the psychiatrist.Look, I've been religious about this recovery business. I go to AA meetings daily and to your sessions twice a week. I know it's good that I've stopped drinking. But every other aspect of my life feels the same as it did before. No, it's worse. I hate my life. I hate myself.Suddenly I felt a slight warmth in my face, blinked my eyes a bit and then stared at him.Bob, I am afraid our time's up, Smith said in a matter-of-fact style.Time's up? I exclaimed. I just got here.No. He shook his head, glancing at his clock. It's been fifty minutes. You don't remember anything?I remember everything. I was just telling you that these sessions don't seem to be working for me.Smith paused to choose his words very carefully. Do you know a very angry boy named 'Tommy'?No, I said in bewilderment, except for my cousin Tommy whom I haven't seen in twenty years...No. He stopped me short. This Tommy's not your cousin. I spent this last fifty minutes talking with another Tommy. He's full of anger. And he's inside of you.You're kidding?No, I am not. Look. I want to take a little time to think over what happened today. And don't worry about this. I'll set up an emergency session with you tomorrow. We'll deal with it then.RobertThis is Robert speaking. Today I am the only personality who is strongly visible inside and outside. My own term for such an MPD role is dominant personality. Fifteen years ago, I rarely appeared on the outside, though I had considerable influence on the inside; back then, I was what one might call a recessive personality. My passage from recessive to dominant is a key part of our story; be patient, you'll learn lots more about me later on. Indeed, since you will meet all eleven personalities who once roamed about, it gets a bit complex in the first half of this book; but don't worry, you don't have to remember them all and it gets sorted out in the last half of the book. You may be wondering -- if not Robert, who, then, was the dominant MPD personality back in the 1980s and earlier? His name was Bob and his dominance amounted to a long reign, from the early 1960s to the early 1990s. Since Robert B. Oxnam was born in 1942, you can see that Bob was in command from early to middle adulthood.Although he was the dominant MPD personality for thirty years, Bob did not have a clue that he was afflicted by multiple personality disorder until 1990, the very last year of his dominance. That was the fateful moment when Bob first heard that he had an angry boy named Tommy inside of him. How, you might ask, can someone have MPD for half a lifetime without knowing it? And even if he didn't know it, didn't others around him spot it?To outsiders, this is one of the most perplexing aspects of MPD. Multiple personality is an extreme disorder and yet it can go undetected for decades, by the patient, by family and close friends, even by trained therapists. Part of the explanation is the very nature of the disorder itself: MPD thrives on secrecy because the dissociative individual is repressing a terrible inner secret. The MPD individual becomes so skilled in hiding from himself that he becomes a specialist, often unknowingly, in hiding from others. Part of the explanation is rooted in outside observers: MPD often manifests itself in other behaviors, frequently addiction and emotional outbursts, which are wrongly seen as the real problem.The fact of the matter is that Bob did not see himself as the dominant personality inside Robert B. Oxnam. Instead, he saw himself as a whole person. In his mind, Bob was merely a nickname for Bob Oxnam, Robert Oxnam, Dr. Robert B. Oxnam, PhD.
Robert B. Oxnam
The child's heart beat: but she was growing in the wrong place inside her extraordinary mother, south of safe...she and her mother were rushed to the hospital, where her mother was operated on by a brisk cheerful diminutive surgeon who told me after the surgery that my wife had been perhaps an hour from death from the pressure of the child growing outside the womb, the mother from the child growing and the child from growing awry; and so my wife did not die, but our mysterious child did...Not uncommon, an ectopic pregnancy, said the surgeon...Sometimes, continued the surgeon, sometimes people who lose children before they are born continue to imagine the child who has died and talk about her or him, it's such an utterly human thing to do, it helps deal with the pain, it's healthy within reason and yes, people say to their other children that they actually do, in a sense, have a sister or brother, or did have a sister or brother and she or he is elsewhere, has gone ahead, whatever the language of your belief or faith tradition. You could do that. People do that, yes. I have patients who do that, yes...One summer morning, as I wandered by a river, I remembered an Irish word I learned long ago and now whenever I think of the daughter I have to wait to meet, I find that word in my mouth: dunnog, little dark one, the shyest and quietest and tiniest of sparrows, the one you never see but sometimes you sense, a flash in the corner of your eye, a sweet sharp note already fading by the time it catches your ear.
Brian Doyle