Internal Trust Building:
Internal trust building can seem like a very daunting task. But it can be done. This can be achieved along with leaders, compromise, rule building and structure. In my personal experience there is no quick fix to building internal trust because trust is established over time. By taking the time to establish the trust, you are showing your system that you truly care about them and their well being. Building trust is a complex process but one that is essential to the healing of a system. By gaining the trust of your system internally, you are making not only your outside life easier but also life in the innerworld easier. Internal trust building is essential when discussing decisions that not only impact the innerworld but also the world out here. So lets talk about the basic idea of trust. How do you show someone you can be trusted? For some it will be the words you say, for others it will be the actions that you do. If you say one thing and then do something else, that means that you can't be trusted to the alter who trusts you on words and actions. So, for example if you promise an alter can front at a certain time but than you don’t let them, they are less likely to believe you when you say it the next time. So, let’s make a concise list on things that can help and explain how you can use them in your own system.
Let your system members front:
This is a huge one. When we first discovered we had DID fronting was scary and was weird. It felt like saying goodbye to this world and going somewhere unknown. Yet, something that struck is that we all share the same body and we all deserve the right to front. Now in letting the system front, make sure that those who do front abide by the rules in this world and the rules that are set by the system. Now, we all know that a lot of systems don’t have all alters who choose to abide by the rules. So, as one of our main gatekeepers always says and encourages, it is better to allow someone do an activity that is considered illegal out here or may not be safe out here innerworld that to not allow them to do so. Now this may be seem like a horrifying proposal but hear him out. He always recommends this because it is better for them to do it inside where they won’t be put the whole body in jail. So for example, kinks, drugs, or anything else illegal or could put your system in grave danger. When we discuss structure we will discuss this more in depth. Now this being said there are rules that are put in place in regards to fronting and such but that will be talked about in our rule building article. Some things that may help in regards to making fronting easier is to create a chart on who is fronting when so you can keep track of who is out, create a rotation of fronting and note who is next in fronting, note on a white board who wants to front, etc. By asking alters who want to front or allowing them space to front, you are showing that you care about them and they know they cam trust you and come to you. Now all this being said there are rules that are put in place in regards to fronting and such but that will be talked about in our rule building article.
One of the key things is being consistent on what you say and do. So for example if I promise Sarah, an alter of ours that she can front once we get back from the store, she knows that she can come out and play once we are back from the store. But, if I tell her that she can come out once are back from the store and I don't let her front, I have not only lied to her but also showed her that I can't keep my word. Therefore, she is less likely to ask me the next time and may force me back innerworld because she thinks I won’t let her front if she asks. Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t say no. Just make sure that you explain to the alter that you are busy, it’s not a good time as it isn’t safe, the body isn’t feeling good, etc. There are times I as host haven’t let Sarah out because it was not a good time but I make sure to let her know why she isn't allowed out. Another thing about consistency is shows to the system that you can be trusted. By being consistent you are showing the system that you hold to your world and will do what you say you will do.
You may not like that you have a system but be understanding of why they are here. By understanding that it really helped all of us be able to heal together and function together. A key thing to note is this, not everyone will easily trust and not everyone will be easily accepting that the environment is safe, if you are in a safe place. This is a trauma disorder after all and in that it can be hard for alters to go from a hidden role to a more noticeable role. In understanding where the alter is coming from, it will help you gain trust from the system. Now also be aware that not all alters will want to trust you and not all alters are good. We had an introject (a alter who represents someone from the outside world) of our abuser and in learning that our system rallied together to make sure that everyone in the system was protected. Understanding is key to gaining the trust of the system because it forces you to think outside of yourself.
Listening is key when looking to build trust in your system. If you aren’t listening to your system than they will stop talking to you and sharing things with you. By listening to them you show that you can be trusted and that you are a person to come to if they need help. In listening to them it can be face to face, it can be coconsciously, it can be on a journal or a whiteboard or any other form of communication that works best for the system. We recommend asking these questions and statements to get to know the system better and to gain their trust.
How can I help you?
Are you safe?
Is there anything you wish to tell me?
Is there anything I can do to help you?
What do you like to do?
I am here.
You can talk to me.
I believe you.
You can tell me when you are ready.
If you want to write it down for safekeeping, you can.
I know trust can be hard and it takes time.
We are safe know and I am here to help.
Lastly and most importantly, all of this takes time. Trust is something that is proven over time and while I know it can be frustrating but, by putting in all this work in you are showing to the system that you care about them. You are showing them that you are willing to do all of this work just for them and you are willing to work together as one. Believe in yourself. It all seems overwhelming but you can do it. You can get through this and get to a more functional system and have the trust of the system.
-The Infinite System