Jingle Bells Knocked Him Out
Jingle bells at his parents’ Christmas family gathering put him over the edge. He had to get out of there.
No, he wasn’t done with his parents, their relationship was fine. No, he wasn’t anti-Christmas, he loved the festivities. No, he didn’t hate music, he was amazing with the saxophone.
It was literally the bells. The jingles. The ringing. The little balls inside of a metal casing that bounce around and sent sound waves into Simon’s eardrums that raise the hair on his neck. The stimulus that made his blood cells rebel against the vibration and seek refuge out every orifice.
He tried to keep it together long enough for us to say goodbye without raising questions.
While frantically donning our coats, he whispered in my ear, “I’ve missed you so much!” It was no longer Adrian, with whom I had spent the evening, but my beloved Vaslir, whom I hadn’t had the pleasure of spending time with in a while!
We were right smack dab in the middle of our year and a half period I call The Personality Explosion, where my ex-husband’s multiple-personality type behavior was in the thick of its bizarreness.
My wonderful Adrian had quietly slipped away, obviously because he could no longer withstand the bells’ stimuli.
At least I could look forward to the rest of the night with Vaslir. It could have been anyone. He told me time seemed to still be frozen inside, he could still move, but his guards’ bodies were frozen. The inside world as we knew it was changing again, and we had no idea if it was to Simon’s benefit, or if he was getting worse.
(Simon is his given name [which I have changed, to give me more freedom in writing my experiences], and the name we used to identify the original personality, as well as the collective whole.)
Just as suddenly as Vaslir had appeared an oddly uncertain, yet forthright girl was suddenly sitting in the passenger seat. A new voice, a new demeanor possessed my husband’s body.
She Forgave Me for Being Born with Brown Eyes
She didn’t know who I was, why she was in this strange machine speeding through a city of magical lights that mocked her ignorance. She was both in awe and frightened.
Aria came from an Aryan nation in Simon’s inside world where it is “only proper to live underground or in tents.” We didn’t even know there was an Aryan nation in there. In his mind was a world of peoples, governments, monsters, mountains, oceans, deserts. We knew about main personalities’ fortresses, including Simon, the original personality’s white one, Sixclaw’s red one, and Legion’s black obsidian one. We knew about the Children of Anya, the City of Emotions, Etis Yim’s vampiric clan, and various pop culture icons like the Arbiter from Halo®, known to us as Jozale, the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride, and the pirate Demon, aka Inigo Montoya, and various Transformers®.
We had never heard reference of this nation before, nor would we ever again after this encounter. She said she was of the “one true race” and I was one of “them” who hunted her people. There were also machines with dyed hair and blue contacts sometimes succeeded in their massacres, by virtue of their deception.
She paused her reflection and looked at me with scrutiny. “It’s not your fault you were born with brown eyes, though. I forgive you.”
What do you say to that? I went with a simple “Thank you.”
I listened to her express gratitude that she was God’s chosen people, the only ones to whom he has imparted knowledge. I countered that Heavenly Father loves all of his diverse children.
I learned that her own father has never revealed his name to her or her brother, Arian, who has a special purpose she has yet to learn. She was excited that for Christmas in two days, as they would receive three gifts—a leader, an assassin, and a warrior.
I made a mental note of everything she said so I could record it later in the journals I kept of everything that happened with the personalities, in case there were clues to solving the mystery of Simon. I always maintained hope for healing and answers.
I told her a little bit about Simon and his mind from whence she came. Sometimes that wasn’t very well received. I can’t imagine waking up in a strange place with a strange woman, relocating me somewhere, and hear her explain I am part of her husband’s inside world in his mind.
Even though I was in the fast lane of the freeway, I couldn’t get us home fast enough when she began demanding I let her out of the car. No one had ever done something so dangerous as leave a moving vehicle, but she was brand new, and I had no idea what she was capable of. The doors were locked and I kept calm, reassuring her I’d let her out as soon as we got home.
We didn’t make it that far when she slipped away. It sometimes happened quietly other times accompanied with violent lurching. The latter usually occurred when more than one personality was fighting for control.
He Wanted to Shoot Meatbag’s Wife, aka Me
In this case Simon’s eyes closed, and when they opened again, his entire body slumped over like a giant wooden puppet who had no hope of completing his transition into a real boy. I had to push him back to the passenger side after making a sharp right turn in our neighborhood.
This was new. I wondered if with Vaslir’s time being frozen, some of that was spilling out into the real world. It turned out to be unrelated. I never knew which pieces affected the others. The puzzle was wide and some pieces random.
“Who is it?” That was always the first order of business. You could put that phrase on his tombstone.
No response. “Look at me.”
He turned his head. “Okay, good, so you are aware. Who are you?”
“Are you ok? Do you know me?” With personality changes, we always established first who he was, and second whether or not he was familiar with me and the outside world.
“Can you move? You turned your head a moment ago. Can you blink a response?”
He remained still. I was baffled. My failed attempts at interaction continued long after I parked the car in our driveway. He wasn’t moving, speaking, or blinking as suggested. He wasn’t doing anything, but remained completely limp, no matter how uncomfortable he appeared to be.
I began devising a backup plan. Who could I call to at least help me get him into the house? My mom? His family?
We generally tried to keep the weirdness between us, as it was just too hard for others to even comprehend what we were living through. I couldn’t comprehend it, and I was right there. He didn’t get enough counseling help over our time together to really dig into it, but he was told by one counselor he didn’t have textbook Multiple-Personality Disorder or Dissociative Identity Disorder, and that he was simply delusional. Whatever that means. To me, it made no difference. I’ll never know what was really happening with him, all I know is what I experienced.
A monotone, slow and deliberate, mid-range voice finally spoke. “Waiting instructions.”
Through trial and error, I finally figured out he would obey commands.
“Get out of the car, please.” His movements were stiff and awkward.
“Walk with me to the house.” When we got to the porch, he stood within inches of the screen door. I opened it, because obviously reasonable people will move out of the way, but he still didn’t move when it touched him. I had to tell him to move out of the way.
I let him go ahead of me into the house, but he stopped just inside and I had to tell him to go in further so I could enter.
I still didn’t know who I was dealing with, but I knew I had never seen this yet. I had been sexually assaulted by a new personality, Animal. I had had an attempted sexual assault by another new one, a pirate, and had been saved by Etis Yim, who we had previously considered an enemy. I had met werewolves and slave girls, mutes and musicians, assassins and wizards. Even Simon’s nine-year-old self had spent a week with me. I thought I’d pretty much seen it all. How there could still be completely unique scenarios blew my mind. Whether it was all real or contrived, the only thing I could conclude was that Simon was a genius.
“Are you ok? Do you want to take off your shoes?” No response. Right, because I didn’t give a command.
“Take off your shoes.” They were removed.
I noticed that if I wait a little between commands, he relaxed slightly, but when I start to speak again, he straightens up, ready to perform.
Suddenly he moved on his own—it appeared to be systematic twitches—nose, eye, ear, nose, eye, ear. Repeat.
“What is your name?”
“Tell me what your name is.”
“Tell me what HK means.” Nothing. Okay, let’s try… “Tell me what HK stands for.”
I remembered that Aria had just told me machines were hunting her people. Maybe this is related? Simon also had a video game with a droid that had the HK designation.
“Tell me, what is your purpose?”
“HK is designed to conquer. The HK will rule the world.” In our conversation, he didn’t know the term “droid,” but said he was a “warbot.”
“Tell me, who is your leader?”
“Galactus.” Never heard of him. He could have been referencing a Marvel® character, whom I was unfamiliar with at the time, but he never came up again, so it didn’t seem to matter.
It was late and I wanted to get more comfortable. Sitting on the bed was a common place for these encounters, so I moved us along.
“Let’s go into the bedroom.” No response. Right, I keep messing that up. “Go into the bedroom.” HK723 walked straight and determined. He didn’t even step over or around the stack of puzzles that were in the way on the floor. He just bulldozed through them, scattering them across the floor.
He stopped just inside the doorway, blocking my way into the room. “Walk closer, to the bed.” He went right up to the corner of the bed, touching it with his legs—it seemed unnatural and uncomfortable, as it made him lean awkwardly to stay on his feet. I stifled my laughter and had him sit down on the bed in front of the dresser mirror so I could tell him about Simon, and who I am. I would inquire periodically, “Tell me if you understand,” to which he usually said, “Affirmative.”
Other times he said, “Confusion,” “Insufficient information,” “Irrelevant,” etc. He also established that he has no feelings, feels no pain, and his likes and dislikes are irrelevant.
“We want peace for Simon. Tell me, do you know what peace is?”
For some odd reason, I wasn’t convinced a Hunter Killer robot would have the same definition of peace we have. “Tell me what peace is.”
“Peace is the absence of aggressive maneuvers.” Okay, that’s a start… I think…
I explained a little further about how we want peace and happiness. “Tell me if you understand.”
This time, he twitched like he’s processing. “Confusion. Purged.”
“Tell me, what does “purged” mean?”
“Data would not compute. Removed data from system.”
Okay, how much data got dumped? I reestablished he did indeed remember talking about peace.
“Tell me, do you understand who Simon is?”
“Affirmative, Simon is Meatbag.”
Huh. He sees us as “meatbags”—I guess that makes sense from the perspective of a literal-thinking machine. “Tell me, do you understand who I am?”
“Tell me who I am.”
“You are Meatbag’s wife.” I snorted. Then immediately recomposed myself—I still didn’t know for sure if I was safe with HK723, why he was here, and what his intentions were.
Through my interrogation, I discovered that before he found himself in the car with me, he was in the inspection room being evaluated by Chief Scientist Paluwa and various other meatbags. He had no standing orders, thus must await specific orders each time. Yeah, I got that. And he was the 3rd most recent unit created.
I began running out of questions. “Tell me, what are you thinking.”
“HK 723 requests permission to act as will.” Probably best not to go there…
“Tell me, if I granted permission, what you would do?”
“HK 723 desires to shoot.” We had no guns, so I knew this wouldn’t play out literally. We did have nerf guns, though, and he had a plethora of PC and XBOX shooter games. Oh, and that realistic-looking black plastic toy gun within his reach on the dresser…
“Tell me what you will shoot.”
“HK 723 desires to shoot Meatbag.”
“Tell me, do you mean Meatbag [indicating him] or Meatbag’s wife [indicating me]?”
“HK 723 desires to shoot Meatbag’s wife.” Yeah, no.
“Tell me why.”
“Meatbags are inferior.”
“Tell me if you want to use that gun on the dresser.” Luckily he was still obeying his programming, so I wasn’t too alarmed. It seemed like just another game Simon’s mind was playing and I wasn’t in any real danger.
“Affirmative.” To which, I explained that the gun was a toy and not real. His face displayed moderate confusion and disappointment. I told him I liked him, but shooting people isn’t nice and doesn’t bring peace, although there are times when we have to defend ourselves.
He suddenly, violently flipped over on the bed. I asked him to tell me if he was ok. He said they were using some type of ion blast against him. He flipped over two more times. He became still and I heard another voice talking through his mouth.
“Stupid droid wouldn’t respond.”
By this point in our dramatic relationship, I was well aware that when someone was in control of Simon’s body, their persona inside was as if asleep. It wasn’t too hard to figure out the inspectors were having trouble with this “dead” droid.
The voice was clearly engaged in a conversation, but I was only hearing his side of it.
“At least the other 4 worked.”
“When will the new batch be done?”
“Such a pity some of them malfunction—beautiful creatures.”
“I’ll rename the next one 723 so that we can have a sequence of numbers without having to worry about it.”
“Wake me in five hours when the President’s here.”
Then Simon’s body turned over once more, and curled up as if to sleep. I was about to try to talk to HK723 again and make sure he was okay, but Alain, a downed mech-fighter pilot I had first met months ago, came out instead.
Relief—I was back to someone I knew and loved. I tried to keep track of all of the personalities and their stories, as we pieced together the fractured pieces of Simon. Alain and I had a short discussion about a possible duplicate “Alain” I had met recently, but we didn’t get far before Adrian returned to take Simon over again.
He was stuck in darkness inside, watching my conversation with Alain as if on a screen. He did not have the pleasure of access to my odd interaction with HK723, but he laughed as I filled him in.
At least those few hours inside gave him a chance to fully recover from the jingle bells fiasco.
Confident he was solidly in control, we went to sleep, and enjoyed spending exclusive time with each other over the next two days, Christmas Eve and Christmas.
Being Responsible TO Vs. FOR Others
There’s much more to the story, and I will at other times share more of the abuse parts, but my purpose here was to illustrate a typical evening, giving some insight into the concept of having compassion and feeling responsible for someone. He was obviously sick in some way, and I loved him.
Here was this handsome, fun, loving man, who had a lot of other serious problems, but the personality issue overrode everything else. We were in this phase of constant switching and dealing with attacks on the inside. On top of my compassion for him, it made me feel important.
He trusted me with this part of him. Some personalities that showed up initially as evil and cruel, fell in love with me and turned out to be some of the greatest internal leaders for peace. He showed me how much he relied on me, how much good I was doing him.
I was the keeper of all the clues. He didn’t even know what was going on. He was the common denominator in his subconscious realm, and I was the common denominator in the conscious realm.
But David Neagle, my favorite coach, always reminds us that we are responsible TO our loved ones, friends, clients, students, etc., but not FOR them (except in the case of minor children, obviously).
This was a hard lesson for me to learn and contributed to my finding myself being physically abused and sexually assaulted and manipulated by him, which increased over time. I mentioned a sexual assault above, but it having been at the hands of a new personality, it was easy to make it about him and his personality problem, while completely glossing over the fact that I was assaulted and scared.
It all started with him needing help, with him needing my love and support so he could function, or at least have the best hope of functioning.
Now I fully understand and subscribe to David’s teaching that I am responsible to, not for. I finally get what it means to be a healthy person engaging in a friendship or relationship with another healthy person. I am happy. My confidence has grown. My self-respect showed up suddenly and slapped me in the face, giving me the power to leave him.
Someone in need, with problems, or with a sad past, is not and never will be a good enough reason to be hurt and abused by them, no matter what.
If you relate to being needed, but suspect (or know) you are not being treated decently, I hope the distinction between TO and FOR will help you. And please seek clarity and assistance from professional resources. Some local and national are listed here.
If you are trying to rebuild your life after having been through a hard circumstance, whether abuse-related or not, you may find a healing boost in this free video series, or support in moving forward in a big way through my next group coaching program.
You are not alone.