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Jim LaMattery taking refuge in DID - some hard cold facts

Posted by Layperson on May 23, 2006 at 09:23:30

In Reply to: DID is a made-to-order manipulative tactic posted by LISW on May 23, 2006 at 08:59:34:

Jim LaMattery claims to have DID. He believes it is widespread in survivors of The Family, disrespectfully discloses that his own daughter has the disease, and proceeds to talk like it is lurking around the corner in just about everyone, and how they need to face up to it. It is a matter of urgency and immediate attention, over and above his apologizing for a hurtful blunder.

Jim LaMattery has a record of causing hurt and harm, and re-traumatizing survivors of The Family. Chaos and frustration invariably follows Jim LaMattery's interactions with the fragile ex-member community. His baffling and infuriating behavior many can agree, can only belong to that of a sick individual.

It may be no secret that he is sick, but I take issue with his constant refuge in his DID -- a condition which is not altogether without critics and skeptics in the medical community.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) was formerly listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems continues to list it as MPD.

Those who recognize DID as a psychological condition believe that it is characterized by the use of dissociation* as a primary defense mechanism**--a chronic reliance on dissociation as a means of defending causes the individual to split their psyche/identity into distinct parts.

Some psychologists and psychiatrists dissent from the manuals and regard the disorder as possibly iatrogenic*** or factitious. Skeptics claim that people who act as if they have MPD/DID have learned to exhibit the symptoms in return for social reinforcement, either from therapists, from others with DID, from society at large or from any combination thereof. By lavishing attention and care on persons diagnosed with DID/MPD, we reward them for the supposed disease.

One view is that it is normal to experience oneself as multiple and that "multiplicity" is not necessarily a disorder, that mental illness itself generally tends to be a culture-specific syndrome. Proponents of the "healthy multiple" point to multiple identities used on online communities.

Is DID a fad? Critics state that DID bears all the signs of a mass mania, like the Salem Witch Trials. DID cannot be a real disease or it would be much more widespread--but DID is limited to a spcific place (the U.S. and to a much lesser extent, other Western countries exposed to the U.S. media) and time (roughly, the period from 1976 through 1996). As media coverage spiked, cases climbed. There were 200 reported cases of MPD from 1880 to 1979, and 20,000 from 1980 to 1990 [2].

Not only is DID centered in the U.S., it is centered in a few practitioners. Per Joan Acocella, 40,000 cases were diagnosed from 1985 to 1995. Many mental health professionals claim that they have never seen a patient with DID. This concentration of diagnoses seems suspicious to critics.

Some critics argue that DID/MPD is not a disease at all and that we should not encourage it--Multiples can demand to be treated with the indulgence we afford them. Critics point to the internet where it is safer to enact different roles, such as a childlike role. This behavior is especially noticeable, where diagnosed MPD/DID multiples congregate in online forums to express themselves using the speech patterns of their "littles".

As a layperson, I am skeptical about the DID issue. Jim LaMattery if anything, makes the case for it less convincing. Afterall, he displays many classic defense mechanisms such as projection, denial, intellectualization/isolation, rationalization, repression, dissociation, idealization. Dissociation alone will not explain it, nor will it make up for the harm caused by his narcissistic abrasive self.

Regardless, I propose a general boycott of Jim LaMattery, because he invariably harms ex-members wherever he appears. The attention we heap upon him, as even I am doing now, serves only to feed some sick need of his.

* Dissociation: Separation or postponement of a feeling that normally would accompany a situation or thought. It is the main defense mechanism** listed for DID.

**SOME FREUDIAN DEFENSE MECHANISMS (Jim LaMattery seems to display these)
- Denial: An ego defense mechanism that operates unconsciously to resolve emotional conflict, and to reduce anxiety by refusing to perceive the more unpleasant aspects of external reality;
- Intellectualization (isolation): Concentrating on the intellectual components of the situations as to distance oneself from the anxiety provoking emotions associated with these situations;
- Projection: Attributing to others, one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and emotions. Projection reduces anxiety in the way that it allows the expression of the impulse or desire without letting the ego recognize it;
- Rationalization: The process of constructing a logical justification for a decision that was originally arrived at through a different mental process;
- Repression: The process of pulling thoughts into the unconscious and preventing painful or dangerous thoughts from entering consciousness;
- Dissociation: Separation or postponement of a feeling that normally would accompany a situation or thought.
- Idealization: Form of denial in which the object of attention is presented as "all good" masking true negative feelings towards the other.
- Isolation: Inability to simultaneously experience the cognitive and affective components of a situation.
- Substitution: When a person replaces one feeling or emotion for another.

***Iatrogenesis: a condition brought on by medical practitioners; almost exclusively used to refer to the causation of a state of ill health or adverse effect or complication caused by or resulting from medical treatment itself; it can be the result of actions by medical professionals such as psychologists, therapists, pharmacists, nurses, dentists, etc.