Dear Abby: I was offended by your response to "True Love Texan" (Jan. 18) when he asked about loving a woman with multiple personality disorder. MPD is also known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. Individuals with DID have survived severe childhood abuse. The way they coped was to split into different personalities. DID can be treated through intense psychotherapy, which attempts to integrate the personalities into one.
A loving relationship IS possible with people who have DID. My mother is an example. She has DID due to extreme childhood ritual and sexual abuse. She's the most amazing and resilient woman I have ever known, and I am proud to be her daughter. My father has been married to her for 35 years and has supported her unconditionally. It can work!
Dear Proud of Mom: I received a slew of mail about this. My response to "True Love Texan" was not meant to minimize the seriousness of Dissociative Identity Disorder. This man must understand what is involved before he makes a lifelong commitment.
Dear Abby: Telling that Texan to be certain that he loves every one of the multiple personalities may not be possible. However, it is possible to have a successful marriage with a person who has DID.
Dear Abby: I know from firsthand experiences that all the love, devotion and loyalty may never be enough when dealing with a person with DID. Instead of being a partner, spouse or equal, I became my wife's caregiver, peacemaker and sometimes a target.
Nothing was ever easy; I could not depend on anything going smoothly or without incident. More than once, my life and safety were seriously compromised. Finally, I became lost and overwhelmed by her illness.
After 13 years of turmoil and uncertainty, I had to leave. A serious illness gave me no choice but to take care of myself for a change.
Dear Abby: When a child is denied "normal" defenses and abused by those who are responsible for providing safety, some children do the most sane thing possible. They retreat into their own minds to a place of safety. We choose to call this by a new term, Multiple Personality Gift (MPG).
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. © Universal Press Syndicate