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!
Please educate your readers and provide some useful information about the courageous people who live with DID. -- PROUD OF MOM IN PENNSYLVANIA
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.
The following responses offer personal insights meant to support him as well as provide information about this sensitive topic. Read on:
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.
My husband and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary this summer, and he is a multiple. We knew about some of his personalities when we began dating, but others have surfaced as the years went on. It has not been easy, and I have had to deal with different folks coming out at awkward times. But as my husband said, "Your life will never be boring if you marry me," and he was right. -- WIFE TO ONE OF MANY IN VANCOUVER, WASH.
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.
I hope "True Love Texan" will heed the warnings of his friends and understand the gravity of this illness before he makes a lifetime commitment. -- WISER IN CALIFORNIA
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).
As long as the woman is in counseling, and "True Love Texan" is on board with the counseling, there is no reason they cannot have a good and productive life together. He needs to understand the abuse issues and be patient and gentle. Many people with MPG are highly intelligent and creative, with much to offer to those who are willing to open their minds and hearts. -- ADOPTIVE MOM IN NEW YORK