"'These can't be the same person,' he said incredulously."
"He was right. Even though both photographs were childhood pictures of me, the 'me's' in each image were as different as two completely different people could be. Sifting through the many photos in my album depicting the person known to the world as 'Shawna,' my friend seemed confused."
"'There's no common thread,' he complained. 'As I see you growing up in these pictures, I honestly can't tell that there are similarities from one picture to the next.'"
"I picked up a black-and-white photograph of a 'me' that was three years old. This particular version of me stood next to my smiling mother. In the picture, I was looking directly into the camera with eyes framed by 'dirty blond' hair, my left arm raised to my mouth, and I was chewing the back of my hand.
"As I lifted this picture from the table, I suddenly realized that as an adult, whenever this three-year-old child would come forward from inside of me to express her pain, she would always bite the back of her left hand. . .
"My friend continued to look through the photo album. There were faded photographs of me at various stages of maturation. In one, I was five years old; in another I was ten. In others I was pre-adolescent and in others, a teenager. Several of the photgraphs were family pictures, but in each picture my friend was unable to identify which of the children was me. . .
"It was obvious, when looking over these photographs, that I was capable of becoming completely different people at different times. The result of my ability to 'split off' into other 'people' or 'personalities' were obvious, even to someone who sees only my frozen image without being able to observe the different ways I behaved, and/or hear the altered voices coming from my mouth. While the differences were obvious, the causes were not. What caused little Shawna to split into multiple parts that would look so physically different when captured on a still photograph? I later realized my ability to 'split off' was God's way of allowing me to live my life normally until I became old enough to deal with the horrors of my past." (My Tears Fall Inside, selections from pages 21-24)
Normal young children are very creative and many have a pretend friend. My childhood abuse was so extreme that I created many "pretend friends" to help me. In my mind, those terrible things happened to the "pretend friends" and not to me. In that way, I was able to separate my conscious self from the bad things I lived through. With the memories forgotten, I was able to live my life normally. These wonderful "pretend friends" or "parts" kept all the terrible memories hidden from my consciousness until my mind determined that I was strong enough to process those hidden memories.