Jennifer’s Struggle to Parent with DID

In this blog post Jennifer Roeder tells her story of not only being a single parent, but having to do this with a Dissociative Identity Disorder. DID was previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder and results from extreme early childhood abuse. The rest of us can only imagine the challenge DID would present in trying to parent a growing girl. Jennifer has the courage and the smarts to seek help in her parenting. She would like to hear from others who have similar experiences. If you have something to offer Jennifer, please comment below. 

Jennifer’s Struggle to Parent with DID

I’ve have DID all my life; developed from extreme mental and emotional neglect from both parents, sexual abuse from my father prostituting me as a teenager, divorce of parents when I was 4, lack of protection from my mother, and having no replacement father. I’ve struggled with dissociation throughout the years since my daughter was born in 1997, but when she turned 12, I completely checked out and remained so until I finally put her in a beautiful group home in Denver this past June for her sake as I saw her ‘going down’ from living with me. When I saw her starting to act in ways that ‘got me raped’ throughout my teenage years, I could not deal. I’ve managed to completely protect her since birth from any molestation, but when she turned 12, I became totally powerless.She’s just turning 14 this month and I am free from the terror of her having sex or getting raped as she is in a loving, protective, family environment that even encourages us to stay in contact. It’s the perfect situation. So, I’m slowly starting to come back now, although Im still barely able to leave the house. But am getting better every day.

My fear is that she will come back and live with me. Not cause I don’t want her, but because I know I’ll check out again and she’ll regress and I can’t be her mother or protect her when we are both fallen apart. As far as I know, she can stay there until she’s 18, but I’m still scared cause she’s making so much progress and they might say one day she can come home cause she’s better now. My plan is to move closer to her in the same town as her this coming summer where I can participate more in her life in a “co-parenting” situation with he Home where she is. I don’t believe I will ever be able to raise her a single mother again.

Despite the ton of work I’ve done in therapy and self-help programs over the past 20 years, becoming a mother of a teenager (and a single one since her birth at that), it all went out the window. I feel like such a bad person that I can’t even contnue to raise my own daughter. The shame and guilt of this is eating me alive. I tried so hard not to dissociate, but found it was impossible as it only got way worse as she became a teenager. I literally had no control over this happening.

I went to go visit her in July and had a session with her counselor there and I disclosed for the first time to my daughter my DID. She wasn’t surprised and maybe even relieved as she had felt confused by my conflicting behaviors and words along with my checking out and hiding out in my rooom for the past couple years.

She is not moving on in her very productive life and we talk on the phone once a week and she’ll be with me to visit for Thxgiving and Xmas. I am in a process of ‘co-parenting’ Caitlin with her counselor/the Home at a distance (7 hours away), but how do I overcome the shame of literally not being able to parent my own child due to my inability to control my own dissociation? I wish there were other mothers like me I could talk to who felt the same way. Any suggestions or insights you have I would greatly appreciate.



  1. Britta says:

    So proud of you for being willing to do this even though I am sure it must have been difficult!!!

  2. Krysta says:

    Wow. This sounds so familiar to me, its scarey, yet nice to know I’m not crazy. That other pple know how I feel.
    I would first like to say that DID is horrible, and not your fault. Children or not we are already filled with shame and guilt. Its heartbreaking to love ur child and not be able to parent how you want due to DID. I have been feeling that a lot lately. Its almost as if someone has kidnapped my son, because I have trouble conneting with him and allowing him to be a kid, because of. My paranoia.I feel that putting your child in a safe place is real lovve and very wise of you. You love her and are doing what’s best. Rather than being selfish and keeping her with you. If that makes sense. And its. NOT fair but not your fault either. I hope your daughter will realize how special her mom was and how selfless you were.c My son is four, and since he was one I was triggered by him. And I ended up in a relationship with another person who was badly abused, I think that they have did as well. We recently had to move back in with my parents. I had failed out of a good nursing school. And now my life is a wreck, and I can barely hold it together for him. Others say it will all work out, but I fear greatly that it may not. That I may not be able to pull out of this and keep my son. I just want to keep him away from the world, and myself away as well. I never wanted this to happen. And I too feel its out of my control. And I feel robbed. That I have what it takes to do so much and be a great mom, but that did is getting in the way. I feel so badly for others struggling, its just NOT fair. But reaching out for help is the best thing to do. Even if you can’t care for your child at home as you wish. You are still doing what’s best and staying in her life. Rather than ignoring your issues and putting her through things she can’t handle. I get triggered that my son will have the same problems I did, be molested, bullied, ect. And its hard for me to even function at work, or in life. It feels so uncontrolable. But I believe or want to at least, that we can all make a difference. I hope we can all pull through and help others like us!! I really want that… because this is a hard thing, and pple need help. The community should be aware, educated, and healthy people can help those like us learn how to parent (even though the did gets in the way) rather than judging or what not. Sorry I am rambling. But I really feel you on this issue. And I hope that yours, mine, and everyone dealing with this, has a happy ending =) Good luck and email me if you ever wanna chat!!!

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