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Wednesday 08 October 2008

Proclamations of the Red Queen

28th March 2008

Fiction: Sybil X

Posted by: Craig Young

Warning: It’s another dark one. Graphic violence and implied antisocial behaviour warning.


I don’t want to shoot her, not if I don’t have to. But it’s so damned difficult to tell which alter she’ll become next, and whether it’ll be Sybil X. At least I can negotiate with her. Or always have been able to, in the past.

Once, we might even have been on the same side, when I was an old school dungaree-clad eighties lesfem, who belonged to a womens health collective. Then along came the nineties, Ruthanasia, and I needed to retrain in man’s world. So I went back to university, got a psychotherapy and counselling degree, and became a forensic psychologist. Gradually, it got easier to be a dyke, although we got replaced with brand new pariahs.

How do I explain who or what Sybil X is, or was? In the eighties and nineties, clinicians diagnosed a ‘new’ psychopathology called Dissociative Identity Disorder. According to their research, severe child sexual abuse and battery resulted in the fragmentation of the survivor’s personality into multiple personalities, or alters. Orthodox Freudian psychotherapists were sceptical, and argued that these apparent cases were the result of suggestive hypnosis or misdiagnosed schizophrenia. Well, no. In Britain and New Zealand, another round of ‘compassionate conservative’ governments cut benefits and slashed aid to community welfare services that dealt with family violence issues.

To say we reaped the whirlwind was an understatement. An entire generation of kids was irreperably damaged, their personalities forced to fragment into alters to survive unrelenting and unrelieved personal hells, with delayed consequences. In the late 2020s, we got the first signs that DID wasn’t a mistaken DSM invention, as a new generation of multiples emerged. It wasn’t so bad with those young women, like Sybil X, whose rational ‘executive’ alters ran their lives and dominated the other personalities.

But there were those who weren’t, like the Maenads or Bacchantes, gangs of aggressive darkside dominant executive alters who defended their ‘weaker’ sisters from harm, whether a bona fide abusive male (or sadly, sometimes female) relative, or, later on, even a perceived or imagined “threat.” And when the gangs started to manufacture H (hypermethamphetamine), then look out.

While the talking and negotiations went on, some of the rhetoric sounded familiar. “Singletons” couldn’t understand Multiples, and due to their endurance of poisonous family hell, they had no faith in the police, justice or community welfare services.

For a while, it wasn’t safe to be brought to court on rape, child sexual abuse or domestic violence charges in this country and in some places abroad. There was every likelihood that a Maenad or Bacchante cell would descend, shooting or slicing their quarry to oblivious shards.

At which point,  the Christian Right started interfering. It pontificated that it doubted that much severe child sexual abuse and battery existed, and therefore, Multiples were deliberately ‘falsifying’ their extent of suffering to gain support for their ‘choice’ to engage in violent and antisocial revenge killings or assaults. The Pro-Family Militia defended its own right to arm themselves, and use deadly force. And predictably, tabloid bottom-feeder junk media and opportunist far right politicians started their own old poisonous demagogue rhetoric, leading to moral panic, ferocious institutional responses, and accelerated social polarisation.

I’ve just been through a fifteen hour shoot out with the Dionysia, one of the worst Bacchante cells in the country, and what’s worse, Sybil X lost her lover Parvati last month when the Pro-Family Militia firebombed a multiple community “Hydra House” in Tawa. But I don’t know if Sybil lives there any more. Ilsa does. And don’t call them a ‘minority.’ Because we had to play ideological charnel house with social policy earlier this century, we bred violence, cannibalism and madness in our children. Forty percent of New Zealand women under twenty five are multiples, and it’s higher elsewhere in the world.

I don’t want to shoot the body that houses Sybil X, gentle and wise woman, leader of her people, voice of reason, my friend. But Ilsa is a mass murderer who avenged Parvati’s death who blew up a fundamentalist church in Nelson, killing fifty people in cold blood.

I see her eyes dilate, and I feel as if I’m playing Baptist roulette. Will she embrace me, or shoot me down where I stand?

Tags: General

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