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Choosing Peace


Approximately five years ago, my husband was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). DID is a disorder caused by severe childhood trauma and results in multiple personalities who dissociate their actions from the host’s memory. In childhood, this protects the host from the experience of the abuse. In adulthood, this creates chaos.

When I married my husband, I married the host of his DID system. Through the years, as his other personalities (called alters) made choices and engaged in behaviours that harmed our relationship, I many times pushed back in anger and frustration. I did not understand that my husband had a disability. It was invisible to us both and, having a lack of knowledge, led to a lack of compassion.

As my husband and I have learned more about his condition and journeyed together towards healing, we have had to commit to seeking peace in our relationship. This is not an easy commitment to fulfill when parts of my husband rage against the injustice of a world where predators can thrive; the predators command silence through violence and threats of further harm.

My husband’s system must learn, one part at a time, what it means to truly forgive and have inner peace. This is not to suggest that his abusers should go without consequence for their actions but rather to accept the reality that even if that consequence should be visited upon them, continued anger, hate, and fear will only serve to damage my husband further and impede his ability to become whole.

Together, we chose to share our story and encourage others like us who are struggling to extend grace and kindness to those who do not understand. To those who would first judge and condemn, perpetuate the violence that is the origin of this disorder.

We share our story for those who have hurt us and for those we have hurt; we forgive and we seek forgiveness.

We choose peace.


By: Charmaine Panko, Wife and Mother,

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