The GPS is Set to Home


I don’t write much about my son, Angel, who has dissociative identity disorder. It seems to be such a sensationalized topic in the media that I don’t want to trot him out to add to the scrutiny. The fact is, he leads a pretty normal life.

After years of counseling, (which continues) he understands his issues with his “peeps” very well. He is appreciative of the mechanism of their development because he has only minimal memories of the severe, prolonged abuse he suffered as an infant and toddler. (Who can DO such things to babies????) He had worked with a psychiatrist who wanted to meld the 12 personalities, but Angel was not in agreement with this treatment. To him, it seemed like abortion because each of his peeps was valuable to him.

11 of his personalities live contently together. He can sometimes be seen staring off into space with a slight smile on his face. When I ask him what’s going on, he says his peeps are having a tea party in his brain and he starts to laugh. He has told me many times that he appreciates having peeps because life is exciting and he is never lonely or bored.

The 12th personality, the “asshole”, used to appear uncontrollably when Angel got angry. Angel learned through therapy to accept this personality because this is the personality who endured most of the abuse. (He does not know this personality well, because to know him would be to remember his abuse.) In order to temper any damage that could be done by the asshole, his peeps have learned to work together to nurture and control him so he is no longer dangerous. Quite a feat for a brainful of peeps!

Angel works as a security guard in the evening, sometimes through the night. He loves this job because it can be done by most of his peeps, so there is no fighting over who gets to come out. He has a nice circle of friends who understand his issues, and he feels comfortable in social situations with them. They know that if he suddenly starts to dance wildly and strut his stuff, his “diva” personality has the floor. (She loves pink boas and nail polish.) Or if he becomes the center of attention, leading the activities like a pro, his “game show host” personality comes out. Or if he just sits in the corner, withdrawn, his baby personality comes out, too frightened of the world to interact. This peep will need to be driven home by one of his many friends.

Driving is the biggest issue because one peep might be driving somewhere and another peep might take over and not know where they are going. He has learned to accommodate for this problem the way he has accommodated for all issues that have come up in his short life. He now keeps his GPS set to home so they can all find their way home!

With all of these personalities, he is just Angel. Accepted by his friends and family in his amazingly normal life.



The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane
Authored by Linda Petersen
The link to the book:


Comments on: "The GPS is Set to Home" (31)

  1. Thank you for sharing this. What a remarkable story with a good “end”, although this young man has much life to live … and live it well, he will!

    • I notice your name is under Humor Happens. Angel is a very humorous guy. We laugh at everything. It makes the difficult stuff easier to swallow.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Bless his heart. I can’t help but admire this young man for enduring what he had to endure and subconsiouly finding a way to deal with it, even though the solution for him is complicated. I sincerely wish the best for him.

  3. 1wanderingtruthseeker said:

    He is blessed to have you.

  4. You are courageous, mom! You really are! ❤ God Bless you and all of your babies.

  5. And I think we all know that his inner “GPS Home” is YOU! You and your husband have given him an amazing life. You didn’t see his problems, you saw his possibilities, and he sounds like a truly fulfilled young man. God bless you and his friends!

  6. manyofus1980 said:

    I love how you just normalised did. Thank you. We’re quite normal us did folk. I have did, also happen to be blind, but I am still quite normal! Linda, if you’d like to follow my new blog visit

    I talk about being blind, living with blindness, amongst many other things. XX

  7. The more I read about you, the more I admire you.

  8. Hi Linda. I loved this post. I have many friends with DID including manyofus1980. I think it’s great you’re looking out for him in trying not to have people dramatize or make so much of DID. And I agree the media still to this day doesn’t quite get it. However I’ve learned in supporting my friends there’s quite a lot of online support out there on facebook, youtube and other blogs like my friends. So I think by writing about his experiences living life with DID as a normal person overcomming obstacles you’re providing support to so many people who have DID or know someone that does. I guess I’m saying I understand the caution and I also think as many inaccurate prortrayals/ people out there that don’t get it, there are way more that do and would gain something from you writing about him as much as you do your other kids. Just my thoughts. I like the peeps thing it’s awesome!

    • Thank you for your thoughts.
      Angel’s favorite shirt has a picture of those Easter marshmallow candies hanging from a tree branch with the saying “Just hanging with my peeps.”!!

  9. That is so awesome your son knows how to live and cope with his personalities!!! Awesome story! Hugz Lisa and Bear

  10. What I love about the way you describe your kids is that you have never tried to “cure” them or make them over into the world’s image of “normal”, you have accepted and loved them and equipped them to negotiate the world. Inspirational stuff, I hope that my parenting will enable my kids in the same way.

  11. Like Angel I depend on my GPS to get me home. It’s the best feature, never have to worry …just click on the house and end up in my driveway. Awesome share, thanks!

  12. This is so heart-warming and inspiring. I finally managed to download your book (had to find the right Amazon link) and am even more in awe of all you and your husband have accomplished. Thank God for you both.

  13. Love it. What a wonderful way to deal with such a challenge. I see why you value Angel so much. Not many of us have learned such creative ways to deal with our shadow, never the less with a whole group. Love your blogs, love you, love your kids.

  14. How can I get in contact with you to discuss a opportunity about a inspiring documentary that I would like to feature on your site.

    • I’m sorry, but my blog is just a little down home ole’ blog. I don’t share info or videos from others. (I’d probably be technologically challenged to do so!) Thank you anyway.

  15. Thank you for sharing this, a unique perspective!

  16. What an amazing thing the human brain is in the way it deals with things.

  17. I love how you share openly and I so appreciate it to..
    incredibly amazing children you have and very special they are too ..I know as i have two as well and I learn all the time something!

    Thank you for sharing

  18. I love the fact that he has “peeps”. It is a great term for it, and I love that he has been able to accept them and figure out how to live with them in a world of people who do not understand them. I wish him, and you all the best with what I am sure is a constant struggle and learning experience.

  19. By making your home be such a safe place for Angel you’ve allowed and encouraged him to grow into the wonderful young man he is. Bless you for your understanding and unconditional love! It made my heart so happy to read this!

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