Co-engagements and splits are separate beasts. A split is a dominance issue whereas a Co-Engagement is more of a form of active hiding; A family member (Let’s say Katy Mae) isn’t verbally announcing her presence, or talking with anyone in the system, but is still active, aware and sharing my (MikeANP) body.
This is a co-engagement. Consider it sharing a body. The ANP feels, emotionally and physically, whatever a co-engaged family member is thinking or feeling. They can be very exhausting events.
This skill we have with co-engagement(s) was born out of fear – We were never allowed to express ourselves, properly and safely. We had to learn how to hide among eachother. We believe after years in wellness that Autism (ASD) has a role in co-engagements. That’s another story for another time.
Let’s say MikeANP is writing a blog post and seemingly, talking to a friend online at the same time. Katy Mae may very well be active and listening to Evanesence while I’m writing. MikeANP cannot hear the words of the song (Long story) because it’s not me listening. Katy is actively talking to the friend – But not announcing her presence. For all our friend knows, it’s MikeANP doing the talking.
There are tell tale signs that Katy Mae is co-engaged but you have to get to know her in order to find and know them. Co-engagements can happen at any time and it doesn’t have to be a social situation for her to become co-engaged. Co-engagements with family members are a bit different in that Katy Mae just might start talking to one of us. When we are alone, co-engagements aren’t as complex as they are when dealing with other social situations.
It’s also important to note that only non dominant (D) family members can be co-engaged, in our particular DiD case.
One tell tale sign I can talk about is conversation breakers. Let’s say we are talking about, I don’t know, Ice Cream. All of the sudden an out of the left field question or statement pops up, breaking the flow of our conversation. A co-engaged someone has a question!
It’s only when someone feels safe with an outsider that they will announce their presence while co-engaged. Some of us have particular salutations or catch phrases that will reveal us. You just gotta hang along with us long enough to catch them!
So that’s what a co-engagement is! Thanks for hanging through the entire article. Keep being lovely, it’s what you do best!
A special note. Katy has been co-engaged all day and people are picking up on her energy! You feel that?