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Did Abuse Lead to Jane's Dissociative Identity Disorder on 'The Many Side of Jane'?

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DID, or Dissociative Identity Disorder, is a controversial diagnosis, but experts on the disorder believe that the fragmentation of personality into distinct parts that rarely if ever communicate comes from trauma during key developmental stages. 

So it is unsurprising to learn in the first episode of The Many Sides of Jane that Jane Hart has a history of sexual abuse.

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Many Sides of Jane abuse: what Jane has revealed so far

Jane grew up in rural Idaho on an onion farm. She heard voices as a kid, and this got worse as she entered her teen years. Once athletic and a good student, she became unable to concentrate and withdrawn. Her grades fell and she dropped out of her school activities. 

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At age 17, Jane says she began to recall trauma she had locked away inside her younger personalities. Some but not all of the abuse she suffered was sexual in nature. Though it’s unclear what relationship she had with her abusers because she has declined to name them or specify how many people victimized her, in a therapy session she does refer to a male abuser.

Jane’s  mom also does not get into specifics, and in fact seems uncomfortable talking about the abuse with Jane, too, which is a source of strain on their relationship. However, she does express feeling like she failed to protect Jane and recognize the signs sooner.

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After high school, Jane moved to Alaska, married, and had two boys, but when her marriage fell apart, the voices began to bother her again to the point she became suicidal. Thankfully, the thought of abandoning her kids kept her alive. She moved back to Boise and entered into psychiatric treatment at 24. 

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Her therapist began to notice that he was seeing distinct sides of her personality. On some visits, she would come in dragging a blanket and sippy cup as if she were a toddler. Jane describes her personalities as having distinct names, interests, and genders, and many of them are stuck in ages where something particularly traumatic happened to her.

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Two of Jane’s youngest personalities are Janey, 4, and Beth, 10, so it seems two pivotal events occurred at those ages. During a therapy session, Beth tells psychologist Dr. Waters that she can protect Janey but not herself from an unnamed male abuser.

Though she doesn’t like to talk about or recall the abuse, Beth says she carries most of those memories, and hints at someone who performed repeated abuse that was sadistic. 

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"I feel gross when I talk about it," she says. "I used to get really scared right before it would happen. My arms wouldn’t move. Not even it if hurt, they wouldn’t move. But then if it started to not hurt then he would find something that hurt worse."

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How DID affects Jane’s relationships:

Both the trauma and the DID have made long-term romantic relationships difficult for Jane. In the first episode, she discusses how sex and other physical intimacy might sometimes trigger a switch or have a flashback. Her most recent ex-boyfriend Ryan expressed frustration because he found himself having a relationship not just with an adult woman, Jane, who he loves and is attracted to, but an unfriendly lesbian who doesn’t like him (Madison, 28) and at times a 10-year-old girl. 


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Later in the episode, we see one of Jane's personalities, Madison, end a relationship with a woman they were seeing, which devastates Jane and leaves Madison fairly cold. Later in a therapy session, Jane wonders whether Madison recognized something in Brie that she needed to protect the other personalities from. Her struggle will be to find a partner who makes all her parts feel secure.

The Many Sides of Jane airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. EST on A&E

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