Girl From the Tree House
Girl From The Tree House
First published by Gudrun Frerichs 2019
Copyright © 2019 by Gudrun Frerichs
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmittedin any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise withoutwritten permission from the publisher. It is illegal to copy this book, post it to a website, or distributeit by any other means without permission.
This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it arethe work of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localitiesis entirely coincidental.
Gudrun Frerichs asserts the moral right to be identified asthe author of this work.
Gudrun Frerichs has no responsibility for the persistenceor accuracy of URLs for external or third-party Internet Websites referred to in this publication and does notguarantee that any content on such Websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.
Editing by Ken Staley
Editing by Svea Berling
Cover art by Suzie O'Connel
This book was professionally typeset on Reedsy
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About the Author
Also by Gudrun Frerichs
This story may triggers some people. Even though I have abstained from describing experiences of childhood abuse in detail, there are general references to abuse. Survivors who read this book might need to make sure they have access to supportive services and or caring others as reading the book could triggers personal experiences.
Even though I am writing about real problems trauma survivors with DID are experiencing in their lives, this is a novel, a made up story. For the sake of the narrative, my heroine has a high level of functioning. This is not always the case and often requires years of working with supportive health professionals.
Multiples usually have had horrendous childhood experiences that cause them emotional pain, overwhelming fears and anxieties, that may have led to unhelpful coping strategies. At no time is it my intention to minimize the need for compassion, emotional support, and care Multiples require whilst on their journey of recovery
In memory of a wonderful friend
and fellow writer who generously gave
and was available with his all important
For over twenty-five years I’ve worked as a psychotherapist with trauma survivors diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, previously Multiple Personality Disorder). Most of them thought they were crazy while I didn’t see anything I could label as ‘crazy’.
When you read Elise’s story, you hopefully get a sense of my respect and admiration for people with that diagnosis. Over the years I’ve listened to believers, non-believers, and doubters only to realize that in all that verbal warfare the person at the center of the discussion got left behind. Often the condition is sensationalized and the focus is on the ‘dysfunctional’ behavior. I wanted to show the perspective of the Multiple and the courage and strength required to face one’s traumatic past.
Many Multiples are highly functioning and work successfully in responsible, demanding jobs. In times of stress, being triggered, or suffering additional trauma, Multiples, like any other person, dissociate more and their ability to cope can quickly reach critical limits.
A multiple once told me: The other day I told a friend of many years - he actually has experienced me at my worst when things were really hanging on a thin thread - that I am a Multiple. I couldn’t believe his reaction - he is a health professional and knows about DID - he just didn’t believe me. No way, he said. He even got angry when I insisted…I thought that was quite funny. Here I was, for years plagued by shame, thinking it must be written on my forehead that I am strange and odd - and people didn’t notice anything.
I invite you to walk for a while in the shoes of a Multiple, try them on for size, and hopefully come to see that Multiples are neither green-eyed monsters nor raving lunatics but people who need support and compassion.
Lilly: 17 November 2015, Midday, At The Funeral
I’m sitting in this cold, musty church, giving my best impression of the grieving widow Reid. I’m good at that… getting the job done, like a magician who saws a person in half and puts her together afterward. Only, with me, it’s no trick or illusion. What you see is what you get. That’s me, Lilly. I’m one of many who live in the body of Elizabeth Reid.
The poor girl disappeared a long, long time ago. I believe she’s dead. It’s us, the Tribe, who live in the body now. But nobody knows that.
The smell of incense and sweet graveyard flowers wafts over from the oak coffin sitting only ten feet in front of me, covered with white lilies. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, fear creeps up like a wildcat lying in wait, ready to attack and devour me. My eyes are glued to the lid expecting it to lift any moment and out steps Horace like a Jack-in-the-box.
Of course, I know he’s dead. I touched his waxen, ice-cold face and gagged at the smell of formaldehyde surrounding his body after the funeral people had finished preparing him.
I had to. I