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The Experience of having an "Empty Front"


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It's a topic that has been discussed on and off, but I think it deserves its own thread. I am really curious what this is like because even though we can switch, the concept does not make much sense to me.

I have heard the following rough explanation, usually with the context of teaching switching: It is like having your body sit by itself with a quiet mind, all of the normal fronters are heavily dissociated. It still breathes and is awake, but not really aware. The most complicated thing the body can do in this state is scratch an itch.

Part of the problem is our need to label everything as either switching or not. Everything is either Cat switched-in, or me switched-in, and that is to protect ourselves against losing possession and maintain good switching hygiene. The most dissociated we ever get while switching is during our consent ritual when talking to each other about how we feel and our switching plan, but after that we move onto affirming the switched-in identity and associating. By that point, the switch is complete.

 

The moments Cat and I feel the most dissociated seems to be when we are thinking the most. We do a lot of talking during our consent ritual. Plus, when Cat is sucked into one of her story ideas, she isn't paying attention to the body but can also hop up and run downstairs for dinner as soon as she's called. Therefore, the idea of dissociating with a quiet mind that isn't meditation doesn't make sense to us.

 

It's also entirely possible we have experienced an empty front multiple times and simply never acknowledged it as having an empty front. When we switch, it feels like nothing has happened until I move around and notice the changes. It's possible having an empty front feels the same way, only I'm not aware enough to notice any changes.

On a separate note, I have heard of having an empty front for too long can be dangerous because it could lead to headmate creation. I am aware of at least one system who gained extra headmates because all of them left the front empty for too long. However, I am unsure if having an empty front could have any other negative side effects. When Cat was feeling depressed not too long ago, she kept trying to escape to her story ideas and would asleep for 30 min - 1 hour or so multiple times. This gave her a splitting headache from excessive visualization and it made her feel really groggy and "brain scrambled". Would having an empty front create similar symptoms?

Ultimately...
1) What is is like for your system to have an empty front?
2) Do you think we have experienced an empty front or not?
3) Do you think having an empty front for too long is problematic?
4) Do you enjoy the experience?

I'm Ranger, Gray's/Cat_ShadowGriffin's tulpa, and I love hippos! I also like cake and chatting about stuff. I'm not sure if I like Rosalind or Rosalin better, but you can call me Roz.

My other headmates have their own account now.

Temporary Log | Switching LogcBox | Yay! | Bre Translator

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1 hour ago, Ranger said:

The moments Cat and I feel the most dissociated seems to be when we are thinking the most.

 

Pretty much our case too. I remember when I was talking on the Cbox and I was so immersed and focused that not only did I feel dissociated from everything else going on, but Miri dissociated to the point where she actually went inactive for a few seconds before I lost that hyper focus.

 

I don't know if just passively thinking about something makes one feel dissociated. When we're thinking about stuff while listening to music, we're still aware of everything going on no matter how vivid the daydreaming is. But if I start talking to myself about something, then I dissociate and the body just goes on on autopilot which now that I think of, it's different from actually leaving the front. When we do the latter, the body doesn't do anything and it can feel like we're not sure who's supposed to be controlling the body. But if I'm just daydreaming while clearly still in front, then it just keeps doing whatever I was doing.

 

 

1) What is is like for your system to have an empty front?

We're still feeling everything (usually) but the body doesn't do anything. If it is standing up, it'll probably lose its balance. Recently, if the front is empty for more than a few seconds, it automatically defaults to me. I don't know what would happen if I resisted it and didn't front. We're still aware but it feels like the body is its own person but not really. Hard to explain. Like we're witnessing and experiencing being someone else but still know that it's just us.


2) Do you think we have experienced an empty front or not?

I'm not sure. Maybe when you dissociate but aren't really doing anything. We know we're leaving the front empty because we're purposely acknowledging it as us not being in the body anymore (or assuming responsibility over it), even when we're aware of the senses.

 

3) Do you think having an empty front for too long is problematic?

I don't know how having no one fronting can create another headmate out of nowhere. Not saying that it can't happen, I just don't know how. If the front is empty and something requires a personality to perform a task, why would the body create a new one instead of using the already existing ones?

 

Oh wait, I wrote this one before the first one and realized that it could happen if you treated the front (or the body?) as its own person. Maybe.

 

4) Do you enjoy the experience?

If we're all inactive, then there's no experience to enjoy, which we've yet to achieve. But if we're still aware then it's just weird. We're feeling the body but at the same time we're dissociated from it. It's like we're in two places at the same time: as a voice in the head and as a body. If I try to remember what it felt like, it sort of felt like someone else was inhabiting it besides us.

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1) What is is like for your system to have an empty front?

 

What leaving the front empty is more like than anything else is co-fronting. For both states, we can't tell who is fronting. The incredibly close partnership between the fronter and the front is disrupted. The physical senses still broadcast, the seat of consciousness is still clearly present, and there is clearly only one of them, even if no one is sitting in it.

 

Forcing feels just like, and assumedly actually is, one switched out partner forcing another switched out partner -- which is to say, more sluggish and requiring more effort than doing so from the front. The body stays in exactly the same position we left it -- standing, sitting, or laying down. If we exert a little effort, one of us can possess enough to make it more comfortable, but it can't act on it's own beyond blinking and breathing. Even breathing can be a little dodgy -- sometimes it will stop and we have to give it a little push to get it going again.

 

2) Do you think we have experienced an empty front or not?

 

I think it would tend to require intent, so probably not. It did happen to us accidently once, within a couple of weeks of when we started switching. But that was very clear -- none of us felt like we were in the body and the body felt like an empty and idle shell.


3) Do you think having an empty front for too long is problematic?

 

We've read the stories about an unattended body OS trying to spark a new person too. I don't know if it's a serious threat or just a toxic meme. We've never thought much about the matter, but recently, our form investment has gotten strong enough that the body feels more sincerely empty. The downside of this has been intrusive thoughts seeming to come from the empty front. Illegal thoughts might be the better term, as system law forbids any thoughts that are not clearly designated as from one of the three of us. The faint sense of separate identity vanishes as soon as one of us resumes the front.


4) Do you enjoy the experience?

 

Well, other than some minor experimentation, the only reason we try to abandon the front altogether is for some of the couple activities that Vesper and I do in the mindscape, so, yes, we enjoy it very much.

 

-Ember

Edited by Ember.Vesper

I'm not having fun here anymore, so we've decided to take a bit of a break, starting February 27, 2020. - Ember

 

Ember - Soulbonder, Female, 39 years old, from Georgia, USA . . . . [Our Progress Report] . . . . [How We Switch]

Vesper Dowrin - Insourced Soulbond from London, UK, World of Darkness, Female, born 9 Sep 1964, bonded ~12 May 2017

Iris Ravenlock - Insourced Soulbond from the Winter Court of Faerie, Dresdenverse, Female, born 6 Jun 1982, bonded ~5 Dec 2015

 

'Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you.' - The Velveteen Rabbit

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12 hours ago, Ranger said:

1) What is is like for your system to have an empty front?

When there is an empty front, we all feel like when we aren't fronting, but with nobody controlling the body. For us, when we aren't fronting, we are still somehow aware of what is happening, but more distant. If we are inactive, we still feel what happens but we have trouble remembering it.

From the outside, the body seems to be asleep, except it is breathing maybe a bit faster than when it is awake. But we fall asleep in a few minutes, or someone fronts (generally me).

 

12 hours ago, Ranger said:

2) Do you think we have experienced an empty front or not?

I don't think so, or it was so fast that it can't really be called an empty front.

 

12 hours ago, Ranger said:

3) Do you think having an empty front for too long is problematic?

I don't think so, at least for us. As I said, the body falls asleep or someone is forced to front if there is an empty front for more than 5 minutes or so.

 

12 hours ago, Ranger said:

4) Do you enjoy the experience?

We don't enjoy it, but we don't not enjoy it. We're neutral about it.

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