Dissociative Identity Disorder was once known as Multiple Personality Disorder. It’s a trauma based disorder that forms in early childhood.
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How It Forms
The current theory of structural dissociation states that as children, our brains, our mental states, have not fully fused together into one whole being. There’s a section of the brain that handles hunger. A section for being tired. A section for being happy. A section for loving your parents. A section that handles abuse when it comes.
The brain’s states fuse together somewhere around the age of eight, but in individuals with DID, this never happens. Picture this:
A fragmented brain with a fragment that loves your parents unconditionally. Then suddenly, your parents are the cause of your trauma.
Tame Trauma Example
Let’s say a parent gets ill and is constantly in and out of hospital. As a result you’re rarely allowed to see them, you’re shipped from babysitter to babysitter and your wants are all ignored. This can be traumatic for a child who doesn’t know what’s going on.
So we go back to the brain. We have the fragment that loves the parents unconditionally and a fragment that knows the parents are the cause of this trauma. When it comes to the parts of the person fusing together
, these two can’t fuse. The brain finds another way to cope.
Walls are put up between the mental states. The brain never fuses into one whole person, one whole personality. And it learns to live a different way.
How Alters Form
One of the big coping mechanisms when it comes to abuse or trauma is going into denial. You say in your head, this can’t be happening to me. This is happening to someone else. If I was taller, shorter, uglier, prettier, a boy, a girl, this wouldn’t happen to me.
This is how alters are formed. Alters are the other personalities, as they’re more likely to be known by those who don’t understand the disorder.
So K is being treated in a way they can’t understand. They think, if I had a big sibling to protect me, this wouldn’t be happening. So the brain creates E, K fades into the background and E handles the abuse. This happens again, and again, and again.
The Alters: Parts or People?
A person with DID may have as a few as two personalities, or like Jeni Haynes they may have up to and over 2,500.
These personalities, or alters, can very from being a tiny fragment of a person to being a whole, fully 3D individual with their own name, face, age, gender, race and it may or may not match that of the body they’re born into and the legal name the body is given.
But this disorder as complex. Depending on the system's experience, they may experience life as fragmented parts of one whole person, or as wholly separate people.
There are also two ways to heal. One: reach functional or healthy multiplicity, and life as multiple selves or people in one body. Two: Final fusion, where all the parts/people of the brain fuse to become one.
Regardless of whether they're parts or people, they all become their own separate minds inside one brain and one body.
We experience the world as wholly separate people, and we have healed in functional/heal;thy multiplicity.
Alters as Individuals: The Facts
In people with DID, the people/parts of the brain can have their own individual memories experienced by the child, or even as an adult. There is more often than not amnesia between the parts, or alters, or personalities, based on their experiences being “out/fronting” (taking control of the body) and such.
Each individual in a system is real. A real, separate person or state, often with their own name, personality and sense of self. Sometimes, they even have their own lives.
In people with DID who experience "people" over "parts," they are not all the same person. Each one can be a different gender, age, birthday, race, have different physical and mental abilities and disabilities.
What It's Not
No, you can not control any of the above factors nor can you control when a new alter is created in childhood or adulthood.
And no it’s not like the movies, with the general portrayal of insanity and random murdering personalities.
This is a real, legitimate and diagnosable disorder and you can look it up if you want. Google it, you’ll find plenty of information and the studies and science are out there to find too.
We recommend these YouTube channels/playlists. There are many systems out there with channels, but these are the ones we personally watch to educate ourselves more on other systems, and educate others on the diversity of DID and those who have it.
A system of five with interesting videos who really started this uproar of DID online and people coming forward to erase the stigma. Jess, the host, works in psychology. The system is currently working towards final fusion.
A System containing several fictives. Wyn and the system formerly ran incredibly educational channel.
A Gen-X, male-bodied system living with DID. We like this system because they make us feel comfortable. It's not all young women who have the disorder. They share their unique challenges with having DID, as an older male-bodied system.