Each alter personality had a common goal and raison d’etre, namely my survival. They didn’t all realize that though, and so were at odds with each other much of the time. So I continued to be fragmented and divided. — Carolyn Bramhall
It is unlikely that one ANP will serve as a constant throughout the person’s life. Your client is, therefore, likely to have others besides the ones you know, or several who you might think of as “the host”. Adults with dissociative disorders often have several ANPs from earlier stages of life inside. They usually have the same name but are of different ages. Sometimes, there are several current ANPs, each of whom assumes she or he is the “real” person and is amnesiac for the existence of the others. Their current knowledge and experience may overlap, while their other characteristics differ somewhat. This makes them glide easily from one to the other, and the therapist can easily miss the switch. p22 — Alison Miller
In this paper I propose the existence of two distinct presentations of DID, a Stable and an Active one. While people with Stable DID struggle with their traumatic past, with triggers that re-evoke that past and with the problems of daily functioning with severe dissociation, people with Active DID are, in addition, also engaged in a life of current, on-going involvement in abusive relationships, and do not respond to treatment in the same way as other DID patients. The paper observes these two proposed DID presentations in the context of other trauma-based disorders, through the lens of their attachment relationship. It proposes that the type, intensity and frequency of relational trauma shape – and can thus predict – the resulting mental disorder.
– Through the lens of attachment relationship: Stable DID, Active DID and other trauma-based mental disorders — Adah Sachs
The spurned diagnosis
“By shame, I have in mind the terrible, at times unfathomable, feeling of being outcast from human society, of being shunned and spurned, of being wanted by no one, and having no one who empathizes with you (Lynd 1958). Part of this experience of shame is the focus on the inadequacies of oneself in the eyes of others and oneself, and of feeling mortified, wanting to disappear, to hide inside a crack in the wall (Lewis 1971). — Elizabeth Howell
Dear little ones, I know this might be scary and confusing right now, but my name is Jade and I’m here to help. — Jade Miller
Due to previous lack of systematic assessment of dissociative symptoms, many subjects experience the SCID-D as their first opportunity to describe their symptoms in their own words to a receptive listener. — Marlene Steinberg
Most dissociative parts influence your experience from the inside rather than exert complete control, that is, through passive influence.
In fact, many parts never take complete control of a person, but are only experienced internally.
Frequent switching may be a sign of severe stress and inner conflict in most individuals. — Suzette Boon
Dissociative Identity Disorder…is initially a useful coping response to an environment which is very difficult to endure. The problem is that dissociative responses-such as switching, blanking out, or going into a trance-become automatic, and, once the original abusive environment has been left behind, are of little use in life and may be detrimental. — Elizabeth Howell
Instead of showing visibly distinct alternate identities, the typical DID patient presents a polysymptomatic mixture of dissociative and posttraumatic stressdisorder (PTSD) symptoms that are embedded in a matrix of ostensibly non-trauma-related symptoms (e.g., depression, panic attacks, substance abuse,somatoform symptoms, eating-disordered symptoms). The prominence of these latter, highly familiar symptoms often leads clinicians to diagnose only these comorbid conditions. When this happens, the undiagnosed DID patient may undergo a long and frequently unsuccessful treatment for these other conditions.
– Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults, Third Revision, p5 — James A. Chu
It is important to learn about being multiple, and what works for their healing, from your client. To work with the alters, rather than trying to get the ANP to control the rest of the personality system. — Alison Miller
Over centuries, organised perpetrator groups have observed and studied the way in which extreme childhood traumas, such as accidents, bereavement, war, natural disasters, repeated hospitalisations and surgeries, and (most commonly) child abuse (sexual, physical, and emotional) cause a child’s mind to be split into compartments. Occult groups originally utilised this phenomenon to create alternative identities and what they believed to be “possession” by various spirits. In the twentieth century, probably beginning with the Nazis, other organised groups developed ways to harm children and deliberately structure their victims’ minds in such a way that they would not remember what happened, or that if they began to remember they would disbelieve their own memories. Consequently, the memories of what has happened to a survivor are hidden within his or her inside parts. — Alison Miller
I want everyone that has been abused by someone in their childhood to know that you can get past it. Having DID is not the end of the world; it’s the beginning of your new life. DID allows the victim of exceptional abuse the ability to “forget” the abuse and continue living. Without it, I may have gone crazy as a teen and spent my life in a as a teen and spent my life in a psychiatric hospital. — Dauna Cole
Switches among identities occur in response to changes in emotional state or to environmental demands, resulting in another identity emerging to assume control. Because different identities have different roles, experiences, emotions, memories, and beliefs, the therapist is constantly contending with their competing points of view. Helping the identities to be aware of one another as legitimate parts of the self and to negotiate and resolve their conflicts is at the very core of the therapeutic process. It is countertherapeutic for the therapist to treat any alternate identity as if it were more “real” or more important than any other.
Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults, Third Revision — James A. Chu
Changes in Relationship with others:
It is especially hard to trust other people if you have been repeatedly abused, abandoned or betrayed as a child. Mistrust makes it very difficult to make friends, and to be able to distinguish between good and bad intentions in other people. Some parts do not seem to trust anyone, while other parts may be so vulnerable and needy that they do not pay attention to clues that perhaps a person is not trustworthy. Some parts like to be close to others or feel a desperate need to be close and taken care of, while other parts fear being close or actively dislike people. Some parts are afraid of being in relationships while others are afraid of being rejected or criticized. This naturally sets up major internal as well as relational conflicts. — Suzette Boon
Also, look for “floating alters.” These are not deliberately created parts of the system, but alters that were accidentally split off at the same time as others. — Alison Miller
~~You are not alone~~ No, really. Literally. Maybe you have always known (or suspected) this. Maybe this news is shocking, baffling, dismaying, even unbelievable to you. Despite what you might believe or may have been told about yourself, you are not just ‘moody’. Nor are you crazy or defective or possessed. You have what is commonly called ‘multiple personalities’. — A.T.W.
People with dissociative disorders are like actors trapped in a variety of roles. They have difficulty integrating their memories, their sense of identity and aspects of their consciousness into a continuous whole. They find many parts of their experience alien, as if belonging to someone else. They cannot remember or make sense of parts of their past. — David Speigel
The difficulties in diagnosing DID result primarily from lack of education among clinicians about dissociation, dissociative disorders, and the effects of psychological trauma, as well as from clinician bias. This leads to limited clinical suspicion about dissociative disorders and misconceptions about their clinical presentation. Most clinicians have been taught (or assume) that DID is a rare disorder with a florid, dramatic presentation. Although DID is a relatively common disorder, R. P. Kluft (2009) observed that “only 6% make their DID obvious on an ongoing basis” (p. 600).
– Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults, Third Revision, p4-5 — James A. Chu
Deliberately placed triggers for learned behaviours (programmes)
Although all abuse and trauma survivors may be “triggered” into intrusive flashbacks by present-day experiences that remind them of the trauma, the triggers deliberately installed by mind controllers are different, in that they are cues for conditioned behaviours. Some of these are behaviours such as going home, going outside (where someone is waiting), coming to the person who uses the trigger, or switching to a particular insider. Others are psychiatric symptoms such as flashbacks, self-harm, or suicide attempts, which are actually punishments given by insiders for disobedience or disloyalty. For many survivors, every trigger causes a switch to a part programmed to perform a particular behaviour associated with that trigger. For others, the front person remains present in the world but has an irresistible compulsion to perform the behaviour. — Alison Miller
Many people with Dissociative Disorders are very creative and used their creative capacities to help them cope with childhood trauma.p55 — Marlene Steinberg
Throughout our times with Christopher [therapist] we were encouraged to work together at communicating on the inside. He pointed out that it would be good for us all to listen-in when an alter was telling his/her story – that it’s now safe, no harm will come to us from telling or from knowing. There was once a time when it was very important that we didn’t know what had happened; that knowing meant danger or being so overwhelmed with pain and grief that we wouldn’t survive. But now it was different. We’re safe and strong, and our goal now are to uncover the grisly truth of what’s happened to us, so that it’s no longer a powerful secret. We can look at it and face the past for what it is – old memories of old events. Today is now,and we can choose to live a different way and believe different things. We were once powerless and vulnerable, but now we were in a position to make choices. We had control over our life. — Carolyn Bramhall
Pathological dissociation is characterized by profound, functional amnesias and significant alterations in identity; normal dissociation is expressed primarily in the form of intense absorption with internal stimuli (e.g., daydreams) or external stimuli (e.g., a fascinating book or television program). — Frank W. Putnam
Many ritually abusive cults deliberately divide the personality system down the middle of the head, making sure that there is no communication between the two sides. “Left side” parts might be instructed to speak to no one other than the perpetrators. — Alison Miller
The most chronic and complex of the dissociative disorders, multiple personality disorder, was renamed multiple personality disorder, was renamed ‘dissociative identity disorder
‘ in 1994 in DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association). The rationale for the name change, was among other things, to clarify that there are not literally separate personalities in a person with dissociative identity disorder
; ‘personalities’ was a historical term for the fragmented identity states that characterize the condition. — Colin A. Ross
The differences in alter personality states’ self-concepts can be striking, but authorities routinely stress that these are more apparent than real (e.g., Putnam, 1989a; Kluft, 1991). Various typologies have been offered, but few systematic data exist. Types of MPD alters, such as child-like personality states, angry alters, protectors, and persecutors, are found often enough to warrant further investigation. — Frank W. Putnam
Joe knew that for some, really for most, the derivations of belladonna that blurred their vision and caused their hearts to race would, as well, hasten their forgetting of detail. They would not recall, not readily, any sense of pain or shame or doubt or threat of danger.
There were always children to be used. Members were obliged to offer their children, although not necessarily every child in a family was used. Some were found to be not suited for the rigor. Some were left alone so that if the involved children in a family were to attempt to tell, siblings could not corroborate their experience. — Judith Spencer
In fact, rather than being “more” than the others, the ANP is generally one that is very limited, with little power in the system, little memory of what happened, and limited energy or emotions. — Alison Miller
There is no evidence of spontaneous remission or integration of personality alters without mental health treatment. Therapy is long-term and requires the establishment of a strong therapeutic relationship with the individual. — Danny Wedding
The primary driver to pathological dissociation is attachment disorganization in early life: when that is followed by severe and repeated trauma, then a major disorder of structural dissociation is created (Lyons-Ruth, Dutra, Schuder, & Bianchi, 2006). — Frank M. Corrigan
It was soon after that I, overwhelmed with the implications of that memory, overdosed – well, somebody did but as it was my mouth and my stomach that was involved I had to take the consequences. Somehow or other (did an alter ring him?) Bruce (from my support group) got to know, drove over and took us to the hospital. — Carolyn Bramhall
As an undergraduate student in psychology, I was taught that multiple personalities were a very rare and bizarre disorder. That is all that I was taught on … It soon became apparent that what I had been taught was simply not true. Not only was I meeting people with multiplicity; these individuals entering my life were normal human beings with much to offer. They were simply people who had endured more than their share of pain in this life and were struggling to make sense of it. — Deborah Bray Haddock
The DID patient is a single person who experiences himself or herself as having separate alternate identities that have relative psychological autonomy from one another. At various times, these subjective identities may take executive control of the person’s body and behavior and/or influence his or her experience and behavior from “within.” Taken together, all of the alternate identities make up the identity or personality of the human being with DID.
– Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults, Third Revision, p7 — James A. Chu
Some people have the experience of being accused of lying when they do not think that they have lied. Circle a number to show what percentage of the time this happens to you.
[question from the Dissociative Experiences Scale] — Frank W. Putnam
Despite the growing clinical and research interest in dissociative symptoms and disorders, it is also true that the substantial prevalence rates for dissociative disorders are still disproportional to the number of studies addressing these conditions.
For example, schizophrenia has a reported rate of 0.55% to 1% of the normal population (Goldner, Hus, Waraich, & Somers, more or less similar to the prevalence of DID. Yet a PubMed search generated 25,421 papers on research related to schizophrenia, whereas only 73 publications were found for DID-related research. — Paul H Blaney
It’s been very interesting over the years just how many of those psychiatrists that were openly incredulous and dismissive have become stalwart admitants to the [trauma and dissociation] unit. In fact I can remember one psychiatrist … this is going back more than a decade and a half … it says something about the ambivalence about this area … who rang me saying he doesn’t believe that DID exists but nevertheless he’s got a patient with it that he’d like to refer. That’s called Psychiatrist Multiple Reality Disorder.
– 15 years as the director of a trauma and dissociation unit: Perspectives on Trauma-informed Care — Warwick Middleton
having DID in itself creates intense shame. A person continually has to deal with not remembering what one has said or done. Thus, the person with DID must be quick with inferences and cover-ups. Unfortunately, this often convinces her, as well as others, that she is a liar. — Elizabeth Howell
Disruption of identity characterized by two or more distinct personality states, which may be described in some cultures as an experience of possession. The disruption in identity involves marked discontinuity in sense of self and sense of agency, accompanied by related alterations in affect, behavior, consciousness, memory, perception, cognition, and/or sensory-motor functioning. — American Psychiatric Association
Punishment symptoms Many of the other types of programming produce psychiatric symptoms, usually administered as punishments by insiders who are trained to administer them, if the survivor has breached security or disobeyed the abusers’ instructions in other ways. These symptoms serve a variety of purposes, such as disrupting therapy, getting the survivor into hospital, or getting the survivor to return to the perpetrators to have the programming reinforced.
p126 — Alison Miller
Parts of you are phobic of anger and generally terrified and ashamed of angry dissociative parts. There is often tremendous conflict between anger-avoidant and anger-fixated parts of an individual. Thus, an internal and perpetual cycle of rage-shame-fear creates inner chaos and pain. — Suzette Boon
It is my hope that this book helps those who know and love people with DID: family members, lovers, coworkers, and friends. It is also my hope that those charged with intervening in families in which there is violence will take away a more nuanced approach to their important work, informed by a deeper understanding of trauma.
Most of all, I hope that those of you who have DID know that the disorder itself is an incredible survival technique. You should feel proud to have survived. Trauma has had a major impact on my life, as it has on yours, but I’ve learned that my life extends beyond the pain and darkness. Survivors of trauma are full of life, creativity, courage, and love. We are more than the sum of our parts. — Olga Trujillo
When I wrote the previous letter, I had made up my mind I would show you how I could be very composed and cool and not need to ask you to listen to me nor to explain anything to me nor need any help. By telling you that all this about the multiple personalities was not really true but just put on, I could show, or so I thought, that I did not need you. Well, it would have been easier if it were put on. — Flora Rheta Schreiber
Programming is the act of installing internal, pre-established reactions to external stimuli so that a person will automatically react in a predetermined manner to things like an auditory, visual or tactile signal or perform a specific set of actions according to a date and/or time. — Alison Miller
I felt doomed to death,
But in a flash,
Before I could reduce my thoughts
To an emotion,
I felt a mass leave my body:
Then my mind becomes anonymous
As is each night.
Just unfinished thoughts,
and a deep sickness inside,
As I was forced to swallow it,
Something I’ve tried to bury deep inside my
psyche to this day.
(poem written by alter personality) — Alice Jamieson
Does the person report having had the experience of meeting people she does not know but who seem to know her, perhaps by a different name? Often, those with DID are thought by others to be lying because different parts will say different things which the host has no knowledge of. — Elizabeth F. Howell
Our inner experience is that which we think, feel, remember, perceive, sense, decide, plan and predict. These experiences are actually mental actions, or mental activity (Van der Hart et al., 2006). Mental activity, in which we engage all the time, may or may not be accompanied by behavioral actions. It is essential that you become aware of, learn to tolerate and regulate, and even change major mental actions that affect your current life, such as negative beliefs, and feelings or reactions to the past the interfere with the present. However, it is impossible to change inner experiences if you are avoiding them because you are afraid, ashamed or disgusted by them. Serious avoidance of you inner experiences is called experiential avoidance (Hayes, Wilson, Gifford, & Follettte, 1996), or the phobia of inner experience (Steele, Van der Hart, & Nijenhuis, 2005; Van der Hart et al., 2006). — Suzette Boon
When different identity states convey contradictory information and then have amnesia for what the other identity states said, the patient may be thought to be lying. This can appear to be characterological mendacity when it is not. — Elizabeth F. Howell
clinical literature is virtually unanimous that full MPD [Multiple Personality Disorder] cannot be created iatrogenically. There is no evidence that such a case has been demonstrated; clinicians of widely different orientations have studied the available information and arrived at similar conclusions (e.g., Braun, 1984; Gruenewald, 1984; Kernberg, in press; Kluft, 1982; Putnam, 1989). Nonetheless, most of these observers have noted that many of the phenomena of MPD can be created quite readily, and that phenomena with striking superficial resemblance to MPD can be generated with relatively little effort. In fact, I noted in passing (Kluft, 1986a) that I had replicated the interventions of Harriman (1942,1943), Leavitt (1947), and Kampman (1976), and found the resultant phenomena clearly distinguishable from clinical MPD.
(from Kluft, R. P. (1989). Dissociation: Vol. 2, No. 2, p. 083-091: Iatrongenic creation of new alter personalities) — Richard P. Kluft
Dissociation leaves us disconnected from our memories, our identities and our emotions. It breaks the trauma into digestible components, so that different aspects of the trauma get stored in different compartments in our brain. What happens as a result is that the information from the trauma becomes disorganized and we are not able to integrate these pieces into a coherent narrative and process trauma fully until, hopefully, with the help of a validating, trauma-informed counselor who guides us to the appropriate therapies best suited to our needs, we confront the trauma and triggers in a safe place. — Shahida Arabi
What’s wrong with me? I lose my footing, in here.’ He touched his head. ‘When a neuro-typical looses their footing, they yell or escape to the TV, or maybe the doctor throws them on depression meds. But when I slip, I fall all the way through. I feel the ground give way and I’m gone. It’s a crack
a crack in what’s real, and beneath there I’m stuck. Then, I guess I become someone else. Mom says I still know my name, but I walk a different world. The shrink calls it DID
Dissociative Identity Disorder
with a little added autism to spice up my other personality. I suppose he’s right, but only I know how it feels to slip through the cracks. Then the monster shows up. — Jonathan Friesen
Most DID patients are rather muted compared to those cases incorrectly assumed to epitomize the condition (Kluft, 1985b). The personalities enact adaptational patterns and strategies that developed in the service of defense and survival. Once this pattern, which disposes of upsetting material and pressures rapidly and efficiently, is established, it may be repeated again and again to cope with both further overwhelming experiences and more mundane developmental and adaptational issues.
Once the DID that developed in order to cope with intolerable childhood circumstances has achieved some degree of secondary autonomy, it becomes increasingly maladaptive. — Richard P. Kluft
It was early in my career, and I had been seeing Mary, a shy, lonely, and physically collapsed young woman, for about three months in weekly psychotherapy, dealing with the ravages of her terrible history of early abuse. One day I opened the door to my waiting room and saw her standing there provocatively, dressed in a miniskirt, her hair dyed flaming red, with a cup of coffee in one hand and a snarl on her face. “You must be Dr. van der Kolk,” she said. “My name is Jane, and I came to warn you not to believe any the lies that Mary has been telling you. Can I come in and tell you about her?” I was stunned but fortunately kept myself from confronting “Jane” and instead heard her out. Over the course of our session I met not only Jane but also a hurt little girl and an angry male adolescent. That was the beginning of a long and productive treatment. — Bessel A. Van Der Kolk
Some dissociative parts of the personality, living in trauma time, may experience the same emotion no matter the situation, such as fear, rage, shame, sadness, yearning and even some positive ones just as joy.
Other parts have a broader range of feeling. Because emotions are often held in certain parts of the personality, different parts can have highly contradictory perceptions, emotions, and reactions to the same situation.
This explains many feelings, emotions, and doubts about the unknown haunting us at times.
Awareness and discovering the inner world may help, tremendously. — Suzette Boon
Jenny couldn’t believe herself a multiple. She was a mother, a nurse, not that screwball who appeared on the screen like some dysfunctional figment of her imagination trying to find a life. Still, she was coming to a realization that accepting who she was would be the jailer’s key to liberate her from this cuckoo’s nest. — Judy Byington
Identity confusion is defined by the SCID-D as a subjective feeling of uncertainty, puzzlement, or conflict about one’s own identity. Patients who report histories of childhood trauma characteristically describe themes of ongoing inner struggle regarding their identity; of inner battles for survival; or other images of anger, conflict, and violence. P13 — Marlene Steinberg
This new co-consciousness brought me to a state of awareness in which my core personality was directly able to experience “her” personality. Being co-conscious with her, he explained, would stop me from experiencing the feeling of leaving my body or dissociating. — Suzie Burke
Types of Alters
Most people who have DID have at least several different personalities. Each personality is typically referred to as an alter or alternate personality. Alters may vary in terms of age, gender, and sexual orientation, much in the same way that members of a family differ. Each of these personalities will be distinct from one another and may have differing interests, talents, abilities, and functions. And as different as these personalities are from one another, there are some common types of alters found within individuals with DID. — Tracy Alderman
The first thing you need to know if you are a survivor is that parts of you have probably been trained to create a variety of symptoms and behaviours. Abusers actually train child parts to cut the body, to make other parts cut, to attempt suicide, to create flashbacks by releasing pieces of visual or auditory memories, to create body memories of pain or electroshock, and to create depression, terror, anxiety, and despair by releasing the emotional components of memories to the rest of the personality system. The front person and most of the rest of the system do not know that this is the source of these feelings and behaviours. p126 — Alison Miller
The often dramatic differences among the personalities are more an arresting epiphenomenon than the core of the condition. Characterological factors, cultural influences, imagination, intelligence, and creativity make powerful contributions to the form taken by the personalities. Most DID patients are rather muted compared to those cases incorrectly assumed to epitomize the condition (Kluft, 1985b). The personalities enact adaptational patterns and strategies that developed in the service of defense and survival. Once this pattern, which disposes of upsetting material and pressures rapidly and efficiently, is established, it may be repeated again and again to cope with both further overwhelming experiences and more mundane developmental and adaptational issues. — Richard P. Kluft
The entirety of alters (or parts) which co-exist inside one physical body is known as a System. — A.T.W.
The mass media stereotype of an MPD patient is a woman harboring an internal collection of delightfully different people ranging from wide-eyed little kids to kung fu masters and nuclear physicists. Skeptics tend to focus concretely on the impossibility of there being 10 or 20 or 100 separate people inside that woman’s body (e.g., Sarbin, 1995). By and large, this stereotype will not go away.
Alter personalities are real. They do exist – not as separate, individuals, but as discrete dissociative states of consciousness. When considered from this perspective, they are not nearly so amazing to behold or so difficult to accept. A fair reading of the MPD literature shows that authorities have long subscribed to this thesis: “Only when taken together can all of the personality states be considered a whole personality” (Coons, 1984, p. 53). Paradoxically, it is the critics who implicitly accept the view that the alter personalities are separate people. — Frank W. Putnam
I was increasingly both horrified and sceptical about these memories – I had no recall of these things at all, though I couldn’t imagine why I’d want to make it all up either. It felt as though it had all happened to somebody else, I was not there – it wasn’t me – when those people did nasty things.
But then, of course, it didn’t feel like me, that’s the whole point of dissociation – to create distance between the victim and her experience of the abuse. The alters were created for just that purpose: so that I’d not be aware that it happened to me, but rather to “others”. The trouble is, in reality it was my body that took the abuse. It was only my mind that was divided, and sooner or later the amnesic barriers were bound to come down.
And that’s exactly what had begun to happen as I heard their stories. They triggered a vague and growing sense in me that this really is my story. — Carolyn Bramhall
It felt increasingly, as I became more whole, that I had made it all up, and that I was a phoney. I had to come to some place of acceptance. If I made it all up, then I am an unspeakably evil person, leading so many wonderful, intelligent people astray. What a scheming mind I must have. I knowledge will be hard too live with. But harder still is the thought that perhaps, just perhaps it is all true; that I really was horribly, ritualistically abused in a satanic setting, over and over again and as a result my mind fragmented. The implications of that are completely overwhelming. It was me, my body, that they did those things to. No, I would rather believe I am an evil and deceitful person. At least the I can change, and say sorry, and live a better life from now on. — Carolyn Bramhall
Extreme versions of DID occasionally develop in response to particularly horrific ongoing trauma (e.g., children exploited through involvement in years of forced prostitution), with so-called poly-frgamentation, encompassing dozens or even hundreds of personality states. In general, the complexity of dissociative symptoms appears to be consistent with the severity of early traumatiation. That is, less severe abuse will result in fewer dissociative symptoms, and more severe abuse will result in more complex dissociative disorders. — James A. Chu
Interestingly, the patients who presented to me self-diagnosed [with Dissociative Identity Disorder had tried to tell previous therapists of their plight, but had been disbelieved. These therapists had used fallacious “capricious criteria” (KIuft, 1988) to discredit the diagnosis; e.g., that the patient could not possibly have MPD because she was aware of the other alters [sic!]. — Richard P. Kluft
In order to get to know who is in your System, each individual alter needs to complete a piece of paper in the form of a circle (or triangle) which contains the following information: their name, their age (it might be an age range, like age 4-7), and their traits. strengths and skills. (All parts must have a name. If they do not have a name, they need to choose one. lf their name was given to them by a perpetrator and is too upsetting or if it has a negative association, they may wish to change their name – that is perfectly ok. Any name that is not negative or triggering is fine – it does not have to be a standard ‘proper name’ as they are commonly thought of.) On the back of the circle or triangle they need to write down what caused them to split off. — A.T.W.
I honestly didn’t believe I could bear any more suffering. I was convinced that the child within me was just too young to endure all this, much less understand it. She just wanted to be normal. But another part of me knew that to become normal, all the pieces of this puzzle had to become conscious.
p164 — Suzie Burke
FMSF Advisory Board Members Dr Martin Orne and Dr Louis Jolyon West are CIA and military mind control contractors with TOP SECRET CIA clearance. Both received MKULTRA contracts to study dissociative disorders, implantation of false memories, and techniques for creation of Manchurian Candidates. The dissociative disorders, false memories, and the therapist-created multiple personality are the focus of the FMSF campaign. — Colin A. Ross
Dissociation, in a general sense, refers to a rigid separation of parts of experiences, including somatic experiences, consciousness, affects, perception, identity, and memory. When there is a structural dissociation, each of the dissociated self-states has at least a rudimentary sense of “I” (Van der Hart et al., 2004). In my view, all of the environmentally based “psychopathology” or problems in living can be seen through this lens. — Elizabeth F. Howell
Do You Have DID?
Determining if you have DID isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, many clinicians and psychotherapists have such difficulty figuring out whether or not people have DID that it typically takes them several years to provide an accurate diagnosis. Because many of the symptoms of DID overlap with other psychological diagnoses, as well as normal occurrences such as forgetfulness or talking to yourself, there is a great deal of confusion in making the diagnosis of DID. Although this section will provide you with information which may help you determine if you have DID, it is a good idea to consult with a professional in the mental health field so that you can have further confirmation of your findings. — Karen Marshall
Patients with complex trauma may at times develop extreme reactions to something the therapist has said or not said, done or not done. It is wise to anticipate this in advance, and perhaps to note this anticipation in initial communications with the patient. For example, one may say something like, “It is likely in our work together, there will be a time or times when you will feel angry with me, disappointed with me, or that I have failed you. We should except this and not be surprised if and when it happens, which it probably will.” It is also vital to emphasize to the patient that despite the diagnosis and experience of dividedness, the whole person is responsible and will be held responsible for the acts of any part. p174 — Elizabeth F. Howell
Another of the difficulties of having DID is the denial. DID is a disorder of denial. It has to be because if the original person knew about the alters and felt their pain, they would either go crazy and be hospitalized permanently, or would die. — Eve N. Adams
As soon as realized that I was treating MPD clients, I read the few existing books on the condition, attended a workshop at the Justice Institute, and used some sexual abuse prevention money to organize a workshop where therapists could exchange information and educate each other about dissociation. There, I learnt something that I found really shocking. Many people
suffering from MPD had been severely abused throughout their childhood years by organized groups, including Satanic and other “dark-side” religious cults. Moreover, quite a few of them were still involved in those groups, although they were not aware of their involvement, because it was other “personalities” – dissociated parts of them – who went off to the groups’ rituals. I was skeptical, to say the least. — Alison Miller
Denial is commonly found among persons with dissociative disorders. My favorite quotation from such a client is, “We are not multiple, we made it all up.” I have heard this from several different clients. When I hear it, I politely inquire, “And who is we? — Alison Miller
Many alters can be “stuck in the past” and still think it is 1968 or 1987 or some other year when they were still physically a child and the abusers were in charge of them. — Alison Miller
With respect to the acceptance of dissociative disorders, as with most issues in life, it is counterproductive to spend time trying to convince people of things they don’t want to know. — Warwick Middleton
The System Map is like an internal family tree, though it can be drawn out in whatever format, in whatever way is easy for the System to understand. It will contain and illustrate information such as who split off from whom and how you all relate to each other. As you become more aware of your System over time, your System Map may grow as you encounter newly discovered parts. It may also change over time as you come to have greater understanding of your System and how you all relate to and interrelate with each other. — A.T.W.
Patrice had long since buried the particulars of events so painful that they caused her to resolve only to see good. With such a stance, such as dissociative split, she could walk with evil and believe it did not exist. She was Joe’s perfect mate. — Judith Spencer