Can a DID Headmate Kill Another Headmate?

April 4, 2018 Becca Hargis

Can one DID headmate kill another? Is it a good idea to allow your DID headmates to kill off alters they don't get along with? Discover more about killing DID headmates here, at HealthyPlace, and learn alternative ways to handling troublesome parts.

Is it true that one dissociative identity disorder (DID) headmate can kill another headmate? Every DID system is different, including the way the headmates address conflict and the dislike amongst each other. It is not uncommon for parts to dislike a headmate in their system. Some systems believe that it is possible and permissible to kill a DID headmate if they pose a threat to other alters or the system as a whole. Some might feel that it would just be easy if "X" headmate or "Y" part did not exist and that killing the headmate would be easier. Given the discord among many headmates, is it possible for one headmate to kill another headmate?

Living with DID can often be troubling and disconcerting. In any given system, you will find a variety of headmates with different personalities, backgrounds, memories, ideas, and behaviors (Embracing the Individuality of Alters in DID). Sometimes, headmates may not share the same goals as the system and they might be harmful, take control, and threaten the system, all the while being unwilling to compromise and negotiate. Would it not make sense, then, to rid the system of such a recalcitrant headmate?

Creating and Killing DID Headmates

The question of whether one can kill a DID headmate can be controversial. Ironically, if an adult system is faced with new, overwhelming trauma, they can create a new headmate to cope with the consequential emotions the rest of the system cannot handle.

For example, when my mother died this year, my system was too overcome with pain and mourning to deal with the resulting grief (How the DID Host of Our System Protected Our Lives). Unknown to me, my system created a headmate to deal with the grieving. My headmates gave her a name and I discovered her while writing in my journal. She suffered the heaviest of the grief and took over when I did not think I could endure anymore. So clearly, new headmates can be created, but what about killing DID headmates that do not work with the system?

When I ponder the question, I think of my own system and headmates. We have a part that insults us and calls us the same cruel, hateful words that one of our abusers formerly did. I do not know this headmate's function yet except to lay blame on the system for the abuse we endured. This introject, as they are often called, creates fear in the system and, quite frequently, the feeling that our abuser is still very close in proximity and threatening to us.

Given this knowledge, it is entirely understandable that my headmates would want to rid our system of this negative and hostile influence by killing this DID headmate.

Questions to Consider Before You Kill a DID Headmate

What if you could kill off a headmate? What might happen? Would that not leave your system unbalanced? All headmates are created to fulfill a role. Though sometimes an alter's function is unknown, it is generally to complete and protect the system from outside harm. If you kill a headmate, what happens to the headmate's role and function in the system? What happens to you?

Perhaps more importantly, what message would you be sending to your other headmates if you tried to kill one of their own? Other headmates might live in fear of being the next to die. Did not those same headmates live in fear against their abusers and perpetrators? Do you really want to retraumatize them?

How to Handle a Hostile DID Headmate Instead of Killing the Headmate

You and your headmates are a team. Instead of thinking how to kill off headmates because they are difficult or uncooperative, the headmates in your system would better be served by becoming each other's ally, trying to help the defiant headmate to understand you care and want to communicate, and, with work, encouraging all the headmates to show this singled-out one how to function in the system in a positive, healthy way.

Not only will the system be helping a troubled headmate, other parts who are fearful of being additionally hurt and are hiding in the shadows might take notice, be more willing to emerge, and be more likely to participate in the healing work that the system needs. Never give up on a headmate.

APA Reference
Hargis, B. (2018, April 4). Can a DID Headmate Kill Another Headmate?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Becca Hargis

Becca is a mental health advocate who is passionate about ending the stigma against mental illness. She is currently writing a book on her experiences with dissociative identity disorder. You can connect with her on her personal blog, TwitterFacebook and on Instagram.

November, 25 2022 at 10:34 pm

One of my head mates wants to harm another headmate in a sexual way. Is it possible to try and force dormancy onto said headmate?

Anne C. Hooton, MA, LMHC
September, 11 2019 at 10:56 pm

Becca, are you still active? I would like to talk with you about this.

November, 20 2018 at 3:49 pm

I have an alter who dislikes therapy as she follows strict rules that no one is allowed to share our secrets. She is a cutter when out and slashes the body to threaten the "others" to not talk. How can the therapist and core personality help this alter to believe it is alright to tell?

July, 23 2018 at 5:22 pm

Hi Becca, It bothers me that a personality is left in the system that is an abusive introject. Is there any way to ask it if it has a useful function?
I wonder if an introject could be ejected from the system? A deliverance from evil kind of thing?
I don't give the 'system' a personality as if the 'system' is a living entity. The system is the cooperative (hopefully) relationships that the different personalities have.
I can see the abuser imposing his personality on the system or an entity that drives his personality was able to introvert into your personality. Couldn't that be demonic possession? And unhealthy to integrate?
Sharing my thoughts. No offense intended.

June, 27 2018 at 8:50 pm

I do not think so but they can push them to the back of bus and keep them there. This way new events are hard to come to. I am leaving my wife after 10 years. She was diagnosed 4 years ago. She has four children they all play her and no she has the problem. After I told her I was leaving she found a new head mate someone totally different to deal with her pain. The more I do to help the worst that I've gotten. I answering the question can I continue to do this for the rest of my life my answer was clearly no I love her I would love to help her I would do anything to take away her suffering she is a wonderful lady but I am just destroying myself slowly. The youngest boy totally takes advantage of her she will do anything for him too bad very sad I hope I can make it through this.

June, 29 2018 at 2:33 pm

I am sorry you and your wife are experiencing such pain. When one partner has a mental or physical health issue, the whole family is affected and has to find ways to cope. It is a great balancing act partners have in caring for someone they love and caring for themselves also. I am fortunate to have a husband who has been by my side and helped me in my journey to improve my life. I know, though, he has had his breaking moments too. I wish the best for you and your wife and hope you can find some peace in your journey.
Thank you.

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