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Creating Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder

Creating Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder

Creating alters (alternate personalities) in dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a helpful way to deal with different personalities. I don’t know exactly how to tell someone to create an alter, but it seems that when there is a need for one, it will come to be. One such time was with my little girl alter. Her name is Colette, and she is five years old. Colette taught me about creating alters with dissociative identity disorder.

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Communicating Between Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder

Communicating Between Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder

In dissociative identity disorder (DID), communication between alters (alternate personalities) is the key to a person’s well-being. With DID, a person may have one or many alters, all working together to form the whole of who the person is.  I have formed a couple of ways of working with my alters to create communication within dissociative identity disorder between alters.

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Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

Alters (alternate personalities) are something people with dissociative identity disorder (DID) may have. Alters are separate identities. Some of these alters may communicate with each other and some of them may not. When I was first diagnosed with DID, my alters did not communicate with each other at all. I was only aware of the current personality state that I was in. I wasn’t aware of any other alters in my dissociative identity disorder.

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Managing Self-Sabotaging Behaviors Part 3: Compromise

Managing Self-Sabotaging Behaviors Part 3: Compromise

Managing the self-sabotaging behaviors that make life with Dissociative Identity Disorder so difficult doesn’t mean getting rid of them. It means learning to live with them; recognizing and investing in the opportunities for growth inherent in self-sabotage. For me, that requires (1) acceptance of those behaviors, no matter how repugnant, (2) honest communication devoid of the power struggle that characterizes instinctual responses to self-sabotage, and (3) welcoming compromises that allow me to keep moving. When I discovered an alter was blocking internal communication, I was surprised to learn that all three of those things are possible. But it was the compromise that amazed me the most, and ultimately changed my life.

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Managing Self-Sabotaging Behaviors Part 2: Communication

Managing Self-Sabotaging Behaviors Part 2: Communication

I define self-sabotaging behaviors within Dissociative Identity Disorder as any thought, feeling, or action by any member of the system that actively impedes the intentions and goals of any other member of the system. Self-sabotage, by my definition, is a regular part of life with DID. And what most of us do when an alter disrupts our lives in some way is attempt to change the disruptive behavior. It makes sense, but it’s counter-productive. Before you know it, you’re entrenched in a power struggle that ultimately solves nothing. Without even realizing it, I engaged in a power struggle for years with an alter who effectively blocked all internal communication. Once I became aware of the situation, I stopped trying to change it. I now believe acceptance is the first step in managing self-sabotaging behaviors. And communication, I think, is the second.

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Managing Self-Sabotaging Behaviors Part 1: Acceptance

Managing Self-Sabotaging Behaviors Part 1: Acceptance

Self-sabotage is hard for anyone to deal with. But I think managing self-sabotaging behaviors when you have Dissociative Identity Disorder is more difficult. So when I say that I think doing so is a matter of acceptance, communication, and compromise, I don’t mean to over-simplify the monumental challenge that it is. Accepting things that directly impact your life in negative, destructive ways is frightening to say the least. But the most life changing negotiation with an alter I’ve ever had wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t done exactly that.

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Dissociative Identity Disorder and Self-Sabotage

Dissociative Identity Disorder and Self-Sabotage

You really want to lose weight but you keep stocking your pantry with junk food, “for the kids.” This is self-sabotage, the frustrating outcome of conflicting conscious and subconscious desires. If you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, self-sabotage is more complex. Alters have the ability to A) assume control of the mind and body, and B) exert enough influence to impact the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of other system members. Add to that the fact that Dissociative Identity Disorder exists in part to compartmentalize conflicting perceptions and it’s not surprising that many people with DID experience particularly pervasive and disruptive forms of self-sabotage.

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2 Techniques for Dialoguing with Alter Personalities

2 Techniques for Dialoguing with Alter Personalities

I’ve lived virtually my whole life with a vague but pervasive sense that somewhere there were people I couldn’t see who knew things about me I didn’t. When I was diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, I finally understood that the information I wasn’t privy to existed in my own head, guarded by alter personalities. I naively thought I could simply ask and all would be revealed to me. I quickly learned that developing internal communication isn’t nearly that easy. But there are dialoguing techniques that can help.

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Dissociative Identity Disorder: Mapping the System

Dissociative Identity Disorder: Mapping the System

If you have Dissociative Identity Disorder you’ve probably been instructed at least once to create a map of your system. A system map, I’ve been told, is essentially a recording on paper of alters’ names, ages, and roles – arranged according to where they are in relationship to each other. I’ve never successfully completed one. If that were the only definition of a system map, I likely never would.

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Obstacles to Developing Internal Communication

Obstacles to Developing Internal Communication

When I was first diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, I did what I always do when faced with something I have no idea how to handle: I went to the library. As a rule, I don’t read autobiographical accounts of DID but I voraciously digested everything else I could get my hands on. Most of the literature agreed on the basics of Dissociative Identity Disorder treatment, including the consistent message that establishing internal communication is an essential first step, second only to stabilization. “Ask inside” quickly became the most irritating, eye-roll inducing directive I heard. I hated it for one reason: it didn’t work.

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