Archive for January 20th, 2009

This week, I am writing a series on polyfragmented Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). I am hoping that this series will educate people about polyfragmented DID as well offer hope to those with this diagnosis that healing is possible.

Polyfragmented DID can manifest in many different ways. What all polyfragmented DID multiple systems have in common is that they have many alter parts that work together to give the appearance of the person functioning as a singleton.

Roles of Alter Parts

Each alter part has a role. Some hold the fragmented pieces of the inner child, which feels like having many inner children. (An inner child is really a repository for unmet needs.) Others hold memories of various abuses, emotions, and/or feelings. Some are protector parts that come out to protect the inner children whenever the person feels threatened or gets triggered.


Some Polyfragmented DID multiple systems “cluster” their alter parts. For example, you might have an inner child who is protected by several protector parts. So, before the person can access and heal the unmet needs in an inner child part, he must first heal the pain of the protector parts that are “guarding” the inner child.


Some polyfragmented DID multiple systems have “layers” of alter parts, and the alter parts in each layer might be unaware that another layer exists. This is how my multiple system worked. One layer held all of the memories, feelings, and emotions associated with the mother-daughter sexual abuse. Those parts had names like Irate and Melancholy. None of those alter parts were aware of the other layers of alter parts. So, when I integrated those parts, I believed that I was integrated until the next layer of alter parts revealed itself.

I had several layers of alter parts. In addition to the one already discussed, I had a layer for the abuse by family “friends.” Another layer held the memories of the sadistic abuse by the couple who prepared my sister and me for the ritual abuse. Another layer held the ritual abuse memories. Still another layer held the memories of being raped by men.

Healing in layers was a blessing because I only needed to deal with one set of traumas at a time. If I had remembered everything at one time, I would have been overwhelmed and possibly committed suicide. Thankfully, the layers enabled me to focus upon and heal a little at a time, which made my healing process much more manageable.

Suggested Reading:

Safe Passage to Healing

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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