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Archive for May 5th, 2010

On my blog entry entitled More Alter Parts, a reader posted the following questions:

Do you think its possible to have like 3 or 4 very reliable everyday alter parts and them some that appear very rarely, more like the fragments you mentioned? … oh and another question: can one (haha) feel like someone else too, like someone one knows or is (too) close to? ~ queen_of_acknowledgement

A member of Isurvive once described dissociative identity disorder (DID) as a “create your own disorder” disorder. What she meant by this is that the way a child splits is only limited by the creativity of the child. I have met people who only split into two parts – an adult and a very needy inner child. I have met others (myself included) with hundreds of parts, most of which are personality fragments holding only one memory or emotion each. After talking with people online with DID and reading many books of people sharing their stories (such as Chrystine Oksana’s excellent book Safe Passage to Healing), I have seen pretty much everything else in between.

So, the short answer is yes – someone could definitely have four main alter parts and then personality fragments that hold most of the trauma memories and emotions. One part might take care of the responsibilities, such as paying bills. Another part might be the social part that enables the person to interact with others successfully. A third part might be the nurturer who does a great job parenting the children. Anyone with DID is limited only by his or her own creativity for building a multiple system.

To answer the second question … An alter part can mirror someone that the child (or adult) feels close to or respects. I feel like I spent most of my life mirroring other people. As a child, I never learned how to be “normal,” so I mirrored the behaviors in other people that made them successful, and that is how I built my own successes. So much of my humor is mirroring funny lines I watched on sitcoms. It feels like “me” because I created parts of myself to mirror what worked for others.

An alter part can also feel like a best friend. I have parts that I choose not to integrate fully because I simply enjoy those parts’ “company.” I know that they don’t cease to exist when they integrate, but I simply want them as separate “friends” (sort of like an adult version of having an “imaginary friend”), and I grieved mightily when I believed that I had to “lose” one of these friends to integration. I have learned how to let the part integrate during the day but then come back out when I need that part to be separate. Perhaps I will one day have to leave the whole soul in one piece, but, for now, keeping some parts separate serves my needs better at this time.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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