Keeping secrets from people is burdensome. It not only leaves us feeling lonely and isolated, it makes us feel as if there is something about us of which we should be ashamed, when there isn’t.
We need to be wise and prayerful about who we select to tell, however. We need to know their integrity and how well they can maintain confidentiality. Some people, even with the best intentions, are not good at keeping secrets – especially a secret so unusual that it plays on their minds. They could very well blab it to someone else, asking them to promise to tell no one else, and before long it has spread far and wide.
We also need to somehow get an accurate idea of how what we tell them would affect the way they view us. Tragically, average people not only know next to nothing about Dissociative Identity Disorder, most of what they know is worse than nothing. They may think D.I.D. is proof of demon possession, or means you are a potential psycho killer, or something equally ridiculous, hurtful and destructive of a good friendship.
I once thought I had found an exception. Someone wrote to me who was very open in her church about having D.I.D., and things were going swimmingly. I was amazed and thrilled for her. Sadly, a few months later, it turned sour. In fact, whist still remaining devoted to Christ, she ended up feeling too uncomfortable to remain in a church where so many knew she had D.I.D. but too few truly understood.
Telling someone will affect not just you but everyone inside you because any outside person who hears about it will look at all of you differently. It isn’t fair to make such a major decision without everyone inside agreeing. An additional problem is that it is quite likely that still more alters will eventually surface who are unknown at present and they cannot contribute to the decision.
Often certain alters will detest pretending to be the host and will want outside people to recognize them for who they are. This feeling will increasingly diminish, however, because the longer alters are out, the more alike they become. This means you could be taking a long-term risk for only a short-term need.
If, after prayerfully weighing all this up, you wish to proceed in telling someone, it is important to first get that person to fully reveal his/her views about D.I.D. before even hinting that the matter is of any interest to you beyond idle curiosity. You might say, “Have you heard about people with multiple personalities? What do you think about it?” Then after they have given their answer you could say something like, “If someone told me they had multiple personalities, what should I do and say?” Also question them about confidentiality.
Provided you get the person talking about it for long enough, raising the subject in casual conversation as if the matter were of little concern to you is often all it takes to get a clear idea of the person’s attitude and to determine whether he or she has a sufficiently accurate and non-judgmental understanding to be trusted.
Another way of achieving this might be to tell the person, “I have heard of a game to improve friends’ understanding of each other. Could I play it with you? It simply involves dreaming up weird, largely out-of-character scenarios and taking turns asking how the other thinks he/she would respond to that situation. It takes us beyond what we have experienced with each other and so gives us new insights into each other’s attitudes.”
Use your imagination to list every shameful and embarrassing thing you can think of. Fill in the dots below and add any other situations you can think of. If you feel the response you receive is too shallow, question your friend deeper about how he/she would react if the situation were true. Ask your friend, “How would you feel and what would you do if I told you that:
I had lied to you all my life about . . .
I am addicted to . . .
I have told others that you . . .
I have secretly thought . . . about you
I have these spiritual doubts . . .
I have these daydreams and longings . . .
I have cheated you out of . . .”
You might like to make it even harder for your friend to guess why you are doing this by adding some scenarios that are not confessions, such as, “What if in the future I . . . ?”
If you find your friend’s response favorable, slip in your truth, but treat it just like the others, not letting on that it is genuine. Then later decide if you can trust the person sufficiently to tell him or her.
If you are sure it is safe to proceed with telling someone you have D.I.D., Dissociative Identity Disorder Explained will help you in explaining it to the person.
For much more help in understanding and healing from D.I.D., see Christian Index of Help for Dissociative Identity Disorder.