Dissociative Identity Disorder Diagnosis Doubts

Imagination or Alters (Insiders)?

By Grantley Morris

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Dissociative Identity Disorder Doubts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Multiple Personality Disorder or Imagination?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



New Introduction

I was recently informed that this is one of my most visited webpage about Dissociative Identity Disorder (the condition formerly known as multiple personalities). That alarmed me because I consider this as one of my least valuable pages. What is so much more important than formal diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder is actually discovering one’s parts (also known as alters or personalities). For help with this, I recommend How to find every alter and get them to communicate with you. This – not answers to a questionnaire (no matter how sophisticated) – is the foundation of healing.

I can certainly understand an infatuation with diagnosis, however. At the very heart of Dissociative Identity Disorder is keeping hidden from oneself alarming and significant information. One becomes so skilled at hiding it that if any hint is revealed (including the existence of one’s alters) it typically seems unbelievable to the person.

Dissociative Identity Disorder begins in childhood, in situations when living in denial is the only coping option available. (Just thinking of how tragic this is, brings tears to my eyes, even though I myself do not have D.I.D.) Living in denial does indeed bring a degree of short term relief, but this relief causes living in denial to gradually become an involuntary, ingrained habit – one's primary coping mechanism – that extends far into adulthood and to living in denial of having Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Moreover, a common aspect of Dissociative Identity Disorder is divorcing feelings from facts. This is a clever way of coping, because one without the other makes the memory seem far less real and upsetting. For example, someone might happen to recall certain ugly facts but if the feelings associated with them are disconnected, it makes it much easier to dismiss the event as mere imagination, or to suppose that if it actually happened, it must not have been particularly traumatic. Likewise, unpleasant feelings without associated facts makes it seen unreal.

So anyone in the early stages of coming to terms with the reality of Dissociative Identity Disorder, will inevitably be plagued with doubts about whether any of it is real, and hence the desire to keep seeking abundant confirmation.

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Because it is a common reason for some people presuming they must not have Dissociative Identity Disorder, I should point out from the beginning that only some people with Dissociative Identity Disorder ‘lose time’ – i.e. occasionally lose awareness of what they are doing, and when they next become aware of their circumstances they have no memory of what occurred. For some of those that rarely, if ever, have such bouts, it is as if they are usually in the driver’s seat, able to control what they do.

In the rest of this section I’ll adapt a quote from another of my webpages. If you have already read it, feel free to slide down to the next section. It can remove so much confusion, however, that I think it’s worth quoting here for those who have not yet read it.

If you have D.I.D., you are, obviously, an important part of a person but, regardless of whether you are aware of it, there are other parts (alters) as well. You might almost always have one level of awareness, but there are other possibilities that you might sometimes experience. Other alters can also move from one level to another. Since such changes can be bewildering, let me list the possibilities.

    1. You are fully in control of the body and are uninfluenced by any other alter. If you have D.I.D., things could suddenly change, but if, other than when the body is sleeping, you almost always have this level of consciousness (and especially if other alters rarely, if ever, take over the body when you sleep), you will find it difficult to believe you have D.I.D.

    Even if you are aware of other alters or of having symptoms associated with D.I.D., you might have an alter who has no such awareness and is often in charge of the body. If that alter were the only one to interact with a therapist, or the one who completed a D.I.D. test, it is unlikely that even a skilled therapist would detect D.I.D.

    This can make diagnosis problematical, particularly so, because the part most often in control is the one more likely to appear when seeing a therapist, and this part is usually deliberately kept in the dark by other alters. It is typical of alters to see it as their duty to conceal from this part awareness of D.I.D. symptoms so that this part can present to the public an appearance of normality. This, they believe – and too often they are right – will protect them from undesirable things, such as ridicule.

    2. You are fully in control of the body but are being fed information and/or skills and/or feelings by one or more other alters. You might realize that other alters are contributing, or you might presume that it is all your own doing. If you are in the latter situation, you might be puzzled as to why your feelings sometimes do not match your circumstances. You might also have become so accustomed to being fed a particular ability that you are shocked when you suddenly lose that ability when that alter sleeps or goes deeper inside. All that you might know about it is that you no longer have that ability. A common reason for an alter suddenly withdrawing is that something frightens the alter (it might not be upsetting to you) because what happened bears superficial similarities to something unpleasant that the alter experienced years ago. Usually, the alter does not remain in hiding for very long, but it can be very disconcerting when it happens, and you can be left floundering without that alters knowledge and/or skills.

    3. You retain awareness of the outside world and of what is happening to your body, but you have no control over the body because another alter has exclusive control over it. In this case, you will be acutely conscious that something unusual is happening.

    4. You have lost any awareness of the outside world, and may or may not have any awareness of alters in the inside world.

It is tempting to define either healing, or never having D.I.D., as being at level 1, where you have other alters but they do not manifest themselves. That’s like sitting on a time-bomb, however. Things could change in a heartbeat.

Surprisingly, those who are almost always aware of what is happening, even when its source actually another alter – mood swings, times when their knowledge and skillset varies, doing things they don’t want to do, etc. – are often jealous of those who ‘lose time,’ because that would make their dissociation more dramatic and it might make it easier for them to believe they have Dissociative Identity Disorder. It is a case of the grass in someone else’s field seeming greener, however, because for those with Dissociative Identity Disorder who regularly ‘lose time,’ becoming aware of what other alters are doing is actually a significant step forward in their healing.

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An almost inevitable reason for people doubting they have Dissociative Identity Disorder is that, having been scared off by horror stories that are typically fictitious, they fear the consequences of having it. Denial never changes things, however. If you have D.I.D., you have survived having had it since childhood, and there are many advantages of finally acknowledging it.

If you were to have Dissociative Identity Disorder, it would mean that parts of you are hurting more than you realize and that they will never heal without you accepting their existence. Unless you acknowledge them, parts of you will forever reel in needless inner pain, confusion, guilt, fear and ignorance, and neglecting them will forever hold you back from the joy, peace, fulfillment and all sorts of achievements that would otherwise be yours. Moreover, to have D.I.D. means that you are far more capable and have much greater intellectual, social and spiritual potential, plus greater ability to help people, than you currently realize. And it means you will never reach your remarkable potential unless you admit to yourself that you have Dissociative Identity Disorder.

What you suffered when you were young, crushed your self-esteem, causing you to underestimate how capable and valuable you are. Your full potential, however, extends so far beyond your expectations that it cannot be explained merely in terms of low self-esteem. If you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, and have not yet healed, you have access to only part of your brain. You have done remarkably well with what is available to you but until you acknowledge other parts of you, they have exclusive access to other parts of your brain that have developed independently. These parts of you have not just additional memories but additional talents, abilities and intellectual capacity. This makes discovering that you have Dissociative Identity Disorder such good news that I am envious of everyone making this discovery. For just a glimpse of why I feel envious, see Your Amazing Potential if you have Dissociative Identity Disorder.

As in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-28), our Creator longs for us to achieve the highest we are capable of and not be like the unfaithful servant, who caved in to fear (Matthew 25:25), rather than develop what had been entrusted to him.

If there is the slightest possibility that you might have Dissociative Identity Disorder, you owe it not only to yourself but to God, to those who love you and to all those you could help if you reached your full potential, to discover whether you really have D.I.D. and, if you do, to heal so that you have full access to all your abilities and the strength – to say nothing of peace and fulfillment – that flows from it.

Healing necessitates a fierce determination to discover the truth and to keep holding on to that truth. “Seek and you will find,” declared Jesus (Matthew 7:7). There are no promises to those who do not seek.

Christ asked a key question of a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. “Do you want to be made whole?” (John 5:6). Jesus zeroed in on this often-overlooked question, even though the man was deliberately lying in the very area where people hoping for healing miracles congregated (John 5:2-7). People can seem desperate for healing and yet in their heart of hearts be less motivated to heal than we would expect. Was the man now so comfortable with his limitations that he was unwilling to embrace the changes to his lifestyle that healing would cause? If he were to be healed, for example, he could no longer beg for a living. He would have to find a job.

Jesus had to warn those who wanted to follow him that they must be willing to pay the price (Luke 9:57-62; 14:26-33). Healing usually requires a stubborn commitment to keep embracing whatever temporary challenges it costs to keep pressing forward on the healing journey, and this is particularly the case with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

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We will later touch on indicators that one might have Dissociative Identity Disorder but for now, we should focus on what makes the diagnosis so hard to believe and accept.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is the product of one’s mind trying to reduce the overwhelming stress of a traumatic childhood by keeping parts of you ignorant about the full extent of what you have suffered. This means that if you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, no part of you knows your full story until you have completed the long process of fully healing. Moreover, if you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, the part of you that interacts most with the real world – handling everyday matters like employment, finances and social interaction – is particularly “protected” from awareness of past or present trauma. This is no coincidence; it is a deliberate strategy of the mind to free up this important part of you from such debilitating distractions as fear, defeatism and overwhelming emotional pain, so that you can do what is needed to function in the real world.

It is the hidden parts of a person who are more likely to have obvious problems. They bear most of the inner pain and distress, are less aware of current reality, act in a way less consistent with one’s physical age, and so on. The part who is most often present – sometimes called the host – is the one for whom life seems the most normal and, by being kept unaware of past and/or present trauma, is kept unaware of the alters who bear that trauma. So the part who is most often in charge can be expected to find it especially hard to believe that he/she has Dissociative Identity Disorder.

A friend of mine completed a simple questionnaire to test for Dissociative Identity Disorder. Her score indicated she had D.I.D. She re-did the test later and her score was so different that it suggested she did not have D.I.D. If you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, this is just the confusing thing you would expect, because at different times a different mix of alters is likely to be out and so there will be a different degree of awareness of issues you face and how you behave. Consequently, even while striving to be totally honest, you might answer the same questions differently on various occasions. So even if you only sometimes think you might have D.I.D., that in itself is a significant clue that you could indeed have Dissociative Identity Disorder.

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Until alters feel comfortable with revealing themselves to you and you feel comfortable about hearing from them, your very lack of awareness of your alters will, of necessity, make it seem to you as if you do not have Dissociative Identity Disorder.

We have seen that in seeking to present to the world an image of normality – and so protect the person from ridicule, or worse – alters have a vested interest in keeping their hosts ignorant of anything about them that might suggest Dissociative Identity Disorder. There is yet another complication, however: even alters who are desperate to unburden themselves and tell the host the truth, are often too scared to do so. The most common reasons are:

    1. their abuser threatened awful things would happen if ever they told

    2. another alter thinks it unwise to tell the host and silences the alter

    3. or the alter tried in the past to speak and was deeply hurt by the host’s refusal to believe the alter.

It is common to be so unaware of alters as to unknowingly have a history of suppressing alters and/or belittling them and/or betraying their confidence. This would make them understandably reluctant to reveal themselves to you. Another possible reason for their reluctance could be that they think that by keeping you in the dark they are sparing you from stress. Such reasons can cause them to be more open in talking to certain other people than to you.

They are much more likely to communicate with you once they gain confidence that you will accept them and be kind to them and will not betray them by blabbing to anyone else what they tell you in confidence. (You are likely to later be able to help them feel safe about you telling some trustworthy person but do not do so without their permission.) They also need to believe that you will not freak out or refuse to believe them if they tell you things about your past that you are currently unaware of and seem inconsistent with your current perception of your past.

The best way to help them trust you is for you to reassure them that you have changed your attitude towards them. At first, you are likely to have little way of knowing when they are able to hear you. So it is best to speak out loud on several different occasions on the off-chance that they might be able to hear you; giving them the assurances they need.

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We have established that alters are often intent on keeping their host from realizing they have D.I.D. and/or refuse to communicate with their hosts. This would be serious enough if it were the only internal factor acting in the early stages of the healing against accepting a Dissociative Identity Disorder diagnosis but there is another powerful force driving a people to reject an accurate D.I.D. diagnosis: hosts themselves are strongly biased to keep pushing from their consciousness any awareness of anything that might suggest Dissociative Identity Disorder. From childhood, pushing unpleasant truths from their minds has been their primary way of coping with a life that has been so extreme that their very survival is remarkable. That makes dismissing unwanted truths from one’s mind both a deeply entrenched habit and a fundamental aspect of Dissociative Identity Disorder. Once refusing to accept unwanted truths becomes an ingrained habit, however, it continues long after it ceased to be an appropriate coping strategy.

So if you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, then by trying to live in denial of having it, you are merely continuing to employ your time-worn means of coping. To heal, however, you will need to break that habit, which can seem as scary for you as a heroin addict trying to survive without drugs.

As a desperate child, you could do little else but push from your mind the truth about the hopelessness of your predicament. You are no longer a child, however, and your maturity means your situation is no longer hopeless. You must now make up for lost time by forcing yourself to face reality full-on, so that you can end the nightmare that living in denial perpetuates.

If you kept spending more money than you earned, every day that you refused to face the need to budget, the more serious the financial crisis would become. If you were lost and heading in the wrong direction, to push on as if everything were okay would keep taking you further and further from safety. If your car began making an unusual noise, ignoring it could turn a minor repair into a needlessly expensive, inconvenient, and even dangerous, experience.

I could keep piling on example after example, but surely there is no need to risk boring you by drawing from the well of countless more examples. The stark fact of life is that living in denial is the highway to disaster. If understanding the problem is essential to finding the solution, then refusing to acknowledge the problem perpetuates the problem. If the truth sets us free, then keeping ourselves ignorant keeps us imprisoned in a self-imposed dungeon of despair.

As enticing as it seems, living in denial ruins our lives by perpetuating the problem and, almost invariably, intensifying it. Moreover, living in denial is contrary to the God of truth who loves you so passionately that he longs not to dominate you but for you to co-operate with him in saving you from your dilemma. For more on this, see The Danger of Living in Denial: When is Positive Confession Living in Denial?

Writes a friend of mine:

    I am in complete denial that I have Dissociative Identity Disorder – until I hear my alters! Then the reality comes and I am sickened, terrified and overwhelmed. I could no longer pretend when I received my therapist’s diagnosis. Before then, I hid every piece of evidence I could. I burned writings that I found placed in my journal. I tried ripping them up and throwing them in the trash but not even that was enough. Just knowing they were torn up in the trash scared me. So I burned them, hoping that the ashes would disappear, along with my actions of having ever written them. I had been labeled so many things as a child and I was determined that this label was not going to be me – whoever me was.

    I knew I struggled with my identity but to be diagnosed with D.I.D. was like death to me. It spun me to the ground. The more I ignored it, the less control I felt and the more in control I felt I needed to be. So I controlled the only thing I knew . . . food. I refused to eat and so did my parts. I wanted to wither away like the ashes. I wanted to disappear into nobody.

    I had heard voices all my life. That was normal for me. I accepted it and lived with it. The diagnosis was just another thing to hide. Yet the reality is, I have D.I.D. The day I finally wrote down the names of my alters and looked at the list, and stared at their ages and could not erase them from my mind was when I somewhat accepted this reality.

    Do I still have doubts? Yes! When I’m through with a session with my therapist and she asks me if I want to know who she spoke with, I say, “No, that’s okay . . .” I walk away knowing something went on in the office. I feel the effects of it but choose to deny the facts.

    Leesa

(All quotes are given by the permission of the authors, using whatever name they preferred to provide. Quotes are sometimes slightly touched up to improve readability.)

Since living in denial is the basic cause of D.I.D., it is hardly surprising that healing hinges on a radical change of mindset. One must fight the strong temptation to keep running from unpleasant truths.

People can fear a cancer diagnosis so much that they keep putting off getting a lump checked by a doctor. These days, however, the greatest danger is delaying treatment. One’s fear of cancer can end up turning an easily treatable condition into something that is genuinely scary. So it is with Dissociative Identity Disorder: what is scary is not a D.I.D. diagnosis, but continuing through life without realizing that one has D.I.D. Once one accepts the truth, one can take precautions to make one’s life safer and begin to heal. Every moment’s delay prolongs one’s discomfort and wastes one’s enormous potential.

Almost all my life, I have been plagued by an undiagnosed chronic-fatigue-like ailment that has greatly restricted me. I have ached for a diagnosis because it would explain why I have been this way. In addition, I might at last get some treatment that would improve my quality of life. Likewise, if you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, the diagnosis will eventually bring great relief by finally explaining many things about yourself that have always puzzled you. For many examples of this, see The Amazing Advantages of Acknowledging you have Dissociative Identity Disorder. In addition to explaining things about yourself that have always puzzled you, accepting a correct diagnosis will finally allow you to heal. And the healing it offers does not even require medication, so there will be no side effects.

Some friends share their experiences:

    I once suddenly felt very dizzy and needed to sit on the floor of my hallway. Then I heard in my head “Where am I? What is this place?” Compared to the stress I was going through at the time, this experience, although surprising and strange, made me feel diverted and removed from the pain I had been experiencing. I thought it was real in a way, but I also thought I was playacting or being melodramatic. Even with the dizziness and the voice inside my head, it still felt so mild – like just an acting out of extreme stress, as a hypochondriac might do.

    I thought, “I’m just having younger times of my life dredged up because of all this stress. It’s just taking this dramatic form of D.I.D., because I would find that more exciting and diversionary than cold hard reality.” I thought I was escaping reality by fantasizing having D.I.D., in order to be pleasantly distracted. (Boy does that sound crazy!) But it did just seem to come out of the blue; not as if I had planned it.

    Although unexpected, it brought tremendous mental relief and I liked talking with those parts inside my head. It felt like coming home, and something that was doable, in contrast to everything else at the time that was causing me to feel so isolated from myself and having no relief.

    Alison


    After asking me a lot of questions, someone told me I might have Dissociative Identity Disorder. I was in shock! I had previously heard a little about D.I.D. and used to think, “I’m glad that’s not me.” I would have never thought I had D.I.D. After all, I thought I had a pretty normal childhood. Um. I guess not.

    It took me a couple of months of sessions with counselors to really accept it. When I saw things happening and parts coming forward that were verified, I knew it must be real. Knowing it was real was actually more calming than not knowing. At last I had a name for what was happening.

    At first, it is upsetting and overwhelming to hear the words Dissociative Identity Disorder, but after a while, it’s confirming. To know one has Dissociative Identity Disorder is stressful, but then to get confirmation, is relieving. At least you know how to pursue healing.

    This isn’t a diagnosis or an answer that one initially wants to hear. It takes a while to accept, but if it’s affirmed, I have found it can be very helpful.

    Noel


    When I first heard about Dissociative Identity Disorder (back then it was called Multiple Personality Disorder – M.P.D.) I thought nothing of it. In my understanding, I did not have the condition. Yet others kept pointing out alters that would communicate with them. Church members would make small comments about my personalities and moods or behaviors that would change. Despite people’s comments, however, I was continually in denial of it because I was unaware of my parts. The more I wanted to avoid the diagnosis, however, the more that people seemed to point out usual things I would do at very inappropriate times.

    It was very overwhelming and even a shock to me when I did a short test for D.I.D. and discovered I had marked over half of the checks on the list. I wished and wished the test was inaccurate or that maybe if I didn’t say anything to anyone else and I put up my guard, then other people might not make any more remarks. I was mistaken, and my little alters got hurt as well as myself. I think the only way I came to this place of acceptance was the Lord himself, as he brought people along my path that were familiar with Dissociative Identity Disorder. It helps to have others encourage you.

    When a therapist told me, “You have Dissociative Identity Disorder and we want to get you the proper help.” I was terrified. All kinds of questions ran through my head, “Will I be okay? What is wrong? Am I crazy or something?” I was frightened to know the real truth and to accept it, so it was easier for me to doubt it.

    God seemed to help me greatly through this struggle as he tenderly reminded me how much he loved my little ones. I shied away from it. I couldn’t figure God out, either, because I was not aware of my little alters. But one day, it dawned on me that perhaps the therapist and God were right and I needed to take a closer look.

    I was relieved to discover that D.I.D. is more common than I had assumed and that I wasn’t crazy but that, due to all the abuse and trauma I had endured through multiple abuses, I now had a gift of protective, highly talented alters who had held my pain for me so that I did not have to when I had been abused as a child. I had to learn to accept this but it took some time, patience and God loving me and my little alters through it all. I slowly came to grips with the fact that this was not too big for God and that he could restore us. This is what began to break down the denial. It turns out that I do not regret coming to grips with the condition.

    Lynn

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The frightening dilemma is that closing one’s mind to unpleasant truths, and so continually worsening things, becomes an ingrained habit – an unthinking reaction. So when someone presumes that a Dissociative Identity Disorder diagnosis is unpleasant, the time-worn method of denial and perpetuating the problem is seized. This tendency must be fought with everything you have. Every moment of your future hinges on you breaking this habit and facing reality.

In reality, a Dissociative Identity Disorder diagnosis seems scary only when a person is unsure of the implications. Few people understand D.I.D., and most have wild ideas about it, but any normal person who truly understands would be excited to be diagnosed with D.I.D. It means wonderful things are ahead. It opens amazing opportunities for personal development and advancement. It paves the way to peace, wholeness and fulfillment.

If you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, you have already survived the worse of it. Your very openness to the possibility of having D.I.D. means that life should now begin to get better than you have ever known (unless you were to complicate things by again living in denial of D.I.D.).

Don’t waste your life. Don’t let bad people win. You had no choice when you were little. Back then, they were so much stronger than you and their lies seemed so believable. Today, however, you are no longer a child; no longer helpless and easily duped. Those days are gone forever.

I have explained in Learned Helplessness: Why Bad Things Keep Happening to Some People how scientific experiments have confirmed the effect of a history of repeatedly being so overpowered that it is impossible to break free. It saps from us the drive needed to escape, even when we grow stronger and gaining freedom becomes easy. Being defeated in what is now the distant past has made you so used to being overpowered and having your hopes crushed that, now that it is easy, you do not want to even try to walk free. The prison door has been wide open for years but whether you walk out into the sunshine and truly enjoy life, or remain languishing in the dingy world of needless despondency and restrictions, is entirely your choice.

Stop frittering your life away in unnecessary inner pain, despair and defeatism. Lift up your eyes and let God inspire you. The Almighty believes in you. Keep asking him for his passion for truth, victory, healing and wholeness.

Like the ancient Israelites, it is up to you whether you keep wandering in the wilderness or enter the Promised Land divinely prepared for you. It takes courage to enter into all of the blessings and fulfillment and achievements God longs to lavish upon you. As with the Israelites, it is simply a matter of faith – believing that because God is on your side you can do it. You don’t even have to believe in yourself. Simply believe that God is not so pathetically weak that your weakness could ever negate his power. Fear feels so oppressively real but it is just a feeling; not reality. Take God’s hand and walk through the open door.

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Yet another hindrance to accepting a D.I.D. diagnosis is that you cannot expect your experience to exactly match that of other people who have Dissociative Identity Disorder. Writes another friend of mine:

    At times I don’t feel I have Dissociative Identity Disorder, even though several therapists see it. It’s not that I want to deny it but it’s that, unlike some people, I don’t wake up to find I’ve done something I wasn’t aware of or I find writings I don’t recognize.

    There are times, however, when I don’t remember doing things with my husband that he insists I did; but I tend to chalk it up simply to being forgetful. My “forgetfulness” doesn’t happen often – maybe once a week, with some weeks having no “forgetfulness” and other weeks having more.

    What I do know, however, is when I acknowledge what I feel inside and act accordingly, I find so much more peace inside. Like any family unit, there will be rough times too.

    Imagine having a fractured leg. There are varying degrees. There is a crushing injury, a compound fracture, a simple fracture, or a hairline fracture. They are all fractures that need to be treated back to health. We all need healing regardless of how bad the injury.

    Angie

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For possible indicators of D.I.D., here’s a quote from one of my main webpages about D.I.D., Powerful Answers & Surprising Help for People Traumatized as Children:

    How Can You Know if You Have an Alter?

    Should you have alters, becoming aware of this fact is unlikely to be easy. After all, they formed to keep things from you. Moreover, needless fears and misconceptions about the implications of having alters cause most people’s minds to recoil from the thought of having alters. The result is high psychological pressure for people with alters to remain unaware of their alters. So despite all the healing advantages of finding that you have alters, things are stacked against you discovering them.

    Winning the trust of a terrified jackrabbit might be less of a challenge, but the only sure way to discover alters is to so win their confidence that they decide to talk to you regularly. Until alters feel safe to do this, you can only look for vague clues. Should you have alters, do not expect to have any awareness of, at best, more than a few of the symptoms mentioned below.

    Although some people with alters have obvious gaps in their memory of the distant past, there are some who, even before healing begins, have a more detailed and complete memory of their childhood than average people who have never had alters. This is because alters do not necessarily retain sole memory of certain events. What they keep to themselves (until they begin to heal) is the deepest emotional reaction to certain traumatic events. Rather than mere facts, it is particularly emotional ownership of these events that they keep from the rest of the person.

    So people with undetected alters might not necessarily have missing years. They might, however, have the occasional missing moment in everyday life that cannot be attributed to alcohol or drugs. They might, for instance, lose keys or other personal items and find them in places where they cannot recall putting them. Other possibilities include goods appearing that they cannot recall purchasing, inexplicable bank account withdrawals, finding themselves somewhere with no recollection of how they got there, or having no memory of doing things in the recent past that other people claim to have witnessed them doing.

    Sometimes people with alters discover that they can protect themselves from self-harm or other unwanted behavior by hiding  from themselves knives, credit cards or whatever. They know where they placed the objects, and yet putting them in an unusual place works when an alter does not observe the hiding.

    If you have sole access to your computer, check History on your Internet Browser to see if you have visited websites you cannot recall having seen. If you retain electronic copies of sent emails, check them to see if you recognize them all. An itemized phone bill, credit card account, or anything else tracking your actions might also be revealing.

    Of course, we all have memory lapses but with alters, lapses are usually more pronounced than for most people. Some people have even feared Alzheimer’s, when their lapses were simply due to a suppressed part of the person taking over for a while and doing and thinking things that it keeps hidden from the rest of the person. It is tragically common for people with alters to be called liars when their denials are simply because they genuinely don’t remember certain things.

    Until healing progresses, alters are particularly active when the rest of the person is asleep. You could wake up to find things moved. It might just be sleepwalking but it could be more.

    I provide e-mail support for abuse survivors. With several different survivors I have suddenly received an e-mail that seems out of character for that person. Besides the subject matter seeming unusual, the grammar and spelling is often more childlike than their usual standard. Sometimes I initially thought that maybe the person wrote the e-mail while under the influence of drugs or alcohol but often it turns out that it is the child part of them temporarily taking over. When I send a copy of the e-mail to the person, he or she is often shocked, having no recollection of having ever written it.

    Had the correspondence been handwritten, most likely there would be a noticeable change in handwriting. So another clue to the presence of alters is changes in handwriting in, for example, one’s journal. In fact, keeping a journal is a good idea, especially doing so at different times of the day (different times and situations are more likely to reveal different alters). You might be surprised what you find later when re-reading your journal.

    Some adult survivors sometimes find themselves acting in a childlike way. They might, for example, have a collection of children’s toys. Again, to some extent, we all have times when we act a little childlike, but when it is more pronounced, it could be the inner child temporarily making he/she presence felt.

    Another possible indicator of an alter is sometimes having certain abilities and sometimes not. You might, for example, have created artwork or poems of a standard far beyond what you think yourself capable of. Or you might be mystified as to why you are occasionally unable to do something – perhaps to spell or read music or some other skill – that at other times you can easily do.

    Since she was seven, a friend of mine was hopeless at mathematics and yet she kept getting high marks in the subject. She could ace a test, go home and find herself quite unable to solve simple math problems. At college she elected to complete the same algebra course with the same teacher not once, not twice but three times because, despite continually getting high grades, she didn’t have a clue about the subject. Determined not to let it beat her, she even tried to do the course a fourth time, but her teacher forbade her on the grounds that she was too good at the subject to keep repeating it. It was not until she was in her late thirties that she discovered an alter of hers, formed at age seven, who not only specialized in mathematics but who, out of fear of being pushed aside by other parts of the person, deliberately kept the rest of the person mathematically ignorant.

    Another possible clue is having extended times in which one feels unreal, as if in a dream or not really there. Some describe it as like observing everything from behind a glass wall. It is known as co-consciousness.

    Another possibility, is sometimes thinking of oneself as “we” or “us,” or feeling as if there is another person inside of you.

    Hearing voices that seem to come from inside you is yet another possibility. What these voices say could seem a little strange – as might be expected from someone who has suffered bizarre and terrifying abuse – but, in contrast to people with certain other conditions, the voices are relatively rational and sane.

    Another clue is occasionally having two conflicting emotions; perhaps, for example, feeling happy and yet deep inside feeling sad and trapped.

    All of the above are common symptoms of what therapists call Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.). Not everyone has every symptom and any supposed symptoms should only be regarded as clues, not diagnostic proof. For example, an embarrassed woman confided to a friend of mine that she kept losing her keys. “What is emotionally upsetting you?” asked my discerning friend. The problem turned out not to be D.I.D., nor Alzheimer’s, but simply a reaction to stress.

    There are questionnaire-type psychological tests designed to diagnose D.I.D. They can only be administered by professionals and are expensive. See Psychological Tests to Diagnose Dissociative Identity Disorder.

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Regardless of whether you have Dissociative Identity Disorder, a valuable help in inner healing is to keep a journal in which you record dreams, flashes of memory, feelings, guesses as to what might be distressing you, and so on. Prayerfully doing this over quite a while is likely to clarify things for you and help you better discern what is troubling you. This, and much more, is explained in detail in a webpage I urge you to read: How to Find Every Alter: Help When You Have Little or No Contact With Certain Alters.

Keep pushing forward with treating yourself as if you had D.I.D. At the very least it should help you get to know yourself better.

* * *

Related Links

How to Find Every Alter and Get Them to Communicate with You Christian Index of Help for Dissociative Identity Disorder

The Danger of Living in Denial: When is Positive Confession Living in Denial?

Learned Helplessness: Why Bad Things Keep Happening to Some People

False Memories

Psychological Tests to Diagnose Dissociative Identity Disorder

Quick Help for Every Dissociative Identity Disorder Emergency

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Not to be sold. © Copyright, Grantley Morris, 2014. For much more by the same author, see www.net-burst.net   No part of these writings may be copied without citing this entire paragraph.

 

 

 

 

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