Finding Your Insiders / Alters

Getting Alters to Speak with You

This webpage is important to everyone with Dissociative Identity Disorder: from those who are certain they thoroughly know their every alter, right through to those in the frustrating position of being unable to contact any of their alters. This page was originally crafted specifically for those in the latter extreme, so if you currently know none of your alters, this webpage will help change that. My goal, however, is not just to get you started but to help you keep the momentum going.

You will spend most of your healing journey knowing some of your alters and needing to know still more. So please do not despise those parts of the webpage – especially the early sections – that assume you already know some alters. Later parts of the webpage will help you with the basics. From the moment you contact your first alter, however, those sections that currently seem advanced will begin to be relevant. I seek not just to give you some methods and then expect you to mindlessly follow them. I want to empower you with a deep understanding of what makes alters reluctant to reveal themselves so that you will be able to apply your own intelligence and skills to this challenge. The first part of this webpages is designed to motivate you to find alters but if you wish to start with how to find them, skip to Why Alters Hide from You.

Don’t Presume to have Discovered All Your Alters

It is much harder to find if you don’t seek. If you have been on the healing journey for quite some time, a very common reason for not seeking is thinking that you have already discovered your every alter.

Once alters start revealing themselves, it is typical for them to appear one after another in fairly quick succession, and then for no more new ones to appear for weeks or months. This pattern is likely to lull you into the presumption that there simply are no more alters. You are quite likely to reach this mistaken conclusion dozens of times before your every alter has revealed himself/herself.

Other than divine revelation, I have no idea how anyone can be sure if every alter has surfaced.

Understand How Critical it is to Find Your Every Alter

Since one of the biggest hindrances to finding new alters is simply having little desire to find them, let’s briefly examine from three different angles what makes finding every alter so vital.

    1. The Positive Benefits of Befriending Every Alter

    If you let them heal, all of your alters, without exception, will end up being amazing friends and confidantes and helpers. They are the key to you finding peace and fulfillment and achievement. Only through helping them will you find the true end to guilt feelings, fear and inner pain.

    You might long to keep suppressed within you horrific memories and/or awareness of your current emotional reaction (such as fear, pain or shame) associated with those unhealed memories. For as long as a part of you has memories and/or emotional reactions that you have no access to, however, you will be unable to find true peace and healing. Unpleasant feelings will be nagging away at you just below the surface of your consciousness. And, alarmingly, you will be are unable to access significant parts of your brain that store this information. Moreover, if you have an alter you have little interaction with, those parts of your brain that you have lost access to almost certainly hold not just memories and emotions you would rather ignore but invaluable skills and intellectual abilities that will make life easier and more fulfilling than you dare hope.

    Of course, not everyone has every ability, but people with Dissociative Identity Disorder are likely to feel certain they do not have certain abilities and yet have those very abilities locked away in a part of their brain that is currently controlled by another alter. These abilities could already be quite developed but if not, they can be developed at remarkable speed.

    I am not sure that you can grasp how passionately I wish I had a fraction of the potential for intellectual development found in people who are beginning to discover their alters. For me to not have Dissociative Identity Disorder but to know so many people who do, is like a starving person who cannot eat, acting as waiter at a feast. I would be out of my skin with excitement if I discovered I had alters.

    The possibilities are almost limitless and will vary from person to person but the following are some examples that someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder might discover. By connecting with his or her alters, a person might end up with remarkably improved:

      * Eyesight (Example)

      * Manual dexterity

      * Ability to use the non-dominant hand

      * Surefootedness, such as ability to climb rugged terrain

      * Athletic ability

      * Short-term or long-term memory

      * Musical ability

      * Speed reading skills

      * Creative cooking

      * Mathematical ability

      * Direction finding and navigational skills

      * Ability to thoroughly enjoy marital relations

      * Grammar and spelling

      * Creative writing

      * A flair for public speaking

      * Sense of humor

      * Linguistic ability

      * Artistic ability

      * Dress sense

      * Parenting skills

      * Ability to handle stress

      * People skills

      * Freedom from certain phobias

      * Spiritual abilities such as spiritual warfare

      * Intimate experiences with God

    I have no idea which of the above list will apply to you but there are sure to be at least several.

    2. Ending Your Alters’ Needless Torment

    For as long as you have one alter who remains hidden from you, part of you is in needless agony, even if you remain unaware of it or have grown so used to it that you cannot imagine the relief of it being over.

    Continual solitary confinement is a psychologically damaging form of torture and this is just the beginning of what an alter walled up inside you suffers. Alters cut off from your help are needlessly tormented by hopelessness, devastatingly low self-esteem, terror, horrific guilt, inner pain as well as torturously starved of love and approval.

    Here is not the place to expand on this but an example is an alter terrified that the abuse could recommence at any moment, unaware that so many years have passed that the abuser has not only stopped the abuse, he is dead. Another example is an alter who fled into hiding when it seemed an abuser was about to chop off a vital part of his body. Thereafter, the alter was sure he was shamefully maimed; unaware that the abuser never carried out his threat. Just one more of countless other examples: it is common for alters to blame themselves and be riddled with horrific guilt, knowing nothing of the fact that Christ has totally cleansed her, making her spotlessly pure.

    Even if in some cases you lack the skills to bring an alter to full healing, you can at least introduce the alter to God (and perhaps a counselor) who can.

    3. The Scary Possible Consequences of Not Finding Alters

    Before mentioning some scary things that might not even apply to you, it is vital that you view them from the reality that if you really have D.I.D., you are already a master survivor who has kept winning against the odds without even the greatly increased resources that will be yours through putting this webpage into practice.

    People have put you down for most of your life, leaving you with such battered self-esteem that this alone is enough to cause you to woefully underrate how intelligent and capable you really are. This appalling underrating of your capabilities, however, is made many times worse if you are not aware of all the survival stories and abilities of other parts of you.

    You have managed to survive devastating crises for years and years with parts of you having to cope, not merely alone, but cut off from even the help, maturity, wisdom, knowledge, abilities and encouragement of the rest of you.

    You do not have to fear the full truth because it will empower you to pour additional help and resources into parts of you that have already survived. With your help these parts of you will not merely survive but will begin to thrive. No matter what you face in the future, the worst is already behind you because never before have you had such maturity, spiritual resources and the ability to draw upon the skills, knowledge and understanding that have been locked up in other parts of you.

    No one, no matter how capable, can be sure of making smart and safe decisions without knowing all the relevant facts. Whether you realize it or not, there are facts that will remain hidden from you unless you connect with every alter that is currently hidden inside you. No one knows how vital these facts are to your welfare until all your alters reveal themselves and fully share all they know. I have met many people who have ended up exceedingly sorry they had not tried harder and much earlier to get to know their every alter. They could have been spared much heartache.

    It is with great reluctance that I alert you to the magnitude of the very real dangers of not connecting with all your alters. You have more than enough stress without me adding to it, but it would be irresponsible of me not to warn you of what could be at stake.

    Picture several infants and young children who have access to guns they do not know are loaded. You are unable to physically touch the children or the guns. So you cannot prevent them from pointing the guns at family members and strangers and playing with the trigger. All you can do is coax and train them to leave the guns alone. It is no exaggeration to say it is equally as dangerous not to do everything you can to discover and interact with every one of your alters. It is not at all that your alters are evil; they simply lack your understanding. Now that you know this, however, to remain willfully ignorant and not seek out every last one of your alters is irresponsible and would render you accountable for any disasters that result.

    Alters are ordinary people (frequently little children) cut off from vital information and subjected to mind-numbingly horrific situations. Think of normal little children who have been fed lies and are beside themselves with pain, terror, confusion and hopelessness. These darlings have not only been cut off from almost all that you know about life and God but have been tricked, groomed, manipulated and even brainwashed by someone terrifyingly evil.

    Despite having surprisingly good intentions, such confused and traumatized alters could unwittingly cause you enormous distress. A huge range of alarming things could be happening without your knowledge. Here are a few real life examples:

      * You would never let yourself be driven around town by a five year old and yet an alter with no more ability could end up driving your car in dangerous traffic with your loved ones in it.

      * You would never let an eight-year-old child have access to your credit card and yet you could have an alter who sees the world as an eight-year-old does and has worked out how to use your credit card.

      * You could be confidently allowing someone access to you or your children, unaware that another part of you knows for sure that he is a dangerous predator.

      * It is very common for people with D.I.D. to end up with a reputation for lying because in their ignorance of their alter’s actions they adamantly deny doing something that other people witnessed them doing.

      * You might be desperate to break an addiction and have no idea that a part of you has no understanding of the value of quitting and is sabotaging your efforts. Or you could have eating disorders you are unaware of, causing you to whack on weight through binging or to dangerously deplete your body through bulimia.

      * I have not encountered it in counseling but it seems quite likely that one could end up arrested for shoplifting because of the forgetfulness, ignorance or desperation of an alter.

      * I have given mild examples. If you are still only moderately motivated to endure whatever it takes to know your alters’ every secret, see More Serious Consequences of Not Knowing Your Alters.

    How Easily Despicable Alters Can Change

    You will lack the motivation to find alters if you fail to understand how easy it is for alters who are currently acting despicably to be transformed into beautiful friends and helpers who make you proud.

    Alters respond amazingly to unconditional love and approval. They will do almost anything to please you, once they sense that they can find in you the unconditional love they crave. On the other hand, it is virtually impossible to win over any alter that you continue to hate. Love transforms. Hate and suspicion breeds hate and suspicion.

    Scripture reminds us that we love only because God first loved us (1 John 4:19). As God transformed us by taking the initiative in loving us while we were sinners, so we must follow his lead in loving alters before they become Christlike.

    1 Corinthians 13 says that love believes all things or, as some versions put it, love thinks the best of a person. Once we get to know and understand alters it becomes easy to see them as misguided and by no means irredeemably evil. You will most likely discover an alter for whom this initially seems impossible to believe, so I should provide you with a few examples of what motivates alters.

      * An alter might cruelly enforce a former abusers rules, such as harshly punishing any alter who reveals details about past abuse. Usually, this is because the alter mistakenly believes the abuser still has full access to you. This misunderstanding leaves the alter terrified that if any part of you breaches the abuser’s rules, the abuser will do to you worse things than the alter did when he tried to get you to avoid the abuser’s wrath.

      * An alter might be filled with hate and anger solely because he or she believes that maintaining this front is the only way to scare off potential abusers and so keep you safe.

      * It is not uncommon for alters to convince themselves that they are the opposite sex. If you have such alters, it is not because they are homosexual but because they have a desperate need to feel safe and their experience has led them to presume that being the opposite sex will lessen their likelihood of being abused. Once they understand that they can be their real gender and be safe because they are no longer helpless children whom authorities would not believe but are in the strong body of an adult, it becomes easier for them to accept their gender and they will eventually begin to enjoy it.

      * Without your love and an awareness of God’s love for them, some alters might feel so useless and unwanted that they grow so desperate as to be willing to trade sexual favors for someone’s shallow pretense of love and approval. Abusers frequently convince their victims that they have no other value and no other chance of “love” except through sex. Having been repeatedly forced to have sex against their will, it is also not uncommon for alters to try to cope with this almost intolerable situation by doing their utmost to convince themselves that like the sex that they actually despise.

    This webpage is not the place to keep piling on more examples but the above should suffice to help you understand why it turns out that alters are not only capable of totally changing, but they are usually eager to do so once they realize that they have been acting under a false presumption.

    The Story So Far

    Little children naturally believe whatever older children – and especially significant adults in their lives – insist is true. Have only highly moral and trustworthy people had access to you during your most vulnerable, impressionable years? Unless you had such a protected life, it is very possible that there are parts of you that you have not yet met who accept as unshakable truth put-downs and dangerous or even perverted lies maliciously fed to you at a time when you lacked the maturity to see through the lies. Through befriending and understanding your alters, even the most confused and brainwashed of them can find peace and change so profoundly as to make you proud. There is no such guarantee, however, for any who are left to flounder without any input from your maturity and insight.

    No matter how awful facing suppressed memories is, there is always something worse: not facing them.

    D.I.D. is like curable cancer. Get it treated and you will be fine. Ignore it and you might get away with it for a long while but eventually the consequences of procrastinating will be bitter indeed. An ignored alter, reeling in pain and confusion, could end up causing you to lose your job, sabotage valued relationships, commit adultery, accidentally or deliberately kill you or even murder someone. As I have stressed, certain alters have the potential to act this way, not because they are evil, but simply because, without your help, they are alarmingly confused. Such alters have my full sympathy and understanding. Whether the law or your loved ones would be so understanding, however, is a very different matter. You need to intervene as quickly as possible.

    Within the same person, and from person to person, alters differ significantly. Not all alters be will so potentially dangerous if kept cut off from you, but until discovering each one, you will never know how suicidal and misguided a lost part of you is. Like cancer, problems do not disappear by pretending or hoping they do not exist. All they do is get more serious and prolong your distress. When ignored, some alters are not only your most valuable neglected assets, they are a ticking time bomb that could blow your world apart. By connecting with them you will end up rendering them not only safe but a beautiful source of comfort and support to you and an astounding intellectual, spiritual, social and emotional boost.

    God is eager to restore every part of you to sweetness and innocence. Nevertheless, the Almighty, being the extreme opposite of an abuser, will not force himself on any part of you. Out of the infinite integrity of his heart, he will keep restraining his yearning to intervene until that part of you willingly gives him permission. Helping an alter reach that point of trusting God is likely to require your cooperation.

    Don’t Leave it to a Counselor

    Some counselors refuse to converse with alters and focus exclusively on the host. Having spoken to many alters who feel deeply hurt by this approach, I don’t recommend it. This approach to counseling usually leaves alters feeling ignored, rejected, unimportant, and sometimes even less than human. Abuse typically creates these same feelings, so the last thing you need is for a counselor to unwittingly add to this deep wounding.

    On the other hand, if you or your partner were undergoing marriage counseling, it would be total failure if your partner fell in love with the counselor or ended up ignoring you and sharing exclusively with the counselor. Likewise, you do not want your alters to prefer speaking to a counselor rather than with you.

    Let’s put it another way: alters are a vital part of you. They hold the key to your past and to you achieving your full intellectual, emotional, vocational and spiritual potential. If a spinal cord injury caused a part of you – your legs – to no longer respond to messages from your brain, healing is not about a therapist learning how to get that part of you to respond to messages from his brain. They are your legs and healing hinges on you learning how to walk with them. So it is with your alters.

    Sometimes a counselor might initiate contact with an alter but you need to strive to catch up and become your alter’s best friend and confidante.

    Whether you connect with your alters is largely up to you, not your counselor. You can, however, ask your counselor to help you by encouraging your alters to feel positively about you and by keeping you informed about your alters, as much as your alters will allow.

    Why Alters Hide from You

    To learn how to help your alters feel secure in revealing themselves and their secrets to you, it is vital to understand the many valid reasons for their reluctance to do so. We will later uncover things that could hinder alters from speaking to anyone but first we will examine how you might have unknowingly scared, traumatized or hurt some of your alters, causing them to fear or despise you or be infuriated with you, even more than with a kind stranger.

    Regardless of whether they have Dissociative Identity Disorder, it is normal for people to engage in self-talk, and for anyone with low self-esteem or low tolerance of imperfection, self-talk can get quite ugly. Often we would not speak to anyone else as abusively as we speak to ourselves when frustrated. For example, if we make a mistake we might get angry and blast ourselves with the words, “You idiot!” Or if we get emotional or feel insecure or feel the urge to do something that is more common for little children, we might angrily tell ourselves, “Stop being a baby!” An alter is likely to assume you are speaking directly to him/her when you say such things, especially as it could well be that alter who made the mistake or felt scared or had a deep need for the comfort of a teddy bear or even a pacifier or something else that adults denigrate as babyish.

    Here are some additional common examples of reasons why, without you realizing it, an alter might feel scared of you or resent you:

      * An alter might have bravely and very tentatively shared a memory or deep secret with you and you rejected it as “stupid” or “false” or blabbed it to someone the alter fears is untrustworthy. (Abusers typically terrify alters with horrific threats as to what would happen if ever they told anyone about the abuse. Adults might see through the threats, but not little children.)

      * You might feel you are being godly by getting angry with yourself for having the urge to engage in a habit you regard as wrong. Quite likely, however, what is sabotaging your efforts – and so feels the force of your anger – could be an alter who lacks your understanding that it is wrong or who lacks your spiritual resources to resist temptation.

      * An alter might feel terrified of something because it is linked, in your alter’s memory, with an horrific event. Being unaware of the full extent of this, you might make yourself – and your alter – do it. Forcing this upon your alter can feel as abusive to the alter as forcing someone’s head under the water until he nearly drowns. Sometimes an alter’s fear was not just valid in the past but is based on genuine danger even today. For example, you could be letting someone have access to you or your children without realizing that one of the things suppressed from your memory is that he has already proved himself to be highly dangerous.

      * In The Dilemma of Feeling Pleasure When Abused I explain why it is normal for a clever molester to sometimes seduce a child by creating sexual pleasure, even though at other times sex is highly traumatic for the child. Sometimes an alter who bore all the trauma will blame any part of you who had been seduced by the pleasure. This is one of several reasons why an alter could deeply resent you.

      * You might have unknowingly made decisions that have endangered, physically hurt or traumatized alters. I will provide just three of many possibilities.

        1. Many abuse survivors occasionally view or deliberately fantasize about pornographic material, hoping it will help desensitize them and mistakenly thinking it might contribute to healing; not realizing that it is traumatizing certain alters who, more than is realized, are carrying the pain of past abuse.

        2. Your alters might have “protected” you from knowing that a relative you like has molested you at every opportunity he/she has had. Dismissing your inner qualms are ridiculous, you decide to visit your relatives or let them visit you, spending a couple of nights in the same house as this offender. You lose consciousness as soon as the offender approaches you and another alter – perhaps several alters during the course of the assault – is forced to take over and endure the agony.

        3. You might have initiated a friendship with someone, not understanding the horrors that would follow, nor even now knowing the extent of what happened. Here’s one of countless scenarios. You might have been seduced as a little child and come to enjoy it because it was never violent and, though by no means love, it was the closest imitation you were able to get. This abuser moves on and in your continued craving for love you eagerly approach another abuser, expecting gentleness but it turns out he is violent. You quickly escape by forming another alter who is forced to endure it while you remain oblivious to the torment that followed.

      * At times you might even get so frustrated and hateful towards yourself that you engage in self-harm – inflicting pain and wounding the body you share with your alters.

      * Sometime in the past you might have sunk even to the ultimate insult of mistaking the already highly traumatized alter for a demon. How would you feel about someone who claims to be morally superior and concludes you are not only eternally dammed and unredeemably evil but considers you to be so disgusting that he genuinely believes you are not even human but some form of hideous lowlife?

    So there is a vast range of possible reasons for an alter regarding you as untrustworthy or even as an abuser. It is normal for all of us – not just for alters – to shrink from anyone who gets angry or harsh towards us. Unlike most people, however, alters have already been deeply traumatized, which puts them on hyper-alert for anyone else who might possibly hurt them. When treated as a useless annoyance or as an enemy, alters can be expected to feel deeply hurt and rejected and want nothing to do with you.

    Before some alters would even consider sharing their hearts with you, you would have to do much to overcome the resentment they feel towards you and to convince them you have changed.

    Perhaps even now you fear, despise or even hate certain alters. I have several webpages to help you sympathetically understand and be a catalyst in the transformation of alters who are initially angry, hateful, dangerous, lustful, perverted and/or anti-God. Some of these pages are listed at the end of this webpage

    The Other Factor

    Yet another reason for alters clamming up is that many alters can feel that it is their life-long duty to care for you by keeping information from you. They will need to know that you are now strong enough to face the truth and that you are eager to do so.

    The truth will set us free, and ignorance can have terrifying implications, but many of us still fear the truth. Yes, the truth might initially hurt but, like going to a dentist, the alternative will end up being far more painful. To quote what I wrote elsewhere:

      Living in denial can never change reality. Not even embracing the truth can change the past, but it empowers us to change our future reality and find true healing.

    Here is some encouragement: a part of you already knows the truth and has coped it with it ever since the event happened, without even having the maturity, spiritual resources and human support that you have.

    Abusers obviously do not want their crimes to be discovered and it is common for them to terrify their victims into silence by horrific threats they cannot keep but seem believable to a little child. You might need to convince alters that it is safe to share their secrets with you. You don’t have to be conscious of alters to keep telling yourself (preferably out loud) that former abusers can no longer hurt you and that you will respect their confidentiality. If you keep this up, the message is likely to eventually get through to your alters.

    How to Win Alters Over

    We will soon discuss how to detect hints as to when an alter could be more likely to be able to hear you. Having just mentioned some of the fears and resentments that alters might have towards you, however, makes this the appropriate place to mention how these barriers might be overcome. Thankfully, although it can be challenging, you have something huge in your favor: underneath all the hurt and suspicion, your alters are still desperate for your genuine love and approval.

    Here are some suggestions as to what to tell alters, even if you are not sure they are able to hear you:

      * You are more important to me than I ever realized. I should have valued you, listened to you and been a good friend to you. If I have ignored you or done anything to hurt you or annoy you, I was wrong and I want to do everything I can to put it right. Please tell me what I can do to make it up to you.

      * I am grateful to you and forever indebted to you for all the times you spared me pain and distress by bearing it for me. From now on, I want to do all I can to help you bear this pain and find full healing from it.

      * What can I do to help you feel safer and more cared for?

      * If you would like me to hug you or listen to you, I would love to do so. [To hug an alter, regard your alter as a full person with a body, and vividly image yourself hugging him/her. Try to both see and feel this in your mind.]

      * Is there something affordable I can buy you?

    Alters desperately need unconditional love and tenderness, patience, kindness and encouragement. They need to feel valued and believed and liked. You cannot expect them to share with you if they feel unable to trust you to respect their confidentiality or cannot trust you to handle upsetting information without you either freaking out or thinking they are liars or stupid.

    The Power of Being Kind to Every Alter You Discover

    It can be hard to get the ball rolling but once you start befriending one alter, it will get easier and easier for others to connect with you. When other alters who have remained hidden see you believing, encouraging and building up an alter, it will help them believe it is now safe to reveal themselves to you. As they slowly become aware that you have warmly accepted, befriended, believed and supported another of your alters they will gradually begin to think that it could be safe and/or advantageous for them to likewise reveal themselves to you. So once there is a breakthrough with one alter, it will be a little easier for a second alter to follow, easier still for a third, and so on. Moreover, alters you have befriended might not only put in a good word for you but might even introduce you to some other alters.

    For each alter you discover, find out his/her favorite food, music, color, clothes, activities, books and so on. Providing these things, plus daily talking with each alter and building up each one’s self-esteem can be most helpful in enticing alters to stay out or come out again after going back into hiding. The more often alters are out, the stronger and more healed they will get, the bigger help they will become to you and the more likely it is that other alters will be encouraged to reveal themselves to you. In the early stages it will feel as if you could not cope with more alters but as you build up those alters you know, they can be inspired to greatly ease your workload by comforting, supporting and training other alters.

    Just as babies start off being a huge drain to parents but can grow up to be an invaluable support, so it is with alters, only the transformation can be much quicker. Far more than you currently realize, you need for your alters to reach their amazing potential. This cannot happen if they spend most of their time suppressed or in hiding. Your alters healing and remaining out is critical to your wellbeing, so keep encouraging them and assuring them that you want and need them.

    One of my friends who is healing from Dissociative Identity Disorder writes:

      We try to make sure every alter is able to get the time to do what he/she would like to do, both in processing things [mentally coming to terms with new information] and in fun. This often means making schedules and arrangements. When two of us like the same activity we can share it, which leaves more time for one who needs a more solitary activity. We are not always good at this but we try.

    It being counterproductive for an alter to go back into long-term hiding is one of several reasons why it is beneficial to create in your powerful imagination several large, beautiful areas, each of which is securely sealed off, preventing everyone else from entering. The only entrance to each sealed off area is an impenetrable door that can be solidly bolted from the inside. On the outside of the door is a “Vacant” sign that immediately changes to say “Occupied” when it is bolted and at the same time the name of the occupant appears on the door. Anyone inside is to be left alone. Next to the door, however, is an intercom that is heard throughout the sealed-off area and cannot be switched off. If it is deemed important, a person can speak on the intercom or leave a message for the alter inside but it must be very short. The message may be longer only if the alter in hiding is happy for the conversation to continue. Even God agrees never to enter without first using the intercom and being allowed in by the alter, and he will leave again whenever the alter tells him to.

    There are various unpredictable events where the intercom could prove quite important. One is a need to tell the alter if outside circumstances have changed so much that he/she can now feel safe to come out. Another is to give reassurance and encouragement to the alter. Yet another is if alters left to carry on without this alter desperately need certain information known only to the alter who is hiding. Merely knowing where an alter is hiding can help calm alters who are left to cope.

    Believe What Alters Reveal

    Often a key factor in the formation of alters is that the person received no support because no one would believe the very real danger he/she was in. So not being believed is most likely already a sore point with many of your alters. Please don’t add to it by not believing them. Also, them telling you probably took a lot of courage on their behalf. You need to make them feel it was well worth them taking the risk in sharing with you.

    Alters were formed to keep from you – and even each other – upsetting information. Especially if you are the host, you are likely to have been deliberately kept in the dark to allow you to function in everyday life without having to cope with awareness of devastating events. For example, it is very common for some alters to be kept unaware of cruel things done by a loved one. It is quite likely that alters have been so good at keeping information from you all these years that when they eventually begin to spill the beans, what they share will seem unbelievable to you.

    Believe your alters, but be aware that, especially in traumatic circumstances, a person can switch rapidly from one alter to another and then another, thus preventing any single alter from knowing everything about that event – unless all alters involved were to share all that they know. So even for events that an alter knows a lot about, both you and the alter might lack certain critical details and be almost unknowingly relying on guesswork or presumptions to fill in the gaps. Each alter is a vital part of the jigsaw but none, including yourself, has all the pieces until every alter has shared everything.

    This makes it is important not to jump to conclusions. For example, you might see in a flashback part of a person but not enough for certain identification, Avoid presumptions as to the person’s identity, even though it might look rather like someone you know or – as far as you know – only one person had access to you at that time.

    Another important thing to be mindful of is that abusers often deliberately feed their victims false information and some use horrific tricks to traumatize them into submission. For instance, they might make a victim eat animal parts, claiming them to be human. Some abusers are skilled at using conjuring tricks (it is especially easy to convince a young, highly traumatized child). They might, for example, get a sadistic accomplice to pretend to be Jesus or fool a child into believing the child killed someone.

    Name Your Alters as Soon as You Can

    Nowadays, whenever a new species of plant or animal is found, it is usually not something that has never been seen before, but it looks so much like another species that it had never previously been distinguished from that species. Likewise, you need to know each of your alters well, or you could miss the fact that you are talking to an alter you have never previously met.

    As much as they will allow, learn the name of each alter, or name them yourself. Regularly asking which alter is talking will give the alter the opportunity to indicate that he/she is not an alter you have previously met. “Take a roll call,” suggests a friend who has so far discovered several alters, “and ask if anyone else is there.”

    More than this, however, when you have found more than one alter, continually checking the identity of the alter you are speaking with (if there is the slightest doubt) will help you keep building as clear and detailed a picture as possible of each alter’s character. This detailed understanding of each alter will help you avoid confusing an alter that is new to you with one you already know. What makes this important is that sometimes, out of shyness, newly surfaced alters pretend to be another alter. So be on the alert for alters who seem to be acting out of character.

    You are likely to be surprised at how you come to expect different levels of maturity, knowledge and so on from different alters. If you mistake one alter for another you could hurt that alter’s feelings by expecting too much from him or her.

    Ideally, keep a record of every alter and jot down details about each of them. Even if you are sure you will remember all of this, something unforeseen could happen that causes you to go into hiding and another alter who lacks this information would, at least temporarily be forced to replace you.

    Practical Communication Issues

    You might be asleep or lose awareness of everything whenever a certain alter takes over. Likewise, the alter might usually be unconscious when you are conscious. In such circumstances, speaking directly with the alter is not an option but you can leave each other written notes. You might, for example, leave notes around saying something like this:

      You have multiple personalities. This is nothing to be afraid of. It is just how we survive at present. I am a part of you and I would like to speak with you. If you leave a note on this page I will reply.

    If you do this, maintain the habit of checking the notes every day, or the alter could reply and give up looking for your response.

    An alternative is to leave verbal messages using a recording devise. You might need to leave simple instructions as to how to operate the devise.

    If real time, non-written communication is possible, speaking in your mind or even vividly picturing something (such as imagining yourself hugging an alter) might work. When convenient, however, it is often clearer and more effective to speak out loud to your alters. If, for example, people who might not understand D.I.D. are in the next room, use an audible whisper.

    “How do I know when an alter is speaking? Is there a difference between when an alter is speaking and my own thoughts?” asked someone desperate to learn.

    I replied, “Especially in the early stages it is likely to seem very vague. If you think there is a slight chance that you could be hearing from an alter, proceed as if you really are. If it truly is an alter, it might take days or even weeks and you are likely to often be tempted to doubt, but you will gradually receive more and more confirmation as to whether what you think might be an alter really is one.”

    “I feel silly. It seems as if I am just talking with myself,” she said.

    “I won’t always know whether they are hearing you or not,” I replied. “Whether certain alters are likely to be active or not depends not only on the time of day but on circumstances. For example, certain alters might help you when you are at work, others when you are parenting, others might be more likely to be present when you are relaxing and still others when you are feeling scared or upset. And sometimes alters who are usually out can get freaked by something and go into hiding.”


    Ways of Discovering New Alters

    Tune in to Your Feelings

    If you are feeling anything that seems peculiar because it does not line up with your current circumstances or thoughts, it could be because an alter is active. It might be fear, sadness, hopelessness, anger, self-hate, isolation, loneliness, bitterness, frustration, excitement, wonder, or whatever but if, under the circumstances, it seems at odds with what you would expect, the feeling could be washing over you from an alter.

    I can only provide a few examples from a vast range of other possible clues to the unannounced presence of an alter. You are unlikely to experience more than one or two of them. Just remain alert for such things. You might suddenly feel out of place. You might feel small, or everything around you might seem unfamiliar. You might even get lost for no obvious reason. You might feel disconnected from yourself or even hardly recognize yourself in the mirror. You might even find yourself unable to walk, or unable to control bodily functions, or crave a pacifier or a toy or something else inappropriate for adults, or simply desire something that you usually have little or no desire for. Or you might feel ill at ease about something that would not normally bother you.

    It is important not to get impatient with yourself or to tell yourself you are stupid for having such a feeling. Instead, if anything like this happens, it is an ideal time to try to make contact with an alter. Proceed on the assumption that what you are feeling is emanating from an alter who is currently close to the surface and able to hear you. If you happen to be writing at the time, then write to the alter. Otherwise, tenderly and reassuringly speak to the alter – out loud if circumstances permit – using the feeling as a guide to what the alter most needs to hear. For example, if you are safe but feel timid or fearful, say such things as, “It’s okay, dear one, you are safe now. The scary things have come to an end. How can I help you feel safe? Can you tell me a little about why you are afraid?” Using words that little children can understand could be helpful in case the alter only has a child’s vocabulary.

    If the feeling you are picking up is one of confusion or of being small, it could be because the alter has been inside for years longer than he/she realizes and present-day reality is very different to what the alter expects. Say such things as, “It’s okay, you have just been asleep for years but you are safe. Things are different because life is much better than it used to be. Would you let me be your friend?”

    Even if you receive no reply, continue to softly chat for a while. If you receive no response and the feeling that made you wonder if an alter were present suddenly goes, it could be that the alter has fled back into hiding and will come out again a little later.

    Note Your Inner Talk

    A friend who has Dissociative Identity Disorder gives this suggestion for becoming aware of alters:

      Pay special, sensitive attention to things you might have thought were just ordinary. When I sensed a baby crying in the back of my mind, for example, I thought I was just tired. Or when I heard a little song repeating itself in my thoughts, like something a child would sing, I again thought at first that it was just normal background “noise.”

    You might occasionally hear a sentence or two spoken in your mind that seems out of place. For example, you might be feeling content and suddenly hear in your mind, “I wish I were dead.” You might not be surprised by such events. After all, if you have D.I.D. you have lived with alters for most of your life, even if you have dismissed them. From now on, however, be on the alert for any such times and treat them as opportunities to attempt contact with alters.

    The Surprising Power of Journaling

    Journaling is an excellent way to make contact with alters and to come to grips with deep issues in one’s life. This journal is private and God loves honesty. He is not afraid of truth or surprised about your deepest doubts and concerns. So let go of inhibitions and pour out your heart – your feelings, your fears, frustrations, childhood memories, how you feel about family members, and so on. Don’t evaluate its accuracy or in any way analyze it – you can do that another time. For now, just let it flow.

    As already mentioned, different alters are likely to be active at different times of the day and can be triggered by different events into hiding or becoming active. To make the most of this, try to journal at various times of the day and night and maintain this practice over a long period, preferably indefinitely.

    Every now and then, read back through all you have written. Some entries might be in a different handwriting style or use different (often more child-like) spelling and grammar to what you would normally use, or the content might surprise you. It might take months for anything significant to appear.

    Try to make a copy of what you journal and store the copy elsewhere because it is quite possible that at some point an alter might destroy it in a cleaning spree or a moment of panic. Possibilities for creating a copy include photocopying, scanning or typing it into a computer and putting a copy on a USB (thumb) drive.

    Retain copies of such things as emails that you send and treat them as additional sources of information. If you already have writings from the past – even if it is just such things as old e-mails to friends or counselors – treasure them. They can end up being valuable sources of information. Even if you get no response, try discussing their content with alters.

    Another friend of mine with Dissociative Identity Disorder shares this thought:

      We offer a drawing pad/journal/notebook to alters that they can keep private from the rest of us if they wish. We have a basket of our journals. Sometimes we share but we never read without permission. Often the alters who had been asleep for years journal a lot privately for the first bit before they start really sharing with us in other ways. It’s kind of like learning you can trust the others by making sure they keep their promises in not reading what you write.

    Don’t Waste Dreams and Flashbacks

    Dreams and flashbacks can be exceedingly unpleasant, so don’t waste them. They contain valuable information, so record them. The obvious place for this is in your journal. Writing them out and thinking about them when relaxed and fully conscious can help remove some of their terror (which might possibly be beneficial, should the dream recur). The practice also provides a good opportunity to ask alters about the dream or flashback – what does it mean to them, how do they feel about it, and so on.

    Dreams can sometimes be like flashbacks – accurate memories of past events that you may or may not be aware happened. Alternatively, some dreams are the mind trying to come to terms with things that have been bothering you. Sometimes you were not even conscious that these matters were bothering you. Both of these types of dreams can be valuable in giving you insight into what some of your alters might be coping with. However, some dreams can actually be alters seeking to communicate with you, either by symbolically revealing how they feel or by sharing accurate memories. Additionally, some dreams are alters trying to come to terms with things by imaging themselves in various scenarios.

    Don’t Underestimate Art

    Although you might not feel artistic or even like art, most children like expressing themselves through art and so it could be a way of enticing quite young parts of you to express themselves (and so begin to communicate), especially as deep feelings can be impossible to put into words.

    Don’t forget that art can include collage, montage, using such mediums as Playdough (Play-Doh). Be cautious about using paint, however. Some alters find the fluidity of pain frustrating or even triggering. Try visually expressing feelings, as well as portraits, self-portraits, and anything else that you feel the urge to portray. I encourage you to sometimes try art as therapy and a means to contact your alters. This will probably involve a different approach to art than you usually do. In this case, say out loud at the beginning and several times during the session, something along the lines of, “This is your turn to paint [or draw or whatever], and to have fun or express deep feelings and I promise to try hard not criticize or interfere.” Then keep letting the artistic expression flow. Don’t worry if you think it looks hideous, childish, weird, dark or whatever. Don’t judge it negatively, or try to correct or improve it. Just let it flow, saying out loud encouraging things about the art like, “Good!” Even if it seems you are just talking to yourself, towards the end of an art session or at the end (but before that part of you leaves), speak to the part out loud, saying such things as, “What feelings are you expressing through this art? Is there an event in your past that moved you to express yourself this way? What does this artwork mean?” And so on. Even if it is vague, take great note of what response comes to you (it might be good to write it down or audio record it for future reference) and dialog with the part of you that is revealing these things, coaxing that part to tell you more. Don’t comment negatively or say such things as, “That can’t be true.” Instead, listen carefully and express empathy and offer comfort and encouragement.

    It has been suggested that talking when being artistic should be minimized as it can interfere with the creative process. Nevertheless, it is quite possible that by striving for perfection or getting impatient with yourself in earlier attempts at art, you unknowingly pushed aside an alter, hurting his or her feelings and making the alter reluctant to try again. This makes it necessary to reassure alters that nothing like that will happen this time. How much approval and convincing is needed will vary from alter to alter.

    Try Poetry, Even if You Hate It

    You might hate poetry or be convinced you cannot write it but that might not apply to another part of you. In fact, the very attempt might encourage that part to take over during the writing session.

    Buy Toys Etc.

    If you feel yourself drawn to an affordable toy or game or something else that would normally be out of character for you, buy it and, when you feel the desire, play with it or use it.

    Use Reminders from Your Past

    Seek out things that remind you of various stages of your past – photos, school year books, mementos, music, old movies or television series (including those for children), Facebook pages of people you have lost contact with, and so on. Other possibilities include following an old family tradition, seeking out old familiar smells (perhaps pine, bacon, cinnamon, aftershave, and so on) or cooking with a family recipe. Such things could elicit a response from alters.

    If you are really desperate for a reaction you might actually visit areas where you once lived, make contact with people you knew at those times, and so on. I don’t recommend it, however. It could provoke extreme reactions from alters. You have Dissociative Identity Disorder only because you have suffered horrific things. You might expose yourself to predators you have always mistakenly thought were safe, and a highly vulnerable part of you might take over to “protect” you – an alter who feels too little to resist the predator’s advances.

    Use Your Non-Dominant Hand

    From time to time, try such things as writing, art work, playing sport or manual work, using the hand you do not normally use for that task. This might possibly entice out another alter, as some alters might be better at using that hand than you are or, even if they are not, your attempts at using that hand might be no better than that of a young alter. After using that hand for a while, talk out loud to yourself in the hope that an alter might hear and respond.

    Make Full Use of Inside Information

    If you have reached the point where you are friends with some alters, make full use of this advantage by asking them to search for more alters and, with the new alter’s permission, to tell you about him or her. If they discover any alters, ask them to put in a good word for you


    Reasons for Alters Being Silent

    We previously mentioned why alters might have personal issues with you. That is obviously important because you can adjust your behavior, but now we will discuss why various alters might not want to speak with anyone.

    Alters Threatened into Silence

    Neither I, nor my friend, had the slightest idea that one of her young alters had been tricked into being utterly convinced by her abuser that he had placed a demon inside her who would kill her the instant she revealed herself to anyone. Thankfully, quite out of the blue, this alter suddenly spoke to me. It turned out that she had heard me speaking kindly to other alters and she grew to like me so much and became so desperate to break her own isolation that she decided to speak to me even though she was certain that the very act would kill her. Naturally, that touched me deeply.

    There can be cases where real demons can be involved and, of course, they need to be cast out before certain alters feel able to communicate, while being extremely careful not to confuse a very angry, misguided alter for a demon.

    There might be no hint that alters terrified into silence exist and they might never think it worth getting a few words out before what they believe will be certain death (or torture, or the death or torture of a loved one). It would therefore seem wise to occasionally speak to any alters who might be listening (even though you are totally unaware of any), reassuring them that it is safe for them to speak with you and that any threats they might have been told about the dire consequences of speaking with you are nothing but cruel deceit. Since one never knows at what time of day or on what occasion such an alter might be listening, this would best be done on a number of random times and occasions.

    Baby Alters Too Young to Speak

    Mothers speak to their babies because this is how babies eventually learn how to speak, and because babies and people learning a new language are able to understand more than they can speak. Mothers also communicate through touch, body language and through guessing the babies’ needs and meeting them. Do likewise with any baby alters who are too young to speak. Like many alters who for various reasons do not speak, baby alters are likely to communicate through giving you feelings or flashes of their visual memory. The baby might cry a lot but eventually it will respond to your soothing attention and will begin to speak. The process of learning to speak might be much quicker than for a normal baby because this ability is stored in your brain that the baby shares. All that is required is for the baby to learn how to access this part of your brain.

    Other Alters Unable to Speak

    Some alters, even though formed at an age when other parts could speak, might have never spoken in their lives. They could take a while before they learn how to speak or gain the confidence to do so.

    Communicate with them as you would baby alters. Try to guess their fears and concerns and give them much reassurance and keep chatting to them about yourself, even if they don’t reply. Sometimes such alters communicate by thought to another alter who then acts as the alter’s spokesperson until the alter is ready to speak for himself/herself.

    Alters Who Cannot Understand Your Language

    If you only learned at the age of five the language you now use and prior to that you knew another language, an alter formed before that age is likely to not understand you or be able to communicate in your current language. It is not impossible for an alter to know only one language and for you to know only another language.

    Protector Alters

    It is not uncommon to have a key alter who not only believes it is dangerous for alters to reveal themselves but actually stops them from doing so. Such an alter might use threats or force or simply convince alters who respect his/her judgment that speaking with anyone is too dangerous. Winning the confidence of this alter and persuading him/her that it is safe for other alters to communicate with you or a counselor will therefore be a significant breakthrough in your quest to communicate with other alters. For a webpage devoted to further help with protector alters, see Protector Alters.

    Sleeper Alters

    You could easily have one or more sleeper alters, whose role is to remain inactive (and thus undetectable) unless triggered by certain rare events. An example is an alter created for the purpose of committing suicide (i.e. killing all of you) if the alter concludes on the basis of his/her limited perception of events that there is no acceptable alternative. A significant factor in keeping oneself from suicide can be compassion for loved ones (including other alters) hurt by one’s death. So this alter could feel duty-bound to have no contact with anyone in order to avoid risking any emotional bond that could hinder his or her resolve to kill the body if circumstances deteriorate.

    I have not come across it but it is theoretically possible for a sleeper alter to be formed whose mission is to commit murder if ever the alter decides that his or her safety is sufficiently threatened.

    It is obviously very important to persuade any such alter that there are always better options or at least options more pleasing to God than suicide or murder.

    The problem, of course, is that if you have such an alter you are likely to be completely unaware of it. It is therefore important to regularly explain to yourself why killing oneself or anyone else is never acceptable. Hopefully, this message will eventually get through to, and begin to convince, any sleeper alters.

    Here is a suggested plan of action if suicidal thoughts come:

      1. Take the matter seriously. Assess how great and immediate the threat is. For example, is it just a feeling or is there a definite plan to commit suicide?

      2. Quickly check all the alters to ascertain from which alter the plan is coming. Analyzing what triggered the suicidal feeling can be a clue as to which alter it could be. Speak to the alters until the alter is identified. Then give that alter whatever comfort, support, encouragement, prayer etc. is needed.

      3. If your attempts to help the alter are insufficient or the alter cannot be identified you might need to activate the anti-suicide plan. This has four levels, depending on the seriousness of the situation:

        (1) Break the isolation. Don’t be alone, even if it is only going to a store so that you are around people.

        (2) Call a friend and speak to him/her without mentioning the suicidal thoughts.

        (3) Tell the friend you are feeling suicidal.

        (4) Urgently call a counselor or a suicide help line.

    Undetected Abusers?

    Some people do not realize they have alters who are still being controlled by an abuser. Sometimes they have no idea the person is even an abuser. Don’t be surprised if alters stay silent while the abuser still has access to them by phone, Internet or in person.

    Alters who disappear

    Alters you have known will sometimes disappear. Occasionally, such alters are feared to be dead. In fact, even the alters who disappear can sometimes believe they are dead, and sometimes alters go to be with God to be comforted. However, alters cannot die while the rest of the body is still alive. They are simply out of contact, and you are likely to see them again when they feel that outside circumstances have changed enough for them to feel safe about returning.

    When an alter is not around for a while it is common for people to mistakenly assume they have merged or integrated with another alter. If this really has happened, then the alter or alters with whom this alter has integrated will be very aware of it. They will feel more empowered because they will have this alter’s strengths and abilities in addition to their own. What usually happens when an alter disappears, however, is that something the alter found scary or disturbing has caused him/her to panic and flee from contact with the outside world, and sometimes from contact with other alters as well.

    Alters who are just getting used to being out of hiding are particularly jittery and confused. The slightest thing is likely to send them scurrying into hiding so that they can work though the implications of what they have just learned. Usually they will be back out again fairly soon.

    For alters who have been out much more, it usually takes something more significant to spook them. It could still be quite harmless but it is something that deeply upsets them, such as something that vividly reminds them of some past terrifying experience. When the alter who vanishes is one who has been out a lot, the loss is likely to be severely felt because that alter could have exclusive access to knowledge and skills that are vital to employment or everyday life. (This is one reason why other alters should ideally be trained up to cover such a loss.) How long the alter will be in hiding is anyone’s guess.

    We mentioned earlier the value of creating in one’s imagination a safe and private place for alters to retreat to and how this place should be fitted with intercom. We have also mentioned the importance of continually communicating with, nurturing and encouraging alters so that they are less inclined to return to hiding.


    I urge you to pray that God reveal every alter to you in the sequential order and timing that would be best for you. He knows far more about this than you or any counselor.


    The Bottom Line

    Dissociative Identity Disorder begins as an extreme response to an extreme situation, but it ends up a nightmarish addiction to not facing issues that desperately need facing. It starts off as a child having no choice and ends up a way of life with the potential to ruin your adulthood because even though you now have a choice, acting like the helpless child you once were has become a crippling habit. Put in monetary terms, it is like going into unavoidable debt, hurtling towards financial ruin, and then you finally begin to earn an income and have the potential to end the nightmare but you find yourself continually overwhelmed by devastatingly powerful temptations to block from your consciousness your economic crisis and keep plummeting headlong into disaster by reckless spending.

    This addiction to living in denial is as cruel as forcibly injecting a child with heroin until living without the drug seems intolerable. Being healed from Dissociative Identity Disorder is so much better that it is worth any cost, but it involves facing memories and issues that will take an iron will to face. No matter how weak and useless your battered self-esteem tricks you into thinking yourself to be, however, with God you can become one of the heroes who heal.

    Discovering alters is an exciting adventure, with significant challenges but immense rewards. I do not claim to have addressed every possibility but I believe I have provided you with enough to further your healing journey. Moreover, I believe you are now empowered with the understanding of what keeps alters silent so that you can develop your own techniques for furthering your healing.

    Related Pages

    I recommend you next read How to Speed Healing of Dissociative Identity Disorder. I draw your attention, however, to Quick Help for Every Dissociative Identity Disorder Emergency if you have a specific question for which are anxious for a quick answer.

    Help If You Fear, Despise or Even Hate Certain Alters

    Angry, Bad, Mean, Nasty Alters (Insiders)

    Self-Help: I Hate My Alters

    Real-Life Counseling of a Demon-Possessed Pedophile Alter

    How to Cure / Stop ‘Bad’ Alters

    “I Thought I Was the Opposite Sex!”

    Leading an Alter to Christ

    For much more insight and help, see Christian Resources: Index of Help for Dissociative Identity Disorder

    Personalized support

    Grantley Morris:

    © 2012 Grantley Morris.   May be freely copied in whole or in part provided: it is not altered; this entire paragraph is included; readers are not charged and it is not used in a webpage. Many more compassionate, inspiring, sometimes hilarious writings available free online at  Freely you have received, freely give. For use outside these limits, consult the author.

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