Multiple Personalities are NOT Demons?

Dissociative Identity Disorder & the Demonic

By Grantley Morris

Part of this webpage has been translated into Romanian


Multiple Personality Disorder & Deliverance from Evil Spirits

Dissociative Identity Disorder & Casting Out Demons

Christian Help

In seeking a sober, Spirit-led discussion of demons and Multiple Personality Disorder (now usually called Dissociative Identity Disorder) I immediately hit a snag. This will be quick, but as eager as I am for you and me to plunge into discovering the true spiritual identity of the ‘personalities’ in someone with Multiple Personality Disorder, I must alert you to three blockages to the spiritual revelation we seek.

By Grantley Morris One potential blockage to understanding the relationship between Dissociative Identity Disorder and the demonic is a failure to take seriously the reality of demons in twenty-first century western society.

By Grantley Morris Many of us avoid that blockage, only to fall for another lurking on the opposite extreme. We can become so demon-conscious that we fear the demonic or start seeing demons where there are none. This can close us off from what God wants to reveal to us, just as seriously as being blinded to the reality of demons.

    To what extent does the demonic frighten you? What makes this question so critical is that fear paralyzes. It does more than undermine rational investigation. Rather than opening us up to divine revelation, fear compels us to slam shut our minds and bolt the door. Fear erodes the most vital aspect of spiritual life: faith. Not only is faith necessary for salvation, it is essential for answered prayer, spiritual growth and receiving (and accepting) divine revelation. Fear screams that we surrender to it and obey it, rather than God. We must fear God not demons.

    Sadly, many Christians are needlessly terrified of demons; not realizing that for anyone serving Jesus, demons are ninety percent bluff. Too many of us, whilst believing that some Christians have authority over demons, fail to grasp that every Christian has this power. All of us battle temptation and spiritual opposition. Average Christians typically contend with spiritual powers more often and more successfully than they realize and, with a little instruction, they can competently confront and defeat demons. For help in breaking needless fear and gaining confidence in the empowering that is yours in Christ, see Spiritual Warfare: Turning Personal Spiritual Attack into Victory.

By Grantley Morris The last obstacle to hearing from God that I should mention is having a heart that is contrary to God’s. No matter how much we ask for revelation, this biblical principle remains:

    Isaiah 59:1-2 Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

    James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

    (Other Scriptures)

    The Almighty has no interest in satisfying idle curiosity or prejudice, nor with feeding a judgmental spirit or pride. His passion is to empower you to love as he loves until your love burns so fiercely that all interest in your own advancement and/or comfort evaporates and all you want is to join forces with him in setting people free.

* * *

Presumption Versus Spiritual Revelation

To anyone who knows the reality of demons, it is an obvious presumption that if someone has within him personalities that do evil without his conscious control or even his awareness, it must be demonic. But no matter how obvious it is to us, until one stops presuming and seeks the mind of God about a particular instance, it remains a presumption. And presumptions are dangerous. “Lean not on your own understanding,” (Proverbs 3:5 – see also these Scriptures) is wisdom that is both inspired and profound.

Surely if someone has intelligences within him that are not his, they must be demons. But what if the intelligences/personalities are not foreign entities after all? What if one’s mind has simply lost awareness of part of itself, like the mind can suppress memories and lose contact with that part of itself?

People can walk in their sleep and do weird, out-of-character things in their dreams, without it being demonic. It is possible for anyone’s deeply troubled mind to do anything else along these lines and it not be demonic?

Concluding that someone has a demon is such a grave matter that it demands extreme caution. As explained at the end of this webpage (see The Devastation of Mistaking an Alter for a Demon) mistakenly treating a part of a person as a demon can have appalling ramifications.

No matter how sincere the mistake, it is an atrocious offense to afflict a Christian who is already reeling in unfathomable agony by falsely accusing him/her of having a demon.

What would you be exposing yourself to if you accused the Holy Lord of having a demon? We should stagger in horror at the implications of our Lord’s words:

    Matthew 25:40-41  . . . Since you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels
    (King James 2000 Bible).

Yes, it is taken slightly out of context but the principle is unshakable. (More).

How would you expect highly sensitive people to react to respected Christians accusing them of having a demon? It could push someone over the edge spiritually or drive him to suicide. To contribute to such a disaster could call into play Jesus’ warning:

    Luke 17:1-2  . . . Things that cause people to sin are bound to come, but woe to that person through whom they come.It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.

To avoid blindly accepting presumption as fact and being so rash as to reject the need for divine input, we should humbly seek God about whether it could be possible for someone, somewhere to be so desperate to bury a mind-numbingly upsetting childhood memory that not only the memories but a larger fragment of the mind gets buried – a part that has not only memories but the capacity to think. If certain memories can become so disconnected from the rest of the person that the person moves on through life without them, is it possible for a part that is capable of thought and emotion to get left behind – pushed out of the consciousness so effectively that it is unable to benefit from the rest of the person’s subsequent development and increasing maturity?

The parts or ‘personalities’ within someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder are sometimes called insiders but I will use here the term more commonly used by counselors/therapist: alters.

To quote from what I have written elsewhere:

    Over very many years, I have kept meeting more and more alters who have seemed so evil or disgusting or obnoxious (often all three) that I would have felt certain they were demons, had it not been for my extensive experience. I have conversed with vast numbers of alters that I initially had to struggle not to despise. After showing them Christ’s tender love, however, each alter has quite quickly turned into a highly likeable person with an unmistakably beautiful heart. Primarily, the astonishing transformation occurred simply because I explained some matters that helped these alters finally have access to spiritual and other knowledge that other parts of the person already had.

    When you learn what ignorance such alters had been kept in, what basic abilities they had never been allowed to develop, what insidious lies they had been fed, and the fear and torment that had driven them, your heart will melt and your every tendency to be critical of them will evaporate. You will not only feel deep sympathy for them, you will probably end up admiring them for enduring an impossible situation as well as they had.

* * *

Disturbingly Complex?

With Dissociative Identity Disorder, things are rarely what they superficially seem. It gets so complex that merely listing the range of possibilities might so overwhelm as to tempt you to despair of ever sorting it out. If, however, with humility and patience, you keep looking to your Lord for his heart and mind, he will grant you discernment, provided your heart aligns itself with God’s.

Explore deep enough and with enough people with Dissociative Identity Disorder and you will discover:

    * Alters who are terrified of Jesus and/or hate him

    * Alters who are devoted to Jesus and love him with all their hearts

    * Alters who are hell-bent on committing hideous sex crimes

    * Alters who seem to be demons

    * Demons who seem to be alters

    * Alters who are convinced they are Jesus (very rare)

    * Demons who trick other alters into believing they are Jesus.

As you keep seeking divine revelation, however, you will discover that God passionately loves alters as much as anyone else Christ sacrificed his all for, and that he longs to set them free.

* * *

What happens when a fractured part of someone with multiple personalities has a powerful encounter with the Lord Jesus? Years and years of intensive experience with considerable numbers of traumatized people have granted me the privilege of seeing hundreds of fractured parts have such encounters. Each ‘personality’ has ended up not just surrendering to Christ but falling in love with him.

Over and over I have discovered that healing from Multiple Personality Disorder (Dissociative Identity Disorder) sometimes involves deliverance from demons but always involves ‘personalities’ making Jesus their Savior, Lord, Companion and Best Friend.

* * *

Many years ago, professionals universally rejected the confusing term Multiple Personality Disorder, replacing it with the term Dissociative Identity Disorder. The superseded term has remained in the mind of common people because it is easier to remember. What makes reference to ‘multiple personalities’ so confusing, however, is that it instantly biases anyone unfamiliar with the true nature of the condition to think of demons.

Dissociative Identity Disorder has nothing to do with foreign entities inside a person. What have been called ‘personalities’ are simply different manifestations of the same person with a different degree of awareness. It is rather like a sleeping person having a different degree of awareness to when he is awake, or how a person ‘lost’ in an absorbing movie is in a different mental state to when he is highly conscious of his immediate surroundings. Looked at from another angle, people manifest a distinctly different ‘personality’ when communicating with a baby than when talking with their boss, and different again when letting off steam with a buddy. Different circumstances cause us to switch into a different way of speaking and behaving. These differences, of course, have nothing to do with the demonic. So it is with the commonly misunderstood condition previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder.

* * *

We can understand someone suffering something so horrific that he cannot cope with thinking about it and his mind so effectively pushes it from his consciousness that he can no longer remember it. What happens, however, to little children whose mind so recoils from what they have suffered that they desperately need to suppress the memory but they cannot do so because the trauma often recurs, thus repeatedly reminding them of the horror?

Dissociative Identity Disorder is a rather ingenuous mental trick that allows, for example, a girl to function fairly normally at school by remaining unaware that last night she was sexually tortured and it is likely to be repeated tomorrow night. It is the product of a desperate attempt to retain one’s sanity in the midst of unspeakable distress, enabling part of the person to live in denial so that that part of the person can limp through life relatively free from conscious awareness of pain, while other parts of his/her mind continue to reel in unresolved agony over what they suffered.

This reaction to severe trauma is commonly believed to commence only in young children, but once their mind discovers this way of coping, it can become an automatic response that continues into adulthood. Some parts of their consciousness that formed to cope with unthinkable horrors might have assumed demonic-sounding names such as ‘Pain’ or ‘Evil.’ The first type of name reflects the current agony of that part of their consciousness. The second type reflects the fact that little children believe adult abusers, who commonly try to break their victims by labeling them as evil, and so on.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is not some theory dreamed up by non-Christians, such as secular psychologists, who are unaware of the reality of the spirit world. In fact, today, it tends to be less believed by secular psychologists than by Christian counselors.

I try to take my lead from Jesus who said he did only those things he saw the Father doing (John 5:19,30). In my deep, personal interaction with many Christians who have multiple personalities, I have frequently known the Lord Jesus to reveal himself in powerful, loving ways to various ‘personalities’ (alters) within people. I have frequently seen them embrace the power of the cross and be set free from guilt and shame as only Jesus can and undergo remarkable healings. I have also had close dealings with people with multiple personalities who have had demons. The evil spirits had, of course, to be commanded to leave in Jesus’ name, but the people’s alters were quite different to demons, even though the surface similarity could easily fool an inexperienced person, and even highly experienced counselors must practice this parable:

    Matthew 13:27-30 The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.

In other words, we must exercise a little restraint until we can be absolutely certain whether it is an alter or a demon.

Most people with Dissociative Identity Disorder have done their utmost to despise and suppress their alters, leaving that part of them not only unhealed of intense inner pain over past suffering, but cut off from social interaction and, even worse, cut off from any knowledge of the Gospel that the person gained at a later age. Consequently, alters typically act like bitter, angry non-Christians, just as anyone would if he or she were a rape victim condemned to years of solitary confinement, denied awareness of the Gospel, and told to the point of brainwashing that he or she is irredeemably evil. Once someone has sufficient insight to explain to alters the power of the cross, they fall in love with Jesus and undergo beautiful transformations which, of course, would be impossible for demons. To be frank, I have met many alters whose relationship with Jesus is so real and intimate that I’ve found it hard not to be envious. My extensive experience has confirmed over and over that, like all hurting children, alters are very dear to God’s heart.

We Christians often talk about the huge difference between head knowledge about God and heart knowledge. By teaching their alters about Christ, a powerful transference of head knowledge to heart knowledge takes place in someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder. The spiritual benefits are enormous.

* * *

The Devastation of Mistaking an Alter for a Demon

Enormous psychological and spiritual damage has been inflicted on people by well-meaning, but tragically mistaken, Christians who have confused Dissociative Identity Disorder with demonic activity. The result is like a surgeon blissfully supposing he is doing wonders by amputating the leg of the wrong patient. In fact, we will see there is a sense in which it is even more dangerous.

Child abusers normally do all they can to crush their victims’ self-esteem. With this happening in one’s formative years, it is the norm for people with multiple personalities to be exceedingly fragile, which makes it even more damaging when over-zealous demon chasers try to “cast out” a huge part of who they are. To reinforce an alter’s already dangerously false self-image by declaring them demonic could be the final straw. At the very least, any attempt to drive out an alter will succeed only in driving the alter into deep hiding, giving the primary part of the person temporary peace in that he/she is no longer aware of the alter, but making healing of the person’s inner pain, false guilt and so on, impossible (unless the damage is somehow reversed later). It could even result in the person’s suicide.

Still more appalling, the likely result of driving an alter not out (which is impossible) but into deeper hiding, is to give the deluded demon chaser the false impression that he has succeeded, thus spurring him to repeat his devastation on other vulnerable people.

It would be bad enough if your self-esteem were already so shattered by a horrific childhood that you are barely managing to battle the urge to kill yourself and then someone giving the impression of being an infallible authority on such matters wrongly pronounces that you have a demon. But what if someone whose opinion you and your friends deeply respect went way beyond that and did the unthinkable of confidently concluding – and probably declaring in the presence of all your friends – that you don’t just have a demon but that you are a demon?

See this from the perspective of one of the personalities that someone is vainly attempting to exorcise. Each personality has the same human consciousness that you have, and even greater sensitivities. Can you grasp the horror of being so vulnerable as to actually be in danger of believing someone trusted as a spiritual authority who has arrogantly convinced himself that you are not just disgustingly and dangerously evil but literally a demon? Try to conceive what it would be like for not just a precious but ultimately indispensable part of your being to be treated as a demon, but for someone to seriously believe that you are a demon – and, by implication, not human, but irredeemably evil and eternally damned.

Related Pages

Warning: Exorcism Dangers

Discerning Between Demons & Multiple Personalities

An Alter Meets Jesus

Healing Your “Inner Child” / Inner Pain Understanding DID

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

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