I answered this DCMS Mail twice. My first response was crap on account of I inadvertently wrote it more for my critics than the person who asked the questions. I restricted the scope of that answer to my own personal experience and even threw in this ‘find your own answers’ thing that just ended up sounding like a condescending cop-out rather than the humble abdication of authority I was going for. I didn’t realize I was doing any of that at the time, but the whole thing just nagged at me and when I revisited the email exchange it was crystal clear.
It was also pretty amusing. I mean, that first response wasn’t necessarily wrong. It just wasn’t me. And the thing is, Anonymous asked … that’s right, ME.
What could my alters try to come to an agreement on? They get along, but frequently a lot of friction between agreements. How in the end will they help me? I guess to further clarify it would be, do the alters try to come to some peaceful place for me. What is their goal?
If five or more of you want to read the original response, I’ll publish it separately. (It’s actually pretty funny because it’s so transparently not my style.) Here’s the sugar-free and unfiltered Holly Gray version:
The goal of any Dissociative Identity Disorder system is to protect the psyche. And it’s not just the goal; it’s the reason your system exists at all. Those of us with DID managed overwhelming psychic stress by compartmentalizing it. It worked. So we did it again. And again, and again, and again until we developed several (or more) versions of who we are.
People who do not have DID dissociate, too, and for essentially the same reason – protect the psyche. And when it comes down to it, we are all protecting our psyches from the same thing – threats to our sense of self. It’s just that people who don’t have DID can usually accomplish this by rejecting outside others who embody something they cannot accept as part of who they are, who they once were, or who they might one day be. People with Dissociative Identity Disorder do that same thing, but we also reject those embodiments internally. And we do it so effectively that we’re often entirely unaware that those embodiments – alters – exist at all.
So you see the goal of your alters – including you – is to, for lack of a better phrase, maintain homeostasis. Fortunately (because I do think this is ultimately a good thing) life has a way of thwarting that. A Dissociative Identity Disorder diagnosis, for example, dramatically disrupts the status quo. Which is part of why the first year or so after diagnosis is so turbulent for many.
Hang in there. It gets easier.