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So I realize that the theory of the structural dissociation of the personality is all about categorizing alters into either ‘apparently normal parts’ or ’emotional parts.’ These categories of ANP’s and EP’s definitely describe large portions of my system. However, I have come to discover that I have alters that don’t fit into that spectrum. I theorize that some of these alter types may work by different neural or cognitive mechanisms (that none-the-less result in a similar end result and are likely to co-occur together in traumatic situations by virtue of being mediated by different types of defense mechanisms; I am also going to argue here that psychedelic states represent a primitive defense mechanism.) I don’t know that any of this is empirically accurate, but I thought I would throw in a qualitative description of some interesting features of my personality system. Who knows.

Tulpas, Associatives and Internal Caretakers

These alters do not fit on the trauma spectrum for me (usually.) My accidental tulpas (and intentional tulpas from later in life) are generally very empathetic, concerned for the well-being of the body, and not particularly dissociative nor prone to PTSD. My internal caretakers, despite very rarely taking executive control, are similarly empathetic and seemingly removed from the trauma/dissociation spectrum (relative to an ANP; probably still more prone to those things than someone without DID/PTSD.) Some of these alters are what I call “associative alters,” which are alters that sprung up due to a powerful emotional experience linked to a concept – for instance, I have an alter that sprung up from how impressed I was from the intense experience of the color of a song, or from the rush of curiosity a certain concept evokes for me. This makes me wonder if synesthesia might correlate with multiplicity. I consider some of my fictives to be this – parsing the character’s personality was such a vivid experience that it caused the concept in my mind to take on prominence. I can create temporary alters out of the feeling of vivid color associations.

Fantasy-driven Alters: Immersive and Expressive

I have alters that appear to be driven by the fantasy defense mechanism. They are not entirely free from the trauma response, though they feel different than the ANP/EP alters. Rather than feeling strictly dissociative when they front (at least in the same way the ANP’s do,) different weird feelings occur; these feelings translate readily into creative expression or immersion. Rather than feeling nothing like the strictly dissociative parts, dream-like translations of disowned affect are experienced by these parts. Some of these parts are based in the immersive experience of another world – for instance, some of my alters are based on the feeling of being from a different fictional world or being a fictional character, which came about from using media to escape encroaching traumatic feelings. More complex parts are the embodiment of metaphorical translation of real, underlying trauma (however, these parts themselves do not contain the actual literal knowledge of the memory – a different part that is nearby truly contains that) and can create complex story or other artistic narrative expressions of the underlying trauma.

Altered State-based Alters and Spiritual Alters

There are several different altered states that have led to distinct and surprisingly well-adjusted personality states within my system: near death experiences and religious experiences, psychedelic experiences, intense dreams (there is a possibility that dream alters represent alters that are regular alters that are connected to things I do not yet have conscious access to,) and trance states associated with spiritual practice.

Regardless of one’s personal feelings on mysticism/spirituality, religious experiences, near death experiences, and trance states are regularly observed and established phenomona. I do not mean to imply there is some sort of magic to being multiple or dissociative. Rather, I would like to argue that spiritual experiences and near death experiences are a type of defense mechanism, another way in which to make the world more bearable.The alters left over from altered-state type experiences of this nature tend to have a less linear thought process than my alters of other types, however they tend to also be highly resilient to external circumstances and stressors, experience the world vividly (albeit sometimes in weird/novel ways, such as by experiencing a new vocabulary word as a vivid spiritual experience,) and do not particularly dissociate. However, depending on the circumstances of the altered state personality’s creation, if they were created around a traumatic experience there tends to be another alter(s) that holds the horror/pain of the experience and sometimes these altered state alters experience a dream-like translation of these PTSD-related affects.

What's everyone else's experience?

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March 2017

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