It is true that there are a lot of 'experts' that disagree that D.I.D. even exists. It is, however, actually not that rare. One university study
showed 10% of students enrolled in the study showed signs of D.I.D. (I don't have the study...I was told this by an expert in the field).
To answer your questions:
1. Is it possible for the different identities to not have different names?
It depends on the organization of the personality structure. In public, they often go by the same name. Often each alter will be given a name or they
will state their name when they reveal themselves in therapy, but this doesn't always happen. Each alter will reveal themselves in their own time and
on their own terms...some never do. Alters can be different ages as well as male or female.
2. Is it possible for the different identities to appear/disappear in longer intervals (weeks?)
Yes. Some alters will be present more often than others; other alters rarely, if ever, reveal themselves. In many cases, especially without therapy,
the different alters may not even know the others exist. Even with years of therapy, alters can remain hidden. Losing time is a common complaint of
someone with DID, especially if the personality structure is disorganized.
3. If you are close with someone who has the condition, would it always be blatantly obvious? Or are there cases of the identities hiding or
You have to understand that D.I.D is a response to extreme and often repeated trauma, usually before the age of 5. The splitting of the personality is
a coping mechanism against the trauma being inflicted. Each of the alters perceives and reacts to the trauma experienced differently. That being said,
a person with DID is very adept at hiding things....they and the alters are masters of hiding. Their condition is not obvious to most
people...friends, family, their children, etc... Even spouses don't see the shifts until they are aware of the condition.
Alters do hide themselves--some will hide for decades while others will only rarely reveal themselves. Still others are more front and centre. You
need to understand that with the trauma that leads to DID, boundaries and trust have been excessively violated--i.e: the boundaries of the original
personality as well as those of the alters have been completely disregarded. One alter may show trust in time, but others will be extremely wary or
completely untrusting. You cannot say to them "you can trust me"; they need to determine that themselves.
4. Can dissassociative identity disorder be mis-diagnosed as PTSD?
DID is an extreme form of PTSD.
5. If one of the identities makes a desicison and feels a certain way about something, can it prevent the others from going against them?
From my experience, this usually doesn't happen--the many override the few. If one alter wants to harm the body, the others can (and often do from my
experience) step in and protect the body. They can also step up and protect other alters from bullying by other alters as well. While each alter is
different, they all have experienced the trauma inflicted on the body and are thus all traumatized.
This being said, certain alters will "take the reins" in certain circumstances: one may be up front at work, another may be up front as a parent,
another may be up front in school, yet another may be up front in a romantic relationship. As alters can vary significantly in age (infancy to
adulthood), it makes sense that those with the maturity, experience and knowledge would be present in the circumstances that they are able to
6. Are there any definitive or "secret" "universal triggers" that can cause a change?
Violating trust and disrespecting boundaries can bring about a change. A change is usually an indicator that the alter that is present at the time is
being triggered and is reliving a trauma. It is not a good idea to trigger them just to meet a new alter--it is cruel to do so. In a more organized
structure, different alters can be asked to come forward, but in this case the decision is up to the alter. Trust is absolutely essential. One never
requests an alter to come forward without having established a deep trust with the person(s).
7. How is the issue broached with potential patients?
You don't broach it. Often times, other psychological issues will bring them into therapy and the determination is then eventually made by the
therapist. You don't broach it with the person...that would be a violation of trust and a disregard of their boundaries.
One suggestion I would make to you is don't assume anything. Diagnosis of DID and it's 'treatment' or 'management' is not something that can be
gleaned from secondhand information--it is a very complex disorder that really requires someone who is very experienced in diagnosing and treating it.
I honestly feel that your therapist over-stepped when she implied that your ex-girlfriend might have this disorder simply based on your recounting of
your experiences with her. There are other personality disorders and psychological states that can bring about personality and story changes as
I am sorry that you are experiencing the deep pain of love lost. It is not easy. However, while it is not unusual to try to understand why a
relationship ended, especially when one is in love, to assume that the possible presence of DID and that one alter made the decision without regard
for all the others is not how DID works. Forgive me for saying this, but it seems that you are grasping for a reason rather than accepting the
decision, which only holds you in your pain. The most important thing right now is for you to respect her decisions and her boundaries and focus on
your own healing.
a reply to: Lucidparadox