Multilple Personality Disorders Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) was first recognized in the 1700’s but was not understood so therefore it was forgotten. Many cases show up in medical records through the years, but in 1905, Dr. Morton Prince wrote a book about MPD that is a foundation for the disorder. A few years after it was published Sigmund Freud dismissed the disorder and this dropped it from being discussed at any credible mental health meetings. Since then the disorder has been overlooked and misdiagnosed as either schizophrenia or psychosis.
Many in the medical profession did not believe that a person could unknowingly have more than one personality or person inside one body, even after the in the 1950’s Three Faces of Eve was published by two psychiatrist. In 1993, records showed that three to five thousand patients were being treated for MPD compared to the hundred cases reported ten years earlier. There is still as increase in the number of cases being reported as the scientific community learns more and more about the disease and the public is becoming more and more aware of this mental disorder. There are still many questions left unanswered about the disease, like Is it genetic? or Is a certain type of personality more vulnerable to the disorder? but many aspects of how people come by the disorder are already answered (Clark, 1993, p.17-19) MPD is commonly found in adults who were recurrently abused mentally, physically, emotionally, and/or sexually as young children, between birth to 8 years of age. The child uses a process called dissociation to remove him/herself from the abusive situation. Dissociation is when a child makes up an imaginary personality to take control of the mind and body while the child is being abused.
The child can imagine many personalities but usually there is a personality for every feeling and or emotion that was involved during the abuse (BoyyM, 1998, p.1). As an adult, the abused child finds it hard to keep track of time and may have episodes of amnesia. Other symptoms that will appear in adults with MPD are depression, auditory and visual hallucinations (hearing voices) and suicidal thoughts. Another major symptom is when the adult has no recollection of their childhood. The adult with MPD has no idea they were abused as children and also unaware of the other personalities living inside of their head (Multiple Personality Disorder-fact sheet, 1996-99, p.1). Multiple Personality Disorder is when there is the presence of two or more distinct identities or personalities, each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self(BoyyM, 1998, p.1).
There can be anywhere from two to over a hundred different personalities. Usually each personality will fall into one of the following categories: core, host, protectors, internal self-helper, fragments, child members, preteen, teenager, adults, artistic/music, cross-gender, cross-colored, animal members, inanimate members (BoyyM, 1998, p. 2-3). The host personality is the person who is the multiple, this is the original personality, or the one that created the other personalities, but is unaware of them. The most common apparent identities are the child, persecutor, rescuer, and helper.
The child is the identity that is under the age of twelve. They behave as children often sucking thumbs, twisting hair, like to eat cookies, throw tantrums, and use child-like vocabulary. The Persecutor identity is the self-destructive identity that is violent and angry. Persecutor identities usually have a drug/alcohol problem and generally put the host at risk. The rescuer personality is usually devoid of emotion but logical, able, proficient, and responsible.
The helper personality knows the most about the history of the multiple; they generally want to help everyone for the general good. The helper personality is the personality that is most helpful in therapy because they usually know about all the other identities (Clark, 1993, p.80-83). Subpersonalities are not only part of a person with MPD but they are also evident in emotionally normal persons as well. Although, in a normal person, he/she remembers when their subpersonality takes over, but in a MPD patient, the personality disconnects from the host that the host can not remember what happens. When a traumatic experience happens, whether positive or negative, a subpersonality will develop. In a normal person, the splitting is broken into an ok self and a not ok self.
In a multiple, the personalities are more defined; they are broken into smaller fragments that disassociate from the human host (Rowan, 1990, p. 7, 20). In the book by Terri A. Clark, M.D., it shows the distinct the personalities are in several cases. It also displays how each identity can be different from the other identities and the host.
In one of Clark’s cases, Veronica, one of the personalities of her patient Regina, showed up for the weekly appointment instead of Regina (note that it really was Regina, but she was a different identity). Clark noticed a change in the appearance of Regina on her arrival and noted the difference in her voice. Veronica (Regina) continued to speak to Clark as if it was the first time they had met. Although, Veronica knew about Clark, Regina’s personal life, and therapy, this was the first time Clark had met this personality. Clark discovered while talking to Veronica that she had a separate business which she ran on the weekends, and when Veronica was in control of the body.
Regina had no idea about the business; Veronica used the fake name and an Art Gallery’s telephone number in which to run her business. Veronica even had a different handwriting than Regina. According to Clark, each personality has its own distinct features, such as handwriting, fashion taste, hobbies, and culinary taste. In most cases, there will always be personality that writes with their left hand, while the host and other identities write with their right. In Regina’s case, Veronica wore different clothes than Regina and she had an interest in fine art.
Each personality of a host, when asked, will tell you they have a certain type of hair color and cut, height, weight, and even gender (Clark, 1993, p. 73-78). The problem with having all these personalities is that they do not mesh well. Consequences can arise from having so many different traits inside one body like eating and sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse (Smith, 1993, p.1). Each alter also has their own name, these names can come from anything but there are three common factors that influence the alters name.
Some alters are just born with the name, this is when the alter is modeled after a real or fictional character. Some alters are named after emotional responses, such as Sad One or Angry Janie. Many alters are named for the specific job they are supposed to do, like Director, Helper or Avenger. The names chosen have been created by a child so they are most likely modeled after a fictional or real character. Although the host will have no idea of the other personalities and will not respond to the names at first, the alters respond to the birth personalities name (Clark, 1993, 90-91). The circumstances that the identities get the host into can also become a problem.
The different alters while in possession of the body can go somewhere where the host does not know and then leave and the host is left with no idea how he/she got there and how to get back. In Sybil, one of the first times she realized she had a problem was when she had to leave her Columbia University Chemistry Lab when something broke. The last thing she remembered was standing at the elevator but when she regained consciousness she was in the warehouse district of Philadelphia. Miles from where she had been before in New York and it was five days later (Schreiber, 1973, p. 23-36).
The persecutor identity has a tendency to leave the host in dangerous situations. Carla, one …