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Learning more about multiple personality disorder, now referred to as dissociative identity disorder, is the first step in assisting a friend or partner with this condition. It can be frustrating, isolating, and devastating to live with a dissociative identity disorder. Frequently, media depictions of the condition are stigmatizing, making individuals with the disorder appear unpredictable or dangerous. This stigma, coupled with the fact that only two percent of the population suffers from dissociative identity disorder, might make many individuals with the condition unwilling to seek professional care or to confide in their loved ones.

When you first find that a friend has multiple personality disorder, you may feel afraid or wonder if they are the individual you thought they were. However, these concerns and anxieties are unfounded. Trauma is the core cause of dissociative identity disorder as a mental health problem. People with the condition are not inherently dangerous and deserve and are capable of love, kindness, and compassion just as much as anyone else.

Learning further about how to act towards someone with multiple personality disorder will help you in improving your relationship with them by comprehending what your friend or loved one is experiencing and educating you on how to provide support. By informing yourself, you can prevent adding to the trauma your buddy is likely already enduring and enhance the possibility that they will seek professional therapy and counseling.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder, can be a grueling and terrifying condition for both the individual with DID and the people in their lives. DID is an identity disorder characterized by the emergence of multiple different personality states. DID is a disputed disorder, thus those who suffer from it may face severe stigma. To encourage health, show compassion to a person with DID.

Understanding Dissociative Identity Disorder

Know the symptoms. DID is defined by the presence of multiple identities, often known as alters. Frequently, these identities are intricate, with their distinct histories and behavioral and physical characteristics. An adult, for instance, may have a child alter. Changes in attitude and preferences may be accompanied by alterations in speech and physical movement.

Suspend your judgments. Due to the stigma associated with having a mental illness, many individuals with mental problems do not seek or adhere to therapy. Despite its inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illnesses (DSM-5) including diagnostic criteria for all mental disorders, DID is not universally recognized as a disorder. This may be especially true for those with DID. Avoid adding to the embarrassment and shame that an individual with DID may already experience.

If you know the individual, you should ask questions. If the person is a family member or friend, inquire about their encounters and experiences to demonstrate your concern. Do not inquire about the mental health of a stranger, as they may be overwhelmed with such inquiries.

Supporting a Person with Multiple Personality Disorder

Simply be there. People with mental problems are frequently left feeling quite alone due to the effects of stigma and shame. Assist the individual in keeping a positive relationship by interacting with them actively. There is no need to discuss DID. It may be preferable to avoid mentioning the disorder when spending time together. This could assist them in feeling “normal.”

Join a help group. Support groups are an excellent method to connect with others who have had similar experiences. To demonstrate support, you should begin attending a self-help or support group together.

Due to the rarity of DID, you might not be able to locate a local support group for this disease. In larger cities, there may be Dissociative Disorders-specific support groups, but in smaller cities, you might have to hunt for generic mental health support groups.

Be a supporter. Joining an advocacy group is a good way to show that you care about the person and want to help them. This will provide you with additional education and a chance to feel helpful.

Invite the individual to join you. Participation in an advocacy group may aid individuals in gaining a deeper understanding of their social experiences and overcoming stigma.

Managing Switching

Assist someone with DID in avoiding triggers. Trauma is widespread among those with DID, and dissociation is typically correlated with extreme emotional stress. This suggests that powerful emotions may cause “switching”

Help a person with DID remain calm during stressful situations to prevent switching. If you observe that the interaction is becoming emotionally heated, it is advisable not to make a fuss.

Present yourself. If you are there at an alter’s presentation, the alter could or might not recognize you. If an alter does not recognize you, the individual may be puzzled or terrified. Introduce yourself and describe how you understand the person to help them feel comfortable.

Promote treatment adherence. Typical DID treatment involves regular counseling and lifestyle modifications. Prescription medicine may also be used to treat individuals with sadness and/or anxiety. To be effective, treatment must be adhered to; hence, encourage the individual’s efforts to comply.

Multiple personality disorder is a posttraumatic developmental disease defined by the presence of one or more unconnected parts of themselves, commonly referred to as “alters.” These alterations are components of a larger system that constitutes the individual. 

Although some of these “alters” may be conscious of one another, others may be oblivious to the existence of the other personalities and may have entirely different views, ideas, and levels of maturity. When additional alters are present, it is generally difficult for people to recall past experiences. Alters may occur in response to particular events and emotions, or they may agree on a changeover.

Alters are believed to be generated by a mental process called dissociation, which detaches an individual from their memories, thoughts, and sense of identity. Frequently, the mind undergoes dissociation to survive, cope with, and protect the individual from severe physical, sexual, or mental trauma. In most situations of dissociative identity disorder, this trauma occurs during childhood.

Although it might be difficult to know how to interact with a person with multiple personality disorder, making an attempt to comprehend your friend’s experiences and seeking advice are excellent first steps.

Several important approaches to assist a person with multiple personality disorder include:

Remain Calm During Switches

In many instances, the transition between alters is subtle. Occasionally, the shift can be more abrupt and unsettling. Suddenly, it seems as though a completely different individual is inhabiting the body of your partner or friend. While this situation may be uncomfortable and unexpected, maintaining your composure and engaging your partner in their current mental state can be of great assistance. As perplexing as it may be for an outsider to observe a changeover, it is often more unsettling for the individual experiencing it, particularly if they are treated with hostility or fear.

Acquire The Capacity To Identify And Avoid Triggers

Triggers, or environmental stimuli, are what cause personality alterations in people with multiple personality disorders. This condition can be provoked by anything that produces a strong emotional reaction, such as specific locales, odors, senses of touch, sounds, times of the year, or big crowds of people. These triggers are highly idiosyncratic and can vary significantly based on the trauma that led to the development of multiple personality disorder. Your goal is to identify your friend’s triggers by asking them openly or watching their behavior and to assist them in avoiding them whenever feasible.

Take Care Of Yourself

Being close to an individual with multiple personality disorders can be emotionally exhausting. It can be difficult to be watchful for triggers and various changes. Frequently, people with this illness have endured very painful experiences, generally in childhood, and it can be difficult to hear about them. The best way to assist a buddy is to prioritize your own mental and physical well-being.

Every individual we date and every relationship we have challenges us to learn and develop. Dating a person with multiple personality disorder might be baffling because of the complex emotions and novel situations you encounter, but it can also be quite gratifying. And with some mental adjustment and acclimation, relationships can be extremely solid and long-lasting.

Educate yourself and be well-informed. Receiving a diagnosis of multiple personality disorder or dissociative identity disorder can be a frightening experience, and having a loving and knowledgeable spouse can be of great assistance. Educate yourself through internet publications, books, and videos, as well as conversations with your partner and other individuals with DID. In addition, you may find it beneficial to educate yourself on the frequent misunderstandings surrounding DID.

Accept your relationships with each alter as eccentric, different, and unique. If the person you’re dating is like the majority of persons with DID, their various alters will desire different things out of life and your relationship! Alters can have a range of sexual orientations, genders, and ages, all of which impact romantic relationships. One of their alters may wish to date you, while others may simply like to be your buddy.

In continuation of the last advice, avoid having sexual relations with child alters. These “alters” of your date companion should not be pushed to adult things. Child alters are fragile alters of your mate.

Understand that changing identities are not always optional. You may desire to devote more time to one feature of your date companion, but that alter becomes less and less prominent over time. Try to adjust your perspective from dating only one or two alters to being a partner and a friend to the entire system, and do what will help your partner’s healing. They require care and affection just like other children.

Do not exploit the alter with a hypersexual persona. Sometimes alters are developed for the goal of satisfying an abuser’s sexual desires, and even after the abuser has left, the alter remains. They may be hypersexual and susceptible to re-victimization and other adverse events.

Dissociative identity disorder in marriage can be hard to manage. Be understanding, sympathetic, and patient as your spouse with dissociative identity disorder endures what can be a protracted healing process. This is a complex mental condition, and depending on the degree of the trauma and the intensity of the symptoms, it could be several months for the patient to recover and be ready to return home. A person with DID can control and decrease different identities and resume a normal life with proper treatment. Here are some things to remember to provide your loved one with the greatest possible support following residential care:

Support ongoing therapy. Most dissociative identity disorders in intimate relationships cannot be healed easily. They are chronic conditions that can reappear during stressful situations. Encourage your spouse to continue treatment regularly if you want them to retain good mental health.

Be patient. Identities that were brought under control through therapy may reappear. Be patient and assist your partner with using the regaining-control methods they learned in treatment.

Do not engage in identity games. There isn’t any way to convince your partner to abandon their alternative persona. This may exacerbate the condition. Instead, always be truthful.

Try to recognize triggers. Your partner will learn in treatment what factors tend to induce personality changes. Ensure you are aware of these triggers and assist your partner in being more vigilant and aware of them.

Together, practice good mental hygiene. Your partner will have acquired healthy coping skills through counseling. For example, if an individual’s personality alterations are triggered by stress, it is important to have coping mechanisms such as meditation or exercise. Participate in these activities with your spouse to promote and benefit them.

Assist with memory lapses. You are aware that your spouse may continue to have memory gaps if personalities reappear. If they appear bewildered at times, assist them by explaining any information they may have missed.

  1. How to help a friend with Dissociative Identity Disorder: Learn more. The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab. Available at: https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/dissociative-identity-disorder/how-to-help-a-friend-with-dissociative-identity-disorder.
  2. Guide to dating someone with Dissociative Identity disorder. Psyche. Available at: https://vocal.media/psyche/guide-to-dating-someone-with-dissociative-identity-disorder.
  3. Supporting a spouse with dissociative identity disorder through treatment and beyond. BrightQuest Treatment Centers. Available at: https://www.brightquest.com/blog/supporting-a-spouse-with-dissociative-identity-disorder-through-treatment-and-beyond.
  4. Tips For Partners Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder, HealthyPlace. Available at: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2011/01/for-partners-living-with-dissociative-identity-disorder.

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