Dissociative Identity Disorder, commonly referred to as Multiple Personality Disorder, exists as a bizarre mental disorder in which a person acquires two or more distinct identities or personality states. The disorder received much attention through such accounts as Sybil and The Three Faces of Eve. Multiple Personality Disorder, caused from severe and inhuman sexual, physical, and mental abuse, affects the individuals consciousness and in turn creates altar selves. Categorized into three different groups, altar selves serve as a safety net for the individual, taking the memories out of the conscious mind and walling off the unwanted recollections. Interestingly, altar selves maintain different abilities, ages, dislikes, likes, and names. Many Canadians believe Multiple Personality exists only as an act on behalf of the individual, when in fact, Dissociative Identity Disorder lives as a very real disorder.
Canadians must educate themselves regarding the consequences of severe sexual and mental abuse, for then they will realize the severity of the disorder and aid in the criminalization of the abuser and the treatment of the abused. Many critics maintain Multiple Personality Disorder exists as nothing but an invention of the therapist. False memory syndrome, critics say, paves the path towards Dissociative Identity Disorder. By telling the patient he or she does have multiple personality disorder, the individual actually creates altar selves and ends up needing treatment for a disorder in which the therapist and patient created together. Due to the rarity of multiple personality, skeptics believe the theory of false memory syndrome explains the rise of Dissociative Identity Disorder within the past few decades. Dissociative Identity Disorder, most prevalent in women due to the high incidence of sexual abuse, begins in childhood or adolescence.
Typically, the child will exhibit symptoms such as frequent mood changes, irresponsibility, loss of memory, and disruptive behavior. On account of altar personalities taking control of the body, the child or adolescent may speak differently, display uncommon mannerisms, or get into more trouble than usual. As in the case of Billy Milligan, the first person to get off a criminal charge due to insanity by Multiple Personality Disorder, his mother noted he was either being the good or bad son. Altar personalities or selves are grouped into three categories.
The 'dominant' personality, the self most frequently in evidence, exists as the weak, intelligent, law abiding citizen. He or she remains unaware of the altars and does not remember the abuse which took place in earlier years. The 'dominant' personality ages with the body. The secondary personality, or the bad self, exists as the carrier of anger and the taker of pain. The secondary personality likes to get in trouble, play jokes on the dominant personality, and frequently acts in a promiscuous manner. The secondary self remembers the abuse which took place and he or she knows of the other altar selves.
She also ages with the body. Tertiary personalities exist as personalities created unconsciously by the dominant personality or by the secondary personality. Tertiary selves do not age, they remain the same age as when they were created. All altars have different names and different hobbies.
One personality may enjoy playing the piano and one may speak fluent Japanese. Also, altar personalities rate differently on personality tests and they may obtain different ailments such as diabetes or asthma. Individuals with multiple personality disorder can go on and receive successful treatment. Long-term psychoanalysis, in which the analyst will encourage the patient to confront repressed memories and expand his or her consciousness, provides the best results in recovery. Integration, or the combining of all the altars to create the true self, also provides success.
The therapist may teach the patient self hypnosis to aid in the control of depression, a common 'side-effect' of recovery. Skepticism regarding Dissociate Identity Disorder exists, though the illness proves to affect Canadians. Multiple personality disorder inhabits the minds of severely abused individuals and exists as the most serious of dissociative disorders. Treatment enables an individual to overcome altar selves and become a whole personality.
Canadians should not shun individuals with multiple personality disorder, instead we must better learn to protect all children from harm, thus aiding in the prevention of such tragic mental disorders.