Experiences with Multiple Personality Disorder?

I once knew a person who claimed to have it, and I assume she was telling the truth. She occasionally came to meetings of an organization I belong to. She was a bright, interesting person and pretty open about the MPD. I would’ve liked to be friends, but at some level there was weirdness that made it not possible.

Some of the things she told me . . . .

There were eight or so very different personalities. They had different names, different speech mannerisms, completely different behavior patterns and outlooks on life. The name she used at the meeting was not her birth name nor the name of any of the personalities. It was an integrated personality she and her therapist had created. Some of the original personalities had already been integrated, which is a difficult painful process. The personalities do not integrate willingly.

She told me that if I saw her on the street and she didn’t greet me, it was because it was one of the personalities who didn’t know me.

The disorder was serious enough that she couldn’t work and was on disability.

Has anyone else known someone with multiple personalities?

Mental illness is not something to be ashamed of, but I would be wary of someone who lets you know they have a personality disorder simply because ya’ll bump into each other occasionally.

I can see her letting you know as a way of explaining why sometimes she won’t recognize you out in public…but still. I think I probably would have said something like, “If I ever see you when I’m out and about and I don’t say hello, please don’t take offense. I have difficulty recognizing faces.” Laying something heavy like MPD on an acquaintance is just a little bit TMI, IMHO.

Yep. Roommated with one - and only realized it because my dad is a therapist who specializes in deep abuse cases, and had several MPD/DID patients.

monstro, The meetings were a place where it was appropriate to discuss one’s problems openly.

About 30% of my patients are mentally ill, and 10% of them are very, very mentally ill. I take care of their physical health but am aware of their mental diagnoses.

In the last 10 years I don’t recall seeing a single patient with Multiple Personality Disorder. A number of patients did claim the diagnosis, but the attending psychiatrists didn’t think they qualified.

It’s now called DID (dissociative identity disorder) and incredibly rare. I know lots of people who work in the field and in 20 years and thousands of individuals served, you may see 1 case, 2 at most.

One more thing: even though it’s very common for trauma survivors to break off and compartmentalize parts of themselves and then define those parts in “roles” (warrior, child, protector, etc), most true DID patients are not aware consciously of the other alters with whom they coexist. That’s the treatment–to integrate the alters. So to say “I have 8 personalities” indicates awareness that likely would indicate higher integration than “if I see you I may not recognize you”… If that makes sense.

I was diagnosed with having multiple personality disorder.

So was I.

Is there a disorder that would make a person lie obsessively about having multiple personalities? “Linda” really seemed to know a lot about the subject and spoke of her experiences in a consistent manner. I had no proof that she was diagnosed and undergoing the therapy she described, but there was no reason to suspect she was lying, other than simple incredulity.

As I said, Linda was a bright, interesting person, but there was definitely something odd going on. Often she was agreeable to doing things together, and we had a good time, but activities were always initiated by me, and she was often hard to reach or pin down.

I never actually met any of the alternate personalities, but it was certainly fascinating to hear her (the Linda identity) talk about them and her struggle to integrate them. If she was lying, she was one very committed liar.

I like you.

That guy who posted before you is a douche though.

There was probably some sort of personality disorder–maybe even DID–but like I said, it is so so so rare. Possibly something on Cluster A Personality D/O…

A lot of mental health professionals nowadays don’t even think that “multiple personalities” exist. The woman behind the “Sybil” story ended up admitting she faked it: http://www.npr.org/2011/10/20/141514464/real-sybil-admits-multiple-personalities-were-fake

As for why someone would lie about having multiple personalities…

That alone could be a good reason for why someone might pretend to be sicker than they really are. There are people out there who will fake being sick because they would rather be on disability than work (not saying that there aren’t legitimate reasons for disability benefits, but the reality is that people do try to scam the system).

There is also the possibility that someone might lie about it simply because it’s such a dramatic thing that they know it will guarantee them a lot of attention from others. I’m sure it’s not any big revelation that sometimes very emotionally disturbed people crave attention and drama.

I know a woman with this diagnosis. I don’t know if it’s real or not - there certainly are psychiatrists and psychologists who believe it’s real and I’m in no position to argue. I do know this lady was very, very sick when I knew her. Honestly DID seems about as likely as anything else - she didn’t have any of the unfortunate traits that are associated with personality disorders and she was in a bad way.

FWIW she held down a job and didn’t appear to be trying to get attention with her disorder - she really seemed scared like she didn’t know what the F was going on

Now how did THIS slip passed me? Wow. The thing is I can’t fault “Sybil” at all. She was entirely dependent on her doctor, who was entirely dependent on her. Mutual parasitism. That is just really messed-up.

My college girlfriend was diagnosed with it, several years after we had parted ways.

It’s been ~20 years since her diagnosis; we’re not close any more, but we do stay in touch. As she described it to me at the time of the diagnosis, what had, previously, simply been different aspects of her personality (the intense student, the fun-loving risk taker, etc.) became more distinct, and, after a mental-health crisis, including a suicide attempt, she wound up hospitalized, and that was where it was discovered.

My understanding is that, through a long process with therapists, she was able to overcome it, and seems to be largely, perhaps entirely, re-integrated. She’s now a successful and independent person, but the disorder ended a lot of what she’d dreamed about doing when we were in school together.

The main argument is that this is probably a therapist created disorder, ie that the client has problems, but is encouraged to view themselves as having multiple personalities as a way to explaining their experience.

As far as simulating it for other reasons, theres factitious disorder, which is basically where the person fakes having a condition in order to be cared for as ‘sick’. Its considered to be a highly underdiagnosed disorder.

Ive never seen anyone with DID either, have seen a few factitious disorder, and others where it was highly likely.


lavenderviolet, you have a good point about people exaggerating their disabilities to avoid working. A relative of mine is F’ing up in a big way, and I think it’s motivated by his desire to get full disability for PTSD. Yes, he went through a terrible thing, but it was a long time ago. It’s hard to say what accounts for his behavior since the only pre-military decision he ever made was to drop out of high school and enlist, knowing full well he’d be sent to a combat zone.

A very good friend dating back to high school was multiple.
She had, let’s see:
Her normal personality
The gang member (tough chick that would fight at the drop of a hat)
The baby (Scared Whinny 4 year old)
The super student (later morphed into the professional when she went into the work a day world)
The slut (on a date = JACKPOT!)
Plus probably one or two others I am not recalling

Dating her was like spinning the wheel of fortune. You never quite knew just which girl you were going out with that night. Sometimes you took home a different girl that you picked up, if you get my drift.
Anyway back about 20 years ago she went into some serious therapy and is integrated now.
Believe me being on a date with her, vs the baby vs the slut*, for sure there were 3 different people in there.

*Don’t say I didn’t warn you TMI ahead
Normal girl = kissy face, touchy feely like any other date with other girls
Baby = touch her boobs and she broke into tears
Slut = kiss her and she tore your clothes off.

fun times, a great lady one that I am proud to call my friend.