Multiple Personality Disorder

I’m surprised that Cecil would write a column on MPD/DID without mentioning State of Wisconsin v. Mark A. Peterson.

Peterson met Sarah (last name withheld), an alleged sufferer of MPD, on June 9, 1990. Two days later, he had sex with Jennifer, one of her personalities, during which at least one other personality surfaced. Later, Sarah phoned police to complain of being sexually assaulted.

Peterson was convicted under a Wisconsin law that prohibits one from knowingly having sexual intercourse with someone who, by reason of mental defect, is incapable of giving meaningful consent. His conviction was overturned when it turned out one of the prosecution’s chief witnesses perjured himself.

I thought it was peculiar that Uncle Cece…er…um Mr. Zotti…um well, whoever writes these things.

oh, nevermind.

But, it seems like “they” dodged the question to me.

I would claim that MPD/DID is a real disorder but that actual cases are extremely rare. Then again, perhaps that was their response. :wink:

Great. Another reason to fear having sex. I’ve been stopped after we both had our clothes off, and that’s cool, but when she goes from willing partner to rape victim in mid-stroke, I’m swearing off.

After a second read, I’m more interested in mystery of mass hysteria. Whether or not you agree with the validity of Multiple Personalities, mass hysteria has been used as an excuse for burning witches, buying tulips and beanie babies, hunting for communists, building fallout shelters, dancing the tarantela, and, of course, the inevitable hitler reference (oh yeah, and the Beatles!)

So anyway, Mr. Adams, this is the first ever question I’ve asked; what causes mass hysteria, how can I create it to further my plans for world domination, and how can I resist the power of those who would employ it against me?

[Just kidding about the world domination; but if it could help me pick up women, hey.]

I don’t believe it’s <i>all</i> baloney. <a href=>A friend of mine</a> decided (during the decade or two when we were out of contact) that she was multiple, apparently without `help’; it should not surprise anyone who knew her back when, because she always had at least two fantasy personae.

Multiple Peronsalities do exist, but it is not necessarily a disorder. If you do a search, you’ll find many pages of households (communitites of people in one body) who KNOW they are Multiple and function quite well in the world, thank you very much. The skewed view of MP as a raving, unstable condition comes from the fact that the only cases psychologists have seen are the people who cannot deal with their situation. The stable households simply never set foot in a psychologist’s office for the same reason you never would unless you felt you needed counseling of some sort. Unfortunately, they are still cruelly discriminated against and most must learn to fake Singularity (one person in a body) in order to hold a job, raise a family, etc. For more info, check out


Hi kesafloyd welcome to the boards. :slight_smile:

I say disorder because it is listed in the DSMV as such…doesn’t mean a person isn’t capable of functioning in the world. Many people who have psychological and/or physical disorders are perfectly capable of normal living.
In fact, I would venture to say that most people (with some disorder) live their lives in full without ever being accurately diagnosed.

We only see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mental cases.

It appears we share some common beliefs in this regard.

You might want to check out “Hystories,” by Elaine Showalter, who discusses DID, as well as Gulf War Syndrome, PTSD, and other hysterical phenomena from a sociologist’s POV. She traces the history of hysteria back to its roots (Charcot and Freud) and posits the notion that hysteria is a socio-political phenomenom, not an intra-psychic one. And it’s a good read, to boot.

You’ve changed the question by redefining MPD. The ‘disorder’ is when the personalities don’t know of each other’s existence, that is, their cognitive functions are not shared.

The question is, does MPD exist in this way? And the scientific answer is: probably not, hasn’t been proven.

Now, you’re claiming that there are people with Multiple Persoanlities, and each personality knows of the existence of the other personalites, and thus, they share cognitive functions. The question is, are there people like this? And the scientific answer is: Don’t know-- how do you prove it? How do you prove that a person claiming and exhibiting multiple personalities truly has multiple personalities and is not just deluding the researcher (or themselves for that matter)?

Character actors such a Lily Thomlin and Tracey Ulman say that they have ‘people living inside them’ and they can get into these characters and improvise as them. To us, it looks like multiple personalities, but Lily and Tracey make no such claim. They know they are one personality in control of these characters they play. But if they said to us that they had multiple personalities and/or deluded themselves that they have multiiple personalities, how can we scientifically verify that they indeed do have multiple personalites?

People may claim they have multiple personalites, but it has yet to be proven.


From all of us.

Tracey and Lily employ their prodigious imaginations to successfully “become” their other personalities. Perhaps people diagnosed with DID do not recognize the power of their imaginations…

Ok, my thoughts on Cecil’s MPD article:

His first big point is an explosion in reported cases around 1980. Wow, you mean the reported number of cases increased when people (including therapists) had actually heard of it? (as he points out about Sybil, in the 70s this phenomenon became known) Shocking. Ive heard the same argument used for schizophrenia. If there were almost no cases 200 years ago thats probably because if i was hearing voices or acting the way a typical DID person acts the resources for me or my family would consist of a church (which would probably try to exorcise me or burn me at the stake), the ‘doctors’ of the time (who would probably either try to attach leeches to me, throw me in an asylum which make todays psych wards look fun or drill holes in my head to release pressure), or whichever wise old person of this or that village had an old wives tale they thought would help (who knows what that would involve).
Also with the disorder suddenly being in the publics attention, it might suddenly have been more acceptable to tell a doctor about this, whereas prior to this time they may have feared what others would think, feared what was going on, or feared the ignorance of others. Of course, one should never underestimate the ignorance of others.
Consider how many alcoholics there were prior to 1900 (according to any record you can find that is). I dont have any numbers, but im betting its a pretty small number compared to what you have today. Maybe thatll be next weeks column: why alcoholics dont exist.

The second big point of his i found interesting was the study he quotes, where people hesitate when asked about words implying a mental process going on, possibly being a ‘i shouldnt know this’ thought. Even assuming the study shows a statistically significant hesitation, with no researcher bias, and even assuming their conclusion is actually shown. All theyve done is show that the minds were connected to some degree. No one understands completely how memory is stored, it is entirely possible that the neural pathway of one conciousness was present to a lesser degree even when the brain was being used by another personality. The hesitation could very well be explained as getting multiple contradictory answers at once.
If anything it would be more surprising if this was not the case, based on our current understanding on neural connection strength, and the fact that two personalities, no matter how different, are sharing the same brain.

I will give him that it is entirely possible the numbers obtained in the 1980s were inflated by some overzealous therapists who found multiple personalities in everyone, its possible. But for him to claim that the numbers being obtained in the 1800s are reflective of reality is absurd.

Whether hes right or not, theres very easy alternate explanations to his assertions.

I don’t pretend to be all that expert on this subject, but I am quite, quite certain that the few (presumably authentic) cases I know of, some of the personalities know of some of the others. Certainly Eve Black is described as being aware of Eve White (but not vice-versa) and Jane as being aware of both Eves. (I don’t recall “I’m Eve” denying any of that part.)

There is also a story of childhood trauma in the “Eve” case, though not sexual abuse in the traditional 80’s sense. (When very young, she was forced to kiss her dead grandmother as part of the funeral.) So that notion dates back to long before “Sybyl”.

One brain, one data set = One mind one personality. Only time I would consider it real if the brain had been surgically split in half. I do not think software partitions in the human brain exist. I am pretty sure whichever so called personality was active at the time was put under direct nueral stimulation via electrodes implanted in their brains datum from the other “personalities” would appear.

Cecil used the analogous case of the explosion of repressed memories of satanic ritual abuse. Previously, no one ever heard of such a thing. When someone suggests it has happened, therapists go looking for it and, lo and behold, they find oodles of it.

Now, is this a case of previous generations being ignorant and only now it is ‘discovered’, or, therapists were using unscientific methods to unconsciously create these repressed memories in their subjects?

It’s hard to prove what is or isn’t happening in the inner workings of the mind. However, cases ritualized satanic abuse would be easier to prove or disprove.

And guess what? It’s been disproven. These ritualized satanic abuses never took place. This is the same thing with recovered memories of UFO abductions. No physical proof.

And so, it’s not too hard to be skeptical of MPD. It was previously unknown, and then there was a burst of ‘discovery’ by therapists using the same methods to discover repressed memories of ritualized satanic abuse and UFO abductions.

The onus is on proponents of MPD to scientifically prove it exists. Their argument of ‘discovering’ it in leading therapy sessions falls flat as proof given the ‘discovery’ of other so-called repressed memories which have proven false.


Ditto the discovery of past lives in hypnosis.

DID Does in fact exist. I have seen it at clinic the deals with abuse cases. No there claims that these are sperarate personalities in the way you and I are seperate. They are aspects of the same personaility so of course the memories are not totally compartmentalized. But I have seen alters inter with me (not a therapist btw) in violent ways yet the person is sweet an amiable the next moment. I have seen women cut themselves as an alter yet be horrified when they regain control. I say this forcefully because I have seen these poeple in a variety of settings it is not an act nor is it a way to get attention. Often these peple are hiding some pretty nasty memories and it doesn’t have anything to do with Satan. In addition, most therapy sesions I have witnessed (40-50) the therapist doesn’t even acknowledge the alters’ presence.

I’d like to support Kesafloyd’s post below as well as the link to the astraeasweb site. My partners belong to a multiple system. They are completely functional and they communicate among each other and the other members of the system, and they are co-conscious, meaning that they can all be present in the body at the same time, both observing and participating in activities and conversations. And, yes, their body was sexually abused by the father and physically abused by the mother. Neither parent denies it, and two siblings (who aren’t multiple) were abused as well (I don’t know about Satanic ritual abuse, but sexual abuse by family members and others certainly does happen). However, in living with this group of people, it is clear to me that they are persons, not personalities. I don’t understand the processes by which this happened, but I do know that I’m living with a group of people of different ages and sexes who share the same body. We prefer not to think of multiplicity as a “disorder,” since many multiple systems are not disordered. People who’ve suffered child abuse, however, often have depression, anxiety, and or PTSD, but this has nothing to do w/ multiplicity. And there are systems who may need a therapist’s help to learn how to communicate among themselves and be co-conscious. At any rate, one of my two partners has a PhD in math and teaches math (ranging from remedial math to calculus) at the community college level.

I’ve been a fan of Cecil’s for years, but his skeptical response to the question about multiplicity suggests that he’s been exposed only to the traditional orthodox approaches to the issue. Again, anyone who is genuinely curious and has an open mind, should check out

Who else is wondering if astarte59 and kesafloyd are the same person? And in this case, does this violate the membership agreement on this site? Or not?

The problem is that this site does nothing to dispel the skepticism. In the FAQ, we read:

So, the author of this FAQ dispels “the multiple personality condition is a disorder” myth by pointing out that there was no real appropriate scientific research done.

However, the author of the FAQ does the same thing: provides no real appropriate peer-reviewed proof that their experience of multiple personalities is normal or even truly exists.

So, again. Claim all you want that multiple personality conditions exist (and may or may not be normal or disordered). How about hard scientific evidence? Until then, skepticism reigns. (And how can you really expect Cecil to not be skeptical?)


Oh, and I hate to be a nag, but the rest of the web site is not the paragon of clear thinking – IOW, it doesn’t help the case for multiplicity not being a disorder.

Sorry to hijack this a bit, but is swearing so common that it has to be on the cartoon used in identifying this thread? I’m your f***** grandma? I’d think if I wanted to see that, I’d go to the pit. It’s sad.

Sorry, here’s an interesting joke, if someone with DID threatens to kill themselves, is it considered a hostage situation?

Ok, back to regular programming.

Huh? I just registered for this board today b/c someone on one of my mailing lists posted the link to Cecil’s reply about MPD. I read a few of the posts in this thread before posting, including kesafloyd’s. And I’ve been recommending the Astraea site to people for a couple of years now. Just b/c someone else is aware of it doesn’t mean we’re really the same person.