This was a reply I wrote in a forum for DID support. It was in relation to if and why amnesia is a requirement for a D.I.D. diagnosis. First of all, people seem to forget the fact that its *dissociative* identity for a reason, that you must dissociate your identity completely so you are not involved in what’s happening, so another identity can form instead. It’s mostly people know nothing about child development or how the brain works. They also don’t know that Dissociative Identity Disorder is one of many disorders on a dissociative disorder spectrum. Here’s my explanation.
I feel the problem with all this confusion is people don’t understand how we form our sense of self in childhood or that we don’t have any spatial concept when we are first born. We don’t know that other people are other people or that we are one person ourselves. We are just beginning to form that understanding. During this critical developmental stage, if there are traumatic incidents interfering, then its harder to integrate your experiences because you don’t know what your body is yet. THIS IS WHY ONLY CHILDREN GET D.I.D AND ADULTS JUST GET PTSD.
I think the point is, as DID starts usually to escape a repeated childhood trauma, you would not want to remember it. You completely separate yourself as you haven’t become a fully developed person in the world yet, and leave a blank shell behind with nothing but basic instincts. That shell, with more experiences, like any newborn child, begins to learn and have opinions based on the experiences that part has. Because you are not there to offer any previous memories or opinion on the situation, it becomes it’s OWN separate being.
You have alters to protect you because you don’t want to be there. If you don’t forget or lose time ever, then you don’t completely separate, then there is no “alter.” Each alter generally has a specific purpose or represents a certain aspect of you that maybe you can’t accept about yourself. The co-consciousness I believe takes practice (it does for me and most I think who know they have DID and are getting counseling to learn) so if you have “always felt co-conscious” then you are just always *you* with a dissociative moment and feeling something like depersonalization or derealization. Or some other disorder like it.
If there is no separation, there can be no individual to develop as their own separate part with separate feelings and separate memories from you. Literally impossible to be separate without separation. No separation=no alter. You just need to work on not feeling disconnected and numb to your body, most likely.
The thing is, EVERY ONE HAS MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES. Everyone is a different person in different situations when around different people. The only difference between us with DID and those without is THEY CAN OWN ALL THEIR EXPERIENCES. And WE can’t. So yes, I feel amnesia must be there in the beginning at least, and it takes awareness of them to try to be co-conscious. Though after the traumatic event is over, they may only affect you internally and not come out (because they were only triggered to come out in such a circumstance that created them.) I have “little me’s” still stuck in the abuse that I suffered that don’t know it’s over (stuck in “trauma time” they say) . Because I froze that moment in time and don’t want those memories, so they keep them for me. Until I can handle and live life with the knowledge, unbroken.
You cannot *always* be co-conscious, from day one. There would be no way for an alter to have an experience that is totally their own that would shape their personality. To be co-conscious is to be aware. To be aware takes practice and as a child I’m sure you are not aware of what you are doing. You are using your natural survival skills to escape and don’t know about the shell you left behind, because you are just a child trying to survive a horrific event. You hid somewhere in your mind, completely unaware of what was happening so you were safe. While you were gone, of course another identity will develop.
Plus, I want to point out, naturally many people have phobias of the inner experiences so often time avoid the alters, consciously or unconsciously. They generally represent some uncomfortable things, and that’s what they are there to do, to hold that information so you don’t have to, so you can live your life as you without the trauma.
Think of it this way, if you had not experienced the things that happened to you, who would you be? Conversely, if you experienced something new, it would change who you are, would it not? So alters have different experiences, that’s why they become different “you’s.” They are the sum of who *you* are in *that set of experiences* that *only they know.* Until they share that information with you and you unlock the doors to your DID. Which takes practice and awareness. And once you are aware, you have to get yourself to love and accept all parts of you and own your entire history in order to do integration. That’s my two cents. Probably too much information to make my point though I tried to be as concise and easy to understand as possible.