what is multiplicity? terminology controversy  
where is it from? group structures other / inner worlds
what is it like? multiple preferences resources
  what is false memory syndrome/fms?
  does fms exist?
why don't some groups want to integrate?
why do we only see dysfunctionals in the media?
why don't i see more multiples around me, if they're so common?
don't you have to see a therapist?
  if you don't see a therapist, how come you're so sure you're plural?
  is it possible for some of the people in a multiple group to be "walk-ins", that is, to come from outside the system?
  is it true that between people in a multiple system, physical reactions change?


  aren't all multiples geniuses?
  i keep reading reports on how all multiples are psychic. is this true?
  but don't plurals have a higher rate of 'supernatural' events?
  can multiples read my mind and control me?
  don't all multiples have at least one person who is dangerous?
unfinished I've heard that all multiples have amnesia between selves -- could you have a dangerous person in there and not know it?
  you must not be over your trauma if you're not integrated.
  you can't be multiple if you're claiming you're healthy.
  you must be making up your multiplicity or in denial if you don't talk about your trauma.
  i know a multiple and even they say that they're not healthy, so i know you must be wrong.


what is false memory syndrome/fms? top

John F. Kihlstrom has suggested the following definition, which appears on the False Memory Syndrome Foundation's webpage:

[A] condition in which a person's identity and interpersonal relationships are centered around a memory of traumatic experience which is objectively false but in which the person strongly believes. Note that the syndrome is not characterized by false memories as such. We all have memories that are inaccurate. Rather, the syndrome may be diagnosed when the memory is so deeply ingrained that it orients the individual's entire personality and lifestyle, in turn disrupting all sorts of other adaptive behavior. The analogy to personality disorder is intentional. False Memory Syndrome is especially destructive because the person assiduously avoids confrontation with any evidence that might challenge the memory. Thus it takes on a life of its own, encapsulated and resistant to correction. The person may become so focused on memory that he or she may be effectively distracted from coping with the real problems in his or her life.

Problems arise when considering how a memory can be determined to be "objectively false," and by whom. Moreover, false memory zealots have proclaimed a number of troubling theories, based on controversial studies. These theories include the statements that memories can not be repressed, traumatic amnesia does not exist, and it is impossible to forget an event and "recover" the memory later. The truth is, legitimate studies exist confirming that memories can be repressed and recovered later under certain conditions. Perhaps even more disturbing, many pro-false memory professionals reject the idea that multiplicity exists.

Note that False Memory Syndrome is not a psychiatric diagnosis. You will not find it in the DSM-IV -- the official manual of mental disorders -- and it is unlikely that it will ever be included. The False Memory Syndrome Foundation has something of a reputation for misleading the public into thinking that FMS is a diagnosis and that all multiplicity can be attributed to FMS.

Click here for what a number of plurals have said about FMS.

does fms exist? top

False Memory Syndrome has not been recognized as a legitimate medical or psychological condition. Sadly, at the hands of inept or unethical therapists, some people have been convinced of events that have never happened. It's a huge can of worms that is not likely to be resolved anytime soon. It is very important to remember that memories are occasionally repressed, and legitimate study of repressed and recovered memories is taking place. Also, just because a memory was repressed and then resurfaces does not mean it is a false memory.


why don't some groups want to integrate? top

Multiples resist integration for any number of reasons. They may feel that integration, involving as it does the elimination or eradication of each individual's identity, is tantamount to murder.

Some may have been promised that "no one really goes away" and that all of the persons in the system were really displaced parts of a single identity. So they voluntarily attempt integration. They are told that the skills developed by the others will continue, undiminished. Over a period of months, they may find this is no longer the case. They may lose physical and mental abilities, or simply feel that they're "losing their edge". These people seem to be better off as multiple. The three most famous multiples, Billy Milligan, Sybil, and Chris Costner-Sizemore, lost many skills when the people who held them were integrated. Milligan describes his integration experience by saying "The whole was less than the sum of the parts." Most significantly, only Costner-Sizemore remained integrated. Able to integrate at will, the Milligan group has chosen to remain differentiated. Sybil attempted to integrate numerous times, but always differentiated again.

The myth as decreed by Cornelia Wilbur in her work with Sybil, and repeated by countless clinicians, is that as multiples accept "broken parts of themselves" and are put back together, they no longer need to be many people -- that was only their 'defense mechanism' -- and that's the end of it.

But many integrated groups do not work well that way. Sometimes they are just more efficient as a group, and sometimes they're just not happy any other way. Integration is not a magical cure for everyone. It may be an option for some groups who cannot get along or are truly crippled by their severalness. But for persons who already interact well and are capable of handling daily business, there's no reason to take that road.

why do i only see dysfunctionals in the media? top

Trauma sells. We hate to say it, but trauma sells. Who wants to read about or watch the plural down the street, whose group gets by as any normal group of people would, when you could have something that's guaranteed to have people glued to your network fixating on fiction (and the attendant commercials) rather than watching the real stuff going on over on 60 Minutes.

Let's have another courageous healing story in which Mrs. Dribs' occasional odd behaviour is ascribed to her being a multiple, shove her into therapy, and then spend the rest of the movie/book/whatever dwelling lovingly on the details of her traumatic incest experiences. Let's show a three-year-old cutting up chickens for the Saturday night Satanists' barbecue, let's get just as close as we can get on national television to showing kiddie porn, and get away with it because it's all in the name of stopping child abuse!

This kind of exhibitionism is well known to certain criminal courts; it is called the pornography of the victim. Let a little girl be raped or killed in real life, and at the trial of her assailant, there's bound to be two or three fellows in raincoats sitting in the back of the room, waiting for the crime scene photographs.

And by all means, let's have a serial killer mystery -- Mr. Tiddlywinks lives in the body of some innocent-looking woman multiple, giving Mr. Tiddly the ability to hide in plain sight. There's a story for you! People can feel the frisson of fear, uncertainty about their loved ones and neighbors, and even better, about themselves. And most of all, they'll be plugged into those all-important commercials.

To some people, that is all we are: the latest, greatest plot device for cheap thrillers.

why don't i see more multiples around me, if they're so common? top

Probably because they are hiding. They are in the closet. And they have every reason to be. For example, in Wisconsin, case law precedent has placed multiples under a law which forbids mentally incapacitated persons to have even consensual sex; in other words, we are too mentally ill to be considered sexually responsible. In many other states, multiples can have their driver's licenses confiscated. Unhappy spouses can blame a multiple partner for all the troubles in their marriage -- and have restraining orders taken out against them if they don't take up therapy. Family courts routinely deny custody to multiples because it's not "in the best interests of the child" to be raised by a plural person. Gory movies and sensationalist news shows have led the public to believe the worst about multiples.

So why would anyone want to be out plural? Answer: there is no reason, except to set an example. Most out plurals include one or more members who wish to work to change the above situations. They feel that by setting an example in their own lives, they can change the public view of plurality. They intend to show mainstream society that we are normal, competent, as capable of rational thought as anyone, and everywhere.

don't you have to see a therapist? top

No more than anyone else. Counseling is an option for anyone. It's not required merely because we're plural. We have the same emotional dynamics as anyone else. The psychiatric establishment has encouraged an illusion of "the average person" as being perfectly well-balanced and stress-free. Take a look around you. Is this the case with people you know? No, of course not. In real life, people deal with everyday stressors in a variety of ways, and it's the same for plurals.

Plurals are in a kind of catch-22 situation in this department; if we show any sign of a problem, even a very mundane one, some people are bound to blame it on our being plural; It's like blaming a blue-eyed person's problems on the colour of their eyes. At worst, it's a form of stereotyping as pernicious as saying "all Asians are good at martial arts" or "all Native Americans are highly spiritual".

Problems are a part of life for everyone. If none of our problems are life-threatening, interfere with our daily business, or make us intolerably miserable, why should we seek outside help? Often, even more serious difficulties can be worked out within the group.

if you don't see a therapist, how come you're so sure you're plural? top

Do these therapists know better than I what I hear in my head, or what occurs between people in my group? Are they themselves plural, and so they automatically know first-hand what it is like? You don't see me trying to counsel someone who is blind.

Cornelia Wilbur promoted the concept of the all-powerful therapist, a seductive idea for both clients and professionals. It was Wilbur who laid down the ground rules for treatment of multiples -- starting with the idea that no multiple knows they are until diagnosed by a qualified professional.

It's the old mystique -- that doctors have all the answers, that they know more about human thought and behavior than a lay person can possibly know. It's as if some kind of esoteric power were conferred to therapists, as if they were Reiki masters.

Psychology and psychiatry are not exact sciences. They are guessing, and sometimes they happen to guess right. Their literature consists of speculations dressed up in fancy words to keep the general public from knowing that they really don't know any more than we do.

The really good ones are those who are honest with their clients -- those who let the client tell them what's wrong, not the other way around. The ones who provide a supportive, holding environment while the client solves his or her own problems. The ones who make it clear, even in their reports, that their diagnosis is only a guess, or a convenient label for the insurance company. The ones who can see the health in their clients -- whether singlet, median or plural.

is it possible for some of the people in a multiple group to be 'walk-ins', that is, to come from outside the system? top

Yes. Sometimes groups will pick up qualities of those around them or respond to their settings by finding someone appropriate. Sometimes people will just show up who will strongly resemble or effectively be others. Sometimes groups will find people from other groups stopping by for a visit. For the duration of their time with that group, they are effectively however they behave or what they can do, and should be treated accordingly. This doesn't mean that if the Queen of Sheba shows up, she's allowed to demand that everyone worship her as it would be in her own time and place. That would be bad manners. But acknowledging that she is there, or referring to her with the respect that she is who she says she is, would be an appropriate courtesy.

A visitor may or may not be connected to his own home when he visits another system, so it is not likely that he can read your exact thoughts and depart for his own system with that information intact. In fact, trying to remember what happened while one's visited another system is usually very difficult past a few generalities or isolated images. Still, a good system should have a few safeguards in place if they are worried about possible intruders.

is it true that between people, physical reactions change? top

Yes. Some systems have radically different biochemistries between individuals. There have been numerous scientific proofs by various means, precise and imprecise. The most common seems to be variations in allergies or tolerances. This is why medicine also does not work very well on some multiple groups. In fact, giving medicine to a multiple can be one of the most self-defeating exercises there is. In other cases, it's the body that has the allergies, tolerances or responses to medicine, and individuals in the system must handle these things when they come to the front.

Physiological changes between persons in a group has been sensationalized a bit in the media. Dr. Mohan Nair has described real changes in terms of different neurophysiological and biochemical states: he says; "for instance, when you are anxious, you're a little different." He speaks of it in terms of different templates or software. He reports the most common physiological changes are brainwave, heartrate and blood pressure. Check out the Courts' experience with a chiropractic diagnostic device. On the other hand, some multiples never have such changes. Astraea's John and Jason went through the same testing on different occasions and showed no differences between selves whatsoever.

At one time, physiological changes were considered one of the hallmarks of multiplicity -- they were something that doctors looked for to determine if the person was in fact multiple. This is not quite fair, since not all multiples show such changes, and those who do not are often left feeling that they must be faking.

MYTH: aren't all multiples geniuses? top

No. This myth had its beginning in the Wilburian theory of trauma and splitting. Supposedly, each person in a system was supposed to be an isolated piece of a formerly whole, integrated personality. As such, one would expect these pieces to be two-dimensional caricatures, exhibiting only a few characteristics, and a limited range of affect (the "angry alter," "frightened alter" and so on). However, as more multiples presented for therapy and were put under scrutiny by doctors, it became obvious that the different persons in the system were not cardboard characters; they were fully realized, complex individuals in their own right (Truddi Chase especially exemplifies this). Trying to rationalize this fact within the paradigm of the single, fragmented self, doctors assumed that the original personality must have been a paragon of creative genius, a veritable Leonardo, to have been able to be all those persons at once. It never occurred to them that there may not have been any "original person," and that what they were seeing was simply a coalition of many independent minds. The hyper-intelligence myth was also used to account for the fact that millions of children are abused, but do not all become plural. "Only particularly intelligent, gifted, creative children can access this brilliant coping mechanism."

This myth is actually very destructive to plurals today. It's impossible to hold up to the standard that you must be Einstein to be a 'real' plural, and it also assumes that any plural is automatically super-smart. This is not true.
Azusa of Amorpha says:

"Oh, that myth is, pardon the phrase, 'on crack'. You don't need to be smart to be plural. There are a lot of people out there who think that, just because someone is multiple, they are automatically geniuses. The truth is that there are more skills, but not more innate intelligence. You can't get something from nothing again -- there's room to change and develop, but not to generate what can't be there to begin with."

"So, like, were I a multiple, I could have someone that didn't have my perfectionism or my self-critical nature, so this person could technically come off as a heck of a lot brilliant since s/he would have the ability to use whatever innate intelligence I have, but without the things that keep me from using it, so it would give the impression of multiples being innately brilliant?"

"Yes, it's just a group of people, just as potentially stupid and unskilled as anyone else. But they can be naturally better for certain things because there is such a variety, or they have a mindset preinclined to understanding things a certain way... Any plural group is just as likely to be uneducated as any genius -- the only difference, if any, is that there's usually a wide range of talents to draw upon, because they -are- a group."

MYTH: i keep reading reports on how all multiples are psychic. is this true? top

This is not true. This myth was partially created by Truddi Chase's writings, by the work of Dr. Ralph Allison, by an execrably badly researched book by D. Scott Rogo, Infinite Boundary, and by the rumors of a connection between super-intelligence and psychic ability.

The psychic standard, nicknamed the 'Flying Toaster Phenomenon' by one group, is as destructive as the hyperintelligence myth. It benefits no one, except possibly the occasional group suffering from such low selves-esteem that they feel they have to overcompensate by claiming superior ability in this area. Truddi Chase is an example.

MYTH: but don't plurals have a higher rate of 'supernatural events'? top

It really depends on what you believe is supernatural. It's likely that plurals have the same rates as anyone else for anything. Maybe the odds are a little higher just considering the number of people when it comes to probability (like phobias, or manias), but that's the law of averages.

Perhaps plurals tend to report supernatural experiences more readily. If they have gone for a long time knowing there is something different about them, but not realising they are multiple, they might seek an explanation for their personal experiences in writings about the supernatural. For example, sensing the presence of other people around or inside your mind, feeling that they sometimes take charge of your body, can be explained in terms of spirit communion and channeling. Gateway systems, those who have a subjective or "inner" world, may find no rationale for their home's existence other than in theories of reincarnation. It is not necessarily that multiples are more open to the idea of psychic phenomena than singlets; it's a question of trying to find verification, cultural permission, some explanation for their experiences. The varieties of multiple experience are not well known in mainstream society, and you can't find books about it at the public library, the way you can find books on spiritualism, walk-ins, reincarnation et al.

MYTH: can multiples read my mind and control me? top

Truddi Chase's claims notwithstanding: No. Multiple groups are often very good at observations and guessing, because a) they have to be, a lot of them, for early and ongoing survival and hiding in society from those who'd lock them away, and b) they have a lot of people and so can understand different viewpoints directly by asking someone who might be a lot like you. But they are not all destructive psykkers who are out to take over the world.

Proof of this is that it hasn't happened yet, or if it has, the people on top are being really really inefficient about changing the way plurals are thought of by society.

MYTH: don't all multiples have at least one person who is dangerous? top

"Being a dramatic/poetic person, I can realize how the misconception of 'your best friend having the possibility to be harboring a psycho-killer' can be terrifying."

"That neglects the fact that if such a person existed, other people inside that system would very much be paying attention to keep this from happening. You'd have to get everyone's cooperation or be chronically crippled by your own group. Since a group is just as likely -- if not more -- to have passive people, depending on their surroundings, you will likely not have a team of mass murderers."

"[Filmmakers and writers] also know nothing about how multiples work, so they take lots of creative liberty. And, um, no. A group of mass murderers would be caught very quickly. ^_^;;; You can't function like that around other people. Not to mention.. Wouldn't a whole bunch of aggressive, hateful people living together spend a lot of time hurting each other, and not be able to function in general very well by default? (Large guess here)"

"Precisely. Multiples are their own self-regulating systems. In fact, when we're healthy and working well, we stop ourselves from killing ourselves, quitting our jobs, being stupid, drinking too much, and so on."

MYTH: you must not be over your trauma if you're not integrated. top

This is back to the idea that if you only understand that whatever trauma happened to you happened to you and that you now have these recovered memories, you will magically become "healed" and go running around as a singlet for the rest of your life. This theory also completely neglects the fact that memory and self-identity don't hinge upon each other that much. You might remember that you left your keys on the dining room table this morning, but do you break down and have a life-altering experience upon the realization that you locked yourself out of the house?

People can and do encounter memory and deal with their pasts, and they do not have to choose integration afterwards. This is not a case of 'recovering pieces that became people' -- this is dealing with other people who are just as whole, just as valid, and just as valid of life as you. Some groups do choose to integrate, but simply because one does not does not mean that they are suppressing memories.

Singlets out there have their own problems and their own traumas too, and do you see anyone demanding that every Nam vet work through all their memories instead of just handling the situation and continuing on with their lives?

MYTH: you can't be multiple if you're claiming you're healthy (or vice versa.) top

Just what is so inherently unhealthy about multiplicity? Just what is so unhealthy about working with a group of people in your daily life? You do not necessarily lack anything in yourself when you're part of a multiple system, nor does it automatically take something away from you. Problems such as depression or stress do not naturally stem from multiplicity as a requirement of its existence; usually, they come from a person being unhappy unto themselves, or, even more likely, from having to try to pretend to be a singlet and hide who they are.

One related protest I've heard to this is the 'one body, one soul' claim, which makes some people ask just where the room is for religious people to be when 'the Spirit overtakes them', and the rest of us wonder how exactly you can measure the size of what can contain a soul.

MYTH: you must be making up your multiplicity or are in denial if you don't talk about your trauma. top

Did we say we were never abused? No. All PEOPLE have experienced some form of abuse in childhood. Society is inherently brutal. American culture is based on violence and violation. If trauma caused multiplicity everyone would be multiple.

MYTH: i know a multiple and even they say that they're not healthy, so i know you must be wrong. top

Multiplicity is a different experience for everyone. That does not mean that there are no common ties, but there is a wide range of reactions and ways to live plurality. Certain people and groups are -not- healthiest as multiple systems usually because they cannot get along with each other and let each other help out with existing problems, or because they cannot adapt to or deal with the qualities that a plural life demands. However, this does not mean that all plurals are this way. For some multiples, integration is an answer, and for some, it is nothing but a hindrance.