there a good glossary of terms out there?
what is integration?
is the difference between fragments and people?
there a good glossary of terms out there?
As of 2004, Astraea's Web has an expanded version of the old Anachronic Army's glossary: http://www.astraeasweb.net/plural/glossary.html
Terminology is not carved in stone. Definitions and concepts have
been changed, added and deleted since the beginning of the multiplicity
self-awareness movement in the early 1990s. If you see a term you
don't like, question it, invent your own, come up with something
that better describes your experience or that of your friends.
A trigger is any sensory input which evokes a memory. Method actors
use triggers -- they call them sense memories -- to make the characters
they portray more living and immediate. The most powerful triggers
are related to taste and smell.
If your beloved grandmother wore Fabergé's Straw Hat perfume,
you're going to think of her every time you smell it, long after
she's gone. Probably the most famous example of a memory trigger
is the story Marcel Proust told, where he ate a
madeleine cake with limeflower tea and experienced a flood of wonderful, almost magical childhood memories associated with that taste.
Recovered memory therapy, which was used (and inflicted) on multiples
for about forty years beginning in the 1950s, used triggers in a
more specific sense, that of recalling or evoking trauma. In the
theory of multiple personality put forth by Dr. Cornelia Wilbur
(the psychiatrist who worked with Sybil) and others, the persons
in a multiple system are not independent individuals, but represent
the main or presenting self at various ages. They can be brought
forth to reveal their hidden truths via memory triggers -- playing
appropriate music, for instance. This is called "being triggered
out". Supposedly, no person in a multiple system comes forward unless
he or she is triggered out -- under this theory, they don't come
up by their own volition.
Returning memories are often accompanied by intense emotions,
as M. Proust describes. In recovered memory therapy, you're encouraged
to explore and relive traumatic memories. Based on methods that
sometimes work with soldiers with severe PTSD, doctors felt that
by exposing clients to memory triggers and encouraging them to re-enact
what had happened, they could help the client get it out of their
system, thus speeding therapy progress. It didn't
always work out, and may have done more harm than good.
Some multiples who have gone the trauma-therapy route will talk
about their "triggers" in a more general, colloquial sense. To them,
a trigger is not only sensory input which evokes an unpleasant memory,
but any present-day occurrence causing any negative emotion. It
often seems, in reading their online posts and statements in chat,
that they say "I was triggered" when they mean "I was angry" or
"I was sad". They've been trained in therapy to assume that any
present-day emotion they have is a conditioned reflex from the past.
They often have to remember that just because some bozo cut them
off in traffic, it need not be that their anger over the event was
due to something from childhood evoked by the incident.
In some extreme cases, they've been led to believe that if they
are "still experiencing negative emotions", they have more work
to do in therapy. In this case, the doctor has business to remind
them that negative emotions are a healthy part of daily life,
and that the purpose of therapy is not to eradicate anger or grief,
but to assist in learning how to manage them appropriately.
In Dr. Cornelia Wilbur's theory, children become multiple when a series
of traumatic events causes them to splinter their single personality
into many. Each holds a piece of the puzzle -- a part of the intolerable
childhood memories -- leaving a presenting self to deal with present-day
reality without any knowledge of her past or awareness of the others.
Over time, the presenting self becomes aware of the gaps in her consciousness
where the others have been active at the forefront, leaving her amnesiac
for those periods. The therapeutic process involves asking the different
selves to come forward and tell their story, sharing with the presenting
self the terrible secrets of the past. As each memory is uncovered,
the self who held it no longer has any reason to exist, and should
-- according to Dr. Wilbur --gradually fade away, or merge into the
consciousness of the presenting self. Sometimes, the selves have lived
as individuals for so long that it takes much persuasion on the doctor's
part to convince them to agree to their own demise. At the end, ideally,
is one whole, unified self without any trace of the others.
From anecdotal evidence we've received through email and web pages
such as Tesserae's,
we know that some multiples really do fit this description. However,
many others do not. Some report no abuse at all, or were aware of
their own existences prior to abuse. A good many say that they did
come about as a response to abuse, but that integration is not the
answer for them. They want a functional operating system, not to
be forced to behave as if there were only one person, denying the
truth of their individuality. The Shire are an example of such a group.
Dr. David Caul, who worked with Billy Milligan, believed that
multiples should be given a choice when it came to integration:
that functionality was what counted, whether it was as "a corporation,
a partnership, or a one-owner business".
what is midcontinuum?
That the midcontinuum concept has spread so far that many are
not aware of its origins is a tribute to the ingenuity of the Vicki(s),
who first described and named the dissociative continuum sometime
in early 1996.
Using the "everyone dissociates" explanation and the old abuse-dissociation-splitting concept employed by mental health professionals who find themselves trying to describe multiplicity on talk shows, the Vicki(s) reasoned that if this is true, then
everyone is, to some degree or another, multiple. Those who didn't fit the Sybil profile but didn't regard themselves as a single person were therefore midcontinuum. Many embraced the concept because they felt they were multiple "to some degree", but didn't experience it as per DSM-IV standards or media portrayals.
It's probably much more realistic, given social and personal diversity,
to think of plurality as a sphere, with a potentially infinite number
of points; and, to remember that at different times in one's life,
one may reside at any of those points, or at no fixed abode. Postmodernist
notions of identity as fluid and nonlinear may be helpful in understanding
this. If you experience yourself as selves, but feel that your others
are not independent of yourself, you are probably median.
It's important to allow the concept to be inclusive of everyone
who fits, regardless of past abuse history or origins, much as is
currently being done for 'multiplicity.' With its roots in the abuse-dissociation
model, midcontinuum is too limiting; it is no longer useful to us.
Median creates a certain measure of psychological distance and gives
the concept a fresh start, without the "dissociative" baggage of the
past, and embraces all who feel they are more than one.
People who are median, or think they might be, describe it in
many different ways. If you have a good description of how you are median, you can submit it to Pavilion.
Walk-ins are people who have characteristics of or feel strongly
related to people or creations outside the body --perhaps even stating
that they are a person from a story or another world, for example.
Some people refer to this as soulbonding, which is a term coined
by Amanda Flowers to reference the adoption into one's mental space
of characters from films, books, tv, anime, daily life, history,
or a person you were in a past life.
For some people, it never gets beyond "characters in my story"
-- their soulbonds are presences to them, maybe even real people,
but they never assume control. For others, it becomes a question
of "sitting in the image of" another. That is, you remain aware
of your own identity, but at the same time the identity of that
second person is present. You may feel that he's using your body
-- looking around, sampling your cooking, checking out your physics
The important thing is not how many people there are, where they
are from, or even what shape their self-identities take. What matters
is responsibility in living and in interactions with others.
is the difference between fragments and people?
Psychiatrists faced with clients whose groups seemed to contain
hundreds or thousands of persons did not know how to explain these
high numbers to themselves. One of the theories they came up with
was fragmentation. The idea was that some persons in multiple systems
actually were not full-fledged people: they were a function, such
as opening a door, and only that. Even professionals who were aware
of the other worlds or subjective, interior spaces of their clients
seem never to have stopped to think that some of these so-called
'fragments' might actually be complex persons in their own right,
who simply spent most of their time in interior or other space,
and only did that one earth world task as an occasional errand.
If you go to the dry cleaner's for ten minutes once a week, does
that mean they think you don't exist during the time you're not
there? Same thing.
Still, fragments in the classic sense do exist. They're useful
little programlets or shells for things nobody else wants to deal
with, Many times they are deliberately created. Just be careful
if you meet someone who seems to do only one thing: that person
may or may not be a fragment.