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I am in favor of all personalities, whether fragments or not, to be considered people in their own right... in other words...

I am in favor of people being real.

I believe in identity. I believe that your people are your people, not some form of a woman wearing a male-shaped mask. With all the rights to be considered and treated as such. It is not a case of someone sitting around and guessing how another person might act while talking to themselves.

Other people are other people. Go back to ideas that only your mind exists, that everything else is only a figment, or to ones which say that everyone else is just an expression of who you are. Or not, reject those theories, and keep going. What is the division between You and Me? If there is enough of a difference in base aspects--reaction patterns, moral values, and the way information is handled and  received--then it is a different identity, and so is the same as a different person. Want to contradict me? Define the nature of a soul, or consciousness. And then we'll talk.

Taken literally--ignoring the people involved--the range is more of a statement of how many different patterns can be balanced within a single mind, and to what extent, depth, and force of each.

The presence of a personality is more clearly defined as how much an effect they have on a daily basis, in life's affairs, and how much they can throw their mental weight around on other people. The presence of a personality is not required to be directly linked to how developed they are. Fragments are capable of developing into people with full ranges of strengths and weaknesses. That's how even central personalities begin--from the fetal stirrings in the subconscious to when they fully open their eyes.

To do so, however, requires there to be a space for those fragments to stretch and grow into. They must have time closer to the surface. If a person's mind is full, then there is no niche for them to set up space of their own.

People can fade back to fragment-level without returning to fragment-status. And the longer a person has been around, the more experience they will have, and the harder is it to have them magically disappear. Time gives a person staying power.

Fragments do not necessarily require a loss in preexisting personalities. They can be made from bits and pieces that have been lying around. Even if they come from another person, it does not mean that that person is lessened forever. People grow. And, often, fragments come from the unused areas where the subconscious lurks--hardly used by the waking mind. Habits thought long-buried resurface in personas years later. Talents never realized to exist can express themselves likewise. There needs no lessening.

Of course there are exceptions. There are always exceptions. These divisions are only here to provide a clearer means of seeing the gradation of the mind.

Give fragmentation a softer role. Keep it from the sharp and severe idea that it is cut and dry; allow it the range of the  voice of your conscious, strip it of the requirement that it must be completely separate. At the smallest roles, it is as minor as a pretense, with the half-life of a breath. Lose the supposition of division. Nothing need be lost.

Time shows that personalities of any type can and will grow to be quite solid and definite, regardless of their classification. I need to devote more time to defining the category of fragment, as it applies not only to nature of a personality, but also to their potential, strength, and quality.

Personalities are also, on the whole, hard to judge unless there are others to compare them to. To people who have only had one or two minor personalities kicking around, it's very easy to count up the level; and even one or two fragments can be utter and constant hell. It's the eternal case of upper limits: until you have placed your hand in a fire, you can only guess at what level of pain it might cause. Full persons can make you a prisoner in your own body, forcing you to watch as they paw through the precious things in your life, rip your own sense of identity to shreds under constant emotional barrages. Fragments can override urges and instincts with ones of their own, travel with you and overlay you in the curious sense of duality as you see the world and receive input from another standpoint at the same time. It's all an extent of presence capable of being exerted.

Incidental fragments relates to the number of minor fragmentary personalities which tend to be created by 'number-jockeys' (read, multiples out for attention with high numbers) and are of very little depth or development. They, of all cases, are the closest to the stereotype of the word. Instead of saying, "How to tell that they have?", I should have said, "How to tell that they have tried?"

> I'm also a control freak, and the idea of having anyone other than me in control of my body scares the hell out of me;

You're right. There's a very important connection there. A friend of mine who I talk with on occasion cannot stand the thought of anyone else inside her head with her. She does not like the idea that someone else could see her innermost thoughts, judge the emotions and reactions that she does not let show.

The expanse of a person's mind is, I've observed, even more rabidly protected and sensitive to identity than the body. Everyone is assured of the traditional 'privacy of their own mind', because it is perhaps the only aspect which we can claim ownership and control over. We react badly to those who play mind games because that is a method of violation which is more damning than one of the body.

And even losing control of the body is a terrifying thing. Drugs, imprisonment, basic stimuli--all serve to remind that we, for all our advances in science and intelligence, can be laid low by a base animal instinct. No matter how much control we think we have over our flesh, we can always be overridden by the whim of whoever chooses to pump us full of a chemical cocktail. Illness is the terrible specter that it is because we often cannot understand it or drive it away, while all the while, it racks those vulnerable places inside of us. It is the reminder of the ape within the angel.

A good number of people resist the concept of such intrusions exactly because the mind is considered to be such a private place. Multiples can be the same way--unerringly, they choose integration, and are happier for it. Other people can accept the loss of that sanctuary, and can accept and follow the will of others, or remain unintegrated.

Also... what I haven't mentioned yet and probably should have--as I already assumed it into the list of variables--is the issue of age and trauma. Research and specialists invariably point to the reasoning that the events which teach a child to split their own identity must occur before, at most, six years of age.

The running theory for that is well... long and equally strange... and, truth be told, still getting hacked out. Here's an unedited list of a minor brainstorming that I and a few friends are working on.... sorry that it makes no sense and still has a lot of holes, but I thought you might enjoy reading it:

Stella: Part of the requirements--along with imagination, intelligence and creativity--is the impulse or need for the identity fluidity. In other words, a person must learn while they are still learning how to behave in the world that one possible way of handling things is to jump over to another identity pattern. If that does not happen, then they will grow up normally, and stay at level B, or even C instead of jumping to E.

When a child is still young, their mind is forming the pathways for understanding and handling the world around them. If a child is taught--or forced to resort to--to be other people, then that is ingrained in--the mind stays fluid, instead of solidifying into a firm mental identity.

That is a trait which is hardwired into the brain. If the mind does not learn while it is forming that it is acceptable to jump identities, then it will not do so to the extent of if it had. Hence, even if a person could have been level E, if they had no reason to learn to do so, they will be at level B or even C. The mind is still halted on the idea of 'one mind, one body'.  They can be amazing actors, incredible authors, and dazzling artists, but they will not lose their own identity to another in the same manner that a multiple can, and still recover their own self without damage.

Reb: Imagine the mind as being divided into compartments:

The mind before six years of age is still all mixed up in terms of who and what it is. It is still putting together the habits of behavior--this is the part of youth development when a child learns the difference between I and You.

The young mind is all mixed up.

Now, as it gets older and is taught that there are limits between it and other people, it forms a strong and definite identity and pattern of behavior. It sets down the manner in which it will learn things and process information. It begins to set priority over what it will retain, and what it will not.

If a child's mind is forced to behave in radically different ways, it will come to the logical conclusion that the Identity value must change. However, rather than just one way (say, if a child's parents suddenly acted much differently and wanted the child to behave in a constant, yet different manner), it must still retain the old patterns of behavior. At the easiest level, let's say that a child's father tends towards the extremes of behavior. When he is very happy, then he wants the child to act in a certain way toward him or be punished. When he is angry, the same--but the child must act in a different way. So the brain divides into two tracks: One for Good Daddy, and one for Bad.

Sparrow: Isn't this getting into Freud again?
Reb: Drop it. Just drop it.
Sammi: We're assuming trauma here as well, right?
Reb: Yes. Blunt always works.
Stella: Which is why she regulated it to the easiest level, as seen in the first declaration.
Reb: Shaddup! Anyway.

Now let's say that the mother does this too. And, even better, the child must act differently in school and around friends.

The mind learns that these identity patterns must be held, and held intact and separate, so that they can be called up and used whenever they're needed. It's basic survival instinct at the very heart. Hence, the mind never sets down the boundaries, but keeps them fluid--because, as the child gets older and enters new situations, it must either make new behavioral structures or adapt the preexisting. And those structures become quite separate from each other, all the better to preserve their own space and way of life.

|----|   |--|--|----|  |----|---|
A multiple adapts to situations much differently than a single person. If they require a new set of behavioral patterns to keep from getting hurt, they will make it almost literally on the spot, instead of a single person trying to balance what's going on and then making themselves either pretend to it or actually change over time. The reason they can do this sooner is because the new identity values do not have to impinge upon the preexisting ones--and single people have it affect that base value of Who They Are. A multiple can make new people and act in strange ways without even touching that Who.

|----|   |--|--|----|  |----|---|     becomes          |----| |--|--|----|  |-|---|     |---|

Where a normal person might have to struggle with moral issues, a multiple dodges any sort of stress like that because, for, their new personality, whatever they're doing is exactly right in the world. It's how sense was made out of abusive home relationships--instead of a multiple growing up and becoming a hardcore abuser of their own, they cut off parts of themselves to suffer it, and who expect such abuse to be normal. Therefore they do not struggle with guilt, and can make sense out of totally senseless situations.

Multiples are like lizards, in that they can lose their tail to a predator. You cannot touch a multiple if they become desperate and down to basic survival--they will cut off parts of themselves and sacrifice them instead to be remolded, hiding their own vulnerabilities where no one can reach.

Reb: The heart of multiplicity is survival through fluidity. Can't stress that enough.

Stella: Even more so than active people, they are continually shaping themselves to meet their environments, always on edge to notice if someone new needs to be made. The sacrifice in exchange is memory and burnout. Multiples have an extremely high rate of burnout due to their constant mental activity, and they can process memory differently.

Personalities can be made who have the habit of core dumping memory onto others; they live for the moment. Other personalities stay arrested at certain stages of life. Multiples have a better memory in some respects because an instance can be remembered by six or seven different people, but at the same time, they can forget things because only one person remembered it and they're not available for contact.

Multiples also make the sacrifice of being slightly out of touch with the immediate world--multiples who have stable working systems and coexistence are basically living with another set of stimuli overlaid onto yours. Ever walk around with the news on your headphones all day and with no way to turn it down? Do it for long enough, and you'll see why multiples can be so spacey--there are worlds of factors that single people never have to deal with.


>In cases like this, I think I would say that fragmentation is not necessarily taking place; the person is simply using an assumed mask to express parts of themselves they can't express in their daily life.

Right again--it's not, as such. Fragmentation that will go on to create another personality or fragmentary personality has or develops a root severance of self. If you took them apart to the very base identity value, you would not find "This is Mary pretending to be Pretty Mary Jane", but "This is Jane". If pressured, the answer, habits, and core behaviors would not change.

It is this sense of difference which is so keen in picking up the difference between those minor times when a person is simply acting--even for extended periods of time--and when it is possible for an actual fragment to form. As there is between a person and an external person, there is the sensation of 'Me' and 'Not-Me'. In cases where people have been around for a while, they do not have to and often will not react in ways that you might have thought they will. As any authored, envisioned, dreamed or woven character tends, they will grow and stand on their own. They do not have to rely on their creators to ask them for input, or for any sort of basis to judge and react to the world upon.

This does not mean the person is necessarily a multiple...  these instances can occur quite often to people. What is also needed is the range of other factors, ie, creativity, etc etc, and the mind that is wired to fit.

>is it the person (primary/core personality, or whatnot) who's required to develop in other ways, or the character?

The character. People who spend more time out become exposed to more situations, and, unless they want to eternally rely upon others for the solution, must act and react--even if it means refusing to be affected.

> I'd be willing to bet that she doesn't handle more than a dozen or so at any given time.  I don't see how anyone /could/ without becoming a possibly unstable personality themselves.  ^^;;

Yes... well, that's the balance point. Just how many different and distinct people can fit inside one head at a given time? And not only that, but how many can do so while the overall system remains stable? I've dealt with multiples who go nuclear at any number above five, and I've dealt with those who can take that number in stride. It really does differ from person to person, which seems to have a direct correlation to those levels.

> rather see most of the cast in my head as a nebulously defined spiritual link to other people in other worlds

This has pretty much just me sidetracking... *sigh*... but...

Do you remember the theory of archetypes?... That there are base aspects in the world which create reflections of themselves throughout, and those are what we see and interpret. Even in taking the Major Arcana of Tarot as an example, there are the Fool and the Magician. The Moon and the Emperor. Partake in Jung's collective subconscious. The variations of stereotypes--almost laughable in what they thought of as, and yet become so because we have forgotten precisely why they are so powerful. That's pretty much off topic and might be of no use, but perhaps we're all just trying to touch perfect ideals, and coming down halfway.