First-person Descriptions of DID | jcarlsmith | September 20, 2012


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First-person Descriptions of DID

by jcarlsmith Show/Hide
  1. 1 Show/Hide More Billy Milligan
    Milligan's description emphasizes the separation between the different identities involved in <span class="caps">DID</span>. The host identity simply disappears, an alter takes over for a while, and then the host re-appears somewhere else having &#8220;lost that time.&#8221; As we'll see, however, this is by no means a universal experience of the relationship between the host personality and the alters. In other cases, different personalities can be co-conscious, they can communicate, and they can coordinate their responses to situations. As you move through the module, keep in mind the manner in which our conception of the relationship between the alters affects our conception of their criminal responsibility.
  2. 2 Show/Hide More Anonymous
    Note the difference between this description and the one Milligan gives. Milligan claims total separation between the identities &#8212; an utter absence of consciousness, and then a re-appearance at a different time. The anonymous &#8220;survivor,&#8221; however, suggests that at times he or she is &#8220;watching&#8221; her body, but unable to control it. That is, she remains conscious, but at some kind of distance from her standard capacity for agency.
  3. 3 Show/Hide More John Woods
    This is an article written by Judith Armstrong, a psychologist assigned as an expert witness in the trial of a man — John Woods — whom she had diagnosed with DID. Mr. Woods had killed his girlfriend, Sally, during an argument about her faithfulness. Read Section IV: The Interview (pp. 212-216). In it, Dr. Armstrong conducts separate interviews with the three alters involved in the crime.
    This is the lengthiest of the descriptions given thus far, and it reveals the complexity of the dynamics that develop between the alters. Note, for example, that Ron &#8220;overhears&#8221; what John is saying to Sally (p. 213); that Donnie knows who Dr. Armstrong is because &#8220;that information got<br /> passed around&#8221; (p. 214); that Donnie wants to &#8220;ask&#8221; Ron what is going on, but Ron &#8220;won't talk to him&#8221; (p. 214); that Donnie tries to impress Ron and John by jumping off a balcony (p. 215); that John and Donnie both think that Ron is &#8220;usually right&#8221; (p. 215 and p. 216). All of this suggests not just internal communication and co-consciousness, but an intricate network of relationships and power dynamics operating amongst the alters.

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