People with DID can be Aware of Alternate Personalities

Art by Rob Goldstein
Found on Pinterest

The fact that research confirms that people with DID can have an awareness of alternate personalities is a crucial piece of information for people who may think they have a dissociative spectrum disorder.

One of the reasons I spent so much time in denial was that I thought that any memory at all of my behavior while dissociated precluded a diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

I lost years of my life to an institutional bias when simple research could have spared suffering.

I have huge gaps in memory for time but also have dreamlike memories of the things my alternates do.

As I get better the memory barriers slowly fall and I find that I know more about
my alters, how they see themselves, and how they relate to me as a part of me.

In some ways I view them as trusted friends.

Now before you run with how weird that sounds remember that to me they are as different from me as anyone reading this blog.

When I started therapy in  2011 my therapist asked me to make a map of my alternates.

I couldn’t map them because I didn’t know them.

I know more about them now so here is a rough map in order of age.

I also do this to also clarify how the work on this blog gets done.


Art by Rob Goldstein

Robby age slides. He goes from four to seven. He cries most of the time.


Art by Rob Goldstein
Portrait of Peter

Peter also age slides. He goes from 6 to 16. He is a precocious child who is well spoken and polite. He prefers classical music and makes abstract art.


Art by Rob Goldstein
Portrait of Sara

Sara is one of the first alternates.

She is a protector.

She speaks her mind and she is not afraid of conflict.

She also comes out if she senses that another alternate intends to harm the body.

She emerged as child but now functions only as an adult.

She knows that the body is male and so closely identified with her Second Life avatar.

She amuses herself by using Second Life to shop for virtual designs and taking fashion shots.

She loves the great female Jazz singers and likes to post her fashion shots with music.


Art by Rob Goldstein

Felicity is a younger version of Sara.

She is sexual and likes to go into Second Life to play on a virtual strip pole.

I don’t know what her role is or why she comes out.


Portrait of Mateo
Mateo is straight identified and black identified.

I thought that he was a new alternate but he is one of the first alternates.

When he first emerged in elementary school his name was Anthony.

He now functions only as an adult.

Mateo is black because as a child the only people he saw treated as badly as he was by the white community were black people.

Mateo like jazz dancing and used to use Second Life to go to jazz clubs and meet ‘women’.

He remains on everyone’s s**t list for exposing Bobby and Robby to danger in
Second Life.


Art by Rob Goldstein

Bobby is a teen alternate.

His age is between 13 and 18

He was the primary host when the body was adolescent.

He is gay identified and radical about it.

He was the first alternate to join Second Life in 2009.

He likes to use Second Life to fly a virtual hover board and has taught himself how to do board tricks in sync to the music he plays. When he wants to he speaks in and writes in Southern Dialect.

He also likes to pop into conversations and play word  games.

He has no memory of learning how to read or write.

Art by Rob Goldstein
Bobby on His Hover board


Art by Rob Goldstein

Bob took over at 23.

He is never older than thirty.

He carries anger and grief is most likely
to emerge to express anger.

He is gay identified.

He has a Second Life avatar that he
rarely uses.

He does not come out often.

Rob Goldstein

Art by Rob Goldstein
Rob Goldstein
Portrait by Nina Glaser

Rob Goldstein is always in his thirties.

He is one of two alternates with a first and
last name.

He is responsible for responding to comments
on the blog though all the alternates will reply.

Rob does not have a Second Life avatar.

He thinks Second Life is for suckers which means
he thinks the other alternates are silly although he
has a soft spot for Bobby.

He has a logical mind and values intellect.

He has no patience for self-deception and people
who play games.

He thinks that controlling one’s psycho-pathology
is a moral obligation which means that he reserves
his harshest opinions for pathological narcissists
whom he views as lazy intellectually and corrupt morally.

His attitude toward gaming communities or any
‘community’ based on recreational privilege is
best summed up by a comment he once made to
a member of San Francisco’s S&M Community.

“If you have to pay for pain you aren’t living.”

He is the writer, the essayist and the intellectual.

He never acts on emotion because he rarely feels it.

Rob Goldstein is asexual as a result of the AIDS Epidemic.

He is in terrible grief over the friends he lost to AIDS.

Loleeta Morales

Loleeta Morales

Loleeta Morales is the other alternate with a first and last name.

Loleeta is always in his late forties and has been since the body
was 34.

Loleeta is a man who thinks of himself as a woman but he is not transgender.

He is completely identified with the poor and marginalized.

If I have a persecutor alter than my guess is that it is Loleeta.

He ridicules himself and the others and often places the body in harm’s

He has his own performance piece.

Loleeta was born on a locked unit in a psychiatric hospital.


Becoming Matthew
Becoming Matthew

Matthew is the last Alternate.

He was born during his catechism and counts his full birth date
as the day of his baptism.

Matthew prepared to join the Franciscans but the week before
he was to move into the friary Bob came out and stopped it.

I think there are a couple more but I’m too exhausted to continue.

More later…:)


10 thoughts on “People with DID can be Aware of Alternate Personalities

  1. Wow, Robert! That was fascinating how you introduced us to all the alternatives. I think we all have alternatives within us. We all are a mix of different personalities. But in most people hey merge to one personality with aspects. In your case, they stay individual. But I could well imagine calling some of my emotions an alternative since they have their characteristic and show up in certain situations. That is very interesting to think about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Erika. The primary difference between people with DID and people who don’t dissociate is the fragmentation. All of the parts are there and capable of functioning as a whole…
      The problem is that the whole was ‘exploded’ by the violence of severe abuse.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Robert and anyone else reading this — Sorry don’t want to offend anyone. I can’t believe that people where not diagonalised with DID because there was an assumption that the other alter ego’s or personalities had no idea of the the other. I always grew up thinking that it was possible for one or some to know another and be able to watch what was happening when one of your alter egos took control. I remember reading a book when I was about 12 years old called -ttps:// it was written in 1989 – so quite a long time ago but I am sure in that book it mentioned that one or more of her dominate personalities had knowledge and could remember some or one of the other ‘personalities’ . I know the books title is probably offending to what is now known as DID- I didn’t write the book and my knowledge is limited. So apologies in advance. You educate me so much. I won’t lie and say I can’t help but find your mind fascinating. By that I mean how you interpret your life and experiences and how it manifests. I don’t want to put you in a lab. :DI guess I find the human mind fascinating in general. Thanks ofr sharing this 🙂 sharing it on my FB page

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is nothing in your comment that offends me. If I had someone with DID sitting in front of me as a patient I would be utterly fascinated…When we are curious we learn and when we have information we are less likely to have fear based reactions to people who are different.

      If I find anything offensive about Sybil it is that behaviorists are willing to believe that she lied out of love for her therapist. My guess is that she got sick of the stigma that comes with having DID and decided to try to free herself from it.

      When I worked in mental health an awareness of the alternates was considered a symptom of malingering or a borderline process.

      The fact that the therapist who treated Sybil documented this awareness is sign that she was treating the real thing.


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