Types of alters

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In the “who are we?” section there is a list of us our ages and our “role”, s we think giving a list of alter types and roles would be useful 🙂

Presenters: These used to be called “the ones who don’t know anything” aka the “clueless wonders”.
The presenters lived daily life: went to school, graduated from college, worked as a nurse, got married, parented two outside children. They are kind, caring, loving Christians who enjoy people and have a great sense of humor.

Protectors: These the main parts that have helped keep a person safe from perpetrators, and make very loyal friends once their anger/pain/ilnesses/self-hatred/guilt/issues have been worked on.

  • Physical protectors: Their main attitude seems to be: “Don’t mess with me unless you want a fight,” although many have changed and become powerful internal helpers. They also feel extremely protective of the few people they do love and trust, and would lay down their lives to protect them. Internal child alters love to hang around them, because they help them feel safe from outside harm.
  • Sexual protectors: These are the ones who took any sexual abuse. They will often be timid, they will be compliant, never fight back. All to limit/avoid any punishment and so protect the body from harm.
  • Emotional protectors: These took the emotional abuse, the insults and put downs. They will often be very quick witted, able to outsmart the abuser at times. But they will also know when to just be quiet and take the abuse. Sometimes they will start to believe what is said leading to very low self-esteme.

“Littles”: These are child alters. Because the abuse was so traumatic, it is as if parts became “frozen in time” when the abuse occurred. These parts remember the hurt, the pain, and hold strong feelings about the abusers. They also can feel love, and seek outside nurture. Many hold strong abandonment feelings, and struggle with depression. When they are out, they look, sound, and act like a child of the age they believe themselves to be. They also often age quickly to the body’s age and integrate quickly once their trauma is processed. These are the parts that like to play, enjoy cartoons, chocolate, stuffies, and coloring with crayons and finger paints. They love singing, and welcome hugs from safe outsiders. They also like to hug inside protectors, much to the protector’s discomfort!

Cognitives: These are the intellectual, thinking alters who have no feelings. Often, in the midst of intense trauma or painful circumstances, it was important to not cry out (or more punishment would occur), or to be able to perform a task in spite of internal repugnance. Since feelings were unsafe, intellectual alters learned to come in. They can do anything and not show feelings. The world can be falling down, a tornado raging outside the door, and a cognitive will stay calm. They are great in a crisis, since nothing fazes them. They also tend to be the ones who “run the show” inside, and tell the others what to do.

Head honcho cognitives were called “controllers” because they like to control what is going on inside, and do so calmly and unfeelingly. Once their trauma is processed, they have helped greatly in grounding other more emotional parts to the here and now, when a flood of feelings occur.

Internal helpers: these are often intellectuals, and know lots about what is going on inside. Lots and lots. They also have great ideas on how to get better.

Internal sabatogers: these are the ones who want to block therapy, life, the world, and create misery, playing old “tapes” internally . Some have loyalties to the abusers, or to twisted ideologies. Others are simply afraid, or don’t realize that they can do things differently. Time, patience, and the help of the intellectuals inside helps them to more and more change their old ways, and realize that life can be a good experience. That success is good, and doesn’t need to be punished.

Cross gender alters: These are the men, trapped in a woman’s body. They want a butch cut, love wearing pants and men’s shirts, enjoy sports, and hate makeup or feminine things. They love hanging out with male buddies and shooting the breeze, and look at female chit-chat as the epitome of boring nonsense. Others are androgynous, have no sexuality, and are frankly relieved to not have to identify with either sex.

Internal leaders: These are the petted head honchos inside, the ones where “the buck stops here” is really true. They have always believed that they were “above being abused” and thought life was pretty good, looking with contempt at the poor feeling parts who got hurt. Time, therapy, and looking at the truth has mades them feel fairly disgruntled, as they have to realise that those poor abused parts were THEM, that everyone got hurt. But they also are wonderful supports in the healing process once they got past the “Gee, aren’t I something special” phase, and realized that EVERYONE inside is valuable and special.

animal alters: these can be of any speicies, and can fulfil basically any of the above roles.


Inanimant object alters:
these can be anything, a chair, a table, anything… they are basically like cognatives, they are useful as they have no feelings

disabled alters: these can have any disability, the most common are blind, deaf or mute. Basically because this will either prevent them from knowing the full extent of the abuse so protecting the system, or they will not know the extent so they are unable to ever tell of the abuse.

The real me: the Core, the orginal, the birth child.

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One Response to “Types of alters”

  1. meredith Says:

    This was very useful for me. It helps that you have broken down into types.


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