NPD “alter” in a DID patient.

dissociative_identity_disorder

I have to admit I know next to nothing about this, but I found this fascinating and wonder if anyone else ever heard of anything like it or knows anything about it. Someone who comments on this blog described a woman they know who has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Like C-PTSD and the personality disorders, DID is caused by abuse during childhood. If you’re not familiar with DID, it’s one of the Dissociative disorders. It used to be known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). DID is when a person has one or more “alters” in addition to their base personality, and switches from one alter to another, usually in response to a trigger. The core self usually has amnesia for the the time spent as an alter (many people with DID present because of frequent “blackouts”–gaps in memory where the person can’t remember anything they did as an alter), but there may be some awareness among the various alters of each other’s existence.  Each alter may have their own name, set of interests, likes and dislikes, etc.  They may even have opinions about the other alters as if they were actual people. Adopting different alters is how the DID person copes with trauma-related stress. DID usually first presents during childhood.  It’s a fascinating disorder in its own right.

Like almost everyone with DID, the woman this commenter described had been horrifically abused. One of her alters had Narcissistic Personality Disorder, maybe more than one. I don’t know how many alters the woman had, and I don’t know whether or not she was NPD at her core (usually the core personality is a rather passive and victimized character, and I would think that adopting NPD as a dominant coping mechanism would negate the “need” to develop DID). I found it fascinating that one of her alters had NPD and she was able to switch it off whenever she left that alter. The human mind is an amazing and mysterious thing.