Divisions in Plurality, 1.0

Kerry Dawkins, 2007, with edits made in 2012

I think that some people are creating too many arbitrary lines between certain ‘categories’ of plural groups. I’m not saying that such distinctions should never be made, but that they’re used to divide people who have a common experience, and to breed internecine conflict.

I’m not the sort of person who gets jumped-up about activism, normally, but I’m really very tired of these false dichotomies and dreamed-up divisions amongst plurals. I am not claiming that all groups subscribe to these schools of thought. Nevertheless, it is inevitable that in such a large population, people are going to have different views of multiplicity, and when such a personal subject is involved, feelings are going to run high about what the ‘right’ way for a system to operate in is.

There seem to be three ‘camps’  – the MPD/DID camp, the natural multiples’ camp and the soulbonders’ camp.

I think that, in the interest of honesty and fairness, I should make a bit of a confession. I personally belong to a nondisordered plural group with a few outsourced fictives. I’ve been friendly with groups who subscribe to different models of their plurality, and I have nothing against any one way of interpreting plurality.

I’ve noticed some trauma-based, MPD/DID and disordered groups criticising natural multiple groups and soulbonders for various reasons.

Natural multiples are chastised for not recognising their ‘true’ trauma-based origins, and those who have other worlds are criticised for living in fantasy worlds. A lot of them may also have problems with natural groups because there isn’t a ‘host’ or a ‘main person’ with ‘alters’, ‘parts’, ‘personalities’ or ‘parts’. Furthermore, many of these groups may have difficulty with the idea that many non-trauma-based (and many other trauma-based) groups don’t want to become normal and ‘cure’ themselves of multiplicity through ‘fusion’ or ‘integration’ and becoming functionally nonplural.

I’ve read older comments on the Livejournal multiplicity community that seem to say rather similar things. Soulbonders seem to attract their ire because they are, to them anyway, claiming to be imaginary game-characters and are role-playing when multiplicity is a serious disorder for them. They cannot understand why people are claiming to be Cloud Strife and Sephiroth when they’re trying to monitor their ‘alters” behaviour.

On the other hand, there are natural plural groups who seem to have similar problems with the soulbonders, as well as rather different problems with the disordered, trauma-based or MPD/DID groups. Some of them may claim that the trauma-based systems never experienced abuse, that all of their ‘alters’ are there to get attention, that they all represent stereotypes or that they all behave as though they’ve stepped off the pages of Sybil. Every child in these groups is a ‘scared little’, and anyone who shows strength or intelligence is a ‘protector alter’ or an ‘internal self-helper’. A lot of time is devoted to mocking the MPD/DID people, simply because their experiences are different from theirs.

Some natural plurals characterise more traditional soulbonding systems as ‘muse hoarders’, choosing the ‘shiniest’ characters from popular media to make their systems look more ‘special’. While I do agree that such systems exist, that is not the case for all soulbonders everywhere. There are many groups who do not even want to mention their soulbonds’ names publicly because they are worried about social repercussions.

The soulbonders who are caught up in the divisions seem to have a combination of the common criticisms of the natural-multiple and MPD and DID groups, as well as some taken from the singlet world. Like the natural multiples, these soulbonders are critical of the MPD/DID groups for espousing integration; claiming that all plural systems are trauma-based; and saying that members of plural groups are not full persons; rather, they are ‘alters’, ‘personalities’, ‘parts’ or ‘ego states’. Like the MPD/DID systems, they emphasise that they HAVE got a ‘host’ or a ‘main person’ who is tied to the body and its history, unlike natural multiples, who may or may not have such a person in the group. They also bring in an idea that the other groups do not, because they may not identify as multiple – that actual multiplicity, rather than soulbonding, is MPD and should be avoided. To them, there is a vast diference between being ‘insourced’ or ‘born into the body’ and being ‘outsourced’.

All of these divisions are ultimately meaningless, in my opinion. I cannot speak for others, only myself. To the world at large, DID groups, natural multiples AND soulbonders are all mad. Attacking other types of groups for being ‘crazy’ is an example of people’s throwing stones from glass houses. To people who are weary of this whole idea of division within the plural community, these separations are just an irritant.

I think that the ‘turf wars’ just serve to prevent intelligent conversation, and are a way to form cliques. ‘Oh, you’re not DID or MPD, therefore you aren’t multiple and do not deserve to be with us.’ ‘You’re a bunch of DID fluffbunnies, and those natural multiples are just as MPD as you. We soulbonders aren’t MAD like the rest of them.’ ‘Soulbonders are deluded and live in their own worlds, and DID people just whinge.’

We’re all plural, and I think that it would be for the better if we decided to put such petty differences aside to discuss our common experience – more than one person sharing a body.