As a DID system, we abide by what we call the Darling Code

maybe you have a blog code, or general how-i-live-my-life code. you know the one: don’t murder anyone, don’t abduct children, etc.

we as a dissociative identity disorder system, the darling system, have a code by which we abide called the darling code.

this is just an overview, as shared by effy. i feel it’s prime for me to share it considering jane wants to dye our hair pink — and not just dark hair ombres to pink anymore, but full on pink — because the code prevents her from doing that based on her decision alone.

Woman walking on building edge wearing brown dress
© cottonbro via pexels

singlets tend to think, “so i want to cut/dye/whatever my hair,” and then they go and do it, like that, without hesitation or second thought.

as a did system, we cannot do that because there are consequences. we’ve spent years building up a trust, a camaraderie, and breaking the code takes a hammer to that cohesiveness the system has worked its ass off for.


  1. respect the body
  2. respect the primary host (jane)
  3. respect the protector (betzy)
  4. respect the process

if we want to front, we first must consider the body’s well-being. then, it’s just a general process that is highly situational: it depends on what is happening outside the system. sometimes we will blend with whomever is fronting to see if it’s safe to front ourselves, if we want.

i don’t like fronting, because the body’s nails aren’t always black. jane loves bold colors, sometimes even bright ones, and i also don’t look like the body. or the body doesn’t look like me? it’s conflicting. and then i speak aloud and don’t even sound like me. i speak a language the body/system does not know, and then i hear it…anyway, i don’t like it.

sometimes, a little will sneak out and then it’s like disturbed ants freaking out. an alarm blares in the headspace and there are a lot of oh-fucks to be said. we have bribes, but they don’t always work. the little loves to front, but it’s not always safe for that.

the alter associated with the body’s legal name is the exception to the process, for she may be summoned through repetitive prodding. it is psychologically frustrating, because we have a great system code going, but she doesn’t accept the code. she doesn’t even accept that the body has dissociative identity disorder.

i actually fronted late at night, when we were supposed to go to sleep. jane left to rest, but i wanted to start writing most of this! but it was really bad behavior from me, because i am a trauma holder, so we experienced PTSD-related nightmares that symbolized previous trauma.

so some of us have rules like that: i don’t front late at night. betzy doesn’t front unless absolutely necessary or we’re especially pissed off. kelly doesn’t front unless she’s blending with a little to bring them back from the front, but she does want to? it’s complicated.

i think we are lucky as a system to not really have any interest in fronting, but it’s also like…do we not want to front because we’ve been hiding so long? or do we not want to front because we learned early on that society saw us as bad, evil, monstrous — and therefore we developed a caution, a boundary preventing us from ever daring to want to.

some forms of self-expression are triggering

Blood orange on lavender nail-polished fingers on bathroom background to look like menstrual fluid
it’s not actually menstrual fluid.

jane got this pale lavender nail polish color in her ipsy that she really liked, but it disgruntled the lot of us.

the more she had it, the less it felt like herself and more like someone else, and it wound up being that kelly’s feelings about it were bleeding through.

it is a darling color, but long-term, we just can’t with it collectively. later down the line, the timing might be better, but for now, the pale lavender is a color we must steer clear from.

i personally vote for black, but jane isn’t entirely into black nail polish.

no tattoos

i want a tattoo. like a feather or something.

a dormant alter named raaz wanted a tattoo of various xes that looked like a brush pattern.

jane sometimes wants one of a bow.

i think a bow would be more fitting for us, being the darling system and all.

however, tattoos would increase the dysmorphia the system feels when someone different from the host fronts. and then if the alter who got it goes dormant for a long while, it’s stuck with us for eternity.

it’s just a much bigger responsibility and not everyone would appreciate it in the system, so we refrain from tattooing our skin.

there is also the matter of allergies/skin reactions.

major hair change

we waited a year before cutting our hair. er, getting it cut.

it wasn’t because it wasn’t a huge priority (not fully). we just needed to all get on the same page. getting it cut shorter was difficult to accept, but we’re keen for it to grow long again. we are taking care of our hair now much better than we were before, so that is wonderful!

dyeing our hair is a different story. we came to a compromise: if she dyes our hair pink, then i’m gonna have black fingernails more often. compromise: it’s important.

now we work in a position that requires us to blend in, so pink dyed hair may be a conflict, but we will see later down the line should we decide to dye it anyway.

record any trauma/severe injuries to the body

so there was a fall at the perot museum that one of us had, and then we all dealt with the consequences. that goes down on a mental sticky, which some of us see when we front or blend and some of us don’t.

dentistry is a major mindfuck for us all. it’s weird, because anesthesia affects all of us differently, so jane gets it and then someone else fronts and needs it again. before you know it, we’ve maxed it out. this is why the only way to get dental work is to sedate the body completely. it’s more expensive, but definitely required. afterward, we each have to deal with the dental healing.

no interfering with jane’s love interests until they express interest in getting to know the rest of the system & are a proven safe space

this one is complicated. there is only one romantic interest we’ve told, and yet we still did not yet feel safe in being our complete selves around her.

i don’t want to explain this one too much because it’s really complicated.

the only member in the system actually interested in being with anyone is jane. the rest of us either don’t care or can’t be bothered.

in other systems, headmates occasionally date each other. the darling system cannot fathom that ever happening because while it’s not like we are siblings or related, we simply do not have that type of relationship. it’s complicated.

we also have no interest in dating another system, because we want our partner to be monogamous. jane is monogamous and can’t imagine seeing the body of the person she’s into with someone else. she would rather a singlet than a system, even though that’s extremely difficult because singlets struggle to understand that we are not the same fucking person, but completely different people (even though we have similarities).

we just want to be seen, heard, understood. we just want to be acknowledged, accepted, respected.

for example:

  1. you date jane
  2. sometimes you’ll color with the little and accept the flowers she picks for you (if you tell her your favorite wildflower, she will pick it for you)
  3. the cat doesn’t always enjoy being touched
  4. the puppy wants all the attention, all the time, and usually just blends with jane or briefly fronts
  5. the males do not go full-frontal, but the teen one’s horniness bleeds through even though jane cannot personally articulate why

dating jane doesn’t mean dating all of us, it just means loving, accepting and respecting us as a system. we are a collective; jane is comprised of multitudes.

so not only do we follow the darling code, but potential girlfriends must follow this part of the darling code.

only share about the system what we have collectively agreed is okay

“board members” is not one hundred percent accurate terminology, but it’s the closest we have to explaining how this works. there is essentially a vote that takes place when we want to share something, and it gets categorized into the following:

  • okay to share now/whenever (can be revoked on a whim by betzy if deemed unsafe)
  • never okay to share (can be challenged later based on circumstances)
  • save for future determination (not okay now, but definitely not yet off the table)

if you break this rule and share something anyway, you risk losing support of fellow headmates should things go awry.

this is not the code in its entirety, but hopefully it gives you an idea of how we function as a system instead of a singlet. we have mentioned living by a code in the past, but hadn’t the ability to properly articulate it. we also have code mermaid.

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