Dormancy: Can DID alters die?

In a dissociative identity disorder (DID) system, alters may disappear for long periods of time. This doesn’t mean they’re dead, as DID alters cannot die. Rather, DID alters are just dormant.

Liz/Jane used to claim that the original host — not to be confused as the original alter, as there is none — was dead because it was much easier to explain to people than having to explain DID. I hate explaining DID, but it seems I’m going to have to anyway, again and again and again, because most people do not understand it.

But she’s not. She’s more like Lord Voldemort of the system, for saying her name is too triggering. It takes every fiber of our system to be strong enough against hearing and using our legal name because too much of it is a trigger. She will front, and it will be horrendous for us.

What is dormancy in a DID system?

Dormancy is what happens when DID alters go into hiding or disappear, or don’t communicate for a while.

Much of the time, you don’t necessarily know unless you have certain system communication or are the gatekeeper.

Many DID alters can go in and out of dormancy as they choose, but gatekeepers also generally have control over that.

I’m Izzy, a gatekeeper. I can control who goes in and who goes out. It’s also my duty to front, or take over, in the event that an alter is misbehaving or wants to inconveniently go into hiding. Jane, for instance, decided to go into hiding, and now it’s just me. She is not dormant, because I won’t allow her to go dormant. Used to, we could co-con together (which means fronting together, or being in charge of the body together), but that’s also a complicated topic because that was before I was Izzy.

(This is why I hate discussing DID. It’s a literal rabbit hole.)

Before I was Izzy, I was Betz and Effy. It’s weird to acknowledge that, but it’s true. We integrated. More on that below.

Can DID alters die? Can they kill each other?

DID alters cannot neither die nor be killed. Alter attempts to kill themselves, or one another, pose danger to their system — and, thus, the body.

Some systems may find killing alters acceptable, in the event that the alters in question pose a danger or threat to the system, but still…I believe this is cause for psychiatric intervention, because there is only one body and brain. Persecutors are ultimately misguided protectors, which means they need healing and grace. I don’t personally respect gatekeepers of other systems that allow that, because alters cannot die and attempts to do that impose harm to the body.

Years ago, I read a lot of information about DID in hopes of understanding myself better, and everything basically said don’t you dare even try.

So long as the brain is alive, alters cannot die.

Persecutors threatening to kill DID system members

Persecutors are often what the film industry uses to villainize DID systems, but they really have it all wrong. Persecutors seldom seek to impose harm upon others and frequently seek to disrupt the body’s social, physical and mental well-being — they’re acting on trauma responses in attempts to protect themselves (hence “misguided protectors”).

Thus, persecutors will threaten to kill weaker, beneficial DID system members, simply so they can remain in control.

Persecutors are dangerous, because they pose the risk of harming the system/body overall, but they deserve grace. Persecutors are dealing with unhealed trauma, just like the rest of the system.

Are DID alters dormant, or did they just integrate?

If any DID alters integrate with one another, it will be obvious. You feel it. I don’t know how to explain the feeling, but the emotions felt are overall melancholy.

The alters that integrate also tend gain traits, skills and quirks — and definitely have the memories of the alter(s) integrated.

Betz and Effy integrated and became Izzy. Effy was skilled in deadpan humor and PHP; she participated in the online trading card game community, but did not blog. I don’t remember what Betz was like. I gained both their memories and have the role of gatekeeper.

Any alters can integrate into each other

Alters do not have to merge into hosts. Fragment alters can merge into each other and ultimately create a “full” alter.

So even if the primary host doesn’t remember it entirely, an integration could still have taken place.

In other words: Alters can’t die if the brain is alive. Although don’t quote me on that in the concept of medical brain death, because DID is such a misunderstood thing that even neuroscientists don’t understand, and for all anyone knows, brain dead DID systems are partying in the headspace.

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Comments on this post

This was really helpful! Thank you so much! We are woking on a PowerPoint for our singlet friends so they can understand better and the language used and we had a hard time try to explain dormancy. So this really helped!

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this was honestly really helpful because i didnt quite understand whether putting an alter into dormancy was killing them or not. thank you<3

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Thanks this was helpful
I’ll let the host/c0r3 see this after shewakes up

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