Navigating plurality as an actually autistic adult

No, it’s not polyamory. I don’t know why so many people think it is, but it is definitely not.

The prompts for this topic are from an #autchat about plurality.

Are you plural? Share as much as you’re comfortable with.

Selfie taken while laying down; hand facing palm-up over face
Not identifying with the body leads to hating your face.

I am. We are. We’re a dissociative identity disorder system.

Do your autistic/similarly neurodivergent traits intersect with your plurality?

Maybe. Autism is universal for the body, as no one alter can be autistic alone without the entire body as a system being autistic itself. Autism does not work in a way that only a few alters are autistic and the body is not.

I feel like there is a lot of overlap with our autistic traits, but some alters have autistic traits not shared with everyone.

It kinda feels like our autism is battling us as a system — but definitely not in a cancerous way, because neither DID nor autism is such a thing.

Everyone masks in their own ways within our system and has their own coping mechanisms. When everyone is loud, it can be frustrating and even annoying.

Some of us can maintain eye contact longer; I and many others will simply dissociate and come across as “tuning out” the person we’re supposed to be listening to.

I’ve noticed we tend to have little tolerance for autistic people under conservatorships, and/or in the place we used to be in years ago, because we’re at this point where we’re, like, out of that situation and so over it. It feels like a major trigger for our collective trauma pertaining to that.

Autistic people, especially autistic women, tend to emulate or mirror the people around them, which leads to unfamiliarity with ourselves. We already each experience our own version of dissociation, but this autistic trait escalates the dissociative feelings because it requires the awareness to ask whether we’re doing something because it’s who we are or because the singlet is doing it — and it’s not always there.

Not every system member has the skills to understand allistic, or non-autistic, people or how their minds work. Coupled with additional neurodivergencies and trauma, and living life is really hard. We dislike comparing experiences to be worse/better than someone else’s, but we are literally multiple identities living within one body — it feels harder and more complex than an autistic singlet, whether they have additional neurodivergencies.

Some autistic/similar systems have trouble recognizing people due to prosopagnosia, memory impairment, or both. Is this something you experience? How do you cope?

A few of us struggle to recognize faces, and it has been a deal breaker in certain potential relationships wherein the person took personal offense that their face wouldn’t be remembered. System mates will occasionally assist with remembering other characteristics of what someone looks like — their hair style, a common signature style, etc.

When we try to remember what someone looks like, we may not always remember their race, hair color, whether they wear glasses, or their height. Sometimes, we remember their name but not their face and vice versa.

Sometimes, we remember the shape of their face and approximate feature locations.

Sometimes, we remember faces clearly. Other times, we don’t.

Sometimes, we hear everything. Other times, we don’t.

Another example: If Alter 10 is co-con with Alter 5 while they’re fronting, but Alter 10 can recognize faces and Alter 5 cannot, there is a 50/50 chance of whether they’re going to be able to recognize faces.

Alters have different abilities and disabilities. At the same time, the body has its own abilities and disabilities, therefore all alters share them — some are just better at managing/putting up with them than others. Pain tolerances vary.

Memory issues are bound to happen as the result of DID, as not everyone has access to particular memories. It’s literally like hitting a brick wall. If you don’t have access, you don’t have access. It’s the brain’s way of protecting you.

Both of these definitely affect personal and professional relationships. Not remembering how your friends, relatives, coworkers and/or love interests look means you can’t find them if you get lost in a crowd or have to meet up at a restaurant. It means getting into the wrong car at school pickup and not knowing whether someone looks familiar because you do know them or if they just look like someone you know. It means not being able to recognize a suspect in a lineup.

What do you wish singlets (autistic/similar or not) knew about being plural & interacting with you?

Nonchalant selfie while sitting in Walmart aisle on Black Friday
Only like 3 people max will know who TF this is.
  • My system prefers to work cohesively, but this is not the norm.
  • We intend to merge/integrate, but this is not the goal of all systems nor is it vital.
  • If I don’t remember something — like posting something on social media or saying something completely out-of-character (OOC) for me — it’s because it wasn’t fucking me.
  • You should treat alters like different people unless stated otherwise. It’s really fucking complex and definitely not cookie cutter.
  • If you have a relationship with a specific alter only — and we tell you because you didn’t already know — you do not have any relationship with the rest of us, therefore you know nothing about us.
  • If Alter 12 did something that Alter 3 says they have no recollection of, it is not a fucking lie.
  • Some of us do things that other alters decide to undo, so posts get deleted or edited or whatever. We prefer to only delete posts as a last resort.
  • Not everyone is aware all the time.
  • Izzy, gatekeeper, is nearly always co-conscious.
  • It’s not okay to ask if we switched because you think our mood drastically changed. We view this as a form of gaslighting. If we did switch and it resulted in changing our mind/rejection, it’s because the system is priority. This isn’t always the case, however, as we rely on alter consent and autonomy to function cohesively.
  • Referring to us as a system, we are they/them.
  • Individually, each alter has their own pronouns. Most of us don’t care which pronouns you use per identity, but will get upset if you use he/him.
  • We change our minds about shit. It happens.
  • We experience body dysphoria, body dysmorphia, and perpetual fucking identity crises.
  • It might make more sense to you if you consider our internet history: lots of projects, lots of ideas, acting differently, several domain changes.
  • The primary host changes over time.
  • Jane and Izzy are two different people, but also the same person; it’s complicated. They’re also the entire system, but individual alters; it’s even more complicated.
  • Few people have gotten to know all of us, because we only trust(ed) a few people to get to know system-wide.
  • We seldom all identify with what the body looks like, and the body at all.
  • 99.999999999% of the time, you definitely have no clue who is who. DID is meant to be undetectable.
  • A lot of the time, we don’t know who is fronting. It’s an inside joke in the community.
  • They’re identities — not personalities.

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