Someone recently asked me if I could write about a certain type of inside person, because they wanted information about it, so in keeping with this request, I am going to babble about this subject for a bit. I have provided plenty of links within this post if you want to know more people’s opinions on it.
Before I start, I do want to make it known that I don’t have a personal stance on this. All systems are different, and I’ve heard so many theories and ideologies at this point that I don’t know where to land. The older I get, the less I feel the need to have a concrete opinion on all things. The person who works with me and my system has even another different theory about “types” of inside people, which seems to fit me in some ways, but not in others. I have grappled with that fact and in the end, dubbed it a moot point since what we’re doing seems to work well for me. To that end, I don’t care about specific labels for my inside people. SO, now that that’s as clear as mud, here are a few different “types” of inside people that may or may not exist in a multiple system, and may or may not go by these labels. 🙂 These names are tied to more classic understandings of D.I.D. and MC programming, if you know what that is. (If you don’t, first of all, congratulations. Your life is more blessed than a lot of people’s. Second of all, I may write a future post on it, so stay tuned.)
By the way, I DO tend to try to avoid using the word “alter,” but not because I personally find it offensive or rude. I just think “inside people” is a more respectful term that gives a nod to the validity of everyone in the system. I do not consider myself a “host” (a word I overtly dislike), who has “substitute people” who intrude upon “my” time or body to a greater or lesser degree. Everyone on the inside is valid, and they are all real, genuine people, worthy of love and equally valuable and without whom something irreplaceable would be missing from us. The state of being part of a multiple system does not diminish anyone’s worth on the inside. Although it is a unique situation, and I understand that, and have a lot of grace and tolerance for wording in conversations with people, this underlying thought process has been known to crop up with a lot of people I’ve talked to. I feel it is unfortunate, although ultimately understandable.
Also, whether you are in relationship with someone who is D.I.D. and their system, or you work with a survivor who has it, or just have a special interest in it for whatever reason, the important thing is to ask the system in question what terms they prefer (if they have preferred terms – or what feels most comfortable to them, if they are still coming into awareness), and to also ask what they mean if and when they use any certain label or terminology or anything else. It’s just a good idea to constantly clarify your understanding no matter what the subject is. I could say that something “triggers” me, but mean something totally different than another person who says the same thing (and actually it does usually mean something very different for me than when other people I know say that phrase). It’s important to find out what someone means, rather than assuming. This article is a helpful, concise expansion of this concept.
The following information is taken from several different sources, such as this one and this one and this one and this one, and no copyright infringement is intended. I have used my own words to paraphrase the information contained therein, but formal education is way behind me, and even further behind modern technology, so I don’t know the proper citing technique for a blog. PLEASE NOTE SOME OF THOSE LINKS MAY CONTAIN TRIGGERING MATERIAL!! READ WITH CAUTION. Also I do not necessarily agree or identify with every (or any) statement given on any of the cited links. Offered for informational purposes only. Some of the info on the cited links may be relevant and some of it may be helpful. Do not take it as being representative of me or mine or of all or any particular system(s) anywhere.
This list is not mean to be all-inclusive. In the case of SRA or other ritual abuse-related D.I.D. systems there will be a lot of variance, as the groups tend to structure multiple systems based on beliefs, characters, and entities that matter to that specific group.
Gatekeepers: inside people who monitor switching of alters and decide based on evaluation of circumstances who should be allowed “out” at that time.
Children: sometimes called little people, littles, kids, or children, there can be lots of them or there can be only a few of them. They can be of any age, and may or may not present as a person that age at any given point. Oftentimes they believe they are still currently in the same situation they were in when the original trauma happened; the same year, the same age. Understanding is usually very limited, although they don’t always act 100% like “typical” kids (kids that are not part of a multiple system) in that sometimes the kids still have access to the adult self’s pool of skills or knowledge, even if they aren’t able to fully comprehend or utilize such skills or knowledge in the same way.
Animal or otherwise non-human alters: insiders who believe they are animals or non-human in some way. Some systems truly believe they have animals or non-humans inside, and I’m not here to argue with them. My personal belief is that in most (but not all) cases, these are still alters (human), who have been severely deceived. I have heard of animals, rocks, ghosts, angels, and alien alters, as well as a variety of other things.
Protectors: inside people who are created to protect those who are weaker or younger from abuse; feel free to see my earlier post about protectors here.
Observers/reporters: these may or may not be the same thing. Oftentimes reporters ARE observers (or else they’d have nothing to report), but the names are differentiated depending on the system. They basically stay in the background, watching and listening, and possibly reporting what they see and hear to whoever they’ve been assigned to report to. Or sometimes there are simply observers who watch and listen, without reporting, as someone who is aware of what goes on in a broader sense than the individual perspective of each of the other inside people.
Fragments: fragments typically have less depth than an actual inside person, whether by being limited to only one emotion or job or sensation (such as a particular smell in a particular memory) and whose presence may only be experienced in very specific situations.
Again, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list. The important thing to realize is, every type of inside person has a reason for its existence. Whether the D.I.D. system formed spontaneously in response to trauma that did not have an underlying agenda, or whether it was formed intentionally by people who knew what they were doing (e.g. programming), every inside person is there for a reason. They helped the survivor cope with a situation that would have otherwise killed them or caused a total psychotic break from reality. This is important to keep in mind because not every inside person’s job, or its role in the system, is obvious at the beginning. But showing every single part of a person honor and respect is an essential first step to understanding the system as a whole. This is the fast track to recognizing the way that inside person has been helpful to the survival of the person as a whole. Cheers. ~J8