Being A Plural: Experience Of A Child Alter

Therapy can take many forms. Sometimes it is in formal settings, but the most therapeutic work, especially with children, is done in comfortable and informal settings. This post shares the experiences of a child alterand it is very explanatory and analytical. Probably a good example of what can be achieved when everyone in the system receives the support they need.

This was the answer a child alter gave on Quora, which was well received and we thought we would share it.

Can you describe the experience of being a system/collective/DID with multiple personalities, each with their own goals, dreams, and motivations for living on Earth?

I don’t know if I need to put a Trigger Warning here.

Tonight I am co-hosting with Midnight and the Rowdies listening to Santana

we are feeling a bit sad … we miss Sixteen, and as we are trying to achieve this infamous functionality thing … this question seemed a good opportunity to express our melancholy, while hopefully taking consolation in seeing how far we have come.

The beginning

We were there at the beginning. Growing up as a disordered collective is pretty messy.

Generally the focus switches between wanting to unlive and hanging to life by a thread.

There aren’t many hopes, dreams, wishes … other than wanting it to stop.

As a kid, when the day comes that you start switching, then there’s no continuity. There’s no knowing where you are, or what you are supposed to do or say; it’s all about catching up and hoping you switch into the right kid at the right time.

So, that’s when we became dormant.

The middle

While we were in our limbo, the guys had a few hiccups but did well overall. They managed to complete their education, went to university, and even did some postgrad studies. They got themselves a career and around the age of 45 had achieved all their goals. So, they were pretty chuffed, even though they didn’t remember their childhood.

We had a job that we thought we loved, we had hobbies and were active in the community, and we had a social life and a love life. They thought they were happy.

However, achieving one’s goals is always underwhelming, an anti-climax. What next?

I don’t know if it was chance or fate, but this is when our system started waking up.

As they became more and more aware of us, they started to remember about childhood. We only scratched the surface even now, but it was already clear from the outset of our healing journey, around 15 years ago, that something was amiss.

They had been rebels all along. Between affirming their sexuality, enforcing no-contact, unconventional career moves and semi-alternative lifestyles, they had been trying to move away from the conditioning of our early years.

However, with the power of hindsight, they were able to discern that our childhood had been so extreme the term brainwashing felt more appropriate; that meant that none of their decisions had been made with free will.

As they delved deeper into their own history, which they knew better than ours, they were able to recognise that all along they always pleased other people, and never themselves. They were vicariously happy and very dependent on making other people happy.

The now

This caused a revolution which we will now oversimplify.

Now we all try to do things and see who likes it. Then we attempt to accommodate everyone.

Fortunately, we have overlaps, so we can work on projects in groups. We are trying to work out a fair way to share time IRL.

We don’t always need that. We need to learn and interact with people, which has to be done IRL, plus do what the body needs to do.

But things like processing, analysing, discussions, etc. can be done while someone else does something else.

So, for example, we might go to the library or take a course because a group of our inner fam likes to learn, study, etc. However, I would probably be walking there with Herbie and some other littles because it’s fun, Charlie might stop at the supermarket to do some shopping, then Wyn (they don’t have a name yet, we just made it up and it will probably stick) will chat and smile to everyone …

So, while we do all the physical stuff, the Nerdies can discuss and think and plan and do what they do. That enables everyone to be involved and do something they like and is efficient because there is usually quite a lot of spare brain capacity that can be utilised.

The really cool thing is that the grown-ups ask us our opinion. They want to do stuff that we like and want to do too.

That’s why they decided to start the Peer Support stuff, because of me. I like to help people, I have been sad all my life and lately, I’ve been happy, smiling, and even laughing, and now I’m helping the other kids inside, and it feels really good. I want everybody to be happy, particularly those who have been sad for a long time.

And then Stef and Alex reallylike to learn new stuff, and that’s why they are doing all these weird courses that are super complicated and have no purpose other than to make them really happy.

And we are looking into different options for the others too, so that everyone can have a slice of joy.

I’m not really sure how we are going to work it out, that is something else that we are studying, testing, and discussing.

Have I answered the question? Thanks for reading. Sorry it started a little dark, but as you see, kinda happy ending 🤍🐻‍❄️


As always, thanks to everyone who helped me, I think some people might be able to spot which bits I wrote and which I got help for! I’ll get better I promise 🙏😁