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First of all I want to commend anyone and everyone who supports a survivor of any type of abuse. I realize that it takes much compassion and empathy to deal with someone who has experienced so much pain in their lives and have so much baggage to tote around. If you are a supporter of someone who has Dissociative Identity Disorder, your friendship is unique and can be a special one for the both of you.
Just as anyone who experiences trauma needs to talk about their pain, multiples need an outlet as well. However when you're dealing with a survivor with D.I.D. you are also dealing with more than one individual, taking into consideration the mental, emotional and even the physical stamina that appear in each alter personality.
That being said, I feel that it is important here to emphasize how separated our memories are. In general multiples are often accused of being chronic liars because one alter personality may relay a memory of their childhood to you; while another alter personality may confess that there are no memories of childhood at all. The survivor may also seem like they are contradicting themselves at times by giving you two or more opinions or answers to one question or event, when in reality you have been conversing with two or more alter personalities during that one conversation.
During our life time we are also thought of as a Hypochondriac, suffering with one ailment after another and never seeming to get to the bottom of what is causing the pain. This happens because each alter personality deals with different issues and each alter personality carries his or her own memories, including "body memories." And also, we really do suffer with a multitude of ailments simply because we are under so much stress.
And while you may have spoken to one alter personality a few days ago and they told you that their favorite color was pink and had seafood for lunch, today another alter personality may tell you they like the color yellow and had a hamburger for lunch the other day. Well, the other day to that particular alter personality could actually have been three years ago if that alter personality has not been out and active in a while.
Survivors who live with D.I.D. are forced to cope with a tremendous amount of noise in our heads from the alter personalities talking back and forth and the children inside who are singing, laughing or crying and the angry alter personalities who are ranting and raving while still other alter personalities may be comforting another alter personality with a lullaby or humming.
To top that off when a survivor is trying to have a conversation with you, other alter personalities may also be listening and can be triggered by something you or the alter personality that is already out might say, or a certain noise, smell or any other stimuli that could catch the attention of other alter personalities.
These triggers have the potential to cause an alter personality to switch in completely and take over the conversation, which in reality probably happens a lot more than you are aware of. But your friend, or one of the alter personalities may at some point want to tell you what they are seeing in their heads, but be ware that if a person is a multiple, then what you are about to hear is not the usual pat on the behind or a beating with an iron rod. The type of abuse that causes a person to create alter personalities is far more graphic and unbearable than you can ever imagine.
I am told that just by hearing of the atrocities performed on someone who is a DID survivor could even cause the listener to dissociate. You must protect yourself from any damage that could be caused by listening to the stories of torment that the survivor has experienced. You might stop the survivor and gently suggest writing these thoughts down so that they can be sure to tell the therapist on the next visit. But unless you've been trained to treat such disorders please refrain from counseling your friend, it could actually do more harm than good.
You may notice that the survivors alter personalities start switching in and out more often than before. That happens because all of a sudden all of these selves are coming out of hiding after years and years; and more alter personalities with even more hidden memories get triggered by the last memories and then more memories and the survivor is flooded with images and sounds that no human should ever have to experience. Another reason that this switching might become more obvious is that you may be paying closer attention, or the alters are beginning to get more comfortable and want to spend "their" time with you.