I’m gonna say something….. controversial
if you’re writing a story and your villain has (or is) dissociative identity disorder then your art is bad and you should feel bad.
you know how straight people are really terrible at telling gay jokes because they don’t understand what the actual funny parts of being gay are?
Yeah people without DID who try to use the disorder for horror/thriller purposes fail at it because they don’t understand how DID actually effects people and their lives and behavior and relationships
In fact every piece of dramatic media I can think of that depicts DID kinda relies on the audience not understanding how DID actually works
And if the audience being educated ruins their suspension of disbelief, you’ve fucked up
And if you have to demonize highly vulnerable abuse survivors to create drama, you might not have any business writing fiction to begin with
Fictional DID is always depicted as dangerous to everyone but the person with the disorder and it makes me wonder what amount of research is acceptable in Hollywood and TV these days
like in Split they’re all “different alters have different biological realities” as some kind of edgy “what if the hulk but real” thing, and as far as I know, the idea that different alters have different physiologies is not accepted by modern psychology, and was likely falsified by an extremely abusive, immoral, and sadistic psychologist who gave his patients dangerous experimental drugs just to see how they would react, and then when the patients complained of trouble breathing or heart problems, this doctor told the nurses that it was all part of ~multiple personality disorder~ so that they wouldn’t like. I don’t know. Tell someone that this doctor was poisoning his patients in a wholly unscientific manner for apparent shits and giggles.
So yeah, that such a good sign for that movie huh?? //sarc
Look I don’t have DID, but I did live with someone who did for a year. It barely affected me. The person told me because they assumed I would notice something odd if we were living together, but tbh if he hadn’t I probably wouldn’t have thought anything except maybe that he was forgetful and disorganized.
I only ever knowingly interacted with one alter, who a psychologist might describe as an “angry part”, as sometimes alters experience limited emotions and are classified as “emotional parts”. This is the kind of alter that movies like Split want you to think is a rage-crazy murder monster with no impulse control.
The real-life “angry alter” my roommate had? I mean he was kind of a dick. He always seemed generally pissed off but he wasn’t a threat to me. I think he maybe wasn’t very nice to my roommate but since that happened internally I never saw, I could only guess. Hardly a hulk-like sex murderer.
And actually the majority times I talked to this alter I didn’t even know it. Because usually he made a point of acting like my roommate so that no one would give the system any trouble. Because DID is a highly specialized, involuntary coping mechanism created to protect a victim of trauma or abuse. Alters form so that the victim can continue with their life and grow and develop. If all alters were dangerous volatile monsters that you could easily tell the difference between at a glance, they wouldn’t be a very effective defense mechanism.
So I would talk to my roommate as usual, and then like an hour later he would be like “whoa how long have I been gone, what was my body doing all day” and I would be like uhhh I literally don’t know dude if you hadn’t said that I wouldn’t have realized you weren’t the one fronting all day.
In Split it’s like “if I lose control of my alters they kidnap and murder people!!!” and meanwhile in reality it’s more like….. System needed to go to class today but Alter B was fronting when it was time to leave for class and they didn’t feel like going, so the whole system missed out on class and that sucks.
And when alters do hurt people its…. pretty much always the body of the system. There are suicidal and self-harming alters for sure. But I’ve never found a medically or scientifically valid article or study about homicidal alters. And certainly not alters who carry out complex kidnapping plots of multiple people.
And obviously fiction that demonizes any mental illness makes the world a more dangerous place for people with that mental illness, and I’ve even met mental health workers who believed the horror movie depiction of DID and thought my roommate was going to kill me. That is a serious problem. It’s one thing for Average Joe to think Split is a legit portrayal of DID, but when the people whose job it is to help mentally ill people believe this?? At best it’s going to be harder for systems to find the help they need. At worst, the mental health system becomes hostile and dangerous to those with DID.