It’s a classic dilemma. Which came first? The alter? Or the events that led to it? Were they simultaneously formed? Why didn’t the alter ‘go away’ when things changed? Are alters a coping method where certain events and/or emotional states, outlooks, views, morals & such are assigned in groups or categories to a certain ‘being’? Or made into alters? Could an alter be created by the ‘host’ or ‘core’ by assigning “these bad memories” and “those bad emotions” to a ‘new’ alter specifically created to hold those emotions and “things*”?
I think they could. Looking across the span of time (one of few advantages of growing old) I can see where by the time I was 13 I had several ‘alters’. Some might call them ’emotional states’ or personas . . . but they were there. The was the ‘soldier’, “The Notetaker**” – an ‘old man’, a sort of laboratory professor standing in front of a podium . . . things like that. Some were intentionally built, (e.g. we ‘made’ Soldier when we were about 8; it took some doing but it was done . . . all in the span of about three hours) – some ‘sprang forth’, others as old as time. We’ve had ‘new’ alters ’emerge’ since then; created a few new ones on our own; learned to do it deliberately if we have to, but only under the extremist of circumstances . . .
But which came first? How was it done? Imagine you: a baby being beaten, or starved, or suffocated – not to death, just enough to “teach them right from wrong” as my momma would put it. The ‘core’ or whatever experienced this (supposedly). A growing personality did. (Definitely.) Did the simple mind simply assign these certain emotional states and tasks to one ‘alter’, and others to other sides or ‘parts’ of themself? Why didn’t they all grow up? (Gawd, too many adult minds in the mix . . . that’d be blowing it. I’d truly be going insane.) I’m into trying to get certain alters of mine to ‘grow up’ (our teen Matthew comes to mind, lol); but on the other hand I’ve begun to realize some of them are stuck in ‘there’ forever.
I’ve made things ‘better’ for some, especially the main childhood host (now an alter) who has alters of his own creation. One he made intentionally, the other through a slyer plan in collaboration with several of my other alters. . . He’s not as miserable as before, not so ‘alone’. “We” don’t try to attack him, peace has been made between the teenager and child. (Read “The Boy” for more on that.)
Looking back, I can see where the current host at that time ‘made’ or intentionally created certain alters for certain tasks. One was created for an entire lifestyle that lasted nearly ten years. Some were related to trauma, some were in preparation for a lifestyle that never came; others were meant for other cultures, societies and families I’ve lived in.
But though the event and the resultant emotions can create an alter, I think the host mind at the time must experience the traumatic event first in order to create it. Therefore it stands to reason (and makes sense why) host alters might have dim memories of abuse, while the memories of the younger ones are clearer.
And I wonder if as time passes – as what seemed “normal” becomes/seems “obviously wasn’t” – if the ‘system’ or person may be driven to create new alters, assigning to them the increasing “social guilt” (society says it is bad, therefore it becomes even heavier burden) – if that society induced shame and perhaps resultant self-hatred, self-loathing, et cetra – can drive the process of creating ‘new’ alters to hold those kinds of things so they can hide from those kind of emotions (including love, in some instances, where it has become too painful to hold onto). Where the mind, upon experiencing a bad event, goes through the wide range of negative emotions it inspires, and then dumps each set of non-conflicting emotions in a different alter, creating a barrier between them, and the original host mind, so one can’t remember what the other ‘did’ or is thinking, or anything . . .
Creating completely different beings for each different set of emotions/values – things*. When they are internally conflicting in nature. When you can’t put them where they belong – perhaps due to social constraints, family issues, sibling rivalries, cultural changes (sudden and all abrupt like) – stress and/or trauma inducers, or things that are beyond the pale. (Sexual abuse & taboos, killing, maiming small animals & such). I’ve been there, done that – and . . . both hated/was disgusted by it while fascinated, and yes, some ‘parts’ in me loved it, tasting and wielding that ‘power’. What are you going to do when you’ve been pulled like that? I think you can see why a kid might be a bit split up – going through that kinda experience. Having to attend church at the same time. Be a “Good Kid” now. Then go out an torture something. With the rest of the boys. (There were . . . groups? Hell hath no heart like that of a little boy – they can be horrid & cruel sometimes.) Hell, I was an alter boy for years in the Episcopal church, though I had my doubts in their version of Godhood.
Looking back on ‘it’ – all that – the ‘process’ and evolution (or non-evolution) of alters changes and is different depending upon which alter it is. So not only does it seem the alters (and their reasons for being) are different, but so are the methods of ‘completing’ them. And each takes quite a long time, though it seems they can spring up quite suddenly . . . they are ‘inspired’ by that host being through a long series of events.
Trauma first, alter second. Or an expected precipitating event forecast for the future can spawn an ‘alter’, especially through training for it. Several of our alters came about through training; both military & otherwise.
“things”: emotional states, outlooks, perceptual views, values, morals & such, which may vary wildly and sharply contrast with one another – a common cause of inner fighting, which can lead to worse symptoms over time.
**The Notetaker: the DID-Wiki has helped me in identifying this, my lifelong friend – and sometimes adviser and coach and repository of Knowledge as a “OEP” who has very little emotion.” This alter, I suspect, has been quite involved in ‘planning’ my life. He’s been ‘there’ since about the very beginning and (I think) works with some hidden ‘others’.