Switching and Passive Influence | DID-Research.org (2023)

Switching and Passive Influence


(Video) Passive Influence (Part One): Who DID That? | Dissociative Identity Disorder

“As an undergraduate student in psychology, I was taught that multiple personalities were a very rare and bizarre disorder. That is all that I was taught on ... It soon became apparent that what I had been taught was simply not true. Not only was I meeting people with multiplicity; these individuals entering my life were normal human beings with much to offer. They were simply people who had endured more than their share of pain in this life and were struggling to make sense of it.”

― Deborah Bray Haddock, The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook

Switching and Passive Influence | DID-Research.org (1)

(Video) Passive Influence: Alters affecting things from the inside

Image: "Vida Sobreposta" by Walter Filho


Switching refers to one alter taking control of the body, being given control by another alter, or gaining prominence over another alter. Although perhaps the most well-known feature of dissociative identity disorder (DID), switching occurs less often than passive influence or other internal manifestations of dissociated parts. Additionally, switching can be more varied than many may be aware.

Switches can be consensual, forced, or triggered. If two alters choose to switch with one another, they usually have some degree of co-consciousness with each other and could both choose to remain at front, or actively aware of the outside world, after the switch. However, even with consensual switches, the alter who takes a step back, so to speak, may then retreat inside for whatever reason. A subtype of consensual switches are planned switches that were agreed upon ahead of time. For example, the host may ask a more academic alter to help them to take a standardized test on a certain date. On the other hand, a switch that is forced is not wanted by one of the alters involved. It may be that the alter that was at front has unexpectedly retreated, requiring another alter to quickly take control of the body in order to prevent injury, embarrassment, or other such problems or that the alter who is switching out is pushing past a weaker alter against their wishes. Finally, triggered switches are not desired by any of the alters involved and occur when a stimulus has been registered that forces out an alter who can better handle it. For example, if an alter was created to handle abuse from a specific perpetrator and the system then runs into that perpetrator at the store, that alter is likely to be shoved to front so that no other alters can be hurt.

It should be kept in mind that some systems use the term trigger to refer to both positive and negative stimuli that can catch an alter's attention. For example, ducks at the pond could be a trigger for a 7 year old alter to push their way to front, or someone calling who is a special friend for one alter in particular might trigger that alter to switch out. However, as some systems do only use the term trigger to refer to negative stimuli that causes a dissociative or posttraumatic reaction, care should be taken in using the term positively.

Switches can be slow, quick, or uncontrollably rapid. Slow switches are usually consensual switches in which two or more alters are co-conscious to varying degrees and slowly blending and retreating to allow one alter to gain prominence. Slow switches can also indicate that the system is heavily dissociated and depersonalized and that alters are struggling to connect with the mind and body. In contrast, quick switches can be consensual, planned, forced, or triggered. Triggered switches are especially likely to be quick, but too many triggers or too much overall stress can also lead to rapid cycling. Rapid cycling, sometimes called rolledexing or carousel-switching, is when multiple alters are shoved to front in quick succession. This can involve several alters fronting over the course of an hour or even within a few minutes! It can be highly disorienting for those involved and can interfere with memory formation, concentration, and remaining covert (that is, not appearing visibly mentally ill to others).

Some indicators that a switch may be about to occur include the following: feeling "spacey", depersonalized, or derealized; blurred vision; feeling distanced or slowed down; feeling an alter's presence; or feeling like time is beginning to jump (indicating minor episodes of time loss).

External signs that a switch may have just occurred include the following: heavy blinking as if the individual is just waking up; mild muscle spasms or jerks; disorientation or visible confusion; checking the clock or one's watch; seeming not to remember anything that just happened; complaining of a mild or moderate headache; adjusting clothing or posture; clearing one's throat before speaking so that the tone or pitch changes; or a change in vocabulary, syntax, preference, opinion, temperament, skills, or general personality.

A full switch is rarely necessary. Instead of an alter switching to front, they can exert passive influence on the alter currently at front. Passive influence can be described as intrusions from alters that are not currently prominent in the mind or using the body. This may manifest as ego-alien thoughts, feelings, emotions, opinions, preferences, urges, or actions. These intrusions may vary in strength and influence and may result in the fronting alter taking actions or voicing opinions that they can't explain or account for. These intrusions may also cause the fronting alter to gain skills and abilities that they do not usually have (such as public speaking despite normally suffering from social phobia) or losing skills and abilities that they would expect to always be there (such as reading or recognizing loved ones). Memories that are transmitted through passive influence may not remain once the influence is over, leaving the fronting alter unable to recall what the memory contained. On the other hand, passive influence may also lead to certain memories, emotions, sensations, or views becoming inaccessible to the fronting alter until the influence ends.

Passive influence is more common than switching, and it is more covert and harder to notice. Even switching is rarely as blatant or extreme as the media commonly portrays. It is rarely accompanied by an alter changing what clothing the system is wearing, announcing themselves in public, or extreme whiplashes in behavior or personality. Although an individual's therapist or spouse may learn to recognize not only switches but specific alters, most others may rationalize away any switching that they notice as the individual with DID being abnormally tired, grumpy, or in a strange mood. Even close friends who have expressed previous interest in knowing which alter is out may find that the DID system tries to hide switches from them and that only a few alters that feel very comfortable around the friend are actually willing to make their presence known. Most systems will go to great lengths to hide their condition. Denying and downplaying symptoms as much as possible is common.

Both full switches and "partial intrusions" of alters are described in more detail by Dell in the paper"A New Model of Dissociative Identity Disorder". More information is provided through Dell's work on theMultidimensional Inventory of Dissociation (MID).

Switching and Passive Influence | DID-Research.org (2)

"I have one particular child alter who has a very good sense of humour, and part of his role is to help us experience enjoyment and lift our mood. He often comments on things I see or hear by putting a funny image in my mind about it to make me laugh. I'm usually ok with this sort of contact with my alters, even when what they are leaking through to me and making me have to experience is painful things like flashbacks or difficult emotions, although some of them think and feel in ways that conflict with my personal morals which can be difficult to accept. What I find really hard though is when I'm faced with evidence of them actually having switched out and done things. I find that really confronting and scary because then I can't deny to myself that they are real and separate from me."


"People unfamiliar with Dissociative Identity Disorder may envision the walls between alters and their memories as being concrete, but it is not that simple. Sometimes there is clear separation and total amnesia, but other times the lines can become so blurred that it is hard to tell who is who. That is the case with our system and the walls between me as the host and our core - I remember many of her memories crystal clearly and it can be hard to tell if they are mine or if they are hers. It can leave someone very unsure of their identity and wondering who they truly are."

-Static Nonsense

(Video) Passive Influence

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Switching and Passive Influence | DID-Research.org (3)

(Video) Passive Influence [CC]

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License by Katherine Reuben.


DID research passive influence? ›

Passive influence can be described as intrusions from alters that are not currently prominent in the mind or using the body. This may manifest as ego-alien thoughts, feelings, emotions, opinions, preferences, urges, or actions.

What are at least 2 reasons the DID diagnosis has been controversial? ›

"A DID diagnosis has been blamed for misdiagnosis of other entities, patient mismanagement, and inadequate treatment of depression.

What does switching in a person with dissociative identity disorder mean? ›

What Is Switching? People with dissociative identity disorder have at least two distinctly different identities, but some believe as many as 100 can emerge. 3 Switching is the process of shifting from one identity state to another. This can occur slowly, with obvious signs, or very fast.

When DID they change MPD to DID? ›

DID was called multiple personality disorder until 1994, when the name was changed to reflect a better understanding of the condition.

How long does it take to switch alters? ›

Transition from one personality to another is referred to as “switching.” This usually occurs within seconds to minutes, but can also be gradual, taking hours or days to complete. This is rarer.

What is passive in research? ›

Consider passive voice when: The agent is unknown, unimportant, or obvious to the reader. The agent is less important than the action of the sentence.

What triggers dissociative disorder? ›

The disorders most often form in children subjected to long-term physical, sexual or emotional abuse or, less often, a home environment that's frightening or highly unpredictable. The stress of war or natural disasters also can bring on dissociative disorders. Personal identity is still forming during childhood.

Why is it so hard to get a DID diagnosis? ›

Why might it be difficult to get diagnosed? You might have symptoms of other mental health problems as well as dissociation. If your doctor is more familiar with these mental health problems, they may only diagnose these problems without realising that you also have a dissociative disorder.

Is dissociation a symptom of PTSD? ›

Some patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience significant dissociative symptoms. This is often the case with patients who have experienced chronic traumatization including sexual, physical, and psychological abuse as well as severe neglect during childhood.

What triggers a personality switch? ›

Common triggers include stress or substance abuse. Managing stress and avoiding drugs and alcohol may help reduce the frequency of different alters controlling your behavior.

How do you tell if someone with DID is switching? ›

Family members can usually tell when a person “switches.” The transitions can be sudden and startling. The person may go from being fearful, dependent and excessively apologetic to being angry and domineering. He or she may report not remembering something they said or did just minutes earlier.

What is it like when someone who has dissociative identity disorder shifts between personalities? ›

Someone with DID may feel very detached from experiences or even forget doing or saying something that others witnessed. The gaps in memory, confusion, and stress of living with the subjective sense of having “not-me” experiences can become distressing.

Why is DID no longer MPD? ›

DID was called multiple personality disorder up until 1994 when the name was changed to reflect a better understanding of the condition—namely, that it is characterized by fragmentation or splintering of identity, rather than by proliferation or growth of separate personalities.

Is Osdd different from DID? ›

The structural model of dissociation

According to Van der Hart et al's structural model of dissociation (The Haunted Self, 2006), dissociative identity disorder is a case of tertiary dissociation with multiple ANPs and multiple EPs, whereas OSDD is a case of secondary dissociation with a single ANP and multiple EPs.

Is multiple personality disorder now called DID? ›

Dissociative identity disorder was previously referred to as multiple personality disorder. Symptoms of dissociative identity disorder (criteria for diagnosis) include: The existence of two or more distinct identities (or “personality states”).

How do alters get their names? ›

The names of the alters often have a symbolic meaning. For example, Melody might be the name of a personality who expresses herself through music. Or the personality could be given the name of its function, such as “The Protector” or “The Perpetrator”.

Where do alters go when not fronting? ›

When an alter is not fronting, we can still have an awareness of one another in “the inner world” which is basically where alters go when they aren't in control of the body. If you are the one fronting, you can concentrate on the inner world and “see” it in your mind's eye.

Can DID have 2 alters? ›

A person living with DID may have as few as two alters or as many as 100. The average number is about 10. Often alters are stable over time, continuing to play specific roles in the person's life for years.

What are some examples of passive? ›

Examples. PASSIVE VOICE: My first trip abroad will always be remembered by me. PASSIVE VOICE: My first trip abroad is one I will always remember. ACTIVE VOICE: I will always remember my first trip abroad.

What is passive give an example? ›

A passive sentence is a sentence where the subject does not perform the action of the verb. In fact, in a passive sentence, the action of the verb is done to the subject. For example: The cake was eaten.

What is the purpose of passive? ›

The passive voice allows speakers and writers to place emphasis on the receiver of an action.

What medication is best for dissociation? ›

Although there are no medications that specifically treat dissociative disorders, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications or antipsychotic drugs to help control the mental health symptoms associated with dissociative disorders.

How can you tell when someone is dissociating? ›

Dissociation happens when a person feels a disconnection between oneself and his or her body. Being in a dissociated state may feel like spacing out or mind wandering. There may be a sense of the world not being real. People might watch themselves from seemingly outside their bodies.

What are the 3 main symptoms of dissociative disorder? ›

Symptoms of a dissociative disorder

feeling disconnected from yourself and the world around you. forgetting about certain time periods, events and personal information. feeling uncertain about who you are.

Do I have enough trauma for DID? ›

You Can Have DID Even if You Don't Remember Any Trauma

But that doesn't necessarily mean that trauma didn't happen. One of the reasons that DID develops is to protect the child from the traumatic experience. In response to trauma, the child develops alters, or parts, as well as amnesic barriers.

Can you be diagnosed with DID without trauma? ›

It doesn't have to have been caused by a traumatic or stressful event. Many people think that this disorder might be more common than previously thought.

What is the most likely predictor of dissociative identity disorder? ›

Causes and risk factors

People of any age, ethnicity, gender, and social background can develop DID, but the most significant risk factor is physical, emotional, or sexual abuse during childhood.

What is dissociative rage? ›

When one is pathologically angry due to chronic dissociation or repression of existential or appropriate anger, the threshold for anger is gradually diminished. Almost anything can then evoke irritability, annoyance, anger, or even rage—all inappropriate overreactions to the current circumstance.

What is dissociative shutdown? ›

Trina was demonstrating a “dissociative shutdown,” a symptom often found in children faced with a repeated, frightening event, such as being raped by a caregiver, for which there's no escape. Over time, this response may generalize to associated thoughts or emotions that can trigger the reaction.

What is PTSD fragmented personality? ›

When a person experiences severe trauma, their identity, including personality and emotions, goes through a process of fragmentation. This is when the body divides traits and feelings, and groups them into smaller sections, keeping some of them hidden until a safe space for expression is provided.

What does switching feel like? ›

They may appear to have fazed out temporarily and put it down to tiredness or not concentrating; or they may appear disoriented and confused. For many people with DID, switching unintentionally like this in front of other people is experienced as intensely shameful and often they will do their best to hide it.

What is emotional switching? ›

(2015) recently identified emotional switching, which refers to the tendency to make large changes between positive and negative emotional states over time, as a possible defining characteristic of the emotion dynamics observed in BPD.

What to do when someone with DID switches? ›

You can:
  1. Help them find an advocate and support them to meet with different therapists.
  2. Offer extra support and understanding before and after therapy sessions.
  3. Help them make a crisis plan if they think it would be helpful.

Can alters switch for no reason? ›

Alters (headmates) can switch for all types of reasons depending on the trigger. Switching between headmates is usually involuntary, and can cause a great amount of distress with the alter. Every DID system is unique. Some people with DID have more control over their switching than other people with DID.

How long does it take for a DID person to switch? ›

Sometimes the alters are imaginary people; sometimes they are animals. As each personality reveals itself and controls the individuals' behavior and thoughts, it's called "switching." Switching can take seconds to minutes to days.

Can people with DID control when they switch? ›

✘ Myth: Survivors with DID can just switch on demand if needed for a task or if someone simply asks for them. Plainly put, this is just not possible.

What do dissociative identity disorder voices sound like? ›

Sometimes the voices are talking directly to the core person, while other times the voices are just talking among themselves. The voices can be very different: young or old, male or female, high-pitched or low-pitched. Sometimes, the voices all sound the same.

Can someone with dissociative disorder love? ›

People with dissociative identity disorder can still have successful relationships. Consistent therapy is the only treatment, and can help them and their partners manage the anxiety, depression, and confusion that tend to come with the condition.

Can alters disappear in DID? ›

In a dissociative identity disorder (DID) system, alters may disappear for long periods of time. This doesn't mean they're dead, as DID alters cannot die. Rather, DID alters are just dormant.

How do you tell if someone really has DID? ›

The signs of DID may vary, but they include a change between two or more separate personalities. Symptoms include: Experiencing two or more separate personalities, each with their own self-identity and perceptions. A notable change in a person's sense of self.

Can you have DID without amnesia? ›

Some people with OSDD have two or more distinct personality states, or alters, but don't experience any gaps in memory or amnesia, a necessary symptom for a DID diagnosis.

Can you have Fictives with DID? ›

There are many different types of alters in dissociative identity disorder (DID), including fictional introjects (Understanding Dissociative Identity Disorder Alters). Fictional introjects, also called fictives, are alters that are based off of fictional people or characters.

Why do alters switch? ›

Summary. There are a variety of triggers that can cause switching between alters, or identities, in people with dissociative identity disorder. These can include stress, memories, strong emotions, senses, alcohol and substance use, special events, or specific situations. In some cases, the triggers are not known.

What are alters like DID? ›

Alters in DID commonly take on different roles and have different purposes within the system. For those with DID, having alters feels like having different people for each role; one can be a student, another a lover, and another a caretaker for the children.

What happens to the brain of a person with DID? ›

Other brain imaging studies involving people with DID show smaller brain volume in the hippocampus (an area involved in memory and learning), as well as in the amygdala (an area involved in emotional and fear response).

What are the 4 types of dissociation? ›

The four dissociative disorders are: Dissociative Amnesia, Dissociative Fugue, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and Depersonalization Disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2000; Frey, 2001; Spiegel & Cardeña, 1991).

What are the 5 types of dissociation? ›

What Are the Types of Dissociative Disorder?
  • Overview.
  • Dissociative identity disorder.
  • Depersonalization/derealization.
  • Dissociative amnesia.
  • Unspecified.
  • Other specified.
  • Recap.

Do research papers use active or passive voice? ›

Generally, in scholarly writing, with its emphasis on precision and clarity, the active voice is preferred.

How does research influence us? ›

Research impact has many definitions. Broadly, it is all the diverse ways that research benefits individuals, organisations and nations through increasing effectiveness of public services and policy, improving quality of life and health, or economic benefits.

What is passive influence in dissociative identity disorder? ›

Passive Influence of Alters

Examples of passive influences: Hearing a child's voice - when no child is visible. Speech insertion - saying things you don't remember saying, or didn't intend to say. Thought insertion * - strong thoughts seem to come out of nowhere and don't feel like yours.

What is passive social influence? ›

Drinking and Social Influence Processes

These drinking norms represent passive influences on behavior because they do not directly exert pressure on a person to behave accordingly, but rather consist of beliefs or observations a person acquires through social exposure regarding typical or approved behavior.

Is passive voice bad in academic writing? ›

Passive sentences can get you into trouble in academic writing because they can be vague about who is responsible for the action: Both Othello and Iago desire Desdemona. She is courted.

How do you avoid passive voice in a research paper? ›

Avoid Passive Voice And Improve Your Writing
  1. Rewrite sentences. ...
  2. Spot the verbs in your sentences. ...
  3. Stop thinking of passive voice as “more formal.” Some writers feel the passive voice sounds less colloquial and more proper. ...
  4. Get to know your character better.

Why passive voice is preferred in academic writing? ›

Scientific writing often uses passive voice expressions¾'was performed', 'were observed', 'was achieved'¾to remove the actor from the action and consequently create a more objective tone. In this way, passive voice allows the writer to create distance between themselves and what they are writing about.

What factors influence research? ›

The three main factors that influence what research method a sociologist will use are Practicality, Ethics and Theory.

How can research influence your life? ›

Research empowers us with knowledge

We get to know the way of nature, and how our actions affect it. We gain a deeper understanding of people, and why they do the things they do. Best of all, we get to enrich our lives with the latest knowledge of health, nutrition, technology, and business, among others.

What is an example of impact of research? ›

For example: giving evidence to a select committee, working with a business or contributing to an exhibition in a museum is not impact. It would become impact if the people or organisation involved somehow do, experience or understand differently as a result of their interaction with the research.

What does switching alters feel like? ›

Some indicators that a switch may be about to occur include the following: feeling "spacey", depersonalized, or derealized; blurred vision; feeling distanced or slowed down; feeling an alter's presence; or feeling like time is beginning to jump (indicating minor episodes of time loss).

What are the 3 main factors that influence dissociative disorders? ›

Dissociative disorders usually develop as a way to cope with trauma. The disorders most often form in children subjected to long-term physical, sexual or emotional abuse or, less often, a home environment that's frightening or highly unpredictable.

What is an example of passive behavior? ›

Passive behavior includes violating y our own rights through inaction or by failing to express your thoughts, feelings, or desires. Example: “We can do whatever you want. Your ideas are probably better than mine.” Aggressive Behavior is when someone stands up for their own rights without regard for others.

What are 3 things which can influence a person to act too passively? ›

Here are some things that can influence people to act too passively:
  • a lack of confidence in themselves or the value of their opinions.
  • worrying too much about pleasing others or being liked.
  • worrying whether others will disagree with or reject their ideas and opinions.

What is passive behavior? ›

Passive Behavior involves saying nothing in a response, keeping feelings to yourself, hiding feelings from others, and perhaps even hiding your feelings from yourself. Passive behavior is often dishonest and involves letting other people violate your personal right to be treated with respect and dignity.


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