1. Gammer
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    Gammer Active Member

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    Developing a Split Personality

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Gammer, Dec 1, 2009.

    In my fantasy story the MC's brother joins the war effort, but by the time the MC finds him again he's basically an axe crazy psycho. My reasoning is going to be that the brother saw and had to do so many horrible and traumatic things that he subconsciously created a personality that could deal with it, and thus that personality became detached, soon axe crazy.

    Does this have merit with actual split personality disorder, or is it something people are born with? And is it possible to reach the original personality?

    Also now that i think about it, how does one go about creating an entirely different personality anyway?
     
  2. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's some controversy among laymen whether this condition is actually just a myth, in the sense of a person having multiple autonomous and independent personalities.

    Does your character have to have, though? It's not uncommon that people build up a harsher, more aggressive personality as a reaction to trauma, without it actually being split personalities. Apocalypse Now, Heart of Darkness, Thin Red Line and other war stories illustrate it in various ways.
     
  3. Tall and Weird
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    Tall and Weird New Member

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    It might sound trite but a good whack on the head has often been known to alter portions of personality. Perhaps the brother suffered a head injury that healed well enough but left some hidden scars?
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    DSM IV (a principal reference to emotional/psychological disorders), uses the term Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), replacing tje DSM III term Multiple Personality Disorder. It is primarily a coping mechanism in response to prolonged severe abuse in childhood, pareticularly sexual abuse, and is most often associated with intelligent or creative persons. It has been studied extensively, but is still not entirely understood. It is not associated with head trauma or brain damage, nor is it classified as a psychosis. There are often measurable biometric changes that can distinguish between personalities, such as EEG differences, allergies experienced only by certain personalities, differing tolerance to drugs or alcohol, etc.

    There are some excellent books that can help you understand DID. The Three Faces of Eve and Sybil were written by therapists of DID patients, and When Rabbit Howls is written by Trudi Chase, a DID sufferer who decided to remain multiple and not seek reintegration therapy.

    Also note that some people call schizophrenia a split personality, but it's nothing like DID.
     
  5. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Having lived through combat and participated in the brutality of war, I offer the thought that the vast majority of soldiers compartmentalize those memories and live perfectly normal lives. A small percentage lack suitable coping mechanisms and tend to fall apart with various degrees of post traumatic stress disorders. Such results may include withdrawal, loss of attention span, deep depression, self-destructive actions like picking fights in bars (that was my problem)...all maladaptive social behavior, but not psychotic.

    In my opinion, your premise doesn't reflect a realistic cause-effect scenario. On the other hand, a person who already had an underlying psychosis, perhaps a narrow and well hidden delusion in a manic-depressive, this kind of soldier might return from war having incorporated killing into the delusional system. He would function perfectly normal in society except for those brief periods when he would slip into the delusion.

    I ran a military mental health clinic for a while after I returned from Viet Nam. The most interesting patient we ever had was a high ranking officer who flew B-52 bombers armed with nuclear weapons. This was a 20 year guy! He took leave for two weeks every year at exactly the same time...until 1972. We were in the Cold War and the base went on high alert, canceling all leaves, including the Colonel's. He disappeared from the base and was found about two weeks later in Arkansas, running totally naked across the top a hill. It took four cops to subdue him. Turns out the guy had a very encapsulated delusion that he had been living since his college days. Despite being perfectly normal most of the time, he was convinced that he had to perform a ritual on top of that hill every year at the same time or the world would end. He was diagnosed as Manic Depressive Psychosis. Guy was nuttier than Grandma Cookie's fruit cake, yet he drove nukes all over the world in a B-52. What if?
     
  6. Sam_Jayne
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    Sam_Jayne New Member

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    As Cogito said, Multiple Personality Disorder is now referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) as it's generally considered a dissociative response to trauma (usually severe physical or sexual abuse). I'm not sure about the viability of the situation you are proposing, because if the MC's brother went to war, one would reason that he is at least over the age of eighteen and DID typically begins in childhood. That aside, people are not born with DID as it's a dissociative split that is said to occur in order to protect the actual person from the abuse, usually the creation of a personality type able to cope with that is happening. Yes, it is possible to 'reach the original personality' as the alter (personality created) is not an actual person/entity in itself. This generally occurs through psychotherapy aimed at intergrating the alter back into the original person.

    Research is a good idea. If you like, I can offer several academic papers on the disorder. I'm a psychology student and I had to write an essay on the validity of the disorder.
     
  7. Joran Selemis
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    Joran Selemis Member

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    Split personalities/'Salting the Earth'

    I've found a wiki article, but tthat's all. I want to know what the disorder entails and, more importantly, the experiences of people who recover from it. Do their alter egos ever reoccur? How long does recovery take? Is it possible for them to re-develop the disorder? I've tried to learn as much as I can about it but now I really need personal experience, so anyone who has a friend or relative who suffered from DID and feels like sharing, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Also, is it possible to treat or temper ground so that organisms are unable to grow in it? If so, how and how long does it generally last?

    Any feedback would be appreciated.
     
  8. SHorgan
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    SHorgan Member

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    That's comforting. Is it true that soldiers often cope with combat by tricking themselves into enjoying it, or making humour of it? I've heard that soldiers (and seen plenty of videos to back it up) put the killing out of their mind and try to get caught in the adrenaline of it all, with such behaviour as cheering when bombs explode etc.
     

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