People with Multiple Personalities: Who Holds Them Responsible for Their Behavior?

Most of us understand that we are accountable for our actions. My question is:  do those who consider themselves to have multiple personalities hold themselves to the same standards as the rest of us? It has been demonstrated in courts of law that people diagnosed with multiple personalities are Not held to the same standards – but are held to a lower level of responsibility although they may be convicted of a crime and forced to be accountable nonetheless.

For the sake of argument, let’s suspend reality and agree that multiple personalities are real.

First, we have to address the fact that it is impossible to be clear about many aspects of this lifestyle because the community, the patients, the therapists, the researchers, and the experts associated with this disorder do not agree with each other on the name of the diagnosis, the terms used to describe it, or the manifestations of behaviors, to name a few.

The only agreement seems to be the definition of this disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, volume four (DSM-IV) which is nothing more than the listing of disorders and their associated number used for medical billing – although patients and therapists alike use the DSM as proof that multiple personalities exist, they do so in error. The fifth edition of the DSM is currently slated for publication – again redefining multiple personalities – renaming it dissociative identity disorder. The worst ethical blunder is ignoring those researchers and practitioners who do not find it a real disorder.

Secondly, those who live this lifestyle and those who therapize them, study them, and research them have the distinct advantage of choosing what terminology suits their ideological, political, monetary, and personal agendas. Under these circumstances, it becomes easy to be evasive, illusive, and unaccountable on many levels from one end of the continuum – individuals who believe they have multiple personalities to the other end – the medical doctors, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies who receive thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of public and private dollars to conduct tests on MPD/DID subjects.

Third, if an individual claims to have multiple personalities, they are granted protection under the diminished mental capacity umbrella and afforded the same considerations of scientifically determined mental disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Be damned the fact that multiple personalities are void of sound science to assess or treat it.

There cannot be full-accountability under these circumstances.

If you look closer, this community has a hierarchy regarding the severity and type of multiple personalities so no wonder there is not a consistent degree of responsibility and accountability given a high degree of fluctuation and muddy definitions.

For example, a personality that is a child is granted the responsibilities of a child. Which is basically nothing. In addition, a child personality shifts their care to another adult or hospital employee if the individual is receiving in-patient treatment and furthermore circumvents accountability and responsibility for both daily living and behavior.

When that same individual switches personalities and returns to an adult and wants to drive, they are permitted to do so and given the rights of an adult driver operating a piece of machinery that usually weighs a ton. If that adult personality switches to a child while behind the wheel, and has an acciden – then what? Accountability and responsibility become more than hazy.

Regarding the hierarchy. What is more severe: a person with 30 personalities or one with 12? A person who claims to be a survivor of satanic ritual abuse or one who has not? One who self-injures or one who does not?

Protected by Copyscape Online Plagiarism Test

Advertisements
Leave a comment

16 Comments

  1. K

     /  12/24/2011

    We view ourselves as responsable for all actions any system member takes, yes. This responsability ranges, in my opinion, from criminial defense to simply admitting your system did eat the last cookie!

    Remember; if one is using DID as a criminal defense, there is a higher than average chance they are faking. I assume the same applies for a defense using schizophrenia. I do not view mental illness as a particularly accurate defense in court. Criminals are far more willing to lie and use mental illness to their advantage than an ordinary person.
    Even if they are telling the truth, they had a lapse in control once. What will stop this from occuring again?

    Like

    Reply
    • What do you think about people using the multiple personality defense?

      I have to disagree: I think mental illness is often the reason for criminal behavior. Unfortunately, it went undiagnosed and treated, that’s why our courts are jammed with criminals that should be in the mental health system.

      Like

      Reply
      • K

         /  12/25/2011

        I consider it an insult to all that suffer with this disorder.

        I believe mental illness is often a reason, yes. But that does not change the fact that it is a reason that can cause the same outcome again. These criminals need treatment, but that does not include releasing them back into the real world, not until they are able to function as healthy members of society. If they killed once, it is entirely possible, and in fact likely, that they will do so again. It is our court’s responsability to prevent this, and it matters not if the criminal is mentally fragile.

        Like

        Reply
        • There are people who get into the criminal justice system who are already diagnosed with MPD or DID. I don’t see how that is an insult to others.

          Like

          Reply
          • K

             /  12/26/2011

            I think we meant that not everyone with DID is a criminal? And that it being such a commonly used excuse is insulting? I’m not entirely sure.

            Like

          • Got it. Of course everyone with DID is not a criminal. I see it used, but I don’t find it common.

            Like

  2. Like any population, some are mentally ill, some are not, and some are somewhere in-between.

    I think there is nothing wrong with many people who view them as multiples other than being unduly influenced & coerced by the beliefs of a therapist who then reinforces regressive behavior that they introduced in the first place.

    Take Sybil for example. Her primary therapist, Cornelia Wilbur diagnosed her as multiple. But other therapists disagreed with Wilbur. Was Sybil just performing for Dr. Wilbur or was she OK? Did Dr. Wilbur create & then reinforce the multiplicity to feed her own fascination with a vulnerable patient?

    Regards, JB

    Like

    Reply
    • You are projecting your own experiences onto other people. Just because your experience was that you had a therapist who put a label on you that wasn’t accurate, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist for others. False diagnoses are common in all of medicine. It just means there are false diagnoses. Yes, there are still bad practices. But there are bad practices also in all fields of medicine.

      I don’t take much stock in the Sybil example. Sybil defined things. But dissociation is experienced on a continuum. It was a mistake for therapists in the 80s and 90s to think that everyone was in the Sybil mold. There is vast understanding of this continuum now. And understanding that regression of any kind is not helpful.

      Like

      Reply
      • Projecting my experiences on others? Perhaps. Most people don’t know that I spent 2 solid years confined to a hospital (and an additional 4 years in and out). I lived with mentally ill people 24/7. I saw a lot & lived with many multiples along the continuum so my thoughts go a bit further than just my own experiences and prejudices.

        The “false diagnosis” doesn’t work for me. What the heck does that mean anyway? Many of the most influential proponents of DID have had years to properly diagnose their patients. If you know of any peer-reviewed papers published that discuss the subject of false diagnosis of MPD please send me a link if you have one. The diagnosis seems to get wider and more detailed every year, but are the theorists actually writing about mistakes that were made and what should be done about them? The checks and balances remain inadequate and the self-policing of therapists clearly is not working when they can choose to ignore the warnings and advice of their governing bodies like the APA when they want to.

        To dismiss the “Sybil example” by saying that Sybil “defined things” fails to factor in the great influence therapists have on their clients. And lays the blame for Sybil’s misguided therapy on her.

        You are an educated person who understands the mistakes made in the 80s & 90s and we both agree that regression is not helpful. Read some of the blogs I’ve posted that are written by people who define themselves as multiples. Clearly they disagree with you because they spend vast amounts of time in a regressed state. Often facilitated by their therapists.

        Like

        Reply
  3. Thank you for the link, though I believe we see things a bit differently.

    You make the error in thinking that being dissociative is a unique danger to society. The problem with that is that society is full of dangers from all sorts of people. A multiple driving a car should be responsible to pull over when they are not grounded. Just as a driver who is not multiple should not drive when they are unable to stay awake. Or a driver who has had drinks should not drive. Or someone who has just had a fight with her husband. Or someone texting. Or a woman putting on her makeup while driving (which I see all the time). Your focus on multiples is a bit misplaced.

    I am more worried about a child molester getting my children. There are bigger things to worry about in this world…

    Like

    Reply
    • I don’t think think that “being dissociative” is a unique danger to society – rather, I think it a potential problem that most people are unaware of & it’s time to shine a light in the closet. I agree that the other mental impairments you listed are dangers, so I it’s time to add multiples to the list.

      I do not believe that pulling off the road, while a terrific idea, when a multiple is not grounded would be a feasible option. How would all the alters know what’s going on?

      Like

      Reply
      • If you want to add multiples to the list, then how can you also say that multiples don’t exist?

        Like

        Reply
        • Good point, Paul. I’m an individual who believes – many the psychology industry disagree with me. And, the DSM V surely doesn’t agree with me.

          Like

          Reply
        • Paul, I replied to your post but think it didn’t publish.

          You have an excellent point. I’m the one who doesn’t think MPD exists not the multiples, their therapists, and the professionals who write the DSM.

          It’s important to take people at their word. If they think they are multiple, then they should be treated accordingly and be given the same treatment, respect, and held to the same standards that others in similar health situations are.

          Like

          Reply
          • Then clearly you are saying something is wrong with these people. If DID doesn’t exist as you say, then what do you think it is?

            Personally, I think DID does exist. I think you just got bad treatment and were pushed into something that wasn’t where you were at.

            Like

        • @Paul. I don’t Want to add multiples to any list. I’d like to see the diagnosis disappear. That’s not going to happen any time soon. It’s reality whether or not I think it exists.

          Like

          Reply

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s