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Everyday Evidence

If this page seems to have an American cultural focus, it's only because the few people who have contributed to this list are -- ta da! -- Americans. PLEASE feel free to add idioms, humor, imagery, etc. for any culture you are familiar with (with a preference towards providing English translations, since the site is predominantly English)!

There are everyday images, sayings and idioms that point to the possibility that more people are multiple than we might think. Whether this is an effect of multiplicty being pervasive already, or whether these give a message to young people that multiplicity is a viable option is arguable. Regardless, this is evidence that such ideas are in fact out there in common use. This list includes some of them.

English idioms

  • "I lost my head!"
  • "I couldn't live with myself…!"
  • "I was a different person back then!"
  • "That's it! No more Mr. Nice Guy!"
  • "I had an argument with myself over…"
  • "That wasn't like me" (or "that wasn't like you")
  • "I'm of two minds on the issue…"
  • "Pat myself on the back…"
  • "I'm beside myself with worry…"
  • "What's gotten into you?" (for all those walk-ins, channelers, and hosts out there)
  • "I need to make up my mind"
  • "Pull yourself together…"
  • "I don't feel quite like myself today."
  • "…put on a good face…"
  • "I'm coming apart at the seams…"
  • "A part of me died…"
  • "My mind wandered…"
  • "…she fell apart…"
  • "…my inner child…"
  • "…get my act together…"
  • "…get on their good side…"

Visual imagery

We see it all the time in cartoons, where on one shoulder there's the angelic "good conscience" and on the other is the demonic "bad conscience" who often converse with the "self", even to the point of beating on each other, taking one another out of commission, tricking each other or the self, etc. (strong Freudian imagery of Id, Superego and Ego here)

Cartoons where one's shadow or mirror image takes on a life of it's own, often doing things that one might not approve of on one's behalf, before one can stop it. (strong Jungian imagery)

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<< Everyday multiplicity | ManualTOC | Online Multiple Trivia New >>

See Also


TBH this isn't really multiple-based. A lot of these idioms come from the changing 'roles' of a singleton, rather than closeted systems. I think this post actually highlights that, because we're multiples, we see everything through that lens, in the same way that singletons see everything through a singleton lens. We make connections to multiplicity that just aren't there, in the same way that singletons try to relate to multiplicity (You know the phrase "Oh, I kinda have multiple personalities cus I'm different at work and at home etc) OOf it's noisy in here, I hope this made sense. Like, also what you said about the angel and devil concept. It is literally just the Ego, Id and Superego. There's no underlying reference to multiplicity. But, as multiples, we're more likely to look at that image and think "Ahh, that angel reminds me of ___ protector, and the devil is ___ persecutor." - Flo (core)

Comment by The Paracosm on April 05, 2018, at 03:19 PM

Hi, folks,

Thank you for your perspective : )

We are going to respectfully disagree. Id/Ego/SuperEgo are not just "Roles" that singlets play out. Roles do not have arguments with each other and undermine one another. We are multiple AND we have roles. Who fulfills our roles changes from time-to-time and some of us have "favorite roles" and the male-identified in our system played our "Mother" role to our children as-needed. The current more-evolved incarnation of Freud & Jung's earlier works on the internal conflicts many troubled people have can be seen in Internal Family Systems Theory & the therapy models based on it. This page was written a long long time ago (probably like 17-18 years?) before I owned the book by Schwartz, but I do think there are people with stronger delineations than a "mere Singlet" who is really just a singlet, and those with more differentiation.

When singlets talk about their "inner child" I don't think they're always just making stuff up any more than when people with DID talk about littles. Whether they're simply not (yet!) diagnosed with any dissociative disorders, or they have a hurt child "part" as in soul loss or even just non-complex PTSD that needs comforting and nurturing but will never be sufficient cause to get them a diagnosis as DID or OSDD in a therapeutic situation.

I think that there's no such thing as black & white in the world. Just like there's a continuum of sexual attraction, gender, etc. there is a continuum of "multiplicity" where people are so close to really truly just one person and cannot even shift so much as to differentiate for appropriate behavior in different settings all the way through strongly delineated group entities/multiples who are completely walled off from each other to the point that they don't even know or believe (if told) that each other exists.

Most people are between the extremes somewhere in the beautiful multi-varied shades of grey in the wide-between. And I think that there are sayings in our language that come from that truth. A person who is not multiple in the sense that we mean on this site will still occasionally have the "I'm of two minds on this issue...." problem, and it really is that they have 2 different views/opinions/perspectives/philosophies/desires/beliefs/etc. — a good chunk of what gives a clear sense that one person is not someone else.

I actually recently explained to a bunch of singlets a couple of truths they probably experience that — ratcheted up — would start to look an awful lot like they were multiple. Freaked a couple people out because they caught a little glimpse of where they sat in that wide grey area. I think the basic example was highway hypnosis — if they can "lose time" while driving and go off in a reverie — then who's driving?

It was a longer walk-through example than that. But it got the point across and made a bunch of singlets understand we're not talking about ROLES here — and they shoudn't doubt that this is a real experience.

Hope we can agree to disagree,


Comment by Crisses on April 09, 2018, at 05:19 PM

In Poland some people say "I'll get out of myself and stand besides" when they get angry. But that may have to do more with being so frustrated that you want to leave your body than with actually leaving the body. We also say that "somebody was getting out of themself" meaning they were trying really, really hard. And we also have sayings that are clearly about dissociation: "somebody lives in their own world" and "somebody is unglued from reality" ("unglued" doesn't sound so weird in Polish). Now we even have a word for dissociation in a youth slang ("odklejka") based on the second one, which has been given a Jury Award in the Plebiscite for the Youth Word of the Year (yup, that's a thing here xD). We also use phrase "internal conflict" (especially teachers of Polish language) and "the voice of reason" a lot, but I feel like it's common in English too?

About visual imagery we can't not think about all the memes: "when your different friend groups meet and you need to combine different personalities you show around them". Or "my two personalities trying to decide what to wear". We see it EVERYWHERE. My personal favourite is the joke: - I like your personality -Thanks, I made this one just for you

Comment by The Rainbow Chaos System on May 05, 2023

Thanks for the adds, these are definitely relevant and have parallels in English too. "I'm beside myself with anger" (similar to the "Worry" one above), "unhinged" or "coming undone" or losing their grip on reality being very similar to derealization experiences, "internal conflict" is definitely an English saying as well — "I'm conflicted…" and "I can't make up my mind" — especially about something that would normally seem to be a straightforward thing for a singular person ("Some days my favorite color is purple, and I hate green. But then on other days I love green and hate purple. Apparently I can't make up my mind." — maybe something more than just indecision is going on there?)

Some of the memes are using plurality/multiplicity as a "gotcha" — which isn't the same as the potential of inadvertently talking about one's own multiplicity before even knowing about it consciously.

An example is we used to say "we" before we knew we were plural/multiple, and then if someone asked we'd say "Oh, it's the Royal 'we'." We also (around the same time) started talking about Me, Myself & I as 3 separate people…but as if it was a joke.

"Oh yeah? Who says so!"
"Me, Myself and I say so."

Thing is, we really were thinking of each other as separate people. hrm.

Comment by Crisses on May 05, 2023

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