Not from Abuse
This article is a Stub. We want to revisit, unwind, reorganize, add subtitles, and try to make this make more sense. Hopefully it will do for now -- Crisses
Please note that abuse per se is not required to become DID or plural. This is a definite myth.
What is very common (90% according to the DSM, but note the difficulties in getting diagnosed (6-8 years of misdiagnosis) and the lack of adequate representation of all genders and minorities in the diagnosis of DID) is trauma. The overwhelming majority of folk who have a DID diagnosis have C-PTSD. C-PTSD can involve many types of trauma, not all of them need to be in childhood. If someone is plural (for any reason) and acquires C-PTSD, they can qualify for a DID or OSDD diagnosis, childhood trauma or abuse doesn't need to be present as it's not a diagnostic criteria of DID or OSDD.
Thus, DID does not happen due to abuse. There are people who are abused and never develop DID. Maybe because they processed trauma differently. Thus it's possible DID happens due to trauma (how abuse & circumstances on the outside are processed and perceived on the inside), but not proven.
That said DID is a diagnosis describing a set of observable or relatable issues and certainly has a high correlation with trauma and abuse. But correlation is not causation. A huge portion of the DID community believes the correlation of trauma with DID is causation, but that's not scientifically proven, and likely will never be proven (that would require controlled experimentation on babies and children, which is highly unethical — for example: 10 babies cared for properly, 10 babies systematically abused & neglected, followed for 30+ years. This is unethical and would never be Ok'd by any scientific authority.)
Add to this that there are plurals who have no knowledge of trauma or abuse, no signs in the present that abuse or trauma ever happened, have good relationships with childhood caregivers, functional families, good memories, no signs of memory or time loss, etc. and for all intents and purposes believe to the fullest extent that trauma did not cause them to become plural.
Others remember being plural before known abuse or trauma. It's not that there is no trauma or abuse, but they have evidence or memory of plurality preceding trauma or abuse.
Thus we feel pretty confident saying that not all plurality is caused by trauma or abuse. And not all plurality (with or without a trauma/abuse history) qualifies for a DID or OSDD diagnosis.
Another confusing feature of DID and trauma "causation" is that there are some people who have a DID diagnosis and believe they "fell apart" in adulthood due to a more recent trauma that put them into therapy and got their diagnosis. They don't remember being plural as a child, don't remember any childhood abuse, etc. so for all intents and purposes as far as they are concerned, something in adulthood (or late teens) happened that made them fall apart and become DID. What usually happens -- no guarantees! but the majority of folk diagnosed with DID -- is that they will later remember enough and find evidence that they had been DID in childhood and went into a state of masking and "getting along" or hiding sufficiently to even fool themselves into thinking they were one identity/person/part/experience for a decade or more. What likely happened is that a new trauma happened and they fell apart because the new trauma shook them up and disturbed the rhythm of what they had going on. It tore off the mask. It caused hidden residents to revisit old traumas and start new PTSD loops, it caused nightmares, intrusive thoughts, etc. to resurface. It shook the foundations of "getting along" or hiding enough that they (or their therapist) noticed a call for help.
Most of the time it's not that the plurality is new. But it seems that way.
Note that amnesia is very real amnesia, you don't always know you even have it. It often hides that there's even something missing.
Other Issues: Discussion of "Not from Trauma or Abuse"
A note: we believe in what people believe for themselves. This is a discussion of how many formerly endogenic systems discover they are traumagenic OR that they're endogenic systems with sufficient trauma to qualify for a DID diagnosis.
Many endogenic systems may have been traumatized but may not realize it; not all abuse is overt and denial isn't just a river… but that's not the point. A beautiful well-loved life could still give rise to multiplicity for all we care; the moment we start measuring trauma we're playing right into the hands of the external culture measuring us.
There are people who are absolutely certain they are multiple and have not been abused or not sufficiently had any trauma to account for the psychological model of DID.
The whole reason that the DSM has 3 required criteria for DID is because someone can have any 1 of the 3 and not qualify to be DID. So you could have many personalities and not have amnesia and not be in distress or have dysfunction because of it. Then you're not DID, you're just multiple.
If you have 2 of the 3 — again, you're not DID. If you have 2 or more identities and time loss but no dysfunction, then you probably don't need to be diagnosed.
If you have 2 or more identities and no gaps in memory, but you have significant impairment then that's OSDD.
However, note that if you have 2 or more identities, impairment in your life, and don't think you have any gaps in memory — you could be wrong. This is because of how forgetting works in DID — forgetting is very slick. It disappears all the evidence of forgetting. So one could be OSDD and find out later that you are DID after all.
To explain further: due to the nature of strong dissociation and hiding memories from oneself, which is a criteria of DID, it's always possible a multiple is certain they have not experienced abuse or trauma and later finds out they did. This puts support persons and resources like this one in the awkward position of having to validate an individual's authentic subjective experience (of "never" having been traumatized) even while being braced for later revelation of trauma that has previously gone missing. All multiples are different and this later revelation is always a possibility, so be warned that your current lack of evidence can change due to the nature of the disorder.
It's a chicken & egg dilemma, or a catch-22. It's impossible to be certain that you definitely have never been abused if you meet Criteria B New of the DSM-V criteria for DID. Check out the article on Criteria B for the various types of forgetting that occur in DID.
On the flip side, if there's a Criteria C New which is whether or not these circumstances create significant impairment — then psychology acknowledges that you can potentially be multiple (Criteria A New) and have memory problems (Criteria B New) but without significant impairment — and that would disqualify the DID diagnosis for you. You'd be just as multiple, and just as forgetful — just not dysfunctional or impaired by it.
And if you only have Criteria A New or A & B — you're many people in your system but not forgetting anything and not impaired by it — you'd probably never end up in a diagnostician's office to get a diagnosis in the first place, and just be a self-proclaimed plural/multiple.