Dissociative identity disorder is a mental condition where someone has gone through abuse as a child and developed multiple personalities that help them cope. The memories are often compartmentalized into different alter personalities that help the individual go about life. However, there are a few key things to know about those with DID, in addition to how memories are stored, and how memories can be falsified.

Young woman losing parts of head as symbol of decreased mind function.

What if someone with DID has memories of events that happened to them in the past, but it never actually happened? This is what’s referred to as a false memory. Our memory isn’t always accurate. We often do not remember things exactly as they happened, and in fact can change them just by trying to remember the event. It’s even been shown that as an adult, when presented with pictures and stories of a childhood that didn’t happen, we will often think back and remember those events as we create the memories on the spot.

So how does this relate to DID? With a heightened ability to dissociate comes high suggestibility. This suggestibility can be taken advantage of by others, as well as utilized by the individual with the condition to create memories that didn’t actually happen. For instance, if someone with DID creates positive memories because it’s hard to deal with the current abuse they are enduring, they will be easier to accept as factual due to the highly suggestive nature of those with DID. This can also go the other way where a highly suggestible person remembers negative things that happened to them, that didn’t actually happen.

Alzheimer's

Additionally, alters created by the individual with DID can have many false memories. Alters who have memories of a prior life are often created by the individual with DID, and are thus false memories. We have talked previously about the connection between DID and the collective unconscious, and how alters can be formed from people who have once existed and have either merged or refuse to merge with the collective. However, false memories may also play a role, and it’s important to discern between actually believing things that didn’t happen, and a consciousness that has merged with the physical body.

human memory loss

Dealing with false memories, especially in those with DID or who are highly suggestible, can often be tricky due to the fact that once the memories have formed, coming to the realization that they never happened often is not possible for the user. Rather, a better approach would be to overwrite those memories with positive ones. If the false memories are negative, then changing them to be positive, dealing with the struggles that caused the bad memories and problems, as well as learning to properly face the facts and make a new life for oneself, will greatly enhance the person’s ability to get by in life and actually be successful. If you have dealt with false memories, are highly suggestible, or have DID, know that overcoming it requires time and dedication. But with a goal in mind, you can properly deal with it.

Let me know how this works for you. Have a great day!

Additional Info

I’ve often wondered if my own memories were real or not. But the conclusion I came to was that it didn’t matter. What I felt was real and I needed to face that. I truly think there are many things from my childhood that I will never know, and the abuse I endured was likely far worse than I remember, I know that I had to face this and overcome it. I took it upon myself to properly deal with these struggles and create a new life for myself that was happier and more fulfilling. I succeeded with this plan.


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