Animal Alters and DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) | Same as Otherkin?

Can people with dissociative identity disorder develop animal alters? If so, how? And, is it the same as people who claim to be animals, also known as otherkin?

If you’ve dealt with dissociation to the point of developing alter personalities, then you may have some that are non-human. You may have alter personalities that may be animals and control your life as you act out what you think that animal does. This is identical to otherkin, which is a topic we covered in the past, so be sure to check that out. But now we’ll be approaching it from a dissociative perspective. What if you feel like part of you is an animal and you dissociate into this part?

Dog paws with a spot in the form of heart and human hand close up
© isavira

Otherkin is essentially a mental illness where the individual wants to escape some trauma that happened to them. It’s a coping mechanism to help deal with negative past memories or situations. Now combine that with dissociation and we’ll understand the reasons why people with dissociative identity disorder can have animal alters and personalities.

DID forms from past trauma during childhood. This chronic abuse splits the personality. If we analyze that moment the fracture occurred, we can uncover the reasons why some may develop animal alters. Since it’s a coping mechanism, what if trauma occurred to the individual when they were around an animal? Perhaps their dog was the only thing they could go to and hold that could help them deal with the abuse from their parents. This individual may have a far deeper connection with that dog than the overwhelming amount of people do these days. This dog may have been their comfort during the times things go bad. As they age, they may encapsulate this dog as an alter and become it. The dog may be considered a protector to them.

Aggressive dog is barking
© Chalabala

On the flip side, if the dog caused trauma to the child, then they may encapsulate that dog as an abuser and become it when triggered into that state. For example, if a child was abused by their parents, and they had a dog that was trained to attack the child when they acted up and were given orders by the parent, this deep rooted trauma will stay with that child, fracturing them. The abuse was done by the parents, but physically the dog was the one inflicting the wounds, so this person will have a deep-rooted fear of dogs and even take on the personality of the dog that has caused them trauma.

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This should be clear that trauma involving an animal in some way will create an alter personality state of that animal in the abused person. So the difference between animal alters in dissociative identity disorder and people who are otherkin should be quite clear. People with DID and animal alters are caused specifically by abuse from the past that involve animals in some way. Otherkin is escapism of one’s own low self-esteem, hatred towards self, and/or need for escape from life. They are both coping mechanisms, but for different reasons. Both are a coping mechanism for trauma, but are projected differently.

Portrait of young woman holding cute siberian cat with green eyes
© Evrymmnt

It’s important to know the difference to get proper treatment. If you’re dissociating and becoming an animal, it’s likely linked to a past traumatic incident involving an animal, which is DID. If you want to be an animal and think you are one because it’s too hard being your authentic human self, then that’s otherkin. Treatment is different between the two, but the foundation is the same, to get to the root of the problem, which is almost always past trauma, self-hatred, and grudges that prevent the person from moving on. Once those are addressed, then the problems of dissociation and thinking one is an animal will dissipate.

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Additional Info

It took awhile to cover the topic of otherkin, and even longer to fully understand how people could develop animal alters who have dissociative identity disorder. However, it makes perfect sense when you really think about how trauma impacts so much of our lives.

Published: (updated: )

Mental & Physical HealthAnimalDIDDissociationTrauma

About the Author

Autumn Asphodel
My name is Autumn Asphodel (also known as Elle Stone) and I am a motivator and coach to help others live a better life through natural means, hard work, and dedication.

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