Most people exist alone in their brains. Their thoughts, feelings, and memories are all their own. Everything that goes on in their brain is theirs, every conscious action taken by their body is one they chose to take.
But for some people, that’s not the case. Those people are multiple or plural systems: a group of people sharing a brain and body. Sometimes the thoughts and emotions in their head belong to one of the people in the system, and other times they belong to one of the other people. Some systems get along well with their systemmates without conflict and share time and energy and other resources fairly. Other systems have issues getting along, and experience issues functioning in their day to day life as a result of it and underlying trauma issues. If it causes significant enough issues, they may receive a diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder if they also have memory issues, or Other Specified Dissociative Disorder if they don’t.
Some systems are plural as a result of overwhelming early childhood trauma. According to the Theory of Structural Dissociation (which is
in some circles), all children start out life without a clearly defined sense of self and are a collection of ego states that eventually settle into one self. Trauma can disrupt this process and cause the ego states to separate out into more than one self with dissociative barriers between each self.
Other systems are plural for a multitude of other reasons. These include various forms of spirituality, the influence of other types of neurodivergence, conscious and intentional or unintentional creation of other systemmates, and many more.
Regardless of origin or whether they are diagnosed with DID or OSDD, people in plural systems experience a kind of inner life very different from that of singlets, or people who are not plural. It can be a life that’s difficult to explain to singlets. “Doesn’t everyone have parts? Doesn’t everyone feel like a different person from time to time?”
The difference is that in a singlet, there is only one person and they are in control of those parts and what those parts do, and while they may feel and act differently from time to time, they are still the same person under it all. With plurality, different people, each with their own ability to consciously choose what to do, are in charge of their own actions. It’s this distinction of different wills and identities that differentiates a singlet from a plural.
The Plural Association (TPA) is the only, peer and volunteer-staffed nonprofit, empowering all under the Plural umbrella, no matter the labels or words they use, to describe their unique & individual experience(s) with Plurality.
www.thepluralassociation.com lists all sites, resources, articles, videos, events, meetups, conferences and the many other works by TPA. Including information about the soon to be open ‘The Plural Warmline’ where Systems & their Headmates can share their stories and worries, for free, with trained peer support Plurals!