The Reason for Switching: Good or Bad?

I follow a blog about dissociative identity disorder, also called multiple personality disorder, and her therapist was concerned because she had been doing a lot of switching lately. At first her therapist’s reaction struck me as odd. But I’ve seen this negative attitude about switching many other places as well. I’ve always been happy the more switching I see among my girls. So what’s up?

As I began to contemplate the differences in opinion, it occurred to me the therapist might be focusing on switching among the members of the group as a sign that there’s a lot of triggering dissociation going on. And I guess at the beginning of our healing journey, or maybe even before we knew about the d.i.d., switching was a “bad” thing. It meant Karen wasn’t coping so she went inside to let one of the little girls deal with the unpleasantry. I guess switching for that reason showed a lack of stability.

But once we began the healing journey and the little girls made the permanent move toward the outside, switching actually became a good sign. Now the girls will constantly switch if the activity is of general interest because they are all being co-conscious, but they still like to be the one out front. So they kind of take turns in a round-robin fashion, coming out one after another to be with me and to be the one “using the mouth.” They move seamlessly from girl to girl, finishing each other’s sentences, and continuing the task at hand. I love to see it happen because I know that it means they are all actively engaged in whatever activity we are doing on the outside.

So I guess whether switching is good or bad has to do with the stage of the journey. I hope someday that all the girls will share so closely they no longer have to switch to be the one outside like a non-dissociated person. But until then, I love to see my girls switch constantly. I tell them, “I’ve worked too hard to make you all a part of my life! I want to see each of you lots!”


Sam, I Am


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. synthgirl
    Jan 23, 2013 @ 20:14:22

    This was very thought-provoking, thank you!

    My husband usually sees my switching as a positive thing, too. He likes all his girls in “The Collective”. But there always seems to be one or two who are more difficult to deal with ATM… ones that are feeling nervous about something, and often get a bit defensive, even a little mean. I feel bad about that, but it honestly seems that they NEED to come out, and even to “leak” out some of their pain or fear — even though they don’t understand HOW, exactly. Sometimes I can hold them back, to spare my husband a rough time… other times I cannot. I don’t always know if it will help, or make things worse. Still, it DOES seem that the more they come out, generally the more stable they become… 😀

    Luckily, the switching normally is a good thing – although I must admit that until I read your post, I never thought of it as being either a bad or a good sign. Interesting.

    — SynthGirl


    • Sam Ruck
      Jan 24, 2013 @ 01:11:03

      Hey synthgirl,

      thanks for stopping by. I don’t know if you read the recent article I did on attachment theory and affect regulation. I think it would directly address the fact that the more the “difficult” ones are with your husband, the more he can help them moderate their emotions as long as he’s stable himself.

      As for switching, I never understood the general consensus among the experts that switching is a bad sign, but I’ve read it repeatedly. The explanation I gave is the best guess I have for their negative attitude about it.

      Take care!



  2. jeffssong
    Jan 25, 2013 @ 20:31:23

    We’ve found that rapid, fluid switching is cool – when the circumstances are right for it. We’ve also found that being *able* to switch rapidly from one to another is one of the most valuable assets of the DID mind: we can address an issue or problem (or small child 😀 ) with the “right” perspective and attitude – when we want to. We’ve found DID is more of an asset than ‘other’, allowing us to . . . well, *be* anything we want to be at the time. It also allows us to ‘build’ or form a more perfect mind for a task at hand (such as driving).

    I’ve found myself wondering – amazed!, actually – at the monominds. How DO you all get along with only one point of view, one ‘set’ of emotions regarding one thing? It seems so . . . stilted, rigid, and narrow now.

    Of course uncontrolled switching at the wrong times, inappropriate behavior – those things are ‘wrong’ and indicate a system in trouble (perhaps in deciding their mind). It requires a bit more monitoring of our own behavior and awareness of our mind – but it works out.

    Not always good, not always bad – like anything, it has it uses – a useful ‘tool’ for dealing with life, things, and a way of muddling through the life we’ve had! 😀


    • Sam Ruck
      Jan 29, 2013 @ 00:09:13

      Hey Jeff,

      thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I’ve wondered how many singletons have killed large parts of their personality over the course of time. I know one of the things that was hammered into me from church was that “double minded people” are “unstable”. But as I’ve watched my girls heal and grow, I’ve learned to allow myself the freedom to see issues from multiple perspectives and be comfortable with the multiplicity.



      • jeffssong
        Jan 29, 2013 @ 17:55:58

        Hi Sam.
        In our society we are taught – no, “trained” – to hold our emotions at bay, suppress them, applying only logic. This (wry grin) applies quadruply to men, as ‘we’ are supposed to be so . . . grim? Cool as a cucumber in an emergency – but loving to our kids; firm disciplinarian (but fair and just and given to telling only the truth – without hurting them) – (sighing). Women have so much more ‘freedom’.

        But you can see it in its raw state in business and science: the application of unemotional truth, whether it be for profit or advancement: a logical mind which can not spare any room for an “irrational being”.

        Thus we get this phenomena of “monominds” – people, who have learned to suppress their other sides – the “children” in their mind; their hurt memories, other things which have an emotional context. As you know (grin) – I think everyone is a polymind – it’s just that many of them don’t really realize it, and they are fluidly switching all the time.

        Of course that latter seems to hold true especially for women (said in a joking way!). And small children some of the time – before we’ve “trained” their minds to suppress a part of themselves (as I have seen in so many children).

        glad to see ya again Sam ~ The Crew

  3. Literal Gemini
    Feb 02, 2013 @ 17:54:43

    Hi, I was glad to find your blog. I’ve started my own D.I.D. blog about my own daily struggles and have been looking for others that have recently been updated (not many). I think i is WONDERFUL that you are so supportive of your wife. And I think writing a blog about it s probably very therapeutic for you as well. I hope you don’t mind if I add your blog to my list of interesting links. I will continue to read and follow you and your wife’s journey. Take Care


  4. shewhowritesdailyblog
    Apr 28, 2016 @ 13:15:59

    Thank you for taking the time to write this and sharing it with us very informative and helpful. Believe me it’s gave me hope that things can work I’m longing for the day where thing are as smoothly as this. Take my hat of to you for supporting you’re wife 😊 have a good evening all the way from the UK


    • Sam Ruck
      Apr 28, 2016 @ 13:33:12

      I’m glad you found something of value! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Have a good evening to you from the Midwest in the States….


  5. Trackback: Learning to Control the Switching Process in Dissociative Identity Disorder | Loving My DID Girl(s)

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