Does everyone have two personalities? (3 insights)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “Does everyone have two personalities?”, explores the concept of personality and studies related concepts and possible personality disorders to help understand the answer. 

Does everyone have two personalities?

No, everyone does not have two personalities. The following are 3 insights into why everyone does not have two personalities –

  • Dissociative identity disorder/Multiple personality disorder.
  • Switching.
  • A jumbled sense of self.

These 3 insights into why everyone does not have two personalities will be discussed in further detail below after taking a deeper look at what personality means. 

What is Personality?

Individual variances in thinking, feeling, and acting patterns are referred to as personality. Understanding individual variances in certain personality qualities, such as friendliness or irritability, is one of the main goals of personality research. 

The other is comprehending how a person’s diverse pieces come together as a whole. The word personality comes from the Latin word persona, which refers to a theatrical mask worn by actors to present multiple parts or conceal their true identity.

At its most fundamental level, personality refers to a person’s distinctive patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Personality is said to emerge from within an individual and to be pretty consistent throughout life.

While there are several definitions of personality, the majority of them focus on a pattern of actions and features that may be used to predict and explain a person’s behaviour.

Personality may be explained through a range of factors, ranging from genetic explanations for personality traits to the impact of environment and experience in creating an individual’s personality.

Characteristics of Personality

The following core personality qualities, as well as traits and patterns of thinking and emotion, have a crucial role –

  • Behaviours have an identifiable order and regularity to them. People, in general, behave in the same or similar ways in a range of settings.
  • Personality is a psychological construct, but research reveals that biological processes and requirements can impact it.
  • Personality impacts not just how we move and respond in our surroundings, but it also drives us to behave in specific ways.
  • Personality is expressed in a variety of ways, not simply via conduct. It shows up in our thoughts, feelings, personal relationships, and other social interactions as well.

What are these 3 insights into why everyone does not have two personalities?

Dissociative identity disorder/Multiple personality disorder.

We all have different self-states: we shift gradually (or dramatically) based on the environment, the constraints we face, and the people we’re with. Alters, on the other hand, are not common. 

When the identities, goals, activities, and ways of viewing the world of the ego states become so diverse that it becomes difficult, the individual may be diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder (the current name for “multiple personality disorder”).

We all have multiple sides to our personality, but that’s not the same as someone who had to split their mind into pieces and suppress knowledge of those parts in order to survive a catastrophic trauma. 

Those many portions also take over awareness and have varied names, ages, qualities, genders, and even medical issues and eye colours. That isn’t something that everyone possesses.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) develops as a result of recurrent, severe maltreatment as a kid, inhibiting the formation of a fused “self.” 

People with DID are not shattered or broken; instead, the pieces that normally merge in childhood without abuse are compartmentalised as a result of trauma and form independently of one another as a result of dissociation walls that separate them. 

This becomes a taught coping method that can last into infancy, adolescence and even adulthood in extreme circumstances. No one is, however, “naturally” numerous.

Multiple personality disorder (formerly known as dissociative identity disorder) is a complicated psychiatric illness considered to be caused by a variety of circumstances, including severe childhood trauma (usually extreme, repetitive physical, sexual, or emotional abuse).

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a severe type of dissociation, a mental process in which a person’s ideas, memories, feelings, behaviours, or sense of identity are disconnected. 

Dissociative identity disorder is assumed to be caused by a variety of causes, including the trauma that the individual with the illness has undergone. 

The individual actually turns off or dissociates themselves from a circumstance or experience that is too harsh, traumatic, or unpleasant to absorb with their conscious self, according to the dissociative element.

DID is thought to be caused by a psychological reaction to interpersonal and environmental pressures, particularly during early infancy, when emotional neglect or abuse can disrupt personality development. 

Many people who acquire dissociative disorders have personal histories of persistent, overwhelming, and even life-threatening disturbances or traumas that occurred during a critical developmental stage of infancy (usually before age 6).

Even if there has been no overt physical or sexual abuse, dissociation can occur as a result of continuous neglect or emotional abuse. 

Children may develop dissociation in households where their parents are terrifying and unpredictable, according to the findings. According to studies, DID affects roughly 1% of the population.

Dissociative identity disorder is defined by the existence of two or more unique or split identities or personality states that have constant control over a person’s behaviour. 

There’s also an inability to recall essential personal information in dissociative identity disorder that’s too extensive to be explained by simple forgetfulness. There are also very different memory differences that may change with a dissociative identity disorder.

Although not everyone has the same experience with DID, some “alters” or various personalities have their own age, gender, or race. Each has its unique set of postures, gestures, and speech patterns. The alters are sometimes made-up persons, and other times they are animals. 

Switching.

The process of each personality revealing itself and controlling an individual’s actions and ideas is referred to as “switching.” 

Switching might take anything from a few seconds to several days. Some people seek therapy through hypnosis, in which the person’s many “alters” or personalities are more receptive to the therapist’s commands.

Headaches, forgetfulness, time loss, trances, and “out-of-body experiences” are some of the other symptoms of dissociative identity disorder. 

Self-persecution, self-sabotage, and even violence are common in persons with dissociative disorders (both self-inflicted and outwardly directed). 

Someone with dissociative identity disorder, for example, may find oneself doing things they wouldn’t typically do, such as speeding, reckless driving, or stealing money from a coworker or acquaintance, yet they feel driven to do so. 

Some people describe this sensation as feeling like they are a passenger in their own body rather than the driver. To put it another way, they honestly feel they don’t have a choice.

The psychological processes of dissociative identity disorder influence the way a person sees life in numerous ways, including the following –

Depersonalization.

This is commonly referred to as an “out-of-body” experience since it gives the sensation of being divorced from one’s body.

Derealization.

This is the sensation of the world not being real, or that it is cloudy or far away.

Amnesia.

This is when a person is unable to recall vital personal information that is so vast that it cannot be attributed to regular forgetfulness. Micro-amnesias occur when the topic of a conversation is lost or the substance of a relevant discourse is forgotten from one second to the next.

Identity confusion or identity alteration.

Both of these are characterised by a sense of ambiguity regarding a person’s identity. 

When a person has problems describing the things that interest them in life, their political, religious, or social perspectives, their sexual orientation, or their career objectives, this is an example of identity uncertainty. 

In addition to these obvious changes, the person may experience time, location, and circumstance distortions.

A jumbled sense of self.

It is now widely accepted that these detached states do not reflect fully formed identities, but rather a jumbled sense of self. Various identity states recall different pieces of autobiographical information when they suffer from the amnesia associated with a dissociative identity disorder. 

Within the individual, there is generally a “host” personality that identifies with the person’s genuine name. Surprisingly, the host personality is frequently unaware that other personas are there.

The many personalities may play different roles in assisting the individual in coping with life’s challenges. When a patient is first diagnosed, for example, there are usually two to four personalities present.

After then, there are an average of 13 to 15 personalities who emerge during treatment. An abrupt transition from one alter or personality to another is caused by environmental stimuli or life experiences.

There are no clear, evidence-based guidelines for treating DID at this time. Many therapies are based on case studies or are at best debatable.

While there is no “cure” for dissociative identity disorder, long-term treatment, if the patient remains dedicated, can be beneficial. The following are examples of effective treatment –

Psychotherapy.

The therapy, also known as talk therapy, is aimed to address whatever triggered and triggers the DID. The idea is to “fuse” the many personality features into a single personality capable of controlling the triggers. Family members are frequently included in this therapy.

Hypnotherapy.

Clinical hypnosis can be used in conjunction with psychotherapy to assist access repressed memories, manage some of the troublesome behaviours associated with DID, and merge the personalities into one.

Adjunctive therapy.

Art and dance therapy, for example, have been demonstrated to assist patients in reconnecting with regions of their minds that they have shut down in order to cope with trauma.

Because there are no well-established pharmacological therapies for dissociative identity disorder, psychotherapy is the basis of treatment. Treatment for co-occurring illnesses including depression and drug abuse disorders is critical to overall healing. 

Because the symptoms of dissociative disorders frequently coexist with other illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, medications to address those co-occurring problems are sometimes utilised in addition to psychotherapy.

Conclusion – 

This blog post attempted to answer the question, “Does everyone have two personalities?”, reviewed the concept of personality and studied related concepts and possible personality disorders to help determine if everyone has two personalities. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

References –

Bhandari, S. Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder). (2022, January 22). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder#:~:text=Although%20not%20everyone%20experiences%20DID,and%20distinct%20way%20of%20talking.

Johnson, J. Split personality disorder: Signs, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and more. (2020, July 14). Retrieved from  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/split-personality

Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder). Cleveland Clinic . (2021, May 25). Retrieved from 

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9792-dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder

Is the condition of having multiple personalities actually normal? Quora. (n.d.). Retrieved from 

https://www.quora.com/Is-the-condition-of-having-multiple-personalities-actually-normal

DiValentino, A. 7 myths about ‘multiple personalities’ you need to stop believing. (2019, December 30). Retrieved from 

https://www.insider.com/myths-about-multiple-personalities-you-need-to-stop-believing-2019-12

Dissociative identity disorder. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2022, March 30). 

Retrieved from 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociative_identity_disorder

Young, E. ‘How I learned to live with multiple personalities’. (2017, June 14). Retrieved from 

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20170613-how-i-learned-to-live-with-multiple-personalities

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