Melissa: I have alternate personalities.
Skittle: It’s really funny!
Melissa: But what if none of this is real?
Unknown: She doesn’t even like me!
Melissa: Where was I when that happened?
Melissa: SNAP back to it, man. Snap back to it.
SpitFire: Can she just get out of my face?!
Skittle: I want to watch a cartoon!
Melissa: What if I’m not real?
End Intro Reel
An inner world, when it comes to Dissociative Identity Disorder, is a place inside the mind where Headmates can interact. In this space, alters can manifest their appearance to each other and project their own tones of voice.
Not all systems have an inner world, while others have a room or even a house where they reside and communicate. Others, like my system, have entire towns.
In this episode of The Bag System podcast, we are peering into the relationships between Headmates in the HeadSpace… or of how to identity if a member of an inner world is an alter at all…
When is a Headmate not an alter?
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Internal world’s can be helpful in achieving co-consciousness and a break-down of dissociative walls where further communication can occur.
They are formed of vivid interconnected fantasies. Some are so extensive that the Headmates not only interact within, but they also live out scenarios as though life were going on in the inside.
The experience is different for all systems, and not all hosts are aware of what their inner world looks like, or even if they have one.
For those who don’t, they can develop such a place through therapy. Perhaps by creating a conference room, or a comfortable area to connect, problem solve, or make arrangements for both internally and for when fronting or co-conscious.
I’ve wondered for some time about what this place is like for my system. Are they well in there? Is it pleasant? Are they safe?
When first diagnosed with DID, I wasn’t sure if we even had an inner world. As time went on and our connection grew, or that by consequence, dissociative walls began to fall, I began to have a general idea of what this world was. I caught snippets of conversations referencing different locations within a home or a town. I heard mentions of getting married and moving from one house to another.
Mothers discussed conflict amongst themselves regarding their children. There were mentions of stairways, or of warehouses.
The very fact that one Headmate would speak to another and they would reply indicated some form of place within. I finally had some indication of what that was.
I wished that I could see what they saw and spend time with them like they could with each other, but I felt banished to the outside. I more than wished; I even begged. I felt excluded, though I tried to be patient and communicate. I responded when I heard their voices.
I’ve mentioned before on the podcast, but I once saw a projection in front of me of a baby sitting on the floor with a young woman standing next to her. The baby looked to be of maybe a year a half, wearing a little dress and blonde hair.
I knew while it was happening that these were my Headmates. I felt calm and peaceful, but the woman seemed surprised that I could see her, picked up the baby, then turned around and vanished.
I began to wonder based on conversations I’d heard inside as to whether this woman was the mother of the child and that this baby was a recently-formed alter.
In consideration of what I was later informed, the answer would be no. The baby was not her child that she had within the inner world. I will tell you how I came to that conclusion.
After hearing references inside of Headmates that were mothers or fathers of other members of the inner world, I grew concerned that our town was splitting even more.
What I learned was that while a Headmate can have a relationship or even children in the HeadSpace, or what I call the TownSpace, the children are not alters, and the spouse may not be either.
Consider a town of people that isn’t growing, but hold needs for relationships of their own. Just like in a movie scene where there are extra’s in the background to fill various needs, including realism, an inner world contains alters and static non-alters that are often referred to as non-playable characters.
These NPC’s can be recognized by various nuances; one of which is that their role is to be a sort of compliment to an alter in particular, rather than to the system as a whole. A Headmate won’t split by having a child, but they may desire a child and create the existence of a son or daughter through vivid fantasy that only has the role of being their child.
A Headmate may be a caretaker who cares for the littles, or they may be a protector who keeps the system safe in their own way through also being a persecutor. If a member of the internal home holds no purpose other than accompaniment to one alter, they are likely an NPC.
Non-playable characters also do not front, nor can they be sensed as being near the front the way that we can with an alter. They won’t be connected to the memories of the system.
The host may hear Headmates talking inside. In that case, these are likely alters and not static, because an NPC won’t be heard like a member of the system would be.
In returning to seeing the baby sitting on the floor, I can conclude that this was an alter and not a static character because I was able to see her projected.
There are further developments lately with my inner world. In the last month, I have connected with this TownSpace on a few occasions. I felt the classic way that I experience dissociation, in that it’s a bit of a floating or dizzy feeling, but not quite either. I phased out of the room I was in, then was surrounded by people sitting next to me.
A few days later, I phased out and a teen stood next to a young boy and said, “I’m proud of you little brother,” then placed his hand on the boys head. He grew concerned with the boys expression and asked him, “Brother; are you okay?”
Previous to that, it became clear to me as to how we don’t all experience the outside world, or are not all constantly aware if it at the same time. I held a mentality that if it happened, or if I knew it, then they must too. I was told otherwise by our therapist, but didn’t quite realize how true that was.
For example, I was floaty and found myself in a blur, then a group of 4 teenagers stood together. One was informing the others as to what was going on at the surface by saying “We are going to stay at her friends’ house.”
I wondered, “But how did they not know that?” Then I realized that they truly weren’t all aware of events outside the town.
They seemed relaxed in this environment and simply going about their every day.
These are a few of the instances lately that provided some answers. They do seem safe. They do seem to live in a pleasant place and they appear to be well.
In this case, I was inside their world, so it may well be that any one of them may have been an NPC. Though, the thing I most cling to here… is that they are safe, well, and they have support, regardless of if they are classified as an alter or not.
They have value to my system, so their value is real.
In terms of what this concept means to me, I suppose it’s reassuring that my Headmates’ needs are supported. Not only do they have the relationships they require to be well, but they seem to be in a flowing storyline that is pleasant and fulfilling.
I felt myself somewhat envious of their connections to each other, but am honestly consoled. For those of them to whom I’ve come to know, I am fond, no matter the friction we may sometimes have.
Perhaps, I am not banished to the outside. Maybe I’m qualified for this role, while they are for theirs.
I’m leaving behind my sense of wishing that I have what they do, and to simply do my best to protect our exterior life, and by extension, protect the continuance of their inner wellbeing.