The young child comes with a handful of selves which are only loosely integrated. Normally, throughout childhood, integration of selves increases and at adolescence the child’s corporate self represented a unified system comprising component parallel streams of consciousness.
But childhood abuse, in an inescapable environment, delivering to the child horrible memories, disrupts this normal system of integration, and results in several outcomes.
Some selves fail to integrate with the corporate self. These selves form the alternative, or ‘alter’, personalities of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). This will not be true for all selves. Some selves will integrate with each other and these will form what is commonly called the ‘host’, ‘original’ or ‘core’ personality in DID. Alter personalities will ‘leave’ the realm primus, escaping, for a time the reality of the child’s situation, to inhabit another realm – a mindscape. Some of these alters will go into hibernation and sleep for, perhaps, years - or may never reawaken.
It is quite possible that in response to abuse in childhood all of the selves who do not integrate with the corporate self, ‘leave’ the realm primus and all never return. Such selves may, perhaps, go into permanent hibernation. Such a child will not develop DID, as they will not exhibit its principal characteristic of alternative personalities taking control of the body. They will go through adult life, however, with a depleted corporate self, not fully rounded as it is missing some of its constituent parts.
In other cases, selves which have now formed as alters may, from time to time, ‘leave’ their realm and ‘enter’ the realm primus. It is not, at this point in time clear as to why, but it would appear that only one entity may interact with the realm primus at one time. And so the ‘entry’ of an alter into the realm primus will result in the ‘exit’ of the core personality. When not in contact with the realm primus, in most cases, the core personality (the depleted corporate self) will usually go into sleep or hibernation, and so is not conscious of the activities of alter personalities when they control the body.
As a child ages, at appropriate times, additional selves are normally released from their potential genetic store. To aid the child, helpers may release selves at an earlier age than would otherwise happen. These selves will serve as protector alters. For example, an adolescent self might be released when the child’s chronological age is only 7.
In addition to selves being released either at their appropriate chronological age, or sometime earlier, other selves are formed by being constructed by helpers. Selves also may be formed by a “mirroring” of existing selves or by a splitting or partitioning of existing selves. This partitioning of existing selves may form alters which are quite “small” and may essentially consist only of the memory of a specific event at a specific time.
In DID the core personality will represent a depleted corporate self, which will have deficits and imbalances corresponding to the abilities and dispositions of the unintegrated selves. Taken as a whole, the core personality and the alters will represent a functioning ‘whole’. If integration of the system occurs, this will represent the integration of the selves with the corporate self and so will not result in the ‘death’ of the individual alters. It instead represents these selves ceasing to occupy a mindscape and to instead ‘enter’ the realm primus as cooperative parts of the corporate self.