Deej again, hey. I love all this podcast stuff so I’m often the one putting it together. I’m sure you’ll hear from others soon.
In episode 4, Dimitri and L talk about the different types of alters that are commonly found in systems.
First things first, alters can vary in age, gender, orientation, species, etc. anything and everything can be different.
Child Alters: Often called, “Littles,” in the DID community, they are alters who are typically younger than 9. After that they are called, “Middles,” so, between about 9 and 12. And 13-19, well, that’s the category I fall into (16-years-old), and quite unsurprisingly we are called, “teens.” Child/young alters typically act in an age-appropriate way, as they were formed during a certain biological age and retain such mannerisms. Many are traumatized, holding memories of pain or neglect, but some are carefree because they were alters that were, “spared,” the abuse.
ANP’s: Apparently Normal Parts covers a variety and can overlap with other parts. They are functional and able to socialize, utilize executive functioning, and do ordinary tasks that many traumatized alters (EP’s — emotional parts) cannot. Vader, DeVon, Trin, myself, and others, are good examples of ANP’s.
(As an aside, EP’s can become functional with therapy or some other intervention, so some ANP’s between our two systems used to be EP’s — Hikari for example.)
EP’s: Emotional Parts are alters who hold memories/feelings/beliefs etc. that were caused by trauma and they are therefore not particularly functional until they receive help. I’m sure some of our recovering EP’s will share their stories, given time.
Protectors: There are many kinds of protectors that may exist in a system. Emotional Protectors, such as Lacey (who you will hear from in an upcoming episode), can numb the overwhelm that others feel, or, like Hayzeus, they can help other alters process their suffering and bring them down from a crisis level. There are also physical protectors, who are adamant that they keep the system’s body safe (often these exist in systems where there has been some kind of physical abuse — as opposed to emotional/psychological abuse, or neglect).
Persecutors: Misguided protectors, in my opinion. Many try to sabotage others in the system but often this is because of a deep misunderstanding about what “safety” is. If a persecutor alter is trying to sabotage a relationship, maybe they believe that it is unsafe to trust people and want to remain safe from harm. This sort of thinking can obviously develop from abusive circumstances early in life. In situations where self-harm is involved, often the persecutor believes something along the lines of — if I hurt us, then other people’s abuse won’t hurt as much. Also, many persecutors have additional diagnoses — alcoholism, emotional dysregulation (BPD perhaps), eating disorders, etc. They are, in our experience, tortured souls who really need and deserve some love and attention rather than the scorn that is often the first reaction by the rest of the alters. I would venture to guess that persecutors almost always fall under the EP category. L and Dimitri are both persecutors (or were).
Hosts: The alters who routinely take control of the body and live a life that is usually supported by other alters. Hikari and Vader are our hosts, and their marriage is a union of more than just the two of them, but of our entire systems as well.
Introjects: We’ll get more into this another time, but at the basic level, introject alters are an internalized version of an external person who exists out in the physical world. They can be echos of abusers, or echos of loved ones, and anything in between, but I would offer the thought that for an introject to exist requires a huge upheaval, a crisis or traumatic event, so they are likely to fall into one of the two extreme categories.
Think that’s all the ones that were covered in the podcast, and all the ones that come to mind right now.
Animal alters: alters that are non-human. These can range from “real” animals like cats, to “imaginary” animals like unicorns. A child’s mind creates self-states that make them feel safe, or loved, or help them escape into fantasy that is unlike their abusive external life. So, both L and Dimitri give examples of animal alters in our system, and why they are there.
That’s all for now, tune in for our next episode, all about Inner Worlds.