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Questions and Answers

I have read your information on DID [on A Guide to Psychology and its Practice], and what nags at me is whether or not this disorder is ever able to be fully cured. Until I started working with my current therapist . . . all the therapists I have worked with in the past have said it is likely I will dissociate in times of great stress forever. I don’t think I could bear that. . . . I cannot imagine anyone wishing to be a multiple. It’s horrible, it’s insidious, and there is nothing “cool” about it. . . . I have spent the past 16 years (when I first became aware I had been abused, tortured, raped etc. and subsequently and finally to be officially sealed with the label MPD, then DID) working on wellness. On my bedroom wall is a piece of white felt over a cardboard square with green letters that say “Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?” I see that and focus on that many times a day and live by the promise of Christ that I will be made whole if I keep actively working on it. . . . I am and have been working hard at wholeness, integration, freeing myself from self-destructive patterns, and in the past year have finally been able to begin some sort of communications with the others. If a full and complete cure is possible, what happens to the alters? I like to say they go to Altar Heaven to be laid on the altar of God, for His wisdom to manage, but it is a mystery to me and the others as to what happens to those folks. Some of them (I think) sabotage my efforts because they are threatened with the thought of extinction and I don’t want that fear to be in the mix of my core’s efforts towards wholeness and oneness. I know we are all one, on the most basic level, but I suppose we all need to know that nobody disappears or is denied a share. . . .

Outline of the Answer
• Ego States
• Dissociative Identity Disorder
• The Cure
• Spiritual Aspects of the Cure
• In the Midst of a Fragmented Family

As I say on A Guide to Psychology and its Practice, on the webpage called Personality, the whole concept of “personality” is an illusion, in the sense that none of us has a single, unified personality. Each of us relates to the world through various ego states; that is, specific styles of perception and interaction such as parent, child, teacher, student, sage, fool . . . and so on. And most of us have relatively fluid and clear communication among these various ego states, resulting in a certain richness of personality.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

When a child suffers severe and prolonged abuse, ego states can be created to help cope defensively with the abuse, and, if the emotional trauma is severe enough, communication among ego states can be blocked unconsciously as a way to “seal off” the pain from the rest of the personality.

In psychological terminology, this failure of communication among ego states is called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), and an isolated ego state is called an alter—short for “alter personality.” This concept of an alter personality decribes the occasions when one alter can completely take over the entire personality for extended periods of time, without the conscious awareness of any other alters.

The Cure

If DID is to be “cured,” communication must be reestablished among the various alters so that they can function cooperatively as ego states, rather than as independent—and often secret—alters.

The success of the treatment depends on many factors, such as the quality of the psychotherapy, the severity and duration of the original abuse, and whether any forms of social support were available to the child apart from the abusive environment.

Spiritual Aspects of the Cure

Now, to get to your question (finally), What happens to the alters spiritually? Well, if each alter can be successfully brought back into full communion, so to speak, with all the other alters, then you would have a normally functioning personality with its own unique richness of ego states. You would be no different spiritually than anyone else.

But what happens if you die with some alters remaining “lost sheep”?

With no explicit theological guidelines here, we can only hope that if the “main” part of the personality remains firmly in communion with the Church, in a state of grace, then any sin in any other alters will be purified in Purgatory.


Remember that all alters in any one person are personality states, not separate souls. So we can hope that if the main personality remains in a state of grace, it can beg for mercy for any sins committed against its will by other alters. Otherwise, “everyone” is in danger of perishing.


In the Midst of a Fragmented Family

To ensure that “everyone” does not perish, you—the person who wrote to me, the main personality—should consider yourself to be like a devout Christian mother in the midst of a fragmented family. Many women must cope with husbands who are not Christian or who are only “lukewarm,” and they must raise their children to live holy Catholic lives in spite of these difficulties. Saint Monica did it. Saint Rita did it. And many other women through the ages have done it. 

So it will be important for you, too, to do it—to prevent spiritual disaster. Treat your alters like frightened children who must slowly learn to trust you and be convinced of your absolute, unwavering sincerity. Your only hope of convincing them of this is for you to live an absolutely pure and holy lifestyle yourself, having forgiven your abusers, free from pride, free from disobedience, free from victimization, free from defensiveness, truly humble, perfectly chaste, devoted to the Blessed Virgin,[1] and absolutely faithful to the Magisterium of the Church.

This won’t be easy because some of your alters have been so emotionally wounded that in their disobedience they flirt with evil. But, when you can put your total and complete trust in Christ, then your faith will allow Him to cast out the “demons” [2] from you—as tradition says He did with Mary Magdalene—and return to you the faithful children of your own heart. 

Read the Gospel truth about
Mary Magdalene


Who wrote this web page?


1. Complete instructions for the Consecration to Jesus through Mary can be found in Saint Louis Marie de Montfort’s book, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin.

2. Think of “demons” as what the devil himself represents: division, discord, confusion, and disobedience. Alters are not demons; but, in casting out the demons, Christ cast out the division within Mary Magdalene’s personality.


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