Does Someone You Know Have Dissociative Identity Disorder?

January 18, 2017 Crystalie Matulewicz

With more than 1% of the population having dissociative identity disorder (DID), it's more likely than not that you know someone who has DID. He or she may be open about his or her diagnosis, or you may suspect the disorder even though he or she hasn't admitted it. So, what should you do if you think someone you know has DID?

People with DID vary in their levels of openness about their disorder. Some people are openly multiple. They are comfortable letting anyone know they have DID. Other people with DID are more private. They may disclose their diagnosis to close family and friends, but they do not share their diagnosis with the public. There are also people who keep their DID a secret from everyone, including friends and family.

Things to Consider When Someone You Know Has DID

Respect Boundaries Regardless of a Person's DID Disclosure

Not every person with DID is willing to disclose a DID diagnosis. Mental health diagnoses come with a lot of stigma and misunderstanding, especially DID. People with DID already struggle with safety, and disclosing their multiplicity may be seen as a risk to their safety. It's best to let them know you are a safe and supportive person, instead of asking them about their diagnosis outright.

If you do ask someone about a DID diagnosis, always respect the response you get, even if it may be denial. You never know a person's reason. Someone may not actually have DID, or the person just may not be ready to disclose. Whatever the response, don't push the issue. Be respectful of the person's right to privacy. Continue to support the person, and when the person is ready, if the person ever is, he or she will open up to you in his or her own time.

You Can Be a Source of Support for Someone with DID

What should you do if you know someone with DID? How can you help? Find out what you can do if someone you know has dissociative identity disorder. Read this.

If someone you know has DID, be there for the person. The diagnosis of those with DID doesn't change who they are. People with DID are human beings, people just like you and me. They have needs, and one of those needs is social support. It's okay if you don't know what to do -- you don't have to be their therapist--just be a friend. Listen. Don't make assumptions. Learn as much as you can about DID. Be patient. Reach out and provide a helping hand.

Every person with DID is different, and each of us has different needs. One of the best ways to support people with DID is to ask them what they need. It could be a listening ear, or maybe even a hug. Maybe they need a ride somewhere or a safe person to spend time with. Maybe their younger parts need someone to comfort them. Don't be afraid to ask. Even seemingly little things can make a huge difference for people with DID.

There Is Support for You If You Know Someone with DID

While it is important for you to be a source of support, it's just as important for you to seek support as well. If you feel overwhelmed, don't be ashamed. It's okay to take a step back and take care of yourself. You can talk to a therapist or social worker. Reach out to supportive friends and family. There are also numerous online support groups dedicated to family, friends, spouses, and loved ones of those with DID. You are not alone in this.

Remember, a diagnosis doesn't change who someone is. That person with DID is still the same one you knew before -- he or she just happen to be more parts in one body.

Find Crystalie on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, her website and her blog.

APA Reference
Matulewicz, C. (2017, January 18). Does Someone You Know Have Dissociative Identity Disorder?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Crystalie Matulewicz

Crystalie is the founder of PAFPAC, is a published author and the writer of Life Without Hurt. She has a BA in psychology and will soon have an MS in Experimental Psychology, with a focus on trauma. Crystalie manages life with PTSD, DID, major depression, and an eating disorder. You can find Crystalie on FacebookGoogle+, and Twitter.

March, 7 2023 at 6:04 am

Hi I think my dad might have DID
My dad went thought many traumatic experiences as a kid include us sister being murder in front of him, we never really noticed before but this year and last year it’s really showing something is wrong
When he drink alcohol mainly. We is normally “happy drunk” but lately he has been mean he will tell my mum he hates her, or he wishes he never had us kids and comments like that, but when he is sober or not in that state he will wanna be around us and shows my mum in love in his way of course.
The other day tho we where in the car he was drinking and we heard the voice change and the internal fighting between him and something else he would be laught and being a happy person then all of a sudden his voice would go deeper, tone would change and he would say he wants mum to leave then straight after he would back track and take it back
Many times he has forgotten what he had done or said the night before and he had always and I mean always been able to remember everything the day after drinking.
So I wanna know do you guys think he has did any answer would be helpful because we are all at a loss and all we can think of is did so please email me
Thank you

October, 12 2022 at 3:30 pm

I suspect my brother might have DID, intense childhood trauma checks out, like very very bad I have childhood trauma and am messed up over something relativly small and he had like one of the worst.....
He is quite irratic in behaviour, appears to forget interactions, acts very different towords me at times.... It is hard to tell for we almost never talk, spend years without real contact... I am unsure. But when we have contact we are either somewhat distant and very stilted, friendly but not emotional, or at times very very open and he gets astonishingly attached, but does not seam to recall those later on.
Maybe we are both just messes, but sometimes I really feel like I am speaking/writing with someone entirely else. Younger, wanting my approval, me to comfort him, way more open, more clingy love bombing me. (he is 5 years older then me, so the impression of him clinging to my sleeve and looking starry eyed up to me throws me a bit)

Tyler E
June, 20 2020 at 3:16 pm

My now ex gf might have this and in the span of a year changed her name three times... before I was the love of her life but now she says I can’t win her back or be friends.... what do I do if I want to get my gf back in the end... she claims she needs time and I’m trying to give her space but I want to know if it’s gonna work.... how long should I wait before she’s willing to be friends with me again at least

March, 6 2019 at 4:56 am

I think my friend might have DID.
She either is my best friend or she hates me so much she actually tryst to hurt me. She has told me that in her past she has suffered some mental trauma because of fights between her parents. I do know that in most cases trauma is the cause for peoples DID. It's really confusing me and sometimes when she's being her "other self" I guess it makes me really upset and because I have autism I'm not that good at coping with stuff like this.

February, 23 2019 at 4:20 pm

My boyfriend has DID and we are trying to figure it all out and sometimes one of his personalities comes out and talks to me. I’ve never officially seen him but we’ve spoken a few times and he says that another personality is developing. I just want to know what I can do to help the developing personality feel safe as of the two personalities I know, they both have names and a separate voice but the new one seems to just be mimicking the others. If there is a website that anyone knows of, I would love to see it because I can’t find any of my own. Thanks

April, 13 2017 at 11:28 pm

I have a friend with DID and I have been confused lately. Sometimes we are sooooooo close other times I can go a couple of days and hear nothing but one phrase. Is it possible that I am conversing with two instead of one. She didn't tell me who to look for or anything so I wasn't even sure it was still an active diagnosis. Even thought we were over when she said to not contact her for a week. Then she got back in touch like it was no big deal. I thought maybe it was just me, but I'm starting to see a trend.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 1 2018 at 1:23 am

my friend changed after one night from my best friend to someone who didn't recognize we used to be close. It's hurt and confused always.

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