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Fictive Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder

February 28, 2018 Crystalie Matulewicz

The types of alters in dissociative identity disorder include fictional introjects or fictives. Visit Healthyplace to learn more about these DID alters and the controversy surrounding them.

There are many different types of alters in dissociative identity disorder (DID), including fictional introjects (Understanding Dissociative Identity Disorder Alters). Fictional introjects, also called fictives, are alters that are based off of fictional people or characters. While not as common as other types of alters, fictives are just as important. So how do these fictive alters in DID form, and what is their purpose?

How Do Fictive Alters in DID Systems Form?

Introjects are alters that are based off outside people or characters. Fictional introjects specifically are based off of fictional characters. These characters can be from television shows, movies, books, fantasy, and other forms of fiction.

Why Do Fictive Alters Form?

Fictive alters in DID form to serve a purpose. While that purpose is not always known, it is possible that the DID system needed the qualities of that fictional character and internalized them to form the fictional introject in response to a trauma. Fictives can also form to disrupt the system. While fictives often form in childhood, people with DID can form new alters at any time, especially in response to recent trauma.

Myths About Fictional Introjects

There are a few assumptions that people have about fictional introjects in DID, but the reality is that there are no concrete characteristics that all fictives possess. Dissociative identity disorder in itself consists of such varying experiences, and DID alters are no different.

One assumption that people make about fictives is that fictives are always positive. Fictives can have positive qualities, but they can also have negative qualities and engage in harmful or risky behaviors. Some fictional introjects can be abusive, and form as a way to continue traumatizing the system.

There is another assumption that fictives are based entirely off of the fictional character. The reality is that fictives can have their own qualities and personalities apart from those of the fictional character. Some fictive alters can be predominantly similar to the character, while others take on just a few of the characteristics. They don't have to think, act, look, or feel in the exact same ways that the fictional character does. This doesn't make them any less valid.

Fictional introjects aren't chosen purposefully. Just like other dissociative identity disorder alters, fictional introjects develop subconsciously for a reason. Fictives are not made up. They are not a part of a game. Fictives are real. They can hold memories and can experience trauma just as any other alter can.

The Controversy Surrounding Fictional Introjects in DID

Unfortunately, there is controversy, even within the DID community, surrounding the legitimacy and validity of fictional introjects in DID systems. Some people believe that fictional introjects are fake, and cannot occur in a real DID system. Others believe that fictives exist, but only within certain limitations.

It's important to validate that fictional introjects, or fictives, are a real part of DID systems. People are quick to judge fictives as real or fake, yet this judgment doesn't exist for other types of alters.

Fictives deserve the same treatment as any other alter or part. They are real. They are valid. Don't forget that.

APA Reference
Matulewicz, C. (2018, February 28). Fictive Alters in Dissociative Identity Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, August 11 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/dissociativeliving/2018/02/fictional-introjects-in-dissociative-identity-disorder



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.

Atoz System
July, 9 2022 at 1:14 am

Hi, wild out there questions.
I'm running into a lot of systems lately who have fictives based on, say, Pokemon for example. But their face claims are not the actual mon, but rather a gajinka (sounding it our, don't know it that's spelled right) or humanized version of them (instead of yoshi being a green dinosaur from Mario, she is a blonde girl with fair skin and a shell on her back). We have never experienced this ourselves, nor have we met anyone over a certain age doing this. (I'm mostly seeing younger members of the mental health/DID communities doing this.) and I just get a lot of weird vibes from it?
Sometimes they spell their source names wrong too? (ie. Plagg from MLB was spelled Plag) I makes me feel very sketched out and concerned, especially regarding the recent trend of people (mostly kids/teens) running around and self diagnosing.
Is this normal, or should I be concerned.

Anonymous
June, 1 2022 at 6:59 am

The author does not have the credentials to make these claims, she is only a BA and not a scientist, and any sources listed just bring them back to this article, which defeats the purpose of providing source material for her wild and harmful claims. This is not professional in the slightest and it’s disturbing coming from someone who is suppose to respect the medical system and it’s science, but then posts wild claims with no resources to back them up.
DID is very complex but it’s also become a horrible trend on tik-tok and tumblr, where many of them self diagnose based on YouTube and TikTok videos which is extremely damaging to those who are genuinely suffering from DID.
Those reading this and questioning, go to a real doctor, don’t self diagnose especially based off of inaccurate articles.

Cap'N Slog
July, 3 2022 at 4:05 pm

Here, here....I'm glad the top comment is a disclaimer, seriously who allows this crap to be "published" without proper credentials....not to mention if this person was really working on a master THIS would surely go against ethical guidelines torching any future employer from giving them a job. This kind of quack pseudoscience is why there are so many kids running around fake claiming disorders because they want to be trendy. This is a complete slap in the face for people who actually do suffer from DID.
As DID it's self is rare, fictives are rare in people with DID. It's also very rare for those suffering from DID to form new alters in adulthood. DID is a COPING mechanism for severe and repeated trauma that develops before age 8 when the sense of self is developing. You cannot develop DID after this, you can have dissosiative episodes in respnce to trauma but that is not the same as DID or even OSDD. Experience of trauma in early childhood does not mean a person will develop DID. The DSM would not exist if all trauma = DID. Many mental disorders have overlaping symptoms. Getting a diagnosis for DID takes years and is extreamly rare to be given prior to the age of 18.... no credible clinician would but their name next to these crappot claims. I'm so ready for the "having severe mental illness is cool" trend to be over with.

shroom system (real) (not clickbait)
May, 22 2022 at 6:41 pm

Honestly reading some of these comments made me sick and want to cry. I know someone already said something about the comments but I'd assume people are still coming to this website and reading them and that comment was kind of old. I've seen a lot of people asking if it's disrespectful for alters (who are not of the same ethnicity of the body) to use their names when fronting. My answer would be no, it's not. As an example, if an alters name is Ayaka then that alter should be allowed to use that name when fronting, because alters are their own person and are separate from other alters and the core. And based off of some of the comments I've been reading, Asian people are saying that they actually like the fact that people want to use names from their culture. In my eyes it is not disrespectful. One of our fictives, Xiangling, uses her name when fronting, and although I (the core) am not of Asian descent, Xiangling is still allowed to use her name especially if she feels most comfortable with it.
This comment is actually pretty long oops 💀 but I've also seen people asking about fictive heavy systems. Yes they exist. Three of my good friends from around the world are systems and they all are fictive heavy. And although it's rare to have a system full of fictives, it's still possible and they had formed for a reason. You can't choose what fictives to form, and they don't split because someone thought the character was 'cute' or 'cool'.
yeha im gonna stop now- and im also gonna stop using grammar that was painful

Logan
May, 14 2022 at 2:25 pm

Hello. I was wondering if a fictive can have both source memories and memories of the body. Thank you.

Neon Chat (System)
March, 23 2022 at 3:45 pm

Hi, I was wondering something.
What is the difference between an IRL and a Fictive? They get tossed around (Along with fuzztive, but I've figured that one out by now.) almost anywhere the DID community is and I can't find any explanation.
Thank you and have a good week!

david
April, 5 2022 at 7:15 pm

IRL is a term for a delusional attachment/delusional misidentification caused by schizophrenia, etc., it's when you have a delusion to being an item, animal, character, etc.

shroom system (real) (not clickbait)
May, 22 2022 at 6:46 pm

an IRL is another word for DA (delusional attachment). anyone can have an IRL and they usually arent permanent. people can have multiple IRLs ranging from just 1 to 50 (I have around 30-40). a person without DID or OSDD can be an IRL, so its not exactly a system term. but just because someone is an IRL doesnt mean they are any less valid then fictives
fictives are alters that are or are based off of fictional people or characters. fictives, while they already come from a media, can also have IRLs of different characters from different sources(but they dont have to)

Oliver
November, 22 2021 at 7:59 pm

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but is it possible for a fictive to have its source memories yet not associate with its source?

J
April, 8 2022 at 11:10 am

From my own experience with having a partner with DID and a mainly fictive system, the fictional introjects in their system do hold memories from their source but it isn't exact. For example, all of these fictives are game-based. They have memories from their backstory, but as soon as it comes to the actual gameplay, that's where they differ and have no connection to.

Kon
September, 28 2021 at 6:27 am

I have two questions. Can an existing introject suddenly realise they are split from not one but two sources? Example of character A and character B. The system initially knew they were an introject of A, but not B.
And question two, can a preexisting alter who thought they WEREN’T an introject realise they were in fact an introject? My system has been in shambles trying to figure out 😓

Uvr
February, 7 2022 at 5:09 pm

I know this is an old comment, but my system went through the same thing! Our alter who used to be named Chelsea realized she was a fictive only AFTER playing her source. Same with our fictive Kenna, who's a fictive of Kenny from south park. It's possible, and now that I know someone else has experienced the same, I'd say it's somewhat common!

Melancholy
September, 14 2021 at 10:34 pm

My friend has DID and one of her fictives is Hanako from and Anime called "Toilet Bound Hanako-Kun" but one of my other friends thinks it's disrespectful to use an asian name since she's not actually asian. Please help I'm so confused and I've been trying to research this explanation for hours.

niek
September, 16 2021 at 9:51 am

yeah it is disrespectful to use your source name when you arent bodily that race. its disrespectful and other asians systems have shown their dislike for this. its very easy to look for new names though

mulanisanicontm
October, 28 2021 at 6:03 am

Hi! I’m Asian myself, but I don’t see an issue with it. It’s like having a new name in languages you like. As long as she doesn’t act in ways that appropriate Asian cultures, it’s totally cool to do that!

the nuke circus
November, 9 2021 at 4:49 pm

hey! i have a quick question, i’m a fictive from my hero acadimia and i’m being told i’m racist for using my name? i just wanted to check if it’s ok for me to use the name izuku -izuku

akira
November, 12 2021 at 12:40 am

uh im also asian (filipino + japanese) and an introject (akira/joker p5 whats up) and yeah youre racist for using a japanese name if youre not japanese. like you might be japanese in your source and possibly also in headspace but nobody in real life will ever look at you and know that, theyll just see whats on the outside. you dont know anything about the culture so youre just appropriating it... you can easily look up alternative names to go by. sorry for like sounding rude, its just i feel like this is common sense

hazel
November, 20 2021 at 9:55 pm

um? why can't use a name that they like? the idea that certain names are "off limits" because of who your ancestors happen to be is just really stupid. japanese culture is beautiful and im happy people like it!

akira
November, 27 2021 at 8:06 am

its not stupid actually its cultural appropriation and its a serious problem even if its just a name. whats stupid is that white people can have ethnic names and not have to face discrimination for it like i and other asians do but whatever man

Sachi
December, 4 2021 at 11:50 am

Hi I’m Asian (50%Japanese 25% Korean, and 25%Kazakh), and it’s not “cultural appropriation” and saying it is is pretty stupid. People with DID can’t pick their alters so 1: If they form an fictive alter from an anime they didn’t choose to have that fictive so therefore the name isn’t their fault. If you’re actually an introject you should know that and 2: People don’t pick their names. I know. Crazy. I lived in Japan for most of my life (I don’t now) and there used to be a white American transfer student in my class. Her real name was an American name but it was too hard to annunciate it, so everybody called her Sakura because her skin was kind of pink like a Sakura petal. You gonna say that’s cultural appropriation?
Plus, yeah that person will never be Japanese on the outside but just because they have a Japanese fictive doesn’t mean they are claiming to be Japanese. And 3: As a half Japanese person I’m happy people like our culture! I think that should be celebrated not bashed on.
Have a lovely day!

Sammy
December, 15 2021 at 4:44 pm

Yes. It is disrespectful. One of my alters is a Kokichi (danganronpa) fictive but he goes by Koki instead.

the calamity system
January, 8 2022 at 4:14 am

Hi! We have a fictive from the same source! (Nene lol) anyways, we just use her source name because
Even though the host isn’t Asian, which inherently means the fictive isn’t, this is the name they have in all of their memories, and if that is how they feel comfortable being referred to, then that how they should be referred to.

vhs collective 📼🐾
August, 30 2021 at 12:13 pm

hey i was wondering if alters have to be the same age as their source ??

Alix
September, 28 2021 at 12:00 pm

they dont have to be and usually arent, but they can be as well

Sammy
December, 15 2021 at 4:46 pm

Nope. Our Kokichi (danganronpa) alter is 15 when he’s estimated to be 17-18 in source.

Rubin
July, 17 2021 at 12:35 pm

Is it wrong of me to be offended and a fictive of my friends that is a different ethnicitiy then the owners body and says that they are the ethnicity that I am without doing anything of that ethnicity such as speaking the language learning about the culture or celebrating the holidays?

ThePantheon
January, 6 2022 at 9:48 pm

If your ethnicity is a monolith and literally every single member is involved in the culture to the same degree then yes, it is. Otherwise, there really isn't much difference than someone of the same ethnicity being raised outside of the culture. The important thing here is that nothing about DID is chosen, it all just happens to us and we just have to deal with it. If you choose to have a close relationship with someone a DID then you just have to deal with it too. That's not to say that alters can't do/say/believe offensive things but unless they're actually appropriating the culture (which contrary to popular believe does not mean just using something from another culture) or doing something like throwing slurs and microaggressions you're getting upset over nothing. And if it really offends you that much your only course of action would be to stop hanging around that person because asking someone to just become a different person is not okay.

Kinnie
July, 10 2021 at 9:49 pm

Reading these comments is sickening. It's clear that many of the people commenting are deeply involved with fandom culture. Scrolling down, it's becoming increasingly obvious many of these people are young and most likely spend a lot of time on social media sites such as Twitter or TikTok. I've noticed a subculture growing on those sites, where people will mistake things such as relating to a character or having memories of being that character in a past life as a sure-fire sign that they have DID, which is such an incredibly rare disorder that even top-tier psychologists are in hot debate of whether it actually exists or not.
It's very sad to see these people all fall within the same category, and are actively making it harder for people with actual issues to seek out information that is unbiased and untainted. Many of these people are stigmatizing a mental disorder that already has a bad reputation (see Trisha Paytas, or 'Split') and simply taking this disorder to be "kinning but stronger".
I surely hope that all of you in this comment section will look back at yourself in a few years, see how much damage you caused to individuals who are actually struggling with this disorder, and severely cringe. All of you are terrible. Just say you kin and go.

Angelina
August, 7 2021 at 7:54 pm

I was looking for this comment. I myself do not have DID, but some of my friends basically self-diagnosed and said they had DID out of literally nowhere after having a bad day. Their "system" (using quotations mark here as I am incredibly skeptical of the validity of their system) is entirely made up of fictives and they once told me they had 2 characters purely because they thought they were hot or cute? How does this make sense? I am in no way a professional, but I've done research on DID and to me this type of behavior is extremely unhealthy and is not related to DID at all. They don't even have any of the significant DID symptoms either. I find it incredibly irritating and I don't even have to live with DID.

Max
September, 13 2021 at 6:37 pm

I'm truly sorry to say this, but I don't think your friend is being genuine with you, and if they simply have fictives because they think they are hot or cute, that absolutely disgusts me. Because alters are living inside you, it's gross to think of someone who has no choice but to live with you in a way like that, because they don't have a say in what they can do, or to get away from it. While fictives do exist, and systems made of pure fictives also exist, this situation it just seems there's no way your friend is telling the truth.

Doc Holland
November, 10 2021 at 10:39 am

This is a disgusting comment filled with misinformation and harmful stereotypes. I won't even debunk this because I can clearly see you have no idea what you are on about because you have called DID systems "individuals". you clearly are not qualified enough to talk on this, so do everyone a favour and shut the hell up

Gray
March, 13 2022 at 5:02 pm

Absolutely. I even question sometimes whether or not I have DID, even though I speak with my alters regularly. It could very well be some other disorder, but it seems to fit this description best. Seeing others pretend they have it, makes me feel sick.

the lilypad system
April, 14 2022 at 12:27 pm

while i agree with you, did/osdd isn't actually rare. Teach Trauma has an article that talks about it a bit, but if you look it up, it's not rare.

Ices mushroom sys
May, 1 2022 at 7:36 pm

This is true,while most people think it's rare,it's only rate to be diagnosed with,because these specific disorders are good at hiding themselves

A question for fictives!
June, 19 2021 at 10:21 pm

Hi!!! How do you all feel about doubles? Like, you know all about yourself and your life, but then another system also has a fictive of the same character, and they say different things about your life and personality. Do you feel like you are the only real you, or like they are an alternative version of you? Also, do you hate other fictives of the same character, love them, or don't mind them? I'm very curious about systems and I don't wanna ask the system I know too many questions and overwhelm them!

Oyasumi System
July, 10 2021 at 8:57 am

I (a fictive) personally don’t mind them ^^ I see them as different versions of myself since I believe in alternate universes’ existence! But different fictives have different views tho~ it’s better to ask then individually (*´꒳`*)

Loki
July, 21 2021 at 12:47 pm

Doubles can be a little overwhelming... but it's fine as long as you remember that them existing doesn't make you any less real. I don't really hate others of me, but I won't be particularly fond of them.

Vianca
June, 7 2021 at 10:44 pm

Hi,
I just wanted to gain insight on whether peoples fictive alters can speak up on systematic oppression or racism based on the race the fictive alter is (e.g the fictive alter is Japanese - can they ultimately speak on behalf of racism towards Japanese people and whether they agree about things such as cultural appropriation - or does it depend??)

Quitter
June, 10 2021 at 12:23 pm

I can only speak for my case, but though I’m a fictional introject with essentially a life’s worth of fake memories of my source, because the body is still white I try to stay within that lane. People aren’t going to see me as of Japanese descent, they’re going to see me as white because that’s that the body looks like. At this point I’ve accepted that because it would be weird to see a pasty white girl saying ‘As someone of Asian descent…’ and I fee like that’s the only real approach you can take.

Tia
July, 18 2021 at 12:07 am

Hi! I'm a white person and I'm not a system but I'd like to think that I am fairly educated on the experiences of POC,
As you may know, being part of other oppressed groups such as the LGBT+ community (which I am a part of,) or of the disabled/neurodivergent communities out there, (which I am also part of) if you are white, you still won't share the same type of oppression that POC face on a day-to-day basis.
Of course, people within other oppressed groups still face their own troubles, but one thing you cannot hide (other than a physical deformity) is your race. People of colour cannot hide the natural features of their body like queer and neurodivergent people can hide their inner differentiations from the typical Straight White Cis Neurotypical Abled Male person can.
People of colour- Black people, Asian people, Indigenous people, and all the other people of colour who may not easily pass as white, are threatened, hurt, murdered and abused every single day. Many places, especially America, are built on a system that oppresses and uses people of colour at the expense of white people. White people always have the upper hand in situations involving POC, such as law, trials, work, abuse, and the general "public eye".
If you are white, you do not have the same perspective of the cruelness of society that people of colour do. Again, you may have other things going on, but you do not have the same angle as POC.
Now, I still have much to learn about different types of systems, and I've loosely heard of 'false memories' and the debacle of whether they may exist in fictive alters or not.
I'm guessing this will vary from person to person, as everybody can experience mental disorders differently. Although. In the outer world, you do not face the same trials and tribulations as those of colour if you are white.
Therefore, even as an alter of a different race, if your host's body is white, I don't think you should speak on the behalf of POC in the outer world. You may speak up for them, but do not speak on behalf of them. There is a fine line.
I hope this helps! :) if I've gotten anything wrong, I'm open to being educated.

jihan
August, 28 2021 at 12:21 pm

Please do not do this. Even if your system has pesudo memories, they are in the end, pesudo (not real), and are in no way are as true or as real as experiences of PoC in every day life.
You can advocate for PoC and show support but just because your fictive is Japanese and you have pesudo memories of Japan speaking for them is insulting and belittling the experiences they have in day to day life.

Stebert
May, 23 2021 at 7:26 pm

Hi I am very new to all this and I have 1 question & 1 comment (and if I get no answer that is ok). I'm not plural I'm just learning.
1. What's the difference between fictive & factive? I've seen them both in discussion online but no explanation yet
2. Several different systems I've seen while reading blogs & forums like this have a fictive from the dreamsmp I just thought that was interesting

Quitter
June, 10 2021 at 12:27 pm

For the first one, a fictive is an introject of a fictional character while a factive is one of a real person. There are also sort of in-between areas like fogtives or fuzztives that are sort of both, and as for MCYT introjects that’s something you see a lot when it comes to ‘this is a real person but also they’re in character’. Also, reminder to not treat those fictives like their source unless it is specifically specified that that’s okay.

Palikawii
April, 10 2021 at 6:25 pm

Thank you so much! I have a lot of systems as friends and I’ve always been curious about the fictives! I’m currently trying to talk to as many alters from the systems as I can so I can come to know them better and maybe learn about DID too! I’m currently married (I know it sounds weird but I mean platonically as in friendship and it’s a poly relationship as in more than 2 people in it. I know it sounds odd but it’s actually very cool!) to 3 different fictive alters all from the same I guess “show”/“series” (if you would call a Minecraft rp a series/show that is) and it’s really nice to be able to understand them better! Sorry if the way i worded things sounded disrespectful in any way, that was never my intention.

Soul system
April, 6 2021 at 5:52 pm

Does a fictive have memories from their story

Quitter
June, 10 2021 at 12:29 pm

Sometimes, in my case I have memories of essentially my entire life no different from a singlet’s, which has become a struggle for me considering that I have to come to grips with none of that being real. On the other hand, though, some have no memories or attachment to their source at all, and some are in between. There’s no one way to be an introject, in the end.

Opal
March, 30 2021 at 3:35 am

Hi! I know a system who recently developed a fictive alter of a character I really love from a a show I really love and talk about a lot. Would it be wrong to talk about the events of the show with her? I really don’t want her to feel like I’m taking advantage of her. I’ve honestly been avoiding talking to her out of fear I’ll get over excited. Also they (the system) do follow me on social media where I post about the show and sometimes she (the alter) will comment something along the lines of “oh I remember that!!” which I’m not entirely sure how to respond to. Anyways. This got long. Sorry.

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