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 2024, May 27 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, 1 2024 at 6:41 pm

I've been looking around different websites, since I'm having trouble comprehending some stuff, but I do have a question.
What does it mean when someone says 'source'? Like, is it the origin of said fictive/alter?
I'm currently trying to figure out if i have DID or OSDD-1b or not. And i'm trying to figure out certian terms/vocabulary so i can understand this better-
I would appreciate if someone replies!

Hyperfix Anon
March, 31 2024 at 1:22 am

Please please please take this with a grain of salt. I don’t have dissociative identity disorder, but I do research for the sake of writing respectful and honest narratives relating to the disorder. Sometimes I go into DID spaces online to see the terms in use, so that if I write a character who uses the terminology accurately I can know what to write.
In online spaces, when someone asks ‘source’, it’s likely they’re asking about the source of the original work a fictive alter is based off of. Not the trauma that caused their split or anything like that, but the origins of the fictive.
Let’s say for example that someone with DID felt they needed the traits of a character like Sonic the Hedgehog when they were a child. They saw his headstrong and confident demeanor and thought they would live a better life with those traits, so an alter named Sonic and having those personality traits split off. Later on in adulthood they know they have DID and all that, and are asked, “Source?” when in relation to their fictive. Even if their fictive’s name might have changed, they may still answer “Sonic the Hedgehog” because that’s the origin point for that fictive alter.
While I understand diagnosis can be difficult and really stressful, I highly recommend seeking out professional assistance if you do believe yourself to have dissociative identity disorder or OSDD. However, I understand that not everyone has money, and the person who knows you best is yourself. There’s no harm in potentially being inaccurate in your self-diagnosis, so long as you eventually find your way to the correct answer.
I hope this helped, and have a good day!

August, 17 2023 at 10:57 pm

I’m a little confused. What separates “systems” from roleplaying?
When I was younger, I would imagine alternate versions of myself that had gone down different paths in life - Mountain was my fashion designer persona, Kouda Kyew was my eccentric business mogul persona, and so on. I would get advice from these imaginary people and sometimes even act like them in real life, but I was always conscious that my alters were fictional. As I grew older, I roleplayed with them less and less, but they ended up being wonderful inspirations for my writing!
With all due respect, the term “system” seems like a pathologized synonym for roleplay, which is a normal and reasonable activity for young people discovering their sense of self. I’m wondering if someone would be willing to educate me to the contrary?

September, 9 2023 at 4:33 pm

OSDD and DID are dissociative disorders formed by repeated trauma in the developing stages of childhood. Children in early stages of development have multiple personalities that are not completely fused. While people without this disorder (Singlets) eventually fuse, people with these disorders do not. As a trauma response these personalities (alters) develop into beings of their own, with separate thoughts, feelings, and identities. They all share a body, though often are not all conscious at the same time. When one personality is not conscious, they experience amnesia, either not remembering at all what happened or lacking emotional memory.
What differentiates roleplaying and systems is that one is a literal mental illness. Roleplaying is one person choosing to act as someone else. They can choose to stop pretending, and control what they do. Alters in a system cannot control the other alters in all cases except OSDD-1B, and cannot stop "acting" like someone else, because it isn't acting. Additionally, people roleplaying don't experience amnesia.

Skull (She/him)
June, 18 2023 at 8:28 pm

yoyoyo!! fellow system here, just a little curious about something, so if any other systems have the answer, i could defo use some help!! so for splitrojects (introjects with 2 or more sources) how do faceclaims work? do you have separate faceclaims? or do they all merge into one faceclaim?

Lush Caves Sys
June, 22 2023 at 11:59 am

They can merge into one, or have one more obvious than another. Sometimes they can look completely different than any of their sources.
-Anonymous introject

A question for fictives!
June, 10 2023 at 2:44 pm

Hello ! im a friend of some systems and they have fictives of my hyperfixations [Spider-man and theyre pretty close to the canon [thats what they are saying]] My mood has changed a lot because like, IM TALKING TO SPIDERMAN /hj. I am wondering if its okay to stim around them ? im autistic and i am worried i might make them uncomfartable !

the end system
June, 15 2023 at 2:40 pm

I think it would be best to ask them, but most systems, fictives included, are usually ok with meeting people that like their character. What most ask out of you is to respect boundaries and don't ask personal or negatively triggering questions about their source.
-Entity303 (it/its)

May, 27 2023 at 1:28 pm

I apologize if this doesn't make sense but is it possible for a fictive to gain new memories from their source if their source is still being updated?
Ex: could they gain memories from source events that happened after the alter was formed?

December, 28 2023 at 7:43 pm

im not completely sure on this, but probably not. we are an OSDD 1b system with quite a few fictives, and some of them have sources thatre still ongoing! i say no on this because of the fact that that media didnt ever exist before- and therefore they wouldnt know that happened depending on the timeline of when they were in source after forming in the system. im iffy on this though, cause im thinking maybe itll unlock memories they didnt know about and theres also the fact that alters can know things that others dont; like languages or skills. dont take my word for any of this though im not all that familiar with this

April, 2 2023 at 12:20 pm

Is it possible for an alter to “gain” a source? Like they already are an introject but gain a source from something else?

June, 1 2023 at 9:17 pm

Hi, this is called Splitrojectism! When an alter has two different sources. This is possible to happen after they've formed, as we have an alter from two separate sources.

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.

May, 19 2023 at 8:55 am

its normal. not all introjects look like their source, and some chose to change their name or spell it differently to differentiate themselves from source

February, 2 2024 at 7:58 am

It's relatively standard. I'm an introject of Shadow the Hedgehog - but, if you keep calling yourself that in public, it creates some problems for everyone else in the body. I've been going by "Umbra" - I feel like it pays homage well enough, while also sounding enough like a name that I'll only get *some* looks for it.
As far as the anthropomorphized versions of the characters, it's not really something I have going on, but I probably could if I felt like it. Shape-shifting in headspace is a skill I learned pretty quickly. I think the age difference you might be seeing is more due to more anthropomorphized characters (gijinka?) being posted online, rather than anything sketchy. Easier to pilot a body if it looks roughly the same shape as yours, I imagine.
And, disclaimer, I really don't think self-diagnosis is that huge of an issue. Worst case, they end up being wrong. Getting an official diagnosis is expensive, and difficult since many therapists tend to misdiagnose DID as BPD / Schizoaffective disorders, not to mention frightening to many as some doctors heavily push final fusion, which can be seen as unappealing.

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.

Orphæ system
September, 4 2022 at 4:08 am

This is exactly how multiple parts of my system manifest. The validation you seek from the same people demonizing us ain’t coming pal. Were you there in the head of every system forming, did the captain survey every living human? In countries like America, being able to get a DID diagnosis at the bare minimum is a luxury. Play your little participation games all you like but leave other systems out of it. Beg on your own.
God forbid somebody think they have a mental illness and be wrong and it’s a different one! Oh no! We don’t have any protections or recognition either way. Policing others’ beings when you could literally not have less control over anything. If you are a system you should know full well people have different experiences with different brains that defy the “standard human experience.” We got Split in recent memory, and honestly how dare you put that onto people trying to figure out if they are plural in reality as it exists now in current year. Didn’t really see the DSM community up in arms over that one did we.
I’m harsh because I used to be you. I used to throw my personal medical details around offhand off my little mental Rolodex I’d developed for whenever it was time for “what’s wrong with you?” Well here are all my proofs of trauma and my psych eval that wasn’t anybody’s business and didn’t amount to me getting my stupid diagnosis anyway, multiple alters spoke, it didn’t matter. It’s a very understudied condition, buckaroo, that’s kind of the point.
Put your faith of self existence in this broken structure by all means. You seem fine there. Don’t drag other systems into it tho, we don’t really have the time as human beings for that kind of self indulgence.

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

the valentine collective
August, 18 2022 at 9:44 am

As though this comment is pretty old, i just wanted to put it out there that "core" is a very out dated term. I pretty sure that the correct term that you would use if you wanted to refer to the alter that looks like the body you would call them the body holder or simply the host but i would run to the first one if the body holder isn't the host. this isnt hate because i didnt want to let another system have wrong info and give people a reason to fakeclaim them!

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.

February, 15 2023 at 1:02 pm

Totally! I’m in a fictive-heavy system (and yes! many of us formed in adulthood too! Protecting the body doesn’t end in childhood). Lots of us have a mix of both, and the longer we’re around the more we get body memories both as new ones are formed and as communication gets better. And sometimes just because brains are weird and provide new memories!

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!

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)

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?

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.

February, 15 2023 at 1:05 pm

Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. And it can vary even between alters formed together from the same source. Sometimes the memories feel real, or stronger than for others.

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 😓

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!

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.

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

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

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

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!

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

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!

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 ??

September, 28 2021 at 12:00 pm

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

December, 15 2021 at 4:46 pm

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

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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