Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) Doesn’t Make You Violent

January 4, 2017 Crystalie Matulewicz

Dissociative identity disorder doesn't make you violent. However, Movies often portray people with DID as violent criminals, but that's not the case. Read this.

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) remains a largely misunderstood diagnosis, and one of the things people need to understand is that dissociative identity disorder doesn't make you violent. Previously known as multiple personality disorder, or MPD, DID has been the topic of several television shows, books, and Hollywood films -- including the new movie Split, set to be released later this month. These portrayals, however, are not always accurate. Characters with DID are often portrayed as violent and dangerous, but that is not the reality. Dissociative identity disorder doesn't make you violent.

Dissociative Identity Disorder Does Not Increase Violent Behavior

Despite what the movies and television shows depict, people with dissociative identity disorder are not violent or dangerous. In fact, people with DID are no more prone to violence than any non-DID person (Mental Illness and Violence: Shattering the Myths). Many with DID have experienced violence or abuse in some form that causes them to be more passive and non-aggressive. While there are people with dissociative identity disorder that can be violent, it is not the majority and is certainly not the norm.

Violent Alters in DID Exist, but Not How You Think

While every DID system is different, there are systems that do have alters that are violent or aggressive (Understanding Dissociative Identity Disorder Alters). However, in most of these instances, the violence and aggression are targeted to the inside. These alters can be abusive and aggressive towards other alters in the inside world and/or the core person, but rarely exhibit those behaviors towards anyone on the outside.

Movies Like "Split"Are Inaccurate, Violent Portrayals of DID

Dissociative identity disorder doesn't make you violent. However, Movies often portray people with DID as violent criminals, but that's not the case. Read this.

In the upcoming movie, Split, the main character abducts three teenage girls and holds them captive. It is revealed that he suffers from dissociative identity disorder and has 24 distinct personalities, many of which are depicted throughout the movie.

While movies like Split can be entertaining, it's important for people to remember that these movies are not accurate representations of what dissociative identity disorder really is. You don't have to fear someone just because he or she has DID. Your risk of being kidnapped or hurt does not go up when you know someone with DID. People with DID are not dangerous (4 Common Misconceptions about Dissociative Identity Disorder).

If you really want to know what DID is, you can read more about it in the Dissociative Living blog. You can check out a DID group online, or read one of the many autobiographies written by people with DID. You will quickly see that people with DID are not dangerous. They are not kidnappers, criminals, or murderers. They are human beings. They are people and their parts are people, too.

I Have Dissociative Identity Disorder; I Am Not Violent.

I have been fortunate enough, for the most part, to experience acceptance when I revealed my DID to the people close to me. People asked questions and offered support. No one assumed that I was dangerous. Unfortunately, I know other people who did not have the same experience. They lost connections with family, friends, and acquaintances because of the false belief that DID made them a danger.

There are people out there who believe that DID makes you violent and that it makes you a danger to society. I am here to say, I have dissociative identity disorder, but I am not dangerous. I never was, and I never will be.

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

APA Reference
Matulewicz, C. (2017, January 4). Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) Doesn’t Make You Violent, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 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.

Erin Crowe
May, 13 2024 at 12:25 pm

I agree in that DiD doesn’t make you violent, but there are people with DID (such as my mom) who can be very violent. Also, the people on blogs and getting help and so forth don’t represent everyone with DID. I’m sure there are many, many violent offenders in prison who have DID. Maybe the DID didn’t cause them to become violent, but their trauma did.
I also have DID. And I know that it is not safe for people or animals to live with me. This is just the facts and it’s devastating. I know that to be ethical and non-harming I have to live alone. To see me, I look kind and sweet. And parts of me are. But not all the parts. I’ve been officially diagnosed and in therapy over two years, and even if we all heal, I don’t think it’s worth the risk that I could hurt or kill somebody. Some risks can be taken, but I don’t think I could say, ‘hey- let’s move in together. By the way I had violent tendencies but I think I have it taken care of. You ok with that?’

Jeremiah Thornton
May, 19 2023 at 8:33 pm

The more I read, the more I realize that I still don't understand as well as I thought. And I feel it's a great shame. I'm a writer, and I have been working on a story for some time. One of my characters also has DID, and after realizing this, I decided to do some research. I asked friends who have DID, even met some of their more unpleasant alters. But I feel my misconceptions still dominate. I don't want to put more stigma on the condition, so I plan to work out some of these issues. In the meantime, I'll explain the character as he exists right now.
**Trigger warning!**
Long story short, the poor kid suffered horrific trauma when he was little. His grandfather, a man about as zealous as Margaret White, kidnapped him and held him hostage for about a year. During which, the man beat him, cut his arms with hot knives, and shouted scripture in his ears till it messed up his hearing.
That's when Sarah and Oliver were born. Sarah was the kid's first alter, based on his sister. A kind soul who helped calm his fears, remined him that he wasn't alone. She fronts when she sees someone in need of comfort. Oliver was born of the kid's want to stand up to his grandfather, which almost never worked. But that didn't stop him from trying. He fronts when he sees someone getting picked on.
And then came the shadow: Simon. When he fronts is as inconsistent as he is, but most often, it's either when the kid is anguished or scared or when it gets dark. And when he does front, chaos and misery ensue. Simon is callous, manipulative, and extremely sadistic, often starting fights or exploiting others' insecurities for his sick pleasure. To make matters worse, he's impeccable at reading people. He reflects every dark thought in his victims' heads and uses those thoughts to make them do horrible things. And though he can be violent, he seldom ever resorts to it, not unless he wants a bigger thrill.
Thankfully, Simon's control doesn't last long, not unless it's dark. But the mental scars he leaves on people, those last a lifetime. His own sister being one of his many victims.

November, 7 2021 at 1:34 pm

some things we can't control, whether or not we like it or not. when people don't except you the way you are the violent part can be different. I never hurt anyone else but I have hurt myself without even knowing I did, until a few hours later I see scratch marks all over my body. and in the past my actions were not violent but my words were which can cause a decrease in exeptance

Jamie Backes
June, 5 2021 at 4:34 am

Hello, My ex-wife has a alter called Dee. She is extremely abusive, violent, and lies. This alter has attacked me, lied about me, and made up stories about me, for example, saying I did something that one of her abusers did to her. She alters truth, and she is never wrong, everything is my fault, and every positive thing, even if I alone did the positive thing, she takes credit for. This alter has tried to end my life twice. How come all I can find material on is the persecutor type, and all they do supposedly is hurt the host. I can tell you from over 15 years of experience it is not true that they only abuse the host and never other people. Where can I get more info and find people who have experienced what I have? Also, any other info on that particular part of DID. Shedding light on a disorder is wonderful. But it all has to come out. I do know that normally alters are not abusive to the ones around them. But it does happen. The alter even tried to stop me from going to therapy because Dee did not like what I was learning in therapy. Her last desperate attempt to stop me was, for the second time, to take a whole bottle of pills in front of our son and myself, then look at us and say, look what you made me do. Email me please with any info.

Robert Matthias
November, 7 2021 at 11:11 am

This sounds like a persecutor alter as i had the same experience with my accuser abuser former client

March, 8 2022 at 4:08 pm

hello, i am currently living something similar with my boyfriend with DID. He has several violent alters. I need people to talk about this and to give advice, because it is so hard to love a part of someone and to be scared or angry at another. My life is all about them now and that sucks. They put me through so much danger but some alters I love and see as my soulmates or for the little alters, as little siblings. Please more info/help !!!

Mj. Bean
April, 30 2024 at 8:08 am

You're definitely not alone. My boyfriend has DID and more often times than not, we dont get throiugh the day without arguing or disagreeing at least once. I'm head over heels in love with "Super Max" which is who he basically is when he reaches this sort of "peak performance" and the "lesser" maxs' are the ones that can get downright insane. One talks like an 8 year old, another one acts like he's around 20 years old. I didn't have any idea he had this until we were 3 months in and i had already fallen hard for him. Most days he's in "annoyed/angry max mode" where he is literally the biggest control freak on the planet. Obsesses over silly things like "spilling" things and such. It can be exhausting but the violent max is the one that, while i rarely see him, he's still the only one i dread and have only seen a handful of times.
My point being, I'm right there with you. I hate the rollercoaster. I just want to live life without being in a state of constant fight or flight mode, only for his character to change and de-escalate and I fall for the person I fell for all over again.
Exhausting is a horrible word. The understatement of all understatements, if you will.
I wish there were better support groups for this kind of mental health condition.

February, 4 2019 at 3:13 pm

I'm a 44 year old black man who suffered rape and molestation by several male and female family members and family friends as a child.
I have lived with DID for over 20 years and have always known something was wrong, but the recent diagnosis and truth of DID, more specifically 'Tertiary Structural Dissociation', is confusing and extremely hard to handle.
I've recently, in the last 2 years, designed a T-shirt, released a cd, spent tons of money on hunting equipment and weapons - though I've never hunted before, and most recently, been consumed with the idea of relocating to a rural area and starting a homestead. I've even had a phone interview already with a place in the area willing to help me relocate.
And then i get this diagnosis.
I've identified 4 alters so far - sometimes i can feel the switch, other times I'm caught of guard, but i never seem to be able to do anything but watch.
My family and my son's mother do not understand my struggle and see me as under achieving, lazy, irresponsible and reprehensible.
I feel the same.
Feb 1 marked only the second time in my life that I've remained on a job longer than a year and even with that, i can feel myself no longer interested in a job i was once so proud to have.
My violent alter scares me. Not because of any violence he's done but because of how loud, aggressive, foul-mouthed and intimidating he is - that's not me.....

August, 13 2018 at 11:05 pm

Jodie have you seen a therapist? Do you know your diagnosis? DID is complex. It ranges from anxiety,depression, eating disorders, self harm to name a few. Mostly it is being misunderstood or chaos from not being diagnosed properly. I do hope you.find help.

Jodie Danks
December, 23 2017 at 7:27 am

I live with self harming, anxiety and depression. I can wake up and be completely on edge and not understand why. The post can't come through the door without me sharing. I have constant mood swings which depend on sleep - how long I have had to sleep or whether I have woken from a terrible nightmare. I have self harmed since I was in primary school and this has continued in to adulthood. My depression was primarily caused by losing two daughters to Hydrops. I can't take my 4 kids the park or school or even the shop without feeling watched or stared at. I feel so bad some days I don't deem good enough to be their mum. I try so hard to put on a smile but once they are in bed the tears come and the sweating and then the despair. I have wanted to write since I was a child and this is something I have lived and continue to do so. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated on how to make this all known. My anxiety mainly caused to social services. But that's another story for another day.

Robert Matthias
February, 10 2017 at 11:48 am

As an abused child i made contact with a lady who stated was also abused. At her request i helped her escape an abusive environment and marriage and close family. However very quickly she revealed she had a dark side and if i ever revealed my life would not be worth living . This threat hung over me for 3 yrs until 5th Feb 2015 when her 2yr old alter revealed she was in a relationship with a sadist and a review meeting was planned for 4pm . As client thought i might reveal she made an allegation of a serious sexual assault . 18 days later contacted again and then 5 months later on Facebook . In 2016 she was prostituting herself again calling a slave stating been into lifestyle 14 yrs. I FEEL ANGER that social services and police have not acted whilst i being an innocent party have suffered . Client craves and seeks abuse . She is very dangerous and a sexual predator who blackmailed me for a large amount of money with threats of rape if i revealed her lifestyle choice. Now she has destroyed my life. Should have left her on the street when homeless

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Daniel Kuntz
April, 20 2017 at 1:31 am

Dear previous commenter, Robert Matthias,
That is... terrible. I do not know how else do describe it. I sincerely hope you are receiving help for all of the trauma this caused/is causing for you. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. However, this does not mean that everyone with DID is unsafe and dangerous. I understand you were horrifically abused by someone with it. I, myself, have DID, and yet me and my 14y old alter have no wish to harm anyone and are very worried for you, despite not knowing you.
Regards, Daniel and Alyssa

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Robert Matthias
November, 6 2021 at 4:54 pm

Many thanks Daniel the dilemma i have is this abuse was from a persecutor alter called Rachel who revealed herself a year after i rescued her when homeless client claiming through my dedicated support i had saved her life and she had made a full recovery in reality she had not and was undiagnosed with DID but released from social services as no longer needing support and fully recovered . The family of 20 alters called her a f**k toy / sex toy .she describing herself as an Asian slut and whore but in reality was seeking revictimization allegations of 13 rapes assaualts mostly invited . . Her Littles 2yr old Crystal and Bethie were the historians and whistleblowers who always alerted me when she was active and vulnerable . After 4yrs 8 months abuse one police officer finally took action and her abuser took his life and left his victim and her carer friend traumatized . Lies told by police and threats to me as her carer stating this abuse did not happen and tributes made and condolences to her abuser and family despite police officers and social services aware and attempting to get me to delete evidence with threats . Victim now has symptoms of trauma and conversion disorder and cannot walk unaware i and child alter saved her life . Rachel hostile to me . Client wears spectacles alters do not . Robbie x

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 13 2018 at 11:01 pm

That is the first story I heard of a person with DID refer to having a dark side. Everyone has a dark side. That like everything else is subject to the individual. That is very sad and I am sorry for your experience.. I do not know for certain of course but sounds more of a different disorder.
I have DID and never have any desire to hurt, abuse or even make people feel bad because of knowing how being rejected, hurt, misunderstood and a whole slue of other things feel like. My personalities ranging from baby to an older adult have no desire to harm. If there is even any upset on.the inside its brought to the attention of the therapist or a trusted family member. They all know what each other does, feels, acts and to harm someone in any way is not even a thought. How sad though being targeted because you have DID and accused is another detrimental situation for us.strength comes in numbers, we are many
Please don't judge all by one.

Robert Matthias
November, 7 2021 at 11:08 am

Hi sunshine no i not judge because my accuser abuser technically as a persecutor introject alter does not exist . Secondly i was informed of my client's promiscuous activities by her child alters whose love for mommy ( client ) and for me meant this was a double edged sword , Rachel knew i would not approve of her seeking revictimization so i was cruelly removed . I have read numerous forensic aspects of DID where the victim was either a witness to a crime a perpertrator or a victim of abuse or collectively all three . My hope is that my former client gets justice like my online facebook friend Jeni Haynes who in 2019 saw her abusive father jailed for life .

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