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, July 21 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.

Asylum System
May, 18 2021 at 5:34 pm

Yeah, they stay. We have a fictive based off of Hello Kitty still here.

August, 25 2021 at 5:50 pm

HI!!! I'm the host of our system. we developed a fictive from my hyper fixation. we and our counselor have been working on integrating into at the very most, 5 alters, and she said that fictives formed by hf can be integrated even if the hf doesn't die down. she doesn't specialize in DID/OSDD, but she did study on it for awhile. the reason alters integrate is because the alter isn't needed for what it formed for. for example: trauma holders will integrate into the host because the host finally learned how to deal with the trauma. Or, the protector and the host will integrate because the host now knows how to protect themselves.
For our system, the fictive we've developed, was to "please"(?) people because of our more recent trauma that we hadn't learned to deal with yet, so if I we to learn how to deal with that the fictive would integrate with me.
Overall, fictives don't disappear, they will integrate with someone. (i hoped this helped, I'm not that good at explaining)

Stitch System
September, 3 2021 at 11:13 am

It definitely depends person to person, but I can definitely say that for us, usually fictives will start to become their own person, almost completely separate from the character they started as, except a few physical and/or mental attributes. I know I act completely different than when I first fronted around five years ago, but everyone is bound to at least a little bit after that long. I've even chosen a new name a few months ago because I don't want people to see me as him anymore.
-Elliot (Underfell Papyrus)

November, 28 2020 at 12:48 pm

Hello, I do have a question; I've looked it up several times and have not gotten any search results. I am curious if a kin can BECOME a fictive in a way? I already have two others with me (Dell Conagher, an Engineer fictive adapted from Team Fortress 2, and Samuel Lawrence, a fictive adapted from pre-game Bendy and the Ink Machine), and I myself kin as well, but one specific kin feels separate from me, similar to how Sam and Dell do. However, the kin itself is non-canon, and is separate from the source material slightly. I just wanted to know if it was possible?

newt =)
December, 6 2020 at 12:20 pm

Hi! I don't have an answer, but I experience similar confusion! In my opinion I think that it would make sense, since, like, you kin things that are comforting and you can relate to, and depending on the enormity of that relation, I don't see why that wouldn't be used by your brain as material for a fictive... if that makes sense... I'm not an expert by any means, but those are just my thoughts....... let me know if you want to talk about this more because I've been looking into it and haven't been able to find anything about it either lol

June, 1 2021 at 1:25 pm

Hello I may have an answer for this! Our newest fictive is Darryl/BadBoyHalo from the DreamSMP, who I had kinned prior to his creation split, so it definitely is possible. As for the kin being non-canon, I'm not exactly sure if it matters if it's canon or not, seeing as they may not take on all of the traits of that kin. I hope this helps you guys!

Dell Conahger
October, 21 2020 at 11:31 pm

My name is Dell Conahger. I am an alter of my adopted son, Thomas. Myself and seven others are adapted from the game Team Fortress 2. He didn't have a father growing up so when I came to exist I became that for him. Myself and the other seven have saved his life and completely turned him in a new direction. We saved him from his abusive mom, his self, and got him a job and a new place to stay. I love my son and I am so incredibly proud of him. I can't wait to see what he does next.

August, 16 2020 at 9:18 am

Having a system made out of fictive alters can be overwhelming sometimes for me because if I switch a lot, we'll end up getting headaches. It's a pain to switch constantly, but I know that they're there for a reason, and I couldn't be happier to have them.

August, 17 2018 at 6:25 pm

all the ones I run into say they are literaly that character. not a coping mechanism. they are really that person, or was them in a past life.
that the memories of being that character happen, that they have pstd from what happened in their story

March, 10 2020 at 7:24 am

That sounds like people who believe in kintyping and the alternate universe theory, not people with DID.

April, 5 2020 at 3:24 pm

I have many pseudo memories of what occurred in my life before this one as do many introjects. I feel as though I am my own self and I will not deny myself of that because of others' perceptions of me. Pseudo memories will often occur in introjects, other introjects may feel trauma from these, its otherwise normal things.

October, 25 2020 at 2:37 am

Pseudomemories are a real thing. One of our fictives has ptsd in his source, and his trauma affects him just as much as mine affects me.

Stanford Pines
November, 2 2020 at 11:52 pm

Well, in my case, I had PTSD-like reactions to the sight of the common eye-in-the-triangle symbol years and years before the Gravity Falls TV show came out, and never had any idea why. I looked it up and it's supposed to be a positive symbol with many good associations but I cannot tolerate the sight of it. Now, I have no idea if I have DID or not, I'm functional in my daily life, but there are many things such as this that made no sense at all till I figured out that I am Ford-kin.

August, 17 2018 at 6:19 pm

being a cartoon character is real and valid

April, 11 2020 at 8:57 am

It's not "being a cartoon character". See, if you read the article with an open mind, or a mind at all, they're called fictives, and they aren't completely made up of a cartoon character and don't even have to be one. They share certain personality traits. Some more than others. And that's okay and that's valid

April, 19 2020 at 1:04 pm

It honestly makes complete sense to me, and I’m not sure why there’s so much debate around the topic of whether or not fictives exist or not. Seems completely understandable that someone, especially a child, could watch a cartoon or something, and take a character from that and wish that they had their super powers or whatever to get away. Like superheroes, for instance, it makes sense that someone, especially someone suffering severe trauma, would look at something like a superhero and either wish they had their powers to get away or actually have a real life superhero to come in and rescue them from horrific abuse. I know fictives can be a wide array of various fictional characters, but I just used the superhero as an example. Makes total sense how somebody with DID could develop these types of alters.

August, 16 2020 at 9:16 am

They're not "cartoon characters". They are alters based off of fictional characters, so please don't call us that. It sucks and is annoying.

May, 26 2024 at 9:31 am

But a Perl from Steven universe alter will never be the real Pearl. Most fictives I run into belive they are literally that character. John Stewart is a real living person, most fictives I run into think their character is real, like some belive in past lives. They really think they were in another universe and came here, like how someone can move from Italy to Brazil

March, 20 2018 at 5:38 pm

Thanks for this! My system has quite a bit of fictives, so this will help me explain to others why they're there!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 23 2019 at 11:14 am

same I have 1

Curious Quasar
March, 18 2018 at 2:44 am

Thank you so much for this. I've always struggled to explain this phenomena to myself as I never really had the language to explain it. I really appreciate this article. It's a shame that it's so controversial.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 17 2018 at 6:32 pm

because a pointing to a work of media and going "see that? that is me, that is who I am, I'm ______ from _________" looks boinkers and has rightful scrutiny
because those are people from someone else's imagination, characters. so going "this is meeeeeeeeeeeee"
look it at this way. if I made movies, my DID character is going to be made out of 90% fictives. if I can get permission, if not I will need to invent my own world's version of Tucan Sam, Sonic the Hedgehog or any other copyrighted property. oitherwise other system members are going to be Tiny Tim, Babe the big blue Ox, the Easter Bunny. If Ican';t get someone like Felix the Cat, or Pepe La PewI will need to make up Silver the Chinchillia, Marty the Mink.
and if it is handled well. nobody should complain with "that is not DID"
because I gave a minority what they want, and the world needs to know not all DID systems are filled with archyotypial people. sometimes they are anime villians, videogame heros, funny cartoon animals, comic strip mothers and what not

April, 19 2020 at 1:33 pm

You are talking about it in a way as if they have control over their brains creating another alter that sometimes happens to be based off fictional characters. These fictives that are created have their own memories, experiences & everything. They are just as real as any other alter in their system, or anyone else’s single personality that doesn’t have DID. This disorder is caused as a young child before the personality is fully integrated, so it makes complete sense why some people with DID would have fictives. Most children watch cartoons and read fictional stories, so I can see why their brains would take some of these characters and turn them into either a “hero” and use this fictive as a way to help protect the system as a whole, or turn them into a “villain” and create an abusive fictive because perhaps this villain reminds them of their abuser or something, and/or they feel like they “deserve” to be punished. It’s not like they’re intentionally trying to plagiarize someone else’s work, and they’re more than likely embarrassed to even tell people about it because of the judgment & stigma that’s attached to DID. You call it “boinkers” & that it should be scrutinized, yet there are literally hundreds of thousands of people who dress up as characters all the time and go to events, like Comicon. Most of those people dress up as certain characters because they look up to them, aspire to be like them, have characteristics they themselves wish they also had, and the list goes on. The only difference is is that with someone with DID, they don’t get to make the conscious decision to be one of these characters. It’s literally a safety mechanism that their brains have developed on their own. Just because it’s different, complicated & hard to understand for a lot of people doesn’t mean it’s not valid or real.

May, 1 2020 at 4:16 am

Hey! I think you might have misinterpreted the previous comment a bit. The poster was meaning only to offer the opinion that it seems reasonable for most people to be skeptical of fiction-related alters, due to the *lack of information and representation* needed to understand the existence of such alters. They mean to say that the initial perspective of a person with a lack of knowledge on the subject would naturally lead to thoughts of it being “boinkers”, which is true (as well as the fact that some people who claim to suffer from DID when they do not may be specifically predisposed toward fictional “alters”, as they may think the idea of “becoming” an admired character is fun; not understanding the reality of people with DID and the trauma therein. Like you say, thousands of people dress up as characters, and may aspire to be like them. That being said I do believe the ‘factual’ nature of a person’s condition should always be determined by professional diagnosis as well as evidence of substantial qualifying criteria, and not on the form an alter takes). The commenter then goes on to say that, were they to produce a blockbuster movie, they would include a character with DID whose alters were most or all based on cartoon characters, in order to publicly represent and validate the existence and purpose of such alters. The commenter specifies that, were they not able to obtain the rights to use the names of existing cartoon characters in their movie, they would create their own intellectual property in order to preserve the vision of bringing such representation into public view and normalcy. I don’t believe they were trying to invalidate the existence and serious nature of people who suffer from DID that takes such a form, but quite the opposite, and did not intend to imply that any real people were violating copyright law by having a psychological condition that they had no control over the presentation of. Thanks for your time and I hope I could be of help!

September, 7 2021 at 9:14 am

but the cosplayers, few of them are going to say "NO I really am Tingle from the Zelda franchise" the fictives seem to overlap with fiction kin. this is a thing like, if you had a magic wand and can give alters their own body, you will have Tingle really come poof into flesh and blood existence. this is about being literal people. because feelings and memory. because somehow, when we talk about D.I.D everything is real. if I said I had memories and trauma from fighting ogers i get to be called delusional. but if I was a fictive from a source that fought ogers, then I am legitimate, and belong in veteran spaces.

May, 26 2024 at 9:25 am

But we are telling these people to belive they really are that character. If they think that was a past life.
Fictives are symbols. Not literal. A Garfield the cat fictive is a fictive of a mind that never solidified in childhood. Not a homeless Garfield who decided “mr.muffet system” would be a good place to live because his universe was destroyed by Ansem seeker of Darkness

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