Manners with Systems

With DID/OSDD only affecting about 1-2% of people, you may have never met a plural person before. In this post we will go over a sort of "good manners" for working with Systems.

By en Gold KatieKat

If you've never interacted with a System before you might be unsure what's appropriate to ask and talk about. How do I know who's fronting? What if I need to talk to another Part? This is not an exhaustive list and every System will have their own preferences. This should act as a good baseline! The first half will be a sort of "manners towards Systems." The second half will give our opinion on how Systems should interact with "singlets" or non-DID/OSDD people to help clear and respectful communication.

Manners Towards Systems

DID/OSDD isn't like the movies

Major movies and even documentaries do a terrible job portraying what living with DID/OSDD is really like. Most focus on the drama or some kind of criminal aspect and there are rarely any positive depictions. Movies like Split are good examples of this. People with DID/OSDD are not violent. Switches and splits cannot give them superhuman powers or new skills they did not previously have. Most importantly people with DID/OSDD are not dangerous. It's easy to forget, but DID/OSDD is in fact a final coping and defense mechanism from a child with no other way to deal with extreme trauma. Treating it as something scary, dangerous and stigmatizing is just further damaging a person trying to handle their trauma.

DID/OSDD/Plurality as a Trend or "Science Project"

An odd trend we have noticed lately is non-Plural people talking about DID/OSDD as a sort of science project. While DID/OSDD is certainly a documented medical condition, treating individuals coldly or asking them to answer survey questions reduces that person down to a disorder and condition. That is incredibly dehumanizing and disrespectful to be made to feel like a "specimen."

Treating Parts like a single person

While some Parts can be similar, it is important to give distinction to the Parts that want it. Plural people find allowing this distinction can greatly help in therapy and recovery from the traumas. Beyond that, each Part experiences themselves and the other Parts as unique and separate individuals. In many cases (especially DID) the Parts can have large memory gaps and access to different memories and skills. That means not all Parts will remember the same experiences or be able to perform the same actions.

Purposefully triggering a Part to/away from the front

You should never use a Parts positive or negative triggers to induce switching without all of the Parts consent. This is considered disrespectful if not outright abusive. Forcing switches removes the System and Parts autonomy.

"Going around" a Part

If one Part sets a boundary or makes some kind of choice do not try to get other Parts to negate or drop the decision. This equates to not getting the answer you want from Mom, so you go ask Dad instead. This is also abusive because again it removes the System and Parts autonomy.

Respect from Systems

Note: While the first half of this post was inspired by questions we received, this half is more-so a reaction to behavior we have seen. We also run a Discord (25-32K members) and a SubReddit (12K - 350K) and recently there has been a large influx, especially young, members saying mentioning being Systems. These are things we have seen that we believe are just rude, disrespectful, or gives the Plural community a bad name in general.

These rules would only really apply in safe spaces the person is transparent about their plurality in. It is perfectly valid for a System to act "covertly" or as if they were a singlet out of caution or in an unsafe space. Many of these idea's were developed from seeing plural people in communities we manage or things we personally try to do to help our wife.

Try to help singlets understand

DID/OSDD only affects 1.5 - 2% of the population, so it shouldn't be surprising that many people have never heard of it. Given the way this condition manifests that is probably a blessing in all honesty. Hollywood has done a tremendous amount of damage to the plural community through it's negative portrayal. Try to be understanding that for most people, that is the only access and view they have ever had into our world.

With that said, we believe trying to educate people is the best option, however there are limits. No one should ever subject themselves to abuse, even if it is verbal or online, if they do not want that argument. We believe that plural people should try to help and educate people, but if those people are being insulting or abusive no one is ever obligated to do anything. Try to help people who are open to it and understand when people are a lost cause too.

Help with being transparent about switches

It can be difficult and confusing to tell who is fronting all the time, even for the System. We have found that using fronting indicators can help a lot. Most can be easy to add into an outfit covertly, but help communicate who is fronting easily.

Purposefully using the disorder to confuse people

Another odd thing we have seen in online communities, using things like switches for attention or to confuse others. Members join, introduce themselves as one Part and not mention their DID/OSDD. Later the same member comes back saying they are a different Part and become offended when people are confused, yet refuse to provide any explanation. No one is under any obligation to explain that they are a System or how their System works, but it also isn't okay to do things that cause a disruption. If you are not ready for an online community to know about your plurality we recommend picking one Part to act as a sort of ambassador or using multiple accounts if their policy permits.

Don't advertise Traumas

We have seen some trends in DID/OSDD communities be very open and public about what kind of trauma and abuses the System has experienced. This can be good, no one should be ashamed of the fact they have trauma or were abused, but some cases take it to an extreme. The most recent sort of fad is a bingo card listing various types of abuses or symptoms. We understand this can be meant as a relief or to be lighthearted, posting it to public spaces like Discord or Twitter probably isn't a good idea. Abusers often seek out people who have suffered abuse and unfortunately this type of disorder opens us as plurals up to a lot of abuse.

Sharing abuse and trauma can be incredibly healing and therapeutic, becareful who you share with.

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Much of en time is spent with Viv or Red helping them to manage tasks. When not doing Role related work en enjoys exploring new things, going on walks and hikes. en generally does not like talking about his source.

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Gold is the newest Protector in The Patchwork Collective. Gold spends a lot of his time ensuring that the Patchwork Collective stays on track and gets work complete. When not working Gold enjoys learning about early human civilization and spending time with our wife.

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Katie is the Social Protector for the Patchwork Collective and the first Part to start communicating with Aster in early 2021. Most of Katie's System Role revolves around handling social situations, work, and dealing with external strangers. Once the internal walls came down Katie quickly found her interests in research, programming, and writing.

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