THE ESSENCE AND ORIGINAL PERSONALITY
By Ralph B. Allison, MD
Presented at the Spring Annual Conference of the Society for the Anthropology of
Consciousness, Berkeley, California, March 24-28, 1999
After two decades with patients with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), I know that
the human mind is bipartite, with an intellectual self, the Essence, bonded to an emotional self, the
Original Personality. These "parts" are disconnected by life threatening trauma in early childhood
in MPD patients, but remain "alloyed" in all others. In children with MPD, the Original
Personality goes for safekeeping from Physicalspace into Thoughtspace, where it is cared for by
wise and loving collections of intelligent energy. Except in nondream sleep, the Essence stays in
the body in Physicalspace. During sleep, it is in Thoughtspace being educated. The abilities and
duties of the Essence are many and varied, consisting of both physical and mental activities. While
each Essence is primarily interested in the welfare of its own Original Personality, it is also a part
of a network of Essences throughout the world.
HOW MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER COMES TO BE
Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) is one type of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD). To understand it, one must first know the innate nature of the person being traumatized
plus the nature of the specific trauma. The information presented here has been collected from the
Inner Self Helpers (ISHs) of several patients of mine who had MPD, by my definition. They are
the experts on the subject, since they have been witness to the trauma of their Charges, as they
prefer to call the Original Personality of the child involved. They also know their Charges well,
and note that each human mind is different in essential nature from all other human minds. Only a
very few are able to respond to trauma by making alter-personalities. MPD is a very real PTSD,
but a very rare one.
According to the ISHs, each human mind consists of two bonded "fragments of intelligent
energy" or consciousness. One is the Essence, which is the "Intellectual Self," the primary identity
of the ISH, and the other is its Charge, the Original Personality or "Emotional Self." The Essence
acts as a mentor for the Original Personality, which is immature and inexperienced compared to
the Essence. The Essence also has many more talents than does the Original Personality. The
primary responsibility of the Essence is to keep the body containing the Original Personality alive
so that the Original Personality can fulfill and accomplish its Life Plan.
The bonded Essence plus Original Personality enters the newborn infant's body at the first
breath after delivery. From then on, the infant is a complete human being, with body, Original
Personality and Essence. [See Figure MPD I] However, only the Original Personality is
"connected" to the brain with its neurohormones. Therefore, only the Original Personality can
have and express the full range of human emotions, be it lust, anger, greed, passion, etc. Only the
Original Personality can have a gender or sexual identity, as the sex hormones, such as estrogens
and androgens, are required for such a state. The Essence has no gender identity and is completely
unable to have or express human emotions. The Essence operates on thought alone, never with
emotions. Also, the Essence knows what the Life Plan of the Original Personality is, but the
Original Personality does not.
Only about four percent of the human population is capable of experiencing the highest
level of hypnosis, which is called Grade V hypnotizability. This degree of hypnotizability is
required to dissociate enough to make an alter-personality at an early age, no matter what the
trauma. Hypnotizability is an innate trait of the Original Personality and remains stable over time.
Each child who develops MPD must be Grade V hypnotizable. If not, the same trauma
and social setting will lead to some other type of psychopathology, but not MPD.
A life threatening trauma under the age of seven is needed to produce MPD in a Grade V
hypnotizable child. Before the age of seven, the bond between the Essence and the Original
Personality is still fragile enough to be broken (dissociated) with trauma. After the age of seven,
this bond is permanent, and the same trauma will create some other kind of pathology. [See
Figure MPD II]
Many children have been reported to have been abused, both sexually and physically,
before age seven, and many reporters assumed that abuse alone is adequate to produce MPD.
That is incorrect. It takes abuse severe enough so that the child believes that she is going to die
right then and there. If the abuse is not life threatening, but only irritating and annoying, the child
may become very angry at the abuser. This anger can well lead to other pathology, but not to
dissociation of the Essence and the Personality. When bodily death is a serious possibility, the
Essence separates from the Personality as its first step in saving the child's life from being
destroyed by the abuser. Survival is the first duty of the Essence.
Polarization of the parents has been found consistently in the families of patients with
MPD. The mother or the father is most likely to be the primary abuser in children under age
seven. But, in these families, one parent is seen by the child as "good," and the other one is seen
as "bad." But the two parents keep switching roles back and forth. The child knows that the
"good" parent will not rescue her from the "bad" parent. So the abuse continues over time, and
the child learns to keep it a family secret.
A fourth factor is that the siblings are not abused. They are treated normally by the
abusive parent, while only this one child is targeted as deserving of severe punishment or sexual
abuse. So the siblings are polarized as well. The child chosen for abuse represents something
special to the abusing parent and is considered different from her siblings. The abused child is thus
separated from her siblings and cannot confide in them what is going on behind closed doors.
Again, rescue is blocked.
When the Essence and Original Personality recognize the trauma as life threatening, the
Original Personality is sent off somewhere else for safekeeping. It abdicates control of the
physical body. The Essence must then take on the role of Inner Self Helper (ISH), a term
equivalent to Damage Control Officer in the military. The ISH must do the immediately necessary
repairs to allow the body to "come back on line."[See Figure MPD III]
The ISH must first make an alter-personality to run the body. The ISH goes, by analogy,
to a "Storehouse of Personality Traits" where it selects traits for a "False Front" alter-personality.
[See Figure MPD IV] Everyone will thereafter consider that alter-personality "the child." The
traits given it by the ISH are those which the child would naturally have acquired over time.
The ISH operates as a computer programmer in manufacturing and programming the
False Front alter-personality. That alter-personality must operate in a passive fashion so that the
abuser will not kill her. She will be an appeaser, a nondemander, a compliant one. She will not be
able to get angry at the abuser, or death might be threatened again. The ISH will program her to
do whatever is required for survival.
With the child staying in the same home situation and keeping quiet about the continued
abuse, the ISH will need to make many more alter-personalities over time. The first False Front
one will soon become obsolete and need to be replaced by a new one, as the child goes through
the various stages of personal and social development. The obsolete False Fronts will be "on the
shelf" awaiting Psychological Integration with the Original Personality. The last adult False Front
might be manufactured by the ISH in her late teens, and she might be the one to finally come for
treatment in her twenties.
Since the False Front ones have been programmed not to get angry, the ISH has to make
Persecutor alter-personalities to handle that emotion. They will come out to challenge the parents
and anyone who acts like her parents. As the antisocial ones, they will make a mess whenever and
wherever they can.
To clean up those messes, the ISH must then make a Rescuer alter-personality to be
assigned to balance each Persecutor. She will be the suicide rescuer, the apologist to the parents
for the misdeeds, and negotiator to get the child out of all the troubles the Persecutor got her into.
Since each False Front is fragile and unable to cope with many ordinary stresses, the ISH
may have to make other alter-personalities to handle special situations. The ISH might make a
deaf alter-personality when the False Front can no longer tolerate the arguing between mother and
father. Another common one is made by identification with friends and neighbors. One lady with
MPD was raised in a Catholic orphanage. She made two devoutly religious alter-personalities by
identification with nuns who raised her.
Psychological Integration is the process of bringing all of these alter-personalities into the
Original Personality. [See Figure MPD V] This can only be done after all of the Persecutor alter-
personalities have shed their anger and become as friendly as the Rescuers have been all the time.
The process for doing this is described in the following section on treatment. Then the Original
Personality must come out of hiding, use the body again, and meet the therapist. The ISH,
Original Personality, and therapist must agree on the ritual which will allow all of the alter-
personalities to "layer onto" the Original Personality. By doing so, all of the traits which the alter-
personalities carried for the Original Personality will be contributed to the Original Personality.
An analogy might be to a plastic doll and her owner's collection of costumes for her.
When the Original Personality is away from the body, it needs no social traits. So it is like the
doll, naked without any clothes on it. The alter-personalities are the various costumes, but they
have no doll inside. During Personality Integration, the doll (Original Personality) comes out of
hiding and all the dresses, coats, shoes and hats are put on her, as they were designed to fit her in
the first place.
This leaves the ISH/Essence still dissociated from its Charge, the Original Personality. The
job of ISH is no longer needed, so that psychic entity goes back to just being the Essence, as it
was at birth.
The time after Psychological Integration is filled with activity. [See Figure MPD VI] While
the integrated patient may think she will not longer have any problems, such is not the case. Her
life will be filled with situations which duplicate the many and varied problems she had faced
before integration. But this time she will be expected to cope in a socially mature and appropriate
fashion. She will grow emotionally, while living in an adult body and being expected to fulfill adult
responsibilities. She must earn a living, cope with spouses and children, and do all those things she
has not done while absent from her own body. All the while she is feeling and thinking several
decades younger than her chronological age.
Her primary mentor is her Essence, who not only sets up the troubling situations but also
advises her on how to cope with them. She also need human mentors of all sorts, as her own
parents and siblings are usually estranged from her by this time. As a result, the Original
Personality grows year by year as she faces and deals with these situations. She must remember
what happened to the alter-personalities. She will often reject those memories as hers, since they
were of actions she is ashamed to admit she did in any mental state. But before Spiritual
Integration can come about, the Original Personality must acknowledge all memories of all alter-
personalities as hers. She will most likely be into her mid twenties emotionally before her Essence
considers her ready for Spiritual Integration. [See Figure MPD VII] When she had met and faced
all of the challenges of life successfully, as an integrated woman, she and her Essence can then
The above integration process is only appropriate for one who has dissociated before the
age of seven. This is the only group for which I use the term MPD. They do have various alter-
personalities, which were manufactured and programmed by the ISH to operate the body while
the Original Personality was absent from the body. When the Original Personality returned to
duty, all the alter-personalities came into her and contributed all the traits they contained to the
HOW DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER COMES TO BE
The label Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) was coined to officially replace MPD, but I
have rejected that replacement as illogical. Instead, I use DID for those who first dissociate due to
trauma after the age of seven. At that age, the Essence and Original Personality cannot dissociate,
so the Original Personality remains in charge most of the time.
Patients with DID, who manifest only one or a few true alter-personalities in addition to
their Original Personality, must be in the upper 50% of hypnotizability. [See Figure DID II] The
trauma need not be life threatening. But it is too much for that child to handle at that level of
personality development. A typical trauma might be rape of a nine year old girl by her 13 year old
cousin. The result might be one alter-personality who then uses sex to control and manipulate
men, reversing what happened to her at age nine. The Essence is still in charge of manufacturing
and programming each alter-personality, so that it can deal with the problems the Original
Personality could not handle. Again, all traits come from the "Storehouse of Personality Traits" so
they are compatible with the other traits of the Original Personality when integration occurs.
Treatment of DID is different from that appropriate for MPD and can be much shorter and
simpler. First the therapist and patient need to recognize what problem the alter-personality was
made to cope with. Then the Original Personality must accept responsibility for learning how to
properly cope with this problem hereafter. Next, other humans need to teach the Original
Personality socially appropriate coping skills for this and other problems. When that occurs, the
alter-personality will likely disappear from "disuse atrophy." An official integration ceremony may
not be needed as the alter-personality fades away when no longer needed by the Original