Passive – by being passive we are saying to people that we are not as important as they are. We let other people’s needs and rights take priority over our own. We often fail to communicate our own needs. Passive behaviour can lead us to feel like victims.
Aggressive: aggressive behaviour can be honest or dishonest, intended or unitended, active or passive, direct or indirect; but is always creates an impression of superiority. It is saying that my needs, wants and rights are more important than other people’s. The aggressive attempts to overpower the other person by not allowing them a choice.
Assertive: assertiveness is active, honest and direct. It communicates our impression of respect for both yourself and the other person. It says that our needs, wants and rights are equally important as each other’s. Assertive behaviour requires good listening and negotiating skills, so that the other person feels that their point of view is being heard and respected, even if you don’t agree with it. This should lead to open and honest relationships and success without resentment.
You may be diagnosed with a dissociative disorder if you experience dissociation regularly, and if these episodes of dissociation are severe enough to affect your everyday life.
You might experience dissociation and find it difficult to cope with even if you don’t have a dissociative disorder. For example it might be a symptom of another mental health problem. You can still seek help for this.
Dissociative identity disorder used to be called ‘multiple personality disorder’.
If you have dissociative identity disorder you will experience severe changes in your identity. Different aspects (states) of your identity may be in control of your behaviour and thoughts at different times. This can happen in various ways:
Each of your identity states may have different patterns of thinking and relating to the world.
Your identity states may come across as different ages and genders.
You may feel you have one ‘main’ part of your identity that feels most like ‘you’ – some people call this a host identity.
The different parts of your identity may have memories or experiences that conflict with each other.
Some people refer to these different parts of your identity as alters or parts.
You might not have control over when different parts of your identity take over.
You may experience amnesia, which means you don’t remember what happens when another part of your identity is in control.
“I have many separate, distinct and unique ‘parts’ of my personality. My ‘parts’ or ‘alters’ collectively add up to the total person that is me… They are each a letter, and I am a sentence.”
Do I have multiple personalities?
Dissociative identity disorder is still sometimes called multiple personality disorder (MPD). This is because many people experience the changes in parts of their identity as completely separate personalities in one body. In fact, the parts of your identity are all part of one personality but they are not joined up or working together as a whole.
Dissociative identity disorder is not a personality disorder. It is the result of a natural way of coping with sustained childhood trauma. Our page on the causes of dissociative disorders has more information.
Looking after yourself with dissociative identity disorder (DID)
DID can make looking after yourself harder. You might find that different parts of your identity have different needs. You may need to use different techniques for coping and looking after yourself, depending on which part of your identity is in control. If something isn’t working for you, or doesn’t feel possible just now, you can try something else, or come back to it another time.
You might be unable to remember important information about who you are, your life history or specific events.
Dissociative amnesia with fugue
You might experience a state of mind where you forget everything about who you are (a fugue). In the fugue you may travel to a new location and act like a different person in a different life.
Other specified dissociative disorder (OSDD)
You might have dissociative symptoms that don’t fit into any other diagnosis. The person making your diagnosis will explain why your symptoms don’t fit into any other diagnosis.
Unspecified dissociative disorder (UDD)
You might have dissociative symptoms that don’t fit into any other diagnosis but the person making your diagnosis hasn’t explained why not or doesn’t have enough information to make a full diagnosis (for example in an emergency).
“What is CBT? Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talking treatment which focuses on how your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes affect your feelings and behaviour, and teaches you coping skills for dealing with different problems.
It combines cognitive therapy (examining the things you think) and behaviour therapy (examining the things you do).
Making sense of CBT CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is one of the most common treatments for a range of mental health problems, from anxiety, depression, bipolar, OCD or schizophrenia.
“I have depression. [CBT is] very, very good for helping [me] not listen to [my] self critical voice, which is so damaging.”
What’s the theory behind CBT? CBT is based on the idea that the way we think about situations can affect the way we feel and behave. For example, if you interpret a situation negatively then you might experience negative emotions as a result, and those bad feelings might then lead you to behave in a certain way.
How does negative thinking start? Negative thinking patterns can start from childhood onwards. For example, if you didn’t receive much attention or praise from your parents or teachers at school, you might’ve thought “I’m useless, I’m not good enough”.
Over time you might come to believe these assumptions, until as an adult these negative thoughts become automatic. This way of thinking might then affect how you feel at work, university or in your general life.
If your negative interpretation of situations goes unchallenged, then these patterns in your thoughts, feelings and behaviour can become part of a continuous cycle:
How does CBT work? In CBT you work with a therapist to identify and challenge any negative thinking patterns and behaviour which may be causing you difficulties. In turn this can change the way you feel about situations, and enable you to change your behaviour in future.
You and your therapist might focus on what is going on in your life right now, but you might also look at your past, and think about how your past experiences impact the way you see the world.”