lb_lee: A short-haired person flexing their muscles and declaring, "Queer trans multi proud!" (pride)
[personal profile] lb_lee
There are PASSIONATE fights about multiplicity elsewhere online.  One relatively recent nugget of bullshit that keeps cropping up on tumblr is the idea that unless you have a diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (and/or DDNOS-1, depending on the flavor of bullshitter), you CAN NOT use the word 'multiple.' You have to come up with some completely unrelated word, otherwise you are appropriating from a Very Serious Mental Illness.

Of course, this is total nonsense, for many reasons.  I have already covered why the logic of this argument doesn't hold water in my post about usage of the word 'system,' so I won't repeat myself.  I'll just jump straight to the history of the word 'multiple' and its usage, which most certainly is not one of brave, noble warriors with DID coming up with an insider term just for them.

The earliest reference I could find to someone using 'multiple' as a noun for folks like me is on June 23, 1977, in the Chicago Tribune newspaper article "'I led five lives'--the incredible story of Henry Hawksworth," written by Donna Joy Newman.  Blessings upon her, she takes care to source "multiple" to Hawksworth's therapist, Ralph Allison.

Which is the most beautiful hilarious irony I can imagine, because Ralph Allison is a crackpot.

Ralph Allison was once considered a little tin god of multiplicity, but at some point, his train leapt the track and he became increasingly mired in his own personal belief system as a global reflection of all plurality.  He was insistent that MPD and DID were completely different things, came up with his own idiosyncratic categories of system members such as 'Inner Self-Helpers,' (which still has some traction today) 'Internalized Imaginary Companions,' 'Essences,' and 'Celestial Intelligent Energy' (which do not).  He became increasingly fixated on his own spirituality, and incorporated plurality into it.  'Celestial Intelligent Energy' is another word for angels, and he specifically wrote a book, "Michael, My Essence," told by his own 'Essence' (in multiples, the Inner Self-Helper) named Michael, a reincarnated Roman centurion with ideas about the life plans of the human race.

All of this is fine if you personally believe in such things, but it's not so good if this person is considered a foremost authority on your mental illness, and a scientist in good standing. (He no longer is.) Imagine being treated by this man, should you not share his own personal belief system; he exorcised at least one of his patients!

In other words, Mr. Allison is the last person the misinformers want associated with their precious 'multiple' language.  The whole foundation of their argument is that 'multiple' was somehow created by DID folks in a mythical safe space to self-identify and empower themselves, but no, the earliest citation I can find is Ralph Allison, an extremist wingnut who sees everything through Christian-like symbology and exorcised his patients.

And now I have an easy pat response whenever anyone approaches me about that nonsense again.

Thanks, Dr. Allison! I never thought YOU would do me a favor...

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