Multiplicity, the 1996 movie with Michael Keaton, is not specifically about Dissociative Identity Disorder – it is technically about being cloned — but it is a funny, light-hearted comedy that absolutely pertains to DID / MPD.
Have you watched this show?
Keaton’s character has a lot in common with DID. As you watch the movie, you can see the following similarities happen in this sequence:
- Putting his fax machine (electronic equipment) on the blitz easily
- Creating split, after split, after split, with each different self assigned to work in different areas of his life
- Feeling that life is overwhelming and he can’t get it all done
- Participation in scientific experiment (ok, so this is supposed to be a fun post, so I won’t delve into that)
- Having an unusual, complicated sense of time, especially once he has more than one self
- Fighting between the parts over “who’s me” – “I’m the main one – No, I am!” The different selves squabble over who is the leader of the body-life
- As the different parts have different experiences, they contain different memories and different feelings. While they all started from the same place, they develop unique lives.
- The different parts argue with each other – take opposite opinions, have different goals, different priorities. They each make significant decisions that effect the whole of the body-life.
- At first, the idea of having split lives works really well. It helps to get more things accomplished effectively.
- Experiencing “memory loss” – the parts are not aware of what the other parts are doing, and they have to suddenly cover for the activities of the other parts
- Gradually realizing they need to coordinate and talk about whose doing what to keep things running smoothly
- People out in the world can notice the difference between the different parts, despite their best efforts to not let this be seen
- Sometimes its hard to tell the difference between the parts – sometimes the differences are more than obvious
- Once the original person starts splitting, the easier it is to split again, and again, and again. Eventually, the parts begin to split as well.
- “Not me” – it was one of the others – passing responsibility and blame to someone else in the system
- Bickering and fighting occurs between the parts — they even get jealous of each other
- As there is more and more unawareness of what the others are saying or doing, the reality of being multiple affects his life more significantly
- As the different ones experience new activities for the very first time, the newness of the event is an exciting unexpected experience for each of them.
- The “host” of the system realizes that he has handed his life out to so many others, and at some point, he misses his life, and wants to get back involved. While being away so much has its perks, he realizes he is missing out by not being involved.
- Consequences start happening when the parts do not know what the other parts know, when one part can’t cover for another, and the information gaps start becoming more and more obvious.
- There are hurt feelings between the parts when they think outside people like one of the other parts better than them
- When they finally work together on a project, they can accomplish a lot, really quickly
- When insecurities arise between the parts, they have to remember “You are me, I am you” – they have to remember they are really the same person, even though they experience life as different people.
That’s pretty good for Hollywood!
How many of these events can you relate to?
Have these kinds of complications happened in your life as a multiple?
Have you experienced these feelings in your life as a multiple?
This movie is a nice change from the usual dark, unflattering versions of multiplicity portrayed in the media. It’s not a perfect display of life as a dissociative survivor, but it shows a lot of humor about the difficulties in developing system cooperation and internal system communication.
If only real life as a multiple was this fun…!
For some light-hearted entertainment that you might relate to as a multiple (or as someone who lives with a multiple), I recommend watching this show.
Copyright © 2008-2017 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
How many of these events can you relate to?
-All but these three: “At first, the idea of having split lives works really well. It helps to get more things accomplished effectively.”
No. it was never an idea before someone told me, and it never was something like “hey! i bet this would work!” but on the other hand, it does make me re-think the times when I have a ton to accomplish and say “I need to clone myself”. I had the book, but it weirded me out too much to read it. This was before the movie, and before I knew I was DID.
-“The “host” of the system realizes that he has handed his life out to so many others, and at some point, he misses his life, and wants to get back involved. While being away so much has its perks, he realizes he is missing out by not being involved. ”
Can’t say that the host really ever got that until late (and only because of a. treatment, and b. meds. Host went APE when found out she was only that. ANd last week told T that with the meds and not as much noise inside, she is just a shell and that is really sad -made her life meaningless.
-“When insecurities arise between the parts, they have to remember “You are me, I am you” – they have to remember they are really the same person, even though they experience life as different people.”
When I read the “you are me, I am you” it was like a small lightening bolt hit me – not as in an Ah Ha moment, but more of like… not in a good way. I distnctly heard NO! inside.
Always glad to read this blog tho, always makes us think. We send a lot of it to our T. Try to get her tu understand us better.
this is pretty awesome. very thoughtfully written. AND i happen to love this movie
Kathy Broady says
Welcome to Discussing Dissociation!
Thanks for your kind comment. It’s one of my favorite movies too. 🙂
It’s funny that you mention this movie! My husband and I just watched it again the other night. This is the first time that I’ve seen it since my diagnosis of DID and I still loved it. I told my husband that I needed that kind of multiplicity!
this movie is way better than that United States of Tara crap…
We can relate to all of them except for your last point. We are NOT each other. We are definitely different people.
This is one of our favorite movies and its because it always reminded us of being multiple. We each have our own favorite parts and favorite characters too for different reasons.