Autopersonification Thread

Discussion in 'Brainbent' started by Elph, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    Further to the conversation about non-dissociative personality segmentation in the BYF/DNFI thread, here is a separate thread for discussion the phenomenon of perceiving yourself (or your thought process) as being made up of different people or characters. Apparently this is a relatively common way of conceptualising internal experiences, but we don't really have the language to discuss it unless we misapply clinical terminology about DID and/or delve into the tumblrish "natural multiplicity" stuff, and we want to... not do that?

    Okay, go!
    • Like x 2
  2. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    Some starter info:

    Various people have created psychological models of this. Some of them assume that everyone does this (which anecdotally does not appear to be true); others describe it occurring naturally, but believe it should be discouraged; others still encourage it as a therapeutic technique, even for people who don't naturally have self-personifying* tendencies. See: Internal Family Systems, Ego-State Therapy, [leaving space for other stuff if I remember it]

    *For my own journalling purposes I've coined some terminology to better describe it; I don't expect it to catch on, but I can share if people are interested?
    • Like x 2
  3. Aviari

    Aviari PartyWolf Is In The House Tonight

    I do this to the extent of like, personifying intrusive thoughts as the poor advice of a shoulder-demon like,
    "You should do <harmful thing>"
    "No one asked you, Craig."

    For some reason shoulder-demon tends to have Stereotype Frat Guy names like Craig or Chett. /shrug
    • Like x 11
  4. Aya-non

    Aya-non Well-Known Member

    *camps out in thread* I have an internet friend who regards me as a good source of advice (why?) who does this as a coping mechanism to a pretty significant degree, so knowing more about how other people experience it would be useful.

    For me I just tend to do internal dialogue a lot while making decisions or trying to complete tasks, though I don't distinguish two separate participants, there's just sort of me, featuring me also playing devil's advocate. Though Migraine!Aya-non/Has-Taken-Prescription-Migraine-Meds!Aya-non is a thing, AKA the way I sort me with brainfog from me the rest of the time. (Migraine!Aya-non is, for example, very bad at writing in the same tense for a whole paragraph)
    • Like x 1
  5. Lib

    Lib Well-Known Member

    quoting post over here for relevance.
    • Like x 3
  6. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    I can't really do it on purpose, like the whole "no one asked you, Craig" or "we could also not do that, Timothy" thing. I've tried, and it doesn't work. If a part already exists, I can think of different names and appearances, but they never stick unless that part goes "yep, that's the right one". (As a result, I have one particular inner voice who has had about ten different names/nicknames/titles over the years. She answers to all of them, but none of them is completely accurate. I can see her smiling smugly about me writing this; she likes to imagine that she's ineffable. *eyeroll* I used to treat her like a god, and she's never gotten over that...)
    • Like x 3
  7. winterykite

    winterykite Non-newtonian genderfluid

    For me, I started consciously wording them like that back when I was... 17? 18? and talking to my then-bf. At that time, I was in grade 12, unmedicated adhd and a host of unrecognized brainweird, and no coping mechanisms because I didn't know there was shit I needed to cope with.
    I recognized that my emotions would sometimes nudge me towards illogical reactions, and I worded them in a way that described them and gave me the space to examine them to some degree.
    There was anger, emotions, curiosity, intrusive thoughts, entropy, caution, social-anxiety-voice, and possibly a few I have forgotten, that have melded into the background, nowadays there's also that detached part of me whom I've actually named and am conceptualising outside of myself as a way to look at things from a different perspective, but I don't know if that counts (Hir name is Aster).
    This division into different parts helps me look at what makes me feel the way I do, or helps me find where certain impulses and ideas and ways of action are coming from, and consequently examine them for sensibility.
    Rule of thumb: Intrusive Thoughts is to be ignored because it's shitty and racist and sexist and hurtful. But seeing it as a separate part from me, or at least something I can isolate and draw a boundary around, helps me deal with it. Know thine enemies.
    Anger has been a lot quieter, and I've been trying to coax curiosity out a bit more, after I've figured out what had repressed it to the point where, while I could perceive it, was unable to act on it.
    • Like x 3
  8. Aondeug

    Aondeug Cringe Annoying Ass Female Lobster

    I do this. At least if I am thinking of the same thing. I tend to refer to myself as "we" and I conceptualize my brain as being someone apart from myself. They are the horrible bad brain times. It's not me. It is my brain. I dislike them and I am at constant war with them.
    • Like x 3
  9. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    There were a few times in my teens where I went through acute phases of self-hatred so profound that I was temporarily unable to refer to myself in the first person for the space of a few hours. I didn't actually think I was a different person, I just hated who I was so damn much that I couldn't bear to acknowledge that this was me.

    Nearly ten years later, when I felt like someone else was thinking my thoughts for me due to venlafaxine withdrawal symptoms, that sensation was completely different and unrelated. That was like... a physical sensation thing, where my subvocal narrative suddenly acquired a completely different inner sensation, due to the powerful discontinuation syndrome of a ridiculously intense drug that I never should really have been prescribed in the first place. Not remotely similar to the episodes of loathing where I couldn't bear to be myself, and completely distinct from the self-personification that had been happening my whole life of its own accord.

    I do sometimes still wish that I could enter that state of mind, where I don't feel like myself. I can't do it, though. I really do think my brain is somehow structurally resistant to dissociation; I can't even do something marginally similar to protect myself in crisis situations.
    • Like x 2
  10. a tiny mushroom

    a tiny mushroom the tiniest

    I've literally done this all my life, my head is full of different versions of me that can either be cooperative or yell at each other and this is so weird I thought everyone thought like this

    Oh my god, I can't imagine being alone in your head. There are people who can't have conversations with the other parts of themselves??? That... sounds really lonely
    • Like x 5
  11. Ben

    Ben Not entirely unlike a dragon

    Personally, I've got:
    1. Active chain of thought. Changes a lot over time, affected by mood status. Is the part that is capable of compassion, usually.
    2. "The Bennie", which controls my sense of on-the-spot humor, excitement, what I'm attracted to, and Very Stupid Ideas ("I should light something on fire!" "Look, you can turn it into a sex pun!" "Eat the leaf. D O I T.") Has stayed basically the same for a long time, and doesn't seem to be controllable. It has only a few emotions/emotional states/drives. Will try to get ! to act nicely towards others because being thanked pleases it a lot.
    3. Depression/fear/guilt. One thing, is either on or off. Makes things unpleasant. and difficult when they shouldn't be. Is probably derived from the constant feeling that my (restrictive) parents would judge me for doing ___, but sometimes displays more depth than that.

    Usually 2 and 3 are mutually exclusive. Because it is so consistent, I tend to consider 2 the "real" me, even though 1 is the one that ultimately decides what I do, say, and write. When 2 is absent, 1 and 3 will usually try to set things up in its favor, even if 1 and 3 aren't necessarily interested in that outcome. It's definitely not DID, just a weird way of conceptualizing self-identity
    • Like x 1
  12. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    Since my head has become more integrated I have felt a little lonely, tbh.
    On the plus side, I made peace with one of mine two years ago when we had a heart-to-heart (thank you Gestalt empty chair technique!) and established that we were both just trying our best to look out for each other. One of the reasons I like having Garnet as an avatar is because she reminds me of the way that this other part and I now collaborate.
    • Like x 7
  13. winterykite

    winterykite Non-newtonian genderfluid

    When I'm upset I feel along b/c whatever emotion/rage/intrusive thought/freakout voice is loudest drowns out everyone else and I'm trapped with it and there's nothing else
    And intrusive thoughts/low self esteem voice sometimes tries to isolate me and tell me lies about people not liking me.
  14. Inksalt

    Inksalt the prettiest yautja

    oh wow i

    i do this. i've been referring to it as the lokkie method cos, well, that's the main personification i use
    and it is specifically using her, that's something i've always maintained. i've apparently (good thing i checked) already written a sizeable post here about her in a vent thread, but in short- she's a nasty horrible old hag cave creature who helps me cut to the quick of things and be selfish and brutal when i need to be. when i try to just be selfish and brutal in the sense of looking after myself, i too often end up berating myself afterwards, because usually i'm stressed and illogical to begin with- but if i can 'blame' it on lokkie then i can deflect the self-blaming and self-hating portion of myself which would otherwise cripple me in times when i need to focus on getting shit done.

    i love her but i haven't actually needed her recently, which is a good sign. so she gets to just sleep under my bed and only chip in when i'm getting cranky about video games haha

    i also have other characters who are close enough to aspects of my personality to sometimes function as personifications. like vru, for my confusing sexual urges and curiousities (whilst being an asexual person), tori for my snobbish tendencies, hallie for my love for the sea and desperation to return to it, i could go on forever really dfgdfgdf

    it's super fascinating to hear other people's versions of how they autopersonify (and i love that word, i love having descriptors and have been missing one to apply here), i'm so glad this thread is a thing
    • Like x 2
  15. Elph

    Elph capuchin hacker fucker

    I'm glad to have finally started it!

    Has anyone else felt really restricted by not having a vocabulary for it that you know other people would understand? (It looks like many of us have our own personal words, but yeah, they're not ones that would make much sense to the average reader if we just started talking about them on blogs or something.)

    On that note, here's a guide to some of the words I use for myself:
    • Subpersonalities - from IFS. Refers to the parts of me who are more distinctly developed personalities with their own elaborate wants, needs, interests, etc.
    • Representatives ("reps") - these are kind of personification-synaesthesia at work? The way I've explained it before is that if my brain is a computer, they are applications or files within the computer, but instead of having a title and an icon like "self-defensive numbness.rtf" and a WordPad icon they have a name and an appearance, like a person. (In this case, the name is Eleanor and the appearance is a young woman with an oval face, a straight reddish-brown chin-length bob, and a quarterstaff.)
    • Interopopulus - the "inner population". Individuals are also referred to as "my people".
    • Ampersonic - having a tendency towards personification, whether synaesthetic, learned habit, or whatever.
    • Frame - the structure within which I experience this. Mildly personified itself. When I was a kid it was green and yellow and had a masculine "voice" (though voice is the wrong word); now it's more like a grey bubble.
    • The Speaker/the Actor (or sometimes the Thinker) - the section of the frame that has executive control. The consciousness that is thinking these words up and typing them. Largely affiliated with one inner-person in particular, which I identify as being my central self, although I really wish it wasn't. (We're all in agreement on this. None of us want me/her to be the one with executive control. Some of us are angrier about this than others.) Insofar as the Speaker is a distinct entity, it is simply a collection of my executive functions, including all the dysfunctional ones. (We tend to believe that the Speaker's limitations are due to being shackled to the person inside who is very metaphorically "heavy"/immobile, but that's probably not true.)
      This Speaker entity could be figuratively described as a little side bubble on the larger bubble that is the frame. Like this, except the little bubble is on the top, and the whole thing is grey:
    • Like x 1
  16. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    i do this too, i call it 'the asshole roommate'. it's a lot easier to deal with the depression negging loop when it's not ME saying i'm a waste of blood and organs, it's the asshole roommate. and then i visualize catapulting mashed potatoes at him or something. it helps.

    also, a therapist i had a while back suggested i personify my inner child and give it a name. i initially thought this was horribly cheesy, but semi-randomly picked 'henry' and attached it to a mental image of myself at eight, and suddenly henry had very distinct opinions and wants, and was not going to take any shit from me about grownup reasons for not listening to him. ever since, i've made a point of giving henry a free day every so often, doing what henry wants to do -- which is usually watching superhero movies, but sometimes involves matchbox cars and/or ice cream -- and it turns out to make me quite a bit happier.

    henry is also MAD AS HELL about things that i had convinced myself i was no longer having feelings about because they're so far in the past. this didn't lead to any sort of cathartic confrontation-with-my-past or anything. like, i recognize that henry is a stand-in for my memory/past/innerself/something, and it is actually me who is still angry about things that happened to me when i was a kid. none of which makes it any easier to stop being mad. but at least i neither have to convince myself i'm not mad, nor particularly do anything about it? just. welp. henry is really fucked off about that. he wants to go sulk around the back yard and knock the heads off dandelions with a stick. ok. it is fine for that to happen.
    • Like x 10
  17. CeeKari

    CeeKari AspiringPragmatic

    I didn't realize other people did this as just a normal thing, wow. I thought I was halfway to nuts because of this- which I guess isn't entirely wrong, since the fractioning myself into different parts was pretty symptomatic of how bad my mental stuff was. Over the past few years (since quitting college and going to counseling) my subpersonalities have integrated and I am much more at peace. It's not lonely, because those bits of me haven't gone anywhere. They're just quieter now, and I have this sense of loving myself that's very comforting.

    I had a real assweed subpersonality who's name was Halley. She's been with me since at least kindergarten and always referred to me in the second person. She was entirely made of angry, contemptuous self-thoughts. Pretty sure she was the internalized hyper-criticism and negativity of my dad. It took me years and years to realize she was full of shit and I didn't have to listen to her.
    • Like x 2
  18. Aniseed

    Aniseed Well-Known Member

    hmm. in my case.. there's me as a person who exists in actual space. but my mind feels very disconnected from that. it's just the meatbag i live in. then there's at least 1 other thing that i would consider.. using your terminology, probably just a 'representative' but i more consider it just a personification of somebody who cares about me unquestioningly. i don't have anybody else in me that has a distinct personality, really, just all things i view as either facets of myself or simply as very low-personality 'constructs' that i can use as 'tools' for certain situations.

    so the 'representative' i mostly have is named lydia, and she essentially doesn't have much of a personality beyond being kind and caring without much thought. basically i only 'use' her when i'm upset or hurting or need help badly. and then i actively... idk how to put it. channel? act as? whatever. i channel her and take care of myself however i need to. a lot of the time when i did this it was in order to self soothe and clean up after myself after self harm. sometimes it's less that and more just thinking about her and it actually offers some quick relief somatically. i actually get the sort of response i hear people who like asmr talking about (though i can't compare directly, asmr doesn't work for me). it seems like after i think about her i am more capable of self soothing internally (just thinking things that are comforting, deflecting my inner critic's bad thoughts) because i view it as 'her voice' comforting me instead of it just being me fighting my demons.

    i did at one point have another personification, that of the things that were hurting me. basically my negative feelings and also my inner critic rolled into one. it was a sketchy looking black coyote with a very long face, that didn't have a name. nowadays that's.. not so much of a thing. i actually have a hard time personifying my inner bad feelings and critic since now i'm less 'constantly being abused' and more 'just struggling with mental illness'. and i also despite trying have a hard time personifying my inner child, and my mental illnesses.

    and after reading this thread so far i'm considering that giving both my inner child and my inner critic names might help me separate things from myself and be able to use them more as "tools" in the same way i use lydia as a comforting tool/mothering personality.
    • Like x 2
  19. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    it really helps with addressing and relating to them. and even though i know henry is me, it's easier for me to be a good dad to henry than it is for me to do nice things for myself.
    • Like x 2
  20. Inksalt

    Inksalt the prettiest yautja

    i find it's a lot easier to forgive yourself for the stupid awful thoughts which invariably run through your mind whether you mean them or not if you can distract excessive anxiety and self guilt by pointing at, in my case, Lokkie, and going 'BUT SHE DID IT SHE WAS THE ONE WHO SAID IT I DIDN'T DO NUFFIN'

    (lydia reminds me- i've also been trying to develop a 'selfcare' one named Kaoai but i've been slacking lately in visualisation so he's not quite as strong as Lokkie is rn.... i'm better at fighting in order to look after myself than doing it by slowing down and being patient with myself)

    EDIT after i went to the gym: holy shit Kaoai loves yoga and visualising him while i'm trying to do that helps with ignoring distracting noises
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2016
    • Like x 2
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