A Singlet’s Guide to Plurality

What’s a Singlet?

A person who is one mind residing in one body.

What is Plurality?

Plurality is when several minds inhabit the same body. One or more are able to take control of their shared body. Depending on the individuals, some systems can be cooperative in their actions and daily life; while others can be disordered and chaotic in who controls their body.

Each person -or mind- within a system has different internal relationships. Some headmates are friends, some enemies, and others are more like family. This can change the outside perception of some systems. Especially those who have frequent disagreements. Enough disagreements can cause significant issues functioning; resulting in a system being diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder or Other Specified Dissociative Disorder.

Systems that have problems functioning in daily life are called “disordered systems”.

Some systems are able to recover from DID/OSDD and become non-disordered systems.

And others, were never disordered to begin with. Though that doesn’t mean they can’t become disordered through adverse life events. Which is very possible. It’s just not well accepted by psychologists.

Different types of Plural systems

Multiple system: A system with members who are significantly different and view themselves as entirely separate people. Often having separate interests, skills, beliefs, genders, sexual orientations, etc.

[We identify more as a multiple collective, than as median. But we are somewhere between the two.]

Median system: A system where all of the people in it, are considered to be parts/facets/aspects of the same person. Though because of their own individuality within the whole, they are still multiple.

Tulpa system: A singlet who creates more minds to inhabit their body is typically called a “Tulpamancer”. The “Tulpa”, is the mind that is created by the “Tulpamancer”. Thus a tulpa system always will include “an original” or a “host”, and at least one tulpa. “Tulpa” is a term which has been taken from Buddhist practices, and adapted to mean something different; the original word in Tibetan Buddhism is “Sprul-pa”.

Terms commonly used by Plurals

[We don’t agree with the medical view of multiplicity, so we won’t go into all of the medicalized terminology applied to Plurals by medical professionals.]

Fronting: The act of controlling the body and/or being aware of what is happening in the outside world.

Headmate/System-mate/System member: A person who is part of a system.

System: A “system” is a group of people and the body they inhabit. Some prefer different words to describe this. Collective, house, group, organization, etc. Any word that is plural and refers to a group usually works. If you are unsure, just use “system”. We use “Bouquet”.

Headspace: It’s where you go when you aren’t fronting. A subjective space within a system. It can be described as “subjective”, “imaginary”, or an “inner world”. It all depends on how the system perceives their headspace. Inside a system’s headspace there can be a house where they live, a forest, a city, or even an entire world. Really any combination of things can be in there. Even nothing; some systems don’t have a headspace. Headspaces are usually modified or controlled by certain members of the system.

Front-stuck: When a headmate is unable to give control of the front to another member. There can be a number of reasons for this. Most of which involve how healthy their physical body is. Becoming sick or emotionally unstable may effect the ability for headmates to switch. Even certain types of drugs -medical or recreational- can create a front-stuck situation.

Blendy/Blurring/Front-jumbled: The temporary inability for a system to tell who is fronting. Or for a system to determine who’s thoughts are coming from who. It’s a slightly uncomfortable state of not knowing where you and your headmate begin and end. Though some systems may even perceive blended states of being as positive.

Co-Fronting: When two or more headmates are controlling their body. This can work out well, or it can cause clumsiness and confusion.

[Lily and I (Hyacinth) are currently co-fronting to write this together.]

Co-Conscious: When two headmates are aware of each other, and can communicate. A lack of co-consciousness can result in one headmate doing something that another doesn’t know about. Very low co-consciousness can negatively impact a system’s ability to function. Some systems are not co-conscious at all, and yet are able to function.

Alter/Headmate/System-mate/Part/Insider: A term applied to people you share a body with. Though Alter is commonly only used by DID/OSDD systems, since it’s medical terminology.

Core/Host: Psychological researchers believe that there is an “original” person that all of the other headmates “split off of”, which is the origin of “Core” and “Host”. Sometimes “Host” can refer to the headmate who fronts the most, ore the headmate who takes care of the system’s body.

Fictive: A headmate who is based on a fictional character. Some headmates believe they are the fictional character they say they are. Others believe that they come from an alternate universe. Some fictives choose to change their names for fear of being recognized as fictives by people they interact with.

[Fictives are also sometimes called Soul-bonds. But Soul-bonds are usually believed to be of spiritual origin and not a psychological one.]

Age-slider: A headmate who switches between a set range of ages. Either becoming older, or getting younger mentally.

Littles: Headmates who are mentally the age of children. Usually this applies to teenagers and pre-adults as well. They are commonly cared for by “Bigs” or “Adults” within their system. Be aware that Littles don’t simply perceive themselves to be children; and they aren’t pretending. For all intents and purposes, Littles should be treated as children.

You&: Usually used when you are addressing a system as a whole, instead of just one of the people in the system. For example, “Would you& want to hang out today?”.

If you want an exhaustive list of Plural terminology, try Astraea’s Web.


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