Photo by Katya Austin on Unsplash
Written by Hyacinth
Edit 1: Sentences changed for clarity. Information added in superscript for the “Endogenic” category.
Edit 2: “Quiogenic” changed to “Quoigenic”. “Quoi” meaning “what”, in french.
Before I begin, I want you to know that these terms are not 100% the truth. They are all different understandings of the same phenomena; the experience of sharing a body with other minds. None of these definitions are mutually exclusive. Endogenic systems and Traumagenic systems can both exist without nullifying the other.
Let’s define a couple of words so we’re on the same page,
Singlet: One mind inhabiting one body.
Eg. “Karen is a singlet.”
System: Many minds/people who share one body. Commonly used to replace the word “person”, which is a singular term. When referring to a specific system, the word “system” is usually preceded by the “system’s name”.
Eg. “I talked to the Withering System today.” “Some systems are traumagenic.”
Plural: Anyone who shares a body with other minds/people. Also commonly used as an umbrella term for which DID, Multiple, Median, and Tulpa systems fall under. Sometimes used interchangeably with “system” or combined with “system”; which may sound redundant. But, “Plural system” is sometimes used for clarification since the term “Plural” has a separate grammatical definition: which may confuse singlets.
Eg. “The Plural community.” “DID is a type of Plurality.”
Traumagenic systems believe that the origins of their headmates are tied to traumatic experiences in their childhood.
Traumagenic systems are commonly also systems who self-label with Dissociative Identity Disorder or Otherwise Specified Dissociative Disorder. But not always. DID/OSDD systems can recover and no longer fit the criteria for the disorder. Recovery doesn’t necessarily mean a “Final fusion of alters”. It can also mean that the system has gained enough co-conscious memory sharing through cooperation; meaning that they do not have memory loss which is a criteria of DID.
Some systems do not think their plurality causes them harm; but still believe they were created through traumatic experiences. These systems might call themselves Non-disordered or Healthy systems; other types of systems can also use these terms.
There is a reason why DID and OSDD identifying systems typically consider themselves to be traumagenic systems. Psychology primarily views plurality as a result of trauma. Psychology does not differentiate between Plurality and Dissociation. In fact many psychologists think that dissociation causes a perception of “seperate selves”, or “alters”. To a large number of psychological researchers, alters are not real or separate, they are all just parts of one person, or the delusional beliefs of one person. This becomes glaringly obvious when you read scholarly studies and articles about DID. Of course some misguided psychologists reject the idea that DID is real at all.
It’s a common theory in the psychological community that Dissociation is what creates alters. And there are two major versions of this “traumagenic” theory.
- In one version of this theory the traumatic childhood event causes Dissociation of the self; resulting in a “split” from one singular mind into many during childhood. Causing the formation of alters. (Splitting Theory)
- Everyone is “un-integrated” during childhood, and parts of the self combine to form one person in adulthood. When trauma occurs during childhood, it stunts this integration of “self parts”. Resulting in a lack of identity integration as the child grows up; resulting in alters. (Structural Dissociation)
Endogenic systems believe they are a form of natural diversity; no different from the perceived normality of singlets.
Endogenic beliefs about origins are usually biological or neurological. This is more in line with the neurodiversity movement. “Endogenic” systems generally reject the rigid position of Psychology; which has deemed anything uncommon as “disordered”.
The vast majority of endogenic systems typically do not have amnesia, time loss, or other symptoms indicative of DID. Which implies that endogenic systems as a whole don’t fit into the DID paradigm*.
Endogenic systems were previously called “Natural Multiples” in online Plural communities in the 90’s. (Link: Search “Natural Multiples” to find the definition in the glossary.)
Not necessarily part of the “genic” labels; Tulpamancy is a label apart from the rest.
“Tulpa” is based on the Tibetan Buddhist word “sprulpa”, or “emanation”. Tulpas are created through “forcing” or “narrating”. Which are two methods of creatively constructing another conscious entity in one’s body. Sometimes Tulpas can be created unintentionally through creative writing and/or roleplaying as a character**.
Tulpas are similar to headmates of endogenic systems. Most tulpa systems do not show symptoms which would suggest Dissociative Identity Disorder. Which is why I have listed them under the “endogenic” category.
Think of quoigenic as the “Agnostic” option to traumagenic or endogenic. Quoigenic systems choose to avoid placing themselves into either label. Either because they aren’t sure about their origins. Or they simply don’t care about their origins. Some systems resonate with both definitions.
Part of the reason why “Quoigenic” exists is because of the arguments happening in some communities about whether or not endogenic systems are “real”. Some traumagenic/DID systems argue that it isn’t possible to be plural if you haven’t experienced trauma during your childhood. Some systems identify as Quoigenic to avoid this binary feud and the drama involved.
These systems view themselves as a combination between endogenic and traumagenic. These systems have headmates who were formed through traumatic experiences, while other headmates in their system were there since their birth.
*It is possible for some endogenic systems to find out later that they are traumagenic. Due to either a change in understanding their past, or remembering trauma.
**Other types of systems may also create headmates through creative writing or roleplaying. These are commonly referred to as “fictives” or “fictional introjects”. Sometimes they are also referred to as “Soulbonds”, but the definitions are slightly different.