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January 2011 - Can Your Personality Shape Your Experiences?

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Do your memories, beliefs and emotions actually create or shape your personality and even further your experiences? You bet they do! If you’ve been reading my newsletter you’ve probably read quite a few articles on how our thoughts and beliefs literally create our own reality. In this article I’m going to share an extreme, but fascinating example of just how powerful personality is and how it can manifest many of your health issues and experiences.

Have you ever heard of Dissociative Identity Disorder, (DID) which was once called Multiple Personality disorder, or MPD? This syndrome reflects the power of personality over the body.

First off, let’s briefly define personality. About.com defines personality in their psychology department as: “…personality is made up of the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that make a person unique. In addition to this, personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life.” Much more could be said about the definition of personality, but for now, just keeping it simple, we could say that each personality is shaped by, or the result of the sum total of all our experiences, our societal conditioning, our emotions, beliefs, even of course genetics. Everyone has a unique personality, even our pets.

When your mind believes something so strongly it can actually cause a physical change. This is in part why hypnosis is such a powerful too for positive change. If for example the belief is positive and supportive, that belief may help you get well. If however the belief is negative, fearful or limiting it can cause illness. If you think: “My mother had cancer, therefore I’ll probably get cancer too”. Certainly there are genetic tendencies in families, but that does not automatically mean you too will have a particular condition or disease.

All of us experience limitations in our lives that may have no basis in reality except something going on in our mind. Here is an extreme example of what I’m talking about.

There is a syndrome known as Dissociative Identity Disorder, (DID). We use to refer to this as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). In that syndrome a person can experience mental states that result in very different physical conditions in their own body. Research has shown that 97 percent of people with DID have had a history of severe childhood trauma, often in the form of monstrous psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. The different personalities were formed as a survival mechanism to help them cope. In one mental state they may have 20/20 vision, and in the other mental state they need glasses.

This is only an extreme example, but what it points to is that a normal healthy person can also cause, with their mind alone, a condition such as physical pain, allergies, digestive problems and much more. Here’s another example, there are several well known medical cases of people suffering from advanced cancer. In these cases the patient was administered a new form of chemotherapy and was shown research that demonstrated that this chemotherapy would reduce the cancer. In the weeks that followed the patients cancer went into remission, but then the patient was shown new research stating that the old research was wrong and the drug doesn’t work. Three weeks later the person’s cancer was back. This suggests that the only reason the persons cancer went into remission was a belief in a drug that didn’t work (placebo affect). The placebo affect demonstrates the power of belief, for better or for worse.

What are some of the possible differences seen in the various personalities of one person who has DID?  You’ll be amazed.

  1. Different brain-wave pattern (EEG Machine)
  2. Each has his own name, age, memories, and abilities. 
  3. Handwriting
  4. Gender
  5. Cultural and racial background
  6. Artistic talents
  7. Foreign language fluency
  8. IQ.
  9. Medical conditions: Ex: Diabetes, allergies.
  10. A person with DID who is drunk can instantly become sober by switching personalities 
  11. Respond differently to different drugs. 
  12. Scars, burn marks, cysts can show up in one personality and disappear in the other.
  13. Left and right-handedness. 
  14. Eyesight can differ. Some multiples have to carry two or three different pairs of eyeglasses to accommodate their alternating personalities. 
  15. One personality can be color-blind and another not
  16. Eye color can change.

I remember, almost twenty years ago now, when I was studying to become a hypnotherapist and I saw first hand how “belief” shaped a persons experience. I watched as our instructor helped a fellow student go into hypnosis. This woman needed reading glasses to read anything. Once in hypnosis the instructor gave her positive suggestions that while in hypnosis her eyesight was perfect and that she no longer needed glasses to read. He then had the student open her eyes (still remaining in hypnosis) and asked her to read a particular document. I was amazed when she had to take her glasses off to read the document. Then when he brought her out of hypnosis, he asked her to read the same document and she shared that she had to put on her glasses because she couldn’t read the document.

So ask yourself how are your beliefs and experiences affecting you? While I don’t treat serious syndromes such as DID, hypnosis is a powerful tool which can help you get to the root cause of many issues in your life and release them forever. What would you like to let go of today?

Feel free to read this more in-depth article below on DID.

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Dissociative Identity Disorder, (DID) which was once called Multiple Personality disorder, or MPD, is a bizarre syndrome in which two or more distinct personalities inhabit a single body.  People who suffer from this disorder , or "multiples", often have an awareness of their condition.  They do not realize that control of their body is being passed back and forth between different personalities and instead feel they are suffering from some kind of amnesia, confusion, or black-out spells.  Most multiples average between eight to thirteen personalities, although so-called super-multiples may have more than a hundred subpersonalities.
One of the most telling statistics regarding multiples is that 97 percent of them have had a history of severe childhood trauma, often in the form of monstrous psychological, physical, and sexual abuse.  This has led many researchers to conclude that becoming a multiple is the psyche's way of coping with extraordinary and soul-crushing pain.  By dividing up into one or more personalities the psyche is able to parcel out the pain, in a way, and have several personalities bear what would be too much for just one personality to withstand.
In this sense becoming a multiple may be the ultimate example of what Bohm means by fragmentation.  It is interesting to note that when the psyche fragments itself, it does not become a collection of broken and jagged-edged shards, but a collection of smaller wholes, complete and self-sustaining with their own traits, motives, and desires.  Although these wholes are not identical copies of the original personality, they are related to the dynamics of the original personality, and this in itself suggests that some kind of holographic process is involved.

Another unusual feature of DID is that each of a multiple's personalities possesses a different brain-wave pattern.  In addition to possessing different brain-wave patterns, the subpersonalities of a multiple have a strong psychological separation from one another.  Each has his own name, age, memories, and abilities.  Often each also has his own style of handwriting, announced gender, cultural and racial background, artistic talents, foreign language fluency, and IQ.

Even more noteworthy are the biological changes that take place in a multiple's body when they switch personalities. Frequently a medical condition possessed by one personality will mysteriously vanish when another personality takes over. 

Dr. Bennet Braun of the International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality, in Chicago, has documented a case in which all of a patient's subpersonalities were allergic to orange juice, except one.  If the man drank orange juice when one of his allergic personalities was in control, he would break out in a terrible rash.  But if he switched to his non-allergic personality, the rash would instantly start to fade and he could drink orange juice freely. The International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality has since changed its name to: the International Society for the Study of Dissociation. Dr. Braun was President of the International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality in 1984.

Allergies are not the only thing multiples can switch on and off.  If there was any doubt as to the control of the unconscious mind has over drug effects, it is banished by the pharmacological wizardry of the multiple. By changing personalities, a multiple who is drunk can instantly become sober.  Different personalities also respond differently to different drugs. 
Braun records a case in which 5 milligrams of diazepam, a tranquilizer, sedated one personality, while 100 milligrams had little or no effect on another.

Often one or several of a multiple's personalities are children, and if an adult personality is given a drug and then a child's personality take over, the adult dosage may be too much for the child and result in an overdose.  It is also difficult to anesthetize some multiples, and there are accounts of multiples waking up on the operating table after one of their "unanesthetizable" subpersonalities has taken over.

Other conditions that can vary from personality to personality include scars, burn marks, cysts, and left- and right-handedness.  Visual acuity can differ, and some multiples have to carry two or three different pairs of eyeglasses to accommodate their alternating personalities.  One personality can be color-blind and another not, and even eye color can change.
There are cases of women who have two or three menstrual periods each month because each of their subpersonalities has its own cycle. 

Speech pathologist Christy Ludlow has found that the voice pattern for each of a multiple's personalities is different, a feat that requires such a deep physiological change that even the most accomplished actor cannot alter his voice enough to disguise his voice pattern. 
One multiple, admitted to a hospital for diabetes, baffled her doctors by showing no symptoms when one of her nondiabetic personalities was in control.

There are accounts of epilepsy coming and going with changes in personality, and psychologist Robert A. Phillips, Jr. reports that even tumors can appear and disappear (although he does not specify what kind of tumors).

Multiples also tend to heal faster than normal individuals.  For example, there are several cases on record of third-degree burns healing with extraordinary rapidity.  Most eerie of all, at least one researcher, Dr. Cornelia Wilbur, the therapist whose pioneering treatment of Sybil Dorsett was portrayed in the book Sybil - is convinced that multiples don't age as fast as other people.
At a symposium on the DID, a multiple named Cassandra provided a possible answer.  Cassandra attributes her own rapid healing ability both to the visualization techniques she practices and to something she calls "parallel processing".  As she explained, even when her alternate personalities are not in control of her body, they are still aware.  This enables her to "think" on a multitude of different channels at once, to do things like work on several different term papers simultaneously, and even "sleep" while other personalities prepare her dinner and clean her house.

Hence, whereas normal people only do healing imagery exercises two or three times a day, Cassandra does them around the clock.  She even has a subpersonality named Celese who possesses a thorough knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and whose sole function is to spend twenty-four hours a day meditating and imaging the body's well-being.  According to Cassandra, it is this full-time attention to her health that gives her an edge over normal people.  Other multiples have made similar claims.

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