Sybil- Multiple Personality Disorder

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I read the book Sybil while I was still in High School and it was one of the most interesting books I have read. It is a true story about a girl named Shirley Ardell Mason and it follows her through her life, her life is a little more complicated then most. Sybil is a girl that has multiple personality disorder, also known as dissociative identity disorder, she seemed to have associated with around 16 different personalities. She associated with these different personalities throughout her years gaining more and more personalities as she became older. In the book she becomes co-conscious of her personalities as her therapist Wilbur attempts to integrate her multiple "alters" so that they can interact and gain the knowledge of the other selves. In the end she is able to integrate into one whole individual that is able to remember everything from her past and present life.

Here is a link to a short video that I found on youtube, it shows a clip of Sybil the movie.

Now, here is a little more information on Dissociative Identity Disorder. This disorder "is a severe form of dissociation, a mental process, which produces a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity." ( It is believed that this disorder usually stems from a traumatic experience and this multiple personality disorder is used as a coping mechanism. The way that this is used is that they literally are to traumatized by this experience that they do not want to assimilate with their conscious self, so rather they literally disconnect themselves from the situation, and gain an "alter." That is a brief idea of what this disorder actually is.


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Super interesting, also there is quite a lot of controversy around Sybil rather closely related to some of the discussions we've had as a class on repressed memories. From a cultural studies stand point, it is interesting to note the rise in DID in the 70s and 80s and the relatively recent show "United States of Tara" and why most cases seem to be women. I wonder what that's all about.

I haven't read much on Sybil, but this has peaked my interests. Maybe I'll read it and it's counterpart Sybil Exposed?

This is really interesting. I recently just watched a movie that had this as a concept. I don't know much about multiple personality disorders buy they're intriguing to learn about. What causes it and how can you even break it to a person that they have a multiple personality disorder.

I find this topic very interesting and would definitely enjoy that book as well I'm sure! I find it interesting that one person can take on many different personalities. I also didn't know that the cause of this is many times due to a traumatic event in one's life.

I am very interested in this topic. I know a movie called "Identity" is also about this disorder.

You mentioned that multiple personality disorder is believed that it stems from a traumatic experience and that multiple personality disorder is thus used as a coping mechanism. In the book do they say if Sybil experienced a traumatic event? If so do you the event? It would be interesting to read about other cases like this and learn about the process to recovery and how that is achieved. This topic is really interesting. It is hard to imagine being in the same body yet not knowing who you are and constantly changing.

Yes Sybil did in fact experience a traumatic event, and it is portrayed throughout the whole book/movie. She was abused sexually and physically by her guardians in the movie, whether it be her mother or different people that were her guardian at the time. It often shows flashbacks of her being abused. It is very sad.

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This page contains a single entry by vasqu056 published on March 4, 2012 6:01 PM.

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