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This is a guide for coming out to friends, family, and other folks as multiple.  It is specifically meant for folks who do not have a support system in place yet, and are just coming out of the closet.  We hope that this makes the process easier.  These rules are loose, and there are exceptions to every one of them; use your judgment.

Before You Uncloset

1. Think of your reasons WHY you are uncloseting.  Obviously, freaking out the easily-freaked-out can be entertaining, but it's not a good reason to go disclosing what can be diagnosed as a mental illness.  Uncloset for a good reason: because you have to tell somebody, and you think they'll be able to support you.  If your internal crew is in deadlock over even deciding whether to do it in the first place, try to find a way to come to a solid decision; the last thing you need is for an internal fight to ensue in the middle of what's already a stressful situation.

2. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.  Just because you think they'll support you doesn't mean they will.  If you don't think you can handle a reasonable worst case scenario, you should not uncloset.  You are likely to take a rather abrupt rejection or two, and it's no good if you fall to sobbing pieces for weeks every time this happens.  Accept that life is sucky and unfair this way.

3. Know the risks to uncloseting.  If your body is a minor, it is possible for your parents to call for institutionalization without your consent or you being a danger to yourself or others.  A diagnosis of DID can bar you from some high-security work, if you're considering something in the FBI, NSA, or one of the other acronyms.  If you have a therapist, make sure they tell you any other possible setbacks in your state/country/what have you.  And of course, don't forget you might end up losing a couple friends.

4. That said, understand that being in the closet doesn't necessarily make you safer.  Living in a box of fear takes a toll on your mental health and distances you from people you may care about.  Modifying your behavior and identity and suppressing everyone's voice is a pain in the ass, and in our case, caused more problems than the condition itself.  Find what balance of openness and discretion works best for you.

5. Do your research.  Some dickwads like to play the, "I know more than you do," game.  They'll throw diagnostic criteria at you, or past history, anything to claim you can't possibly know what you're talking about (while they, of course, do).  So you might find it worth your while to read up on the DSM, some of the popular literature, (and its critiques) therapeutic articles, other multiples' experiences, etc.  It's a lot harder to play the "I know more than you do" game when you know your stuff.

When You Uncloset

6. Above all: know that you rarely have to uncloset right this instant.  If the vibes look bad (your unclosetee is in a shitty mood, you're on the verge of a panic attack, the inner crew is revolting), don't uncloset.  You can always try again later, and a bad uncloseting can be hard to fix.

7. Try to rig the situation to be as comfortable as possible.  Make sure you have all the time you may need.  Be in a place you feel secure in, be it a loud noisy restaurant nobody'll hear you talking in, or alone in your room with your unclosetee.  Do you prefer to rehearse what you'll say beforehand, or do you work better on the fly?  Have a basic idea of what you're doing, including, if applicable, who will front for it.  Dress comfortably; if you're relaxed, your targetee will follow suit. (Of course, sometimes things will organically move in the uncloseting direction without any forethought at all.  If so, you're a lucky bastard; take advantage of it.)

8. Be calm.  Some news has more impact when you do it sobbing and emotional: coming out multiple is generally not one of these.  It can give off the impression that you're "being dramatic," so emotionally overwhelmed that you aren't thinking straight, or it might just alarm your unclosetee.  Not what you want.  If you feel like you're falling apart, you might want to delay the uncloseting until you feel ready.  In general, speak in a calm but reassuring manner: this may be serious business, but it's not the end of the world.  You're still functioning, and if you're not, you're doing something about it.

8.5 Corollary: we realize that coming out is pretty scary, and it can be hard to stay calm.  Work your way up.  Practice coming out online, or to pets or houseplants who you know won't reject you.  Practice with a friend.  We promise, it does eventually get easier.

9. Take it slow.  It can be hard enough for the average Joe to accept the idea of multiplicity in general: you may not want to slug him with your internal vampires, fairy princesses, or axe murderers right off the bat. (It took our dad a gradual explaining over the course of a couple months, first that we had "voices in our head," then later explaining they were more like people, decent people, then finally that they controlled the body.  He completely accepted the idea, unlike the first time when we'd tried our more usual, "I'm multiple, here's how it works," which had completely failed.) It's usually easier for someone to accept the mundane stuff first, like how you argue with Alter Bob about whether to wear the sneakers or the boots.

After You Uncloset

10. Let them ask questions.  This is a really strange situation for most people, and they might worry they'll offend you or that they'll ask something really stupid.  And they very well might.  Still, cut them slack; they're trying to learn here, and being short with them will not help them feel more comfortable around you.  Nerves can make people sound stupider than they really are, including you.  Realize they're usually trying to be educated, not insult you.  Their tone is more important than the words they use.

11. Don't take it personally if the unclosetee admits they're overwhelmed, don't know how to respond to this, or that they might need some time to think this over.  You've told them something pretty strange, and they might need to just sit down and rethink everything in the privacy of their own room for a while; it doesn't necessarily mean they never want you to speak of this again.  Just be glad they respect you enough to tell you they're overwhelmed, rather than just exploding into a rant of "OMG U LIE!"

11.5 THE MINA COROLLARY (donated by Mina of menistelsiva on LJ): "An uncloseting even after the best of outcomes really is the beginning of a much longer process of acceptance, discovery and acquaintance on the part of the unclosetee. Expect things to progress gradually, even with the best of intentions."

12. That said, if they can't accept it, don't hate them for it.  It might hurt like hell, but it's likely nothing personal.  DID is a condition even some shrinks debate the existence of; some people just don't have room in their ideology to accept the idea.  It doesn't mean they still don't like/respect/love you, though it might seem that way.  Some people just can't wrap their minds around the idea any more than some people can understand advanced calculus; that's just how it works sometimes.  They may come to accept it in time, or not, but at least you tried.  Hating them won't make you feel much better. (Note that this rule is probably the hardest to follow.)

13. Whatever happens, give yourself a grace period afterward to feel the emotional aftermath, be it jubilation, utter relief, or the need to beat the shit out of something.  You've just done something pretty major; no need to go straight to work until you've calmed down.


Happy uncloseting.
We've gotten a bunch of questions about coming out as multiple over the years, and so we made an uncloseting guide about it. We've been coming out to people as a multiple for a few years now, and by this point, we're pretty calm about it. Hopefully our experiences and mistakes can help others.
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:iconhellomiakoda:
hellomiakoda Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2011
I'd like to offer this to all the multis out there considering coming out. We are an openly multiple system. We're even out to clients at work, who call us by individual name. It's a little out of date right now due to some unrelated chaos in our life, but we have a blog about our day-to-day life as an open multiple. We post the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of what goes on in our life relevant to being open about our multiplicity. Feel free to read up. Surprisingly, despite meeting new people daily, our daily life is so mundane there often isn't much to post. It went far more positively than we had prepared for! [link]
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:iconsachael77:
Sachael77 Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2011
We're trying to find a local multiple-friendly therapist (both for ourselves and a system close to us), know of anywhere that might have some sort of list? Or anyone with ideas? We're in the Indianapolis (central Indiana) area. Was able to talk to our (our system's) priest for a while, she was very woo-friendly and multiple-friendly, but she moved to a different parish and now we have no one to turn to.
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:iconpradlee:
pradlee Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2011
wow, I haven't heard much about DID before, but I'd definitely like to learn more. Are there any good sites/books/resources that you can suggest?
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:iconbaaingtree:
BaaingTree Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2011
Sure; we made a journal entry on it a year or two ago for just this purpose: [link]

Hope you find something handy!
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:icontormented-fragments:
Tormented-Fragments Featured By Owner May 9, 2011
(Core speaking) God, we would all like to be ourselves. We would, but as my parents finally understood and accepted that I'm bisexual after around four years of waiting, they're still in denial about my religious stand point as a spiritualist-pagan instead of the Presbyterian they've adapted into. Being a multiple may just be too much--Thank you for the guide. We may use it if we ever go beyond the 'don't ask, don't tell' stage.
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:iconbaaingtree:
BaaingTree Featured By Owner May 12, 2011
No prob; as long as you found it handy, it's doing a good job.

--Rogan
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:iconkesesese:
kesesese Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow I nice guide... -Sigh- I want to tell other people about I've D.I.D but I'm really afraid of ... I want them to know because my alters come out anytime and say talk to everybody -.- when I try to explain other people about I've a mental illness they inmediatly act like they're worried of me Dx and those stuff, I talk about the diagnosis I got, and all my experience with psychiatrics as something common (at least, for me) and when I give them an "clue" about I'm going to explain what I have, nobody wants to know... Sigh... I told a friend recently that I wanted to tell her, and she responds that she'll listen but that doesn't mean that she'll believe me ._. ok, I understand that, but... she told that maybe it's because she DOESN'T WANT to believe as "it could scares me"....
My previous attemps of telling finished with huge problems with psychiatrics
Sometimes, I don't know if tell it or not, I want but scare...
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:iconthe-orchestra-system:
The-Orchestra-System Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this is really really good, i know so many people panic over coming out as multiple. i know i was terrified the first time i did it, unfortunately i didnt know as much as i thought and that caused problems, so i then spent alot of time educating myself and didnt then come out again until nearly 2 years later. now i'd say every single person i know is aware that i'm a we, maybe the odd family member doesnt know but they're people i dont know well or see often. my dad in particular is having the most trouble with it and just gets angry whenever someone else is out, my mum is attempting to understand it but that's taking quite some time, though it is frustrating when she thinks she knows everything XD;

ehh, i'm babbling now, sorry.
anyway, this is great for people who still havent come out of the closet yet ^^ good job
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:iconbaaingtree:
BaaingTree Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2011
We didn't come out until we'd moved out of the house, and we haven't yet come out to our extended family. Things are up and down.

Glad that you found the guide useful, even if you've already come out yourself!

--Rogan
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:iconmikkiness:
Mikkiness Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011
Thanks for this, it's likely to be quite helpful in, ohmigod, nine days. Nah, it's not that bad, mostly. Just wasn't expecting to be to be talked into it when I saw my therapist this morning, lovely lady, just has this annoying habit of being logical and making sense. I hadn't even considered that the way I present myself might impact how relaxed my parents are. I feel a little more relaxed about the idea to, so yeah. Thanks.
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:icontheroyalus:
theroyalus Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
We kind of suck at uncloseting sometimes, and not for lack of experience. This is some great advice, and will come in handy soon as Ian intends to let some of his close friends know. Thanks for sharing this.

-Ronin
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:iconbaaingtree:
BaaingTree Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2011
Thanks. Good luck with uncloseting! We seem to do okay these days.
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:icontheroyalus:
theroyalus Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
I think the only thing you didn't really cover was the heavy dissociation that DID groups get when discussing their multiplicity. Shaking, anxiety, zoning out, and difficulty maintaining the front tend to become issues. Not so great when you're trying to have a calm, serious discussion. :-/

-Ronin
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:iconbaaingtree:
BaaingTree Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2011
Yeah. I admit, I didn't include that because we don't have that much experience with it; uncloseting can be stressful, no joke, but we've rarely reached the point of zoning out or maintaining front unless we're very stressed about the uncloseting already (which usually means we postpone the uncloseting for later) or the person takes it badly, spurring our "run away! Run away!" response.

I'm not sure I feel like I know the experience well enough to be able to write on it. I'd welcome material from folks who know it better, though, and link to it from here!

--Rogan
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:icontheroyalus:
theroyalus Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Hm. I'll consider that.

Again, thanks for this.

-Ian
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:iconbaaingtree:
BaaingTree Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2011
No prob. Glad you found it handy!

--Rogan
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:iconshadowkitten20:
Shadowkitten20 Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2011  Student General Artist
YOu have no idea now much we want to tell the main's parents... but we take psychology in her highschool (and its quite interesting, let me tell you) and we're actually studying mental diseases. We brought the idea of MPD/DID up to her parents and they said it doesn't exist... *rolls eyes and sighs* There blows that... plus, the body is a minor, so I think we're going to wait until it's considered an 'adult' and then say something about it. It's so stupid and such to try to act like the main when we're out... especially around her parents. We wish we could come out from hiding for 7 or 8 years and tell them, but we can't... not yet. We've told a few of her friends when everyone agreed it was safe. Some of them took it well, some of them now think we're lying to them for attention. *shrugs* Whatever they'd like to think... guess that's their choice to think it... right?

-Kaz
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:iconbaaingtree:
BaaingTree Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
"plus, the body is a minor, so I think we're going to wait until it's considered an 'adult' and then say something about it."

Yeah, that's frustrating, but fairly sensible. Hope things get better with your family, so maybe you can come out to them someday.

And it might be their choice to think it, but that doesn't mean it ain't asshatty to act on it.

--Rogan
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:iconshadowkitten20:
Shadowkitten20 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011  Student General Artist
True true, but I'd rather wait than be taken out of school and sent to an institute. I know I wouldn't put that past her parents. They WOULD do it, for sure. But thank you again so much for writing this. It's quite helpful!

-Kaz
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:iconbaaingtree:
BaaingTree Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2011
No prob; glad you found it handy! And yeah, it's still a frustrating choice to have to make. Good luck to you!

--Rogan
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:iconwebbererikphan:
WebberErikPhan Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2011
Thank you very much for this! The only people who have taken it badly are one of the Core's friends and the Core's Grandmother, but we ignore the hurtful things they say about it and be ourselves no matter what now. After 8 or more years of hiding we're not doing it anymore, regardless if we know the person/people or not. We may get rejected, of course, but we can see now it's better that than be accepted as a lier.

(Webber)Erik
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:iconpastelpaintprincess:
PastelPaintPrincess Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Great idea guys ^.^ And good work on it <3 It makes it seem so much more... Maybe not simpler, but manageable. =)
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:iconbaaingtree:
BaaingTree Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2010
Enh, we find breaking one huge task into manageable bite size chunks helps a lot.
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:iconpastelpaintprincess:
PastelPaintPrincess Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, it does =)
Thanks <3
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:iconmoonlover:
MoonLover Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is a really helpful guide. I'm still rather up in the air whether to come out or not. My parents have already dealt with me coming out as trans three years ago, I dunno if they could 'handle' me being trans and multiple. That, and I still have to mention that my sexual orientation is sliding with men.... but then again, that isn't something that they really need to know.
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:iconbaaingtree:
BaaingTree Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2010
Yeah, only you can decide on whether coming out is right for you. Good luck on your journey!
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