From Pluralpedia, the collaborative plurality dictionary
polyfragmented (adj.)
Other formspolyfragmentation (n.), poly-fragmented, polyfrag., pf-
Synonymscomplex (adj.), super multiple (n.), c-DID
Applies tosystems, system functions
OriginPsychiatric term

Polyfragmented systems have large amount of fragments, often due to severe or pervasive trauma. The exact number of fragments required varies from source, but the most common definition is 100+; however, polyfragmentation is more complex than just describing the number of total headmates.

Common Traits[edit | edit source]

Commonalities among polyfragmented systems are:

  • Long-term trauma that is or was integrated into day-to-day life[1][2]
  • A history of ritualistic, organized, creative, or notably "vicious" abuse[1]
  • Complex internal structures like subsystems, sidesystems, and layers[1]
  • Active and detailed inner worlds
  • Co-consciousness being more frequent[2]
  • Lack of non-dissociative coping mechanisms[1]
  • Splitting easily, both during and after trauma, and splitting multiple fragments at once[1]
  • A number of "well defined" alters that may be similar to non-polyfragmented systems[1], including a relatively small fronting group[1][2]

Other qualities of polyfragmented systems that are less pervasive are obsessive symptoms[1], divisions based on time period of splitting (epochs)[1], mass introjection[1], and purposeful exploitation of dissociative responses by abusers[1].

Multiple numbers have been given for the minimum number required to be a polyfragmented system; anything from "dozens"[3], 26[1], 50+[4] to at least 100[2], which is why the exact number of alters is less relevant than the other symptoms listed above.

History[edit | edit source]

Originally, "complex" and "polyfragmented" were separate terms originating from separate researchers.

"Polyfragmented" originates from Bennett G. Braun in 1986, specifying 100+ parts, most of which are one dimensional[5].

Richard Kluft defined and studied "complex MPD" in his paper The Phenomenology and Treatment of Extremely Complex Multiple Personality Disorder from 1988 focusing on a little over two dozen cases, despite first being introduced in 1979[6]. The minimum number for his definition is 26, coming from double the upper modal number of alters in a system he found from an earlier study. (Kluft admits it is an arbitrary number.) It covers common patterns within complex systems, treatment outcomes, and highlights some of the cases that exemplify certain points. The paper even includes a table highlighting commonalities.

Eventually, these terms merged into one, but favoring the latter's title (possibly because of the emergence of the Complex Dissociative Disorder label creating a redundancy). The term "super multiple" has appeared in community literature with no known origin as well[7].

Related Terms[edit | edit source]

Polyfragmented Dissociative Identity Disorder is the most studied form of this phenomena, with DDNOS being a distant second. Polyfragmented Otherwise Specified Dissociative Disorder has no clinical recognition but can exist, as OSDD is a reworked version of DDNOS.

"Complex" in reference to system structure or type (for example, C-DID) can be used in a multitude of ways, but is commonly used as analogous to polyfragmented with a lesser focus on alter count, similar to the original definition laid out by Kluft. Additionally, "Highly Complex" (HC-DID) has been created by online communities to even further signify a level of intricacy and complexity, due to experiencing programming.

Modular systems are similar to those with polyfragmentation[8], and can be considered a subtype[9] under some circumstances.

Polyfractal is a term for systems that have an even larger number of headmates than most polyfragmented systems, but is not commonly used, as polyfragmented does not have an upper limit. When a system has many non-fragments, they may prefer polymultiple. For median systems, polyfaceted is a similar term. Polyplural encompasses all of these.

Multifragmented is a less-medicalised alternative or one for system that somewhat but not quite match the definition of polyfragmented.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]