Levels of structural dissociation

PTSD and the levels of trauma related
Structural Dissociation of the personality

An explanation of those levels in my own words.

Important notice:
Switching between personality parts is not a phenomenon that only belongs to DID. There are other disorders that have symptoms of identity problems and switching behavior between personality states.
Diagnoses of the structural dissociation of the personality can only be done by an experienced clinical trauma psychologist who is specially trained to do so.


Level 1 

Daily live Act system – one ANP¹ and one EP²
Primary structural dissociation of the personality (PTSD)
There the traumatized ANP has stored one EP that carries traumatized information caused by one traumatic experience (a rape or a heavy accident etc.).
This can manifest itself as a
Full Dissociation: The ANP doesn’t remember a thing of the traumatic experience, the EP carries the whole memory.
Partial Dissociation: The ANP knows some of the experience but not all – or the ANP remembers but emotionally it doesn’t feel like an own experience, the EP carries that part.

Level 2 
Daily live Act system – one ANP and more EP’s
Secondary structural dissociation of the personality (Complex PTSD)
There also can be an EP(’s) that is partial dissociated with a memory of looking at the traumatic event – like an out of body experience. An EP like this can grow very strong and observe again and again a traumatic event that is repeating itself. Such EP we call an observer EP. They can tell a lot about the traumatic events, and sometimes they even grow out to an EP observer and communicator. It can communicate with other inner EP’s. People with this form of traumatization suffer a severe agony.

Very recent research has also concluded that this group has a high variety of all sorts of dissociative symptoms.

Level 3
Daily live Act systems – more than one ANP and more than one EP
Tertiary structural dissociation of the personality (Complex PTSD)
Here the traumatization of the ANP started at a very young age. And the little child did not yet developed an ability to link emotion to event eo experience. Although it responded on pain and anxiety that caused severe trauma that was stored by EP’s. A repeatedly traumatization of the young child made that some of those EP’s could grow out with the ability to function as an ANP. Such an EP later splits of and starts to functioning as an ANP that carries own responsibilities to daily tasks were this ANP functioning best.
Now there are two or even three (or more) stable functioning ANP + EP’s systems that handle daily live events and each have their own responsibilities to daily live tasks. Between the functioning systems of more than 1 ANP is not a lot of space left for EP’s who want to dominate daily live. The ANP’s are protecting each other. A person with this severe disorder didn’t learn how to put things together (synthesize-linking image, physic and emotion) as one experience. It makes a mess of remembering the past and functioning in daily live, and often they are not capable of understanding the full meaning of psychological feelings.
In the past this system was functional to bare pain and suffering, but in the present this system makes a mess of their daily live.

Written by DisNique
DID Client at the Trauma center, health care department Drenthe-Assen the Netherlands
And very grateful for all the patience and explanation by my own clinical psychologist and therapist, he did a great job in helping me out to understand my own being and daily functioning.
Il m’a donné une raison d ‘ être

type 1,2 and 3 PTSD

ANP¹ Apparently Normal Personality (lives in the present time)
EP² Emotional Personality part (trauma related to the past)

For more clinical info see:
Ph.D. E.R.S. Nijenhuis working at the Mental health care department Drenthe-Assen
Ph.D. Onno van der Hart, Psychotraumatologist
K. Steele, MN, cs

Book advise: The Haunted Self