In the comments on yesterday's post What to Do About Mothers? Kahless is wondering about differences between singletons and multiples and how the balance between good and bad might be affected in a multiple system.
I addressed how the dark side of a person could be isolated in
Human Nature with All It's Twists and Turns I think that part of what Kahless might be asking is covered in these posts. I also spoke to how doing so could be exploited in such a manner as to create personalities without a conscience. This would be an extreme in dissociation.
Dissociation is a complicated subject and multiple personality disorder (or dissociative identity disorder) is the extreme is that process. I think few professionals even really understand it fully. For the sake of the discussion here I'll start off with some basics. The professionals say that everyone dissociates at one time or another. That would include singletons as well as multiples.
Anyone driving down the road and thinking about other things instead of the road, is dissociating. Checking out mentally while waiting in line is a form of dissociating. Victims of rape who experience sitting up in a corner watching what is happening to them are also dissociating. Separating one's feelings from one's thoughts is another form of dissociation. People who do these things do not have to be multiples.
How exactly they draw the line at what makes a person a multiple, I'm not really sure. My guess is that the loss of time would be a factor in that diagnosis. However, not all multiples loose time, but they all have lost time at one time or another.
In the process of dissociating, multiples may compartmentalize their feelings and/or their experiences, depending on the system. I would guess that life conflicting with their value system has a direct affect on the need for the compartmentalization in the first place. However,their value system may or may not be affected in how those compartments are formed. It may be intact in some compartments, all departments, split between compartments. The possibilities are endless.
Kahless wondered if "within a multiple, different alters may not necessary have this same range (between light and dark as a singleton) because they may be one aspect of personality on the range?"
In simple terms the compartment is formed to separate the victim from horrendous abuse. Building walls to keep knowledge of abuse, its feelings and memories separate from, usually, the core personality protects the psyche from dealing with something it can't really understand. Whether or not a system separates its values all up into little boxes or replicated them from personality to personality would be different from system to system.
Personally, I believe that, other than the satanic cults who know how to separate the dark side for exploitation, multiples who themselves make the choice to form their barriers to exploit certain of their values, or lack of them, probably had lots of anti-social behavior before being a multiple. This already established negative behavior exploits the psyche's ability to compartmentalize as a way to not be responsible for one's behavior.
But on the whole, that is not the case with most multiples. Compartments will be formed in whatever manner the child believes will protect them. Many if not all compartments may have the values of the part they split off from. How those develop will be affected by that part's life experience which will affect it's beliefs.
I hope that this answers the question as I understood it. Clearly many or even all parts of a multiple system will have some form on conscience. What that form is will very much be affected by the particular system, the abuse and the extent to which the offenders were able to control the victim.
The other thing that is interesting to note, is that those compartments will mature based on the frequency and quality of their life experience. That means if a part rarely, if ever gets to the forefront except for it's original inception, that part will not mature. It will stay stuck at the age it was at its formation.
I think that is one of the biggest problem that multiples face. Because personalities locked away in compartments are separated from the input of life's experience, those parts are unable to make informed decisions. Emotionally stunted because of the barriers of their compartment, even when they get the chance to emerge, they are limited by their emotional maturity and knowledge of the world. And they still do not have access to the experiences of the total psyche to affect change.
For a multiple system to heal there must be acceptance of all of the parts. Understanding the why's and how's play a major role in that acceptance. Imagine a five year old trying to understand multiple personality disorder.