Plurality and Fandom

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Synonyms: multiplicity, systems
See also: bodysharing, soulbonding
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Plurality (also known as multiplicity) is the state of multiple consciousnesses or personalities existing within a single body. This is most commonly found in cases of dissociative identity disorder, but can also occur within certain spiritual contexts, such as the tulpamancer community. It is related to, but distinct, from bodysharing, a story trope that involves fictional scenarios such as possession.

Terminology and Disambiguation

  • Alter/Headmate/(Dissociative) Part/System Member: an individual personality or consciousness in a plural system. In most cases, they will have their own name, pronouns, gender identity, and/or personality that is different from that of other system members.
  • Co-front: can describe multiple system members working together to control the physical body and communicate with the outside world, or a system member "sitting in the passenger's seat", so to speak, while a different system member fronts.
  • Core: a system member who has been present since birth, or the "original" person present. This term is somewhat disputed, and it should never be assumed that a given system has one; if they do, it is considered rude to treat them as the only "real" system member, or to ask other system members to go away so the core can front.
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID; previously Multiple Personality Disorder or Split Personality Disorder): a dissociative disorder characterized by the presence of multiple distinct identities, consciousnesses, or personalities. Some with DID consider themselves to be plural or multiple, and some do not.
  • Endogenic: a system not formed from trauma; alternatively, a system without DID or OSDD. Some endogenic systems may have trauma, but do not consider their plurality to be trauma-based. Others may consider their plurality partially trauma-based, but not entirely. There is discourse surrounding the validity of endogenic systems.
  • Headspace/Inner world: a perceived mental world. Not all systems have one. In those that do, system members are often able to interact with each other in the inner world. System members commonly have an "internal" appearance in the inner world which may not always match the physical body. An inner world may be expansive or small, and does not have to conform to the rules of physical reality. Comparable to but not the same as astral projection or Reality Shifting.
  • Host: the system member who fronts the majority of the time, or is considered the "main" one. This may or may not be the core, in systems that have one. Not all systems consider themselves to have a host, and may view themselves as a group of equal individuals who share a body.
  • Factive: an introject who is based on a real person.
  • Fictive: an introject who is based on a fictional character.
  • Front(ing): to have control of the body or be able to communicate with the outside world.
  • Fusion: the merging of multiple system members. The merging of all system members is called final fusion.
  • Integration: the therapeutic lowering of barriers and building of communication to allow collective functioning. This word is also commonly used with the same meaning as "fusion." Integration can lead to fusion or make achieving fusion easier.
  • Introject(ed): a system member who is subconsciously based on or takes the internal appearance of an external concept or being, often a real person or fictional character.
  • Little: a system member who presents internally as a child. They may or may not have the same mental capacity and maturity as other system members. Littles in traumagenic systems often experience more severe trauma responses than other system members and may remember traumatic events that others do not.
  • Other Specified Dissociative Disorder (OSDD; previously Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified): A collection of disorders similar to DID. Some forms of OSDD experience multiple identities, while others do not. Like DID, those with OSDD may or may not consider themselves plural or multiple.
  • Pseudomemory/Exomemory: memories experienced by system members which did not actually happen to the physical body.
  • Singlet: someone who does not experience plurality.
  • Source: commonly used as a catchall term to refer to the character, person, or other concept that an introject is based on or takes the appearance of. If their source is a character or celebrity, "source" may also refer to the media that the source character is from.
  • Split(ting): Not to be confused with splitting in BPD. Splitting in a plural context is the process of a new system member forming, and is usually in response to stress or trauma. When a split produces an introject, this is called "introjection."
  • Switch: a change in who is fronting.
  • System/Collective: A group of system members who share one body, or a way to refer to their collective identity.
  • Traumagenic: a system formed from trauma; alternatively, a system with DID or OSDD.

Note: Pseudomemory is the preferred term for disordered or traumagenic systems, while exomemory is more popular with spiritual and non-disordered systems. The main difference in usage whether the system or system member in question considers the memory to be a creation of the mind (pseudomemory) or to have come from somewhere else, such as a past life (exomemory).

On introjects

To avoid confusion:

  • Introjects are separate from Fictionkin/Factkin, in that introjects do not necessarily identify as their source, even if they use the same name or pronouns, or use their source as a profile picture.
  • Introjects are separate from Roleplay characters, in that they are real people and not an acted-out persona, even if they act or speak similarly to their source's Canon or Fanon.
  • Introjects are separate from Delusional Attachments., in that introjects do not usually believe that they are their source.
  • Tulpas and Soulbonds are, essentially, purposely-created introjects. Some endogenic or non-disordered systems may be partially or entirely comprised of tulpas or soulbonds, but most disordered systems do not have them.

Introjects can be or experience any of the above, but this is not inherent, and it should never be assumed.

For more in-depth information

Traumagenic and endogenic systems, or disordered and non-disordered systems, will sometimes have different experiences with plurality.

For information on general and non-disordered plurality, see The Plural Association and/or Multiplicity and Plurality Wiki.

For information strictly on Dissociative Identity Disorder and Other Specified Dissociative Disorder, see Wikipedia, the National Library of Medicine, and/or the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.

Plural Fans

Notable Examples

Since anyone can participate in Fandom, some Fans do or have claimed to experience plurality.

  • Andrew Blake, who claimed to have dissociative identity disorder in a conversation with carlanime.[1]
  • Panopticon, who have dissociative identity disorder.
  • LB Lee, who is multiple.


In cases of Harassment, cyberbullies and trolls often deliberately refer to systems as roleplayers to elicit an emotional reaction. It is most commonly targeted at introjects, who are often called kinnies or delusional as well. Systems are commonly placed in Cringe Compilations, with some dedicated specifically to systems, especially endogenic ones.

Because of the prevalence of this behavior online, many systems may avoid talking about their plurality, avoid talking about their introjects, or avoid participating in fandom.


Some systems who participate heavily in Fannish Community may be more prone to splitting introjects, because they are thinking about their favorite characters very often. In this case, introjects can be influenced by Fanfiction, Fanon, or the system's Headcanons. Introjects, due to the nature of being based on an outside source, often have unique experiences in fandom.


Introjects may feel especially unwelcome in online fandom spaces. In many cases, introjects who use the same name as their source or who openly identify themselves as introjects may find themselves being treated as if they are their source. This can come in the form of judgement and shaming if the source is a villain or controversial character, being inappropriately sexualized or flirted with if the character is very popular, or receiving unwanted Shipping insinuations (whether this be with another introject or simply a character).

Solidarity with Fictionkin

Some introjects, primarily ones introjected from fictional characters, find solidarity with Fictionkin due to shared experiences. Both introjects and fictionkin find their identities inherently affected by a fictional character, and both commonly experience apparent memories of fictional universes. Introjects who do mingle with fictionkin often find a connection with them through sharing these memories. It is not uncommon for introjects and fictionkin to kindate.

This is much more common in spiritual or non-disordered systems, but not exclusive to them. Many online advocates for disordered and traumagenic systems warn against sharing pseudomemories, as pseudomemories in DID can be connected to real-life trauma.

It is not uncommon for systems who have not yet discovered they are plural or who have not yet been diagnosed to wind up in fictionkin spaces.

Fanworks Inspired By Introjects

A Wally Darling self-ship drawing made by an introject of Skrillien, a popular fanon version of Skrillex as an alien. [2]

Many systems in fandom have expressed that they take inspiration from their introjects or portray their source characters as purposely similar to them. Some friends of systems will adopt traits of introjects they know as Headcanons.

If an introject is the one making creative fanworks, they may use Fanfiction or Fanart as an outlet for exo/pseudomemories. They may also use their source character as a Self-insert or depict other characters from the source material similarly to their exo/pseudomemories of them. One introject writing fanfiction about their source material joked:[3]

"Wow you write this character really well!" Thanks I knew them personally

— gl1tched-g0th, Tumblr post

Introjects who are dating an introject of or Self-Ship with characters from a very different source material from them may also inspire Crack Ships.


It is important to note that not all introjects are of fictional characters, celebrities, or other subjects of fannish interest. While it is not uncommon, the majority of introjects in disordered systems are of real-life abusers.[4] It should never be assumed that the term "introject" in reference to plurality necessarily means introjects of fictional characters or celebrities. This section is focused on character and celebrity introjects only because they have unique experiences in fandom due to their connection with the source material, which personal-life introjects do not have.

Plurality in Fiction


Many characters are written as plural, whether explicitly or implicitly, including characters with dissociative identity disorder, who host gods, who are temporarily possessed, who host symbiotes, who have inaccurate schizophrenia, and many more situations.

Headcanons and Fanon

Some characters can be interpreted or written as plural despite it being unclear or even explicitly not present in canon.


Example Fanworks

The following fanworks have themes of plurality, often non-canon.



  • Vincent Revisited, which discusses the interpretation of Vincent as having a dual personality (Beauty and the Beast (TV), 1992).