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WARNING AND DISCLAIMER
Because of the nature of D.I.D., it’s possible that something in this article could be triggering to your system. Please use caution and your best judgement when reading this article. Safety first!
Disclaimer: We are not doctors, therapists, or mental health professionals. We’re just a bunch of alters that are speaking from personal experience to help other systems live their best lives.
The Difference Between Wants And Needs
The first step is to make sure that all of your alters know the difference between wants and needs. The lines between the two can get very blurry; especially since our culture tends to use the two words interchangeably.
A need is something that is necessary in order to survive or function. A want is something that is desired for any reason.
Things that are necessary for survival are things like food, water and shelter. The tricky part is deciding if something is necessary to function. For example, every body needs sleep. One body may absolutely need a sleep machine in order to stay asleep and another body may simply want a sleep machine. Only you and your headmates know what is needed for your body to function.
Pro tip: It’s totally okay to have wants! When talking about needs, it can be really easy to feel selfish for having desires. There’s nothing wrong with wanting things. Just make sure to take care of your system’s needs before your wants and everything should be a-ok!
Check On The Needs
Once your system has gone over the difference between needs and wants, it’s time to take a deeper look at your system’s needs. Before your system can divert time and energy to anyone’s wants, it’s important that all of the body’s needs are being met.
What do you do if all of the needs are not currently being met? While every situation is different, in general we suggest prioritizing the body’s needs. If your body can not physically function, the whole system will feel the effects. By making sure that all base physical needs are met first, your system will have the foundation that they need to address other issues.
Pro tip: Your system’s mileage may vary but if you have more than one physical need going unmet, we suggest starting with sleep. This tends to have the most noticeable impact for everyone in the headspace whether they front or not.
Write Down All Of The Wants
After your system has ensured that all of the needs are being met, plan a team meeting to go over the system’s wants. A day or so before the team meeting, encourage all of your headmates to start thinking about their wants. Everyone’s opinion matters and no want is too big or too small!
At the team meeting, go ahead and write down each and every want in the system. Nothing is more or less important than anything else so document everything.
If an alter doesn’t have a want, ask them why. They may be totally happy and content with what’s already happening, they could be shy or afraid to share, or they may feel like it won’t happen so there’s no point. Before moving forward, you want to make sure that there isn’t an unresolved issue with one of your headmates.
Group Them Together
Now that your system has a list of every alter’s wants, the next step is to start clustering them together. What you’re looking for is patterns and overlaps. While it’s possible that many members of your system want the same thing, you’ll most likely see themes. Here are some examples to get you started:
- If alter A wants to drive less, alter B doesn’t want to front at work, and alter C wants a more fulfilling job, your system may benefit from looking into a new job closer to home.
If you’re able to find things that overlap, your system will be able to kill two birds with one stone. This way, multiple alters will be happy with how the system is spending their time, money, and resources.
Make A Plan To Get Them Met
After you’ve found any patterns with your system’s wants, your system will move on to making plans to get everyone’s wants taken care of. In general, it’s usually easiest and most effective to focus on the largest pattern you found. This is the one change that will satisfy the greatest number of alters. After that want has been met, move on to wants that are very easy to arrange. These are things that are either inexpensive, quick, or simple changes.
Once your system knows which want they’re going to work on and in what order, your system simply needs to decide how and when to meet the wants. For example, let’s say that the majority of your system ultimately would have their wants met by having a more fulfilling job closer to home. To get this want met, your system would schedule to search for jobs every Tuesday and Thursday night for an hour and practice interviewing for an hour each Saturday. You’d also plan on a time to update the resume and spiff up on any necessary skills for the system’s dream job.
Whatever your system’s wants are, the ultimate goal is that every alter will put effort into taking care of each other by all working to get the wants met. Even if a particular want is not something that alter A desires, they’ll hopefully consider working towards it to show love to the alters that do want it. By doing this, every alter will be able to have their needs and most of their wants met. Hooray for teamwork!
Now that your system knows how to meet everyone’s wants, what is the next step? Check out this article to learn the Golden Rule of DID and click here to learn how to use journaling to communicate with your alters. To help your system to start working as a united team, check out our course Of One Mind!