How and Why the Host Goes Dormant

Can and should you awaken a dormant alter?

Shirley J. Davis
6 min readAug 13, 2022


Photo by Ilham Rahmansyah on Unsplash

Those with dissociative identity disorder (DID) have become accustomed to hearing and working with their alters. Alters have become integral to who they are and work hard to bring them the love and dignity they deserve.

There can be little more daunting situation than for an alter to go into dormancy. Although later, people with DID understand what has happened, that knowledge does not stop the fear they may feel.

This article will spotlight host dormancy and how it affects people living with DID.

The Differences Between the Core and the Host

Before we begin, it is vital to understand the differences between a core alter and one who is considered the host.

The core is thought by some to be the original first alter born into the body. Some people consider the core to be the system’s owner, while others think of them as a lost alter who has gone entirely dormant or who was preverbal before other alters could form.

There is a school of thought among those with DID that the core is the part that the others were created to protect, while others see them as just another self-state. Because having a core alter doesn’t fit the theory of structural dissociation, there is a controversy as to the existence of core alters. However, the website Dissociative Identity Disorder Research had this to say about the theory of structural dissociation.

“(the theory of structural dissociation) signals an attempt to force reality to fit theory instead of theory to fit reality. Regardless, the theory of structural dissociation does not actually have to be taken to mean that all DID systems with cores are either mistaken or actually have other specified dissociative disorder subtypes instead. Rather, one has to examine the theory as it exists on a spectrum to conceptualize how an early failure of integration could still allow one part to integrate before others.”

The host is the alter who most commonly fronts and lives with the effects of dissociative identity disorder, such as amnesia or feeling the emotions of the others without understanding where they come from. Hosts are also…



Shirley J. Davis

I am an author/speaker/grant writer living among the corn and bean fields of Illinois in the U.S. I own Davis Integrated Services .