Psychology and Mental Health Forum

Author:  Johnny-Jack [ Sat Nov 12, 2011 4:02 am ]
Blog Subject:  how the alters got their names

JOHN (aka JOHNNY): The father had an unusual name and always liked the solid, conventional name John so the body was named John. When I was quite young, I remember being called Johnny but that changed at some point to John. At age 28, I decided to switch from being called John to Johnny. So to everyone in life who knows me now, I'm Johnny. To Quato, who's hung around, I'm also Johnny but to everyone inside I'm John. I believe now that Johnny is my name as an alter and that is why I felt compelled to change it (back) to Johnny. Since I followed the John we call Little John, I had to have a different name, hence Johnny. But eventually, the legal name John stuck and I assumed it.

LITTLE JOHN: I met him in 1989 and figured his name must be Johnny, as he was the age when the body had been called that. I used to refer to him as that. However, when I asked him his name, he said John. So I asked if I could call him Little John. His (our?) favorite childhood book was Little John Little, so he liked that a lot.

I (host John) am wondering now whether I felt compelled to "change" my name from John to Johnny at age 28 because Johnny WAS my name, that is, my name as a distinct alter. Little John knew that his name was John, not Johnny. In my system, we all have a clear need to go by unique names, so that might explain the switch to going by Johnny.

JONATHAN: Jonathan is a "serious" version of the name John and Jonathan in some ways is a serious version of me. It was one of the John variations the father called his one son and Jonathan claimed it for himself. The father realized the boy sometimes liked to be called Jonathan. When he wanted the son to go with him, hang out with him, he called for Jonathan, we would switch, and Jonathan would go with him. The host John used to become furious when anyone assumed John was short for Jonathan and called him that, because it felt very wrong.

JACK: He arrived in the 60s, a hillbilly without a name. The names John and Jonathan were already taken. He knew that John F. Kennedy also went by Jack, so that became his name. This let him feel honest whether he called himself John or Jack, depending on what he could get away with in a particular situation. He has always known that his own name is Jack, however.

DAN: Daniel was the name of an ancestral pioneer about whom we had family lore. That's one guess. A second is that Jack had a deep connection to Daniel Boone. Jack invented memories of his own early childhood in Kentucky as something like the life of the frontiersman. Dan was created by the gatekeeper out of Jack's anger which Jack himself could not tolerate. So it would make sense that the name of Jack's hero might be taken by this alter. When we first learned about Dan, John misheard the name as "Dack" when the gatekeeper was explaining inside, so we called him Dack. When Dan returned in September, he told us his name was Daniel, not Dack, and that we could call him Dan for short.

QUATO: His original name was John-John. Just before he announced himself, I sensed a sort of strange parasitic entity attached to me, the host. When he did arrive, I was reminded of the parasitic mutant character Kuato in the 1990 film Total Recall and called him Kuato. He chose to spell it with a Q because it was "cooler" and to differentiate it from the gross mutant. He prefers the exotic name Quato, which is vaguely reminiscent of Quasimodo (the hunchback in The Hunchback of Notre Dame), over the childish John-John. Plus there are enough names derivatived from John in our system already.

HANSEL & JOHANN: They announced themselves to the host during journaling and called themselves John-John-John and John-John-John-John. That was over the top, so I shortened these to John 3 and John 4. Not surprisingly, I got the feeling very quickly they didn't like the numbers at all. So I gave them a few Teutonic cognates (of John) which the father used to call the body, and these are what they each chose.

MARC-DOMINIC: I have often recalled sitting at my desk, imagining a cool, sophisticated character with international flair. I wrote his name over and over, as a signature. I thought that was an odd memory and an odd thing for a kid to do. What I didn't remember about the rest of the memory is that I desperately needed a safe mentor at that age and somehow created an alter to help me deal with an upcoming stressful event. I can't recall if this French name was first + last name or the hyphenated first name Marc-Dominic, like Jean-Pierre.

SPHINX: I came up with the name for the gatekeeper (system coordinator, objective observer) because early on his comments and answers were invariably short and mysterious. Plus I didn't know how to refer to him consistently by what he suggested, "The One." I mean, what kind of name is that?

ADAM: At some point in time, the gatekeeper decided to call him the name of the "first human" since he was the first (original) person in the body. When we called him Adam, he immediately responded to it so that felt a little odd since it wasn't the birth name. Maybe he just knew we were talking to him but didn't know what we were saying (he's less than a year old).

ASHÁR: The gatekeeper told us that this was the name of a traumatized wolfdog-boy alter who cannot speak human words yet, though he tries. We looked it up online recently and discovered it's a lovely Hebrew name for a baby boy meaning "happiness." However, none of us speaks Hebrew (to my knowledge) nor are we Jewish (mostly), so perhaps the gatekeeper just made it up.

AARON: Ancestral name. Originally from the Hebrew. Hmmm.

CHARLES: Ancestral name.


Author:  Johnny-Jack [ Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:09 pm ]

Two more alters:

Carter: I think he didn't actually have a name when he came back and, once I realized he was a different alter and not some "mood," I thought of giving him another name, Sebastian, I think, because I've always kind of liked it. I guess I suspected he didn't have one. In hindsight, it was presumptuous of me to select the name for someone else. I heard the name Carter float up. That didn't seem right or I didn't trust it, so I offered Sebastian again. Carter sounded too close to quitter, since I'd identified this new guy as a part who influences me to quit something. I heard Carter again and realized that was his name, whether he'd chosen it anew or whether it had been his name. Thus, I met Carter.

Max: I identified this new little guy by his unique way of holding the body. I heard the name Max float up, very similar to how I've heard several other names. I have little reference for the name other than that I used "Maximus" as a playful second name of a screen name I came up with around the time of the movie "Gladiator," whose main character had that name. I get the feeling Max needed a name -- and having a name is a definite rule in our system -- and he selected one from something we had already sort of called ourselves. Still, maybe not, since Max feels short for Maximilian, not Maximus. Either name is quite a lot of name for a little three-year-old but there it is.

Author:  Johnny-Jack [ Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:47 am ]

CHASE: His original name, Charles (above), was the middle name of his abuser, our grandfather. Recently, he was triggered into the body when he suddenly saw a photo of the the man and after an emotional meltdown, he said he wanted to change hs name. I think he chose it the next day, so it wasn't a nickname but wasn't too far from the sound of what his name had always been.

EDWARD: Pretty sure this is from some knight named Edward in a picture book he was read to but the certainty is coming from memory that feels more like a memory of living in a fairy tale, real but very impressionistic and really young.

LUKE: This name floated up shortly before he arrived and seems connected to a farm kid I think we knew named Luke. Farmness and images of farms we spent time on as a kid were present with Luke's arrival so I'm laneling him our farmboy. I sensed some selection going on with the name, like flippy through a short book to find it. At one point, I asked him his name and he said John. Yet he answers to Luke. I think he knew, like all of us did, that he was supposed to answer with the birth name John when anyone asked that. He seems to feel comfortable with John Luke too.

Author:  Johnny-Jack [ Thu Apr 10, 2014 1:47 am ]

BRODY: various names sounding vaguely like Brody floated up for a couple days and then Brody clicked. I'm pretty sure he is named for John Brodie, a football quarterback we would have known about. Brody has an affinity for football and is the only one of us with a crew cut so this seems right.

TY: for a while I conflated Chase with Ty, thinking they were the same alter. There were flashbacks about the English grandfather and Chase first spoke to me with an English accent, later in Midwestern American. Finally I realized the upset kid with the English accent was new and older. His name was Ty, short for Tyler. The name is surely taken from a childhood friend named Ty we knew when we were Ty's age, 10.

INKY DINKY DOO: Inky often feels compelled to play sound games with words and syllables. He did this for maybe 20 minutes straight as he arrived (woke up) one day. Days before he came, I had been talking to someone about Enkidu, a character in the ancient Sumerian epic Gilgamesh. Inkadinkadoo was a popular silly song I'm sure I heard as a child when we were Inky's age.

ZEB: Zebulon got his name from an association I already had with a particular abuse my father (I think) perpetrated. He's a baby but I think he can walk. Little interaction with him yet.

22 but there may yet be others...

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