Multiple Personality Disorder or Demonization?

by Chet Weld

Many people see multiple personality disorder as demon possession. Can a person with this disorder NOT be demonized? Here is a review from Dr. Chet Weld on the insightful book: Shattered Secrets by Gwendolyn and Dorothy Egan and written by Laura Steffens.

Imagine awaking from a blackout of time that lasted for days.  You have evidence that you lived your life.   You may have journal entries or simply the comments of others about your behavior.  But what you don’t know is that, during that time span, another personality was “the boss of you.”  You “switched.”  Early in your most formative years, such a switch was out of your control.  Also, imagine that these switches are frequent over a period of 28 years with an increasing number of personalities taking charge.  Imagine that at first you don’t know what’s going on. 

“Shattered Secrets,” leads us through Gwen Egan’s dark, multipersonality corridors of survival of abuse and loss into the light of deliverance and freedom.  As the reader journeys through Gwen’s account of creating personalities in order to deal with traumas, we learn of the psychologist who didn’t tell her parents that their minor child had multiple personalities.  This trusted therapist also did not tell the parents that Gwen had been molested at the age of three.  He also fostered Gwen’s dependence on him, even let Gwen sit in his lap, as well as talked to the personalities one by one, which is exactly the wrong thing to do.  Secrets were kept from the family between Gwen and the therapist, increasing Gwen’s struggle to survive.  After turning 18 Gwen remained with the same therapist who was no longer required by law to divulge any information to the family.  Gwen was increasingly fractured in spirit, soul, mind, and body (having extreme migraine headaches).


Gwen was born with Apert syndrome, having feet with fused toes and hands with fused fingers.  Apert syndrome also includes cranial/facial abnormalities.  Her father, Bert (now passed on), was a WWII hero and a kind and gentle father, and her mother, Dorothy, has always been a hard worker and a loving mother.  Now try to imagine that you are a member of this wonderful family that also includes two loving, younger sisters, Shawna and Rachel.  When angry personalities were in control of Gwen, none of you had any idea what was going on.


As a child, Gwen endured many operations to correct the deformities of her hands and feet.  As an adolescent, Gwen’s face was reshaped by plastic surgeons.  Despite the benefit of these operations, Gwen was still ridiculed throughout her childhood for not looking “normal” and for being “stupid.”  The theme of Gwen’s life was an established record of rejection.  Gwen says, “I was a walking conflict.”


Laura Steffens, a journalist and the writer of “Shattered Secrets,” skillfully weaves the events of Gwen’s drama, as told to her by Gwendolyn and Dorothy, into a riveting tale of Gwen’s condition going from bad to worse, from miserable to thoroughly demonized, and from oppressive darkness to finally emerging into the liberating presence of God Himself. The writer also clearly explains the difference between different personalities and demons.  The writer thoroughly researched the subject of Multiple Personality Disorder, now called D.I.D., or Dissociative Identity Disorder.  She also researched treatment methods and underlying paradigms used by therapists.  Interviewing skilled secular and Christian-based mental health professionals, she left no stone unturned to try to understand Gwen and to present an accurate and absorbing account of Gwen’s torment and her ultimate victory over darkness.  The writer recounts details of Gwen’s life such as telling us about sexual abuse, the exact words of the teacher that ridiculed Gwen in front of her class members, and the impact on Gwen of losing her grandfather.


Speaking of going “from bad to worse,” the therapist’s treatment via hypnosis seemed to be the cause of the emergence of five more personalities that Gwen believes were demons (while the first four were not, but were simply supposed protectors from the pain of trauma or loss).  Gwen says the five demons even took control of the first four personalities.  The end result of Gwen’s therapy sessions (presumably hundreds of them) was that the real Gwen was in “solitary confinement” or “lock-down.”  Some of the personalities hated her and wanted her dead.  Because Gwen’s family cannot locate the therapist, now presumed dead, many questions go unanswered, engaging the reader even more in Gwen’s mysterious world.  Gwen had secrets from herself, her psychologist, and her family.  Many secrets that needed to be shattered!


This reviewer was privileged to counsel Gwen long after she had been healed and delivered.  We counseled around relatively common issues, unrelated to her past.  When I first saw that Gwen had two fingers on each hand, I felt badly for her.  I prayed, “O, God, I would gladly trade hands with her so that she could know what it’s like to have the use of five fingers on each hand.”  I had that thought every time I saw her in the brief number of sessions I was privileged to counsel her.  I think God’s Holy Spirit was simply helping me to identify with a portion of the pain Gwen had endured even though I didn’t know the full details at the time.


After reading Shattered Secrets and learning of her ultimate healing, I know that Gwen is such an overcomer (she’s even a very good typist!), that I don’t think she’d even want my fingers.  Jim Rohn says that past experiences can either be our master or our servant.  Through the strength and wisdom that only God can give, Gwen has made the dark encounters her servant.  She knows that, as the Bible says, she is “seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” and that she now lives her life through Him.  She lives in the light.  No more secrets!


Now imagine that you are Gwen, that your trusted therapist had told you that healing was impossible, but that that you are now bursting with “impossible” love and joy of God.  The victory of a spirit-filled underdog who conquered a mighty Goliath!


Without divulging the entirety of Gwen’s complete and permanent healing, this reviewer can say that Gwen’s loving family, a pastor filled with the power of God, the sudden appearance of a Christian woman who became Gwen’s first friend, and Gwen’s motivation to be whole played key roles.  Ultimately, the reader learns much about a mysterious subject and is uplifted by Gwen’s victory.  With God’s help Gwen’s secrets are totally shattered, and feelings of rejection are destroyed by God’s love.


This reviewer believes that anyone can be ennobled by absorbing the truths of “Shattered Secrets” and that this book should be read by all mental health professionals.




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