The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan

I have always worked with the idea of giving my patients the benefit of the doubt. I will not automatically assume that what they are telling me is false just because they are Psych patients. And at the very least, I will acknowledge that it is the reality that they are experiencing. But perhaps sometimes that idea can go too far. How much benefit of the doubt is too much? And certainly, when does it stand between innocent and guilty, in terms of crime?
I had heard of Billy Milligan before, and have always found Dissociative Identity Disorder to be interesting. While it is important to me to be as fully empathetic as I can, there are a few situations in which I can’t even begin to make sense of mentally. I cannot understand DID, except to relate it to being blackout drunk. Losing time. And there are certainly skeptics of the disorder. Made famous in the late 50s and early 70s, DID began to gain attention. Conveniently, in the mid to late 70s, a serial rapist claimed he did not commit the crimes because he had multiple personalities.
What draws me to it is its deep trauma based development. When describing his childhood, it isn’t any stretch of the mind to see a person fracture themselves into the perfect defense mechanism. But as we begin to see more of Billy’s life, it isn’t any further a stretch of the mind to see how he may have simply developed into the perfect Sociopath. The question is then posed, might this have been a perfect crime?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s