Steven Grant: recent publications

How Marvel Nearly Gets Dissociative Identity Disorder Right in 'Moon Knight'

I adore the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and teaching others about dissociative disorders is my passion. As a person/system of parts living and generally thriving with what the diagnostic manuals would call a dissociative disorder, I often use metaphors from fictional realms like Marvel to frame my own inner world and teach others about systems.

In my upcoming book, “Dissociation Made Simple: A Stigma Free Guide to Embracing Your Dissociative Mind and Navigating Daily Life” (North Atlantic Books, 2023), I specifically use Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” as a metaphor for how people with dissociative systems can experience an internal world. In training others in my field, I find that using such metaphors for ego state or parts of self can be much more productive than many of the bland and sterile models that exist, usually developed by people who are not out and candid about their own lived experience with dissociative disorders.

So when Marvel announced that they were turning one of the minor comic book characters named “Moon Knight” into a series for Disney+, I reacted with a mix of dread, hope, and curiosity. In many of the promotions leading up to the series, they correctly referred to the protagonist Marc Spector/Steven Grant/Moon Knight as having dissociative identity disorder (DID), instead of the now-retired but still harmfully used in popular culture label of multiple personality disorder. My dread came from the knowing that Hollywood portrayals of dissociative identity disorder usually go for the most extreme presentations of the condition that bring out elements like one part naturally displaying violence towards others. Such a tendency or trope, as we call it in the dissociative or plural community, is easy

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