Age Regression in Dissociative Identity Disorder

November 30, 2017 Crystalie Matulewicz

Age regression is a common occurrence in mental illness, especially DID. What does it feel like to regress in age? What can you do to cope with it? Learn here.

Age regression occurs in dissociative identity disorder (DID) particularly, but also in other mental illnesses such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder. While many people with DID have young or child alters, called littles, age regression is something different. So what is age regression, and how do you cope with it?

What Is Age Regression and Who Experiences It?

Age regression, in its simplest definition, is when a person regresses, or goes backward, in age. Age regression can occur spontaneously, or as is more often the case, because of a trigger. While not inherently harmful, regressing can be dangerous if the person is not in a safe place.

Age regression is common in people who have experienced trauma, especially abuse in childhood. There is no limit to how much a person can regress. People may or may not be aware they are regressing.

Age Regression in Dissociative Identity Disorder

Because people with DID have a history of childhood trauma, they are more susceptible to age regression. When people with DID age regress, it's not always a full dissociation or switch to another alter. They may feel like themselves, but yet not feel the right age. They may talk in a more childlike voice and have childlike mannerisms. Sometimes they are aware of these changes, but they don't feel like they have control of them. Other times, they are fully dissociated and not aware that they have regressed. They may look in a mirror and not see themselves.

It is also possible to age regress while experiencing a flashback. These instances are especially difficult because it can lead to reliving the trauma, which can increase suffering and keep the person stuck in a dissociative state.

Tips For Managing Age Regression in DID

While it's not possible to prevent age regression entirely, there are ways to manage and cope when it does happen.

Safety scripts are useful for those who experience age regression and flashbacks frequently. What the safety script says is up to the person and his or her needs, but including "My name is . . ." "I am [however many] years old." and "I am safe." are good statements to include. Keep the safety script in an easily accessible place, like a wallet, bag, or desk drawer, so you can read it when you feel yourself regressing.

Another way of coping with age regression is age progression. Try to determine what age you feel like you are. It's okay if you don't know the exact age -- take an educated guess. Then, work your way up slowly. If you feel like you are 10 years old, acknowledge that age and then slowly increase it at a pace that is comfortable for you, until you get to your actual age. Remind yourself that you are safe.

The best defense is to notice the warning signs. How do you feel before you experience age regression? What are the changes in your body? How does your mind feel? When you start to notice the signs, you can begin working on a plan to keep you as safe as possible when it does happen.

Lastly, don't be afraid to utilize your support systems. Let them know the signs of your experience with age regression. Tell them how they can help you get back to the present moment.

When you have DID, you won't always feel your age. But there is a way to get back to being yourself.

APA Reference
Matulewicz, C. (2017, November 30). Age Regression in Dissociative Identity Disorder, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, May 27 from

Author: Crystalie Matulewicz

Crystalie is the founder of PAFPAC, is a published author and the writer of Life Without Hurt. She has a BA in psychology and will soon have an MS in Experimental Psychology, with a focus on trauma. Crystalie manages life with PTSD, DID, major depression, and an eating disorder. You can find Crystalie on FacebookGoogle+, and Twitter.

November, 18 2018 at 11:03 pm

do you remember things when you seem younger? I have been diagonsesd with DID and have been told that my parts arent other people but different ages of myself and that I switch to them. Its just that I never remember switching. I do find letters that I have writen in younger hand writing and things that I have gotten from the store that I would have of never of gotten like stuffed animals and toys and kid stuff and some stuff that a teenage girl would like. Apperently I have about 7 different ages that I switch into.

Libby Lou
May, 15 2019 at 1:08 am

I don't think it's a kink either. I think that the only thing that makes it 'seem' like a kink is that the only way to make connections with others with similar feelings is to go to kink sites that accommodate age regression. I am a chronic age regressor and have made contact with a few people and most of us have the same's a coping mechanism to deal with our traumatic past. I've done alcohol abuse, ,eating disorders, self harm, all of which I am recovered from, but age regression works well for me and even my support teams are seeing an overwhelming change in my state of mind, mosyt of which has been very positive.

Brittney G.
December, 30 2020 at 8:11 am

To Mystic-I am a girl,17.When i started puberty before 13,i started bedwetting because of it! My parents got me cloth diapers,diaper pins and rubberpants[plasticpants]to wear to bed every night to keep my bed dry.A half hour before bed time,i would lay naked on my bed and mom would slide the cloth diapers under me,apply the baby lotion and babypowder,then pin the diapers on me.I would then raise up my legs and she would pull the adult size rubberpants up my legs and over the diapers and adjust them.I got to feeling like a baby laying there while she was diapering me,and after i was in bed,i would suck my thumb and feel like a baby!Since mom had bought my rubberpants in pastels and babyprints,i felt even more like a baby when she would put the babyprint one on me over my diapers.For Easter when i was 13,mom had me wear the diapers and rubberpants under my cute easter dress for the day and i loved the feeling!For christmas,she did the samething on christmas day under my holiday dresses.As time went on,i became more like a baby and then started using a pacifier after i was in bed before 15!My bedwetting ended just before i turned 16,and i told mom i wanted to continue on wearing the diapers and rubberpants and she said ok! Now at 17,i wear my diapers and rubberpants to bed and around the house mostly,and for easter and christmas.I use my pacifierfrequently and relieve stress in my life as a baby!

Patricia L.
April, 8 2023 at 8:30 am

I attended a friends wedding last saturday and the flowergirl looked to be around 12 or 13.She was wearing a sleeveless,poofy,top of the knees,white dress with a headwreath with ribbons down the back,lace anklets and white shoes.She looked quite cute in her outfit! After the ceremony,i went to the womens room and after i finished my business and was redoing my make up,the flowergirl and her mom came in.The mom put the diaper changing table down and her daughter got on it and laid on her back.I was watching as the mom brought the dress up and saw the girl had a cloth diaper and ruffled plastic pants on.The mom pulled the rubberpants down past the knees,then unpinned the cloth diaper and removed it.I asked the mom if she did the diaper and rubberpants on her daughter in case she had an accident and she said no,that she always diapers her daughter for special occasions and holidays.The mom then sprinkled babypowder on her daughter and then pulled the ruffled rubberpants back up and they left.

June, 9 2022 at 8:56 am

I can just about understand what's being said here.
i am nearly always part-regressed. My wife told me she was fed up with the changes happening so she's put me in nappies and plastic pants all the time now and looks after me. i feel very little.

France Leandre
August, 27 2018 at 1:56 pm

Do you have any references that you can share?

July, 11 2018 at 12:54 pm

So now I get that I am actually age regressing because if I am littles then it's a alter right? Like another me? I'm now trying to explore this world by myself because like this year I just knew it and some months ago I broke up with my bf while the only one who knows and tends to my need was him. Any suggestion for me to cope with this alone bcs like I've been suppressing it all these months and it's kinda sad though sometimes I want to let it out.

June, 25 2018 at 12:01 am

Hey I've recently gotten into a relationship with a guy that age regresses into a 3 year old.without sounding rude or inconsiderate,how can I help him get over this or through it so that he doesn't regress? I'm trying to be supportive and help him get past it so that it doesn't rule his life.

Michael Willis
June, 26 2018 at 5:48 am

In my honest opinion I myself think that it's not a good idea to help someone get past something if it's our problem as their partner I'm not their problem as an individual because a lot of age regressors do it because it's their safe place it's the last place of peace and innocence I myself and married to an amazing woman that has disassociative identity disorder she has 9 personalities and unless they cause her a problem or they're dangerous to her then I would never dream of changing her or her Alters her mind's created them for a purpose and one of them is 3 years old 1 is 11 and the rest are adult age and no matter which one they're in at any given time it's taking me a little while to get all the personalities confident and comfortable enough 2 conversate with me and confide in me but now that I have her trust in every form I found it that's the best way that I can help because she comes to me for comfort safety and advise because I'm understanding and not attempting to change her or her safe place no matter how frustrating or irritating one of the personalities can be it's an issue that she deals with daily so if you think it annoys and bothers you imagine what it's like for them every single day to never know who you're going to be next I know when it's going to change at any given moment and the greatest thing that I've ever done as build her confidence up to where she loves herself it would be cruel for me to take away the love for herself Supercross some things about one of her personalities wasn't fitting for me or bothered me if that was the case I'd say I didn't really love her so honestly the best I can explain to you from my own personal experience is don't help him change it or get over it helping embrace it and show him that there is absolutely nothing wrong with his alter if that's where he feels safe or comfortable then show him that you support him so that he feels that he has someone besides himself I need doesn't feel alone like I said this is all subjective and my opinion but I can tell you that I saved an amazing woman's life and she went from trying to kill herself daily coming out of a bad marriage 2 actually coming off of it medications now and smiles and laughs everyday and will tell anybody that for the first time in her life she's happy and feels free and loves who she is and that is the greatest feeling in the world to me to know that I was able to give that to her simply by showing her that it's okay to be herself no matter how young or irritable or whatever it is that it does just let him be there self you'd be amazed how much just showing them support for that will do I hope this helps if you have any questions feel free to email me me and her both enjoy reaching out to people that have issues or are dealing with similar life experience life and let people know that there is hope Eid isn't something that you have to give up because of you can live happy with it

February, 11 2019 at 1:42 am

So very well put articulated and a lot of thought went into your post here Michael.
I've been diagnosed with did age regression I regress to 14 years old and it's been going on most of my adult life but just recently finally got it diagnosed and it clear and so many things up for my wife and I on so many levels. As long as the age regressor isn't putting an undue over the top experience constantly on the other in the relationship it's already hard enough to contemplate an actual LTR with that knowing it going into the relationship
I don't know I think it could be a real deal breaker for most once they really get an idea of what it can entail for the extremes.
for myself it doesn't work that way, it's I'm able to know when I'm there it's the most odd feeling it's it's hard to function it's hard to maintain a train of thought of anything because I'm just so hyper-focused on the staying in contact with the {{me}} that is not regressed/ but 14 years of age isn't bad at all it's certainly a lot better than two or three oh my goodness I couldn't imagine that

June, 11 2018 at 7:58 pm

I myself am an age regressor, and can easily say there is nothing wrong with being one. im not trying to sound rude when I say this, but hear me out. when regressing, its ones safe place, and or safe state of mind, and there is nothing wrong with it. you shouldn't feel wrong for it, because its actually quite common. also, age regression is also not 100% of the time linked to DID, but is more commonly linked to childhood trauma, like you said. but, its better to let yourself regress rather than attempting to force yourself out if it. you can't really sit here and write and article about something unless you've experienced it first hand whether that be yourself or someone you know regressing.

June, 2 2018 at 10:43 pm

Hey my name is Haley. I have moments when I feel like I’m two years old. I don’t really want to talk and all I want is to be held. Then it’s frustraiting because I don’t have any one to do that. When I’m angry I feel like an impulsive ten year old...but after I throw my fit I get sad and feel like I’m 2 again. Could I have DID?

clarice A.
September, 27 2019 at 7:56 am

To Haley- I am a girl in my late teens.I was never baptized as a baby,so when i was 14,my parents finially had me baptized at Easter vigil on Easter sunday with all the other preteens and teens.All of us girls had to wear the required white,poofy,short sleeve,top of the knees baptism dress and bonnet,with a tee shirt,cloth diapers,plastic pants under our dresses and lace anklets and white 'mary jane'shoes.My mom and gramma dressed me in the outfit and i felt like a little toddler girl!I liked the feeling of being like a baby or toddler and everyone thought i looked very cute! Later that summer,i was in a wedding as the senior flowergirl and i told mom i wanted to wear my baptism diaper and plastic pants under my flowergirl dress,so she put them on me.The next May when i was 15,i made my First Holy Communion with the other kids and us girls had to wear our baptism diaper,plastic pants and tee shirt under our communion dresses.Again,i felt like a toddler and loved the feeling!After my party was over,i got up on my dads lap and he cuddled me and i felt so happy and content! I started wearing the diaper and plastic pants and tee shirt more often after that and even to bed at night sometimes and before i would get into bed ,dad would cuddle me.I am now 18.going on 19 and still like wearing my diaper and plastic pants and feeling like a baby and being cuddled.

March, 15 2020 at 8:06 am

I finially made my First Holy Communion at age 15 with the class of 2nd graders! My parents,along with my gramma and aunt bought my communion outfit and told me i would be dressed as a little girl! They got me a short sleeve,quite poofy,top of the knees communion dress and veil with lace anklets and white 'mary jane' shoes.They then got me a white tee shirt to waer as my top under my dress and then a cloth diaper was made for me from sewing a package of baby diapers together to make the one diaper.They got a pair of white adult size plastic pants to go over the diaper which fit me loose and crinkled! The morning of the ceremony,i was put into the outfit and joined my class.I felt somewhat weird being 15 and dressed like the little girls.The plastic pants over my diaper crinkled the whole time when i walked and mom and gramma and aunt thought it was so cute!My boyfriend,Justin,who was 16,came to my party and was blown away by the fact that i was like a 'little girl'! After my party we were alone and started kissing and after a few minutes he put his hand under my communion dress and felt my diaper and plastic pants and became very aroused!Sadly to say,he got my communion dress off of me and got me to my knees and made me give him oral sex!

James O.
September, 9 2020 at 9:22 am

To Hannah and Clarice-Both of you were dressed correctly for your First Holy Communions! At my parish,the girls are required to wear the cloth diaper and plastic pants and white tee shirt under their poofy white dresses for baptisms,First Holy Communion and Confirmation! They are especially required for the teen girls since they are the ones who become sexually active and the cloth diapers and plastic pants and tee shirt send them a message that purity and innocence is perfectly acceptable before marriage!

Libby and Lacey P.
October, 26 2020 at 8:27 am

This is a true story and actually happened to me and my twin sister! We grew up in a medium size town in central Illinois.When sis and i were 15 our parents decided to join the local catholic parish in town.We were told that sis and i would have to recieve our first sacrement of baptism upon joining,then make our First Holy Communion a year later.The Baptism director told us and our parents that our baptisms would be done during sunday mass.Me and sis and our parents were then handed a sheet of paper listing our required all white baptism outfit.The Baptism director went over the list with us and sis and i were shocked to see what we had to wear! The required outfit was a white,knee length,short sleeve baptism gown with a matching bonnet,white tee shirt,cloth diaper,rubberpants [plasticpants],white tights and white mary jane style shoes!She told us that since we were new,that we had to be like babies joining gods family.Sis and i were quite upset! Our parents ordered identical gowns and bonnets for us and two pair of white,adult size rubberpants.We had to get the tee shirts,diapers and the tights and shoes!Our baptisms were set for three weeks later. With in the next two weeks,we got the tee shirts,high waist tights,two packages of the 24x27 inch cloth diapers and diaper pins and the white mary jane style shoes.Mom sewed the 10 cloth diapers in each package together to make one diaper for each of us.The next week,our gowns,bonnets and the rubberpants came in and we went to the parish and picked them up.The gowns were just like infant gowns only in tee size as were our bonnets and the rubberpants were just like babypants only in adult size!The weekend of our baptisms,mom took sis and i to get our hair and nails done,then we got ready for our party sunday after noon.Sunday morning,we went to the bridal dressing room where mom pinned the diaper on sis and i,then we put on the rubberpants,tights and tee shirt,then our gowns and last our bonnets.We both felt like over grown babies! Mom and dad took sis and i to the Baptism directors office to get checked out.We were then baptized as babies during mass and it was somewhat embarrassing!

Jacey H.
December, 17 2020 at 7:13 pm

To Haley-I am 17 and like you,i have periods when i also feel like i am two years old and want to held and cuddled! My dad is in the military so he is not around.I too throw fits and then feel like a two year old again! What helps me is,i have a 14 year old niece who is a bedwetter and wears cloth diapers and rubberpants to bed everynight.i have seen her wearing them and she looks like a toddler,as she wears a footed ,zip up the front,footed pajama.I took some of her diapers and rubberpants and when i am feeling down and like a two year old,i put on the diapers and rubberpants and regress to a two year old.My boyfriend cuddles me while i am wearing the diapers and rubberpants and after a while i feel much better! Maybe you might try them and see if they help you when you feel like a two year old.

Meredith Melton
April, 15 2018 at 7:48 am

Hi, I was in an abusive relationship all through high school and then some other things happened as well, I haven’t officially been diagnosed with PTSD but my therapist said it’s likely I have it and I saw that age regression can be part of that. I feel like I experience age regression constantly when I’m around my boyfriend wether I’m happy or angry or sad, and then when I leave I feel so awful and stupid for acting like such a child...he’s made comments about not acting like a child before because I guess I’m just frustrating in that state but I don’t know how to explain all this to him without sounding like I’m just making up you have any tips or ways I could talk to him about it?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 15 2018 at 2:45 pm

Talking to him about it can be difficult, especially if he doesn’t have a good understanding of mental health issues. If you are comfortable with it, it might be easier to talk to him about the PTSD before age regression specifically. Send him a few links of articles you find relate to you. Your therapist may even be able to help explain things to him.

April, 8 2018 at 1:59 pm

Hi- I was reading your article and saw that you mentioned age regression can also happen in other mental illnesses such as PTSD or MDD both of which I have. MDD is officially diagnosed; the PTSD is not official but my therapist says that it’s highly likely that I have it. I was just wondering if you had any articles that I could read about those associations with regression as opposed to just in DID or if it acts the same way. Thank you very much!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 15 2018 at 2:46 pm

I don’t have any articles talking specifically about age regression within MDD, but the mechanisms are the same. You can use the same methods to reverse the regression as the ones listed in this article.

January, 15 2018 at 1:02 pm

I've gotten into a new relationship about 2 months ago. He's into the whole ddlg lifestyle. I'm aware that age play and age regression are two different things. How can I explain to him that when I regress it isn't in a sexual way? I get nervous around him when I feel like I'm getting PTSD triggers because I'm worried he will take it the wrong way. I don't mind what he is into. I'm into it to an extent as well. I just need to figure out how to help differentiate between the two since I don't go as far as to wear diapers or anything for age play. So I just think it will get misunderstood. I guess one way is that I feel in control with age play and with regression it just happens on its own. Usually I find my inward self as an adult and my outer self is childlike. Normally I feel a little the other way around. Is that normal to feel that way? Like to feel like I'm a child on the outside and an adult on the inside. Because I can still think like an adult. But what comes out in words or actions is childlike.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 15 2018 at 2:39 pm

Hi hi, I regress too but I have found in that community even if you are a regressor it can be kinda weird on where to start lace yourself. I found ddlg but I’m leaning more towards cgl ( I do have a caregiver when I do regress). Talk it out with him. My last person who was into ddlg took advantage of me when I slipped into little space (I regress about 4yrs to toddler) & no I don’t want wear diapers.
I usually feel little always have but couldn’t never figure out why until recently when I started regressing all of a sudden. Sorry if I’m rambling. All in all sit him down & go over things that you are comfy with also research. Best of luck?

January, 3 2018 at 6:28 pm

Hey so I don’t know if I have this or not but I was sexually abused and physically abused as a child from infant to 4 and got adopted at 6 and I find myself talking like a baby a lot more at the age of 20 and it it started at 16 . I twirl my hair like I used to when I was a kid and I currently find my saying mama while I’m like half asleep . My gf had Calle dme out on talking like a baby and being immature and I tell her I can’t help it and half the time I don’t even realize it . I don’t know what to do ! I have PTSD, ODD, ADHA, OCD

December, 23 2017 at 6:18 pm

Can people with DID let out their alters willingly and control when they come out ?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 28 2017 at 6:01 am

Hi Renzo,
Some people do say that they can control their alters in that way, but that’s not common. It is possible to reduce triggers that can lead to alters coming out, however. That takes a lot of time and work within your system to get to that point.

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