There are a number of different terms for systems in general and that our system uses specifically. Click here to jump to our personal terms.
General System Terms
A system that formed as an adaptation to stress or trauma.
Alter, Part, Headmate, System Member, etc
The members of a system/collective/etc. Different groups will prefer different terms. Our system prefers headmate or system member.
An architect is someone who has a large amount of control over the structure of a layer in headspace, or over the structure of headspace in general.
A big or sysadult is a member of a system who is mentally, and physically within the headspace, an adult. The exact age range in which someone is considered a big or sysadult depends on the system. For us, a big is approximately 18 to ageless, with the caveat that it is up to the headmate in question whether they are a big or a middle at 18 or 19, as different headmates at this age have different opinions.
A caretaker is someone who focuses on taking care of headmates. Some caretakers may focus on caring for littles or middles, while others may focus on caring for traumaholders or frequent fronters. A caretaker's job is chiefly to make sure those they're caring for feel safe and happy.
The term for when multiple people are in front, usually with one specific person being primarily in control and other others giving input on what's going on.
A system that was formed on purpose.
When a member of the system goes dormant, it means they are unreachable by other members of the system. Dormancy can last any amount of time, from a night to multiple years. It is very common for those who are returning from dormancy to return changed in some way, generally depending on why they went dormant to determine what kind of change will happen.
An Endogenic system is one that did not form from trauma.
System, Collective, Etc.
Multiple beings sharing a single body. Different ones will prefer different terms; we prefer system or collective.
Fronting refers to being in control of the body. The front room is the place headmates go to control the body.
When someone is frontstuck, they are unable to leave front. Members can become frontstuck due to a number of reasons, from stress to high emotions to simply the brain being too used to that person being in front.
A gatekeeper is a member of a system who can control who fronts or has access to the front room. They also generally control access to memories tied to the body, and are sometimes able to "hand out" the skills the body knows to different headmates so they can use those skills while in front.
A host is a headmate who fronts the most and is generally recognized to be largely in charge of the body's life. Some systems will have more than one host, and some systems have no host. It is important to note that the host is not the most important member of a system; they are simply the member of the system who interacts with the outside world the most.
Headspace is the term for the place that exists inside a system's mind where headmates spend their time away from front. Not all systems have a headspace, and they can vary greatly. You do not have to be a system to have a headspace, either; it is simply more discussed within the plural community.
An Introject is a member of a system who was formed from an existing source. They could be from a fictional piece of media, which would be called a fictive, from real life, which would be called a factive, they could be a mix of the two, which could be called a fuzztive, fogtive, or fucktive. There are a great many more granular types of introjects, but the general way to identify them is that they usually all end in -tive and will have what the type of source is as the first half. For example, a songtive is a headmate who formed from a song.
A layer is a distinctly separate area of the headspace. It is usually hard to travel and communicate between layers.
A little or syskid is a member of a system who is mentally, and physically within the headspace, a child. The exact age range in which someone is considered a little or syskid depends on the system. For us, a little is a headmate who is about 12 years old or younger, with the caveat that it is up to the headmate in question whether they are a little or middle at 12, as different headmates at this age have different opinions.
A middle or systeen is a member of a system who is mentally, and physically within the headspace, a teen. The exact age range in which someone is considered a little or syskid depends on the system. For us, a middle is about 12 years old to 19 years old, with the caveat that it is up to the headmate in question whether they are a little or middle at 12, or a middle or big at 18 or 19, as different headmates at this age have different opinions.
A system where the 'front' is constantly occupied by a non-entity known as the "Monoconscious". Fronting may resemble "becoming" someone else rather than "switching" between two people. To front in a monoconscious system, headmates will "click in" to the monoconscious. The monoconscious generally allows everyone to share the memories of what happens in front the instant they get near it with the drawback that it becomes harder for systems to switch between members to deal with stress, as the monoconscious generally holds a lot of the stress that happens to the front.
A system with no known source.
An NPC is a being within the headspace who does not have sentience and is not truly a member of the system. They usually exist to perform certain tasks or to 'fill out' the space. It is possible for an NPC to develop into a headmate, which is called a "Now-PC" by some.
A headmate who intentionally causes harm to a system. It is important to note that persecutors do what they do because they are trying to express an ignored need, or because they legitimately believe they are helping. It is important to work with persecutors to figure out why they do what they do, and try to figure out how they can co-exist more peacefully with the system. Never try to assign the role of persecutor to a headmate without their permission.
A system that is very large, typically with multiple layers and/or disruption in communication.
A protector is a headmate who acts to protect other members of the system, internally or externally. They may have a specialty or they may just be a defender in general.
The personality or persona put on by the system to pass as a singlet. This might correspond to the host, or it could be a collective identity.
A person who is not plural.
A spokesperson is someone who talks for other members of the system due to that person being nonverbal, having difficulty communicating the issue, or simply not wanting to say it themselves.
A system that formed spontaneously, with no obvious reason.
A subsystem is a system within a system. This can be a group of headmates that are far closer than other members of the system, or it could be a group of headmates who are unable to act independently of each other.
A Traumagenic system is one that formed due to trauma.
Tulpamancy, or Paromancy, is the act of shaping the mind. It can be used to form headmates, to shape the headspace, or to change the general functioning of a system.
Our Personal Terms
An admin is a member of the system who attempts to manage the needs of others in the system, making sure everyone's needs are met and there is as little fighitng as possible. Admins have the ability to lock other members of the system away if they are deemed too much of a threat to everyone else, but this option is avoided whenever possible. Admins also have the task if interfacing with Architects and helping them build the things that would be most helpful for the safety and happiness of their layer.
A companion is a headmate who's role is to accompany a specific other member of the system and help them out, acting as a personal protector and comforter. Companions usually have the ability to pull the person they're protecting from front if things start to go wrong.
A figment is a type of NPC. Figments generally have no eyes actual eyes or nose, simply the vague impression of them and a mouth. Figments are usually filler and simple task workers, filling out a role and doing nothing beyond it. Figments do not have names or a sense of individuality, and are considered to be controlled by the subconscious. Figments can be humans or animals.
An impression is a type of NPC. Impressions take the form of a notable individual from an introject's past, and will act in accordance with that introjects memories. Impressions usually look almost exactly like the individual they are based on, with the exception that their eyes are obscured by a shadow. Impressions do not show any sign of actual sentience, and will respond to attempts to interact with them with the most appropriate sentiment from their source. Impressions are usually human, though it is possible for them to be animals.
A network is a group of people in the system who are connected for some reason or another. The most common reasons for people to be in a network are sharing a source or layer. Most members of the system are in multiple networks, and will often form temporary networks to hang out with others. Often when trying to reach someone, it can be easier to find someone on the same network as them to reach out to them than to find the individual themself.
Organizer is very similar to the admin role, with the exception that organizers are unable to 'lock up' other headmates.
A paracule is similar to a polycule, being multiple people dating each other, with the exception that the exact nature of the 'relationship web' is heavily determined by the current timeline the members are currently part of. Paracules are common in introjects from dating sims.
"Root" refers to our subconscious. Very few people have strong Root access, mostly just admins and architects.
A member of the system who manages a trauma well, preventing the emotions in said well from spilling over and affecting the rest of the system. Some Shadowguards are able to interact with the inhabitants of their trauma wells, and will attempt to work with the inhabitants to get them to a place where they feel able to leave the well and begin healing with the rest of the system.
When the system gets overly stressed by outerworld issues, it becomes nigh impossible to hold onto identity in the front, as the brain attempts to protect itself by masking, or pretending to be 'normal', as hard as possible, which forces the person in front to stop identifying as themselves and only identify as the body while in front. This is a coping mechanism that arose from needing to maintain 'normality' while highly stressed at school, though the usefulness of it nowadays is highly debatable.
When members of the system suffer traumatic events, if they are unable to cope with the pain of what happened they will sometimes attempt to create a 'hiding place' within the system to tuck themselves away from the world. Unfortunately, many of these hidings places become traps for the members who created them, leaving them stuck in the very things they feared and were running from. Untended trauma wells leak negative emotions into the surrounding area, infesting all those nearby.