Inner Dialogue

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    Gollum: You're a liar and a thief.
    Smeagol: No!
    Gollum: Murderer.
    Smeagol: Go away!
    Gollum: "Go away?"

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

    It seems that in fiction split personalities can talk to each other, manifesting as Hearing Voices. Never mind that only one of them is "awake" at one time, the other(s) being separated until they think they need to come "forward". Never mind that they are completely different people, with different opinions, experiences, and beliefs caused by each only seeing one part of the picture. A character with split personality also seems to be split between good and evil, like an Evil Twin, even though split personalities are often many "people"—such as the protector, snob, scared one, bitter one, etc.

    Not to be confused with Talking to Himself or Thinking Out Loud. Compare Holding Both Sides of the Conversation, where one person is pretending to be two different people (at the same time, in conversation) in order to maintain some charade.

    Truth in Television for some people with Multiple Personalities, because the degree to which different personalities are aware of each other varies with the individual. In fact, for those who aren't aware of each other, this is often a therapy goal because they can finally negotiate and share information.

    Examples of Inner Dialogue include:

    Anime and Manga

    • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Allelujah's personalities talk and yell at each other during times of stress. The more violent one has a tendency to torment the calmer personality if he can't seize control or thinks it would be funner to watch the calmer one squirm. It is implied that the violent personality was somehow artificially implanted.
    • Yaya gets this with Nana in Othello after she is aware of her split personality.
    • Subverted in Kara no Kyoukai:: a key part of the plot revolves around Shiki's split personality (and the consequences of its death), but Tohko correctly notes that what she has cannot be called split personalities, as they're far too independent and separate from each other (see quote).

    Shiki: "There's nothing funny about having a dual personality."
    Tohko: "No, no. You know, you two don't have anything as pleasing to look at as dissociative identity disorder. Existing simultaneously, each having their own unique will, and on top of that your actions are coordinated. That sort of complex personality shouldn't be called a 'dissociated identity,' but rather a 'united independent personality.'"

    • Zetsu from Naruto also has a easygoing, carefree side, and a very calculating side, both evil. In the dub, they originally even had their own individual voice actor. And can even split apart.
      • Naruto and his shadow clones talk to one another as if they actually have the same personality but different identities. It's never clearly explained exactly what a shadow clone is, other than the solid version of a clone technique.[1]
    • A woman in Paranoia Agent receives messages on her answering machine from her other personality. Later, as her grasp on reality becomes weaker, she gets actual phone calls, and hallucinates a physical fight.
    • Moka in Rosario + Vampire occasionally communicates with her inner self via her Power Limiter.
    • Everyone with a Yami side in Yu-Gi-Oh! and GX: Yugi and Atem, Malik and Yami Malik, Fubuki and Darkness, Saiou and the Light of Ruin... Of course, in most cases these are actually separate characters, who inhabit the bodies of the regular ones.
    • Sensui from Yu Yu Hakusho has arguments with himself on who gets to fight Urameshi.
    • Ren and Run from To LOVE-Ru: occasionally one of them will demand that the other "Turn into me!" so the one making the demand can put moves on the object of his or her affection. This demand is typically refused with the words "Go back to sleep!"
    • In Bleach, Ichigo's inner Hollow seemed to enjoy tormenting him by popping up at the worst possible time and demanding to take over and "finish the fight". Thankfully, Ichigo reined him in.
    • In Keroro Gunsou, Momoka and "the Other Momoka" do this sometimes. We later learn her mother Ouka has a similar situation.
    • Change 123: Motoko has three other personalities that are master martial artists. When they emerge, they are fully aware of the two others, but Motoko herself is unable to communicate with them. This frequently causes problems when she 'wakes up' and has no idea of her current situation.
    • In Birdy the Mighty, Birdy and Tsutomu often talk to each other, and characters around them tend to think that they've gone crazy and are talking to themselves, but entirely retain their own personalities. In the manga this is even taken so far as Tsutomu not understanding Birdy's superior's speaking, while Birdy herself can.
    • Agito, Akito and Lind of Air Gear all inhabit the same body and talk to each other occasionally.
    • In Princess Tutu, after Mytho's heart is poisoned by the Raven's blood, he often asks "what the other him inside of him wants," and protests its actions.
    • Viro in Elemental Gelade is a spy with the bad fortune to fall for her target. Even worse, he's already an Official Couple with Ren. Just when things look like they can't get any worse, she gets the order to kill him. Faced with killing her new friends or a lifetime of unrequited love as a Sting Raid, she gets into an argument with hallucinations of herself as a Sting Raid (complete with a hot outfit) and as a human.
    • In One Piece, during the Thriller Bark arc, Usopp has a conversation with his alter ego Sogeking.
    • The song "Morning Dreamer" from Angel Beats! is about Yui (the one singing the song) not wanting to get up in the morning, but having to, and asking someone to heat the bath, buy a new guitar string to replace a broken one, etc. The song ends with Yui saying "Anyway, who have I been talking to when I live alone?"

    Comic Books

    • Batman's Two-Face.
      • Also, the Ventriloquist and Scarface. The Ventriloquist firmly believes that the puppet Mr. Scarface is alive, but he's the one controlling and voicing him the entire time. This actually makes the character very tragic, as the Ventriloquist himself is a mild-mannered and reasonably nice person bound into an abusive relationship with himself.
        • Or Scarface might actually BE alive and a vessel of the evils over 300 hanged men committed. Or something. It varies. though with the original Ventriloquist now dead and a female replacement having shown up, it's somewhat more credible, although she's visibly as crazy as the original. Scarface's explanation is simply that he was looking for a more comfortable place to sit.
    • Bruce Banner and his many personalities have done this, but generally only the ones not "active" at the time. At one point it was lampshaded that it was just a metaphor for his inner struggle and he was just imagining it.
    • The Badger, protagonist of Mike Baron's super-hero spoof of the same name, had several extra personalities that would sometimes communicate with each other.
    • Deadpool does that in a way that Breaks the Fourth Wall: he has entire discussions with his own thought boxes. Of which he has two distinct sets: the first set was originally the standard yellow narration boxes often seen in comics, except that he interacts with them. Some time in the 2000's, a second set appeared, white boxes written in Courier, as though it was being written on a typewriter. Thus far, the two voices haven't developed seperate personalities, and bear a suspicious resemblence to Crow and Tom Servo. This being Deadpool, he is aware that the reader can see them.

    Fan Works

    • Luminosity's Elspeth has this as a manifestation of her witch power. And can make more if need be.


    • Fight Club
    • In Spider-Man, Osborn Sr. talked to his Green Goblin personality in his mirror.
    • Gollum/Smeagol in The Lord of the Rings.
    • In Mr. Brooks, the main character Earl Brooks is a serial killer who habitually converses with his alter ego Marshal. They argue over the merits of committing suicide, and even laugh at each other's jokes. They appear to have a healthier personal relationship than some brothers, rather than as adversaries.
    • Melinda Sordino in Speak. This only occurs in one scene and it's not so much between multiple personalities as between herself and her conscience.
    • Alan in Riding The Bullet.
    • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the two personalities of Dr. Jekyll communicate to each other in mirrors.
    • No dialogue, but in Pixar's short film Geri's Game, an old man plays chess with himself. He plays white as a cautious, easily-intimidated but victorious through cheating player and black as a gleefully-aggressive one. He doesn't seem to be mentally ill, just fooling around by staying in-character very well ... so much so that, when the white player fakes a heart attack, the black player believes it.
    • The different personalities of the Ripper in My Soul to Take appear to be able to do this.


    • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Mirror Dance, when Mark develops split personalities, they not only talk but actively choose which personality will be in control at a given time.
    • In The Truth, Altogether Andrews of the Discworld beggars has eight personalities (none of them, oddly enough, named Andrews). Each one gets a vote when the crew is deciding something. Except for Burke. Nobody wants to see Burke again.
      • And Agnes Nitt can't have a single thought without Perdita arguing with it.
    • One memorable sequence in The Lord of the Rings features Gollum arguing with himself—a concept transferred rather successfully to the movies.
    • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novels, the different incarnations of the Doctor have been known to pop up and argue with each other.
    • Edgar of Edgar and Ellen doesn't have a split personality, but he starts doing this in Split Ends to keep himself company.
    • In "Beyond the Barrier" by Damon Knight a creature that has spent many years hiding inside, and as, a human can no longer shake that side of himself. He is challenged to do what the human would do and not what he wants to do
    • In Michael Flynn's Up Jim River, Donovan. His multiple personalities were induced deliberately, but the manner was bungled—also, perhaps, deliberately.

    Live Action TV

    • In the final episodes of season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the arguments between Glory and Ben, though in this case they are distinct characters with different actors who just happen to be sharing a body.
    • Alpha from Dollhouse regularly engages in arguments between the various imprinted personalities within his mind.
      • More justified than most, because he's not a normal case, but rather somebody with multiple artificial personalities. As such all of them are constantly "on." Also, he actually does have a few personalities with schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder, but it doesn't seem that the personalities with actual mental disorders can talk to themselves.
    • Niki/Jessica from Heroes.
      • In Volume Four, Sylar starts to have conversations with his dead mother. And since he has Voluntary Shapeshifting, he assumes her form for her side of the conversation, too.
    • Liz in Thirty Rock gets a case of Acquired Situational Narcissism after getting her own talk show, leading to a confrontation between "Performer Liz" and "Backstage Liz".
    • Happens occasionally in Kamen Rider Den-O as a consequence of four spirit creatures Sharing a Body with the main character.
      • And also in Kamen Rider Double, where the titular hero is made by having the consciousness of one person join with the body of another; this is represented by having Double's eyes flash on the side representing the person who's talking.
    • In an episode of Lie to Me, a girl with multiple personalities is able to share information, between one personality that witnessed a murder, and another that is capable of communicating with the team.
    • Jekyll: After being drugged, Jackman is more than a little surprised when Hyde is able to contact him.

    "How could you be phoning me?"
    "Jesus! I'm not phoning you. I'm in your head."

    • The Twilight Zone episode "Nervious Man in a Four Dollar Room", and The New Twilight Zone episode "Shatterday" starring Bruce Willis...and Bruce Willis.
    • Rutland Weekend Television had the fictional talk show 'Schizophrenia', in which the host regularly talked to himself regarding if it was his turn to present the guest or the other personality's turn.
    • Michelle did this in the final episode of Full House after she lost her memory and she ended up to talking to her inner self.
    • Criminal Minds. The season 2 episodes "The Big Game" and "Revelations" dealt with a man named Tobias Hankel (James Van Der Beek) who was abused by his psychotic father after his mother left for another man, telling him that everything he did was a sin and abused him by claiming he's doing "God's work". He ended up killing his father but he remained as a split personality of his, and when he murdered people he called himself "Raphael" which is one of the archangels. Sometimes he would argue with himself as his father and switch between the three personalities at random: as himself he was friendly and helpful, as Charles his father he was abusive and gave lectures, and as Raphael he would murder someone or force his hostages to choose which victims would live or die.
    • The Andromeda Ascendant and her avatar Rommie occasionally talk to each other. As do her holographic and monitor selfs.

    Hunt: "You know, talking to yourself is the first sign of insanity."
    Andromeda/Rommie (simultaneously): "Only for wetware."

    • A third-season episode of Babylon 5 has Doctor Franklin get stabbed while stopping someone from being killed in Down Below, and being left for dead. As he calls for help, he is answered... by a hallucination of himself, in all his Doctor Jerk glory. What ensues is a withering "The Reason You Suck" Speech, with Hallucination!Franklin telling Bleeding!Franklin that he is a failure, that he always runs away from his problems rather than face them, that if he had another chance, that he'd screw it all up anyways. This turns into a Rousing Speech after Franklin refuses to give up, even if it does mean failing more, as his hallucination drives him to drag himself, bleeding, to a populated part of the station to seek help.

    Tabletop Games

    • In Survival of the Fittest, Kaleigh Jones, Nessy Guthrie, and arguably Cillian Crowe go through this. Oddly, Kaleigh seemed to be able to decide which of her personalities was in control at any given time.


    • Overtones by Alice Gerstenberg.
    • The musical Jekyll and Hyde has "Jekyll" and "Hyde" do this. And, of course, they're both played by the same actor, who has to go through quite a bit of effort to make it feel like a dialogue between two different people.
    • Medea debates with herself out loud about whether or not to murder her children. She doesn't actually have multiple personalities but the scene bears striking similarities to many of these.

    Video Games

    • Fred/Napoleon Bonapare from Psychonauts, the latter being more a manifestation of Fred's crippling insecurities and low self-esteem. Fred's completely aware that Napoleon is a figment of his imagination, even though he can't make him go away. And he should know all about insanity, he used to be the orderly.
    • In Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines Therese and Jeanette Voerman have protracted and extremely noisy arguments- most of which are held behind closed doors.
    • Vayne Aurelius and his Super-Powered Evil Side at the end of Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis.
    • Pat (Tsukasa) in Mega Man Star Force has split personality disorder, and his hateful emotions manifest as a dark alter ego called Rey (Hikaru). When merged with Gemini, Pat and Rey become Gemini Spark White and Gemini Spark Black, respectively. (In the second game, he's able to wave change even though he's banished Rey from inside of him.)
    • Charon, a Ghoul companion the player can recruit in Fallout 3, is not canonically stated to have multiple personalities, but his back story is traumatic enough to allow for it and he does talk to himself as if more than one person is involved. He can be heard to say, "Over here!" and "Keep firing!" to himself when in conflict with enemies, and when sneaking or waiting for the player, he mutters indecipherably.
    • The main character in Deadly Premonition, Francis York Morgan, is continuously talking to the invisible "Zach", who appears to be an alternate personality and who may or may not be the player as well.
    • Best Friend Tabitha in Fallout: New Vegas. It's heavily implied that this is the case on her radio show, where she claims to be doing an interview with "Rhonda", only to say mournfully to herself later, "I still miss you, Rhonda, after all these years." Raul also refers to Rhonda as "Tabitha" briefly before hastily correcting himself.

    Web Comics / Web Originals

    • First off, there's been one occasion in Ansem Retort where Aerith's split personalities have addressed each other. And then there's the time Axel and Zexion hijack a plane and try to negotiate with the governor...Zexion.
    • The Whateley Universe has Jade. Justified in the fact that Jade's main power is in splitting off telekinetic manifestations of her soul/spirit - which makes it a lot easier for her to do that than it would for most people. Also either justified or subverted in that each manifestation does have the same memories and experiences as Jade when they first split off from her - it's only time that changes this. Too long away from each other tends to lead to Jade passing out when they reunite, due to Sensory Overload while her brain assimilates the memories.
    • In the Season 3 finale of The Guild, Cyd has a conversation with her avatar Codex in her imagination. Later in the episode, it's strongly implied that she's developing a genuine Split Personality.
    • Fan-made Twilight parody Twilight the Musical uses this comically. Edward Cullen must argue his evil reflection about whether or not he should eat Bella.
      • Further Hilarity Ensues in later episodes, when his schizo conversations grow to include more characters: a doll and cardboard stand-up of Robert Pattinson.
    • Cerene of Suppression does this in just about every scene where there's more than one of her. Probably doesn't help that she's naturally kind of a chatterbox and tends to argue with and snark at herself. This trope is especially prominent when she uses Mind Prism: Red Cerene and Grey Cerene tend to butt heads, and nobody seems to like Blue Cerene.
    • Tina of Wapsi Square does this a bit. She even argues about pizza toppings.
    • John and Poor Trotmann of The Word Weary have entire issues devoted to their one-man conversations, even going so far as to refer to themselves in the second person.
    • Each page (except for discussion and Troper Tales) on this site is supposed to look like it was written by the same person and therefore, tropers are not supposed to refer to themselves individually (by saying "I" or "This troper") or have arguments on trope pages. However, some tropers do this anyway and the page ends up looking like it was written by someone with a Split Personality who is Talking to Themself.
    • Dragon Ball Abridged has Piccolo do this after fusing with Nail, who remains a voice in Piccolo's head. Nail claims he'll fade away into Piccolo's subconscious eventually, but he shows no signs of this.
    • Jix and Remula and Lamerix and the Ambis do this a lot.
    • Dan Shive author of El Goonish Shive sketched this after arguing with himself on Twitter.

    Western Animation

    • South Park features Mr. Garrison engaged in constant dialogue with his puppet, Mr. Hat. Made even stranger by the fact that Mr. Hat would sometimes do things without Garrison's knowledge. Weirdly, Garrison understands that Mr. Twig is inanimate and only pretends to talk to him, while he sees Mr. Hat as a sentient being.
    • Norman Osborn/the Green Goblin from Spider-Man did it on occasion; the first movie contains such a scene, made all the more memorable by Willem Dafoe's excellent performance.
      • Spider-Man: The Animated Series featured it too, complete with use of mirrors. This version of Osborn is the closest the guy has ever come to being a decent man and parent, but his Goblin persona was as demented as usual.
    • Blitzwing of Transformers Animated is an odd case that isn't a good/evil split, but rather calm/angry/manic. All three are evil, but they tend to argue over the correct course of action. Oddly, this doesn't make him any less effective.
      • Blitzwing's arguments with himself are actually reasonably rare, as his personalities usually have the same objective. Clashes between his Icy and Hothead personas are usually solved by Random.
        • Though fans often like to make use of this fact: here
    • There's also the five-faced Alpha Q in Transformers Energon. Years of isolation inside Unicron drove him into insanity just to have someone to talk to. He does seem to have one core, real personality with a childlike voice. It isn't represented by a face but only manifests itself when he's got his jaws shut.
    • Coldstone in Gargoyles has three souls, which not only converse, but fight for dominance.
    • Twilight Sparkle in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic does this during a psychotic breakdown in "Lesson Zero". As a homage to The Lord of the Rings, it's done via reflective puddle, with her face representing one side of the argument and the face in the reflection representing the other.
      • Minor example in "Baby Cakes" when Pinkie converses with herself during her comedy act.

    Pinkie at drums: Woo, tough crowd.
    Pinkie on stage: Tell me about it.

    • Barry Dylan, in Archer talks to himself frequently, referring to himself as "Barry" and "Other Barry."
    • Foop in Fairly Oddparents suffers from this.
    • In the second season of Young Justice, this is how Blue Beetle's arguments with his sentient armor plays out, causing his teammates to think of him as a little bit... "special".
    • In Teen Titans, the appropriately named villain Billy Numerous can make hundreds of copies of himself, and they all tend to talk to each other this way.

    Real Life

    • In When Rabbit Howls, more or less an autobiography of Truddi Chase, who has multiple personality disorder, the author's various personalities have internal conversations with each other.
    • Many multiples in real life do this. When headmates are aware of each other internally, which can often mean the ability to communicate with each other inside their head, this is commonly known as being co-conscious. When they are less aware of each other, they will often use something such as post-its or a computer to send notes to each other.
    1. Supposedly, they are chakra constructs meant to imitate their creator in a way shadows imitate our movement.