On my blog entry entitled Integrating from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): Receiving the Host Personality Into the Core, a reader posted the following comment:
So I guess i did my job pretty good and when it was safe, i let them out… but now what..? the [multiple] system wants to learn to work together to have a good life. what role do i play now that my job is over? is my job really over? where do i go from here? ~ Obs J–host (Jolson)
Let me start by stating that there are two groups of multiples/people with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) who have very different views of integration. One group believes that integration is the natural end result of healing (which is my own, personal view for myself) while the other group defines healing as finding ways for the alter parts to work together without integrating. I think the answer to this question is going to be different depending upon your own philosophy.
I am going to address this question from the perspective of seeing integration as a natural result of healing. I would very much appreciate anyone with a “no integration” philosophy to answer this question in the comments. In case this reader does not seek to integrate, I fear that my answer will not be particularly helpful.
One more disclaimer – Please note that I would never tell another child abuse survivor what is the “right” way to heal for him or her. Integration is right for me, but I respect that other child abuse survivors have found ways to feel “healed” (or “healing”) while continuing to stay a multiple.
My host personality’s name was Faye. I woke up one day at age 7 and did not know who I was, only that I was not Annie. (My birth name was Faye Anne, and everyone called me Annie. Annie was the original child who went to sleep.) Faye chose the name “Faye” because it was my first name, and Faye insisted that everyone call her that.
Faye’s job was to remain very innocent. Faye had no idea about the abuse and could have easily passed a lie detector test about it. She did her job very well. Faye is also the one who was open to receiving alter parts (when I was ready to begin healing) and got into therapy. Once Faye became aware of being raped by men (the memory I buried the deepest), I no longer had a need for Faye to remain separate, and I integrated her.
What Faye felt was intense relief. The days after “learning” about the rapes but before integration were very hard for her. She was inconsolable. However, the moment my core “received” her through love, acceptance, and appreciation, her pain instantly ended. The reason is that the core always knew this truth – it was only Faye who had been kept in the dark. Once Faye could experience the “bigger picture” from the perspective of the core, there was nothing to grieve.
Faye is now a part of my core. The best analogy I have is pouring a bucket of salt water back into the ocean – it was once separate, but it is now back where it belongs as a part of a mighty ocean.
Photo credit: Hekatekris