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Posts Tagged ‘What happens after integration?’

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

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On my blog entry entitled Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): What is Integration?, a reader posted the following comment:

I am scared to integrate, will I have all the memories and feelings? I am scared of the feelings as the other parts of me have been writing what happened to them, but for the first time they have been writing about there feelings. I see the parts and feel there feelings and it makes me cry, I never feel I am like a robot and I definately don’t cry. I still say it happened to them and not to me. ~ Maureen

One of the biggest hurdles of healing from DID or any other type of dissociative disorder is accepting the reality that these terrible things happened “to me.” I went around and around in my head over this issue. I had separated my host personality (the part I saw as “me”) so completely from the memories of the abuse that I had a very difficult time accepting the reality that it wasn’t “her” who was hurt – it was “me.” It was my body that was harmed, and “her” memories are “my” memories.

The reason for splitting into DID (or other dissociative disorders) in the first place is to “escape” from the abuse. As a young child, I did not have the power to flee from the abuse, but I could (and did) flee in my own head. Until I chose to heal, the abuse seemed so foreign to me. I was stoic and rarely felt anything deeply other than an underlying current of sadness and lots of anxiety. I rarely experienced anger or joy.

You are “them,” and “they” are you. The abuse happened to one person in one body, not to 10 or 50 people “sharing a body.” Having an “army” in your head helped you feel less alone when the abuse was happening, but the reality is that you were one little girl being tortured by your abusers. You did the only thing you could to survive it – you split your consciousness so you could pretend like the abuse never happened to you…but it did.

When you integrate from DID, you accept all of the memories, experiences, flashbacks, and emotions as “mine.” They are already all yours, but you have chosen (for good reason) to keep each part feeling separate inside of yourself. Healing from any form of trauma involves learning how to love and accept each memory and emotion as “mine.” As you do this, you integrate as a natural part of the healing process.

Your natural state is as a whole person who loves and accepts herself as she is. This acceptance includes all of the emotions and pain you have experienced.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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