An Expert’s Opinion about Integration

Of the professional therapists that I read on wordpress, Kathy Broady’s blog about dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder, is the one that I find most interesting. She recently did a post on integration that I wanted to provide a link to:

http://discussingdissociation.wordpress.com/2012/05/01/integration-a-new-category-and-nine-quick-opinions/

I briefly covered this topic in a past post here:

https://samruck2.wordpress.com/2010/11/16/out-with-integration-in-with-cooperation/

For those spouses and loved ones who have followed my blog, let me state that I find “integration,” as it is often presented to multiples, to be a deceptive goal. I don’t know about you, but I am a singleton and I still have voices in my head. And yet, integration is often presented to the host of a multiple network as a way to rid themselves of the unwanted voices. I hate to break it to my multiple readers, but having lived with my girls for the last 4 years, I now see “singletons” more properly as “non-dissociated multiples.” That realization has actually been quite enlightening about my own inner workings. I’m not saying there’s a cacophony in my head all the time because my voices have been working together for 45 years. But sometimes it IS noisy inside for me, too!

My girls HATE the word integration. In fact, I’ve never read any other insider on wordpress with a different opinion. Integration only seems to be embraced by hosts and therapists. Insiders, however, seem to see it as annihilation, and so I always assure my girls that I have worked to damn hard bringing life and healing to them to allow them to disappear. No integration for my girls!

So what is the goal we have for my wife’s healing? It is really two-fold. First we want to remove ALL dissociation between the girls. I tell the girls they are “real” but incomplete without the other girls. I have mentioned in other posts how different girls clearly have different mental, social and physical abilities. Thus if my wife wants to function like a “normal” woman, the first requirement is that all the girls in the network have to be present: no more insiders as they transition to the outside, no more dissociation. So the things I do now are geared toward healing the past trauma (the source of the dissociation) and then fostering teamwork as the healing progresses.

(Note: at this point 4 of the girls no longer consider themselves ‘insiders’: Amy, Alley, Shelly and K.A. They prefer to be outside and spend most of their time co-consciously with Karen and one another.)

The second goal is that the little girls MUST grow up. Though this seems to be objectionable to others with d.i.d., Karen and I are agreed upon this. Again I have noted in past posts that when the various inside girls were “frozen” in their dissociation, the abilities that each controlled were suspended in their developmental processes. Now, as we allow the little girls MAXIMUM outside time with me and our son to live and grow like a normal child, I have watched those personality skills restart the maturation process. And let me say it’s exciting as I see some of the missing personality traits that Karen never had begin to develop in the little girls.

Lastly, if you read Kathy’s post and the discussion that follows, you will see that she doesn’t have a very favorable view of a multiple’s ability to overcome their multiplicity and function like a singleton. She isn’t explicit by what she means, but I think we spouses can add an element to the healing journey that cannot be replicated in our absence. And I hope that the things this blog espouses just may be the missing key that has kept Kathy from seeing completely healed multiples. My girls aren’t there yet, so I guess only time will tell.

Anyway, if you’ve never read Kathy’s blog, I encourage you to do so, but never forget that a supportive and proactive spouse or loved one will be crucial to the complete healing of someone with d.i.d.

Blessings,

Sam, I Am

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jeffssong
    May 12, 2012 @ 22:03:31

    Hey Sam – thanks for the link! LOL – I hadn’t stumbled across her blog before. Glad to hear all’s okay on the home front!

    I think therapists and people often mistakenly pursue “integration” over”co-consciousness” with the idea that if they can suppress enough of the ‘alters’ – and fuse or ‘blend’ the others – then the job has been done. However, as Kathy points out in her blog, suppressed or ‘hidden’ just comes back to bite you in the ass; burying zombies only angers them, LOL! – and blended systems can come apart again, especially when under pressure. Far be it for me to say what is perfect for anyone (or anyone’s anyones, loling!) – but ‘for me’ it is a “thoroughly co-conscious system” with the ability to fluidly shift and switch and blend with anyone inside of the system – or pieces of myself able to shift places and “shift and blend” with one another more . . . fluidly? coherently? (this is a problem when ‘some’ are under the control of ‘others’, but not under ‘my’ control so to speak – a hard issue to resolve in some ways; getting ‘others’ to relinquish *their* control of ‘others’ or the ones under their control to *me* or some of my other system components) . . .

    But yes, it is as you say: DID is easily understood in some ways if ‘you’, the normal person, will only look inside at *yourself!* – and see and hear all those ‘parts’ of you yelling and screaming and debating and things . . . and then wonder what it would be like if all of those ‘parts’ came alive, kind of like living souls or something – each with their own emotions, opinions, attitudes, some of them at cross purposes with one another (perhaps; it depends on the conditions of one’s system). Which I also think singletons do – I think YOU all are a lot more like ME than I am like you . . . only I am more aware of it in some ways (in which case everyone is insane like me, LOL! Which makes me normal again, LOL!).

    I also read Kathy’s blog posting – agreed, commented, whutnot, LOL! Had a good time. Still working on a few things over here – but it’s hard! (sigh) still gotta go it alone . . . but wait! (lol!) . . .
    DID means I’m never alone . . . (big wide smile) – tell Karen & her kids I said “Haayyy!!” (use a deep southern drawl, LOL!) – and tell ’em “LOL!”.

    ’nuff said.

    Reply

  2. 3ofme and LLML
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 02:15:45

    Thank you Sam for sharing I am sitting here crying tears of relief to learn how I mis-understood the healing process. I have three identifiable personalities that we’re aware of. Though we expect more insiders. Recently I backed off on work, school and other responsibilities to focus on healing (hubby’s sugestion). But a few days ago I had a trigger that left me cowering in bed for two days. I could not leave the room, even to pee, but would just stay in bed at least until hubby came home. I didn’t know why I was feeling like this; so miserable, hurting, shameful, and fear almost to a state of panic. I wanted to die. My hubby got upset when I said so and we had a very big and dramatic fight. Hubby saw this state of mind and we both assumed the same thing “what is happening, why the regression in healing? Like starting all over again. Cops were called. Hubby and kids left. Relatives were disapointed in me. Said they can’t do this anymore I had to help myself. In my misery I felt the same; I can’t do it anymore either. After 3 years of misdiagnosis and medications I had done everything I could; followed all theraputic recomendations. After the diagnose of DID, within 3 months I had progressed more than ever. Finally things were improving, then one trigger sent me into a full blown panic for 48 hours? Didn’t make sence. And I was giving up just as everyone else had given up on me. I told my therapist, I’m done. No more. I won’t put anyone else thru it, nor myself. Therapist interupted and said, this is not regression, this is good; the way to healing, I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. Another personality was emerging, one that is carrying the full weight of the trama, pain and terror as if it had just occurred. She said a personality emerges only when it feels absolutely safe; when you are strong enough to deal with it, face it, and begin to heal. We only just started your therapy of DID a few weeks ago, sometimes it can take months or years to coax out your personalities. I couldn’t believe what she was saying, but as she said it, I knew it was true. In fact, my jersey girl personality had told hubby about it on the first day of seclusion. Therapist said “you are fortunate to have great support from your family”. And then I just cried. She didn’t know yet that they were gone. She scheduled an appointment for me and mentioned her fee. I cried harder. I don’t have any money. I don’t even know how I’m going to by food or pay the mortgage or phone. I will have to get a job, how will that fit into this healing process? Heal for what? The people I love are gone. My man who encouraged me and supported me in healing is gone. Am I God’s joke?! Forget about healing the past, how do I survive the new hurt right here and now?

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Jun 11, 2012 @ 12:36:14

      Hi 3ofme,

      If any of your family or relatives would be willing to visit me on this blog or email me at samruck2 at gmail dot com, I’d be happy to try to help them understand. I’m so sorry for your loss. This is hard for everyone, but if everyone sticks together, it’s possible to get thru it. You are welcome to tell them about me and my blog and how much family can help if they are willing to be a part of the process.

      Sam

      Reply

      • Sam Ruck
        Jun 11, 2012 @ 18:42:25

        3ofme,

        I’ve been thinking about your comment all day. If you are still watching this, your therapist was absolutely right about this being forward progress. The problem is most therapists don’t involve the family/spouses in the healing process so many of them get freaked like yours did instead of understandig HOW GOOD this actually could be. Could you get your therapist to contact your hubby/family and have a sit down with all of them so that they understand how things work?

        Sam

    • jeffssong
      Jun 12, 2012 @ 09:10:41

      Hey 3ofme & safe hugs from my crowd.

      “They” are right. It is “a good thing” when a ‘new’ alter appears. It is a part of you that went missing. A part of ‘you’. You are not ‘whole’ without them. We didn’t think it was ‘good’ but we learned. We learned to new ones with open arms – encouraging them to ‘come out’ when the clues that there is one missing is known. Such as our boy, “13”. A preteen in some ways. A lot of bad things happened to him. My wife is aware of things.

      I’m sorry your support system fell down; been there done that, and professionally speaking still am. Don’t have no therapist; haven’t had one in some years. (Insurance ran out.) Medicare is no good – one state clinic that they’ll approve. Out of 50 Dr’s in a 50 mile radius only 5 would see a male abuse survivor when I had insurance. 1 was disqualified based on their advertisement that read “Jesus Saves All”; another turned out to be a friend of my dad and he bowed out. The other 3 gave up. At the State hospital I scared one and angered another (psychoanalyzing him in front of his students; he was a very unhappy man) – so bad he sentenced me to another hospital for another week instead of letting me go. There one doctor said I scared him too badly due to the MK sort of thing, but after a week they wrote me off as “DID but really good.” LOL. I made a lot of friends.

      I’ve had to do it myself 99% of the time. And if truth be told: the therapist can only guide you. They can’t do it “for” you. You HAVE to “do it” yourself – retreating back into your head; querying and questioning and ‘looking’ for little ones – some of the missing ‘others’ and parts of you.. And that can be really hard.

      “Why should I go on?” That’s what that caught my attention in the 1st place and the reason I am writing.

      To put it quite simply: so you can love life and be happy later on. Because it can happen; life with DID can be good. Sure, ‘we’ have our down times, times when we get mad – but isn’t that ‘normal’ in a way? Isn’t that good?

      I got lucky. I was given the tools rather young; started ‘officially’ studying psychology when I was 13. I journaled a lot, though blogging can be better – as long as you are open and out front with *yourself*. I learned. I dug into myself over and over again – still doing it, trying to figure out what went on – and ‘who else’ is missing. Because I know there are several, mostly around 21-24. But I learned last year that ‘you and yours’ can get along, become more “co-dependent” and co-conscious, switching more fluidly and naturally – as well as when you want to! – which can be a wonderful thing. (I like it when I love switching to a child; it wasn’t always that way when I blamed him for everything.) when it comes to switching – learning to work along better, work as a ‘team’ – loving one another and feeling no shame nor placing any blame. Again: yeah – it *can* be good.

      Keep up the hope, and keep up the flame. Hope for the hope of hope sometimes. (I know how that feels.) But the emergence of a ‘new one’ IS progress. Try to love any emerging alter – encourage ‘them’ to come on board with welcome arms; *reassure* them ‘they’ are safe (in your arms if no others) – and ‘with you’. Our Jeff taught us how to begin. 🙂 ~kids smile . . . ‘he’ is our “mediator” . . . which, lol (adult again) – and we use for mediating disputes and whatnot – and for encouraging (and noticing) ‘little ones’ (or others) “hiding in the woodwork” or somewhere under the hood.

      It CAN be good and wonderful. It means a flexible mind. And often a stronger one than you think; sometimes . . . well, you just know. Or will. Wishing you (and yours!) – all the ‘luck’ in the world.

      Reply

  3. Nique and Gang
    Oct 01, 2013 @ 21:33:33

    After reading through this and the posts that followed, a few of us had some thoughts to share.

    First is something of a side note regarding therapist and family. I learned about my DID when in the heat of an argument my husband asked “If it wasn’t you, then who the heck was it” and I heard a very loud voice give a name. I went white and instantly into a panic attack. See, I had heard my “loud thoughts” all my life (I thought everyone had them) but I never had one actually speak in answer to a question from outside with a name I didn’t recognize. Well, off to a therapist for me/us. However, I refused to have any therapy without my husband not only present but also actively participating. Just as if my husband found out he had a physical disease and I would want to be present for every aspect possible, I wanted him present. I think that too many people don’t realize their rights. If a therapist is getting paid, then you are the customer and have a right to say “I want this”. I was so lucky that my therapist recognized he was not helping this entity alone, but the entity that is a couple as well. He knew that the support and involvement of family and especially a spouse is so important in feeling safe enough for healing to begin.

    After we moved finding a true replacement has been impossible. However, the therapy that has come since the move has always involved my husband. If he’s not allowed whenever I want and actively participating, then I’m in the wrong office and I am not wasting my time being there. No compromise. In the beginning, my little girls would never come outside without B. present and that would have surely slowed healing down dramatically if he wasn’t in therapy with me. Currently due to finances and lack of a therapist that we all approve of that is approved by insurance, we are without a therapist. We figure we would rather do trial and error on our own with support from our husband to face the possible harm that could come from the wrong therapist.

    Now to the real reason I am writing. Integration has been the scariest thing for us. Oh, I agree. I never knew of the insiders and when first learning of them all I wanted was whatever it took to be “normal” again and have them gone. But as each became known and loved by me, and as I learned how they ARE ME and I them, I was equally terrified of integration. Including myself there were 15 of us. Two were not so much full personalities but small fragments.

    The two fragment personalities “went home” or as Kimmie would put it “absorbed” (Our word for traditional integration). Those two fragments were a two year old who’s “job” it was to feel the core feelings of all of us and respond emotionally (cry when hurting, laugh when happy, etc.). Also, a mirroring personality who was born when we reached an age where adolescent boys began paying attention to us and causing extreme anxiety. She smiled when smiled at, frowned when frowned at, simply mirrored. She was never given a name until B. gave her one, never had an opinion on anything, etc. The absence of these two within the inside world made integration even scarier, even though they were considered ghost like and near insubstantial by all. Everything I read about integration stated that they would become a part of me and I would be one eventually. Not acceptable!

    However, what HAS occurred has been a gradual co-consciousness that has become closer and closer. We now call this having one voice. It first started during group intimacy with our spouse where the face or front time was able to be shared by more than one together. Prior, we would all be present but one would have the control of the voice, body, etc. Obviously there is still a small amount of dissociation occurring when only one has control and the others are close by. But during “one voice” we become melded together. Thoughts and feelings are shared and flow between us so that we are as one. No one has lost identity, yet our identity has grown. It is truly a feeling of expansion and not a loss.

    Eventually (over a year of just happening) we have come to a point when we spend almost all our job time in this state. Additionally, our little girls have learned to do it within their group and on rare occasions with the whole group. No one has lost identity, no one has disappeared. We simply have found times when the walls between individual consciousness simply have faded.

    Now the moment there is a conflict the walls go right back up. Conflict doesn’t have to be a disagreement between us, simply an emotion or thought that is rejected by the another (or more). For example, one of us has a tendency toward feeling angry, another of us is terrified of her own and others’ anger. So, if M. feels angry and that bleeds into Ch. then we fall apart into our multiplicity. Will we ever find ourselves with one voice always, maybe. It’s no longer as important as it once was to me. Will we ever have only one of us with the others all gone, never. I believe that what we call “One Voice” IS integration. It’s been a long road getting here, and a long road ahead.

    Healing is absolutely a two steps forward, one step back process when it comes to DID. And every time we have fallen back or “regressed” it has been followed by an aha moment in our healing. Two weeks ago depression and anxiety hit so hard most of us felt utterly lost and wanted to give up on everything (only our little girls were simi-unaffected). It was followed by an understanding for the first time what was happening that put us there, and with that understanding a renewed energy and focus throughout us all and a tighter bonding.

    And for 3ofme and LLML….. Those of us with DID have been strong enough to walk through the fires of hell and into adulthood as survivors. Within us is an ability to endure and come out on the other side. We did it as small children using every tool we could imagine up. No matter where we are in our progress we should never forget that we are strong. We have a powerful fight within us to survive, more powerful than many. So when it is completely dark and the weight of our unique life and the chaos that comes with being a multiple feels like it will crush us… find that strength to take another breath, and another and another.

    Nique and Gang.

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Oct 01, 2013 @ 22:24:30

      Hi Nique and Gang,

      thanks for your continued comments and sharing your experience with me and any others who happen to read. You are very fortunate for the great start you got. How I wish I had been included in the therapy sessions, but in that regard it was my girls’ choice, not the fault of their counselor, to keep me out. I always try to do the best with what I’m given, but that’s not usually very much.

      I wish my girls were closer to the “one voice” place, but I’ve struggled for nearly 2 years just trying to get Tina integrated into the group: she was so completely walled off from the others that I’m still struggling to break the dissociation between her and the others, and Sophia still hates being outside in spite of all my attempts to anchor her with the others and me. I wish I’d had a therapist to bounce ideas off when I struggle to keep the girls moving forward. I keep trying new ideas, but it’s hard when I’m on my own, and the girls only kind of listen to my suggestions. Not that I’m infallible, but they fight against me a lot of the time even though they make it clear they don’t really see the bigger picture of how to achieve health.

      Thanks, again, for sharing!

      Sam

      Reply

  4. Trackback: Group Integration and Dissociative Identity | Loving My DID Girl(s)

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