Friday, September 23, 2011

Integration: Gaining and Losing

     When I first heard of integration, I was quite against it, as were my alters that I heard from.  How could we possibly fit into 'one' person without losing vital parts of the rest of us?  If Jack* is tall with red hair and hates green beans, but Lucy* is short and round and loves all vegetables, how are they supposed to become one person without one of them losing who they are?  Everyone was so diverse, so different, and so very important all on their own that none of us wanted to lose another or be lost.  My therapist told me that integration is sometimes a natural by product of healing, but was not something we needed to focus on as a goal, much to our relief. 

     Since I was focused on healing, some integration has indeed started happening on its own, and as we had feared, some loss is inevitable.  Whereas different alters can become aware of the existence of others with different pasts memories and beliefs, and respect that, if there is a merge there would be the problem of some of them losing their past, their beliefs, their identity to who they are.  I think some of us put off any possible merging until we could accept that.  Because they are right, they are going to lose that.  We have always tried to honor each others extreme varying views as they come.  With merging, there is less of a dramatic 'switch' now, less headache and extreme loss of memory.  Like first looking into a pair of binoculars when two individual circles of vision start to merge into one.

  One of my alters with the good memories panicked.  They were being lost as that grip on reality merged with one completely opposite.  We wanted to make a collage of her 'good dad' to honor all the good memories she had and let her hang on to that.  We knew she had whole reserves of good memories tucked away.  But when we went to get ideas, all we could remember was 'my dad makes really great chocolate chip cookies'.  The rest was a total blank, we could not remember much of our previous life from her perspective.  So we got out a picture book to find pictures with him and us doing happy things; Disney land, vacations, etc. always smiling for the camera.  They were from her memories all right.  But now we saw them differently.  Now we remembered those events from a different point of view, the shut out parts that she hadn't remembered, the not so good ones.  Every picture brought back new/shut out memories, every picture saw him smirking, hiding his secret.  Now her belief of this separate perfect world is gone.  Her world, her past, her life is gone.  Now 'she' is more connected to 'I' and we can't switch out to her world to take a break from that hard life.  This is our life.  I believe she made that choice to accept this, bravely let go of her perception of the 'perfect world' the 'perfect dad', and instead honor all of us as a human being with the truth.  It is incredibly painful, but it is healing.


Elizabeth said...

I am so sorry. This made me feel like crying. May God send good memories your way.

annette said...

Thank you. I wish I could explain difficult experiences like this and show how beautiful my life has been at the same time.