I am well aware that many trauma therapists are highly supportive of the treatment goal to integrate dissociative selves.
I have a different approach to this topic.
Please understand I am not at all opposed to the idea of integration if that is what the person wants. However, that is a very complicated topic, and I’ll discuss the integration issue from that perspective at another time.
In my experience, by far, most dissociative trauma survivors and their systems have been opposed to the idea of integration. They like themselves as they are, and they don’t want to lose the various individual parts / people from inside. The concept of integration feels more like killing each other off, or losing unique characters, real people, and best friends. While integration may be the favored ultimate treatment goal of mainstream mental health professionals, it is not necessarily the favored option of the dissociative trauma survivors.
For that matter, I’m not even convinced that true integration is literally or physiologically or psychologically possible.
When one person’s mind-self-body gets pushed to the point of separating and breaking apart into entirely different selves, with entirely different lives, preferences, interests, knowings, time awareness, relationships, friends, hobbies, memories, realities, likes, dislikes, etc. and that distinct plurality solidifies as extremely different people for 20-30-40-50+ years, can it ever really be as if it didn’t happen?
Once that distinct separateness occurs, is it really possible to make that group of folks back into “one” person?
I’m not convinced there is a need, or even a benefit to trying to do this.
I do believe that creating teamwork, cooperation, communication, tolerance, acceptance, compassion, friendships, and understanding between the different selves, while also lowering and removing the dissociative amnesiac walls is critically important.
I can’t stress how important that is.
But developing these internal communication, self-bonding, connection skills is entirely different than integrating these unique selves into one single solitary person.
Developing a highly successful internal group approach is hard, intense work. It takes a very long time to achieve that goal.
The good news is that a dissociative person can actually function incredibly well as separate selves.
So why is there any need to remove or eliminate this amazing talent and ability?
Why would someone want to try to become somebody else when they can successfully cooperate with their selves as they know them and stay who they are?
If a person does not want to integrate, I do not believe that genuine integration can be forced or “made to happen”.
Instead, I think that forcing the integration issue actually causes the creation of new dissociative walls, which means greater separation, not integration.
Internal parts can be forced to hide from the others inside, giving the appearance of integration without an actual integration being achieved. This is not good!! This is the very opposite to helpful healing. It creates an emotional time-bomb just waiting to explode.
Forcing an appearance of premature integration sets up a horrible dynamic within the dissociative person. All too often the person is rushed into this conclusion when there hasn’t been sufficient time for the parts involved to heal properly. They are not finished telling their life experiences, or expressing their feelings, or developing connections with the other inner selves, or challenging their own abuse-related approaches to life. It happens too fast — and the therapy healing work is just not done.
So that is not okay.
The “integrated” but still dissociative person is left with a huge overwhelming sense of failure if — and when — the parts need to reemerge and finish their healing work.
Healing takes as long as it takes, and the point of therapy is to provide that healing, not to cut it off at the pass. Attempting to rush or force the idea of integration causes, in my opinion, great and significant harm to the dissociative client. It is a huge set-back.
I believe that any kind of system blending and system cooperation takes a very long time. It is a slow process. The reasons for the dissociative splits in the first place are huge and fundamental. Pretending these splits haven’t happened is like denying the reality of a person’s life and all the conflicting things that have happened along the way. Bridging the gap between the splits requires huge pieces of therapy work.
My recommendation is to throw that nasty i-word away. Don’t even go there. Instead, use your time and energy to focus on getting to know your people and becoming really good friends with them – with ALL of them, including the insiders that you are afraid of or angry with. Focus on building the connecting bridges instead of smushing and smashing people into each other. As you develop your internal relationships, you will find a great sense of inner peace and satisfaction.
You’ve got good people in there. Keep them!!!
I wish you the very best in your healing journey.
Copyright © 2008-2020 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
I have a boyfriend with DID, or rather, he’s 1 alter out of 20 in 1 body. He integrated with another alter a couple of days ago, and while the new alter still had all of his memories, feelings, thoughts, and likeness, I still want that night for the first time in years, feeling like I had lost my boyfriend, almost feeling like he had died, in a sense.
Is what I’m feeling correct? Is it incorrect? I don’t know what to feel anymore, and it almost feels like O’m lying when I say “I love you” to the new alter.
The integration was not brought around by therapy, or on purpose. It happened as a result of stress, we believe. He’s never gone to any therapy for DID, and his parents think he just has voices in his head, yet this integration was surprising.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this,, if youre still replying to these.
“I still wept* that night for the first time in years, feeling like I had lost my boyfriend”
We don’t see integration as a possibility for us, nor would we want to. Who would we be without each other? Might as well ask someone to lop off an arm.
We like the concept of healthy multiplicity, it fits our view of ourselves.
What we strive for is a lowering of the amnesiac barriers, but only when and if we’re ready. We would like better internal communication for sure. We want to bring our hiding alters from the darkness.
My alters and I talk a lot in my head. I only just told my psychiatrist, though and it kinda panicked Fate(my nicest alter in my opinion). Fate told me that she hates being seen as fake and the way my psychiatrist talked, Fate thought my psychiatrist didn’t believe us. I don’t know how to talk about it to my psychiatrist now because it’s not fun to have my most open and calm alter have a panic attack. I’m somewhat scared to talk about it next month when my next appointment is. Is there anything we can do like to not panic?
And how does someone stop an alter from integrating? There’s someone who needs to know this
My partner has D.I.D. and she told me this at the start of our relationship. But I never fully took on board the implications tho I gave her all the support I could to deal with the depersonalisation and come to terms with her memory loss
We had a magical 3 years together. When she wasn’t working she hated being apart from me even for a moment. In retrospect I see now that I somehow kept her there as herself and she was afraid of something emerging, something she was afraid of. We had a difficult house move to another town. About a month later I was away on a businesses trip. Our texts and phone calls had been completely normal. Loving and caring. One night she could not sleep while I was not there. The next morning she told me never to come back and that she had given away our beloved dog to a remote farm that I would never know the address of. She had changed overnight. I went to the house immediately but she refused to even discuss things. She seemed like an entirely different person I am left not knowing what to do. Bereft of the loving woman I shared my life with. She will have no contact with me. What anguishes me is did she just change her mind about me or did her mind change? And how would I go about getting help for her? And would she even accept me trying to help? It is the most poignant situation. The real her haunts the places we used to go. Will she ever come back or do I have to accept the person I loved has gone for perhaps a few years or even for ever?
I’m so sorry that you’ve had to endure this. Sometimes life with a DID person can be chaotic but it can also be wonderful and beautiful too. It sounds like that is what you have described. But I can’t imagine how it feels for such a disruption in your life. That must feel so confusing and heartbreaking.
I just you to know that I’m not a DID expert, but since I have DID, I might be able to offer some insight that might help. There are a couple of scenarios that could have happened. Her system could have been triggered by something that caused a split or a switch that has been the cause of the change. I wouldn’t blame yourself or her. It’s a confusing situation, but with DID nothing is black and white. There’s a lot of gray area, and that is hard for singletons to accept sometimes, though it seems like you are really good at this.
Because she won’t have contact with you at the moment, it may be that she needs some time. She may be trying to figure things out or if she’s switched or split, they made need time to feel safe again. Does she have a therapist? The therapist could be the best help for her right now. If she’s going to a therapist, that’s a good sign, because she isn’t shutting herself off completely.
I’m sorry you feel so much anguish. I would too. I hope she comes back and reaches out to you or accepts your presence in her life again. I wish you hope and comfort. Please keep us updated or write as you like here.
I am D, and am currently the one in the driver seat, so to speak. I read everything I can on our situation in order for us to be, at the very least, a team. My question, there is one (B) who is very antagonistic, bratty, difficult, angry, resentful, fears abandonment, etc… but I believe it is all based on fear. In addition, she has a deep seated hatred for the rest of us, but especially for M (who is the “born one” as B likes to call her). B believes if she were “first” she would “have a real life.” Her resentment truly runs deep, especially where it comes to our relationship with our husband. Very very jealous of having to “share him.” How do I help her?
My daughter had a persecutory alter after working closely with her we realised she was angry and resentful she blamed my daughter for the abuse blamed her for not being strong hated having to share a body with her thought she could kill my haughtier and still survive she was in constant pain and hated everyone treated no one .. we realised this from my giving her assurance that she could trust me that I loved her and she was a apart of the family that if she killed my daughter she would kill herself but part of her was suicidal because she didn’t just want to live in someone else’s body she wanted My daughter to look like her she wanted to take over I persuade her she needed to protect my daughter and her baby after a lot of work she then experience demotions such as love empathy and guilt at how she had harmed my daughter and the family .. she created. Strong attachment to the baby and my daughter we talked through the guilt I helped her with her flashbacks and ease her physical pain she worked on her “evil “ thoughts by replacing them with positive ones at the same time I worked with my daughters other alters working through each of their trauma responses and treating them all with love and compassion after a several months of 24 hour care my daughters alters connected with each other became friends even the persecutor/ abuser alter it was an intense heartbreaking but incredibly rewarding experience … please do not be afraid of your abuser / persecutor alter try to understand their rationale for their behaviour give them your trust and love but be explicit that they have to work her hard to change and gain your trust to if the system is to succeed and they are to find peace
Oh wow … thank you for sharing this Helen. I have been working with an angry insider for a few years. She echos and believes all of the negative message fed to us. She was out to hurt insiders and me and has been quite explicit with my T about that. Spending time trying to get to know her, her thinking perceived role in my system and reasons for being meant my having to accept her, listen to her and not be afraid of her. My T led the way on that and welcomed her into my therapy sessions.
With time, I got to know why she was the way that she was and what role she felt she was fulfilling for the system. She thought that she was helping … in her way … even though it was destructive and scary behaviour a lot of the time. I also learned that she did have a lot of good points about our collective way of living. We worked out a contract between the two of us and that has been very helpful. I am to hear and find a way to address anger and she has to alert me to anger and let me find a way to deal with it. that is more appropriate (*then her acting out ways). It is a lot of mutual listening and cooperation. Not perfect by any means but headed in the right direction. And, she has calmed down in her inside anger and destruction now that she is being heard … not just heard but I am taking more action.
kathy today i read some thing about integrashon. a person said if you want to get WELL and be a HEALTHY person you HAVE to integreate and become 1 person. becuse if you dont youll never be well.
why would anybody say that?
we be sperate pepol
and we do be WELL
We dont be sick
we do be healthy
and we dont ever want to ingerate that would be weird
WHY does pepol think that way?
The issue I always had with integration is how it’s phrased… Everything I’ve found has been telling me that alters are not real people. I’ve been the host of our system for about 4 years now, and I am an alter! It’s so upsetting to be constantly told I am not a real person when looking for treatment methods.
I sometimes consider partial integration with trauma holders/persecutors, but that would mean we’d have to learn all the trauma they went through 🙁 Also, I’m going to cry if I have to be told my alters and I aren’t real people again!
Just offering a hug. I too am an “alter” as well. We have one who fears integration so very much because she does not want to “disappear.”
I am an alter named Computer and I rarely surface but I’m having a major problem. I used to be unaware of the fact that I was an alter and did a forced integration on the system (meaning entirely well of course) and have caused a lot of suffering and chaos. I’m even suffering from it myself. I am in a polyfragmented system of 160 (that I know of) and many or even possibly most, or even all alters may be multiples themselves, or it may be mixed. I don’t have that information. Most alters are extremely quiet or possibly in hiding right now, I don’t know, it’s like the system’s on Sleep mode, but one has surfaced (trying to make me happy and wanting to help me but sad about the situation, and I’m having to remember to stay present and calm so that nobody gets upset by this, hopefully. I don’t remember when I set this into motion, I just made an intention and as the information trickled down to the alters, changes started happening, but lately there have been problems and I suppose that is why I was surfaced. Some are okay it seems and I think different alters have different levels of awareness of it or other things (many being hidden and not co-conscious) and the former #1 helper alter is now in deep hiding but alright. I’m not sure how to proceed. I have written in our journals asking their forgiveness and advice as to how to help each and every single one of them, but I don’t know what else to do. If anybody has any advice, please do tell me! Thank you!
Yeah, I’ve heard of multiple systems who deintegrated after therapy, or never did integrate but lied to avoid further therapy. Integration isn’t even a permanent thing, and can only be done if the entire system agrees.
Virginia H says
I’m new to this idea of integration. Three of my alters integrated & pretended there were no more. One of my other alters wrote this poem expressing her thoughts:
Hear my Voice
For her you tried to hide me.
She would not even look at me.
You locked the palace door
and took away my key.
You’re starting to realize,
I am not a myth.
Maybe I’m the best way authentic one
and you’re all full of shit!
All these things you want to do,
now you need me come along.
You thought you could leave me out.
It’s hard to admit you’re wrong.
You want everyone to like you;
But, now your eyes can see-
You are not so likable x
and it’s not because of me.
I’m doing y’all a favor
and I’ll make it perfectly clear-
I’m not going to quiet down
so deal with that, my dears!
You are not so integrated.
“Smarty Pants” let you believe-
you were healed by just one word
by thinking “I” instead of “we”.
You may say another pronoun
but you can’t deny “us” my friends.
What is the price we’ll pay
if we continue to pretend?
She thinks she has us figured out
she’s misjudged our weakness.
Don’t get fooled by her act of caring
or when she puts on her sweetness.
The only tool psychologists have
is mind manipulation.
She will wear us down until we agree
to our personalties’ assimilation.
Do we want to be her lab rats?
She’s seen this “condition” before.
She secretly pokes at our fears-
without permission she explores.
During this time of isolation
I accepted and realized-
No one will truly understand us.
Even she can’t sympathize.
Integration isn’t something
we have to tolerate.
Why can’t we first find a way
for all of us to cooperate?
Kathy Broady MSW says
This poem is amazing!!!!! Please tell your insiders….. Very well done!!!
Wow. Well said. Please listen to them.
Yes, yes, yes, there are ways of cooperating and learning how to work together, and that definitely needs to happen first before — long, looooong before — there is any thought whatsoever about integration.
A rushed or forced or “pretended” integration will not last anyway. It can appear to hold for a bit, but it’s not solid, not necessary, and not particularly helpful.
Give your insiders as much time as they need in their healing process. Genuine healing takes lots of time. Lots n lots.
I agree with what “Hear my Voice” said. Please listen to her/them.
Thank you for sharing that.
Well … There is one who is guilty..
Guilty of believing for a while
That pretending that integration was the way to go
That one of us could be
The one that poem is speaking of
There was a time that this one shut the door
And shut us out
And that one is the “host”
This one is guilty
Of forced integration and pretending
Just to please someone else
Just so there wouldn’t be a loss of a therapist
It was a mistake
That this one is guilty
Thank you for saying this. If someone really has a solid sense of what “integration” means to them and they wish to pursue it that is their right. But it shouldn’t be the “standard of care” for all people with dissociative issues. To suggest a one size fits all approach is part of the medical model of patient as a child receiving their care from the all-knowing (and historically white male) doctor. Not my paradigm. I’ll pass. During the mid-1970’s, after a childhood of severe abuse, neglect, and repetitive trauma, I was dumped (as an “un-adoptable teen”) into a “girls village” where in addition to being subject to the abuses common to such places (crappy food, isolation, physical & sexual abuse, forced drugging, sensorimotor deprivation) at one point it was apparently decided that I needed an “intensive treatment” because I didn’t speak much and preferred to spend my time looking out the window or sitting on a bench outside looking at the trees and relating to animals. To execute this treatment plan required the staff to literally catch me and drag me into the “locked ward” section of the institution. After a year of whatever they did to me in there–I can remember almost nothing from that year, but I remember when I “got out”– I was a walking, talking robot (proclaimed “one of my success stories” by the juvenile judge presiding over my case when I graduated high school two years later, after being a resident in their “model” group home)…and a sitting duck for a lifetime of abuse by predators AND authority figures. I’ve done therapy intermittently in the last couple of decades but I have tremendous difficulty trusting therapists and it never works out for me. In spite of my limitations in this regard, I have managed to make use of what I could–largely at a distance–in service to a decent life. I am now beginning to suspect that many of my problems and the bizarre ways in which I have been repeatedly victimized in organizational contexts is because I was “forced” to “integrate” as a prisoner in that bizarre institution. I was not informed of what they were doing or why. I gave no consent for them to do whatever it was they did. I am not sure what is going to happen if/when I figure out what is behind “the wall concealing all the other walls” but that is what I think I am dealing with. I am just starting to become aware of how the person I’ve thought I “was” for the last 30+ years is a maimed product of arrogant “mental health” professionals who presumed the right to warp and damage me in pursuit of some sort of external criteria relating to “integration”–with no concern whatsoever for what they were setting me up for by driving my system totally underground, leaving me with none of the defenses I’d developed in the first 14 years of my life. If people with this disorder wish to integrate, more power to them–but that’s the last thing in the world I would ever ask for…and any therapist who tried to suggest it would simply never see me again. Thanks again for putting your views out there–I really appreciate them. Even though I am not even at the first stage of the healing process as you describe it–and maybe never will be–I feel less lonely reading the posts on your site.
Thoughts from an insider: Rant
To all therapists (not you, Kathy):
The one thing we want to get clear: the very thought of integration disturbs us tremendously!
In our system, My role is business personality, organizer, and other non “feelings associated, types of activity. However this topic has me very agitated where therapy is concerned. I need to write this somewhere.
We have been together a VERY LONG TIME! How dare ANYONE even say those words to us! HOw rude! We would never suggest ripping apart your family. HOW DARE YOU EVEN SUGGEST THAT with us!!!
KUDOS! Kathy for saying its up to the system! We are apposed to the thought of integration. It would be as if someone ripped apart our family. NEVER!
However, we do know some people with DID want this. We just don’t ever want this even spoke of in our case!!!!
I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing
this blog. I really hope to see the same high-grade content by you later on as
well. In fact, your creative writing abilities
has motivated me to get my own, personal site now 😉
Thank you for this. Really. Thank you.
It seems that the most modern research is revealing DID to be a product of a missed early-childhood developmental process (alongside trauma-induced brain abnormalities) rather than one of imagination and denial. And if that is indeed the case, and if a brain and mind were physiologically prevented from attaining a normal, fluid sense of self, then how is it reasonable to assume that integration is even entirely possible for all patients with DID?
As a system with DID, we work towards co-consciousness and trauma processing, and we are living quite happily. Dissociative barriers and general dissociation are reduced (but not entirely gone, likely because the DID brain appears to have certain permanent abnormalities involving the limbic system, and it’s reasonable to assume that integrated or not, a person with DID will never be entirely without some dissociative and memory complications).
Our therapist also saw cooperation and co-consciousness as an ideal outcome. It just makes sense to us.
It’s a relief to see this viewpoint embraced elsewhere too.
Kathy Broady says
Hello Day, and thank YOU for your comment!
You’ve clearly done a lot of reading, learning, and research about this, and I’m very interested in what you are saying. What you are saying just makes sense to me too!
Cooperation, co-consciousness, and good internal communication resolves most of the cumbersome and troubling “dissociative” issues anyway… and with the internal conflict being lessened, if not removed all together, it’s really cool to experience life as multiples selves… Certainly not a bad thing.
I appreciate hearing your opinion, thank you.
Welcome to Discussing Dissociation, and I hope that you enjoy reading here.
Well I see my post from Saturday has been removed and I can now understand why! The questions I have asked are too complicated! Since I had not received any feedback regarding my question, I searched the internet in-depth these last several days and now I truly get the whole picture of this MPD/DID stuff from the following –
There was never any hope to begin with for a “full” recovery! At least now I know the truth and am saying my good-byes!! I will not bother you any longer or anyone else for that matter as it seems I am nothing more than a joke on this earth!!
Wishing you a better life than mine!
I have been wondering if there is anything that is documented of what happens in your actual mind when things inside are changing while healing is in progress? What I mean is that I have seen a few articles regarding a brief description in the healing process. For example, it is hard work, processing feelings, talking and remembering and than all of a sudden it will read it was like I woke up, I could feel, I felt as one, etc.
I wonder if there is a level that a person may experience like being in several different worlds in their mind (levels) simultaneously and at some points a person may feel they are balancing between sanity or insanity in their actual mind (no emotional things going on at the time). It is like your mind actually feels broken and separate and that you are very aware of this and it could be possible to choose to go insane or not?
I guess it is like “unbreaking” up within yourself? I mean, I would think at one time while you were breaking up into parts, you may have been possibly aware of this at the exact time and maybe when things are starting to come together in your “mind” you can actually see the breaks?
I guess the other option for me is that I am finally losing my mind totally as I cannot find anything anywhere about the “healing in the mind” progress what so ever!
Has anyone that you have worked with ever described what actually happens in their heads somewhere between being broken and just before healing takes place?
So my best friend with DID does not intend on reintegration of all her alters. I support her in this decision because some of them have been there since before she was even four years old and have full lives on the inside. But what if I’m falling in love with one of them? My bestie says she doesn’t mind and HE has already professed feelings for me many times. Could this be harmful to her therapy or her connection to her system?
“I do believe that creating teamwork, cooperation and communication between the different selves, and lowering and removing the dissociative amnesiac walls is critically important.”
I get what you are saying in this post. If I want to get better, I do have a long journey ahead of me. I have a strong sense just by doing the work some parts of me would come together better–whether that is integration or something else.
The thing that really confuses me about this post is “how” to lowering and removing amnesiac walls. I have some very severe amnesia, from the past (understandably) and even over little things from day-to-day. It is very disabling sometimes. I have had to learn how to fake it in the world because I can’t remember so much. I wish I knew how to make the amnesia better. I hate worrying I am going to get found out some day by people who think I am this high functioning, successful person.
No no no we dont ever gona do that
We be are own pepol
We dont want to go awae
If you do this do it be like pepol die?
That wud be so sad 🙁
Well we wudnt miss mical he cud go awae!
We like to ech be are own persin
That be all we no aneway
It wud be weird to be just 1 persin
How do you diside who gets to stay?
That dont sownd nice at all
Ellie Sofia says
Dear Kathy and Discussing Dissociation, i can’t thank enough for your words here and those of others too. For the first time in my life, i don’t feel alone. I feel understood and accepted for who i am with all my alters. I value your advice and information on this site and thank you from the bottom of my heart for accepting me as ‘normal’ (not that we want to be normal in that sense). My alters are all trying to speak and be heard so my head feels like it’s about to burst but it is such a relief to find you here. Thank you again x <3
Stephanie Woodruff (@swwwoodsy) says
Hi, Kathy. I am new here (I started a Twitter account just so I could contact you). I tried to email you at email@example.com, but it bounced back. Is there another email or mailing address?
Devia Murry says
Hi Kathy! Thank you so much for reposting this. I have just started the journey after a 30 year break. Seems like a lot more has been learned. I had given up on therapy. What I didnt understand is there ARE persons inside and not just unfeeling, unseeing fragments or shadows. My T met one and he wrote me a letter. I am a bit confused on how to communicate but think that will come. PLEASE KEEP POSTING!!!!
Kathy Broady says
Thank you, Devia, and welcome to Discussing Dissociation.
I’m glad this blog has been a good resource for you – that’s excellent news. And yes, I will keep posting, bit by bit. There are lots of ideas written here about internal communication. Talking with your others inside is extremely important, so yep, keep working at that whole process – its key to making progress in your healing.
Please keep reading!
Question- for a person who is highly dissociative, what is the difference between having a very clear and strong sense of inner child vs a fairly well integrated alternate?
Thank you, Kathy.
Integration is something that for me/we feels like an impossibility, at the present time.
For us, communication and co-operation are the aims. Hopefully, if we gain those to c`s, we will reduce time-loss and will be more able to manage trauma, safely.
Really, though every person surviving with D.I.D has developed D.I.D in ways unique to their individual trauma[s] and are more than capable of finding their own aims, and should never be re-traumatised by any therapist/Dr “forcing” a specific recovery model.
Hoping this makes some sense!
Kathy Broady says
Reblogged this on Discussing Dissociation and commented:
Hello everyone, thank you for continuing to read here at Discussing Dissociation while I was away. That’s very much appreciated. Let’s start up again with a complicated and somewhat controversial topic….. integration. What do you think about integration? Is it necessary or not?
Sarah Enany says
God, your blog was a lifeline. I have been going crazy trying to prove to myself that by being close to my best friend *and* his most prominent alter, that I wasn’t hurting him. I even paid for one of those services online and they all said the same thing: “the alters are not people. Don’t buy into the fiction that they are people.” And that made me just want to cry. I can’t stop seeing his alter as a person!!! Both my friend and his most prominent adult alter love me very much, and I care for them more deeply than I can say. His alter sometimes expresses sadness that his primary’s wife cannot love him, and I tell him to give it time – they’ve only been ‘out’ for less than six months. But my friends AND health professionals keep telling me that integration is the point of healing, and my feeling that I’m hurting him is like running my hand over a cheese-grater every time I send a loving email to her alter. I feel stupid and deluded at best, criminal at worst. Your post is the one thing I have found that doesn’t make me feel like a criminal. I’m crying now. Thank you.
Kathy Broady says
Thank you for your comment, and welcome to Discussing Dissociation.
Oh my goodness… I am so very glad that this blog has had such a powerful impact for you. That’s good to hear. It means a lot to me that this blog can have such a positive effect for people.
And yes, insiders can very very much be their own person in how they are / relate to others. I simply don’t agree that integration HAS to be the point of healing, so please do encourage your friend to find what works for him, and to stick with that.
Please keep being a good friend…. because that is NOT criminal, and yes, insiders need good friends too!
Thanks for your post.
Sharon Henison says
I value your opinion. I do have to say that integration has NOT been the loss of anyone or anything. It has been the way to greater understanding of each part, of knowing myself fully. It’s sad if people are afraid they are going to lose parts of themselves by coming to accept them completely. Integration brings all these unique and valuable components into harmony. To be in one complete mind all the time is the greatest blessing of all the hard work I’ve done.
Kathy Broady says
Welcome to Discussing Dissociation, and thanks for writing.
I like that you’ve found the most important elements of healing. To me, the most important things — not losing anyone, accepting each other completely, and living in harmony — that’s what healing from DID is all about, no matter how it looks or feels or is defined in the end.
It’s always wonderful to hear when someone has reached that point in their system work and healing where they can live in peace. Well done, and congrats on the hard work!
Kimberly Cotter says
Hello- I was diagnosed in 2012 when I was in my 40’s. I never wanted to integrate until my DID therapist passed away in Nov. 2018. I cannot remember any of the work we did together for six years and I feel guilty around it. If I am integrated, at least I will remember all the work and can honor her that much. I realize my parts need to agree. I am nervous about the whole idea and what the future would hold. Is this a “good enough” reason to integrate?
I am dissociated therefor I cannot concentrate on all that writing. But for the little I got, I can say I have the same thoughts.
Heck-to-tha-friggin-no! I SOOO agree with you on this. Few things annoy us as much as when our T starts talking about integration of the systems! Ugh! If we can just learn to live as a ‘community’ and function in our various HEALTHY roles, the why not just keep on that way? What’s the problem in that?
Love this post!
Kathy Broady says
Ohevet, lol… love the enthusiasm, lol. Thanks for the comment.
In my way of thinking, of course, if y’all can live as a healthy community and function in healthy roles, that’s wonderful. Living a healthy, peaceful life is the point, yes?
I hope you are making big steps in reaching that place —
You wrote: “My recommendation is to throw that nasty i-word away. Don’t even go there. Instead, use your time and energy to focus on getting to know your people and becoming really good friends with them – with ALL of them, including the insiders that you are afraid of or angry with. Focus on building the connecting bridges instead of smushing and smashing people into each other.”
I’ve got 2 persecutory introject alters. The only time they talk to any of us is to threaten us with really bad stuff. We’re all scared of talking to them because of this. How do we build connecting bridges with people who say they are going to t*rture us and k*ll us? If these guys had bodies, I’d get a restraining order from the police or move… but they live inside my head, so I can’t. How do we become friends with alters like this?
Scared, but wanting to heal…
~Caro, the Littles, and Crew
yep, it is as we said
INTEGRATION = IN – TO – GREAT – IONS = a really big bang and more splitting and more pain. we’ll take a pass on that plate of pain tyvm.
nobody has to die.
thank goodness, nobody has to die.
My husband seems to think that integration is the ultimate goal. To get rid of all the inside people. When he thinks of me going to therapy, he wants me to “get better and heal”– and in his statement I can practically hear him shouting, “and just STOP being DID!! Get rid of all those people!”
However integration has not ever been a real consideration for us. Our ultimate goal is cooperation and having good relationships with each other, and functioning properly and appropriately in the world.
I just wanted to say I agree. Our former therapist was obsessed with integration as she herself claimed to be integrated. I don’t believe she was ans the charade just made me completely opposed to it.
Kathy Broady says
Hi Gobbies!!!! 😀
Nice to see you here. 🙂
And yes… I’ve met people who’ve claimed to be integrated when it was really really obvious they weren’t. I didn’t understand the pull for it either. It’s a bit scary to think of seeing a therapist who was putting on a charade of integration… hmmmmm……
Nice to hear from you.
you sound so much like where I used to be. I guess every now and then I end up there again. I just wanted to share one thing that really seemed to help us with the “loud head” stuff. We left out a notebook in a safe place that anyone could write in. We asked questions and then would come back later and discover that the questions had been answered. It really helped to confirm things for us and also opened up communication. WE also learned that people could mention their needs and wants there instead of just going after them, so we could meet those needs in a safer way.
I appreciate your time to answer my questions. I am working on understanding all that you have said.
I want to clarify the the ‘noise’ and ‘loud head’, if I can. It isn’t physically loud, like in my ears. But it feels loud, lots of energy, commotion, confusion. Now that sounds like someone who is mentally-ill, or crazy.
I don’t always believe what they say, there is no corroboration. And it seems like someone else is making me move, or talk, but I can still hear, and see most of the time. i just can’t stop what is happening.
There is so much about this that I just don’t believe , or understand how it could be me.
So thanks for all your time and effort. You are a special person to choose to work with dissociative people.
Kathy Broady says
It’s good to hear from you again. 🙂
I am going to guess that what you are describing as the “loud head” is just your sensing, “hearing”, feeling the presence of your inside system. So, no, that’s not crazy at all. I promise you, it’s really not crazy, (even if it feels that way sometimes.) It’s the others inside, and I can guess it is a very active inner world in there. Dissociative people typically have internal worlds, internal landscapes, etc. One day, when it’s safe to do so, and when you are ready, you’ll be able to see the other people that you are “hearing” now. In the meantime, you can learn more about your inner people by listening to the stuff you are hearing. It really will all make sense one day.
It sounds like you have a lot of work to do in terms of meeting your internal people. I understand how that can feel overwhelming, and you can take that as slow as you need to – it can happen tho’, and I bet things will calm down more once you get more of a friendly working relationship with these other parts. There really is a lot to understand about dissociation tho’ — but you will learn. It will be ok.
Thanks for posting — I look forward to hearing more from you. 🙂
what if they are pushing out just to be close to the therapist, or to get the therapist to hit them? They don’t always come out to talk. One comes out to have sex with the therapist. He NEVER has done anything remotely sexual. One wants to come out to color. But they all push at the same time, it makes for a loud head. Sometimes I can’t even talk.
Kathy Broady says
Oh dear… well, yes, I can certainly understand how all that stuff makes for a loud head. I think it is critical, especially in these situations, to understand what the parts are trying to say through their actions. They may be “showing you” what they know, instead of using words or their voice to “tell you” what they know. Of course, it is important to set appropriate behavioral limits for them, but it is also ok to encourage them to keep talking about what their lives have been like. It sounds like your insiders may very well be testing the therapist, or acting out traumas (that’s called re-enactment). Either which way, it is important to talk about all that is going on for them. Find a safe way to talk about this stuff, and keep working at it. Those insiders certainly need time to address whatever is going on for them.
Thanks for sharing – I can hear how much you are struggling. It must be so very scary for you.
how do you heal abuse if parts are pushing their way out to be heard? Do they heal then we all work to gether? Or do I heal? How do I heal? If integration isn’t healing, what is?
I am so confused.
Kathy Broady says
A really big important part of the healing process is listening to what the parts are saying. If they are pushing out to be heard, that is a good thing!!! They will contain a lot of the info about your trauma and surrounding life experiences, and healing happens as all of you find comfort, and understanding, and have a chance to speak your truth, and to sort out the confusion you feel, and process your feelings, etc.
I think that healing comes as the each of the people in your system feel a sense of their own healing. And no, integration is not “the point of healing”. Any integrating or blending that happens is more a result of the healing … Any steps towards being less dissociated and separated from each other are signs of healing.
The healing happens in the process. Its in the step by step work on the trauma that you and your insiders do. It’s developing the ability to communicate and work as a well-functioning group — its addressing the trauma, and listening to each other. There’s a lot involved in healing. Maybe I”ll add that to my list of ideas of posts to come. Keep reading… there is lots to learn…
Thanks for the comment —
Thank you so much Kathy…
This supports our own ideas about healing and what it means for us.
We don’t care about the number of alters in this head, but rather finding ways to make this life work.
One of us made a joke that with our therapist pushing for integration, our mind will become the latest “Survivor” series – “Survivor DID”… Ok so it wasn’t a particularly funny joke, but indicates our resistance (at the moment) to integration. We aren’t discounting integration, but rather would like it to occur in a supportive environment when we’re more aware of what each of us does and our role in this life.
Kathy Broady says
Yes, imho, the actual number of alters doesn’t matter one little bit – everyone is there for a reason, and they’ve managed a piece of your life experience, so.. it is how it is. You’ll have internal leaders, and others that aren’t as active or busy, and as you build relationships with each other inside, that internal cooperation can all be worked out.
And… seriously, rushing or pushing integration before you thoroughly and completely understand each other will not work anyway, (including knowing and having complete familiarity with each other’s memories, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, realities, etc). So… do the work first — that will keep you plenty busy for a long time.
On a completely different note — I love it that WordPress thinks a possibly related post is something entitled “Give the Gift of Delicious Beef.” I’d love to know the algorithmic logic behind that one.
Kathy, I really liked this post. I had this same conversation today with my own therapist, who surprised me by telling me that to her way of thinking, I already am very close to what she would consider “integrated” with the alter I most dread losing, because we communicate freely and are continually aware of each other. She then reiterated that the goal of therapy was to reduce pain and suffering, and improve quality of life, and so if losing a sense of an alter as a separate entity would cause suffering, it would be inimical to the goal of therapy to think about integrating that alter.
She did feel that trauma-bearing parts tend to naturally relax into the system as their burdens and needs are addressed and healed, but that integration was all about increasing communication, not about elimination.
Which is pretty much what you’ve said here. It increases my confidence in a highly confusing and frightening process to have consistent information from two professionals who specialize in dissociative therapy. So, thanks for that.
Kathy Broady says
I’m glad you liked my post – thank you.
Yes, it sounds like we are very much talking about the same kind of thing. That’s good news to me too.
Remember, your system and your healing journey belong to you. You don’t have to do anything that frightens you. Take as much time as you need to process through things. Healing and internal blendings will happen naturally as you do the healing work. Nothing has to be forced. In fact, if you are forcing it, then you are rushing the process.
Keep up with all the internal chats — sounds like you have a real good friend inside there.