With so much pressure out in the therapeutic world to integrate, my question back to that, is why??
Dissociative trauma survivors need healing from all the wounding, and safety from any further abuse, yes, absolutely of course.
And some blending will occur naturally with internal / external safety, with good communication, and with excellent internal team work.
But what’s wrong with experiencing a safe and happy life as a multiple?
Once the PTSD elements of your trauma have been resolved….. and your external world is safe…. and those “Damnesia Walls” are down…. and you’ve become friendly, supportive and understanding of the various people in your system….
Your left with a group of strong, connected, compassionate, creative people enjoying life together.
hmmmm…. that life can look really cool.
I can see lots of beauty in being multiple.
Check out these articles:
What qualities of being a multiple would you want to keep, and never lose?
Tossing out something to think about.
Copyright © 2008-2018 Kathy Broady MSW and Discussing Dissociation
Raziel's Halo System says
I don’t think i’d want to be a singlet. The thought of “going back” to being a singlet — totally alone — terrifies me more than what I’m dealing with at the moment. I’m beyond grateful for my inner family, no matter who they are, as they’ve helped me survive long enough to be here, instead of being stuck as a scared kid. Sure, there are things that are hard to deal with, such as trauma work and the PTSD symptoms (and the demon of denial), but it’s nice to know that i’m not alone, and there are so many wonderful people inside who are willing to be with me and help me though all of life’s struggles. Thanks very much for running this website, Kathy — we’ve learned a lot, and it helps to have people who understand!
Thank you for being there, Me+We…..all this stuff MissyMing has been saying is triggering off a new direction of processing…..weird, scary nightmares…..in one sense it is SO NOT FUN….in another sense – it is another step in our journey…….
In another spot you said you hoped I had friends who could support me – wish that were so……the very few I thought I had (I am too on guard for friends) I have found to close off if I go off into “too weird” a direction…..I guess “God-believers” are NOT supposed to have “mental health” issues ….definitely NOT DID…….my opportunity to be “real” with them is extremely limited…..How sad is that????? I wonder how many more people “like me” are sitting in congregations with nowhere to turn for support…..Again…how sad is that?????
Ya’ll here have been more “understanding” and non-judgmental of my situations than any Outside person I have come across….other than my T…..My sister and I share some stuff – but I must also remain very aware that she is in a different part of the journey than I am and I do not want to trigger her off unnecessarily ……..
I am glad ya’ll are here…….
Hi Again here MissyMing,
That is way sad indeed. I have told a few friends about my DID. Most of the reaction has been to try and ignore that I said anything. The thoughts of DID and any sense of trauma scares them and they run in the opposite direction it seems. It is not the old ME that they became friends with and they do not want the new ME in their lives. So, I pretend to be the old ME. I do have a couple of new friends who do accept me as ME. It is very liberating to not have to hide all of the dimensions of ME but I am still very cautious about doing so. What we are living is just too hard for them to understand and for me to want to try and explain.
Now, I did try to do the organized religion thing in my 20s. I was brought up to hate organized religion but thought that I would like to see what it was all about for myself. So, I joined a church and was very faithful in attendance, participation and bible study. I must say that I liked the message of the bible (as taught by our minister who was very progressive in his approach as I have later learned) but the politics and social pecking order of the congregation was astounding to me. When our minister was criticized for being “too religious” I was dumbfounded.
Then I had an experience with a group called the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship. Here I experienced “faith-based” hypocrisy, misogyny and out-right despicable behaviour (directed at me I might add). So, I must admit that I am somewhat skeptical of anything that wraps itself up in God or the bible or whatever the faith-of-choosing is. It is not God or the bible or any reasonable/loving faith that I take objection to. It is the folks who say that they are faith-based and demonstrate in their words, actions and behaviours that they are anything but.
Okay … that was a rant that I had not anticipated … thanks for your patience folks!
No problem with me about your “rant”…..I understand, Me+We…..trying to sort through what is “human failure” (because of a MULTITUDE of personal situations people experience) and what is the “heart of God” can be mind-boggling and heart-wrenching….we sometimes have to literally work at not becoming bitter at people or even God because of what people do……”Organized religion” can sometimes make it so much more difficult…..
I have to work my way through all the “people failures” and back to what my HEART knows about God in spite of what people (even “religious” ones) say and do…is it easy to do? NO!….because you have to work through wounds and rejections and judgments made against you by people…..but the thing of it is – bottom line – people cannot change what your heart KNOWS about Him…because then that would make them greater than Him…and they aren’t……
Maybe one day I will get “brave” or “OK” enough to know how to take a stand and help people in “organized religion” know that we are NOT misfits…that we are unique – with an ability to reach out and understand others in unimaginable pain and not be “afraid” of them…and that there are probably a lot more of “us” out there than they realize……..
Forgot to say that I don’t remember ever hearing “regular” people say that they feel “Twilight-Zone-y”….we do – when “we” are “watching” ourselves…feels like we stepped into another “realm” or a “dimension” with no Time Zone and when we “step out of it” we aren’t sure if it really happened or if we “dreamed” it…..how are you supposed to “act” after that?…..you’re not sure if you really did what you think you just “watched” yourself do….no wonder we don’t like being around people…..can’t figure out how we are supposed to “act”!!
I am not a “multiple” in the way so many of you describe…but I AM aware of others Inside….sometimes I want to “escape” from all the chaos Inside but think I must be like the teachers at the school where I work….they can’t wait for “school break” to have a break from everything (all the kids)…but you can see that they dearly miss them when they are not around them…..a “smile” or a little “drawing” from a kid will make their day!
I think that is how it would be for me….sometimes I wish I had a break from all the chaos and input and perspectives of all the parts….but I would dearly miss them if they were not around……
I am intrigued by your statement – “I am not a “multiple” in the way so many of you describe.” You sure do sound multiple like the rest of us. If you are feeling okay with it, I would sure like to know what you mean by this statement.
Ummmm….I read back over what “we” wrote….I think “we” were referring to the total “amnesia” type stuff that happens with switching in some people…..you know – finding stuff you don’t remember buying….different wardrobes for different alters, etc….we trigger and “shift” around with varying degrees of “awareness”…..more like “taking turns” stepping back and “watching” a part more in the forefront at certain times dealing with a situation….
Don’t think we have the “total amnesia” thing….although the “watching” ourselves can be really “unnerving”……..I guess “feeling” like a “goofy teen-ager” one moment….a panicky, confused soul in another moment….and a totally focused, “perfectionist” workaholic another moment could be categorized as a type of “multiple”…..but then maybe “regular” people can be like that, too and we are NOT “multiple” ???? We don’t know……
Oh … okay … I see what you mean now MissyMing. The “amnesia” part is a bit tricky. I do not feel like I have a lot of what folks talk about with regard to wardrobe (not something I experience really at all), finding things I bought but do not remember (maybe on occasion) and many of the other things that people talk about. We do have a lot of commonalities as DID folks but we also have a lot of differences in how our DID presents itself. Trying to see if you “fit the mold” can be frustrating and lead to a lot of doubts and confusion. I have been there!
When I first started therapy (again) my T would ask me about memory loss. I did not understand the context within which she was asking me these questions because DID was not something that was even remotely on my radar. I swore up and down that I did not have memory loss because I sincerely did not think that I did. But, then again, if I had memory loss I would not remember it would I? It was not until much later that I started to “wake up” to my memory loss. I had always thought that I had a lazy brain that drifted off and that is why I would reenter conversations and not know what had been said, find myself in an argument with my husband and not know what we were fighting about, find myself in places (all innocent places like the Dollar Store) and not remember how I got there, not being able to remember a lot about significant events in my life, etc. I just thought that I was a daydreamer (what they would say in school), drank too much sometimes and just had a poor memory. Then I started to put the pieces together especially when insiders started to tell me what I did not know or did not remember.
Now, I am not sure if any of this resonates with you MissyMing. I do know that some DID folks are co-conscious from the start. This could be what you are experiencing. Yes singletons have alter egos that allow them to present different aspects of themselves in different situations. So, for example, someone (a singleton) may act differently with their work mates, then another side comes out with their children, another with friends out for a good time and another with a partner, etc. Everyone has that capability. The difference is that singletons are in control of and choose to act in this way and they have total memory of what happens when they are in an alter ego persona. Multiples do not choose switching into insider (alters) personalities. Switches happen with no control mechanisms and, for many of us, no knowledge or memory of what happened.
Now, you describe your experience as observing yourself acting in these various ways. What you have described is a dissociative state (depersonalization). Singletons would not say that they observed themselves being mommy and then goofy friend and then efficient worker. In other words, they do not see their alter egos as separate from themselves nor do they dissociate the experience. I guess the thing to ask yourself is do you feel that you are in control of the ego states (personalities) that present, do you have control over when they come forward, are there triggers that bring them forward, etc.?
Obviously, there is more to a diagnosis of DID then what I can even begin to know and understand. After reading here for almost five years, I have learned that DID symptoms and conditions are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. There are as many ways to present and reasons for DID as there are individuals with DID. It takes a professional (who believes in DID) to diagnose the condition.
Bottom line MissyMing, if it feels right here … that is all that matters!
I would always say to my DID T that I not diss really cuz I don’t have amnesias, just poor memory.
T just smile.
Soo I say, ok local university will do neuro psych testing(memory etc) by supervised students cheap. I will show you that I am right, just poor memory.
Finally got results….. Omg, didn’t want to show T 🙄.
Lol, all was fine…
Except one test! so I said see, see bad memory! Ha!
T says, well given the nature of that test, my guess is you were triggered by it and switched and thats why you did poorly.
Tester even made comment on unusual behaviours(i had switched more than once over the course of testing which was for 10 hours over 3 days).
T was right dang it! Hmmmmm. She WAS an expert on DID…. Hmmmmm.
So, for me not so much amnesia as life was just kind of kaleidoscopic. Fragmented. Normal for me. I only later realized how it was not how the average person perceives the world. I could only know what I felt.
I was not high on DID spectrum. T would never say, she just would say that in her opinion, I was on the spectrum.
She sure made it hard to deny when she point stuff out to me.
She was real good.
I do not consider DID to be a bad way to be if you can get cooperation. In fact I think its a better way to be!
I am mostly integrated. Just kinda happened.
Occasionally, very occasionally I will switch and I am delighted! But its not the same.
Being singleton is kinda dull I got to say.
I didn’t want to integrate.
Too weird and quiet when noboddy around.
But I did integrate anyways.
Mostly, cept if I real stressed.
Now I used to the quiet. I kinda like it. The constant internal chaos was exhausting.
But still, I miss the others, I really do.
I been diss more of my life than integrated. Diss feels more normal to me.
I just wanted to pop in here to say that I really appreciated your various postings here. Gave me a lot to think about. Thank you for sharing!
Thanks ME+WE 😊
we like to have each other around. especcially when everyone is nice. we like having friends around always. we would miss someone id they werent here. we would never want to integrate. it wouldnt be fair to anyone. and it would be lonleyer.
Hello Kathy, thank you so much for this article.
When we first heard about integration, the first thing everyone said was different variations of “I don’t want to do it” and for the longest time I was afraid of being forced to do it. The entire gang here is absolutely repulsed by the concept of integration, some even call it “murder” (The extreme ones) and we feel as if it’s only going to give us more questions than answers or a sense of safety.
We’re all very distinct from one another but we all agree integration isn’t for us. I’m very happy to learn it isn’t the only way to heal, it makes us panic every time it’s brought up.
P.S your articles comfort us lots
Love, a friend
My T told me my treatment plan and I am going to send her this article. Our first response to integration is ,”2,4,6,8, We Don’t Want To Integrate!”
We might have some other ideas on this as we process things.
I totally understand resisting integration. If my T brings it up, that is usually my first response too!
But, I have noticed, as therapy progresses and the amnesic barriers are slowly chipped away, that I’m not as opposed to it as I used to be. I feel curious and open. It’s not my stated goal, but at the same time, if integration happens naturally in the healing process as the memories, traumas, and other things are shared among parts of myself, why would I resist it?
I guess I started to look at integration as a can’t hurt, might help kind of thing. But only if it occurs naturally as a part of the healing process, not as a stated goal or outcome.
There is a great article written by someone dissociative who integrated who talks about integration. It’s called ” Understanding Integration” by Rachel Downing and it’s posted at sidran.com.
Might be worth reading too, to gain perspective from someone who was dissociative and integrated.
Thanks Neo. Very good read. For those interested, here in the link to the article.
Integration … well that is the big million dollar question. I agree that it is certainly not something that I aspire to either. And, I really hear what Neo is saying here (and read the article – thanks Neo). Quite a different take on the question of integration.
Hum … what to think eh? Personally, I have no agenda either way. My T has said that she does not think that integration is necessary. Certainly Kathy and Laura have weighed in on the question and have said likewise. These are three professions whose opinions I very much respect so … that really helps me relax with the whole issue.
I do see how some of my insiders may fade away in importance as I heal and their role or what they carry for me in terms of trauma is dealt with. I certainly do feel that some of my insiders are not as prevalent as they once were. I do not see them as gone, just taking a big break from the everyday stuff. They are welcome to come back and be a more active part of my life if and when they choose. I do not like to think that they are gone forever. Well, that is just my sentimental need to honour and respect them as integral parts of my being.
As I heal, I do not find my insiders melting away. Rather, I see us walking through life together. What I mean by this is that, in the past, either I was out and interacting with the world or they were out – not us both at the same time. In recent months I have been actively working toward sharing sensory and emotional experiences with them. I have actively shared with a couple of my insiders in unison with them – walking with them rather than separate from them. Not sure if that makes sense but it really has been a wonderful experience for me.
So, maybe some would call that integration of a sort. I feel no big need to label it one way or another. For me healing does not have to be something called integration where I see myself as just one. Healing for me is living in harmony with my insiders in the here and now, free from the burdens of the past.
I hope that this helps DK.
I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time right now. There sure is a lot to learn. I’m pretty new to working on this, too. You are not crazy. It may feel that way, but splitting was a way to survive. It was creative and smart and courageous. You are all those things.
Take it slow and easy. Be compassionate with yourself. We’re here for you. This is a safe place.
Warm welcomes from all of me to all of you
Hello Abiyah Rina,
I wanted to extend a big welcome here as well. You are “just learning”? Well, you have come to a great place here for some super, solid, insightful and accurate information thanks to our brilliant Kathy and Laura. Plus — bonus round – Kathy has given us a forum in the comments section of her blog articles to post our thoughts/questions/experiences/etc. plus our own topic space inspired by Wren (look for postings in the subject “Our Normal Complicated Selves”). You can post on anything you like there. It does not have to be DID specific.
I was new to my DID diagnosis a little over three years ago. I discovered this website while searching out the topic because, quite honestly, I was terrified, in denial, confused, at the end of my rope … well, just wanting to know what the heck this DID diagnosis was, what did it feel like, how do you live with DID, why do I have DID, how do I heal, etc? Ya, just a whole bunch of questions and nothing but confusion, some cold clinical analyses and some downright wrong information on the Internet.
Then I found Kathy’s portal of hope here and things started to change for me. Finally I found compassion and understanding in Kathy’s letters from the trenches of trauma/DID work and others who were thinking, feeling, living, experiencing things just like me. And, I was not alone anymore. None of us are alone here. We are all here to listen and help when we can.
We are not on a ‘crazy train’ here. We are on the ‘hope train’ where every stop brings us new insight and healing. Welcome aboard Abiyah Rina!
Abiyah Rina says
I am just learniing. It’s all very scary. But I realize that most of them have been there all the while since I were a child. A few came as a young adult. Im just learning the concept that I am multiple.
It’s more strange to understand that they are all me. They have lived in stranger worlds. We barely know each other and then we know each other like twins.
My therapist had us all in a conference room once. And OMG THIS IS TOO CRAZY FOR ME NOOOO GET ME OFF THE CRAZY TRAIN @ THE NEXT STOP!!!!
Lol, tried once to get all in a conference room. It was chaos! We tried see through walls, intercoms etc etc to try and make everyone ok, but it didn’t work out for me. Just have to go with smaller interactions.
Thank you for the thoughtful response. You truly are a gem.
I don’t know that it is about controlling anything. It’s more trying to find my place. And about not wanting to harm anyone inside.
I do so agree that it is time for safety, kindness and compassion. My T said the same thing today. Those are all safety nets! 🙂
Thank you for reminding me that we are a strong, capable and resilient group of people.
I don’t know what “give your mind a rest” would look like. I run 90 miles an hour with my hair on fire all day long. If I sit still I fall asleep. But distraction can work. Like listening to music or doing art of some sort or another.
ME+WE, I have no words for how much I cherish your encouragement and all that you share. We are all so fortunate that you’re here.
Thank you for your very kind words Wren. I wish I was a fraction as helpful here as Kathy and everyone has been for me over the years. This is such an important portal of understanding, compassion and hope. I have valued our comments back and forth more than I can possible put into words.
Interesting how you say that you do not think it is about controlling anything. Now that is transference on my part. I have struggled with “controlling” things so assume everyone else has the same issue. 😉
I do not believe that you will knowingly harm your insiders Wren. That certainly is not how I have read your various postings. Remember that as you explore and build communication with your insiders there will be difficult stuff triggered. This may seem like you are hurting your insiders and yourself but you are doing the painful work necessary fo everyone to heal.
I have spoken with my insiders and have told them that I might not always understand them or agree with them but I will always love them, welcome them, listen to them and treat them with the caring, compassion and respect that they deserve. I let them know that we can always work things out, differences included, if we keep the lines of communication and caring open. I also tell them that I may screw up sometimes and to please forgive me when I do and that I do not do this to harm them in any way. I am not perfect but I promise them that I will always try and will always listen.
I cannot ask for anything more from myself or my insiders. I know that there are a couple of insiders that do not like me and try to harm me on occasion. But, I feel that loving them, welcoming them and trying to communicate our issues is the way to healing those relationships. They were born out of neglect, pain, and trauma. I feel that it is up to me to model caring, compassionate and accepting behaviours with them if they are ever to heal and build a positive relationship with me.
Oh, and I quite explicitly tell my insiders that I am not trying to get rid of them (or kill them as my one little one fears). I tell them that I am all about us building a happy life all together and that no one is left out of that future.
Hum … I certainly understand the 24/7 chaos that is our minds. But, try to give yourself some extra time this week to meditate, listen to music and do your needlework. You have some awesome safety nets stored in your basket Wren. Time to pull them ALL out including keeping connected here.
With warm thoughts and best wishes,
I don’t think I am the original. It makes me feel like I have stolen someone’s life.
I am a figment of my own imagination. Am I real? Today I don’t know. Maybe I am just a thought or an imagining.
What does integration even mean, really? What does that look like? Would the insiders have to die or just dissipate into the air? Maybe I am an insider, too, who would just go poof and be gone… Who gets to decide that, anyway? Just because I am here now doesn’t mean I own the house. Maybe I am just a renter….
Wren, who is feeling sad.
I am sorry to hear that you are feeling so sad. Maybe you need to take a little break from trying to sort out all of your DID stuff right now and just let it be. You have so much on your plate right now. I appreciate that you sure probably feeling like you want to be in control of something — anything — right now, but you need to save your energy. Time for safety, kindness and compassion dear Wren.
You know, I really do not think that it matters if I am the original, one of the alters who happens to be in most control right now or just a figment of my bountiful imagination. All my parts have, and continue to, allow me to function. That is a huge accomplishment no matter how many parts it takes to get through life.
As for integration, this was something that the psychiatric professin pushed at one time for DID folks. It was all about our alters no longer having a purpose or reason for being so they just meld into the host. Of course, our alters are all a part of us so the thought was that we regain possession as a single personality in integration.
It would seem that current progressive thinking is that we do not loose (or kill off) our alters in integration but rather learn to communicate with them, achieve coconsciousness and work together. As we get to know our alters, their stories, traumas, reasons for being, often their role in our systems change because they heal. Our healing and their healing go in unison. It is my understanding that sometimes an alter will disappear on their own because there is no purpose for them anymore. But, more often then not, we just learn to work together as a forever team.
So, please give your poor mind a rest Wren. All you need to know is that you are who you are and that is a strong, capable and resilient collection of incredible folks sharing your body.
ME+WE sending you a 🙂
Totally agree Kethery! I am lucky because my T does not believe that integration is necessary. It seems so distrespectful to my insiders. And as Oliver has said, my insiders literally saved my life and continue to do so as I muddle through the healing process. Yes there are definite down sides but I would be desperately lonely without my insiders.
You are the first DID expert who has not stated that integration is the ONLY way to heal. I like being multiple, sure there are aspects that still suck – but those are mostly the PTSD symptoms. Thank you.
Kathy Broady MSW says
Welcome to Discussing Dissociation, and wow — I am so very GLAD that you have found this site because no System needs to feel required or “forced” to integrate. And by all means, if you enjoy being multiple, then make the very best of that, and y’all as a team can certainly have a wonderful life, just as you are.
The PTSD symptoms are from the trauma — and those are not fun at all, that’s for sure. And, you’ve made a good point. PTSD and being multiple are overlapping things, but they are very different too. AND… once you’ve addressed a lot of that PTSD stuff, you can truly just enjoy being multiple.
Thanks for writing, and I wish you the very best in your healing journey!
Obviously, there’s a lot of DID that hurts… but at the same time, my alters literally save my life, and I save theirs. They are the reason I never feel lonely. They are people I can depend on and trust. I know that there are persecutors who have tried to hurt me, but I understand why they struggle, and hopefully through therapy… they can just be my best friends like all the others 🙂
I didn’t have any friends in primary school. They were the only ones there for me. I never want to lose the bond I have with some of them (and hopefully all at some point).
I’ve accepted that I am multiple as well, but struggling with the SRA. I’m learning of the less severe trauma first and at times have become despondent. Right now, I’m struggling with so much rage and hate toward the perpetrators, especially my mom. The littles hate her. I don’t even know how to help them work through it and release their pain. I don’t want to become evil like the people who destroyed my mind, because of the rage about what was done to me. The positive thing about being multiple is having an internal family of people all different ages. I don’t need to be around others too much. I have plenty of company inside. However, it can be overwhelming, because there isn’t enough time to give each different alter time to do what they enjoy, and then I feel guilty. They are all unique and special. Each one with special likes, dislikes and skills. I think being multiple is like having the skills and attributes of 20 people all pack into one. It’s also a struggle though, because they have different issues and need help coping and working through what happened to them. Lately swear words keep popping out of my mouth. This is so not me, but it is some alter. Trying to find out who it is and why this is going on is still scary sometimes. I want to be whole and integrated. I want the triggers and rage to stop, but at the same time discovering the atrocities that happened is terrifying. If only, it was like reading a book, but it is not, because you re-experience the physical and emotional pain that originally caused you to split. I wish that I had a counselor or someone to work with. It is very discouraging to think about how long it will take to be healed. I’m now middle age and wonder if I will be healed before I die. I’m not even able to get or maintain a job because of the developmental trauma. I wish I knew what to do to help the healing process so that I could have some semblance of a normal life.
Marianne Shalkowsky says
I’ve accepted that I an multiple and I’m ok with it. I was very creative in my survival of SRA and severe childhood abuse.
I coped the best way I could. Pretending it wasn’t happening to me but to someone else.
How would you have coped when so many faces were needed to face the many roles required of me.
I’m ok and we did the best we could.
I can complain about the annoyances of amnesia in everyday life but at least I made it through:)
All the best to all of you survivors out there:)
Another thing that i like about being multiple is that we have such a variety of interests. We enjoy learning about ANYTHING. One thing we all love to do is research. We will research just about anything. We also like a big variety of music and books. It is pretty hard for us to get bored.
The tricky part is working together with all this. We dont all like the same things, and sometimes this causes conflict of who gets to do what and when. One of us loves to watch Dr Phil, one complains the whole time its on.. I dont care for Missys heavy metal music, but she doesnt always care for what i like. We like different movies, Sometimes we listen to childrens songs, but then others complain. The boys are NOT thrilled when the little girls play dolls! . So, we just have to keep working on ways to take turns, which can be challenging, but we are getting better at it.