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* Lammas –

For some reason, trying to jam all these new time-consuming things into my already busy life made me think of integration. Trying to integrate so many things without driving myself crazy, I guess.

Years ago, I talked to somebody who had just integrated an alter. It was the first time I had had a chance to ask what it was like. Her face lit up, and she said, “It’s like falling in love with yourself!” I thought that was so beautiful.

I wish I had a tape of our conversation and permission to share it with everybody who is frightened of integration. So many feel it’s the death of an individual with a personality, a life history, talents, and memories. At the moment of integration, that part will just disappear into the larger, stronger host personality, never to be seen again. That picture of integration makes me think of vampires, and murder, and the disappearance of somebody who has been kidnapped. It sounds awful.

It’s doubly awful if it is coupled with the belief that you cannot be healed if you aren’t integrated. That sounds to me like a cult double-bind. “Oh, so you want to be healed? Then you will have to kill all these parts of you that you love so much. And if you don’t kill them, you are doomed to be miserable for the rest of your life.”

Nobody I have talked to who has integrated parts, whether it be one or many, has found the experience to be frightening. Instead, it has been a happy occasion, a time to relax and enjoy the hard work that has brought increased inner peace.

No, I will take that back. I’ve heard of forced integrations by handlers which was disastrous. In one case, all the integrated alters were first made to believe they were dead and then, in one “body,” were buried in an internal cemetery. Integration, therefore, meant death to the remaining alters and was used as an effective threat. In another case, a bunch of alters who were at odds were integrated in order to keep the system at a constant level of chaos.

The key to successful integration is respect. There must be no coercion, and it must be voluntary for all parts. Plenty of time is allowed to ask questions, express doubt, and talk about preferences and expectations. The planning is done thoughtfully, and all opinions have been discussed. The process is not always totally conscious; much of the work can go on behind the scenes.

Choice is really important to alters who have never had the chance to make choices. Once integrated, they can grow and experiment. Rather than endlessly doing the same job over and over, they can try out different tasks and roles and see whether they like them or not. If they decide they don’t, there are no repercussions – just the opportunity to try something else. That’s freedom!

Integration itself is a choice. There is nothing wrong with keeping parts separate. The key here is mutual respect, communication, and cooperation. I imagine this as being like a smoothly run commune. What difference does it make if you are one or a hundred? What matters is the degree of internal cooperation and communication. Believe me, people who have never been dissociated can be filled with ambivalence and fear, and their lives can be really chaotic. Being “one” isn’t a magic charm that makes everything all right forever.

There is a part of me that is bitching and moaning and groaning about no longer driving. Luckily it agrees with the part of me that says, for safety’s sake, it is time to give up the car. And the part that made the decision to stop, and is proud of that decision, totally gets the loss involved – the loss of independence, convenience, spontaneity, privacy, and time.

I can hold both positions at the same time without conflict. That’s integration enough for me.


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14 thoughts on “Integration

  1. Hi Jean. I don’t ever want to integrate, but I did like that ladys analogy of it, as falling in love with yourself! That to me sounds so magical! And makes me feel less scared, although that is not why I am not integrating, I just prefer to operate with all of us, rather than trying to merge parts. we are all happy to just be. Happy to be able to be ourselves, and to make our way in the world each day. Great article! xoxo


  2. Hi jean,

    I’m sorry I haven’t commented for a while and to barge right in with a question (so perfectly okay if you can’t/won’t/do not want to answer it!)
    My therapist is saying that I have to confront the possibility that nothing bad (or worse) is going to happen when I challenge the ‘not talking’ rule
    And somehow I’m not possible to do this,
    On your previous blogposts it looks like you were able to do challenge this and all the other ideas and bad things that were put in to you or that they had to make you believe and I was hoping you could tell me how you did this, or what the process was because truthfully I’m (and all of me) is just frozen completely and not able to disobey
    (Even writing this feels wrong and punishable)
    Thank you and know that I’m not always able to comment but I do read along


    1. Nothing to be sorry for – you are welcome to be silent, welcome to share, welcome to ask.

      I’m going to have to think about this a bit before I reply because my first reaction was “I don’t know!”


      1. Okay, I have a little time and can address your concern.

        I think if you try to disobey you just frighten your parts who are not wanting to disobey for fear of retribution, from loyalty, for whatever reason. And so it becomes an internal fight and you freeze.

        So you have to accept that they are afraid and unwilling to disobey and address their feelings first. Explore: “what would happen if we told? Has it already happened? I mean, did we tell and then that happened? No wonder you are afraid it will happen again.”

        Approach them with the goal of just listening, not trying to convince them. Tell them how brave they are and thank them for what they did for you in the past. In other words, make friends. When they get to know you, they may be willing to hear what you have learned in the years you have been working on this as an adult.

        I hope that your therapist can understand that there are parts of you that cannot, are not ready, to consider disobeying. And that you have to get to know them and open the lines of communication before you can disobey. Otherwise you would be running rough shod over a whole bunch of terrified kids, and you don’t want to do that.

        There’s a paradox here. If you talk to those parts about their fear, of course you are talking. But that is not really disobeying because you aren’t breaking any rules in this kind of talking. It’s a step above: not talking, but talking about talking.

        Internal talking is not dangerous to the cult. External talking (especially naming names) is dangerous because they fear they will get exposed. Make sense? So you should be able to get to know those parts and do a lot of internal work building bridges, expressing gratitude, modeling respect, maybe working out a way of making decisions together. All without even saying a word about what happened int the cult.

        You are totally welcome to share this with your therapist if you think it would help. And if you would like to share how it went, we’d be really glad to learn about it.


  3. A superb little article. I would like to all people become familiar with DID and integration. I have been thinking about it from a non-DID (that I know of, right?) perspective. I think everyone has many times when they feel conflicted in feelings or in what to do. Eventually, sometimes with the help of the instinct, we form a decision, not even being aware of the internal process that did it. I think that “normal” people are only slightly different from DID people. We all have different moods and situations might bring out a particular set of skills and attitudes that go with certain situations. the big difference as I see it, is that experiences and skills are walled off into separate compartments not normally allowed into the normally presenting personality. One only gets rid of the walls and not the memories and feelings. Now all those experiences and feelings are felt everywhere and available at any time. Its all about those artificial walls being placed or removed. The rest of the stuff is still there.

    We all have different modes and presenting personalities. Programming finds those strange ways to take the many different moods and personalities and make them hidden with certain assigned jobs and duties.

    My goal has always been to understand DID enough to make it comprehensible to someone called “normal,”, who does not have DID and does not know about MK programming. It all sounds to far out to them. But the reality is that we have all the components in us to become DID or it would not be possible in the first place. Most people don’t think much about what goes on inside their head. They often hide things from themselves. You can all it psychosis or call it willful, internally motivated DID. The mind is a fascinating piece of engineering.

    Your thoughts are very helpful. I wish more reported on the detailed specifics of their healing process.


    1. What do other people think? I think it is true that everybody has parts, but that the walls between the parts are vastly different in different kinds of DID. That’s where I think many non-DID people get hung up.

      There are two non-DID people I am comfortable enough to ask how they think. It’s really amazing! I asked one of them once “What are you thinking?” “And what are you thinking under that?” “And under that?” She is very smart, very capable, but apparently can only think of two things at the same time. I was astonished.

      We should all sit around a table, preferably real, but could be virtual, and compare how our minds work. Bet it would be edifying.


      1. Yes, knowing how others think would be fascinating. Most avoid internal assessment. I tend to cuss in a sort of mob accent. reactions can be set off. Many have experienced trauma though not programmed. I know I have several inside me that will probably never come out because the instinctive mind has to sense safety and security. If any are interested in virtual, I am all for it. Often the only thing stopping learning is people remaining silent. Everyone sharing might bring light to a few things. Many have buried traumas and do not know it.


        1. Just ask!

          I have an intro that seems to make it easier for pple to share –

          “I have a friend who thinks in shapes and colors, not words. I can’t imagine thinking without words. When I think of a cow, I hear the word “cow” and see an image of a cow from the side with c-o-w written on it. Ways of thought are so very different! What’s it like for you?”


          1. When I think, I often like to verbalize it (talk out loud). I feel thru music a lot. It expresses emotions real good. I love to sing. I am what you might call, a strong facial recognition and sound/voice recognition and even strong pattern recognition. I can draw, but it is very tedious for me. I much prefer the intellect and the path or process of thinking, known as logic. I think everyone tends to specialize in some things and not others. Artists are very visually aware. Layout design color and a good connection between the brain, allowing smooth control of the arm, wrists, hands and fingers. Me, my grip and motor control are tense and stiff. I used to squeeze a pencil hard in school with muddy writing. I take on various characters attached to various moods. Its just fun for me. I note that those who study bee behavior have observed that bees act like individual neurons and when a consensus is reached, then the decision is dispensed as as which location to build in. I note that the sub-conscious helps macro-process info so that if you are seeking an understanding or solution to something, in about 2 or 3 days, something will pop up into my head. the subconscious pays very close attention to our “sincerity” and if we do not show a strong want, then it does not take us seriously. but if you are constantly seeking to solve something, it takes you seriously and begins macro processing to get an answer thru deduced patterns. and does it all while you take care of other things. Its quite the servant.


  4. Does it feel like ‘i am both of them’? (both positions) or ‘there are two parts inside, i am feeling both at the same time, but it’s not really me’?


    1. If we are talking about post-integration, I don’t know from personal experience. From what I understand, it’s ‘i am both of them. ’

      ‘i am feeling both at the same time, but it’s not really me’ would be two alters and a co-conscious part that was being the “me”, or the front person.


  5. This is really good Jean and helpful for me to read. Transitions can be hard.I am happy you are working with your self to find acceptance and peace about it. I appreciate you sharing this. Thank you.


    1. Ah, what I am hoping for is an elderly gentleman with a drivers’ license and perfect eyesight who adores me and wants to spend all day taking us wherever we want to go on a whim. In the meantime…I’ll settle for reality LOL

      I’m glad it helped you!

      Liked by 3 people

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