Integration

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* Lammas – https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/the-summer-solstice-lughnasadh-lamas/
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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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Upcoming Holidays

June
6/16 Father’s Day
6/17 Full moon
6/20 (?) Corpus Christi/Feast of the Body of Christ
6/2 Eve
6/24 St John’s Day

July
7/2 Total solar eclipse. Visible in parts of South America
7/4 Fourth of July/ US Independence Day
7/16 Full moon
July 16 – 17 Partial lunar eclipse. Visible in South America, Africa, most of Europe and Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
7/25 St. James’ Day/Festival of the Horned God

August
8/1 Lammas/Lughnasadh
8/15 Full moon
8/15 (?) Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Dates Important to Nazi and Neo-Nazi groups
7/29 Hitler proclaimed leader of the Nazi party
(NOTE: Not all groups meet on Jewish holidays. Some groups also mark Candlemas, Beltane, Lammas, Halloween, the solstices and the equinoxes))

Integration?

If you would like some information on Halloween, there is an article in October of the 2011 archives.

Internal integration has never been a personal goal of mine. First, for years I didn’t believe I was multiple – just spacey. Then, when I started to conceptualize myself as multiple, I felt so fragmented that the concept just didn’t make sense. My fragments blend together to accomplish something, then blend back into the background. They integrate and disintegrate like drops in the ocean waves. No names, no personalities, just little bits and pieces in the vastness of my mind.

But I desperately wanted to integrate the ritual abuse into my daily life. I wanted to be able to hold the two realities in my mind at the same time; I had been abused in a Satanic context, and I was an average middle-class white lady. I would have been a soccer Mom if soccer had been popular back when my kids were little. I wanted both realities to be equally real to me.

My goal was to have RA woven seamlessly into my present. I wanted to be able to talk about it without having a panic attack. I wanted to feel sane if I didn’t talk about it for a few days. I wanted the little mini-flashbacks (flicks, as Trudy Chase calls them in When Rabbit Howls) to feel as normal as deciding to have a cup of coffee.

Now, after more than twenty years, the two realities are in constant motion, blending and unblending like my fragments. It feels much more comfortable.

My bookshelves reflected the stages I went through to accomplish my goal. Before I remembered, there wasn’t a single book on Satanism or ritual abuse. Then I started buying every book in sight until they crowded the novels, the cookbooks, and the reference books off my shelves. After many years, I said, “Enough!” and sent most of them off to a friend in order to form the core of a research library. Now 10%, at the most 20%, of the books on my shelves have to do with my abuse. There is room on my shelves and in my life for other interests. Both my books and my life are integrated.

I think this is an unusual definition of integration — and of multiplicity, for that matter — but then I am sure it means many things to many people. If you have integrated, partly or completely, what is it like for you? And if you haven’t, what do you imagine it to be?

Adapted from Survivorship Notes, Vols. 8/9 Nos. 12/1