Thoughts on Integration
There is nothing like
the topic of integration to stir up controversy and anger. For years
integration was the only goal multiples were meant to have. Things
like system cooperation and abuse recovery seemed only to be dealt with
so the person could reach the deemed healthy goal of one person inhabiting
one body. Multiplicity was only seen in medical terms. It was
a mental illness and therefore had to be fixed. It was seen as a
coping mechanism, this however places multiplicity within the wide range
of coping mechanisms that are now no longer beneficial to the person.
In a society that values
conformity, to step outside the bonds of what is deemed normal is a brave
and sometimes intensely lonely thing. When faced with the pressures
of society to conform the idea of remaining multiple may become difficult
to hold. I have no idea what it is like to be a multiple without
an abuse history, nor one that did not require therapy. I can not
speak from that perspective. From my experience multiplicity has
been seen as a disorder by everyone around me since I was diagnosed.
It was created to deal with the abuse, it was the reason I wasn't coping.
The belief held was there was a real person that had to put up with others
and the best thing would be for those others to rejoin the real person
and therefore disappear. So often I see this paradox, the belief
that each "part" is of benefit, but at the same time being seen as foreign,
as not meant to be there. This sets up the situation into a me and
them dynamic, the me being the "real" person and the them, those alters
that have taken over and need to be dealt with. Therefore integration
is seen as the way to get the real person back in control of all the split
off aspects of themselves.
But if there is an
atmosphere of distrust and dislike, how can enough understanding be gained
to create the ability to join together, to work as one, to know all of
the person that you are joining with. It is my belief that integration
can not happen without the full cooperation and knowledge of those involved.
Integration is not the disappearing of others but rather the combination,
the rejoining. All that was, remains after integration but it is
now combined in one person, the person remaining is an amalgamation of
those involved. The person remaining is no longer the same person
that started. They now hold all that was not just their part of it.
The "real" person is not left unchanged, it is not a matter of the others
vanishing without trace. The remaining person is someone new, someone
different. None of this could possibly happen is all those involved
had not developed some kind of cooperative life, had shared and grew.
Unless there is acceptance there can not be integration. Under this
synopsis of integration it is not the death, the casting out of those involved,
nothing is lost, but rather the separate people are now meddled into one
unit. Yes there is a loss of individuality, but in my opinion not
a loss of existence.
But there also is a
right to existence. We are individuals, people, and as such we believe
in the right of self determination. Integration is not the best outcome
for all multiples, nor is it the most desirable. For years our existence
has been determined by those outside us. Well meaning and not so
well meaning professionals have claimed greater knowledge of what is right
for us. And many have followed them, a lot because their lives have
been filled with vast amounts of pain, others because they did not have
the knowledge or strength to know there were different options. There
is a growing acceptance it seems within the multiples I know that being
such isn't a disorder, isn't something that needs fixed. But rather
it is an alternative way of being. Different from the claimed norm,
but with value and merit. There is a growing pride in multiplicity,
a sense of strength and unity. Unity is different from integration,
we as a community strive for unity, a sense of cooperation and working
for similar goals. We no longer believe that the sole goal is to
fit within the tight bounds of what is seen as normal. We are unwilling
to sacrifice our individuality to be considered healthy.
Lately there has been
a major swing in the thoughts of integration amongst multiples. When
I was first diagnosed it was seen as the only option, and to consider differently
was looked down upon. Now I see many multiples getting abusive and
calling those that wish to integration murderers. Like many issues
that there always seems a swinging from one end of the continuum to the
other. It saddens me to see people attacking others for their personal
choices in life, regardless of what end they are at. Some multiples
talk about the need to integrate because they are dysfunctional, but that
dysfunctioning needs to be dealt with before integration can work anyway.
If then the people involved still believe that integration is the best
choice for them then who is anyone to judge that. Likewise is a multiple
that lives a functioning, well balanced life chooses to remain multiple
then that is no ones business but those involved. To us, integration
is not about functioning, not about being healthy. They are separate
issues, ones that we believe are important to deal with. Integration
for us is a choice on the way you live your life. Remaining
multiple is a lifestyle choice.
So in closing, what
is our stance on integration. We are pro-choice. That means
that it is up to each system, all the people involved to make that decision.
It is their business, not for anyone to impose their views, whether pro
or anti integration on. We have made our decision at this time.
We have chosen to remain multiple. Whether that is the same decision
in the future I do not know. Like many choices they can change and
differ with life.