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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.