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Understanding the Incomprehensible

Children of incest or long-term sexual abuse grow up to be wounded adults with complicated emotional issues. Unfortunately, some symptoms are misinterpreted or often dismissed as "crazy", only serving to maintain a tormented victim status. We, as a society, have the power to change this dynamic. Each of us can make a difference.

Dec 9, 2008

What if an alter wants to die?

For several years I attended S.M.A.R.T. conferences to learn more about the abuse I had endured and meet fellow survivors I had met online in a support group. I also attended numerous sessions each day. I'm not recalling the name of the presenter, and my comments in no way are meant to be critical of her, but I did have a strong reaction to her topic. I'm leading into this topic slowly because it is potentially very triggering. The ultimate conclusion should be a decision made by both you and your therapist in a thoughtful caring way and in a way that is right for you and your system. It's not a decision anyone can make for you.

The survivor presentation was focused on how she allowed an alter to die, only after much thought, internal discussion, and discussion with her therapist. The system honored the alter's wishes, allowed her to die, and gave her a funeral. The survivor felt relieved and the overwhelming sadness that had swept the system by the alter was a release for all. The special internal ceremony honored the alter's deep desire to die. I didn't stay for the entire presentation. I felt so opposed to allowing any part of me to die. It was my first or second year of healing and I was too raw to listen. That was never going to happen to me. Period.

A few years later, following my second integration, Ellie came forward overwhelmed with grief and sadness. I did not understand at the time she had become disconnected from Jane internally and that was the source of her distress. I just knew the integration caused her to feel isolated and severely depressed. I was not certain I would survive her strong desire to die. During one of my therapy sessions during that time, I asked if maybe I should allow Ellie to die if that's what she needed to do. Otherwise, I was afraid her wishes would cross over into my consciousness making me actively suicidal. We discussed the various options and Ellie was able to express her wishes. She did not want to live in the body. It was decided that part of her would integrate into my male inner wisdom (who was simultaneously inside the body and out in the greater universal consciousness (my best term). The rest of her was allowed to disperse into the astral plane. Ellie lived on in a different way inside me and beyond.

I don't know if part of her returned or a part of her never left that I felt the sadness since October that went with her and the two littles in the "feeling of death." Those three did integrate and I explained how Ellie had integrated into me while Jane was a separate entity sharing conscious space with me. It was the reunion of Ellie and Janie/Jane that drove this final integration.

What if I had allowed Ellie to die as she wished? Would integration have been able to be complete ever for me? Was it part of the abusers' plan that Ellie wanting to die would keep me from ever fully healing? Today in one of my quiet moments when I could have an internal conversation with Jane, she shared that it was planned that Ellie would be separated from her because that emotional bond of Ellie needing to be joined with Jane drove the integration last week. I had hoped to share space with Jane equally to have a satisfactory life working with her. My therapist did point out that for several years I've been not sure of wanting to know "everything" if I fully integrated. Well the integration happened, much to my surprise, and in a gulp of "OMG, it's happening." In feeling that rush of love between Ellie and Jane, I knew it was right regardless of my personal feelings.

I have not had any flooding of memories. I have had slow messages and clarification. I knew from the time I was diagnosed that I was meant to integrate to heal. And my inner wisdom did lead my healing. It was planned from beginning to end. There were no accidents. Why doesn't that happen for everyone? I wish I could clone my inner wisdom and send him to all who are struggling. When all else was bleak, I had/have such unrelenting faith for this higher self who somehow came to be with me.

The good news is that all have an inner wisdom who can help and guide. Sometimes that protector communicates to the therapist rather than the body to aid the healing. Many are afraid of who is inside them. Step 1: Embrace your parts. If I can offer any advice on how to best begin, that is it.

Such a tricky path we have to take toward healing. The abusers set us up to fail at healing at every turn. Listen to your heart. Make the decisions you KNOW are right for you. If you aren't sure on matters such as this, time is on your side. Wait until you do know the answer. I am ever so glad Ellie was able to express her wish wasn't to die as much as not to be connected to the body. She is connected now with her beloved Jane and she is so happy.

Photo: If Ellie had been allowed to die, she would have died in the highly traumatized state shown in the art blog. Instead she lived to heal to be a beautiful and loving part of me.


Anonymous said...

This is probably very bizarre, but I have someone who commits suicide. Strangely, she keeps coming back. More strangely, I don't think this particular someone is a 'personality' as much as she is a metaphor for my connection with my body and my ability to accept physical comfort. She usually commits suicide when there are body things going on that she cannot tolerate. Then, with her 'gone', I am all detached and can function a little better. She comes back around to comfort me once in a while (not reliably) when I need her. And she has been bringing me messages from the artwork of others when she connects with it. I don't usually understand the message and she has VERY distressingly bad taste in music. I wish she would move on to a more agreeable artform, but I sort of hid the thing that she needs to be able to do that and I can't remember where. And now I feel angry after fessing up such a ridiculous sounding story. Maybe it's safe to get ready for bed now. And if a perp shows up in my head tonight, I'm probably better equipped to whip out the mental Uzi and go all savage on him.

E. H.

Grace said...

Hi E.H.,
That is a very interesting dynamic. Are you in therapy? Can you ask her about the meaning? Maybe the music is the message..or has the message. I've often been led to lyrics.

Nothing sounds bizarre to me from the internal world. Really. Sounds like she is protecting you in a very unique way. Thanks for adding to this discussion!

petit fleur said...

Dear Writer,

I hope that your healing continues to go well. My instinct from your post,is that it will.

You express yourself beautifully and good for you for listening to your inner wisdom. I am just learning to, and it hasn't let me down yet.

Peace and blessings,