And now a break from your regularly scheduled integration

I have not written in a while. My life has been topsy-turvey and I’ve not been able to muse much lately about internal realities and external reality checks. But I will not let this blog be driven by diary-led ramblings. Only well-researched ramblings allowed. So I refrain from writing without trying to make a Point.

I have a Point.

<Perhaps two.>

So we’ve used dissociation as a coping mechanism. No offense, but hell, let’s get beyond the everpresent “we dissociate because of abuse….” and use that fact as some sort of justification for our behavior. Instead, we should start musing on the mutating role over time that the phenomenon works within us.

As I said, no offense. But the woman who wrote the first draft of this post is not the one finishing it.

Dissociation: coping mechanism at the time of attack. Step forward time. Result of triggers after attack. Step forward time. Explanation <excuse> for behavior after realizing the phenomenon. Step forward time. And finally back around a full circle leap into the future – knowingly using dissociation to get through new and potentially stressful situations.

So here we are now.

f(x,y,t) = (√(9-y²), √(9-x²),t)
for t=(time of trauma to present)

As t-for-time goes from time of attack to the present. And 9, my lovely Party of 9.

And the future function is unknown. Perhaps as life goes on, therapy work pays off, 9 becomes a variable and decreases to 0. Or actually, 1.

And for those of us less mathematically saavy, or less a show off, my current and constant Party of 9:

Party of 9, over time, over time… will my Party of 9 become 8, then 7…. will we get to 1? Integration? Would that help?

So, we’ve all used dissociation, knowingly or not. All that highway hypnosis stuff. Miss your exit blah blah blah. Get lost in a book blah blah blah. Block out most of the interview we had yesterday.


Despite the outcome of our mental health journey and eventual integration (or not), we will likely continue to rely on it beyond our ability to foresee.

Sooooo, dissociation is back in my life. <Like it left?> On the front step. And the technique I’ve used for so long without realizing, I now choose to employ to survive the next phase of my life.


We go through “phases.” Times good and bad; successes and failures; for better for worse. Marriages, children, losing friends and family, graduations, layoffs, first love, financial ruin, once-in-a-lifetime vacations, and slow descents into madness.

I am not yet mad.

<Oh, the meds, the meds…>

But I have consciously shoved everything back into the closet. To become less “nuts.” <To temporarily reduce the radius of my selves?> In the short term.

At different times in my life, I’ve made major shifts in my reality. New job, new relationships, escaping hardships and taking on others. Jumping from one experience to the next. Often, these were brought about and even facilitated by different parts of me needing to be satisfied.

I can see that now; tracing back the phases and satisfiers. Hopping experiences and selves.

A strong leader, while other parts sat on the sidelines or simply went away, bored or ignored. I had no idea why my life was ruled by such serendipity. It was oddly comforting that I was able, capable, to do what I wanted. Achieving something new wasn’t that hard. I was never truly afraid. Hell, another new challenge to scale – I get bored so easily.

My sister-in-law’s mother once told me, “You are such an amazing woman!” and I had no idea what she meant. I had done a few neat things. But it wasn’t until the last year or so when all my accomplishments were lined up right in front of my face…so I was forced to see. Could no longer avoid considering, existing behind that nearly transparent film encapsulating me hesitantly from my past. Now I could (was forced to) scan my past and realize that I had, indeed, done more than the average bear.

<Heh. Duh.>

And once again, I have a new challenge. This economy, personal issues, my own mental health. I need a higher paying job for financial security. No more cruising by in the less-demanding (and lower-paying) emotionally satisfying job that allowed me to concentrate more on my own issues.

A challenge only part of me is able to confront.

And so I dissociate. Pull a nearly emotionless personae forward to animate one of my/our many mantras, “Don’t think, just do.”

Get that job.

She <me> who is insulted by the intimation that she could not accomplish a challenge, who finds it difficult not to pick up the thrown gauntlet. She must drive in this intellectual quest.

<To me, it is not about money; it is only the thrill of the hunt. She/I hunts well. I will do this, attack this with relish.>

But I see now, in settling realization, that this new phase does not bring about a complete separation. I actually feel more switching and awareness than I have in the past year – being so conscious of myself and my family’s needs. I realize now who drives to the interviews, who actually TAKES the interviews, and who decompresses afterwards. Who prepares and researches the companies.

Who writes the thank you letters.

It is still a strong collaboration within me. But with a different leader. Another center. Internally I have shifted and it feels funny.

What used to be “normal” for a time is now strangely out of place for me.

The merry-go-round has rotated forward another horse; the gear has turned another tooth. The clock straining to leap from :59 to :00. And sometimes quickly back again.

I am slightly behind. Seeing it, and relieved when I feel the Do overtake the Think.

Because that’s what’s needed in this crisis.

I am sure the methods of coping I now practice are likely not much different than any other singleton in my position. But my past makes me so much more aware of the why’s. I freak out, I hang mellow. I cry. I am also unaware. Don’t care.

But I suppose what’s most important is that most of me knows I won’t end up in another personae split to deal with this new reality. (I hope.) We see the roles each plays best and the overlap among them. You drive the car because I get lost too easily. Lead with your strengths…I just have several leaders.

I see that now. And wonder, is this truly a descent into an old method of coping <9 remains constant over time>? Or is it the first challenge for me/we to act in an integrated manner <9 decreasing over time>?

Although we are stepping back, I recognize that, perhaps, there may be more to my awareness than just co-habitation. Active participation. The awareness of those behind the scenes may mean this isn’t severe dissociation any longer. A step towards healing. Of active cooperation and influence – not serially, but simultaneously.

I have no idea how to get there. But I realize that when this crisis is finally over, I will have the lifeline – and different perspectives. How will I look back upon it when the crisis comes to a close? Will I be one step closer to bringing all of me home?



  deannandme wrote @

I remember the push to DO instead of THINK, and it really worked to insist on focusing on the DO to get all the parts to work together. I have an inner hunter too, that is extremely good at finding the data, and securing the new path. Can relate to that!

Sounds like you’ve done alot of work to identify all your internal players and their strengths and letting them contribute when needed without taking over.

That move from what was normal but doesn’t feel normal now is just part of maturing. Parts changing and growing is a sign that integration is happening.

Its so lovely to hear of your progress, and I am very excited for you!

  secretshadows wrote @

Very interesting! Loved the math!

I am glad to see you back to the blog, but I definitely understand you have been hugely busy, I see.

Good luck with the job find. I should really be doing the same. This economy sux, but I am a teacher and job openings come but once or twice a year. We will make do on my subbing pay, and possibly next year I will have my own class.

Take care,
Secret Shadows

  Tigerweave wrote @

Glad to see you writing here again. I had lots to say, thoughts as i read, but they flitted away again!


  emilylonelygirl wrote @

Secret and Tiger

Thanks both of you. You are both always there for me! Yeah, when I write stuff like this, there are always editorials in the back of my head…sometimes I listen and allow “contributions” and other times I get a little overruled, but I like the flavor of the additions. Of course, Kate went a little overboard finding a graphing program to the point of annoyance, but what the hell. Who says there is only one way to make a point. (an unintended pun! )

  Jackie wrote @

Love the math too. As a “functioning challenge” myself, I can relate to the every so slightly shift in dancing inside. I find it wonderful to have these unbalnced, well rounded (oxymoron intended) individuals to get me through life. Rather handy. But make sure you bring home the wine bottle for the family but at the same time, be careful while your uncork it so you ruin the wine. Special wine for special people. J

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