Judy Dragon and Terry Popp set out to offer other survivors [and families, the therapeutic community, the general public] some examples of the integration process, motivated in part by the absence from the literature of such help when they first went through that experience. By so doing, they and their contributors have done more. They have opened for reconsideration the meaning of integration, and its timing as well....[They] have given us is a view of integration that is far more fluid and less certain in its import and meaning... Clearly, all of the women in this volume are describing integrative experiences, the folding of alters into a larger consciousness. The fears and joys attending those experiences are quite vivid. It is also apparent from reading their stories that most do not exclude the possibility, or some even the likelihood, that there may be other alters, even other systems of alters, yet to be discovered. That does not diminish in any way the beauty and power of the integration they have already been through, and it frees us all, survivors and therapists alike, from the confines of believing that integration only happens once.
The editors have chosen, wisely I believe, to edit but not rewrite their contributors’ chapters. What is lost in polish and writer’s craft is offset by immediacy, personality, and most dramatically, the common thread of strong spiritual connection.
–Will Riggan, EdD, MFT
We asked our writers to focus on their multiplicity and integration/fusion process
rather than on in-depth descriptions of the abuse that led to their fragmentation.
There are many books that recount the abuse of children, but few that are concerned
with the physical, emotional, and spiritual process of multiplicity and integration.
The eight stories included in Multiple Journeys to One give a picture of eight different modes of dissociating, eight different alter systems, eight different experiences of extreme child abuse, eight different processes of integration and fusion, and eight different forms of wholeness. Many of the backgrounds include incest, familial torture, Satanic Ritual Abuse, and programming. All include mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual abuse that happened at a young age.
Dissociation is not an illness or disorder in itself; instead, it can be a child’s
reaction to a situation that threatens both the child’s life and sanity. It is a
coping mechanism that the person frequently must untangle later, if s/he is to live
a full, fruitful life.
There are varying degrees of dissociation. A simplified way of understanding this complex phenomenon is to picture an arc. On the lower left hand side is the common dissociation and forgetfulness: everyone forgets, and then later remembers, things and events. The farther we go to the right of the continuum, however, the more the person is apt to dissociate at times of trauma and distress; parts split off creating fragments, or, sometimes, alter personalities.
We are aware, from personal experience, from research, and from conversations with survivors and therapists, that integration, too, can be defined in various ways. Groups of alters can merge (come together) and have co-consciousness between other alter groups, but not with the host personality . An alter can choose to merge into another alter, or into the host person’s body while there are still separate alters. Sometimes a layer of alters merge, or integrate, so that the host personality thinks s/he is now one personality. Later, the therapist and host personality may find that a whole level of submerged alters exist under intense, layered programming. Fusion is what has commonly come to be termed integration: all of the alters permanently fuse into one personality, or ego state.
Although you will note many commonalties in these stories, they are striking in their dissimilarities. Ages vary from thirty to seventy. Many of our writers grew up along the West Coast, but several were from the central states, and the East Coast. Religious/belief backgrounds include Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, atheist, and more than a few Mormons. Some of us come from multi-generational cult families; some from families that were not cult involved but that perpetrated incest and then turned a blind eye to its devastating results; some from families that included both cult abuse and incest.
The state of the outer world is a reflection of each individual’s inner world, of its dissociation, its chaos, its diseases, and, for many, its healing. Our message of self-love and acceptance of all our parts, holds significance for those interested in bringing consciousness to both worlds. The planet has lived in fear of acknowledging and owning its dark, shadowy aspects. This covert and submerged energy creates tremendous pressure to project itself onto an unsuspecting world, and to use denial as truth, while at the same time, withdrawing the conscious ability to take full responsibility for one’s life. The shadow side must be brought up from its subterranean depths and recognized. Only then can it be dealt with. If we do not learn from our histories, the veil of darkness that is our pattern can arise even after integration. If this happens, have we, then, integrated life?
We learn that as we let go of the old forms, change happens, new structures of consciousness manifest. We are all part of the process, a small part of a much grander system.
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Document last updated on 10/01/99-11:27:13.