therapist as unrelenting guide through the murky unwanted


I mentioned briefly the other day that my last therapy session was cause enough to dye my hair impulsively. It’s not that anything specifically went wrong, or even badly, it was just foreboding.

My T, whom I love, adore, and respect, is making it very clear that the time to take on some of these memories is: SOON. She is a definite believer in integration (is that a swear word in DID circles?), and her goal for me is to allow all of the alters to “return to soul” — which I’m pretty sure is just as valid an explanation for the process as anything else. And I sort of agree with her. Sort of.

J$, to no one’s surprise, does NOT agree. And none of the others have been asked their opinion. She seems to believe that I, Hats, am the only one that gets to make decisions for us, though I can do so compassionately. She strongly believes I should thank the alters and honor them at every possible interval, but her goal is to get them to feel appreciated and that they can function as part of the whole rather than as separate from it.

I just don’t know anymore. I feel like I don’t know them well enough to decide their fate so much based on the faith of a loved, but realistically unempathetic, professional. I only say that because she can’t *possibly* know what it feels like to be me, and her guesses are good but they are still, essentially, guesses.

At first she believed we could do healing work without having to revisit traumatizing memories. Her opinion on this has changed, and now she knows us better she seems certain that remembering is the key to healing. There have been clues in my journal from the others and from some recent dreams that the process is tangible, if only I choose to allow it.

But for the first time in my life, I feel stubborn.

I feel a very different side to myself starting to appear in session when the question of remembering is brought up. Usually I’m reasonable, compliant, and trusting in therapy, but lately, as in the other night, I was different. When the subject comes up, a part of me shuts way down. I don’t feel like smiling, or keeping eye contact, or even being nice. I just want the subject to go away, and I sense that I’m trying to make it go away by intimidation. Not in a scary way, just in a very clear nonverbal way  of saying, “This is not going to happen, so back off.”

I think if pushed then J$ or Tempest would come out at that point, but my T hasn’t pushed, she has just continued to remind me that the time is approaching fast when we must do some hard work around memories.

Well no, that’s not true. There has been some pushing.

Wow. I’m not kidding, I just planned to write about it and suddenly I have absolutely no memory of what I was about to write. I know I had it a minute ago. But my mind is totally blank. Dissociation in action, everyone.

Ok so what was my point…see, when this sort of thing happens and I’m caught unawares, mid-thought, with memory repression, what do I do? I just have to fumble through and remind myself what I was talking about — which by they way would be impossible IF I didn’t have the useful reality of this being in writing.

I was going to talk about being triggered in T and body memories. Ok, I can do that.

There have been some bad dreams lately, and my T asked me to recount them, then asked me how certain aspects made me feel.

Well, I feel my body react. I feel nauseated, my head starts to hurt, I feel anxious and the only explanation I can give in those moments is, “I don’t like it.” Clearly there’s a boundary being pushed up against in those moments, and my body is telling me, “NO, THIS IS BAD FOR YOU, YOU’LL GET SICK IF YOU DO THIS,” and sorry, but I’m inclined to believe my body. The body doesn’t lie to you, it can’t help but tell you the truth. If it is telling me I need to leave this subject alone or I’m going to feel sicker, then of course I’m going to avoid that subject.

But of course part of being in therapy is trying to work with these roadblocks because they’re not healthy. In those moments though, I don’t CARE what’s healthy, I just care about keeping the scary things away. It’s the opposite of logical. I lose the 25-year-old portions of my brain and I’m suddenly a creature of instinct, avoiding what hurts me and with the urge to scare off the person who’s pushing me to feel bad. Obviously I know my T isn’t the enemy, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get the urge to growl at her or curl up on the floor behind the couch.

The other thing is…I’m not sure she will be able to deal with it when J$ or Tempest are triggered to come out. I can’t control them, especially Tempest, and I just don’t want anything bad to happen. She wouldn’t hurt anyone, I don’t think, but she’d try to scare my T, the same way an animal tries to scare off something that threatens them. I just don’t know, it worries me that I won’t be able to control her.

I love my therapist, but this is really hard. It’s her job to help me through it, and she is brave and good. I just hope I can remember that when what she’s doing feels threatening.

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13 thoughts on “therapist as unrelenting guide through the murky unwanted

  1. wednesday1938 says:

    Perhaps we are stating the obvious here, but maybe it would be helpful to tell her how scared you are to go there and you need to slow down. Also, if you do feel the need to go inside you could try and tell Jaime and Tempest that “It’s her job to help [you] through it, and she is brave and good” and maybe they can (you of course know them better than we do) won’t feel so threaten and you won’t feel so scared of their reactions if they do need to come out.

    Not sure if our advice is helpful at all, but we honestly try because we care about all of you, believe it or not.

    • Thank you, Wednesday, it *does* seem like obvious advice but I hadn’t even thought of it!🙂 So thank you so much for mentioning that, because it is exactly what I should do.

  2. Sam Ruck says:


    your concerns are VERY valid. I don’t want to undermine your relationship with your therapist, but there ARE other options than the ISSTD formula for integration and for recovering and healing memories, options that ALL the girls in my wife’s system support and approve! If you are interested I can elaborate or give you links to some of the relevant entries on my blog. I also know of other ladies who have have goals other than “integration” for those in their systems so it’s not just me. You are right to be concerned when someone tells you “only your opinion counts.”

    I’ll stop unless you ask for specifics. Take care and may you have have the wisdom necessary for the decisions in front of you.


    • Thank you for caring enough to voice your concerns, Sam. I know your wife’s girls all are healing without addressing the initial trauma. You have mentioned how much time and effort you’ve put in with those girls, and I can’t say I have quite the same sort of support system nor can I have my younger alters out most of the day — I need to work and function. I don’t know the right thing to do, but I do hear your point.
      I’ll mention your approach to my T.


      • Sam Ruck says:


        It’s not that NO ONE is addressing the initial trauma. But the insiders are the ones addressing the initial trauma in their counseling sessions because they are the ones who experienced it. They feel that there’s no need for Karen to recover the memories until they have drained the emotion from it. Otherwise, Karen will be unnecessarily traumatized. Here are the links if you’re interested.

        And you are right that our situation will not be able to be “copy and pasted” into yours, but I just wanted you to know that there ARE options other than the ones your therapist is giving you. And if you don’t feel comfortable with what she is proposing you need to go slowly and try to get AS MANY of the people in your system on board AS POSSIBLE because the more everyone is in agreement, the better progress EVERYONE will make. I’m sure you are aware how easily ONE unhappy person in the system can torpedo everything if she or he wants to.

        Here’s wishing you the best,


      • Thanks, Sam, I’ll re-read those posts. I really want to trust my therapist but I’m nervous about this whole thing.

  3. wednesday1938 says:

    After reading Nutella’s post we came back to reread yours. I’m not sure why, but we missed it or maybe it just didn’t register the first time, what you said about your T believing you’re the only one who can make decisions. We are not trying to be harsh but, speaking as a group of alters this seems unfair. Alters should and have earn the right to have a say in therapy. All of you should have a part in the decision making. We do understand your confusion though over the situation.❤

    • It does seem unfair, I know she didn’t mean to be cruel, but it must be hard for singletons to understand. I will mention it to her next time I see her, that she may not understand how it feels. Thank you for caring.

  4. Just Eliza says:

    I’m sorry for giggling but this happens to me:

    “Wow. I’m not kidding, I just planned to write about it and suddenly I have absolutely no memory of what I was about to write. I know I had it a minute ago. But my mind is totally blank. Dissociation in action, everyone.”

    Often my mind goes on a train ride and becomes, I suppose, triggering, so it bounces suddenly off in another direction and the original storyline is lost. Annoying/distressing. But also mildly funny.

  5. Ruth says:

    Hi Hats, I went through a few days of trying to get myself stabilized from too much family. Now I am playing catch up. My opinion is from the perspective of an integrated multiple. First, it is a serious decision that few singletons can even begin to grasp that it will change your life. Second, I found for me, that it became a group decision. I told my counselor when he was pushing one of us to make the decision that either we all go together or we don’t integrate. He was surprised since I hardly ever stand up for myself. Third, getting lost in thought still happens. It is why singletons have blackberries and other devices to help them remember what they are supposed to be doing. Fourth, you are right about some memories will make you physically ill just remembering. I thought I had to remember everything first. It was too much. For me, I finally decided all I needed to get was a rough out line but there was nothing wrong with fuzzy memories. I knew another multiple that was reliving every abuse. It happened once, why do it again? I thought she was being abused all over again. I decided that a rough out line helped me understand why I reacted to certain similar circumstances. Details didn’t help me move to healthier behavior. Fifth, and most important in my opinion, healing is different for every multiple. Some do decide to stay split. I learned that each personality I had played a specific role in my survival. I felt that working together as one would enhance my strengths. However, integration is only half the battle. After integrating, learning skills you missed out on becomes a major undertaking. Which ever way you decide, I will keep reading and keeping in touch. Your path, your decision, your work will get you where you want to be. Counselors can make suggestions but the decision and choice is yours. Tiny steps will get you there to. Amazing how far you can go one tiny step at a time.

    • I’m sorry to hear you were off-kilter, Ruth, but I’m glad you took the time to stabilize. It’s so important to do that, and I’ve yet to do so before things get out of hand, so it’s nice to see that it *is* possible.

      Your perspective on this matter is pretty unique. I know no multiples in my everyday life, and of the multiples I have contact with, none are integrated. So what you say matters a great deal to me, and I take it to heart.
      Thank you for admitting that it would change my life. It seems like such an obvious statement, but it’s hugely overlooked. Of course things would change. I suppose that’s why I would do it, but I’m just now starting to get used to how things are. It does seem a little unfair that a singleton could convince a multiple that singularity is better. I suppose it’s all about perspective.
      I think my T wants us to heal. To her, that means integrate. To me, that means be happy. Maybe I should tell HER that.
      I don’t want to relive abuse. That sounds horrible. If I can get by on a brief overview, that will be enough for me. Thanks for telling me that is possible.

      Healing is different for everyone — that’s powerful to hear. I guess I have to create for myself what that will look like.

      I like the idea of tiny steps. I can manage those.🙂

      Thank you for your insight, Ruth. I may ask you more questions about the process if it seems I need guidance, would you mind that?


  6. Ruth says:

    Any time. I suggest you keep in mind that what I did and experienced will be unique to me. Sometimes I may say I don’t know. The human mind is really quite amazing in its ability to survive. I liked what my counselor said about becoming integrated. No more blackouts. No more finding myself some place else with no understanding of how I got there. Waking up every morning knowing that today belonged to me. It is powerful. But like you, getting to know where I was at became extremely important to the process. I think you are doing great right now. Have a great day. Ruth🙂

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