I dreamed of a therapeutic centre, I et al when I was a multiple recovering on my own........
I et al.....a place where I could go just to be. Somewhere someone understood what was going on with me and credited me with the intelligence to understand. Somewhere, someone I trusted not to take advantage of me physically or mentally. A place I knew I’d be OK if I lost time and someone I could trust to tell me what had happened. Then, I’d feel confident defending myself if people said I’d done something, instead of constantly apologising and feeling overwhelming shame or guilt Somewhere safe I could relax and stop looking for the next trick or lie.
Somewhere I could admit openly that I couldn’t remember. Where people laughed with me instead of at me. Somewhere when I didn’t want to talk I didn’t have to but if I was noisy or sad later that was OK too Where no one told me what to think, what to say or how I felt. Someone to help me work out who I was. I didn’t know any of these things back then, I needed someone patient enough to help me fathom that out for myself without emotional blackmail, in my time- not theirs.
I dreamed of a place where I would be welcomed no matter what ‘mood’ I was in or what I called myself. Where someone knew how I took my coffee and not make a fuss if I didn’t drink it or spilt it. Someone who wanted to listen about the self-help book I’d read that helped, enjoy my excitement and celebrate my insight with me. Someone who didn’t judge or take the credit for my recovery. Someone I could ‘tell’ and not be afraid that they would run away or tell me off for upsetting them.
Someone who encouraged me to take my opportunities, reminding me what was good about me, let me move on and learn from my mistakes. Somewhere I could learn from other Survivors and Multiples in open safe discussion. Somewhere where my crisis was treated with calmness and respect even if it actually was a ‘minor detail.’ Where people were respectful of my OCD and thought about what they could do to minimise my symptoms instead of ‘setting me off’ for their own amusement.
I wanted to meet other Multiples and Survivors in groups facilitated by someone who we trusted to keep it safe and knew how to facilitate recovery.
I needed someone who understood because they had been Multiple too.
When I was an Unknown Multiple/Becoming Aware
In the early days I wanted someone to help me accept I was multiple. I needed someone to know I was more than ‘just an attention seeker,’ to understand there was a reason for my behaviour, help me understand my ‘madness’ and discuss it without fear. Someone to tell me that my life didn’t always have to be chaotic and painful- that I could get well and have a life, that I deserved one and encourage me to live it even though I was in therapy. I needed someone to help me manage my fear, my flashbacks, my OCD and treat me as a person, not a diagnosis.. I wanted a place to feel safe and maybe even have a laugh about my ‘madness’ and know that I was not ‘mad’.
When I was a Known Multiple
I needed someone who I could ‘tell’ in my own time. Someone I knew would listen without being voyeuristic or judgmental. Who I didn’t feel I had to protect when I did in case they ran away. Someone who didn’t behave differently towards me just because I’d told them or blame me for upsetting them. Someone who discussed with me what they were telling other professionals in advance and kept me in the loop. I needed to meet my alters through the eyes of someone who cared about and respected them. Someone who let my Innie children play and wasn’t bothered if they made a mess. Someone to help me learn to care about them and treat them with the respect they deserved instead of fearing them as if they were an invading alien force. Someone to help me to love my alters instead of ignoring them reinforcing the hurt that had created them. I needed someone to get excited with me as stuff started to make sense. Someone to tell me patiently, as many times as I needed to hear it, that I was not ‘bad’.
When I was a Resolved Multiple.
When I got it….when I understood I needed someone to reinforce it so I didn’t forget and retreat into self-blame and denial because that was easier. Someone who could keep up with me and didn’t hold me back. Someone who encouraged me to become who I was and stay with me during and after Integration.
When I was first Integrated
Someone, who when the therapy was over, would remember my alters with me and become my friend.
Looking for I et al
Essentially I was looking for Integrates who were counsellors….this is what I have become.
It seemed to me normal therapy wasn't working, even though multiplicity wasn't recognised, Multiples were not getting better- there needed to be a different kind of therapy, a holistic treatment that was appropriate for each individual alter and unique to every system. Thrive Therapy, the therapy we developed for ourselves and then for others. It had to be right, what worked for me might not work for others. I knew how much hurt had been done by unsympathetic therapy, Multiples told me on the CRCL helpline and in practice, we'd had our fill of it too. I knew how dangerous it could be if it went wrong, I didn't want to be that therapist for someone else- multiples hurt too much. So I took my time to develop Thrive Therapy and the Theory behind it. Remembering how it was when I was many.
Knowing that Singletons can hardly begin to understand the complexities, the joy of our inner worlds. Knowing their obsession with 'dissociation' came from a reluctance to grasp the horror of it and not blaming them for that. Knowing the answer to recovery laid with-in the system. Thrive Therapy worked with a client with a duo system, she integrated in 2008. It didn't feel enough, I needed someone will a large system brave enough to commit to long term therapy to test it out. To be strong, or desperate enough to take a chance.
Meeting Nicky, living just 10 miles away was that person. In her I found the most powerful Manager and then the Protector, the Known, who took a chance on me. That she, an Unknown, was already a qualified counsellor and understood the underlying theory felt like a gift from the gods.
....and so we did the work. After a couple of years she reached early 'Resolved' and started to integrate. Five years, almost to the day, January 2015, her Guardian had nothing left to do. She had her memories. She was 60% Integrated. She knows who she was.
I've become that 'someone'
My Multiple clients tell me I have become that ‘someone’ I dreamed of. I was the lone voice of Multiplicity far too long, always having to explain what it was even in the Survivor community and what being an Integrate means.
Late last year I found our building. Remote, private and beautiful. Everything we need to accommodate long term therapy in one place....and what a place!
After a life time of aloneness....I am not alone. Yvonne joins me in practice, as a mentor for now. I'm about to publish my theory of multiplicity, MIST, which I will publish here.
At last, I don’t have to do this alone any more, and neither does anyone else multiple. Welcome to I et al.