Dissociative Identity Disorder: Fearfully And Wonderfully Made (16)
Psalm 139: 13 – 18
Having introduced the concept of memory integration to Pearl and a group of alters that were part of Jane’s childhood memories, we wait for their questions and reservations. As usual, Jane was listening in on our conversation to this important aspect of the re-integration of her memories.
Pearl was the first to speak up. “What would happen to us if our memories were integrated with Jane? I have been with Jane for so long, I would miss her if I cannot talk to her again, and so would the others.”
Unconsciously, the alters know what would happen when their memories are re-integrated, but their understanding of the dynamics of memory integrity was ‘upside-down.’ They needed reassurance that their current situation was abnormal, and with their concurrence, we would correct the situation; but only with their agreement and consent, as any forced integration would absolutely fail.
“Yes, I know your apprehensions as you have all been keeping important memories for Jane all these years, in fact for a major portion of her life. And Jane and I would like to thank you for doing it. However, you all live in the same body and speak out of the same mouth, so it is natural that eventually, you would be able to recall all your memories from the same memory system that belongs to Jane,” I explained.
“Let me show you what I mean. Pearl, is Osborne listening to me?” I enquired.
“Yes,” Pearl replied immediately.
“Can you have him come forward, Pearl? While all the rest of you listen carefully.”
In a low voice, “I am Osborne, what do you wish to tell me?”
“Thanks for coming forward, Osborne. Are all of you listening?”
“Yes,” said Pearl.
“Osborne, please open your eyes and tell me what are you wearing?”
Jane opened her eyes, and looked at her dress with a sweeping gaze, and closed them again. “I am in a flowery beige blouse and dark brown slacks,” Osborne replied.
“Do you all agree with Osborne?” I chipped in.
Jane nodded in agreement.
“Very good, Osborne. Now Jane, are you there?”
“Now I would you all to listen to what Jane has to say. Jane, can you open your eyes and look at your attire and then describe them to me.”
Jane opened her eyes and gazed down at her clothes. “I am in a brightly flowered beige blouse and very comfortable dark brown slacks.” She then closed her eyes again.
“Now, both Osborne and Jane are wearing the same blouse and slacks. Are they not in the same body together? Do you all not agree?”
There was silence, and nobody said anything for a while, as if in shock! Then, I interrupted, “May I know what are you all thinking?”
“Can we have some time to think about this integration of memories?” Pearl announced rather sternly.
“Sure, do discuss among yourselves and we will talk about this again later. I would like to assure you all that the integration process will not be done unless you all agree to it, and am convinced that it is to help Jane integrate all her memories. Let me know if you have more questions at the next session.”
“OK. We will talk among ourselves and let you know later,” Pearl continued.
It is not uncommon for alters to resist the initial suggestion for integration with the host’s memory, as some of them had been separated for years, and literally have a life of their own. For some DID patients, the co-existence between alters and hosts has been tolerated and accepted as the norm, to the extent that some therapists have advocated they be left alone. As long as the patient’s behavior and transitions are not adversely impacting those around them, and the patient does not see change as a viable alternative, for whatever reasons, this proposal may be acceptable. After all, it is the patient’s decision.
After his death, two of Craig’s friends surfaced.