How do you (re)integrate a split off part (not DID)?

arfie

MyPTSD Pro
I’ve told her this several times and she always seems to take it in, we agree to be more focused…and that lasts a while until we just fall back again… It’s frustrating.

8 years is long enough to have a pretty good sense of the inevitable cycles and that would, indeed, be a frustrating cycle, even without the expense factor.

is she all there is to your therapy network? in my own case, it took/takes a village to heal. healing is not a monogamous affair. my first shrink was a huge believer in support groups. he encouraged everybody in his therapy groups to think of him as a high dollar reference book. "chockfull of good information, but i never leave the library. it's up to you guys to have each other's backs in the trenches."

to this day, i still lean more heavily on my therapy peers than my high dollar reference books. i still rely on a therapy network rather than a single source.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
is she all there is to your therapy network?
Yes. Well, her and this forum!

I don’t have (or need) a psychiatrist. I don’t take regular meds. I’m not aware of any groups in my area…and, to be honest, I don’t think the thought of a group appeals to me…

So, there’s her, you guys here and anything I do on my own (reading etc)
 

barefoot

Sponsor
When I woke up this morning, the first thing that popped into my mind was remembering why we didn't continue to explore the writing/the split off part a year ago. Which led me to remember I made this post at the time: https://www.myptsd.com/threads/how-to-‘connect-with’-a-split-off-part-not-did.96250/ which I had completely forgotten about. So, apologies for making two similar posts – especially for those who have posted on both (@Movingforward10 - this other post is where you recommended Janina Fisher and I then bought her book!) But, I suppose they are posts that are a year apart, and I guess there is a bit of a distinction between 'connect with' and 'integrate'? So, I'll keep them both here separately, if that's ok with mods.

Basically - after a few good sessions last summer exploring the writing I did about the split-off part's story when T seemed to get excited, so I then got excited because it felt like we were on to something significant, which I believed would lead to more progress....T gave me a homework to connect to the split-off part. Along the lines of, 'Take some time every day to sit quietly, connect with her, and see what she wants to tell you.'

I felt similarly to now....connect to a split-off part? Integrate a split-off part? Ok! Er....how????

Anyway....in my memory, I was thinking we had built momentum around the writing in those sessions, she then suggested the 'connect with the part' homework....I didn't then know how to do it....went back next session and said so....and then we never mentioned it again. Until she brought it up yesterday, a year or so later. So, that felt frustrating because it felt like, well, can you give me some ideas or some guidance about how I go about that?! Because, I don't know what I'm meant to be doing or how one is supposed to connect to a split-off, repressed, dissociated part?!

But - on re-reading that other thread this morning, I see that I am remembering it wrong (ha!) Well...in that, I had forgotten the resistance I wrote about in the other thread. How, yes, I didn't know how to connect with that part and how, when I tried, my mind was just blank. But how also, the more I tried/thought about it, I felt a lot of embarrassment, anger and defensiveness about it. And that, in the next session with T, I told her that and actually said 'I don't want her' (re: the split-off part)

So, now, I realise that what probably happened is not that I got stuck with the task, told my T I got stuck as I wasn't sure what to do...and that she then shrugged it off, didn't offer any more guidance, and then never brought it up again until yesterday....

Well....that ^^^ did happen, I suppose, on the surface anyway....But I suspect (I know there's some mind reading here!) that T saw/heard/felt my great resistance and didn't see that trying to connect with the split-off part so that I could then integrate it was really possible at the same time that my resistance was firmly saying, 'I don't want her.' Because, 'I don't want you' and 'Here, come and integrate with me' probably aren't that compatible!

So...I guess I now feel a bit less frustrated with T and our pattern for building momentum and then stalling because things just falls by the wayside so frequently...I think that still is our pattern....but perhaps that sometimes has more to do with my resistance than I have ever realised....

Though, I guess that also begs the question, if there is resistance, how do we work with that? To lessen it?! Rather than just leaving it alone.

Or is T on the right path to just leave things and then circle back (even if it's a year or so later) when she thinks I'm ready? If this is what she does (and has done in this instance), I guess it would just be useful for her to tell me that's what's happening....because that would probably save me from getting frustrated with her for us losing momentum and having all these loose threads hanging. And would also mean that I don't spend a year wondering why that suddenly wasn't important anymore...

Anyway...it's been helpful for me to look at both threads, to see a bit more about what goes on underneath this pattern of losing focus/momentum that we seem to have.

Though I still think it's challenging to hear 'so we need to integrate the part' and then there's no approach/plan/ideas/guidance articulated around how to do that/what to expect/what it could involve/what might help or hinder with that...

Sorry, a bit of a long stream of consciousness above after remembering this other info from a year ago.

Any other thoughts around integration still very much appreciated!
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Thanks @Charbella I'm not familiar with EMDR, so I'm unfamiliar with the sort of exercise you're describing, or with the process of diving deep and in a very focused way into specific memories.

Do you mean, you actually have out loud conversations with your teen part? Or you do all this internally? Or...? I guess I am struggling to even get my head round how one even 'gets into conversation' with a split-off part in the first place?! I find it very mind boggling...

You seem to be making positive progress with it, which is great. I'm glad you now experience more peace when it comes up for you.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I find it really interesting that you have these two threads nearly a year a part. Do you think there is some form of connection to the time of year to this particular issue/memory?

You're processing a lot in that post, as you're seeing things from various angles and being open to reflection. Whilst it might not feel it, that has got to help a bit?

Maybe your T was right to not bring it up until now? Because now you are in a place where you are holding less resistance to it. If she would have brought it up earlier, how do you think you would have responded? Maybe not looking at it in terms of months/year, but in terms of where you are at in your process?

This therapy healing business is simply crap, in my opinion. It's slow. Unrelenting at times. Messy. Up and down. Unbearable at times. So maybe this issue is all part of the messy process? I wish so hard it could be easier.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
I find it really interesting that you have these two threads nearly a year a part. Do you think there is some form of connection to the time of year to this particular issue/memory?

Yes, I was a bit surprised to see they were around the same time roughly a year apart. It looks significant, doesn't it? But I don't know that it actually is. This time of year isn't connected to the time of the event regarding this split-off part.


Maybe your T was right to not bring it up until now? Because now you are in a place where you are holding less resistance to it. If she would have brought it up earlier, how do you think you would have responded?

I guess if she believed she would just end up in a battle with my resistance, yeah, it makes sense for her to perhaps back away from it. Though, again, I'm curious about whether T's have tools to help them work with client's resistance? Unless she tried this and it didn't work and I just wasn't aware that that's what she was doing!

I wish she would sometimes articulate what's going on/what she's doing/what she's noticing. If she'd have said that we were giving it some space because there's a lot of resistance and we can revisit it another time, I wouldn't have spent the past year thinking she no longer felt that stuff was important/she had forgotten and feeling like we'd just left work hanging.

At the same time, thinking on it, I think she did try to do this once, several years ago, when she rather heavy-handedly (in my view!) told me we were at an impasse. Which landed very badly and lead to quite a big rupture! I think I wrote a thread about it here!

Truth is, I'm not actually sure I am holding less resistance to it now. She has made lots of comments lately that I am getting closer to 'it'...that I'm not avoiding or dissociating and that I'm facing into stuff and remaining present...so I think she maybe now takes that all as a sign that we can circle back to the pieces of writing and the metaphors in that and the split-off part.

But speaking about the writing....feels ok. Speaking to the split-off part? Doesn't! But I guess it might be different this time.

I have made myself very hot and bothered trying to find the Janina Fisher book, thinking that might help. Can't find it so far. Will have to look again when it's cooler!

This therapy healing business is simply crap, in my opinion. It's slow. Unrelenting at times. Messy. Up and down. Unbearable at times. So maybe this issue is all part of the messy process? I wish so hard it could be easier.

Ugh! Yeah.... Maybe it is part of the process...

And I hate the phrase 'Just trust the process!'

But T not giving any guidance or articulating a plan, an approach, or a way we could try something, or something I could go and try on my own....it also makes me not trust her....in terms of trusting that she knows what to do either!
 

Charbella

Confident
Thanks @Charbella I'm not familiar with EMDR, so I'm unfamiliar with the sort of exercise you're describing, or with the process of diving deep and in a very focused way into specific memories.

Do you mean, you actually have out loud conversations with your teen part? Or you do all this internally? Or...? I guess I am struggling to even get my head round how one even 'gets into conversation' with a split-off part in the first place?! I find it very mind boggling...

You seem to be making positive progress with it, which is great. I'm glad you now experience more peace when it comes up for you.
not out loud but yes full on conversations. When we first started it was so real I felt sure I was going nuts. I think I brought it up about 10 times. Mini me and teen me have opinions they’re not opposed to saying. The conversations have lead to interesting discoveries. Teen me has anger that is palpable and I am not a fan. Mini me is quiet and scared. The conversations are so real I struggled with thinking maybe I had DiD but my T assured me that while it doesn’t happen for everyone it is a normal part of the process. Strangely when he tries to get me to do more creative exercises my brain rejects the idea. Like bring a superhero in to help Or anyone for that matter. If it’s not me saving me I guess it isn’t going to happen.

maybe some EMDR in addition to your regular therapy would help?
 

barefoot

Sponsor
@Charbella that's so interesting and I appreciate you sharing more about it. It also sounds a bit (a lot!) scary!

I can't really afford additional therapy now. I did have some NHS (ie free) EMDR lined up a couple of years ago, but I felt quite cautious about it, my T didn't seem that keen for me to do it, and then Covid started and I caught it quickly and was ill for months. So, apart from a few initial assessment/intake sessions where we discussed what was going on and they recommended EMDR, and I said I'd try it, we never actually got off the ground with it. Now, if I wanted to try it, I'd have to get another referral, join the back of the queue again in terms of wait times and go through all the assessments again. Not sure about it....but maybe worth a thought. Thanks.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I wish she would sometimes articulate what's going on/what she's doing/what she's noticing. If she'd have said that we were giving it some space because there's a lot of resistance and we can revisit it another time, I wouldn't have spent the past year thinking she no longer felt that stuff was important/she had forgotten and feeling like we'd just left work hanging.
I know you have said what you have needed a numbe rod times and sometimes she ha sbeen able to hear that and other times has found thar harder. Do you feel able to say what you need about this if you haven't already?

At the same time, thinking on it, I think she did try to do this once, several years ago, when she rather heavy-handedly (in my view!) told me we were at an impasse. Which landed very badly and lead to quite a big rupture! I think I wrote a thread about it here!
Yeah this is tough! Sort of feeling that with my T at the moment. Maybe this is also something to explore with her in terms of what you need from her when exploring impasses, however ...

But speaking about the writing....feels ok. Speaking to the split-off part? Doesn't! But I guess it might be different this time.
Sounds like it will be different this time as you are exploring it differently?
It being very hard doesn't mean you're resistant.

But T not giving any guidance or articulating a plan, an approach, or a way we could try something, or something I could go and try on my own....it also makes me not trust her....in terms of trusting that she knows what to d
Maybe she wants it to come from you as she knows this is a very big topic and she wants to avoid a rupture? Maybe the process is very different for everyone and she's discovering what the process is for you with you? Which is slightly different from her not knowing?
But what I'm hearing here, is you questioning whether you can trust her with this process and help contain it for you and help you through it.
So maybe it's worth exploring that with her first?
 

barefoot

Sponsor
Do you feel able to say what you need about this if you haven't already?

I’ve mentioned several times at various points that I don’t know what to say about something eg ‘it feels like x is an important topic and something it will be useful for us to explore more…but I don’t actually know what else to say about it…so I think what I need is for you to guide things a bit…’

And she always smiles and nods and says she will. And then generally she doesn’t!

She also has an annoying habit of getting very firm and clear at the end of a session of ‘let’s pick this up again next time and five straight into it at the start so we have a full session of really exploring it…’ And I agree. Then, come next session, she asks me how work is going or something so we then chat about that for half an hour 🙄




Maybe this is also something to explore with her in terms of what you need from her when exploring impasses,

Sounds like it will be different this time as you are exploring it differently?

Maybe. I think she thinks I’m in a different place with it and, therefore, more ‘ready’

But I’ve always felt ready intellectually to do this deeper, harder work. I just fail when we actually try! Because I get very defensive/defended and then go silent. Or we end up in a rupture!

I don’t think I’ll know until I try again.

Trying to stay open-minded, but tbh I’m not convinced I’m any closer to giving the split-off part a warm welcome!

It being very hard doesn't mean you're resistant
Yes, that’s true.

But I guess being defensive and there being a strong ‘no’ - eg me saying ‘I don’t want her!’ about the split-off part…is resistance. Because it’s a deep, powerful unwillingness (even though intellectually I’m saying, ‘yes, let’s do it!’) which prevents us from getting closer to it and progressing.

But what I'm hearing here, is you questioning whether you can trust her with this process and help contain it for you and help you through it.

Yeah, we tend to run out of steam and get stuck. Partly because of my avoidance/resistance. But partly because I don’t see how she ever tries to work on the resistance. She just seems to be - oh, there’s the resistance so we’ll leave that alone. Which is maybe the right thing? But it feels like avoidance. And means we end up with all these loose threads hanging, which is frustrating.
 

barefoot

Sponsor
So maybe it's worth exploring that with her first?

Not sure how to do this without it coming across as me feeling that she is stuck and out of her depth and not knowing what to do with me?!

I don’t mean I don’t think she’s a competent therapist in general…

Also, talking about it…we are quite good at talking about the work…but then she will say that, while we are busy talking about the work, we are not actually doing the work…so talking about the work is actually avoidance…

So, I think she might view it that way if I tried to talk to her about it next week?
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
But I’ve always felt ready intellectually to do this deeper, harder work. I just fail when we actually try! Because I get very defensive/defended and then go silent. Or we end up in a rupture!
Sounds like there is a pattern that plays out between your T and you during these deeper pieces of work. And that these patterns then prevent the work, and the focus becomes whatever the pattern that is being played out. maybe there are ways to attend to these patterns as they are being triggered in the moment to lessen the impact of them emotionally And lessen the impact of them disrupting the work?
But I guess being defensive and there being a strong ‘no’ - eg me saying ‘I don’t want her!’ about the split-off part…is resistance. Because it’s a deep, powerful unwillingness (even though intellectually I’m saying, ‘yes, let’s do it!’) which prevents us from getting closer to it and progressing.
Resistance or protection? Part of you has protected you from the hurt of the split off part, and that part has worked really hard all these years. Maybe it’s trying to communicate with that protective part somehow before getting to the split off part? Telling protective part thanks for their work but they can relax now and don’t need to work so hard, they can now just help protect you as you and split off part start to communicate? If that makes any sense?
Also, talking about it…we are quite good at talking about the work…but then she will say that, while we are busy talking about the work, we are not actually doing the work…so talking about the work is actually avoidance…
Ah. Maybe there is something in that, but maybe there are ways around it. Agreements about time or how long these discussions will go on for? Maybe making in session contracts about how the session will go?

what I’m hearing from you is that you want guidance from her that you’re not getting, but ways you have asked for that before haven’t always helped or it’s felt it has been shut down, or she doesn’t seem to follow through with agreements with you. I feel the frustration, and don’t have any words to help, but just hearing it and acknowledging it alongside you.
 
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