Developing Intrasystem Cooperation (Svali Blog Post)

Developing Intrasystem Cooperation (Svali Blog Post)

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“I don’t like this work. It’s beneath me.” Diamond, one of my “high” alters inside, was complaining about my washing a patient, giving a bedpan and other routines of my job as a nurse. “I like leading,” she continued. “I don’t see how you do this.”“Then help me find a better job”, I told her. “How?”“You’re a leader. You’ll find a way,” I said. She created a committee, and five months later I had a teaching job with better pay.

One of the goals of therapy for dissociation is to create intrasystem cooperation. This means that parts inside will be able to communicate to each other without hostility (which is often the first reaction when different groups meet each other) and be able to work together for the good of the individual. Each person is unique in how they achieve this, but one thing is clear: without intrasystem cooperation, the person’s life will be in chaos. Here, I will share tips that have helped me in my own healing process, in the hope that it may help others understand one method of achieving this.

Early in my therapy process, I became free from the outside influence of people who were extremely controlling in my life (the cult). At that time, my system went into chaos, because there was no OUTSIDE person giving them orders anymore. Inside people were busy dismantling my internal hierarchy, all in the name of “freedom” and “democracy” as a reaction to the lifetime of former feeling that they were under a dictatorship. Daily life became difficult, as different groups inside would play tug of war over their favorite foods; arguments broke out over what career we would pursue, and others fought over time for their activities while others felt left out.

Eventually, I came to realize that I NEEDED some internal structure, and “undoing” the hierarchy inside was leaving my internal ship rudderless. I could barely function. So, I decided to form an internal leadership committee. I envisioned an internal conference room with a large table inside, and invited inside people to come and meet. Unfortunately, literally thousands came, and the noise would not allow any work to get done. I then asked each group of alters to “elect” five representatives of different ages to come to the table. There was much grumbling, but finally I had a group of 75 people representing 15 systems inside at the table. Committee rules were created, such as no interrupting when someone had the floor, no matter how much they were disagreed with. That ALL opinions were to have equal time and be listened to. No abuse inside or outside, even mentally became the cardinal rule.

I also used my imaginative gifts to create a “speaker” for those outside the conference room, so that all could hear what was going on.

The first order of business became to create committees for functionality. I asked the internal leaders present if they would be willing to resume leadership, and help everyone stay free of outside controlling people (the cult). Many agreed. This became the second cardinal rule: leaders must keep us all safe from harm, or give up their position. I and several core splits helped “chair” the meeting.

The leaders then created different committees inside: a grounding committee, to help ground me when memories hit and stay oriented; a nurtering committee, to help frightened littles; a work committee, to function at work and prevent inappropriate dissociation; a “fun” committee to help us have fun, and a “deprogramming” committee to help undo the damage inside.

We agreed to meet daily for a period of several weeks, then twice a week.

Anyone with a problem or complaint could voice it at meetings. Not all meetings were happy gatherings, since there was a lot of rivalry and hostility at first meeting between different groups. I had to create a “DMZ” for my military system, since they were literally shooting other alters inside. A negotiating committee of helpers and others who could be calm and unbiased inside was created to help defuse intrasystem hostilities. One approach that worked was to listen thoroughly and completely to the stated needs and complaints of alters inside whose agenda was quite different from “normal” to say the least. If they were not listened to, they tended to try and sabotage work inside. Compromise was reached at times, as long as the cardinal rules were not broken.

This process of creating internal committees took several months, with ups and downs. At times, I felt my inside people had gone “committee happy” with so many groups. But my functionality went up and there was more open communication inside. There was much less hostility and self sabotage. I felt safer, since I had created a “safety committee” whose sole job was to keep me safe. A ton of protectors volunteered for this one, and it kept them occupied and happy at what they did best.

What I didn’t realize it that this was also integrative work. All I wanted was less chaos and to be able to do things. But as people inside talked, got to know each other, the thousands inside became fewer.

Memory committees were created to help us with the memory process. They set up a five year treatment plan and presented it to our therapist (who was astounded, to say the least!). Internal therapists created an internal therapy group. An internal committee to promote groups coming together was made. An internal “prayer” group prayed for those who were hurting inside.

It worked. I was able to work full time, and work and progress in therapy. In fact, MOST of my healing work was done outside of therapy, by the committees. As time has gone on, the committees have become good friends inside. There is more democracy as inside people are used to freedom from outside control, and new choices are explored. Also, there is more and more a sense that we are all working together as one person, that each group is an expression of that person, her gifts and talents and abilities. And that we are slowly but surely reaching towards healing.