Working with “parts” and “subpersonalities” as we come to consciousness and heal

Below is a thread from social media that I got permission from the participants to post. It’s a response to a post from the other day: The hurt and pained bully and love in which I refer to a “part” in my psyche that I was working with.

Those of us whose nervous system have been destroyed by psych drugs and withdrawal from them often find ourselves simply splayed open. In essence, our unconscious is screaming at us because our nervous systems have been gravely injured. As we begin to heal we find ourselves diving more and more deeply into our psyches by necessity. This is about some of what we find. This is not unique to those of us who’ve come off psych drugs…it’s simply laid bare. All our human psyches are made like this.

Someone told me once that Virginia Woolf said something like, “There are as many I’s as there are relationships.” Indeed, I noticed this long before I became uber conscious of the nature of my deep psyche. We are fluid and amazing beings. Once we heal these “parts” we find that we can simply be whatever we need to be in any given situation…we ARE all these “parts” AND we are much much more than that too. The parts we find we are healing are ones that were traumatized and so we have negative attachments to them. The healing is really about letting them arise and be healed by our deep and loving recognition of them…that is essentially all that the integration process amounts to. We recognize and then deeply accept our humanity and then we are healed. We don’t get rid of any of it. We love it.

let go

A wonderful practice for working with all the parts is here:

Seven of us speak about our process below. I’ve not done much editing…it’s mostly just as it appeared…typos and all.

Commenter 1:  Monica and others here: I’m wondering what resources you have utilized that you found the most helpful for working with parts? If you’ve had the experience of feeling totally fractured And needing help to integrate, is there something that has helped you with that?

Monica:  I’ve done it myself mostly…simply by starting to talk with and get to know the parts in deep meditation. I’ve not found anyone who could consistently hang with my needs … in the last few months I’ve worked with a very gifted energy worker who utilizes cranial sacral bodywork…she’s the first person I’ve met in the entire healing process who has actually seen and understood the depths of the splitting that happens to folks who are labeled psychotic and mentally ill. (and how that all gets hugely compounded in folks with severe iatrogenic injuries from the drugs)

my process remains largely solo and individual to me…I think we are ultimately all wounded healers.

it’s simply part of the deal that we heal ourselves (with the help of the universe/life force — in very unique to us alone ways)

Commenter 1:  Yes, this is true I believe. I need to reclaim the healer in me. Sometimes the wounded fractured parts feel bigger and they need the balancing of the healer aspects within me. I am ready to start emerging forth into more of my wholeness, , balancing the vulnerable aspects with all of the gifts. It’s time for me. I know that there is a calling for me to tell my story and express myself through voice and movement. To make use of all of this and share my gifts more fully from these beautiful vulnerable, wise places that have purpose.

MONICA: yes…the world needs every single one of us. I send love to you tonight.

Commenter 1: Thank you. For many years I worked in the Peer movement as a trainer, advocate, and coordinator. Sometimes when trauma happens as it did when I came off of medications in such a severe way, there’s a lot of doubt that arises around ones own worth and value given all the wounds. But when these wounds and fractured places and tender spots are given voice, they can gain a power and begin to shine as a light. And this light can then move forth like a star, taking its place in the sky, offering it’s grace and beauty in the sky, serving as a resource. Connecting with a community of fellow stars.

Monica: thank you for being a fellow star.

Commenter 1: I’m ready to emerge and make use of all this. Form it will take, I’m not sure that I put it out as my intention. It’s also time to find a new place to reside, a softer more gentle and healing environment that is more aligned for my nervous system. I’m not sure how this move to a new place will unfold or where it will be but I’m ready for the cruise and the answers. Okay universe? Just saying…:)

Monica: that’s right…ask…I find that I get what I ask for but the nervous system takes time to heal and so timing is out of my hands…trusting and surrender become more and more important… and gratitude…I thank life force for all the goodness delivered to me every day.

Commenter 1: Monica…this is very vulnerable but I guess it’s the place available to ask. I hope it serves others here as well. Regarding the fractured places. I’ve been experiencing this in a very extreme and intensified way this past week. There are certain stressors and recent traumas that have activated this in a bigger way this week (the loss of a meaningful connection, the disintegrating of my relationship with my therapist and feeling a loss of total trust given what happened with her, and other things). I can feel that what is happening is too big, too much for my system and being to hold…this is what happened before and blew me open…experiencing the “unbearable” as the book excerpt refers to. I don’t typically relate to the term mental illness but the past two days I feel so fragmented and disturbed by the experience of trauma alive in me that I actually feel mentally ill. I know some of this is physical/chemical too. My brain, body, and soul still needs a lot of help to come into balance (including all the methylation and histamine issues, etc). I would like to know if this resonates with your experience and anyone elses. Have you felt so fractured/ fragmented and intolerably alone (especially in those young places) that you felt your brain collapsing in on you and a sense of disintegration? Disintegrating is what’s been part of my experience. Anyone relate? Any suggestions…I’m reaching out in different places. On some level I find myself wondering if I really do just need medication to balance myself even though in my heart of hearts I want to do this the organic way. I also feel so energetically porous that I can’t tolerate people being close by to me even though I also really need company.

Monica Cassani: yes, disintegrating is actually part of the waking up process and systematic elimination of ego…it ain’t fun and it can be too much for our nervous systems when we are drug injured…do what you need to do to keep yourself safe. It’s not easy and unfortunately there are few places to get reliable support at certain junctures so we do have to create it for ourselves. I am actually in a disintegrated state right now as well. I’ve learned to hang with it mostly but it’s, by nature, a challenging part of this trip, for sure. Trust yourself and do what you need to do to keep safe. Whatever that is…you will know. Also, let yourself feel the fear…really feel it…that has been the way through for me.

Monica: also, did you read today’s post?

it’s pretty much on topic.

Monica: by the way…literally just five minutes before I read your comment I had told my husband that I was “disintegrating” again…for me I now encourage the process through active and mindful detox…that doesn’t mean it’s not still very disorienting at times…the detox process has to be done very very carefully and it’s taken many years for me due to the condition of my nervous system…so you’re right it seems that it does have to do with your methylation etc (that is critically important for healthy detox) — of course all the other factors you mention are also significant. I find that as I detox the traumas come up in layers to be released and it’s done both by a psychological and physical (and spiritual, etc) processes.

Commenter 2: I have experienced the disintegration you speak of as well. It can be very unbearable and painful, but I think if you let go complete, you can lose your ego and become enlightened. Very few are willing to give up their entire sense of self (their concept of self including memories, attachments, etc.) because it is a huge loss in a way, but if you can, I think you can attain the most peace, love and beauty there can ever be. I have felt those places in myself but I often do go back to a more dual way of being because non duality can be petrifying. But ya, in a way, I think it can be a gift because the suffering is so bad, you just need to let go.

Also, I agree with Monica, that it is too much to let go of our egos when we are drug injured. I think we need to have healthy CNS in order to do that as it can be a CNS changing thing in a way.

One more thing. — I totally agree and understand that you feel too energetically porous to be around people but also you want the company and closeness, that is exactly how I am feeling now. I just get too stressed and feel people’s energies too much and it makes me sick kind of. I have to spend a lot of time alone to regenerate cuz with an injured CNS we are even more sensitive to people’s energies than we normally would be. I also completely know that feeling of being alone. For me it was the reason I got on the drugs in the first place. It was intolerable.Back in the day I had no idea how to be alone or what my feelings were so it was beyond horrible. I really would suggest if you feel that to either be totally present in that place, or to actually go into it, explore what that feeling of aloness is. For me when I went into it, I realized maybe I am not alone, maybe I really am a part of the world, as many spiritual teachers have said “I am that I am” I am alive, and god loves me. I say this to myself. I think if we go really deep into our feelings we will find we are not alone, that god or the universe, or whatever loves us, and that essentially we are that love. Or, it may help to find a therapist who can help be like a surrogate mom or dad to help you heal those young places. This is where most of our agonies are. When we were either abandoned or neglected as children. When mommy was not there or not available enough. I learned this is where my deepest most primal pain lies. It is excruciating. I think it has to be felt, and to be that mommy or daddy for yourself, a loving compassionate kind mommy. To tell ourselves we are worthy of unconditional love, or perhaps even find a partner that can love us this way too.

Monica: getting healthy IS the process of letting go and clearing out the conditioning which is ego. Ego IS the stressed out nervous system, it seems…for everyone…and so again for us it’s like it’s all magnified giant. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no turning back. there is THIS…the process of healing, waking up and the disintegration of ego.

Monica: and yes…too, to all you say about feeling the energies of others, needing to be alone and also feeling painfully lonely…again…all part of the deal at this point it seems. great stuff, ladies. thank you.

I too have also discovered a deep connectedness that is bigger than the incapacity to engage on a human level. A feeling of being held and taken care of by life-force, the universe or god…whatever you want to call it. Yup. thanks again to you both

Commenter 3:  I understand these comments through experience. I have been able to listen to and dialogue with split parts. Her demands are often from neglect and she is angry, other girls is hungry and fears that hunger. I try to listen to her even if I must eat a bologna sandwich on white bread to convince her ( hard to swallow) but I have had healers, cranial massage is soothing. I asked the universes got help and a Shaman came into my life. I had to get body work although was terrified, it was a must when I got good references and the person could handle emotional release, I let my self go into it more each time. I needed touch. I now spend lots time alone, need dark room and it is ok because the other times is with intense Peer Movement work and family including adopted grandkids from my state. They all have sensory and CNS challenges so we go about it together. I like to call people I am close to on the phone. My art has served me well. Even if u r not art type draw I urge you just draw anything! Better out than in sometimes. Sing dance or my best sleep – Take naps sleep late stay up late if body wanst then sleep when I can. These are my thoughts, it is very personal yet universal but each finding our way. I also have chronic pain and had to learn to go into the pain so that process transfers over. The feeling of every sense overloaded is still huge challenge.

The psych drugs have ravaged me yet I will not give up again. Wellness and Peace

Commenter 2: Yes, I just got to read your comments now~ thank you to all ~ Beautiful sharing and receiving and heartfelt wisdom. Commenter 3, I love what you have written. This is a multidimensional journey, all of it. I am on the path, emerging. I’m in the library now and I can feel my energetic sensitivity as people walk behind my chair. But I know in time my auric field will reunite and get stronger in time. Moving out further west somewhere to a beautiful place with nature and slower pace and working with animals and healing arts and creativity (maybe going back to school too) will assist with balance and alignment. We are such energetic wise attuned beings. And being connected to our tribe and a land that supports us is important. It’s important for me. — Thank you for the love and group hug:)

Commenter 1:   I want to share a little more and receive your thoughts (spoken to the group). I’ve shared before that I’m looking to move to a different geographic area (currently in Boston, MA area). I’m contending with several things. A wise clear part of me knows I need something else..to find a more healing place, for my greater health and continued growth in this emergence and healing process. I have some ideas of some areas that hold potential resonance on the other side of the country. And yet, I am so aware of being in the orphan-like archetype place…this fractured young place we’ve been discussing. I don’t know how to get from “here” to the mysterious “there”. I don’t have the executive functioning in my brain or the lived experience with much travel, figuring out where to sleep on visits, etc. The little one is afraid about basic needs and surviving and very much wants bridges…bridges of connection with other people to assist and create links. At the same time, another part of me…I think it’s a shadow child, is afraid of people, easily overwhelmed by the psychic input from being with others and might feel safer exploring mostly alone. I have experienced severe isolation as part of my trauma. When I came of the meds and was in such an extreme place for 2 years (ongoing in many ways actually), I was mostly alone. So it can be a real place of suffering for me. I’m not sure what I’m saying…I guess I’m wanting some help, some guidance. there’s a call for change, to extricate myself from here and yet I don’t know how to take the next steps. I think this is about surrender, asking the universe, God for the assistance and the unfolding. The allowing. Letting the pieces emerge as I follow the clues? An example of my dilemma… On another, similar fb group, a lovely woman from New Zealand welcomed me to come out her way to explore the area and visit. I feel a resonance with NZ. I felt excitement at the opening, then total primal fear about making further connection with this person…fear of the intimate connection. I think there’s been so much shame in this withdrawal trauma for me and that is part of it. I felt so unacceptable…I looked and felt like I had been in a concentration camp. I felt I didn’t have the right to exist with my suffering (an ancestral message I believe and part of the overwhelming psychic content that came thru). I need connection and people but don’t know how to address this intense duality, of feeling terrified of connection too. I welcome your input and hearts:)

Monica: “I don’t know how to get from “here” to the mysterious “there”.”

the entire healing process is held in that one statement. I think the conundrum you’re facing might even be viewed as a sort of metaphor for the bigger issue of the healing journey…my suggestion is to keep working with it as a real issue while practicing surrender and non-attachment. Maybe you need to move and maybe your don’t. Pushing such a thing in your delicate state though is not a good thing so let this be a sort of puzzle to work with as you work with all the rest of it… (that is my suggestion and thought…feel free to dismiss all of it if your body says, NO….sometimes hearing what isn’t right helps us see what is really there too)

Commenter 1:  Yes, beautiful suggestions Monica. Part of the urgency to move is part of my survival trauma response. At the same time it’s also a real soul calling and need. But the two get wrapped together because I feel such urgency given the geopathic stress and sense of desolation and stuckness. At the same time, I realize these are elements I may need to work with for a while wherever I go. I appreciate the reflection and insight and your acknowledgment of my delicate state. 🌺

Commenter 4: Thank you for this thread everyone! Ive gotten some very profound messages and reminders from all of you! Almost instant relief from my symptoms tonight (of drug injury )Thank you! I seemed to have forgotten to allow myself to heal at MY own pace and MY own way… I was starting to stress again about my not being able to sleep the “normal” hours and feeling out of “normal” control ….. Thanks for the reminder to be ME and let me be me!!

Monica: what a wonderful affirming thread for all of us. Thank you all for your presence and deep practice of mindfulness as we learn to love and heal. xo ❤

Commenter 4:  I learned to accept my sleep pattern changes and go with them rather than resist. It meant days of exhaustion and then times of great rest, I am privileged to adapt this way. I can get much done in the quiet of late night. Yes my mind say I must sleep like others yet my body is telling me it needs to be aware and work. I feel that aloneness in the unique way I process and see my social context and yes it gets lonely and yes I find those who hear & I trust understand. My new thing is asking friends on FB, I know pretty well, to call. I reach out to talk on phone bc it FEELS more connected. Words and language matter and for me a voice, even over the phone, can reach inside me more and a mutually nurturing connection through sounds occurs. It is going well And I have a new impression after a real chat on the phone. No one has said no, yet. I have to be moved to act on asking for a call yet when I am I try. Just a new process that is working for me. Wellness and Peace

Commenter 4: Oh gratitude for all comments here

Commenter 5: This is exactly what I’m experiencing. All of these silenced parts of myself come into awareness now since the drugs have sensitized my system so much. It actually forces healing, it’s horrible, but it’s also amazing.. I realized that my paintings during recovery were all pieces of myself coming from my subconscious trying to bring myself into the “light” and now I can tell my story with them. I didn’t realize what was happening at the time. It’s a bizarre process. I love your posts, thanks for always being so open.

Monica: yeah, — in spite of it hurting like a mother fucker for many years…it’s the most fascinating and amazing thing too…and it gets more like that as it moves on and then it’s just all so wonderful that the shitty stuff is totally tolerable…which is where I’m at…it still hurts a lot and is often quite difficult and I’m still a mess in many ways but I’m in awe of my amazing body…a miracle and healing machine!! thanks for participating…it’s great to find so many of us seeing this stuff clearly.

Commenter 6: Thanking you with gratitude for this post and resources O so timely ~ perfect ~ loving those parts that arise that chastise and beat my psyche to a low vibrational state this is a wonderful revelation for me ~ and see the dynamic of what has been happening ~ in awe now I can navigate my way knowing what it is that is truly happening… within me and the struggle and the battle ~ dynamics of the inner child within me and other sub personalities ~ parent, adult and child.
Thank you Monica X

Monica:  lots of children I find…lots and lots of them 🙂

More posts on topic:

And  wonderful practice for working with all the parts is here:

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Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters