Please make yourself at home - Part 2
June 25, 2011
I think for most multiples we already have an internal landscape, whether rudimentary or elaborate, whether or not we are aware of it. It's not something you create consciously or deliberately, but once you have one it helps frame and foster internal communications.
If you are planning to do unification New work, you may want to consider any functional non-scenery items in your internal landscape as fragments that will need to be absorbed. Here's an example:
One of our items in our internal landscape is a "logbook". This book is a diary of sorts that is one of our tools in maintaining co-consciousness. If we were to integrate, items like these would be some of the last things that need to be absorbed into the singular "me" because they are technically a sliver of my consciousness -- a fragment, not a person nor personality. That mental sliver dedicated to fostering co-communication wouldn't be needed, and I would need that capacity and memory integrated into the whole.
I would discuss this concept with the professional(s) helping you with integration. You might want to leave absorbing known functional fragment like my logbook alone until you're certain that no one is hiding in the background who needs to use it. Integration is very complicated, so make sure you don't leave someone in the dark and lose your ability to find them or communicate with them by dissembling the internal landscape too early. Consider if someone wiped out the physical universe and left you in the dark -- what would your emotional state be? Don't do this to internals if you can avoid it.
I've gone as far as drawing out headmaps that include our internal landscape. In fact, a literal "map" of our internal landscape is a type of headmap. Later I went as far as using my internal landscape map as a 3D graphic design project, which is up on kinhost.org in my files. You can see our internal landscape represented in great detail in this actual 3D art collection. Some of our descriptions mention a lower headcount -- we've had escalating headcounts since starting to post information on the web and I haven't corrected it yet, these increases in headcounts are partially due to recognizing how pervasive our fragments were, including internal landscape features.
So we interact inside just like we're all in a bunch of rooms. The first is a family room -- an informal comfortable place for us to rest, watch what's going on in Front, talk to one another, play games, hold informal meetings, and use the tools (such as the logbook) that are available to us in the room.
We see Front as a doorway or window, looking out at the world. Most of the time, other residents are sitting around in the living room. Sometimes they're commenting on what's going on out the window. They can see out, if they choose to, by looking around the shoulder of the person/s who are Front or looking out the window. We also have a bench near the window, so people can make themselves at home, and a screen on which memories can be played back in full Dolby Digital and THX and all that.
The design of our internal landscape has altered very little since we created our last drawings, just a little more room in the family room to accommodate the sub-systems we discovered (outed?). Our earliest headmap, an internal landscape drawing from around age 16, is still a preliminary and very basic drawing of our current internal landscape. A few more useful features have been added, and more definition, but it's been pretty stable for 26 years. While the maps have gotten more detailed, the structure itself is basically the same -- it's our understanding of it that has become more detailed and refined. Understanding what lurks in the corners, and really getting to know it as the visual metaphor it is has been important for my recovery and my personal balance.
I think the controversy, if any, about internal landscapes will probably continue due to ignorance and mis-education of some counselors and therapists about how to best deal with multiples. I don't see a particular "problem" with some of my residents preferring the "life inside" over the "life outside" as long as it doesn't translate into a wasted "real life." We have goals, we pursue and achieve them. We have stable relationships, a healthy drug-free lifestyle, raise children, etc. Just because some of us stay in voluntarily doesn't mean we're not participating in life, we're just doing it in our own way and it's not necessary or even desirable for all of us to take Front all the time. Even in the singleton world, it's not appropriate to express every aspect of your personality outwardly at all times -- for example it's not appropriate to "mother" your boss, or get angry and defensive at an infant child, even if you have the ability to express that range of role & emotion/posturing.