Sunday, April 15, 2012


I am fascinated by new words.  This one, individuation, was used in a discussion by NewCounselor.  I wanted to get a better handle on what he meant.  Words and vocabulary come with each field of work.  This word is used by philosophers and psychologist gives a word to the process of integrating oneself in to a "stable whole."

In developmental psychology - particularly analytical psychology - individuation is the process through which a person becomes his/her 'true self'. Hence it is the process whereby the innate elements of personality, the different experiences of a person's life and the different aspects and components of the immature psyche become integrated over time into a well-functioning whole. Individuation might thus be summarised as the self-formation of the personality into a coherent whole.

I am fascinated that there is a word for what I did.  The whole process of integration I found to be ongoing.  When I integrated 4 years ago, I thought I had arrived.  I was shocked that all I did was get all myself headed in the same direction.  Before this, I had an internal tug-of-war contest going on inside all the time.  Kind of like a six-legged running contest with no clear goal as to where I should be going.  Integrating the 5 personalities into one I thought for several years I would fall apart again.  (Some multiples that integrate do separate again after integration.)  After two years and some very painful experiences that I was wishing I could be a multiple again, I decided that when I integrated it became a 'stable whole.'  After integration, I discovered that I had a lot to catch up on about understanding how to function in the world.  As a multiple, an event would happen that stressed me and I would switch to the personality specifically suited to deal with that situation.  For example, Maria was the extrovert and went to all the parties and social events of any kind.  She loved to be with people and chat and be the center of attention and you get the idea she was perfect for being out with people.  She also didn't care about rules, didn't want to study for school, and usually very irresponsible for any task.  Marie took care of all task that were stressful.  ruth nurtured and mothered everyone she encountered.   Now however, all these different functions are all done by me.  After integration, I needed to learn how to balance and juggle all these different responsibilities.  Yes, I did share my frustration and fury with KavinCoach that life after integration wasn't the Nirvana, place of being free from suffering, I was expecting.  NewCounselor pointed out to me that when Christ resurrected he still had the scars in his hands from the Crucifixion.  Christ is perfect, therefore keeping scars as indicators of our individual experiences does not make us less than perfect.  My past experiences do not define me but I do not need to make them disappear to be whole and perfected myself.  I thought about a project that I did with film photography that I called imperfect beauty.  It was pictures of plants showing that many were considered beautiful with their scars from past experiences.  I also thought about the fact the 'flawless' diamonds only meant that the flaws could not be seen with a 10x magnification.  Diamonds are created by coal under a lot of pressure.  Flaws are inevitable with that much pressure.  Under extreme stress in life, scars are inevitable but I am learning it doesn't detract from the beauty and perfection of overcoming great difficulties.  I like the idea that individuation is an ongoing process and the scars from my past do not make me less but instead are part of my inner beauty.   


Ellen said...

Makes sense Ruth that if switching was how you coped with stress, you would feel quite lost when that was no longer an option.

Thanks for explaining more what this process of 'individuation' was like for you.

Ruth said...

Your welcome. It was also interesting to learn that everyone experiences a certain amount of learning to be whole.

Laurel Hawkes said...

Interesting additional note, though flawless diamonds are considered of higher value, flawed diamonds are considered more beautiful because there are additional facets to reflect light.

vicariousrising said...

Hey! I think I'm doing this individuation thing too!

Should we get a t-shirt? ;)

Ruth said...

Love the T-shirt idea. :)