“The Shining Man” Review, Part 2

I’m going to try to make this more brief than the previous one. I just want to reiterate what I said yesterday:  Jesus does not force people to do anything they don’t want to do. He doesn’t send his angels to force anyone, either. He doesn’t take alters’ clothes away, or lock them up on the inside, or give them ultimatums where they have to choose Him, or die.  Dear Lord, I hate having to write that out because me writing it means it needs to be said, which means it might not have been known before now.

Chaining someone up, overpowering them, forcing them to do things against their will, taking their clothes, locking them up, giving them life-and-death ultimatums, disregarding their feelings and desires, ordering them around, asserting an agenda they don’t understand and possibly don’t agree with – what kind of environment does that sound like to you?  Does it sound strangely familiar? Does it sound like a healing environment to you, or an abusive one?

It’s been a long time ago, but I was in a thread regarding this book once, and the comment came up “You have to do whatever is necessary to restrain alters who are going to harm the body.” The old “the end justifies the means” argument, essentially.

To be clear:  I disagree.

Although I do acknowledge that this is a complex thing to try to handle, and I’m not saying there are easy answers. But what I am saying is that the true and real Jesus has ideas that will respect and honor everyone on the inside, rather than emulating the abuse they’ve already suffered.  And I’m also saying that strong-arming people in pain is re-traumatizing and counterproductive in the end.  Whether they act like it or not, people who are desperate enough to self-harm are in some level of pain even if they’re not consciously connected to it.

If a system is suicidal, they need to do whatever they need to do to stay alive; hospitalization, staying with friends, seeing a doctor, whatever works for them. You can’t heal if you’re dead. But sometimes actually listening to those “problem alters” and treating them like actual human beings will get you somewhere a lot faster than criminalizing or fighting with them. If you stop looking at behavior for a minute, and try to connect with their hearts, it will often change them without doing anything destructive and without them harming you.

The writer also writes as if integration (merging into one whole mind with no alters) is the ultimate and only goal for multiples. He mentions a few case examples where strong alters didn’t want to give up their authority or control, “regardless of the needs of the rest of their system.”  He paints these un-integrated systems as doomed and damned, and it’s both annoying and untrue. Not every system chooses to integrate, nor do they need to unless it’s what they all want.  There is no prioritizing the “needs of the system”; the alters ARE the system, so if one or two of them don’t want to merge, their needs are just as important as everyone else’s.  Trying to force alters to agree to merge because it’s “best” for the system as a whole, isn’t going to work either; it will work if everyone is in agreement and at peace with merging. A better idea would be to find out the fears or needs of the alters who don’t want to merge. Integration isn’t always necessary for a multiple to live a peaceful and fulfilling life. Some systems achieve enough internal communication and cooperation that they’re able to negotiate life as a multiple with relatively few problems.

It’s telling to me that toward the end of this e-book the author says that not all the multiples he supposedly “helps” to integrate even remember him after some time has passed. Some supposedly don’t even remember having been a multiple. (Stop and think about that for a minute…)  This doesn’t sound like they were healed to me, if they can’t remember the writer, the events that precipitated their integrating, or even the historical experience or fact of their having been a multiple. It sounds like the experience(s) was completely walled back off, and his methods might have had not just a little to do with it. But I couldn’t claim to know for sure. For their sake, I hope they did heal. But forgetting all such intimate and life-changing events just sounds really, really suspicious.

There are just so many confusing and wrong things going on in this book, which I’m sure I’ve already made clear enough. If you have any issues or questions about anything in it and want my perspective, feel free to comment or email. I’m not saying I know everything, but I do have a much more balanced approach to multiplicity rather than a dogmatic “this is how it is” viewpoint. It’s a great rule of thumb to question ALL absolute statements in this book. I probably won’t have much else to say about it in a blog post.

Cheers. ~J8

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