I have one thing wrong though.
Ruthie is there because I am not allowed to have the needs my parents weren’t meeting. I’m not allowed to be thirsty or to need to go to the toilet. I’m not allowed to have attachment needs or to communicate feelings. I am not allowed to have the need to express myself or my personal preferences—I’m only allowed to have approved ones, and snakes and spiders and insects (which is what Ruthie likes) are definitely not among them. I am not allowed to have an emotional landscape.
So, I’m not allowed to have the effects of the abuse there—I’m not allowed to have any of the reactions that come from having experienced intense trauma. But I’m not allowed to have ordinary needs either. Because these are the needs my parents weren’t meeting, and the family secret is that this is damaging me.
Integrating requires a lot of emotional skills. One of them is being able to meet my own needs as a traumatized adult. That’s just one piece of it though.
Another piece is coping with the phobia of acknowledging that these needs are there, that I am deeply traumatized, and this has dramatically affected my daily life.
A third piece is coping with the phobia of having ordinary needs: being thirsty, being hungry, needing emotional connection, needing to express my personality.
If I can do that, then I can integrate. Does it sound simple?
It might be. Simple is not easy though.