Marrying the Insiders into My Family

When Karen’s insiders began to enter my life, one of the greatest needs they had was “to belong.” The trauma that each of the girls experienced seemed to strike very foundationally at her ability to believe that she was a wanted, desired and acceptable little girl to others. So my job was to undo this lie.

Being the spouse of someone with DID somewhat requires the mindset of Sherlock Holmes. My girls offer me clues and hints about what they need, but they rarely come out and give me a list. So as I interacted with each of them I began to realize that none of them felt like she belonged. So I began to “marry” them into my family. Now this was a process that I accomplished over a year and a half.

I began to welcome each girl into the family. I talked about it to each of them. I also looked up the traditional wedding vows, wrote them down on a pretty piece of stationery and inserted all the names of the insiders into the appropriate blank. The girls have kept that piece of stationery right beside the side of the bed. And when one girl spilled coffee upon it a couple of months ago, it was extremely important that I write them out a new set of vows on a fresh piece of stationery.

Another thing I did was to buy everyone in the family a claddagh ring. The claddagh ring is Celtic in origin and symbolizes the bond of loyalty (crown), love (heart) and friendship (clasping hands) that should exist between people in a relationship. So I bought everyone in the family a claddagh ring: my son, my girls and me. Each person picked out the one he or she wanted. On my ring I have inscribed the initials of ALL the insiders and outsiders and put “&TR” for “and the rest” in case any other insiders came out after I had the inscribing done. Many times since, when the girls were feeling insecure and triggered, I would point to my ring and remind her, “Honey, I’m still wearing our family ring. I don’t want to get rid of you.”

Another way that I married the girls into my family was by specifically asking them to join us in family events. Even after months of emphasizing that I now considered them full-fledged members of the family, Alleylieu especially struggled with feeling like she belonged. So I made a point of inviting her to be with us during the family vacation and other special days. In fact because I believe that healing means all the insiders will eventually always be part of the outside world, I rarely ever “uninvited” them to anything other than the slowly dying times that Karen and I still tried to be physically intimate.

Recently Karen, Amy and Alleylieu have begun to scrapbook together (co-consciously). So for my birthday I asked them to make me a little 5 ½ x 7 scrapbook. I chose the pictures that would fill its pages, and I made sure that each girl (including Sophia) was represented by photographs through out the book. Everything I do emphasizes the message: “You belong with us now.”

Marrying the insiders into my family has been a long process. When I created a craftroom specifically for my “three outside girls this spring (Karen, Amy and Alleylieu), I think I finally completed this specific journey with them. The girls now understand that they are full-fledged members of my family. They are not second-rate citizens in any area. And they do not have to worry about their place. They are loved. They are accepted. They belong. These are things that everyone desires. An insider is no different. It was up to me to be sure they felt like all of them are a part of my family.


Sam, I Am


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vague
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 00:54:03

    nice. 😀


  2. Trackback: I Didn’t See that Coming… | Loving My DID Girl(s)

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