My Wife…Whoever that Is.

Karen and I view DID differently. She feels that she is the “real” person, and all the insiders split off from her. She would be considered the “host,” and I believe healing in her view is when the insiders eventually are reabsorbed back into her. In my mind, I picture this view of DID as an originally, normal-sized person, and each time an alter splits off from the “host” the host shrinks just a little in stature.

But I have talked extensively with Amy and Alleylieu, and that’s not the picture I get from them. Even though my Karen didn’t know about them in the past, Amy and Alleylieu knew about her. And as I’ve gotten to know the various insiders, especially Amy and Alleylieu who want to be outside girls, I have begun recognizing their presence throughout my 22-year marriage. Alleylieu, especially, was a huge part of my marriage. Many statements from the past were repeated on her lips as we worked through things in the present. So I began to see that legitimately each of these girls was my wife to some degree even though I would never expect them to act like my wife at this stage in their healing.

I also saw Amy and Alleylieu’s desperate desire to be considered real girls and their need to have a real relationship with me. They didn’t want to just be a means to an end for Karen to get healed. When I expressed my love for them, they wanted to know that I really loved them, not just because they were a part of Karen.

Faith Allen has a blog here on wordpress, and she speaks about her “core.” If I understand what she is saying, that is the view I have adopted about who my wife is. I see a DID person more like a piece of beautifully hand-painted china that a hammer has busted. The girl I used to recognize solely as my wife is probably the largest piece of that busted cup, but that doesn’t make her the “real” girl and the insiders “not real” or “less real” ones. Each girl is a part of that larger whole: the girl who was born some 40 years ago. And so as healing takes places, the goal is NOT for the insiders to be absorbed back into Karen, but it is for each girl to take her place in the original masterpiece.

I now say I have three outside girls because Amy and Alleylieu have made it clear that they WANT to be outsiders. They have no desire to go back to the life of an insider even though they still struggle some because they have not finished healing. This is a good thing. To them they see “integration” as annihilation for an insider, and therefore something to be avoided at all costs. They finally are being given the chance to really live life. They have no desire to give that up. But Karen, the girl I knew as my wife for 22 years, wants to be called the “host.” I think that gives her the superior position in the “system.” Do you see the potential for conflict?

I’m caught in the middle as the girls work out their relationship together. So I try to do things that help them see the benefits of working together without “pushing” them to do so. I have recently made a craftroom and redone our master bedroom with all three of my girls in mind. Throughout the entire process, I made sure I got the input of each girl and only did things that were agreed upon by all. To Amy and Alleylieu these rooms symbolized their true entrance into the family. I had made a “place” in the house with them specifically in mind. To Karen I emphasize that she is my first girl, her name is tattooed upon my body, and to include the insiders in my life I opened my heart more fully. I won’t get rid of her.

As we have traveled this healing journey, my understanding has changed. I now know that “my wife” will never simply be the girl I used to know. That is a good thing because Karen used to tell me that she felt like “a shattered teacup.” Now it’s time to put all those pieces back together. My role is never to force the pieces together. But as I love each of the girls and meet the needs of her heart, the laws of emotional “physics” naturally bring the separate girls back into a whole woman.


Sam, I Am


10 Comments (+add yours?)

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  2. Paul
    Aug 11, 2010 @ 04:55:00

    Can I suggest you think of this differently?

    What makes us “real” is not the individual parts but the sum of the parts. Parts don’t think this. Hosts don’t think this. But it’s true. If you think in these terms it changes how you’ve laid things out. All the “wants” of the “insiders” as you call them are common and expected. They always think they will be annihilated in the process of healing unless they become real outside people. The problem is they are not real outside people. You can’t force your wish of reality on top of reality.


    • Sam Ruck
      Aug 11, 2010 @ 09:53:35


      who’s to say which alter is real? Since I personally know women who now have former insiders as the main host, it becomes somewhat a shell game. And I know that this phenomenon is not unheard of. They are ALL real: host and insiders. Period. Therefore, I treat them as such. I’m not forcing anything upon them. I’m simply accepting the reality that THEY currently live in, and then I am helping them move to a more healthy one. For me to arbitrarily tell Amy and Alleylieu, “sorry you aren’t real like Karen” what’s the point? How would invalidating a need they legitimately have help them heal???????????? When I validate the need, they move forward.



  3. Paul
    Aug 11, 2010 @ 10:09:09

    No, I think you misunderstood my point. I was not denying real in that they exist. I was speaking more broadly.


    • Sam Ruck
      Aug 11, 2010 @ 10:12:44

      I don’t think I did misunderstand, but I’m meeting the insiders where they are at. It won’t help if I DEMAND that they be in a different position. But I meet them at the point they are, and as I meet and validate their needs, they move past them. They already have changed, and healed, and grown so much in the two years they have been a part of my life. Some day I will have ONE wife, but right now the reality is I have a network of girls inside my wife’s body. So I meet them at that level.

      (oops, I will say Paul, that I hadn’t noticed you had switched blog entries. I hope the answers still make sense based on the one you are currently in)



  4. Paul
    Aug 11, 2010 @ 10:43:01

    OK, again, I say if it works…


  5. flowerofthewoods
    Sep 23, 2014 @ 16:29:20

    I hope you don’t mind, but I want to share my personal experiences with this subject.

    My system approached this issue from the exact opposite direction: our front/host was preoccupied with the idea that she wasn’t real before we discovered our inside parts. She was obsessed with taking “selfies,” filled up numerous notebooks with all sorts of writings and drawings in order to have something tangible about herself, and was convinced that most of her experiences hadn’t really happened if there wasn’t another person there to witness it. After our personalities began expressing themselves more, she often stated, “They’re real, and I’m not.” Eventually, she asked to be integrated into our Briar Rose, so that she wouldn’t take up time with being a “non-person.”

    From our perspective, her attitude makes sense — she was the one who was basically an empty shell, and all of our hobbies, preferences, and emotions came from the inside girls. We were quite surprised to discover that no one else has shared this experience; most feel that the host is real, and the alters are not. If I may ask, do you have any insight as to why that is? I realize that may be a complex question, so you don’t have to answer it if you don’t wish to do so.


    • Sam Ruck
      Sep 23, 2014 @ 19:13:33

      Hi Flower,

      In my wife’s group, Karen definitely isn’t an “empty shell” and yet she’s always called herself a “broken teacup.”

      My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that most treat the host as ‘real’ and the insiders as not real because of ignorance, that they’ve never really taken the time to overcome their prejudice. I don’t think those with d.i.d., though, help when they allow alters to go by less-than-human names. None of the girls in my wife’s network can be described by a single emotion and yet I know other alters from other systems that are called ‘anger’ and such. I respect their right, but I would never, ever call one of my girls something similar. Of course, I knew the names of all the girls except Amy and Alley before they came completely outside.

      I do agree that the way you did things makes sense. Karen is still the girl stuck in the past. The 6 little girls have healed and matured and their interests and abilities have taken off…but not Karen. She’s still largely the same and still sequestered internally from the other 6 though she can ‘hear’ 5 of them.

      I appreciate your time and comments. I wish I had a better answer for you. Amy is actively pursuing a more connected relationship with Karen. I hope it happens soon for both their sakes.



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