Helping My Girls Bond with Me

As I have talked with Karen, Amy and Alleylieu, and as I have done a little reading, I have come across the concept of teaching a DID network of girls the importance of self-nurturing and self-comforting techniques. Though these concepts may possibly be necessary for those with no outside support network, I don’t think this is the best way for insiders to heal.

Remember, I operate on the basic premise that ALL insiders are fundamentally NO different than any other outside child. They simply are in the body of an adult. Because they are emotionally and socially children, I treat them exactly as I would a child I had given life to. And if my son was traumatized or hurt in an accident, I didn’t say, “Go rock yourself. You need to stop being so dependent upon others.” It is during childhood that we learn to bond appropriately with others. To insist that a DID network of girls learn “self-comforting” techniques as the primary way to deal with the past trauma when they get triggered is to slow their ability to learn to bond with others.

In my 22-year marriage Karen never could properly bond to me. She never believed I loved her. She continuously asked me, “Do you love me?” but I could see in her eyes that she never believed the affirmative answers I always gave her or all the things I did that tried to reassure her of my love or the simple fact that I stayed with her when so many men would have left. Because of the trauma my girls never learned to properly bond with me or others.

So as I have loved my girls for the last two years, I formed another cardinal rule: Never allow an insider to cry on the inside. As the insiders came out and began the healing process, long hidden emotions were finally given vent: anger, crying, sadness, and “stomps” as my girls like to say. “I have lots of ‘stomps’ that still need to come out!”. But these insiders did not understand that the best way for them to deal with the trauma was to cry with someone else. They needed to learn the song Lean on Me because “we all need somebody to lean on.” We are so much stronger when we go through life’s trials with someone by our side to laugh with us when we laugh and to cry with us when we cry.

So as I interacted with my girls, I often had to rely on Karen, Amy or Alleylieu to tell me that another was inside “crying” or “who-ing” as my girls put it. In my experience, any of my girls (including Karen) could cry ALL day long inside by herself, if I ignored her or was unaware of it. But if I found out about it, and acted immediately, I could comfort her and usually within minutes the crying would cease. I would gently call the girl out who was crying, and then like any outside child, I would ask her what was wrong, tell her I loved her, empathize with her feelings, sometimes rock her in our big rocking chair, and like any other child, “kissing the ouchie” made it better.

According to Karen, the DID ladies on her forum overwhelmingly have little children for insiders despite what The United States of Tara would have us believe. But in the beginning the insiders may pretend to be older than they really are for a good reason. Think of it like a little animal that puffs itself up as big as it can to scare away would-be predators. Some of the insiders try to act older so that they can scare away those they perceive as a threat. I tried not to draw attention to the fact that I knew two of my girls were younger than they tried to act. When they finally felt safe with me and their surroundings and as they began to heal, they quit the charade of their own volition.

Humans are social beings. To insist that traumatized people heal on their own is to slow the process. Moreover, it is self defeating to allow your girls to self-nurture excessively if you want them to learn to bond with you. My girls are STRONGLY bonded to me now, and I believe part of the reason is because I became their comforter and nurturer. When they are sad or crying, it is my privilege to hold them and comfort them. Doing so helps them bond with me appropriately and speeds the healing process.

Blessings.

Sam, I Am

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