Recovering Memories: An Inside-Out Approach

Because of my time on wordpress it has come to my attention that “recovering memories” is a very important step in the healing process. So last week I asked Karen, “Have you recovered many memories yet?” She said, “No.” But the way she said it made me think she meant “no, none.”

Screech. Halt. Crash. I tried not to panic. I tried to ask Karen for further clarification, but she is so tired of dealing with her DID issues that when she is actually the one who gets to be outside with me, she wants to talk about more pleasant subjects. But inside I was kind of freaking. I’m thinking, “She keeps assuring me that everyone is making GREAT progress. How is she making GREAT progress if she’s not recovering memories like everyone else?!!”

Enter stage right: the inside-out approach to recovering memories. But first a reminder. A while ago I wrote about our inside-out approach to the entire DID issue. Karen and I are “insider-centric.” It’s where the healing “action” is at because as I said then, my wife doesn’t get triggered by sex. She isn’t afraid of crowds. She’s not afraid of a rain storm, etc. It’s the inside girls who have these fears and reactions. So that’s why we focus so intensively on them and their needs.

So back to recovering memories. A couple days later I asked Alleylieu about recovering memories. I said, “Honey, how are you girls making progress if you aren’t sharing any of the memories with Karen?” She and Amy both chimed in, “We don’t want to share those bad memories with her.” But a little later I got Alleylieu to explain. Essentially she explained it like this:

The inside girls understand they are the ones who hold the traumatic memories. They firmly believe it was their job to protect Karen from trauma in the first place. So now they see it as their job to get healed of those memories FIRST before they share them with Karen. That way when they begin sharing them with Karen it becomes little more than information sharing because all the emotional trauma will have already been drained from the memories.

That was all she said, but you know, that made sense. I know a lot of ladies find this stage of healing to be deeply painful, but with an inside-out approach, at least for the host, the pain is minimized. Now I’m not saying there is no pain. Karen and Alleylieu are connected whether or not Alleylieu shares the memories. Karen tells me how drained she always feels as Alleylieu has been working through her trauma. It was the same way last year when the focus was on Amy’s traumas.

At this point I can only throw out this idea as food for thought. The girls aren’t through the process, so I can’t really explain how it will work other than they are doing this under the guidance of those helping them in the healing process.


Sam, I Am


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. undercoverdid
    Aug 13, 2010 @ 19:53:01

    Great post! We haven’t worked memories really and it’s a scary thing. I’m glad your wife’s insiders are working the memories before telling her, what a cool idea. We had a lil come near once and her memories went throughout and yea it was really hard. I’m still figuring out our new t to see how he’ll do things and how we’ll be able to do things.


  2. undercoverdid
    Aug 14, 2010 @ 21:37:06

    Awesome! I’m trying to figure out how we’re going to do this. T didn’t want to do anything major until things got better at home, things are better so we should work. First I have to figure out how to deal with a protector that doesn’t want things said :/ This is gonna be fun! It’s good to hear experiences. So do your girls tell you things memory wise or her t only or both of you? I’m not sure how much I should tell H at times.


    • Sam Ruck
      Aug 14, 2010 @ 22:55:48

      It took Alleylieu a loooong time before she was willing to say anything and she constantly was letting the other girls know that she disapproved of “loose lips.” But as she saw things were safe with me and my son and with life in general, then she slowly allowed the telling of the secrets….normally to the ladies helping my wife. All 3 of my girls are pretty secretive: they only tell me a little. I wish they would tell me more: not graphically (unless they wanted) but just in general. I think secrecy lends incredible power to the abuse and shame. But at this moment they aren’t willing to say much to me. Nothing much phases me. I’ve got another DID friend who let me see her notes to her T about graphic parts of her abuse. It made me sad for her and wish I could have protected her. But it didn’t freak me out in the least.( I even tried to use that as a bridge with Alleylieu to say, “See I would be safe with your secrets, too, but no luck), but your husband could be different. If you want to share with your husband, maybe that’s something that your T could help both of you with if you are unsure of his ability to cope. I hope he gets comfortable enough with your littles: just that will go a long way to help your defender see that now it’s safe to begin talking about things.

      Good luck!



  3. strangelings
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 20:58:32

    I think a lot of systems start out that way. It’s been different for us since I’ve been host (over ten years now) because I actually *have* my own traumatic memories, including from RA stuff. I think that’s actually helped a lot, in a way.

    For us, though, such a huge part of healing from trauma, and from the purposeful internal dividedness created by the RA stuff, has been my *being able* to be present with other parts memories. To be *able* to sit with them and feel with them and share those feelings. That’s how things have over time become not “L.’s memories” but *our* and my memories, too. It sounds like your wife is at an early stage of recovery, but I would encourage the idea that parts don’t need to (and can’t, actually) just completely heal the trauma seperately. For it to be truely processed it needs to be done as a whole, not in pieces.


    • Sam Ruck
      Aug 15, 2010 @ 22:12:49

      Hi Strangelings,

      Thanks for visiting. First I want to admit that I am a novice when it comes to the idea of recovering memories. My blog normally focuses on MY long-term interactions that I have with the girls: Amy, Alleylieu and Sophia. So this entry was a little bit unusual because it really was just based on a talk that I had with the girls I mentioned. But the concept Alleylieu shared with me is so different from what I normally hear on wordpress, that I thought I’d throw it out as possibly a different way to reach the same goal, but maybe with a little less additional trauma.

      I think you are right. Eventually all the girls MUST finish the healing together. For the last two years I have seen Amy and Alleylieu “raid” Karen’s memories and own those memories for themselves. But it’s been a one-way street right now. As I said, Karen rarely (never?) has recovered a memory from the inside girls, but more and more the other girls talk about Karen’s childhood as their own…especially Alleylieu.

      So if you are right and they are only in the beginning stages, then at this stage the focus is on the insiders, but at some point that focus will have to switch and become focused on the entire network of girls/insiders.

      Thanks for clarifying!



  4. Trackback: Recovering Memories: An Inside-Out Approach, Part 2 | Loving My DID Girl(s)

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