The “Last 3” Insiders

A couple of weeks ago I realized that I may have made a “tactical” therapy error in not reaching out to the 3 insiders in my wife’s network who showed little interest in being outside. Since this is my first time dealing with DID, I thought maybe they were “unimportant” or they would naturally want to come outside. But a couple weeks ago, I realized my error and began to actively court these last 3 insiders. Christmas gave me the perfect opportunity.

So for Christmas I sought to buy each of the three girls gifts that I thought would speak to the things I knew they were interested in. For 2 insiders I had some basic knowledge of their greatest interest, and so I bought them gifts accordingly. But for the last little girl, a silent one who had little contact with anyone inside or out and had never spoken a word to ANYONE, I just had to hazard a guess as to what she might like as I bounced ideas off the other girls until I came up with a winning idea.

So as I began planning to reach out to these 3, I asked the other girls for help and input, and this created a stir among all the insiders. The ‘hidden’ 3 wanted to know why I was suddenly reaching out to them. I explained to them through Alley that whether they chose to remain inside or would except my invitation to join me and my family on the outside, I just wanted them to know that someone cared about them, someone was thinking about them, and I was sorry for not reaching out to them sooner.

Well the Christmas gifts were a hit. Alley’s little sister has come “roaring” out to join our family. In three weeks this little girl has made leaps and bounds into the outside world where I firmly believe healing lies. She is a delight to have in our family, but her presence has changed our family dynamics and so I have tried to be careful to help everyone adjust to having another person to love and provide for. The inside mother, KA, has talked to me a couple of times which is a first, and she is extremely excited and delighted by her gifts. And the little silent one has begun being rocked by KA which is her first contact with anyone inside (to be comforted), and I’ve had more contact with her on the outside in the last 2 weeks than the previous 6 months.

So what have I learned in a nutshell? First in my wife’s network there are NO unimportant insiders. I feel badly and naïve for admitting that I ever thought that.

Second it reminds me that husbands do not have to sit passively by while their wives struggle through the healing process. In our individualistic society I have been told my wife’s healing journey is her own. Wrong. I’ve also been told DID is extremely complex and only can be dealt with properly by “the experts.” Wrong again. Husbands and loved ones are uniquely qualified to heal the broken and shattered hearts of those within a DID network. This is the greatest need my wife has, and as I’ve done this I have propelled my wife ahead in her healing journey.

Third the entrance of Alleylieu’s little sister, Shelly, has reminded me not to assume things with her. Shelly has very quickly assimilated to our outside world and family, but I don’t want to take that for granted. She mentioned she wanted an “entrance into the family” gift like the other girls had gotten. So last week we began shopping for one. I have always had the attitude that if the insiders express ANY need, I need to take it seriously and fulfill it if at all possible. But after searching fruitlessly for a proper gift for her, I found out she had a VERY specific idea about what an “entrance into the family gift” was. She told me that I had brought Karen, Amy and Alley into my family when I gave each of them a ring, and so she needed a ring, too. Yesterday I found her a beautiful ring that has made her heart sing “I have a family now!”

I also caught her sneaking some of the Christmas cookies we made last week. I’m glad it was something benign, but it served to remind me that if I want insiders who don’t act up, I have to be very diligent to meet their needs so that they come to me instead of going out on their own to fulfill them like the sensational stories remind us is so very possible with this disorder. So Amy and I have talked about giving Shelly a webkinz pet of her own and also some dolls and clothing to call her own. Ownership is still very important to each insider.

Fourth, and this is something that I didn’t fully grasp when Amy and Alley came out, Shelly has found everything very different when she came outside than her original childhood. The great disparity has been a source of fear for her. And when I thought about it, who wouldn’t be afraid, if one day you woke up and ALL familiar markers had been removed from your life? Her parents don’t look like she remembers (40 some years older). She’s living in a different house now. My son and I are new to her. People dress and talk differently. Even the trees and grass look different than she remembers because it’s winter in Ohio right now, and she was an Alabama girl.

With Amy I had to also work with her about everything being “different.” So I approached it two ways. First different doesn’t have to be scary, I told her. It’s just different. But the more effective way because it wasn’t as ‘cerebral’ is, “Honey, look at all the things that are better now.” And Amy had to admit that she really liked things better now. She had a daddy (me) who made lots of time for her. She had a big brother who loved her and played with her. And she enjoyed the many things I lavished on her. Things were different, but they were definitely better for her. And that spoke to her child’s heart. And I’m hoping with time, Shelly will see the same, and different will no longer be scary because it means things are better and happier.

So I’m still reaching out to the “new” girls while I have to reassure the “old” ones that I won’t drop them for the new, exciting girls. And I’m still learning and relearning what I learned with the first wave of insiders. And while Shelly and I talked most of the day a week ago, I found out there may be another insider that no one has ever heard about before except Shelly. So I have to stay flexible and adjust as things unfold in my wife’s network. I’m not an expert on DID; just a learner with a little bit of past experience.


Sam, I Am

Dissociative identity disorder, dissociation


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