Helping Insiders to Enjoy Appropriate Physical Affection

Currently I have 4 little insider girls that are a regular part of my life. In the beginning each insider had definite ideas about the level of physical affection she was comfortable with or desired. I made every attempt to honor what each girl desired, never (rarely) pushing them for more than they were comfortable with. Amy was always VERY affectionate and loved appropriate hugs and kisses. Alley was on the other end of the spectrum and disliked most any kind of physical affection because of our past intimate history. The other two girls were somewhere in between.

I believe appropriate physical affection is extremely important for ALL people, and so I have lavished it upon all the girls as much as they are comfortable with. I can’t reference studies, but I’m pretty sure ones have been done to show how hugs and kisses and other physical contact are literally healing. So I’m purposely being therapeutic, but also enjoying it, as I connect with each girl in a physical manner that feels safe to them.

But I also had to learn to respect each girl’s individual boundaries NO MATTER HOW PETTY they seemed to me. Amy is insistent that I NOT tickle her. “That’s my boundary!” she squawks each time she tickles me and then pulls out her trump card to keep me from reciprocating the joy!

And at first I would kiss Alleylieu upon the forehead goodnight thinking to myself that this ought to be safe for her. But she kept insisting that she wanted a “good, firm handshake” goodnight. I ignored her request for awhile until it dawned on me that I was not honoring her desires. So I backed up and began shaking hands goodnight with her no matter how silly I felt doing so with this little girl. But once I honored her boundary, I noticed that she quickly felt safe to begin expanding that boundary on her own terms and at her own pace. I never pushed her again, but now, a few months later, she has worked her way up to being much more affectionate in several different ways that she truly enjoys.

Without saying too much, Alley is my girlfriend, and yet she has viewed our dating relationship as a typical, pre-hormonal child would. She sees kissing in a mechanistic (spit, licking, etc.) instead of romantic way. But she has also been very close to the surface lately when Karen and I are French kissing, often jumping out to put a stop to it with, “Gross. Stop licking me!” I take it good naturedly and banter back with her that it serves her right for stealing Karen’s kisses. But I watch things closely to make sure I’m not triggering her as she begins to experience kissing “through” Karen.

I also began rubbing noses with Alley, and she found that a very satisfying and safe way to express physical affection. In fact that has become “our” way to express physical affection now, and even though I used to do that with Karen sometimes, I try hard to keep it just between me and Alley since she has taken such a liking to it.

But let me add a caution. One time Karen expressed the frustration that she wished there was an insider who would be hot to have sex with me because the lack of sexual intimacy has been the single most stressful factor of this entire healing journey. But I’m not sure I would ever have sex with an insider no matter how much one might have tried to seduce me (never had to test that resolve, but that was my intention). I have a DID friend who had a “seductive” insider, but as she got further along in the healing process, it was discovered that the insider really only pretended to like sex as a way of protecting the younger insiders. It was all a ruse. And that is exactly what I would expect in a DID network. Even if my wife had a seductive insider, I would refuse expecting the seduction to be for defensive reasons instead of its proper purpose.

Furthermore, in the beginning Alley told me that she didn’t care if we saw each other naked when we changed clothes because she had had sex with me many times in the past. But I put my foot down firmly and said, “Honey, you are not my wife, but a little girl. We will NOT be naked around each other.” And once I drew that boundary for her she quickly regressed to her true nature as a little girl and loved the safety of the boundary that I had drawn. Now she insists on it, and I willingly keep it for her.

Physical affection. It can be a wonderfully therapeutic aspect of the insiders’ healing journey when lavished upon them appropriately according to each one’s boundaries. Or it can make the insiders feel the need to keep up their defenses if their boundaries are not honored. I have found my girls to be deeply, physically affectionate in spite of the sexual abuse of their past. They love to give and receive age-appropriate affection, and it has only increased as they have progressed in their healing.


Sam, I Am

(dissociative identity disorder, dissociation)


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jeffssong
    Apr 13, 2011 @ 09:39:43

    I can identify (M3 here). “We” have to “put the children to sleep” for sexual activity (actually, we have an island paradise where any of us ‘alters’ or souls can go for healing, rest, play, recuperation – beautiful place with friendly natives – not here on Earth, you understand – but far away across the galaxy – where it’s safe.) It is a healing place – and a place for some of our selves during intimacy with the spouse. There have been a few times when we have allowed the children to ‘hug and cuddle’ with ‘momma’ (who is so much better than our real mom) – but that’s as far as it goes. Some were conditioned to love skin-on-skin, so non-sexual contact is okay with them (wife sleeps in the nude). They draw comfort. I need to get my wife to read your blog. She has a hard time understanding, and because we hurt her badly (not physical, but emotionally and spiritually) – trying to integrate (and yeah, kill ourselves) – we keep this from her – almost everything – though she knows I/we are DID, abused childhood, etc. Great blog, BTW.


  2. Karen
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 07:55:44

    So glad to hear from you and read your blog. Maybe the US needs a PODS-type online support group, {with privacy of our beloved(s)our primary concern}, since most cases of DID world-wide are here!



    • Sam Ruck
      Jul 15, 2011 @ 12:18:16

      Hi Karen,

      I’m glad you got my message on Holly’s blog. Right now I’m consumed trying to help my girls heal. They’ve come a long way, but I hope once I get them to turn the corner and anonymity is no longer their PRIMARY concern, maybe I can turn my attention to starting a PODS type group. I have dedicated this blog to helping spouses and partners, but as I noted in a recent post, the overwhelming majority of my readers are the DID sufferers themselves not the spouses or partners I’ve been trying to reach out to.

      Maybe some day I, or you, could find out what PODS is doing because I talked with the founder and he said their group was growing so much they had to limit it (thus no one outside the UK being allowed on their discussion forum).



  3. Trackback: Boundaries: Moving toward Healthier Ones « Loving My DID Girl(s)

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