Parts, Alters and Such

On this blog I have always operated on the assumption that each insider is best viewed as a normal little child who was frozen in time because of past trauma and now finds herself caught in an adult body. Because of this attitude I NEVER call my girls anything dehumanizing like alters, parts or anything else. Each inside girl has been desperate for me to love her for herself, NOT because of Karen. Amy especially would cry out, “Daddy, I’m a real little girl!”

I recently read an article in which the author took great pains to refer to the insiders as “parts.” It was obvious that he has as deeply loving relationship with the insiders who made up his wife’s network as I do with my girls, and yet over and over he almost seemed obligated to refer to them as “parts.”

Now I know that in reality insiders are only “part” of my wife. Moreover, as I subscribe to the model that Faith Allen’s blog (and others) uphold, I also understand that the girl I called my wife for 22 years, the host, is truly also a “part” of the core personality. But just because something is technically true does not mean that it is healing to remind the insiders or host of it constantly. In fact, to insist on doing so when my girls have made it clear they find those words offensive would be un-healing.

My girls, host and insiders, all want me to treat them as REAL girls. To them that means that I treat them just like I would any other person. They don’t want treated like freaks. The little girls are insistent that I love them for themselves not because they are “part” of my wife (host or core personality). As well my wife the host would be very upset if I ever referred to her as “part of my ‘real’ (whole) wife.” And yet I have to wonder if those who insist we be exactly correct in referring to insiders (but never the host?) as parts would also insist on teaching their own children that “the sun doesn’t ‘really’ set or rise, the earth actually turns on its axis.”

Sigh. My goal is to bring healing to my girls, host and insiders. I care about nothing else. If these girls tell me that they find “technically correct” language offensive, then screw what has official sanction with the authorities: I will NOT refer to my girls as parts, alters and such. And even though I have been warned that loving the girls individually would keep them separate (because I’m not constantly reminding them ‘you are just a part’), I have found the truth to be just the opposite. As always, when I meet the felt needs my girls express, it brings healing to their broken hearts, and they naturally move toward health and wholeness.


Sam, I Am

p.s. I double checked with Amy about this article and she is VEHEMENT that she and ALL the others (insiders and host) HATE being referred to as parts and alters. It makes her feel like less than a real girl.

(dissociative identity disorder, dissociation)


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rinoa
    Apr 11, 2011 @ 23:20:09


    From the sounds of it, this post is inspired by Ben’s blog Loving Someone With DID. Ben is married to Elle. I am Rinoa, one of Elle’s “parts.” It appears Ben’s referring to my family (the “identities” that live inside of Elle) as “parts” has offended you.

    It annoys me that you have gone ahead and made assumptions and judgments about a family system you know little about. You have explained that those that live within your wife dislike being referred to as “parts.” You say that it is dehumanizing using words like “parts” or “alters.”

    I agree that the clinical (technically correct) terms can seem impersonal, however, if you have been recently diagnosed or know of a loved one who has just found out they have DID, you’re going to read the terms “alters”, “parts”, “egos”, “identities”, “insiders”, etc. in just about any literature you pick up. This is because these terms are an easy way to be specific when referring to the personalities other than the person with DID. Since Ben’s latest set of posts “Day to day and DID” were written for the spouse or a loved one of someone newly diagnosed, he, too, adopted the textbooks terms. We asked that he use the term “part” as often as he used the others.

    In the case of my family, we prefer the term “part” over “alter” because the latter seems a little too clinical. We love that Ben is getting word out there and understand that terms must be utilized. It is not personal.

    From your post, it is clear you associate negativity with the word “part”, like it must mean an insider is not whole, that they must not be real. But it simply is a clear way of differentiating between Elle and us, not unlike the way you use the term “insider.” In fact, you used the term 9 times.

    For us, we prefer “part” to “insider” because it’s symbolic of what we all are. All of us make Elle who she is. We are proud to be a part of her. It doesn’t mean any of us are random pieces or that we can only be recognized and appreciated as a fragment of Elle.

    Ben and you actually share the fact that you see the “insiders” inside your wives as real, complete, loveable and very individual people.

    Perhaps this is just a case of semantics. I just felt the need to comment because you were so quick to judge that Ben was treating us “parts” so inhumanely.



    • Sam Ruck
      Apr 11, 2011 @ 23:46:28

      Hi Rinoa,

      I’m sorry you assumed I was talking about Ben. I was NOT. In fact I’m not talking about anyone on wordpress. If people want to call insiders “parts” or “alters” that’s fine with me as long as it’s fine with them. My blog is about sharing what is working with my girls. I understand the terminology is prevalent in the popular literature which is why I bring up things just so people can consider alternatives to methods that I think are often “host-centric” and fairly ignorant of how insiders view things (at least how my girls view them).

      I enjoy Ben’s entries as I was just on there last week. People who chose a different methodolgy than I have chosen don’t offend me or make me feel threatened. Unfortunately, I have found that to NOT be the case about the same people toward me and my methods.

      I’m sorry if this entry came off wrong. If someone has NEVER read anything except the popular literature, he or she would never even think to question the terms or methods.



      • Rinoa
        Apr 12, 2011 @ 00:04:26

        Hi Sam,

        Well, you know what they say about when you assume… 😉

        I agree. It’s definitely a “to each their own” kind of thing.


  2. Rinoa
    Apr 11, 2011 @ 23:35:02

    I forgot to comment on another part of your post. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood – because I really don’t see the correlation between explaining a scientific fact to a child and how one refers to someone’s “insiders” but…

    “And yet I have to wonder if those who insist we be exactly correct in referring to insiders (but never the host?) as parts would also insist on teaching their own children that “the sun doesn’t ‘really’ set or rise, the earth actually turns on its axis.”

    If a child asked why the sun goes away and then comes back, I would absolutely explain the scientific aspects to them. It would be an age appropriate explanation, but I would never just dismiss them by saying “The sun sets and the sun rises.” THAT, in my opinion, would be dismissive and patronizing.


    • Sam Ruck
      Apr 11, 2011 @ 23:55:09


      to me the difference is that my girls are NOT asking for a scientific explanation about the nature of DID. Their broken hearts simply want to be loved and taken care of. I know plenty of adults especially with a scientific leaning who feel it’s almost lying to not be exactingly correct. The point of my entry is if someone’s insiders are like my girls and they HATE to be called “parts” or “alters” or any other term that they find dehumanizing whether that would be “insiders” or whatever, then DON’T DO IT! It doesn’t matter the term if someone finds it offensive, why use it??? Offensive but technically correct is still offensive and that just keeps the need for DID (the need to protect from an offending person or situation) alive.



  3. jeffssong
    Apr 13, 2011 @ 09:26:44

    Hi Sam, others. (Not meaning that disparagingly – we have ‘others’, too.) But I/we don’t see them as ‘others’, and hate that term ‘alters’ (jeez – isn’t that something you make sacrifices on??? Yikes!). But here’s how we see it – and ourselves:
    We are souls. Many souls in one body, one mind. Children’s souls, teenage souls, adult souls – ‘parts’ perhaps left ‘over’ – but very real persons to me and we and mine and ours. We finally learned to start loving one another inside – a long journey, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without Jeffery’s help.
    But perhaps that is the way to look at it: we are souls; not one, but many. And that we find is a beautiful thing – and perhaps, Sam – it helps if you see it as this too: you are in charge of helping developing souls heal and come together as one – or as in my case, embracing them all as living breathing beings. I hope this helps – and I wish the shrink community would start seeing us as we are instead of trying to dominate / kill us with drugs and false therapy. Souls. Remember that. Maybe it’s not only the key, but a truth. Peace to you all, my fellow multimind and monominded friends.


    • Sam Ruck
      Apr 13, 2011 @ 22:05:38

      I appreciate your input on this. when the girls first started coming out they BEGGED me not to read any of the popular literature because they thought it was so disrespectful toward insiders and they loved how I treated them. So most of my blog is “uninformed” by the prevailing concepts about DID. I just did a lot of listening to my girls. I made the assumption that they knew best how to get healed. And at least for us, it seems to be working great.

      I like to know that you feel about things in a similar way that my girls do.



  4. jeffssong
    Apr 13, 2011 @ 10:35:05

    PS: Sam – would it be all right for me us to send the link to your blog to our other? Meaning spouse? We are uncertain; some trepidation of course by our inner selves, but I think it might be of value to her. Thanks. We must ask permission first; a condition set up by those very same children. 1st step, eh? (nodding and smiling at them.) Good. We will see. Thanks


  5. Steph
    Apr 18, 2011 @ 16:54:18

    Good for you for not believing that treating insiders as one person makes them more seperate, my old therapist though that.
    For our system we too want to be treated as individuals even in the very beginning which was 4 yrs ago, if anything we have melded with one another and it’s been an enhancement to the system. I’m so through with reading books and such about others, my system is unique and we, I guess you can say socialize better by being individualized but with the understanding we are one as a whole. If it’s working for the system I say keep doing it, there’s no negativities to be had when you feel and know it’s best for you.


  6. jeffssong
    Apr 18, 2011 @ 17:55:57

    “Good for you for not believing that treating insiders as one person makes them more seperate, my old therapist though that.” That seems to be the view of the established majority of professionals. Shut ‘them’ up and ‘turn them off’ except for in a ‘controlled, clinical setting’ – and then in one hour, deal with them, psych and ‘comfort’ – whatever. Didn’t work for us: too defensive (old M2, teenage hell), trained in shrinkdom by his father specifically to FIGHT being ‘messed with’ up in the head – branded ‘resistive to treatment’, shrinks lost, teenager won. Ya gotta get trust – and they failed to do that.

    So we’re into (and it appears ya’ll are, too) “embracing the madness” – and IMO (our opinion) with great results thus far (while bearing in mind Algernon’s mouse): faster recovery, a more ‘accessible’ person; better ‘system’ (family) cooperation, happier feelings throughout; better understanding of one another, yielding a fuller sense of compassion (and more understanding) leading to a love and forgiveness we had not felt before – no matter how many drugs we took (and I ain’t just talkin’ about the legal kind; I’m including our ‘bad ol’ days’ when we were a mainline user, acid dropper, etc. ad nauseum.)

    Yup, things work much better now if you ask me. Mind meds are a thing of the past, we are comfy in our own skin (even if the boy’s do view it as ‘large hairy gross yuck’ sometimes, LOL, welcome to old age, children.) They laugh about it too, but somewhat sad (what happened to our younger bodies they are wondering; seeing them ‘inside’ as their young selves compared to this old machine we’ve managed to keep runnin’ all these years.)

    And IF that requires (as it had us) a ‘greater separation” – then so be it if we’re happy for it, right? (team goes “Yeah!).

    Until later – ya’ll have fun …
    us crazy guys.


  7. Trackback: “Splinters” are People, Too | Loving My DID Girl(s)

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