Insiders Are Not the Problem: They Are the Solution

There seems to be a prevalent attitude among many people with dissociative identity disorder that one’s alters or insiders are the source of their problems. My girls have looked at many websites that are for people with DID, and a significant number of the websites had a very negative attitude toward insiders. Moreover, I have read other bloggers who have had therapists who prefer not to work with insiders. I’ve read quotes from books by “experts” that were anti-insiders. I know of some very misguided Christians who have tried to exorcise insiders or “send” them to heaven as a way to induce healing. And I have joined a couple of groups that focus on trauma and partners of DID loved ones only to be informed that they found me “overly” engaged with the insiders. Thus I was promptly black listed from any real participation. What the heck is going on with such Neanderthal opinions?!

My girls find this attitude extremely upsetting, but I always tell them in response, “The happiest days of my life are when another girl wants to join me on the outside.”

On a personal level I find the various inside girls highly delightful and engaging though I will admit that their neediness can be very demanding especially in the beginning. Even though the DID limits them, each inside girl has her own personality. And the more I engage them on the outside, the more developed they become as a unique “individual.” I have yet to meet an insider I didn’t like even when Alexis, now Alley, hated me in the beginning. However, it was extremely important to each and every girl that I liked them for themselves and NOT because they were “part of Karen” (which I don’t believe anyway). I was repeatedly questioned about my motives for loving them. They didn’t want to be only a means to an end.

I’m “pro-insider,” and it’s a badge I wear proudly without any excuse!

But there’s a pragmatic aspect to being “pro-insider” even though it’s not my main motivation. Again, I’m not a therapist, but in my mind I view every person kind of like a dinner plate that has all the aspects of a person’s being written upon the plate: rationality, motor skills, sexuality, emotional capacity, logic, speaking ability, etc. Trauma, like a hammer, will bust that plate up into dissociated pieces. But on each broken piece one will still find a variety of entire or partial functions written upon it. Two or three pieces may have the letters that say “motor skills.” Each piece of that broken plate is linked with a person we would recognize as an insider or alter (ack, hate that term!). With my girls it would seem only Karen, the host, continued to develop in the areas of the core personality that she controlled. The other girls were frozen to quarantine the trauma from Karen, and with the trauma the abilities that were under each girl’s control also froze.

Since the little girls, Amy, Alley, Sophia, Shelly and KA, have joined me on the outside during the last 3 years ago, I have noticed that they are emotionally and socially developing in areas that largely were absent or underdeveloped in Karen. Thus as I live with and love these girls, I’m realizing that integration isn’t enough. By giving them a second chance at a happy childhood I’m allowing those regions of their being/brain that they control to thaw and develop like they naturally would have 35 years ago. In a compressed amount of time, I’m helping these girls go through many of the stages of childhood that they missed the first time. Hopefully this means when we are done healing, I should have a normal and emotionally-healthy wife. No more dysfunctional social, emotional and marital issues. And based on the evidence I’m observing, I don’t think this will be a “healing” that is simply content to teach the host a retinue of “coping” skills.

Again, I’m not a therapist and I can’t conduct scientific tests, so take what I’m saying however you would like, but from my vantage point it seems like my wife’s being is finally growing up in all aspects. In the past she was always accident prone. Amy very clearly controlled this aspect of motor skills when she first came out. The accidents increased for the first two years Amy was with us much to the frustration of the other girls. They were covered in bruises and cuts! But now as she has gotten lots of time outside to grow up, the accidents have significantly diminished.

Karen was never one for physical affection or emotional displays, but now I’ve seen the girls develop their first crush on a boy (me) and act like a girl in love for the first time. I’ve watched one girl become a young lady who wants to be sexy and attractive for me (though it’s still platonic). She’s slowly learning to enjoy and feel safe with physical intimacy (again not sexual here, yet). Moreover, when any of the 5 little girls interact with me, often their entire being lights up. They squirm and giggle with delight. I wonder if this is how Justin Bieber must feel.

Sleeping was another issue. Karen was always an extremely light sleeper. At the slightest sound she would gasp and wake up. The constant jitteriness at nights has slowly been replaced by the ability to sleep like a normal person. Last week little Sophia told me over and over, “You make me safe” and then she promptly fell asleep with her head resting on my chest…an unthinkable action by my wife a few years ago.

Attachment issues is another huge area. If you’re unfamiliar with this area of study in child development, check out this link for some helpful articles: http://www.tag-uk.net/attachment.html . Karen was a typical c.s.a. victim who could never properly attach to her parents. As a result she has never been able to properly attach to me either. But against the advice of many well meaning but totally misguided people on her trauma boards, she has allowed the 5 little girls to become appropriately attached to me. They have clearly given their hearts to me. They now live and act in the safety of the knowledge of my love for each of them, and it’s caused a radical transformation in the demeanor of each girl. They are now self-confident and vivacious. They do NOT act like a typical abuse survivor in the slightest. None of the 5 do! I still have work to do in this area because there are 2 more little girls hidden inside that we are aware of. But we’re getting there…

I could continue giving examples of the little girls maturing and developing naturally like other children if space allowed. Because it is so important to their healing they get the maximum amount of “outside time” we can possibly give them.

Insiders are awesome! They are delightful, real people even if they aren’t “whole” like a singleton. But beyond that insiders are the holy grail when it comes to healing. I believe they are the literal key to my wife’s COMPLETE healing. And the more outside time Karen and I give them, the greater the healing will be as they are allowed to naturally develop the regions of the brain that they control. Viva la insiders!

Blessings,

Sam, I Am

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bunchofpeople
    Aug 03, 2011 @ 02:11:52

    i have to admit, your philosophy of dealing with insiders really does make for a compelling argument. i struggle with the feelings it gives me, however, to hear about the littles growing up to become enamored of you and then have it turn to romantic love. i can see why this idea would concern many people –the idea of playing both the role of father to them and potential lover in the future, it’s not appropriate in our society. it makes me, a person with DID, feel very unsafe to imagine a parent-lover, as my SO, mainly because of the societal connotations.

    HOWEVER. y’know, i sort of see the other side of things, too. one of my littles is beginning to crave a different dynamic with my SO. in other words, my little insider is starting to grow up and question things like what love is and who is a potential mate and what is attraction.

    i respect you a great deal, and i hope my comment does not cause you distress. i’m not trying to decry what you’re doing, i’m not sure you’re not doing things *exactly* right. i’m just wondering about these things, because they DO relate to my life and situation so intimately.

    did it ever make you think twice, to play the role of father AND love interest? i want to understand how i can best navigate these difficult questions.
    -Hats

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Aug 03, 2011 @ 21:27:09

      Hi Hats!

      Thanks for the very thoughtful comments. I love when people share their concerns thoughtfully and give me an honest chance to respond because I know you aren’t the only one who might see a “red flag.” Hopefully I will answer your questions. If not, let me know and I’ll try again!

      1) From the start I have always allowed each girl to define what kind of a relationship they want with me. I believe my wife (host and insiders) knows her needs best, and as I am able to meet those needs, it releases healing into her spirit/heart. I try to never force anything, though I admit I make lots of suggestions, some of which the girls receive, some they don’t. Here’s an entry on my blog that talks a little about the process.
      https://samruck2.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/letting-my-girls-define-the-relationship/

      For almost 2 years Alley called me by no name or designation. She went thru a tremendous transition during that time, from hating me to genuinely liking me and then loving me. Then last summer she decided she wanted me to be her boyfriend. In fact she calls me “Boyfriend” more often than she calls me “Sam.”

      Amy told me that Sophia calls me “daddy” inside, but until a couple of months ago Sophia NEVER voiced that to me, and I never made an issue of it. The point is I have NEVER insisted on having any particular relationship with any of the girls. I befriended them, and if/when they desired, they would “designate” the relationship according to her need or desire.

      2) Now about being “daddy.” None of the girls are deluded into thinking I’m their biological father. They just visited him yesterday. But I fill the need for a father figure that 3 of the littler girls desperately have: one who is involved, protective and loving/affectionate unlike the real one. Read part one and two of the entry below for a more in depth explanation.
      https://samruck2.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/who-is-the-best-parent-for-insiders-part-1/

      3) Part of helping my girls heal is being 100% safe for the inside girls (or as close as I can possibly be to that goal). So…I’m Karen’s husband, Alley platonic boyfriend (though she wants to be sexy and attractive for me…), and Amy, Shelly and Sophia’s daddy, and KA’s friend and co-helper (she’s the inside mother and knows I take care of the girls, too). I make it work because I NEVER violate one girl’s needs for my needs or for another girl’s needs. The girls don’t have to worry about me peeking at them when they are naked (getting into the shower or changing clothes). They don’t have to worry about me touching their butt or breasts around the house like I used to with Karen. I was French kissing Karen a couple of months ago, and Alley objected because she is normally co-conscious with Karen now (“yuck! You licked me!” lol) so I stopped French kissing and only do closed-mouth kissing now. If any girl expresses a boundary to me, I will stop instantly whatever I’m doing without questioning her or fighting about it. Period.

      4) I currently do NOT have a sexual relationship with any of the girls except Karen. However, I do purposely have a very physically affectionate relationship with ALL the other girls. I NEVER cross any boundaries that the girls inform me about, but I believe it’s extremely important developmentally for them to learn appropriate ways to express love physically especially because the trauma of the abuse stunted that need in them. I never do anything overtly sexual with the girls, BUT we do have a much more physical relationship than I would ever allow myself with a daughter, if I had one. These girls ARE my wife. So as long as I NEVER cross their boundaries NOR play off their inappropriate understandings of sex from the past, I want them to be comfortable with appropriate hugs, kisses, snuggling, rubbing noses and cheeks, etc.

      Currently Alley “sits” in with me and Karen while we have sex to make sure everything is safe. LOL. She gave me a lot of tips to make Karen feel loved when we do it. So I follow her guidelines to a T with the hope that if I make those times as special as I possibly can, maybe some day she’ll want to join us. But most of the time I pretend she isn’t there so that I don’t make her feel uncomfortable. I know Karen feels “weird” about it. I think it’s kind of a “hoot.” DID certainly makes for an interesting marriage…

      5) As the non-DID partner I see myself as the ultimate juggler. I juggle each girl’s needs, wants and desires and how they involve me. All 5 girls are desperate to be the one outside with me, and I struggle to not leave any of them feeling neglected. Not a simple task. But I also have to juggle where the girls are NOW with the gentle nudgings I give them as I steer them toward full health when every girl will eventually take their place in the core personality of my wife. Easy huh? I’m not perfect, but the girls know how hard I work and when I make a mistake they view it in light of how I treat them typically.

      Yesterday I asked Alley if she ever thinks about marrying me. She replied, “I am not ready to get married. I am not old enough.” And so I left it at that. I’m very careful never to back the girls into a corner when I nudge them. I don’t want to make them feel like they will lose my love and affection if they don’t do what I want. But on the flip side, Amy used to dream with me about getting married some day. For the first two years she was outside it was never me whom she daydreamed about marrying, but I always encouraged her to have those dreams and even would dream along with her. Then a couple of weeks ago she said, “Daddy, if I ever grow up, I want to marry you. You are my favoritest person in the whole world.” Awesome. She made it clear she’s not there yet, but we’re headed in the right direction.

      I know you feel it’s “scary” for me to be both daddy and lover. But surprisingly my girls don’t find it very messy. All of us flow from one role to the next as the girls constantly cycle thru the outside to be with me. Sometimes we laugh when Karen or Alley calls me “daddy” because we know the littler girls are still present, exerting their influence even if they aren’t the ones outside. Maybe they don’t find it “precarious” or “traumatizing” as you said in your recent post because I allowed THEM to choose whatever relationship they wanted with me. And if they didn’t want to define it like Alley for the first two years, then I didn’t insist otherwise.

      Does that help answer your questions? I hope this isn’t too rambly.

      edit: I saw I didn’t answer your last question about me playing the role of father AND love interest. I think if we understand DID correctly, I am NOT playing those roles to the same girl at the same time. If my wife was a singleton like me, I agree, yuk, father and lover. Gross, wrong, foul. But I am ONLY a father to the 3 littlest girls. I am NOT their love interest at all. But as they grow up, hopefully my role will change from father TO love interest. I shared how all the inside girls show their relationship is evolving with me some as they show signs of infatuation, adoration and my girlfriend wants me to notice her sexiness without me acting upon it(!!!). But my role is to be patient and give the girls the safety they need to grow and mature and when THEY are ready allow them to change the relationship in whatever way they desire.

      Sam

      Reply

      • bunchofpeople
        Aug 04, 2011 @ 03:26:53

        Sam,
        thanks so much for taking the time to answer my concerns. I realize you’ve had a lot of people judging you in the past for the way you help heal the insiders, and I definitely don’t mean to be one of those people because I genuinely believe you are a a good, honest person doing your best.

        It does make sense, but as your edit illustrates, ONLY in light of a DID diagnosis. I’m glad you made the distinction that, between two untraumatized singletons, the role of parent AND lover would be completely inappropriate.

        Of course I want to heal faster, of course I want to do what’s best for my insiders, and it does seem something I would crave is a person to fill each need for each alter.

        I admit that a great deal of my concern on this subject (and the reason i felt the need to blog about it) is the unpleasant memories beginning to surface for us. I hope, if there was any sense that I was accusing you, that it is assuaged by the fact that I am simply trying to work through some very upsetting realities at the moment involving my own parent.

        When I simply don’t know what to do or how to feel, I ask lots of questions, hoping the answers will fix everything.

        Thank you for remaining an honest and devoted helper in your wife’s recovery, and a person to whom I can pose difficult questions without fear of upsetting you. I hope our mutual respect allows us to learn from each other. 🙂

        Thank you, and please stay in touch.
        -Hats

      • Sam Ruck
        Aug 04, 2011 @ 13:32:10

        Hats,

        I wasn’t upset by your blog at all. I understand working through things. My journal is the same way. I wish you well as you and yours work thru the inner turmoil. I appreciate your honest questioning of what my girls and I are doing. Maybe something will help you in your journey.

        Sam

  2. Jim
    Aug 03, 2011 @ 12:33:44

    Hay Sam,
    I have to agree with you on interacting with her insiders, I think it’s very important to interact with them at their pace and when they feel comfortable and safe to do so. It only makes since for an emotionally healthy person (insider) to overcome and deal with trauma better vs. an emotionally unstable person filled with fear, hate or paranoia. I think it’s great that you’re dedicating your life in helping someone you love.
    With my wife and her 50+ alters the “father” thing comes up with us every now and then. My wife, little’s and I have discussed this issue many many times due to the overwhelming need/want for a father. My hart tells me not to give in and to hold true to me being the little’s guardian and my wife’s husband/friend. We’ve talked about the reality that they no longer have a father (he died about a year ago) and I believe the more they live in the present with that reality the better off they will be while they continue to grow. Even though she has told me that no matter what I say there are some that see me as their father, so there’s not much I can do about that lol…
    I worry about it being confusing for her little’s because of us telling them what had happened to them in the past was wrong yet the in the present day its ok to be physically intimate, so we stay away from that completely, we also mention that it is illegal for an adult to have any kind sexual relationship with anyone under the age of 18 and that any physical intimacy is between my “wives” and I, I also tell them that does not mean I love them any less. It seems that some of her little’s think that in order to receive or give love there has to be a sexual attachment to it, but over the years they are seeing that they have my love and I can except theirs with no physical attachments (hugs and kisses on the cheek are completely acceptable and are encouraged)
    Just keep in mind that you guys are not alone, there are people just like you working hard everyday on a lot of the same issues and thanks to Sam for providing this site for people to communicate.
    JIM

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Aug 03, 2011 @ 21:34:33

      Hey Jim,

      thanks for commenting. I know you support your wife a lot, and I’m sure all of them appreciate and benefit from it. And it’s good for others to see that there’s more than one way for a spouse or partner to be supportive.

      Stop by anytime!

      Sam

      Reply

  3. jeffssong
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 11:30:06

    Great Post Sam!

    I can attest to the fact that ‘killing’ or ‘shutting off’ (or up) and insider is a BAD thing to do – that dinner plate ain’t whole if some of the pieces are missing. However – cracks are always going to remain (I and we are a fine example of that kind of thing) . . .

    We also think you’re gonna find as the insiders ‘come together’ in age and maturity (look at how fast those little girls are growing up in there!) – they’ll also present less of a ‘problem’ and more of a ‘solution’ (as I think they already have – it seems you’ve become enamored with them – and they by you – and it’s all a good thing in our kind of mind!)

    One thing you gotta remember (and this is more for the folks ‘out there’ who don’t understand or seem not to be getting this): “us”, our littlest ones – while ‘not preferring to have sex “all the time” (according to one little boy’s own notion; meaning once and awhile and every few days and stuff) – is that “OUR” little ones KNOW about this sort of thing – in some cases that’s why they ‘are’ and why they’ve been created . . .

    And (technically speaking) – you’re talking about a physically adult woman here . . . though the children really DO matter! (As Sam’s pointed out again and again.)

    We each (DID and “MPD” folks) have our own ways of handling these sort of things (if we can). Triggers can happen. But folks like Sam, in learning the person, learns . . .

    And then (surprise!)
    Everyone’s happy.

    Keep on truckin’, Sam. We’re thinking you (and Karen – and all of the other lovely little ones) – are on the right course. It’s been hard . . . but what a special and beautiful sort of being you ALL are getting . . . something beyond just ‘family’, I’m kinda thinkin . . .

    something more like souls that have found themselves (and each other) . . . and come to live with one another . . . in complete love and understanding
    and forgiving.

    Until later, Sam …. got a lot of things to do.
    Kisses and love for the girls – and some for yourself.
    Us, et all, Jeff & Crew

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Aug 09, 2011 @ 12:15:35

      Hey Jeff and Crew,

      it’s so good to see you all around again. I hope things are going well in your life. I need to hop over and catch up on your doings, but thanks for hopping over here.

      Take care!

      Sam

      Reply

  4. Abby and The Ents
    Sep 01, 2011 @ 23:17:03

    Sam, my bio dad died some years back but my little girls never really had a relationship with him and those that did not neccessarily a healthy one. But my little ones who don’t know what a Daddy is suposed to be are learning it form my husband. He as you do respects boundries and to further answer bunch of peoples post. Our own Angie came out as a man hating teenager especially my spouse as he battled his own emotional problems he did some pretty hurtful things. But she and him talked, they worked things out and she matured into a lovely 18 year old. She wanted to get married and when she first entertained this thought it was certainly not to him! Ah the great dilema. How does a member of the internal family who gets body time have a marriage not with the husband of the body? She can’t, not legally or ethically. We are Christian, it is unacceptable to God so they stated dating. They got to know each other and oh my gosh let me say that on their first date she was the giddiest schoolgirl you ever met. My daughter with my husband helped her with makeup and getting ready for that first date. A year ago April Angie and my spouse did an informal and very private exchange of wedding vows in Hawaii standing at the egde of the surf at sunset. We even made her a white wedding dress and the spouse a Hawaiian wedding shirt for the occasion. Insider little girls or boys depending onwhether the Person with DID is male or female all have a right to grow up and get married but it must be done within the confines of the current physical relationship if there is a spouse or SO. Otherwise it leads to more trauma.

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Sep 02, 2011 @ 21:22:34

      Hi Abby,

      what a nice story. I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t say it makes me a little jealous. None of my wife’s insiders seem to be anywhere close to that. They are all fairly young. They love me with all their being, but they aren’t ready to marry me yet. Plus Karen is still jealous of them. I don’t know how to help her past that.

      Blessings.

      Sam

      Reply

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