Life Lessons 101: Life Is Never 100% Safe

A couple of weeks ago Karen visited one of her old d.i.d. forums that she used to visit daily. When she did she was ambushed by the women. The husband of another lady on their website who functioned as “daddy” to the lady’s insiders’ (like I do to my girls) had just walked out on her. So these ladies attacked Karen and told her, “See, no husband should ever be the insiders’ daddy. It’s too much stress for him. He shouldn’t deal with the insiders. Only a therapist should.” Blah, blah, blah.

Their attack really upset Karen. But the ladies’ reaction to the husband walking out reveals a second key life lesson that trauma victims must learn. Life is never 100% safe. It’s a life lesson that I have worked with my girls in two ways as I have helped my wife heal from dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder.

Now no trauma victim needs to be told that life isn’t safe. When most children are growing up carefree in the world, a trauma victim finds her/himself caught in an unimaginable hell with no means of escape. Because of this a trauma victim often becomes “hypervigilant” which means they never let their guards down even after the source of the trauma is removed. A castle with 30 feet high walls may be safe, but it can also become a prison keeping one from any meaningful relationships later in life.

Teaching the little girls that “life is never 100% safe” was a two part lesson. The first step was for me to make them feel a safety they had never known before. If they voiced a concern about anything, I took their concern seriously and took whatever steps they felt were needed to make them feel safe. I never blew them off just because I knew they were no longer in danger. So we kept lights on at night. I always carried a cell phone in case they got scared. We kept the doors dead bolted. I wouldn’t leave them in stores by themselves, even when it meant I couldn’t drop them off or pick them up at the front door during inclement weather. Whatever the concern I did my best to find a solution that “felt” safer to them.

But once the girls were stabilized in their newfound safety, it was time to start teaching them the realities of life. If they demanded 100% safety in everything, I pointed out that they would NEVER do anything in life. I taught them the principle of “doing everything possible to make things as safe as possible,” but then you just gotta go on a little bit of faith.

Typically the little girls are like any normal child growing up. The first time they encounter a new experience, they are a little apprehensive. So I make sure that I am right there with them, “holding their hand” and encouraging them through the experience. And soon they are off and running, enjoying life without my help.

Vacations and special outings have been a great way to encourage the girls to spread their wings. I have found that the past trauma makes them naturally more reticent to try something than other children, but when the allure is great enough, the fears are shed more quickly. And so some of the girls’ greatest breakthroughs have been on vacation where the allure of the Disney theme parks, Discovery Cove, a Royal Caribbean cruise, skin diving, etc. have been strong enough to help them overcome their previous fears of so many things.

Now back to my introductory story. The reason the ladies attacked Karen was because of their fear of an intimate relationship and its inherent lack of being 100% safe. But I pointed out to my girls two things. First I am NOT that other husband. And secondly NO relationship is 100% safe, but if you ever desire the chance to be loved and love someone else, you have to be willing to risk getting hurt.

Being married to a dysfunctional woman has been the most painful experience of my entire life. But I love her, and I refuse to give in to fear and erect walls to protect myself from more pain. To do so would be to deny myself the chance of ever having a truly intimate relationship with my wife. So if I want the little girls who comprise part of my wife to learn that lesson, they need to see it displayed in my own life first.


Sam, I Am


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jeffssong
    Feb 07, 2012 @ 19:00:43

    A good post, Sam. Everyone is not the same, and Karen is not married to that other guy; she is married to YOU. His tolerance may have been lower, his perceptions (and/or expectations) skewed, or there may have been more going on underneath the hood than was said (which is usually the case in dealing with human beings.)

    Anyone who says (or thinks!) a therapist is “safe” has GOT to be out of their mind. And what are you going to do? Hire this therapist for the rest of your life to deal with your “insider’s” problems – forever? DID (from what I understand) is sort of a permanent thing. Always gonna be a bit ‘in there’. But that’s okay as long as the system gets along and it’s more of a diagnosis than a dysfunction. And it CAN be a wonderful thing: the wife and I are slowly ‘exploring’; a very slow system of trust (I’ve yet to trust her with YOUR address, LOLing, that’s how slow I am – but majority rules, ya know (sighing)).

    However a spouse spouse ‘trained’ to handle one’s insiders (as ‘we’ have been teaching our spouse – some) – if it can be worked out, if the primary host (Karen in your terms, M3, or the adult self in mine) – can help keep things ‘in check’ so as not to be TOO much of a burden – and we do. We shelter and shield our spouse from a lot – but having her ‘there’ for us individually and otherwise – well, it helps. Of course we have not come along near as far as you and ‘yours’; but my wife is also much happier nowadays because she says she knows: it ain’t her. (We reassure her of that sometimes.)

    And the world was never EVER a safe place. Ever. And there was no escaping until you grew up. We understood that sort of thing at a very young age. (Which gives rise to the reasons for our PTSD to also be defined as “C-PTSD” – no chance of escape.) And it never HAS been. We tried to ‘shut it all off’ when we were thirteen (both the age and the transitory ‘personality’ at that time) – with some success – by shutting off all of our emotions – pain, anger, hate, love, like, friendship, jealousy, rage – the whole ball of wax. And nearly succeeded. Not a good way to go, but we hung onto that idea for maybe eight to ten years – maybe more. I’m not sure (trouble accessing that part; we think it was 21 – again an age and a transitory personality).

    Our childhood was never safe. We’ve always understood that. (“nuclear bombs aren’t safe”, the child is saying in my head – and we’re seeing the images of the Pershing bombs that used to roll by through in our own neighborhood; near the East German border, overseas…). LOL, learned early, didn’t we.

    Sorry you got attacked – glad you got a thick skin. Good posts and good points once again. Give Karen my sympathy. It sounds like you all are doing a wonderful job.


    • Sam Ruck
      Feb 08, 2012 @ 11:07:46

      Hey Jeff,

      when you guys are ready to share my blog or my email with your wife, I’d feel privileged to try to help her. Don’t fall into the trap of “not wanting to be a burden.” Marriage is about sharing each other’s burdens, and at least once I found out why Karen(and all) acted the way she did, it helped me put things in perspective and also gave me a better ability to help. What affects her affects me. So in my opinion, the best thing I can do for myself is to help my wife heal!

      Take care!



  2. Kat & Co
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 16:06:04



  3. Andrew
    Feb 18, 2012 @ 07:14:24

    Hi Sam Ruck,
    Cool Post, Everyday life lessons mostly really don’t make awareness to us till decades have handed and we have had enough activities to have discovered the stressful way. As a father to an energetic five-yr-outdated the complete new idea of teacher and purpose type for my boy keeps me on my toes and I am getting to be a great deal more aware of those people moments when I’ve acquired the opportunity to pass on valuable father to son wisdom.
    Keep up the posts!


  4. Jermaine Bartram
    Feb 29, 2012 @ 17:53:44

    Loving the info on this website , you have done outstanding job on the posts .


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