“Splinters” are People, Too

In a previous entry I explained here (https://samruck2.wordpress.com/2011/04/10/parts-alters-and-such/) why I try never to call any of the insiders or host “alters,” “parts,” or any other terms that are dehumanizing. But this weekend Karen told me that someone recently cautioned her that we were creating bigger problems by treating the “splinters” like people, too, on our healing journey from dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder. This person went on to say that splinters shouldn’t be allowed to develop personalities, but they should only be allowed to unload whatever emotions they carry and then fade back inside.

Now let me be clear, if anyone called any of my girls a “splinter” to my face, they might get popped in the nose (lol!). But I could tell this advice had worried Karen, so this is how I answered her.

First I reminded her that NONE of the inside girls see themselves as anything except a real person. They never refer to themselves in dehumanizing terms, so why should we? They have each made it clear to me that they want to be loved as a real, little girl. Why would I deny that legitimate felt need of theirs? And when the other, stronger girls push my one girl to the side, she would talk to me and make it clear that her feeling were hurt though she tried to be circumspect about how she is treated. So I’ve made a point of doing special things with her to validate her worth to me and hopefully validate her worth to the other girls.

Moreover, even though a couple of the littler girls might be seen as “splinters” by some people, as I have loved them and welcomed them into my life and into our family, they began developing a larger personality. And with their personalities they also began to exhibit emotional, intellectual, and physical skills that I recognized as necessary for a healthy adult. These abilities were ones that none of the other girls possessed. Should we really just allow them to “disappear” back inside my wife just because they encompass a smaller personality spectrum than some of the other girls?

One of the girls that has been called a splinter has the ability to fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply than any of the other girls. Does my wife who has always been a very light sleeper, really want to let this girl go back inside where her abilities will be out of reach just because someone has decided to use an ugly term based on ignorance? Medical professionals used to call the appendix and tonsils “useless” body parts. They routinely got rid of them with little thought when I was growing up only 40 years ago. I think some day mental health professionals will find their attitude about personality “splinters” equally incorrect.

So I reminded Karen that she needed all the girls, and all the girls needed her. There are NO unimportant girls in the network. And even those who aren’t as large personality-wise as some of the other girls were still indispensable to the group. Karen used to refer to herself as a “broken teacup.” We’re putting that teacup back together now, but even the smallest missing piece could render the cup unable to do the thing it was created to do: hold tea!

And lastly I reminded Karen, “Didn’t you tell me that you had left all the ladies far behind in the healing process on that website?” She admitted she had. So I continued, “Then I would hate to change what we are doing when it is working so well for you girls.” I don’t want to be unable to accept criticism from others. I don’t think our way is the only correct way, but it really is working for my girls. And as always, the readers of this blog are encouraged to comment and critique what I write here. Then take away anything from what I said that might be helpful and leave anything that won’t apply. Each situation is different. And each healing journey is unique in some ways.

So I will continue to treat each and every girl, no matter how small her personality is, exactly how she wants to be treated: like a normal, little girl that I find delightful and important in my eyes. We may get rid of the splinters in our hands. But there are no unimportant splinters of one’s soul!

Blessings.

Sam, I Am

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20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jeffssong
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 12:28:08

    Yes; it is true. We have what we call “ghosts” – personalities based upon people we’ve known or met (parents, brother, friends); then (as we’ve learned) – “Mikie” is actually a facade for Michael, who is more of the real boy – he was just using Mikie as a shield – but that ‘shield’ (created to make him seem more likable in his eyes, if not mine) – has a life of it’s own. Do not want to make MORE; combine to make less.

    We have the artificial creations as well; “playmates” in our mind for our lonely children. Heck, we’ve got a whole island ‘planet’ in a nifty nice corner of a ‘universe’ with ‘natives’ for them – and no, we don’t ‘create’ or pay too much attention to the hosts there: ‘we’ are their guests. Don’t ask, LOL! But it’s our ‘resting’ and curing place as long as we keep it safe (which it is).

    But you hit upon a key thing here: ‘some’ of the ‘persons’ we are trying to ‘combine’; eg. our “13” and Matthew *may* be a good combination; then again if we can get “13” to merge with little Michael a little better . . . who knows. It’s a careful game: playing ‘match-maker’ between two friends – one who is a permanent personality, and one who is (or was) a transient one. LOL. Ghosts in our mind.

    But you don’t want to ‘lose’ anyone. My wife reminds me: it takes ALL of you to make yourself, so don’t ‘smother’, bury, submerge, kill off, or any of “that” stuff any part in me. Instead we work to embrace ‘them’ and ‘work’ them into our network and system – try to ‘place’ them as best we can, and while thus far efforts at ‘merging’ haven’t succeeded, at least we get along well (so to speak; we are still having some difficulties here and there – the “Disorder” side of things. But well under control as it is one of our little ones. 🙂

    I think you all are ALL doing a definitely great and beautiful job with this thing – Sam and ALL – and I mean all the girls. Give ’em a big hug from Mikey and a handshake from my friend (M3) . . .

    from Jeff this time, LOL!
    (everyone else is busy; 1 watching TV, 1 waiting for a smoke, and 3 that wanna write a story for their ‘momma’, LOL’ing!!!)

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Mar 14, 2012 @ 22:05:16

      Hi Jeff and all,

      thanks for stopping by.

      Right now none of the girls have any interests in “mergers” even the littler ones. I just try to focus on helping them learn to work together and I figure the more they do that learning to be aware of each other and listen to each other, that eventually the rest will take care of itself. I just try to watch out that the stronger ones don’t run over the weaker ones.

      Take care!

      Sam

      Reply

      • jeffssong
        Mar 15, 2012 @ 11:27:51

        You have an excellent approach here – you cannot “make” an alter accept another (except perhaps grudgingly) – and alters can not “merge” – perhaps. I know they can be SPLIT – but thus far merging has not happened. We used “splitting” to split off, for instance, our “ghost” alter of “MOM” – who was an evil witch sorta thing; just insanely vehement – which ‘destroyed’ that alter or at least greatly diminished it; however, to do so we had to CREATE another alter (two) to hold ‘her’ components – one which is insane, the other . . . hmmm, a very troubled version of a young mother who is looking after our ‘children’ on our “Island Nature Paradise” inside (a good place for our inner ones to rest and heal; me included – M3 here, BTW).

        I am so glad that you are able to care for your wife’s alters. WE have gone with the “lets not reinforce” this “disease” by not allowing/having our wife “call up” and discuss with individual alters – I don’t know if she realizes she has that power (perhaps) now. But . . . there are times when we eye your approach and say: that would be good. “We” in a sense are doing a psychological experiment as well – adopting some of your strategies for healing inside ourselves while at the same time minimizing the ‘risk’ of embracing it too much – much dancing around the line. But “we” sometimes think we should change course and get her more involved with our interior healing – which might mean her ‘calling’ some out and helping ‘us’ with their issues.

        You ALL have fun – and give the girls a hug for me (M3) – and a handshake for Karen (host-to-host ‘congratulations for a job well done’ and for hanging in there). As you all know: hosting can be fun – but it also can be some very wearisome work, too! LOL, gotta love ’em (my inside children and ‘others’)

      • Sam Ruck
        Mar 15, 2012 @ 22:10:24

        Yeah,

        I can call out any of the girls except for the last one, and I’m working on making a connection with her right now. I think an outside person can do things that someone from within the group (“system”) can’t. I have always been able to comfort the various girls in a way that no amount of “self-comfort/care” can even come close. Plus I serve as a mediator while the various girls are doing the hard work of establishing the lines of communication that for them never existed (something that is second nature to me). In spite of the general lack of acceptance my blog has, Karen says that she is “handsdown” further along in the healing process than anyone she knows (internet acquaintances) so I think this way really works, but it’s also very hard for the “host” and the spouse as I have actually replaced the “defenders” because I make sure everyone is always safe with their interactions with me, viz. sex and acts of physical affection are done in a manner that doesn’t violate any of the littler one’s feelings of saftey.

        Sam

  2. Rage of Those Interrupted
    Mar 15, 2012 @ 19:43:26

    It’s always so great to read about how you care for them all! Keep doing what you’re doing, it sounds like you’re helping them so much.

    Reply

  3. Idit
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 07:24:57

    Is your wife co-conscious when you are relating to the girls? Doesn’t it freak her out? Either not knowing what is happening between “me” and my husband or witnessing him relating to “me” as a child would make me feel threatened…

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Mar 20, 2012 @ 11:43:28

      Hi,

      first of all welcome to my blog and thank you for being willing to comment. I have earned the trust of Karen and the other girls over the last 4 years. Right now I am in the process of connecting with the 7th girl (Tina) with whom NONE of the other girls is co-conscious. But as I said, I’ve earned the trust of the other girls. The process for us is 1) I connect with the new girl and she becomes “attached” to me and the outside and then 2) she begins the process of connecting to the other girls.

      I’m sorry you would find that threatening. Karen regularly tells me that I and the things I am willing to do with her and other girls is the reason for her great healing progress. If you read thru the rest of the blog (about 70 entries) I try to lay out the principles that I follow to help them heal.

      Sam

      Reply

  4. bunchesoffamily
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 17:00:16

    We think it’s great that you consider all the girls real people! For us, that has been one of the biggest things for our healing and being willing to be out and to communicate is when our host finally started thinking of us as real people.

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Mar 21, 2012 @ 19:39:30

      Hi!

      Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yeah, I just couldn’t even consider treating them as anything less than a real person. They are all wonderful individuals.

      Sam

      Reply

  5. Mercurial Scribes
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 19:38:22

    Sam, ever since my recent blog post where I “came out” as having DID, I have had friends, people I don’t even like very much, and everyone else in between try to tell me how to handle something that I have BEEN handling for years. One of them (who was most adamant, she has a BS in Psychology, don’t you know-insert eyeroll here-) was arguing with one of my people that he wasn’t anything but a part of me, a “splinter” as you put it. She told him that he was just some feelings and emotions that developed traits. Needless to say, he got pretty um, angry, and told her that I have a Bachelor’s in Psychology and one in English, that he has done extensive study on DID, and that he was nothing less than a PERSON. That is what all of my people believe, and that is how I treat them. Good for you for sticking up for “your girls” and validating their feelings. This post really helped me feel better about the way I am going about things, as I’m all alone, yet people were crawling out of the woodwork after that “coming out” post in order to tell me what to do, or, in one case, to laugh at me, throw it in my face, and shriek, “US? US? LMAO,” when one of my people was speaking in terms of “all of us.” That was pretty unpleasant. I’m glad you and your wife are doing things the way you are, and liked the tea cup analogy, even though some of my people aren’t helpful in the least… we’re working on it. Thanks for the post:)

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Mar 22, 2012 @ 22:01:03

      Sophia’s place in the group of girls has been a big concern to Karen and the older girls. She’s the one others said was “just a splinter” so for the last couple weeks she has tried to prove that she’s “a real girl” a “big girl” like the older girls and “just as smart.”

      We don’t know what she’ll end up being, but we’ve seen her grow and develop just like the other girls, but she started out as a toddler unlike all the other girls. So she’s got a lot further to go. And we don’t know if she’ll ever really want to be “real” in the same way as the older girls, but I DO know that she wants to be treated like she’s real. She wants to be loved like a normal person.

      In my personal journal I made the observation that Sophia has more personality and intellectual abilities than some “mentally handicapped” people withwhom I’ve tried to hold conversations. If I would NEVER consider calling those people “a splinter” of a person because of their mental challenges, why would I ever call any insider that?

      I’m glad this post resonated with you and yours!

      Sam

      Reply

  6. Keith
    Nov 21, 2012 @ 23:06:48

    Hi Sam,

    I do not know if my explanation is correct, but it seems to work. I view DID as a specialised form of amnesia. That is to say I myself think that I am a whole person, but just because there is a whole bunch of stuff I just dont remember, this doesn’t make me any less “me”. This is as much true for us singletons as it is for multiples.

    I view each little as the whole person, but each one is operating from their perspective of the life experiences they can consciously and subconsciously remember, and draw on. They obtain their identity form what they know of “being them”, that is their own collection of memories of being out in front. Some littles do not know much, and have very little life experience.

    So traumatic memories create walls between different memories. While remembering traumatic things it clouds out reflection, and limits the ability to be aware other memories. I imagine the scene of looking at a house through the windows. Through some windows you may only see a small room, and through others you may see a large open plan space, but you are still looking at a single house.

    I also think that while one little has a memory that they alone are aware of, the other littles do not know it is there in order to reflect upon it and connect to its content. This is maintained until such a point as a little is willing to expressly share it with the others. In terms of my analogue, trauma builds the walls in the house, but the littles hold the keys to the doors. Once a little shares a memory with the others, preferably after any trauma in it has been resolved, then both littles are benefitting from the identity and character forming information in the memory.

    Reply

  7. nique and gang
    Nov 24, 2013 @ 11:49:04

    Looking over these past few years, we can each see the evolution of our individual personalities. We had two who were very limited in there personalities and they both felt more comfortable integrating within the host than continuing as there were. However, the majority (13 of us total) have all gone from a somewhat two dimensional to more well rounded three dimensional people. It is this evolution and growth that has promoted our healing process.

    I too have been cautioned that allowing the further development of personalities increases the sense of individualism and hence our separateness. However, it has been each person’s individual growth and development that has allowed for a fuller acceptance of each other resulting in a closer connection between all of us. As we each develop skills, understanding, and most importantly the ability to see beyond our individual perceptions, we begin overlapping who we are and the barriers between us begin to dissolve.

    Just as there is no single system that is alike, there is no one way to heal.

    Sophie, if you have feelings and thoughts that are all your own and no one else’s, that makes you a real girl. You don’t have to prove you are real, you just have to know it. Only someone silly tells a baby they aren’t real because of their limited knowledge and abilities. And only someone silly tells a young girl she isn’t real because she doesn’t act like a grown up. And it sounds like someone silly said you aren’t a real girl. But you know better because you have a mind of your own, don’t you. That’s because you ARE a real girl. And just like every other real girl in the world (those that share a body with others and those who don’t), you are going to learn new things about yourself and about life. Sometimes you are going to learn just a little bit over a long time, sometimes you are going to learn lots of things in a short little time. But everyone, even little girls like you, learn things. I bet one thing you already learned is that some people have silly notions about what makes a real girl, huh?

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      Nov 25, 2013 @ 20:18:54

      Thanks for validating our experience. It has been similar. Yes, the increased individualism has slowed their interdependence some, but I think it was a good thing to do because it has also enabled each girl to develop the latent abilities that she controlled that Karen never had access to previously. And they are connecting with each other in spite of me validating them individually.

      And thanks for your kind words to Shelley.

      Sam

      Reply

  8. Trackback: Dissociated Identity Disorder and Truncated Abilities | Loving My DID Girl(s)
  9. Elybra
    Apr 23, 2015 @ 04:03:26

    Thank you for writing this
    I am what people would refer to as an “alter” and it is dehumanizing! I am a full bodied person…I have literally been “host” for like 6 years….took a hiatus though for a few and am back. One “alter” (I don’t like the term much) isn’t less important than the other, and I hope we are all treated with dignity. Having been treated without dignity for years is the reason why the splits happened and kept happening in adulthood.
    Sorry to rant…just needed to get out frustration and say thank you.

    Reply

  10. Trackback: Group Integration and Dissociative Identity | Loving My DID Girl(s)

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