The Linear and Cyclical Nature of the Healing Journey

My wife and I are now completing our 4th year of the healing journey from dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder. At this very moment I have been working very hard to connect with girl #7, Tina, while we have also been making a place for Sophia to have a much larger role outside. And the greater presence of these two girls on the outside with the other 5 girls has reminded me of a frustrating aspect of d.i.d.: the linear yet cyclical nature of the healing journey.

To my wife especially the healing journey has not felt like one of continuous, forward progress. If you had to imagine how it might look on a graph, imagine a line going in one direction with a series of loops spaced along the continuum. Each time the line makes a loop it seems like the girls are going backward though the reality is just the opposite: it’s part of the process to keep going forward

Now each of those loops occurs where we added another insider into our family on the outside. So to me, it was a time of celebration! We had another girl who had decided to move from her inside world into the outside world and be part of our family. But Karen always said it was frustrating because each time she became co-conscious with a girl and they began working together well, another girl would “crash the party,” throw the group dynamics back out of whack, and they’d have to start the process all over again. And for my part, I’d have to start over with each new girl and help them feel safe in their new, outside world. The panic attacks diminished in severity with each successive girl because there were more girls already on the outside to help her acclimate. But I still had to raise my guard to help and protect the new girl until she was safely placed in the network with the others.

First Karen learned to be with Amy. Then she, Amy and Alley began working together well. Then last year we added Shelly and K.A. simultaneously, and Karen felt like she was back at square one. And just when the 5 of them were finally hitting their groove, Sophia and Tina began to crash the party.

So, when Karen and the girls feel the instability of adding a new girl, it is especially important for me to act as an anchor and keep them steady while helping bring the newcomer into the group.

And that’s where we are right now. Sophia and Tina are crashing the party. Yippee from my perspective! I understand that this is great forward progress: it means we are in the process of breaking down more dissociative barriers that these two girls represent. But for Karen, Amy, Alley, K.A. and Shelly they are being subjected to all kinds of group turmoil. Tina is subjecting them to massive amounts of emotions that have left all of them feeling “little” and insecure. And Sophia is demanding equal rights and respect though she is the only toddler in the group.

So for weeks I have been encouraging the girls to be tolerant when the newcomers “steal” time from their plans for the day. I remind them that they each did the same until they felt safe and loved. And when they feel little and afraid from Tina’s emotions I tell each girl: “That’s ok. I’m not little. I’m still 44. That’s why you have a daddy; I’ll take care of you when you are little. I’ll keep you safe.” The girls were also scared because they felt like they had gone backwards in their ages, and they didn’t want to disappoint me because they know how desperately I want them to grow up. So I told them, “Your daddy loves little girls. I’ll keep you safe until you get older again. I promise that you will get through this.”

Our words have the power of life and death. And right now I try to speak a lot of life into my girls. And as I have, I have kept them grounded during the upheaval of this current loop. It may feel like we’re going backwards to them. And yes it “feels” backwards to me because it has majorly, negatively affected my sex life with Karen that was finally getting back on track. But this is the time that I have to be a man and provide stability for my girls so that I can keep them moving forward.

I always tell my girls “the happiest days of my life are when I add a new girl to my family.” But with each additional girl comes what feels like a big step backward. It’s part of the d.i.d. healing journey: 2 steps forward then do a little loop!


Sam, I Am

(Note: I am NOT talking about insiders coming outside regularly. Sophia was one of the first insiders to come out. She has been a regular part of my life for 4 years. What I’m talking about is when the insider makes the transition from being an insider to becoming an outsider. At that point she spends the majority of her time co-consciously with the other girls on the outside.)


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tommi
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 01:40:45

    After thinking about it for a bit, the Linear/Cyclical idea makes a lot of sense to me. With us, we do a loop each time we add someone new to the internal family. Actually, we’ve just started a new loop recently. It throws us off and makes us all more vulnerable to triggers, but when we finally get working together, we are so much stronger than before. This post has very good insight; thank you.


    • Sam Ruck
      Mar 22, 2012 @ 10:29:39

      Hi Tommi,

      thanks for stopping by. I’m glad this post makes sense to you. These loops are very frustrating, but they seem to be part of the forward progress. I’m just trying to hold everyone together until they get stabilized again.



  2. Mercurial Scribes
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 19:47:15

    I’m still processing this one… does your wife have any male people? Most of my “prevalent” people right now are male, and I don’t know why that is. Back in college, waaaay before I knew what the heck was going on, I seemed to have a lot more girls. Now, things have changed; there are different dynamics, and I know my girls are still in there somewhere, but they never or rarely come “out” anymore. When/if one does, it is usually Megs, and usually if there is some sort of sexual conversation happening. I am single; I can’t imagine what this would do to the sex life of a married couple. I give you major props for treating the girls like you do, and I’m glad that you’re seeing progress!


    • Sam Ruck
      Mar 22, 2012 @ 22:01:51

      Hi MS,

      surprisingly my wife seems to have no male people. I know that is unusual. But when I watch movies with the girls they all identify with strong female leads and tell me, “I want to be a strong woman like her!”

      We’re your other girls more traditionally “feminine” and willing to let your males be the “stronger” ones? Just thinking out loud. Maybe that has nothing to do with the difference.

      And yes, our sex life has been a wreck for most of our nearly 24 years of marriage. Sigh. It really, really hurts especially since I saved myself for my wife.



  3. jeffssong
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 18:05:56

    You made a good point which I did not really realize, Sam – that when “I” or “we” or whatever you want to call the group ‘go backwards’ (for instance, our semi-assimilation of “13”) – is not a backwards movement in our path towards healing, but is rather a positive one. I guess on some level some of my parts knew what “I” or ‘we’ are doing – it’s hard sometimes. It’s like “we” got this plan that even ‘we’ don’t know of – or, since you are a religious man, a guiding hand (and plan) from above. I don’t know and sometimes I don’t want anything to do with it, but – lol – it’s not like I have any choice (M3 host right here). But “I” get depressed sometimes – lots of times – because it feels like an uphill battle. I know we still have “21” to deal with (whoever ‘he’ is) – and we have his handwritten journals. That and a blend of Matthew’s work and his – and maybe another ‘teen’s” – we’re really not sure. But thanks for reminding us: this is forward progress; not back.

    (sigh) . . . as a guy I can quite sympathize with that ‘dry spell’ (cough cough, take my hint – you know what it is). >guy glance<. Had some for a period of a few years, but nothing like yours. But we feel it is commendable for what you are doing, and know that it's hard – and oft times must feel like blindly groping in the dark (the dealing with the DID) – but I must say you seem to have done well and brought your 'girls' forward a good bit, and your wife as well. That is always a marvelous thing. Hope that things get better . . .


    • Sam Ruck
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 19:23:35

      Hey Jeff,

      as always thanks for stopping by. I wish progress always “felt” like things are moving forward, but it’s better to understand these loops for what they are than to let them cause discouragement.

      Take care.



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