Why I Stay

We live in a throw-away culture. Not only do we throw away our multitude of material possession when they break, but so many of us do the same with our relationships if they falter. But we, the spouses, partners and loved ones of someone with dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder, truly face some huge issues in our relationship. If we are going to buck that trend as we deal with a disorder that breaks many relationships, we need to know why it’s worth denying our own needs to help our loved one heal deeply and completely.

Again, I often watch movies and TV shows that imply I am somehow pathetic for staying in a less-than-satisfying relationship. Our culture makes it clear that if we are in a relationship that isn’t mutually satisfying, we have a right to go and find one that does meet our needs. So why do I stay?

A couple months ago I tried to answer that question in my personal journal. I needed to know if I’m a pathetic, spineless man for staying in a marriage that has denied me so many basic needs and dreams, or if I had good reasons for sticking it out. These are the four reasons I have for staying with my wife.

The first reason I stay is because I love my girls. Valentine’s Day is hard for me. When I look at all those cards, they are all about “I love you because you do this or that for me.” But in our marriage I have always been the one to give, while my hurting wife received. I had to give up a lot of hopes and dreams and deny a lot of needs to stay with my girl(s), and yet something in me still loves her. Maybe it’s because she’s the only one I’ve ever had sex with. I don’t know. But I love her(them) regardless of how hard the last 24 years have been. To me being “in love” is about what someone else does for me, while “loving” someone is about what I do for someone else. I do love my girls!

The second reason I stay is because of the vows I made on my wedding day: “for better or for worse.” On the bad days, there’s a voice inside my head that reminds me that no one forced me to make those vows. Those vows are there for a reason, and I’m not a liar. I’m a man of my word even if sometimes it feels like it will kill me to keep my word especially when so many people in this culture get divorced over such pathetically petty things. Plus some day I hope to see my girls healed so we can take part of the “for better” part of that clause. It’s a goal I have for my wife and me.

The third reason I stay is because on the really bad days, when I want to call it quits, there’s a voice that SCREAMS that I can’t abandon the little girls. I have repeatedly watched here on wordpress the devastation that spouses have caused as they have abandoned their ailing mates, and I just can’t do that. I feel very protective of those little girls. Karen recognizes that I unfairly will “chill out” for the little girls if they are out but not always for her. She may think it’s not fair, but someday I hope she realizes there were days when the thought of those little girls kept me from abandoning all of them. Emotionally I expect Karen to act like an adult; I don’t expect the same of the little girls even though I know they are all part of my wife.

The last reason I stay is because if I were to leave and start over with another woman essentially I would be saying there was NOTHING worth while, nothing good that came from the last 24 years. In my mind I would be saying I lived a lie for 24 years: I really didn’t love my wife/girls. But I want a chance to redeem these years. I WANT the “for better” part of my marriage vows for me and my girls to enjoy. I want all of our sadness and pain to have a purpose.

Plus I don’t want to have to get the tattoo on my hip that has Karen’s name removed, lol. I got it right as Karen and I started this journey (right before the little girls joined us) in my effort to show Karen, “I don’t have a plan B. I don’t have an escape route drawn up.”

And so I stay and hope that maybe someday this blog will rise out of obscurity when my girls are done healing: maybe my girl will want to join me to help others have hope of a complete healing. Maybe some day our pain can be redeemed as we help others find the path that we have found. Maybe some day we’ll have that fairytale marriage that I’ve always dreamed of having and have worked so desperately hard to make happen with the wife of my youth. Maybe it’ll never happen, but it’s a little ember that glows in my heart.

So when I was done in my journal, I had four reasons, four voices, that keep me in my marriage and keep me from bolting for “freedom” like so many others do. Maybe some in this culture think I’m a pathetic man for not rushing to leave the emotional pain I suffer because of my wife’s disorder to find self-fulfillment, but with these four reasons, I arm myself against the hard times and hope for better days not only for me but for the girl(s) I love as well. If you are a fellow spouse, I hope you can find reasons which resonate with you to keep you on the path to healing for your relationship as well.

Blessings,

Sam, I Am

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jeffssong
    May 17, 2012 @ 06:39:24

    It’s a tough road, Sam. Being on the other side of the coin . . . well, “I” try (soft smile). I try to protect her (my spouse) from the worst of things, behave as she would like me to behave, and not let my selves get too out of control (Because, as you well know, things can happen). I admire your tenacity; most guys would have thrown in the towel by now. LOL, I’m on your side – have got 26 yrs of marriage under my belt now (plus 3 stepkids, plus a bio daughter, plus grands). I asked my wife “why do you love me” – a question that she has never really answered, but finally her answer was: “Because you are different” – and goes on to tell me that she knew that on our first date: that I was different (how? I don’t know. But I knew on that first date as well: she’s the one for me.)

    As you say, marriage has become just a ‘thing’, not a contract for life. I’m all for sort of abolishing lifelong marriage contracts and going with 5 and 10 year marriage contracts. But that would cheapen the idea, wouldn’t it? And wouldn’t it be wonderful if they did do that and couples could collect the advantages of marriage – without the heartbreaks? But then again, that would make it too easy, wouldn’t it. Cheapening it even further.

    “For better or for worse.” You said it right there – and my wife said it about a month ago. That ‘chain’ has been laid across both our necks from time to time over our marriage – but sometimes I feel it’s been mostly her weight to bear. (But then again – her issues have caused some of mine – my life is NOT the one I wanted when I got married; I want more kids still and again; she does not – so it’s my chain to bear as well. To go it again? Do it all over again? With another woman? I’m afraid that’s just impossible . . . and yet (quizzical smile) – it’s not. As part of that DID thing it’s very hard for me to stay home sometimes – not go running out. But then I think of what it would do to her . . .

    I won’t say that the world is going to come follow your blog or acknowledge your sacrifices; nor can I say that you have the cure for *all* DID patients – there is no ‘all’ in that cure, only some bits and pieces – but I do think you have nailed down one of the two possible tracks a healthy DID person/system can go: either subdue, depress, and ‘destroy’ all those others (the psychologists approach with all their pills and drugs) – or ’embrace’ the system and ‘the others’ for what they are: real people trapped in a person’s body – ‘souls’ in other words – some hidden, some cruelly hurt – and some willing to hurt you in their defense of the system that has been broken so often. Of the two treatments, the latter is definitely the harder – but I think it is also the most rewarding, and I think my wife would agree. SHE says that since I’ve ‘changed’ (embracing our other selves) “we’ve” become a better, more rounded, more ‘fun’ person to be around. It’s hard as rocks sometimes – and you have to have a cooperative DID patient to boot – but I think of the two cures . . . I’ll stick with the latter one. Even if it means “I”, the ‘adult’ part, has to ‘die’ some of the time to let the other ones out. Because DID? When it’s all good? It’s a wonderful and beautiful thing which allows not only the DID person to enjoy life to its fullest extant – but allows others to enjoy being around them – from children to adults, ‘we’ all have a place for ‘you’, the singleton mind. (Which, as you know, isn’t much different than ours.)

    Good post, Sam. (wry smile) I am reminded of an article Smithsonian put out last year on Dr. Llvingstone regarding building of willpower and commitment towards a goal. You might want to look it up. 🙂

    Reply

    • Sam Ruck
      May 17, 2012 @ 19:48:58

      Hey Jeff,

      thanks as always for stopping by. I hope this post didn’t come off like I was looking for sympathy or applause. I just really found that once I articulated the “why I stay” reasons, it’s helped me on the hard days. And it’s kind of interesting that on different days (or minutes) different reasons will hold more weight.

      Take care of yourself and I’m still waiting for a “visit” from your wife if you ever decide to tell her about me/my blog.

      Sam

      Reply

  2. jeffssong
    May 17, 2012 @ 20:03:31

    Howdy Sam – and I’ve told her “hey, there’s this guy in your boat” – a spouse with a spouse with DID. Thus far? I haven’t seen any push by her . . . but she’s a really private person (a bit too much IMO) and strives for independence – but there’s times I wish she would drop by your blog. Or perhaps she does and I don’t know, LOL! She might just be a ‘lurker’, ya know (in which case I’d better duck, LOL! Hi hon! No harm meant! LOL!) But . . . (wry feeling) I wish she would write you – or me sometime! (because she doesn’t. Says she’s not much of a writer – but I tell her that don’t matter – but that hasn’t gotten her started. Oh well. :/

    Reply

  3. Kat & Crew
    Jun 23, 2012 @ 17:49:10

    we are so so touched to know there are people out there like you. Well done for sticking, Karen and the girls are truly blessed. May you have the strength and love to see it through.

    Liz & Cathy

    Reply

  4. Nique and Gang
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 20:08:24

    Thank you for writing this, it was good to see that it’s for several reasons. Your title question is frequently on my mind as well as most of the others within. I often fear that the reason he stays is because he’d be abandoning us and we’d be left alone. Or that the little girls would be hurt. I don’t want him to be around for pity or a sense of responsibility. That thought will put me into the worst depressive mood and destroy all my feelings of confidence when it comes.

    See, I want to know he stays because even with all our flaws and failures and oddities, there is also a joy in our presence, a constant longing to be with us, a tenderness that is always there. I want to know that there is no other in the world that touches his heart and soul as deeply and completely. I want to know that what he is for me, I am for him. But I can never fully get past the “flawed” picture of myself to see that. (I should say we at this point because I am not alone in this feeling.) It’s so easy for me to realize that the person I thought I was and he thought I was those many years ago when we married was not the complete picture. It’s even easier to believe that I am a constant disappointment and that feeling kills me.

    Your words gives me some insight in what is likely similar for him. Again, thank you.

    Reply

  5. Glenn
    May 29, 2014 @ 21:40:03

    This I understand. I am naturally a loyal man. I could never leave her no matter how difficult her D.I.D. gets at times. I think being the lighthouse in her darkness gives me strength. To realize how much she depends on my strength, how could I take that away from her. I also think of how I would want to be treated if I had this condition myself. I would never want to be abandoned.

    Reply

  6. Trackback: How I Stay | Loving My DID Girl(s)

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