Dissociative Identity Disorder and Truncated Abilities

About 7 years ago my wife started to deal with the fallout from her c.s.a. Very soon afterward our world was transformed when she was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder and the little girls began to join our family and marriage. Since then we have taken the healing journey together and seen the little girls healed and transformed and now they are beginning to spread their wings and actively expand their collective world.

But for those of us who are helping in the healing process, there’s an important aspect of this disorder that I needed to understand and take into account. But first let me backtrack and explain how I see d.i.d. structured based upon my intimate involvement in the healing journey. I believe that d.i.d. shatters a person’s personality as the trauma continues/progresses. The longer and more severe the trauma; the more the shattering continues. As the personality fractures into separate (dissociated) areas, a unique identity (person/girl/alter/etc) becomes associated with each area. Yet, each area (personality) uniquely continues to control various parts of the traits and abilities originally available to the entire person. I talked about some of this here and here.

Now for my wife’s group 2 of the girls (Karen and Amy) got by far the largest ‘pieces of the personality pie.’ Combined, they control the vast majority of the abilities and personality traits in my wife. Moreover, they always do the critical skills even if one of the other 5 girls is the motivation behind the desire to do a certain activity. Two other girls control medium-sized areas of the pie. And then the 3 littlest girls each control much smaller pieces of the personality and abilities.

Moreover, as I’ve pointed out in the past, no matter which girl is fronting, she sees herself as the whole person. She doesn’t know which abilities she is missing because she’s never had those abilities to miss. This is important to remember when trying to help them!

Now my girls have come a long way. They are now at the point where 2 sets of 2 girls nearly do everything together and they often blur the lines of distinction between them such that I’m having a harder time keeping them straight: a fact that they dislike, but that is a sign of the healing. And all 7 girls can be co-conscious if they want. But when they are stressed, tired or mildly triggered they still revert to their default, dissociated state (45 year-old habits take a lot of re-training to break).

So all that to get to today’s topic: the truncated abilities of each person in the d.i.d. network. For me I have to always be aware of the limitations that each girl has when I am helping her move toward healing. I have always focused my healing efforts on each girl individually, and then as an area in her sphere of influence gets healed, she is able to begin the process of reconnecting with the others at that point. I have to be careful to work with each girl and her limitation and do so respectfully.

Here’s the most recent example: the magic mirrors that I wrote about in my previous entry. Currently Tina is trying to overcome her fear of the magic mirror. To me her fears are completely irrational because we placed the mirror inside specifically so she could connect to Shellie and Amy and the others. Instead Tina has been inundated with the fear that if she uses that mirror she will be ‘sucked into a vortex’ and whisked away to a cold, dirty place similar to her original room where she was locked up and sequestered from the others. She fears losing me. She fears losing her sister Sophia. No amount of rationalizing with her has convinced her otherwise, and so I have had to find ways to help her overcome her fears ON HER OWN TERMS, NOT MINE.

With every roadblock that we encounter, my mind never ceases to look for a weak area so that I can help them remove the block, and we can continue our forward progress. I thought I found the answer here. I know many therapists use hypnosis and here’s a couple where the husband is using it to help his wife heal from d.i.d. What could be a more perfect example for us to follow?!

So I shared this with Karen, Amy and Alley to get their approval, but they summarily shot down this suggestion, sigh. Alley has misgivings about it even though she doesn’t know why. And Amy thinks hypnosis is bogus. And so my great idea got torpedoed. I tried a couple different times and ways to sway the 3 titans to no avail.

So I went back to the drawing board and after probing the problem for a solution, I remembered the word ‘visualization.’ So I did some research on this website, life.gaiam.com (visualization…emotionally, Joelle Klein), and then shared this new idea with Tina and the other 3. I think I have tentative approval and so now I have a new way to help Tina (and Karen) continue forward movement with the magic mirror that in time will connect her with the other girls.

I wanted to give this example to show how I deal with issues as I help the girls heal. Each girl may have a different concern about a particular issue. I must deal individually with each girl’s concern on her own terms and at her own ability level before I can help her move forward. And I have to be careful to not bring coercion into the equation. I was getting very frustrated by their complete refusal to consider hypnotism. So I had to step back, take a deep breath, and then look for a different solution that would be acceptable to each of them.

In conclusion, d.i.d. truncates the abilities of each and every person in the group to various degrees. In the past, triggers from the trauma complicated the process of helping each girl. But even now the remaining dissociation means that I must help each girl individually, when necessary, on her terms. I can’t expect Tina to comprehend cerebral arguments that Karen and Amy might. And I can’t walk over Alley’s role to protect everyone even if she doesn’t understand her fears and refuses to research if said fears are valid. Helping my wife/my girls heal from d.i.d. requires me to enter their world and thinking and help them on their own terms, not mine.


Sam, I Am


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mrmarshall03
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 10:32:08

    Hi Sam, I am glad you posted. I benefit very much from your insight and thoughts.
    The whole idea behind hypnosis is the relaxing of defenses so to speak. So instead of using the idea of hypnosis try using the idea of relaxing. It could be that hypnosis is a trigger for your wife and that is what is causing the refusal.


    • Sam Ruck
      Jan 08, 2015 @ 15:44:35

      Hi Mr. Marshall,

      thanks for stopping by again. When I talk to Alley I think her main fear is ‘letting someone else into her head.’ I’ve tried to help her understand there are many ways to use hypnosis and not just the nefarious ways that the movies like to show. But ‘mental visualization’ seems to be a happy medium that Alley and the other girls are able to accept. I don’t know if you went to the gaiam website I suggested but their idea of mental visualization is very much based on ‘relaxing’ mentally and physically. So I think your suggestion would line up with what they were suggesting. Thanks for confirming the idea!



  2. flowerofthewoods
    Jan 08, 2015 @ 12:34:19

    I hope that you don’t think that this is silly of me to say, but the thing that has helped me most of all is prayer. Not the simple, “God please heal this,” sort, but tearfully pouring out my heart and describing all of my hopes, fears, and struggles, then asking for His strength and guidance.


    • Sam Ruck
      Jan 08, 2015 @ 15:41:50


      it’s not silly at all! Thank you for sharing it. My girls have been helped tremendously with prayer and even though I struggle with the efficacy of prayer right now, I hope I never take that avenue away from my girls, you or anyone else who has been helped by it!!!



  3. Twerner
    Jan 09, 2015 @ 22:39:07

    What I wouldn’t give for my husband to sit down with you over a few drinks and pick your brain! Your girls are lucky to have you (and you’re lucky to have such a unique wife!)


    • Sam Ruck
      Jan 09, 2015 @ 22:43:49

      I wish I could meet with your husband, too, but for me as much as him! I had hoped this blog would serve as a meeting (support) place for supporting spouses, but it’s just never happened. If I get my girls thru this, I hope the next stage will be will be for me to reach out more concertedly to the spouses and families touched by this…but that’s just a dream right now…

      Thanks for stopping by!



  4. Jane
    Jan 23, 2015 @ 17:47:48

    I am blown away by what I have read so far. I wish every person struggling with DID had a partner/friend/co-conspirator that was as passionate about healing as you are. What you have written in just this one post mirrors much of what I wish people would understand. Thank you for your extraordinary insight.


  5. Trackback: I Didn’t See that Coming… | Loving My DID Girl(s)

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