A New Room for Tina

About 5 ½ years ago my wife told me she might have dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder. I wanted to be a part of the healing journey as I knew it would affect me and our marriage as much as it would affect my wife. Along the way we added 6 other girls to our lives and family, and I gained an intimate knowledge of how this disorder worked in her life.

The first 5 girls were each connected with at least one other girl on the inside. K.A., was Amy’s inside mommy, and Amy considered Sophia “my little girl.” Shelley was Alley’s little sister.

But when I finally was able to connect with Tina and bring her out with the rest of us, she was in a class of her own. She couldn’t speak at all. We overcame that first thru sign language and then by connecting her to Sophia who became her voice.

But that was just the surface. Tina had been completely isolated from all the other girls for the first 45 years of her life. That complete isolation seemed a greater trauma to her than the fact that she also suffered the greatest amount of the direct sexual abuse, verbal threats and mind games of her tormentor.

So for most of the last two years, I have spent a huge amount of my time slowly overcoming Tina’s fears of me, and then satisfying her huge need for physical and emotional affection and comfort after 45 years of solitude. She and I have been connecting. She and Sophia have been connecting as well. But I have hit a brick wall when trying to get her connected to the other 5 girls.

A few weeks ago Tina and I were talking and she told me that unlike the other girls who had pretty inside rooms, she had a dark closet which she hated. She took that as a sign that she was a bad girl and they were good girls. This was the first time I understood part of the reason for Tina’s isolation. As I continued to question her and Sophia for more detail, Sophia added that she could only “hear” Tina inside. She couldn’t “see” Tina like she could see the other 4 inside girls. More

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“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? More

Problem Solving vs. Coping Skills

Edit: 8/16/13. Having done more reading on coping skills, I realize I need to update this and deal with the subject more fairly and adequately. Though I do take issue with some of what is pushed as “coping skills” I also now realize that we all use coping skills. However, some are more effective than others, and I do believe some are completely diversionary and so they do end up acting like another form of “dissociation”. That is my major issue with such coping skills. I want my girls to learn to deal with the underlying issues, if possible, and if not do things that build stability in other ways…I’ll stop for now until I have time to revisit this subject better…

 

For those of you who have followed the healing journey that my girls and I have been on from the beginning, you may know that we are doing things about the exact opposite of what is often espoused for the healing of dissociative identity disorder or what’s a.k.a multiple personality disorder. One of the major tenets in our methodology is that Karen and I have adopted an “inside out approach” to healing. In other words we focus on healing the insiders not the host (maybe a 70-30 split is a more accurate picture!).

Karen told me that she has learned “coping skills.” But to me coping skills often seem to be a temporary fix. Most suggestions in the lists I have read are diversionary in nature only. They do nothing to solve the underlying issues causing the stress, and so in my ignorant opinion they are nearly the same as dissociation. “I’m stressed, so I’ll focus on something else.”

But I try to teach the little girls problem solving skills. I try to teach them how healthy people solve the underlying issues causing the stress. Whether it’s trauma from the past or learning new things today, I’m trying to teach them an ethic that doesn’t shy from stress and pain, but uses these things to spur them to overcome the source of it.

So, I want to start a small series on a few of the key life skills that I have been teaching the 5 little girls in my wife’s network since the day they joined my life. This won’t be an exhaustive list. But these are critical skills and perspectives that I’ve noticed the girls are lacking, and as I have worked with each girl repeatedly on these issues, panic attacks and triggers have become nearly a thing of the past.

Lastly, I don’t want this to appear like an attack against ladies learning coping skills. As I’ve said, Karen learned them too. In the beginning of the healing journey, I think coping skills are necessary because everything was in disarray when the little girls first entered our lives. BUT, if a person doesn’t move beyond the need for coping skills, then in my opinion, it’s a sure sign that the healing still needs to go deeper.

Blessings,

Sam, I Am

From Amy

I have been trying to get my girls to “guest blog” on this blog or start a new blog with me. I feel this blog on how to help someone heal from dissociative identity disorder or more commonly known as multiple personality disorder lacks the credibility it might have if it wasn’t only from my perspective. I will keep trying to have them join me, but Amy had something on her mind because she knows my being her daddy has been a hot topic.

The following is from Amy, the seven-year old:

I loves to have a daddy that has time for me and takes good care of me.  My first daddy did not ever come home and see me except when I was in the hospital.  He never played dolls with me.  This daddy loves me all the times and best of all he plays with me and spends time with me.

Blessings to all,

Sam, I Am for Amy

Insider Roles

If you’ve followed this blog at all, hopefully you’ve picked up on one of my fundamental beliefs concerning the healing of multiple personality disorder or as it is now called, dissociative identity disorder. I believe it is extremely important to treat all the insiders like real people. I don’t ever refer to them as parts, alters or any psychological term that would suggest they are anything less than a normal girl (or boy).

And yet the reality is when the girls first came out, most of them were only the shell of a person. Beyond the role of defender, inside mother, helper, etc, the girls had few interests. Shelly’s sole desire when she came out was to gaze at the pretty scrapbook paper in the craftroom I had made for the bigger girls. KA’s only desire was to cross stitch. Sophia’s only desire was for me to make her clean by giving her a bath and then slathering her from head to toe in baby lotion so she smelled clean. And Alley confessed she had no likes, no desires, and she never had any friends. Amy alone seemed a somewhat complete little girl though she was definitely developmentally limited.

But I never let these deficiencies affect my attitude toward them. I always called them by name, and I always treated them like I would a typical little girl except in giving them allowance for their trauma issues.

As I treated the girls this way, I noticed they began to fill out their personalities. They discovered new likes and dislikes. They began to developmentally grow and acquire new skills. And they also became more attached to the outside world and to me and our son. They expanded beyond the small confines of the “role” they had within the network or “system” and found that there was a world of enticing things on the outside to be engaged.

“So what?” you may ask.

I recently made a comment on another blog about “insider roles” as I realized that those initial roles for my girls were very restrictive and were not conducive to healing. When an insider is very narrowly defined by his or her function within the “system,” there is little impetus to change, and without change there is little hope to grow and heal. But as I’ve interacted with my girls and purposely stimulated them to develop and become “real little girls” (as I like tell them), they realize that they don’t want things to stay how they were in the past.

I thought I was simply obeying the Golden Rule by treating these girls the way I would want to be treated. But looking back I see that moving them beyond their predefined insider roles to become real little girls was extremely healing. Here are a couple of examples. More

Insider Rules

Wikipedia defines a code of conduct as “a set of rules outlining the responsibilities of or proper practices for an individual, party or organization.” And I don’t know about your experience with multiple personality disorder or as it is now called, dissociative identity disorder, but who da thunk that my wife’s insiders came complete with a code of conduct?

Now that’s not to make light of the rules or my girls. In fact when the girls first started coming outside, “the rules” were extremely important to them. Some of the girls would refer to “the rules,” but if I asked more about them, I was told, “We can’t talk about them.” One particular girl, however, would break the rules, like a precocious child, if they stood in her way of getting what she wanted. She was the brave one, and even the defender had difficulty controlling her. But Alley, the defender, also spent a long time analyzing the rules in light of the new “environment” outside, i.e. me and my son’s involvement in the girls’ lives. She was analyzing things the best she could to see if the rules should be changed.

Speaking from my experience alone, it would seem these rules were developed by the girls in an effort to control their environment. From what I’ve read of trauma victims, control is a HUGE issue. Unfortunately when little children make rules to control their environment in a desperate attempt to try to minimize the frequency and effect of the abuse and trauma, those rules often have a very negative impact on the girls themselves.

If a child is threatened by her abuser not to tell anyone what is happening lest she or her family be hurt, then she learns a code of silence. If she cries out for help and no one responds, then she learns a code of self-reliance. If she seeks to be comforted but is ignored, then she learns a code of self-nurturing, etc. More

So You Wanna Be an Insider’s Daddy…

(note: I’m not a licensed therapist. The following are my experiences and observations only.)

Nothing I have discussed on this blog has been half as divisive as the fact that I have assumed the role of “Daddy” for three of the little girls in my wife’s network. Every time the subject comes up I inadvertently arouse concern and agitation in some of my readers. I guess I naively assumed that what has been one of the most healing things I have done for my wife would be readily accepted by others with dissociative identity disorder. But it hasn’t been well received for a number of reasons.

In this entry I would like to further address these legitimate concerns that other people have as they watch the healing journey my wife and I are taking together. Additionally I’ll try to give a critical rule, if you and your spouse or partner think this would be beneficial in your journey as well.

1) “It’s a lie!”

This is one of the loudest and most repeated objections I have heard when people find out that I act as Amy, Sophia and Shelly’s daddy. It’s a lie. I dealt with this objection in a previous entry here https://samruck2.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/who-is-the-best-parent-for-insiders-part-1/    in a two-part essay on the subject.

My girls are under no delusion that I am their biological father. He’s still a part of their life though it is minimal because of distance and a lack of interest on my in-laws’ part to help their daughter heal.

What I really believe Amy is looking for when she calls me “Daddy” is that ideal father figure that each one of us has hidden in our hearts. “Father” or “Daddy” is the person who takes care of us, provides for us and protects us from things that go “bump” in the night when we were little.

But that need doesn’t end in childhood. When I was 21 and newly married, Karen and I lived inOhioafter my own parents had moved toFlorida. Even though I had a fairly good relationship with my father my entire childhood, with his geographical absence, I found myself looking for a local father figure. My 20’s were tumultuous: newly married, new father, new home owner, broken vocational dreams. I needed an older man to whom I could turn for advice and encouragement. I needed a local father even though I still had a biological one inFlorida. I was scared and on my own as a young adult. I needed the comfort and strength of having an older man in my corner.

It’s a universal need, and that’s what the girls are expressing when they want me to be their daddy. They want someone to whom they can turn for comfort and help. We’re not talking biology here. More

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