Posts Tagged ‘Dissociation’

Dissociation: The most read and responded subject



This post and responses are in the header, Dissociation. This subject is by far the most read and commented topic.
Dissociation in its most basic description, is leaving this present moment to think about the past or future. It is an unreal practice, action. We create a parallel world, a world filled with treachery for our minds. What we create lacks reality! Dissociation takes us to a place, the past or future where happiness does not exist.


Dissociation is the only symptom we need to address. It is the linchpin, the king, the all-powerful symptom, the leader of the pack. Dissociation fuels trauma and all other symptoms. Without the duration of dissociation, the minute by minute consumption of emotional fear, the storyline of PTSD fades, deteriorates and eventually bores us. Hyper vigilance, flashbacks, anxiety and avoidance need dissociation.


Dissociation is complex, abstract, confusing and the biggest thief in our lives. It steals the only time we have to be happy. Judgment can devour every hour of the day. Judging me, worthy or unworthy, searching for approval, avoiding disapproval or criticism can dominate our landscape.


We become heat seeking missiles for pleasure. Sadness, awkward or suffering is avoided with the many dissociative games. Dissociation can engulf every breath, stir fear until it permeates our being. Dissociation grows with use. Each moment spent away from now harms us.

Complex PTSD, usually childhood abuse, complicates dissociation, our minds have not matured so abuse is mixed with development. Dissociation reaches a deeper level,of dysfunction and entanglement. Parts of our personality get stuck. Mp arts of us fight other parts, we feel conflicted. This is why.


Here are some of the complex symptoms of dissociation:

From Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation:

Complex PTSD consists of six symptom clusters, which also have been described in terms of dissociation of personality. Of course, people who receive this diagnosis often also suffer from other problems as well, and as noted earlier, diagnostic categories may overlap significantly. The symptom clusters are as follows:

Alterations in Regulation of Affect ( Emotion ) and Impulses

Changes in Relationship with others

Somatic Symptoms

Changes in Meaning

Changes in the perception of Self

Changes in Attention and Consciousness

Alterations in regulation of affect(emotion) an impulse:

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Ways to focus our mindfulness practice on the body ?


Our mindfulness practice can be focused on connecting our awareness to our body.


This is the path that integrates trauma stored in the body. Our fight or flight mechanism does not need to fire for us to be influenced by residual trauma stored in the body.



When we feel our bodies triggered, an opportunity presents itself.



We can dissociate into thought, fueling PTSD or we can observe, feel and breathe into the part that is aroused. One fuels PTSD, the other calms and integrates.



Trauma stored in the body needs an intense exploration from a friendly unbiased observer.   We sit still, focus and listen to our interior world.



The first time I healed, my body trauma left me last.



A mindful practice brings intimate awareness of all these sensations without the storyline.



When we feel anxious, spooked or fearful, another opportunity arises.



Once our body trauma is felt without the storyline, it calms a little.



Repeated acceptance and befriending of our nervous system and body will integrate some of our PTSD.

A follower asks: Marty I have a question for you.

I was on the receiving end of some pretty intense road rage the other day (car chasing me, guy screaming profanities, slamming his breaks on front of me, cutting me off.). My mind was very much present in the moment, I experienced both fight and flight emotions. Despite that, I was surprisingly calm during it as my two-year-old was in the back, so my concentration was on getting my daughter through it safely. However, the experience was in hindsight, terrifying.


Afterwards, perhaps 20 mins later, I was eating lunch and noticed my hand shaking, barely able to hold a glass of OJ. I was shook up. My mind had largely moved on, but my body was still recovering from the incident. I practiced Loving Kindness to the ‘rager’, feeling compassion for his unsettled state of intense anger. That gave me a lot of peace, I wasn’t angry with him and I forgave him instantly. I was able to return to a relaxed state through acceptance and mindfulness meditation. I was relaxed, but the incident left me feeling completely wiped out for the rest of the day. Is this the result of over working the nervous system?


And I do wonder why sometimes we remain calm in highly stressful situations, but afterwards our bodies show signs of stress and anxiety? Like, after the fact?
My two cents: First, emotional trauma fatigues us more than physical exertion. Second, trauma is stored in the right amygdala and in the body. It is all connected. Healing will have to address both areas for relief.


The remaining calm during the event can be a hybrid of being frozen (fight, flight or freeze). Remember this mechanism releases cortisol, adrenaline, along with heightened BP, respiration and heart rate. We have tunnel vision, lose our fine motor skills, along with distorted sequential time. We are left without a beginning, middle and end.
We get stuck, we dissociate into thought and emotion. The storyline we add becomes the fuel.


You did a great job of sending loving kindness and acceptance.


Our intention is not to push it away or destroy it. It happened and real danger was experienced. Give yourself a break, observe the incident without judgment. Know that this has no chance of repeating itself.


Hope that helps.

“People exposed to chronic or repeated traumatic events may also lose faith in humanity or have a sense of hopelessness about the future.” By Matthew Tull



My two cents: I was ashamed to admit my feelings of hopelessness to myself or anyone else. It felt like a glaring character flaw, a damaged human being to me.


My childhood was dominated by hopelessness in the face of my narcissistic caregiver. There was no way to win, to be left alone, to escape the abuse.


To a child a parent can be a giant, a monster. My abuse started at an early age before my brain had a chance to develop.


Hopelessness and helplessness can be awakened by stress, loss and tragedy.


My wellbeing depends on my awareness and mindfulness skills.


Dissociation in its most basic description, is leaving this present moment to think about the past or future


Dissociation leads me towards hopelessness, inflames doubt, worry, fear, anxiety and anger inside me. Triggers explode if our PTSD is active.


Staying present extinguishes that flame.


Visually, I have learned to look and see without judgment as I focus intently on my breath.


One path leads to suffering, the other brings you to this present moment.

This present moment is all we have, then we move to the next moment, nothing more.

we believe that thinking will resolve things, but the mind doesn’t know when to quit.”


“The Need to Please”:

“The mind is always evaluating, analyzing, and worrying. For example, we constantly analyze what others think about us and expect from us, what we should do in response, and what will happen if we don’t comply.

In addition, our thinking involves nearly constant appraisal of our experience and how we’re doing.

We evaluate unpleasant and painful experiences so that we can avoid them, and we try to plan how we can maximize pleasant experiences.

For the most part, we believe that thinking will resolve things, but the mind doesn’t know when to quit.”
My two cents: Think of these doors as thoughts, judgments with strong emotion.


We can spend all day inspecting, evaluating or judging what lies behind each door.


This is destructive, wastes our life force and leads to suffering.



Our goal is to leave these doors alone, trade them in for this present moment.



Tragedy and loss await you behind every door.






Being vulnerable is not easy!

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Being vulnerable was extremely difficult for me. My entire childhood was filled with violence, criticism and pressure to be perfect.


We are captives as children to our first caregivers. We do not get to choose kind, normal parents.


I learned the ability to be vulnerable from my mindfulness practice, my path to healing.


This ability helped me face my triggers and integrate my trauma.


I improved and wrestled my life back, but going forward, being vulnerable was still a challenge. Doubt, worry and fear have a deep imprint.


Abused children do not believe everything will turn out alright.


We have history of our nightmarish upbringing, which turned out horribly. No one came to our rescue and we suffered.


Now my freedom and happiness depend on my ability to surrender to my fears, to be vulnerable in the face of my fear.



This can be challenging at times.

Circle of concern/Circle of influence: PTSD edition!


*   Circle of concern: With PTSD our concerns are “Ego” centric (default mode), dissociated thought. Dissociated because we leave this moment to engage our trigger concerns.


We open up the can of worms called “What If’s”. Anytime spent dissociating fuels PTSD. Cognitive thought will only do harm.


We will not think our way out of PTSD but dig a much deeper anxious hole for ourselves.


Circle of Concern also fuels doubt, worry and anxiety when we look at going out, participating in life, or living a normal existence. We see all the things that could go wrong.


Circle of Concern is a very negative place. For a PTSDer, this practice sentences us to a life of suffering.


We can dissociate so much we can never heal.



Circle of Influence: This space is more present moment. We can bring courage and action to our PTSD using the circle of influence.


That courage is not cognitively driven. That courage is different.


When I faced my most frightening triggers, most frightening suffering, the courage needed was for being vulnerable.

Yes, in the midst of terror, the fight of flight mechanism exploding, doing nothing but accepting without running, is not easy.


This kind of courage has nothing to do with cognition, intelligence or thought.


Take a look at that diagram and evaluate where you spend your time with PTSD!

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