Posts Tagged ‘Dissociation’

A Trigger firing, initiates physical and mental consequences


Physical includes, cortisol and adrenaline secreted with BP, heart rate and pulse spiking.    Loss of fine motor skills, loss of hearing and Tunnel vision also influence us.



The Mind dissociates, becomes cloudy, confused, distracted along with time being distorted. Time passes by much too slow or much too fast. The physical symptoms try to warn of a lethal threat, life or death!



PTSD usually forces us to deny, avoid or isolate. We give up fighting it after a few triggers.



Now, the mind ruminates, searches for the cause, the reason, over and over. Sometimes my mind would stay engaged for days, reliving, analyzing, then projecting.


For me the trigger lasted a short time, the intrusive thinking afterwards brought the suffering.



When we become afraid of our triggers, we start trying to control our environment. We avoid situations and people who may trigger us.


Life narrows and our thoughts become more isolated and negative.


Distracted thinking is jet fuel for trauma.


The mind, our cognitive side wants to think its way out or find a safe place to hide.


Fear and anxiety pressure us to run, avoid, deny or freeze.


The key is to limit thinking, to learn to observe life in this present moment.



PTSD is a bluff!!!



Step back, observe and see the mirage stealing your life.

Triggers part two,,2,,



Let’s be realistic about our expectations. Our healing path will have set backs, frustrating results, intense anxiety mixed with fear.


Our trauma (PTSD) has access to our fight or flight mechanism. A trigger thought, a sound or smell ignites our fight or flight mechanism. We are preparing for a lethal threat from the past, but none currently exists.


PTSD is a mirage, a stored implicit memory of trauma. The physical changes and drugs our body secretes are real.


There is no real danger, just our own defense mechanism. Hopefully, this wisdom helps us resist avoiding, ruminating or freezing (shutting down).


In my mindfulness group, if someone is triggered, I trace five slow, intense breaths with them. Eyes open, I sit across from them, tracing the breathing track together.


I reassure them of their safety, using slow breaths to dissipate the cortisol and adrenaline. They are instructed to let go of the storyline and absorb the cortisol with their slow exhales.


It may take five or more breaths. They realize you can impact PTSD fear and anxiety.


It surprises them when things calm a bit. The intense fear and anxiety can be influenced.


PTSD loses some power each time we focus, let go and breathe deeply.


Our fearful thoughts and judgments soften and fade.

Each time we let the storyline go, we inch closer to wellbeing.


This is when PTSD is at its strongest, triggering the fight or flight mechanism. We fear triggers so much we avoid people and situations that ignite our trauma.


This is also the time when PTSD is at its most vulnerable.


If you can entertain the thought that PTSD is a bluff, that no real power or danger is present, healing is possible.


If we can stay present, focused, PTSD loses power.



You will discover no real danger exists inside our defense mechanism.



With practice we can learn to accept the anxious, scary mechanism as normal.



My fight or flight mechanism does not fire around my triggers anymore.


You can also integrate your trauma and calm your nervous system!

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Emotions are ephemeral, fleeting and transparent


Matthew Ricard: excerpt from “Happiness”


Despite their rich terminology for describing a wide range of mental events, the traditional languages of Buddhism have no word for emotion as such.


That may be because according to Buddhism all types of mental activity, including rational thought, are associated with some kind of feeling, be it one of pleasure, pain, or indifference.


And most affective states, such as love and hatred, arise together with discursive thought.


Rather than distinguishing between emotions and thoughts, Buddhism is more concerned with understanding which types of mental activity are conducive to one’s own and others’ well-being, and which are harmful, especially in the long run.



This is actually quite consistent with what cognitive science tells us about the brain and emotion.



Every region in the brain that has been identified with some aspect of emotion has also been identified with aspects of cognition.



There are no “emotion centers” in the brain.



The neuronal circuits that support emotions are completely intertwined with those that support cognition.


This anatomical arrangement is consistent with the Buddhist view that these processes cannot be separated: emotions appear in a context of action and thought, and almost never in isolation from the other aspects of our experience.



It should be noted that this runs counter to Freudian theory, which holds that powerful feelings of anger or jealousy, for instance, can arise without any particular cognitive or conceptual content.”

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.

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