Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 859540

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What does dissociation mean?

Posted by Kath on October 27, 2008, at 19:50:39

I've seen it referred to alot.

Kath

 

Re: What does dissociation mean?

Posted by caraher on October 27, 2008, at 21:55:15

In reply to What does dissociation mean?, posted by Kath on October 27, 2008, at 19:50:39

There are many forms, but the common thread I think is a kind of splintering of your "self" from your immediate situation.

 

Re: What does dissociation mean? Kath

Posted by happyflower on October 27, 2008, at 22:04:03

In reply to What does dissociation mean?, posted by Kath on October 27, 2008, at 19:50:39

It could mean a lot of things, we all do it to some degree. Mild dissociation is like sometimes when you are driving and you arrive and not remember is you stopped at the stop light. For me I see mild or moderate dissociation like "being in your head with so much thought" or daydreaming while not being totally aware of things around you. When you are in serious dissociation, a lot of times you are completely unaware of things around you, you loss time like hours or days, and you don't know what you were doing during that time.
Ever have your mind wonder while someone boring talking to you? That is a mild form.

Some that have had abuse issues, sometimes go into dissociation to take them away from the current situation of abuse. Like for me when my mom was abusing me, I would think of myself safe in the woods, it helped me with the very hard physical and emotional memories of the abuse while it was going on. Normally you are not aware of doing this, it happens automatically when your body senses danger. Sometimes when the trauma isn't treated, we can be triggered into dissociation by any of the senses that remind us of a past trauma, even if we are currently really safe. Our body remembers even when our mind doesn't.
Don't know if this helps, and I explained it how i understand it, although others have their own way of explaining it that might be different than mine.

 

Re: What does dissociation mean?

Posted by Phillipa on October 27, 2008, at 23:23:46

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean? Kath, posted by happyflower on October 27, 2008, at 22:04:03

Happyflower isn't it when bad almost a Frug state or close to the old term multiple personality. The emotions are so overwhelmed for a time they assume another personality so to speak to help them tolerate abuse. For me I have the mind wandering type. Why not google the term? Dont want to insult anyone wish muffled was here she could do a great job of explaining it. Love Phillipa this message was mostly to Kath.

 

Re: What does dissociation mean?

Posted by Phillipa on October 27, 2008, at 23:38:20

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?, posted by Phillipa on October 27, 2008, at 23:23:46

Kath here's a wiki link. Might help. Hope doesn't offend anyone those who disassociate might not want to read. Phillipa

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociation

 

Re: What does dissociation mean?

Posted by turtle on October 28, 2008, at 0:48:28

In reply to What does dissociation mean?, posted by Kath on October 27, 2008, at 19:50:39

I think of dissociation as a disruption of your normal "flow", however that expresses itself with you. There are many different ways this can occur.

Tony Morrison has a great quote that I'm drawn to.

"You know they straightened out the Mississippi River in places, to make room for houses and livable acreage. Occasionally the river floods these places. "Floods" is the word they use, but in fact it is not flooding: it is remembering. Remembering where it used to be. All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. Writers are like that: remembering where we were, what valley we ran through, what the banks were like, the light that was there and the route back to our original place. It is emotional memory --- what the nerves and the skin remember as well as how it appeared. And a rush of imagination is our "flooding."

This quote really touches on it all doesn't it? The flooding, the body memories, the power of journaling, the audacity of man to think they can straighten a river for their own purposes, the resiliency of human nature to overflow our bounds in spite of it all and to find our way back to our source.

When I think of dissociation within me, I think of a dam on a river with the water being my inner self. There is a dam between myself and my memories of childhood (almost total lack) up to the age of 12. It's the wall that cuts me off from acknowledging, understanding, or even allowing my emotions to exist. It's the tricks I use when my significant other is being abusive and I stare out the window of the car and don't hear a word for 20 minutes. It's my ability to *believe* that I'm doing great (pre-therapy lack of awareness of course) while I'm living this totally dysfunctional life. (Believing my own lies - the inner need to *be* ok when I'm not.) It is telling stories of traumatic or very scary events without realizing that I should have emotions associated with them. It's being able to answer the question that my father was a very angry man, and instantly picture the rage on his face like a bull about to charge, but when asked later if I was ever afraid in childhood I cannot remember any emotions from then - good or bad. It's a void, like looking at a faded, empty photograph.

I'm in therapy to restore my flow, that's my purpose. I'm building safety and trust for my therapist, and for the first time my memories are creeping back. (wow, trust!) I can visualize almost all the way around the outside of my childhood home, although I can't remember the inside much or connect to very many memories that also involve people. I'm feeling more and more emotions every day, instead of voids and flooding. I think I'm becoming more aware of who I am and connected to myself.

I would not miss a therapy session for the world, although at times I wish I could quit. Inside I feel like the Mississippi, this internal pressure that is always in movement and unstoppable in it's path back to the ocean. My therapy is driving itself most of the time. I very much want to restore my inner flow. I don't necessarily feel a need to remember everything, I just want to stop feeling like I'm forever running into these dams.

Turtle

 

Re: What does dissociation mean? turtle

Posted by vwoolf on October 28, 2008, at 2:41:47

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?, posted by turtle on October 28, 2008, at 0:48:28

Wow, Turtle. That's amazing. What's the name of the book?

 

Caraher + HapyFlower

Posted by Kath on October 28, 2008, at 10:42:42

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean? Kath, posted by happyflower on October 27, 2008, at 22:04:03

Thank you both - very good explantions.

I had thought it was something like that.

From 'work' I've done I believe that that happened when I was about 4 & something bad was happening to me.

Interesting that it can be from mild & brief to strong & longer-lasting.

Thank you both :-) Kath

 

Re: What does dissociation mean? Phillipa

Posted by Kath on October 28, 2008, at 10:45:15

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?, posted by Phillipa on October 27, 2008, at 23:38:20

Thanks Phillilpa,

I'll look at that. I'm glad to have input from people here also though, as it's here that I'm reading the posts about this happening for people.

((((you)))))) Kath

 

Time-challenged - anyone else? (as in Later)

Posted by Kath on October 28, 2008, at 10:48:30

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?, posted by turtle on October 28, 2008, at 0:48:28

Will read other posts later.

Have to go to 'energy work' appointment. last time I was late & when i apologized, she pointed out (correctly) that I was always late.

So I do NOT want to be late this time. Punctuality is something I am working on.

Also I cause myself totally avoidable stress by cutting it too short.

Anyone else have this problem?

Kath

 

Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath

Posted by rskontos on October 28, 2008, at 13:31:55

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?, posted by turtle on October 28, 2008, at 0:48:28

Kath,

I have the label of DID or the ex-term multiple personalities. and I have experienced fugue states as Phillipa suggested. I have also experience depersonalization and derealization. I have argued with my p-doc about this dx but he just continues to look at me like why are you arguing about this. As he stated the reason that dissociation can be bad when it reaches the level I did and continue to do is that my brain does it now when there is really no actual trauma or abuse going on. Today at my nail appointment I had a fugue state where I slipped in an out of reality twice. Why. What was threatening. It is I feel because I was talking to her, my nail tech, who is a friend to me about something that had me very upset. So my brain felt I was at risk and protected me by letting a different part of me come out while I was inside "safe". But i wasn't really in a bad situation. That is why my t is trying to help me stop this. But l it is hard to stop. I think it is going to take a long time.

The problem as I understand it is when the trauma is so great and you are so young as I was, you split yourself off and you dissociation from the dissociated self. So you can have levels of dissociations. Or split of splits. And those memories each part carries but no one carries all of them especially the main you. I have absolutely no real memories but 3 maybe 4 and all of them all fragments.

Dissociation exists on a continuum like Happyflower said, where you daydream and then on the extreme like I do or others that have a dissociative disorder where we dissociate one time to protect us for survival but now it is considered dysfunctional.

I hope this helps.

I hope you don't think of me as weird although I certainly feel that way sometimes.

rsk

Fragmented. That is a very good way to describe it. I have alot of fragmented parts to myself. No real connections to all my feelings and emotions and it is so tough to get to them.

Also this was tough to write so go easy on me.

 

Amazing amazing post. turtle

Posted by seldomseen on October 28, 2008, at 16:43:51

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?, posted by turtle on October 28, 2008, at 0:48:28

thank you so much for sharing that.

Seldom.

 

Re: What does dissociation mean?

Posted by Sigismund on October 28, 2008, at 16:45:29

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?, posted by turtle on October 28, 2008, at 0:48:28

Turtle, that quote was very interesting.

What I mean when I use the word 'dissociation' always occurs along with being unable to leave a situation. Now this 'unable to leave' business is like the memory of my childhood where I simply had to conform and adapt. The Tony Morrison quote was enlightening. What accompanies the feeling of being unable to leave is a swimmy blurring of everything (perceptually) so that everything is strange, like I've taken some awful drug. But I can't leave because I can't find a good excuse (and I hardly know what I want). And nothing helpful comes to mind, and I'm frightened that people will see how terrible I feel (which they do). Maybe I'm frightened that if I say 'Well I have to leave now' they will say 'Why? Wouldn't you like to stay longer?' (That's the memory) or they might say 'You look like you never wanted to come'. Sometimes I cut the whole thing short by saying 'Of course I would prefer never to have been born.'
My goodness. What's this all about? Sounds like childhood.

 

Re: What does dissociation mean?

Posted by Sigismund on October 28, 2008, at 16:48:35

In reply to What does dissociation mean?, posted by Kath on October 27, 2008, at 19:50:39

Kath, here is a literary description of dissociation , by TS Eliot.

Hysteria

As she laughed I was aware of becoming involved in her
laughter and being part of it, until her teeth were
only accidental stars with a talent for squad-drill. I
was drawn in by short gasps, inhaled at each momentary
recovery, lost finally in the dark caverns of her
throat, bruised by the ripple of unseen muscles. An
elderly waiter with trembling hands was hurriedly
spreading a pink and white checked cloth over the rusty
green iron table, saying: "If the lady and gentleman
wish to take their tea in the garden, if the lady and
gentleman wish to take their tea in the garden ..." I
decided that if the shaking of her breasts could be
stopped, some of the fragments of the afternoon might
be collected, and I concentrated my attention with
careful subtlety to this end.

 

Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath rskontos

Posted by Sigismund on October 28, 2008, at 16:52:04

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath, posted by rskontos on October 28, 2008, at 13:31:55

>Fragmented

>some of the fragments of the afternoon might
be collected, and I concentrated my attention with
careful subtlety to this end.

 

Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath Sigismund

Posted by rskontos on October 28, 2008, at 20:03:01

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath rskontos, posted by Sigismund on October 28, 2008, at 16:52:04

Yes Sigismund,

fragmented. Early in therapy with this t, who is also my p-doc, I kept telling him I don't know the real me and that there isnt a real me. Now I am struggling with trying to do something in life. At my age. He is strongly suggesting something that he thinks I want to do. I asked him Monday how do you know I want to do this when I don't know.

That is the basic problem sometimes. I don't know myself because of all the fragments. i have so many holes. I have a sketchy memories, or again a fragments of memories: at the age of three-a truly horrific first memory of a fight between my parents, and then I have small bits, like riding in the back of my parents car at some dam with a bloody nose. That is it. I have some others that don't bear sharing due to their nature, anyway none of them are complete memories. This continues thru my teenage years and even during my, or rather, more so during my 20's when I often had huge lapses of time where I just did not know what happened. Or I "woke" up in places I would have rather not come back too.

Anyway, a lot of that is not worth going back over.

>I concentrated my attention with careful subtlety to this end. <

During that time I just did not concentrate on much of anything. Someone else inside my head was available to "know" what was going on and to handle it. sigh, I was the passenger in my own life.

and so fragmented I may just remain. It is a concept my t has a hard time with. Me, not so much.

rsk

 

Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath rskontos

Posted by happyflower on October 28, 2008, at 20:46:51

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath Sigismund, posted by rskontos on October 28, 2008, at 20:03:01

Hi Rk,

I think even if you did know all the missing pieces, you might now yourself anymore than you do now. Learning who we are is a life long search, plus we are always changing. We aren't our past , we are what and who we want to be, it is up to you. Our past can affect us, but it isn't who we are. I really believe this, if I didn't I don't' think I would want to live this life.

 

Re: What does dissociation mean? turtle

Posted by obsidian on October 28, 2008, at 23:07:02

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?, posted by turtle on October 28, 2008, at 0:48:28

I think the water is a nice metaphor

I sometimes get those tidal wave dreams...you know the wave is just overhead, cresting, and I can't get away

and I feel like I am just going to get swallowed up by a huge destructive force and I will be lost in it

 

Re: What does dissociation mean? obsidian

Posted by Sigismund on October 29, 2008, at 2:48:37

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean? turtle, posted by obsidian on October 28, 2008, at 23:07:02

>you know the wave is just overhead, cresting, and I can't get away

>and I feel like I am just going to get swallowed up by a huge destructive force and I will be lost in it

Sounds sensible to me.

 

Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath happyflower

Posted by rskontos on October 29, 2008, at 19:04:56

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath rskontos, posted by happyflower on October 28, 2008, at 20:46:51

Yeah HF, I know what you mean about if you did not believe that what we are and who is up to us. My problem is I am just not sure, too many choices so sometimes I just think and don't decide. sigh, like I told my t last session maybe I am just too damaged.

and he should give up..but he won't I guess

rsk


 

Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath rskontos

Posted by happyflower on October 29, 2008, at 21:50:31

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath happyflower, posted by rskontos on October 29, 2008, at 19:04:56

Well I like the RK I Know! You may be hurting and all, but you still are a wonderful person who has been a good friend. Your T won't give up on you, but you need to not give up on yourself, because you are worth fighting for. ((((RK)))

 

Re: Thanks HF sorry been hiding...sad so sad (nm) happyflower

Posted by rskontos on October 31, 2008, at 18:22:31

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath rskontos, posted by happyflower on October 29, 2008, at 21:50:31

 

Re: What does dissociation mean? turtle

Posted by Kath on October 31, 2008, at 18:38:01

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?, posted by turtle on October 28, 2008, at 0:48:28

Turtle,

Thanks for that post. I am so glad you are having such wonderful results from therapy.
I wish for you - peace & happiness.

luv, Kath

 

Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath rskontos

Posted by Kath on October 31, 2008, at 18:41:57

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?Kath, posted by rskontos on October 28, 2008, at 13:31:55

Of course I don't think you're weird. I appreciate you being so open in your response.

It must be awful when your brain sort of 'overprotects' so automatically!

I'm sorry you've been through so much & hope that bit by bit your therapy can help you.

Can't remember if you've ever tried TAT? or EFT or EMDR or any of those things?

luv, Kath

 

Re: What does dissociation mean? Sigismund

Posted by Kath on October 31, 2008, at 18:46:34

In reply to Re: What does dissociation mean?, posted by Sigismund on October 28, 2008, at 16:45:29

> What I mean when I use the word 'dissociation' always occurs along with being unable to leave a situation. Now this 'unable to leave' business is like the memory of my childhood where I simply had to conform and adapt. The Tony Morrison quote was enlightening. What accompanies the feeling of being unable to leave is a swimmy blurring of everything (perceptually) so that everything is strange, like I've taken some awful drug. But I can't leave because I can't find a good excuse (and I hardly know what I want). And nothing helpful comes to mind, and I'm frightened that people will see how terrible I feel (which they do). Maybe I'm frightened that if I say 'Well I have to leave now' they will say 'Why? Wouldn't you like to stay longer?' (That's the memory) or they might say 'You look like you never wanted to come'. Sometimes I cut the whole thing short by saying 'Of course I would prefer never to have been born.'
> My goodness. What's this all about? Sounds like childhood.

~ ~ ~ Siggie - sounds Awful. Sometimes I'm in touch with a part of myself that says "Hey - I do NOT want to be here - never did". The 'never did' part feels pre-birth!! It's a weird feeling.

((((((you))))) Kath


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