Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 364407

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Very weird question

Posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 12:26:18

I was trying to explain the latest activities of that part of me that puts me down for involuntary naps/forgetting sleeps, that blanks out my brain when I'm about to say something I shouldn't, that sends me into depersonalization/derealization, and a host of other things. About how my body seems to decide that something is dangerous and deals with it outside of my conscious control through these various really nifty devices.

Since I was saying that it did these things in situations that I didn't think were dangerous, but that my body must think are dangerous, my therapist asked if I thought there was a part of me controlling these things. And my opinion was no, no self aware part of me was controlling these things even though they happened in different situations than I would have chosen if I had control over the process.

I asked him how it worked in other people and he admitted that he wasn't sure. That he was he knew dissociative clients had these experiences, but he wasn't sure how they worked, or even if they worked the same in all clients with a talent for dissociation.

Any ideas out there? I used to refer to that function as "the controller" but stopped when I realized my therapist was taking the phrase to mean a self state rather than a sort of switchboard or circuit breaker or something the way I meant it. Does anyone with similar experiences (if anyone does have similar experiences) have any thoughts?

 

Re: Very weird question

Posted by daisym on July 9, 2004, at 13:25:47

In reply to Very weird question, posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 12:26:18

I think what you've hit on is that the unconscious defenses are very powerful and by definition "out of your control." I also think the unconscious is very smart and changes tactics to meet the same needs or protect the same things. Yalom refers to it as a sneaky opponent to therapists. The more you probe it, the tougher, more hidden things get.

Most of us would swear we aren't being defensive, that there is not reason to protect ourselves from "this" whatever "this" is...

Therapy makes us more aware of the times we are doing it, but doesn't necessarily make us stop doing it.

I had that experience on Monday...we were talking about transference and how my feelings for my husband, and our sex life were all tangled up now with my feelings about the past abuse stuff. As we talked I began to withdraw, noticed that the leaves were blowing outside on the tree and heard him say, "where are you going" which pulled me back but I couldn't continue. I pulled half the couch pillows into my lap and he said, "and now you are shutting down." Didn't matter that we labeled it, it still happened. I wanted to turn my brain back on but couldn't.

So while I think everyone's experience is different, I think it does happen to many of us as a self-protective response. And I don't think we can stop doing it, just because we are aware of it or want to.

 

Re: Very weird question--Dinah

Posted by Elle2021 on July 9, 2004, at 13:40:39

In reply to Re: Very weird question, posted by daisym on July 9, 2004, at 13:25:47

Hmm, I hope it isn't too weird, because I've experienced the same thing! :)

I have had experiences similar to yours and Daisy's. When I dissociate/depersonalize during therapy, it's almost always due to this one specific topic that I want to discuss SO badly, but continue to not be able to even conjure the words inside my head. So there my therapist will be, asking me this very personal question. And away I go, retreating into another state I'd rather not go. I can feel my therapist getting further and further away from me. Her voice sounds loud, but at the same time it sounds inarticulate, and I can't quite make out what she is saying. Sometimes I am able to tell her I'm depersonalizing, other times I sit there completely mute and frozen, unable to say anything except an "hmm" or a nod of my head. It's odd, sometimes I'm not even aware that I am still breathing. If she notices, the she tries to bring me back by telling me to take a deep breath and close my eyes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
As for what you say about "the controller." I think I understand what you mean. It's a part of your body that takes over, but it is STILL you conscious. I've dealt with something like this. And here's my scary part: I hear a voice in my head that says mean things to me. I can't believe that it's really me saying those things to me. I refer to her as "she." Referring to the voice as anything at all, scares me to death. Now, what do you think about that? Have I completely lost it? Please say no.
Elle

 

Re: Very weird question Elle2021

Posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 14:32:43

In reply to Re: Very weird question--Dinah, posted by Elle2021 on July 9, 2004, at 13:40:39

No.

(smile)

It doesn't mean that at all. It can mean a lot of things. But none of them are so terribly dreadful.

I have an internal critical voice that speaks in a distinct man's voice. I don't hear it often, but it scared me witless at first. I worried that it was another ego state. Then it came to me! I was hearing the echos of my husband's voice!!! He's such a perfectionist. And the circumstances I heard it in were just the circumstances he would have been critical in. I was just beating him to the punch in my mind.

Do you have a critical woman in your past or present?

 

Re: Very weird question daisym

Posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 14:34:39

In reply to Re: Very weird question, posted by daisym on July 9, 2004, at 13:25:47

That's precisely how I tend to think of it. I'm just protecting me from myself. That's why I got so annoyed with the neurologist who thought part of it was narcolepsy. And a bit annoyed with my therapist for not understanding. Maybe those who don't have a talent for dissociation can't grasp it.

 

Re: Very weird question

Posted by shadows721 on July 9, 2004, at 19:08:28

In reply to Very weird question, posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 12:26:18

I don't think it's unconscious. There is a part of you secretly monitoring everything that goes on around you. The other part is you. The one that is doing the talking that doesn't know this is going on. You are sitting there talking about whatever and the other part of you is actively listening in and monitoring.

I think of it like this. It's like being on speaker phone talking with your t. There's another part of you actively listening to everything you say. When you starting talking about a difficult subject, they say, "Oh, no. Let's throw her off of that topic." They will say to you, "Hey, Dinah, did you notice those clouds over there. "Hey, did you notice your T has a mole on his forehead?" Then, you say, "Wow, what was I trying to talk about?" T says, "Dinah you were talking about your difficulty with X". hmmmmm. That other side says, "Darn, that topic again. I know how to get her attention. Hey, aren't you extremely tired Dinah?" or "Did you forget to get something from the grocery today?" "Yeah, let's think about that and not that silly other topic." It's all very deliberate.

Now, you know. Shadows, has busted their sneaky tapper numberous times. Now, you can too.

 

Re: Very weird question

Posted by lifeworthliving on July 9, 2004, at 21:50:32

In reply to Very weird question, posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 12:26:18

>
> I asked him how it worked in other people and he admitted that he wasn't sure. That he was he knew dissociative clients had these experiences, but he wasn't sure how they worked, or even if they worked the same in all clients with a talent for dissociation.
>
> Any ideas out there? I used to refer to that function as "the controller" but stopped when I realized my therapist was taking the phrase to mean a self state rather than a sort of switchboard or circuit breaker or something the way I meant it. Does anyone with similar experiences (if anyone does have similar experiences) have any thoughts?>>>>>>

i'm so excited that i can post. lately i would want to respond but none of my info would show up in the appropriate place on the response message and i couldn't send. how do i get this info in the future so that i can participate? what i have been wanting to share the past few weeks was wonderful, i'm sure. lol

anyway, about your post and dissociating: when i get intensely uncomfortable (as i often do in therapy) i'm so quick to retreat to this place inside myself. I NEVER want to return and have to force myself back. if i'm still enough my perceptions are very distorted... my head will feel like it's growing out of my hip, or the room will have a surreal feel, that is never scary and always preferrable to being present in the moment with my therp. all that said, it isn't as easy for me to access this anymore so when i get close i will find that i try harder to go to this place that i'm not supposed to visit anymore... i swear to you, i miss it! and i think you are so right on when you call it talent. it was the only way to endure the long scary nights that i did as a child. i'm grateful for it. now, how to hang on to it for recreational puposes without sacrifing real life?

 

Re: Very weird question lifeworthliving

Posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 23:00:39

In reply to Re: Very weird question, posted by lifeworthliving on July 9, 2004, at 21:50:32

You're not able to do it any more? Therapy has reduced your ability to do it?

I don't think I'd like that. I even practice it for fun sometimes. Well, maybe not for fun so much as to try to gain some control over it so that I'll feel a sense of mastery.

Yet control over the entire process continues to elude me.

 

Re: Very weird question shadows721

Posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 23:04:51

In reply to Re: Very weird question, posted by shadows721 on July 9, 2004, at 19:08:28

Does yours work by having your brain drift to another topic? That's pretty neat. I think it would be easier to cover that up than the total blankness that hits mine sometimes.

I do wish I didn't feel so sleepy after therapy though. It's interfering with my productivity. :(

 

Re: Very weird question

Posted by Elle2021 on July 9, 2004, at 23:18:22

In reply to Re: Very weird question Elle2021, posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 14:32:43

Yes, I do have a critical women in my life. But, this voice doesn't sound like her. It also says things that seem very out of character for me and the critical women I know. Also, she talks at the most inopportune times. Sometimes I'm talking to someone and she will start saying something, so I'm trying to listen to two people at once. Well, not two people, but you know what I mean. She's definitely critical though, I'll tell ya that much! My therapist thinks once I get my past issues straightened out, she will go away.
Elle

 

Re: above post for Dinah (nm)

Posted by Elle2021 on July 9, 2004, at 23:21:23

In reply to Re: Very weird question, posted by Elle2021 on July 9, 2004, at 23:18:22

 

Re: Very weird question

Posted by lifeworthliving on July 9, 2004, at 23:28:25

In reply to Re: Very weird question lifeworthliving, posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 23:00:39

> You're not able to do it any more? Therapy has reduced your ability to do it?
>
> I don't think I'd like that. I even practice it for fun sometimes. Well, maybe not for fun so much as to try to gain some control over it so that I'll feel a sense of mastery.
>
> Yet control over the entire process continues to elude me.
>>>>>>>

i don't know if therapy is to blame... perhaps because i have better coping skills, or maybe the awareness that i do it, so i try harder not to? also, my therapist seems kind of pushy about me not doing it... to the point that she will say that maybe i should leave... end the session if i'm not going to participate. it was only the year or so before i started therapy that i knew there was a name for what i did. (i thought i was only nuts and asked repeatedly if i was crazy) i know that my preference would be to spend the entire hour in my therapists office dissociating.often times only the fear that we might talk about something difficult will trigger this. i always am THRILLED to be there (to see her, hug her, etc) and nervous at the same time. i forget sometimes that i'm not there to love and be loved up. i hate it that i have to work and can't just enjoy an hour of hand holding, etc. the relationship drives me nuts but i can't imagine my life without her in it.

 

Re: Very weird question lifeworthliving

Posted by Elle2021 on July 9, 2004, at 23:31:50

In reply to Re: Very weird question, posted by lifeworthliving on July 9, 2004, at 21:50:32

I kind of know what you mean. When I dissociate in my therapist's office, it feels like I'm there sitting in the chair, but I'm NOT really there. Does that make sense? It's the craziest feeling. I know I have a weird look on my face too. It feels like I'm giving a deep, hard stare. I try to look around the room to bring myself back, but it feels almost like the room starts moving. I used to be able to achieve dissociation by just sitting there and doing it. Now, it only happens by itself, which can be vexing.
Elle

 

Re: Very weird question

Posted by shadows721 on July 10, 2004, at 0:13:54

In reply to Re: Very weird question shadows721, posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 23:04:51

Oh, I have the blankness too. It's like someone little ran out of the room with my thought. I use to have dreams about little toddlers stealing my files. Now, I know what that means.:)

I go from topic to topic and then back to the original topic. The other t's use to try to keep me in line. I like this one, because she allows it to happen and go back. She doesn't interfere with the process.

The really difficult part is the comments about what I am saying. Now, that's really interferring in T. It literally feels like I have 3 heads on my shoulders. My t must just watch me argue with the others and laugh. I will say out loud, "Enough already with the comments. I have had it with you guys." It's embarrassing, because nobody else is there physically but me.:0

 

Re: Very weird question Dinah

Posted by DissociativeJane on July 10, 2004, at 8:38:50

In reply to Very weird question, posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 12:26:18

Dinah,
I am still learning about my dissociative disorder and have great trouble verbalizing what actually happens to me when I "leave". However, I can share with you that during my last therapy session I looked at my therapist and said, "I am not dissociating right now, I'm just being silent". She smiled at me and said, "I know". Your posts are wonderful to read.
Jane

> I was trying to explain the latest activities of that part of me that puts me down for involuntary naps/forgetting sleeps, that blanks out my brain when I'm about to say something I shouldn't, that sends me into depersonalization/derealization, and a host of other things. About how my body seems to decide that something is dangerous and deals with it outside of my conscious control through these various really nifty devices.
>
> Since I was saying that it did these things in situations that I didn't think were dangerous, but that my body must think are dangerous, my therapist asked if I thought there was a part of me controlling these things. And my opinion was no, no self aware part of me was controlling these things even though they happened in different situations than I would have chosen if I had control over the process.
>
> I asked him how it worked in other people and he admitted that he wasn't sure. That he was he knew dissociative clients had these experiences, but he wasn't sure how they worked, or even if they worked the same in all clients with a talent for dissociation.
>
> Any ideas out there? I used to refer to that function as "the controller" but stopped when I realized my therapist was taking the phrase to mean a self state rather than a sort of switchboard or circuit breaker or something the way I meant it. Does anyone with similar experiences (if anyone does have similar experiences) have any thoughts?

 

Re: Very weird question Dinah

Posted by gardenergirl on July 10, 2004, at 8:52:45

In reply to Very weird question, posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 12:26:18

> >
> Any ideas out there? I used to refer to that function as "the controller" but stopped when I realized my therapist was taking the phrase to mean a self state rather than a sort of switchboard or circuit breaker or something the way I meant it.

Dinah,
First may I say, great thread. I'm learning a lot from reading about everyone's experiences. Now forgive me for pulling out the academe hat and getting theoretical, but the above part of your post reminded me of a therapy model I like. I don't think it's absolutely applicable here, but parts of it might be. (I think I've posted on this model before, so forgive me if I am getting repetitive. :)

There is a model called internal systems theory which is modelled after family systems. It was developed for use with clients with bulimia. This theory states that there are different "parts" of a client's self which play different roles, in a similar way as people play different roles in a family system. One part is the internal critic. Another is called the exile, which is used to describe the emotional/feeling part. It is "exiled" because in the clients for which this model was developed, emotions were usually quite repressed, and the internal critic was dominant. The third part is the one I was reminded of. It's called the firefighter. I think of this as the source for actions and behaviors designed to "put out fires" in the self. The self is the leader of the group, and for clients with dysfunction, the leader is usually usurped or absent. Anyway, I was thinking of what you used to call your "controller" as the firefighter...the one who comes blasting in to "rescue" you from danger and put out potential fires. This is an adaptive response. (Would that we had a Babble firefighter, eh?) But in dysfunction, the firefighter *can* get a little to trigger happy and act when it is not really needed.

Anyway, the work in this model is to get all parts of the self to function better as a team, with no one dominant part. The leader/self would then be able to resume leadership and delegate/coordinate the teams' actions.

So, perhaps this phenomenon is like the firefighter, coming in even without a conscious call, when it smells smoke?

By the way, I usually am really drained and exhausted after sessions, too. I get really cranky if I can't get a nap in sometime before having to deal with the world again in any significant capacity. That's why I love the drive-thru Starbucks in my town. I can get my comfort food from the safety of my car. :)

Take care,
gg

 

Re: Very weird question gardenergirl

Posted by Elle2021 on July 10, 2004, at 12:28:51

In reply to Re: Very weird question Dinah, posted by gardenergirl on July 10, 2004, at 8:52:45

My therapist told me about that type of therapy when I told her about the woman's voice in my head, and all the mean things she says to me. She said that internal systems therapy/theory is an excellent model.
Elle

 

Re: Very weird question DissociativeJane

Posted by Dinah on July 10, 2004, at 13:50:06

In reply to Re: Very weird question Dinah, posted by DissociativeJane on July 10, 2004, at 8:38:50

:-) I think my therapist can tell too. He once said that I look like I'm watching tiny fairies dancing in the corner when I'm dissociating. It's nice to have therapists who know us well enough to see what's going on.

 

Re: Very weird question gardenergirl

Posted by Dinah on July 10, 2004, at 13:54:35

In reply to Re: Very weird question Dinah, posted by gardenergirl on July 10, 2004, at 8:52:45

I need to look into that model again. I have a book on it, but found it a bit over my head. Or maybe I got upset and zoned out, I'm not sure.

From what I remember, the theory fits rather well. The emotional part, the productive rational part, and now the firefighter. :)

I definitely think it's worth trying to struggle through it again.

 

Re: Very weird question Dinah

Posted by DissociativeJane on July 10, 2004, at 19:02:21

In reply to Re: Very weird question DissociativeJane, posted by Dinah on July 10, 2004, at 13:50:06

Dinah,
Did your therapist talk to you about dissociation, or have you always been aware that you do this?
I'm curious to know because I had no idea what this was or that I even did this until my therapist began discussing the word, "dissociate".
Jane

> :-) I think my therapist can tell too. He once said that I look like I'm watching tiny fairies dancing in the corner when I'm dissociating. It's nice to have therapists who know us well enough to see what's going on.

 

Re: Very weird question DissociativeJane

Posted by Dinah on July 10, 2004, at 21:38:13

In reply to Re: Very weird question Dinah, posted by DissociativeJane on July 10, 2004, at 19:02:21

I always knew I did it, from way back before therapy ever started. But I had my own words to describe it, not the official ones. And my therapist used my own words when talking about it with me, at least for a long time.

I'm not sure whether I came across the concept of dissociation in my quest to discover why I did the things I did and asked him if that was the name for what I was doing, or if he finally introduced the formal concept himself.

In fact, everything I've come to understand about myself after years of therapy, I already knew before I started therapy. I just had a different way of thinking about it, and different words to describe it.

 

Re: Very weird question

Posted by gardenergirl on July 11, 2004, at 1:08:59

In reply to Re: Very weird question gardenergirl, posted by Dinah on July 10, 2004, at 13:54:35

Dinah,
I'm glad that you found it to fit somewhat. I'm not sure what book you read, but the book I got it out of was the "Comprehensive Handbook of Psychotherapy, Vol. 4 Integrative/Electic"
This handbook has chapters for many models. The other three volumes are set up similarly, but focus on Behavioral models, Psychodynamic models, and Humanistic/Existential models. I found it at my university library and wanted to "borrow" all four to have in the Psych. Services Center. I found it to be a pretty good read and a comprehensive writing about the de

And warning...If I remember correctly you don't like the two chair technique. That is a big part of this kind of work.

Take care,
gg

 

Re: Very weird question Elle2021

Posted by gardenergirl on July 11, 2004, at 1:13:36

In reply to Re: Very weird question gardenergirl, posted by Elle2021 on July 10, 2004, at 12:28:51

Cool! I like it, but haven't used it in depth. Just parts of it at times with certain clients. I would like to have a client where I focus on this all way through if possible to see what it's like.

gg

 

Re: Very weird question -- (not so wierd!) Dinah

Posted by 64bowtie on July 11, 2004, at 3:00:03

In reply to Very weird question, posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 12:26:18

(((Dinah))),

Again, I am so gratefull you let me back into your "Babble" life...

Not so wierd... What your T calls dissociative definitely fills in the Analytical Conundrum well, but ask him what can be changed so that you don't feel the "blackmail" of the bad-feelings?

I was puzzling the other day over a financial problem my 83 yearold Dad is having, when a guy rushed up and stole an expensive bicycle right out of the rack near where I was sitting... I recognised later that if I had yelled at the guy two or three seconds sooner, the owner of the bike could have started running that much sooner and would have caught him, and got his bike back, at least... Instead, I was distracted in thought...

Now I don't plan to be so hypervigilant that I will be like Spiderman and save people from bad-guys at a moments notice... I just recognise that when I have any, even minor, conflict, I perform poorly... I am making the assumption that there is a fine line between dissociation and distraction... I know I wasn't dissociated, I was simply concentrating on a financial puzzle belonging to my Dad...

What I want to say is that once "the road narrows" so that you have fewer distractions and conflicts in your daily life, this unfortunate reaction will be miraculously extinguished... It did mostly for me and I bet you're younger and wiser than I am! You can hurry the process a little by saying "NO!" to your obligations and expectations... Like Nancy Davis-Reagan said, "Just say no!"

I only want the best for you, (((Dinah)))

Rod

 

Milton Erickson

Posted by daisym on July 11, 2004, at 14:47:48

In reply to Very weird question, posted by Dinah on July 9, 2004, at 12:26:18

I saw a documentary on Erickson and then went a read a book about some of his techniques. It is hynotherapy but it does sound like he encourages some dissociation in his clients as he works with them. He lets them drift to an altered state and then tells stories or makes suggestions, etc. I haven't decided if I think this is would be interesting or scary. I like the teaching with antidotes and metaphors part. But the trance stuff makes me nervous.

I'd always thought of dissociation as a protective, blocking state before I saw/read about this.


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