What is dissociation?


(From an” expert…” on dissociation – from the lived “inside” perspective – a VERY short introduction)

There are multiple ways of dissociating. You can dissociate from your body, from your mind, from your emotions/feelings, from your memories, from the environment, from time, from parts of yourself (ego states/identity) – from one of these, from several – in different combinations – or from all of them – at once and for shorter or longer periods of time… And the process of dissociation can be all from completely unknown to you – to completely known. It can be a seemingly 100 % involuntary action to dissociate and a 100 % deliberate action – and everything in between.

Dissociation is the opposite of association. You dissociate to keep things, events, situations in your life apart. Because kept together they would overwhelm you. Everybody dissociates. Maybe you daydream, procrastinate, plan your dream vacation, play computer games, shop yourself happy. Everything you do to keep yourself away from your current state – inside – or outside – of you – is dissociation, but the focus is on the inside – the outside situation is often just a reflection of your inside situation. Dissociation is you – hiding from – you.

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The Unspeakable – the Unspoken


The ghost in the room

I have lived with trauma by my side my whole life. She eats with me, sleeps with me, walks by my side, travels with me, meets people with me, sees films and reads books with me, is involved in all my relationships and all my activities – as an ever present ghost from the past.

All my life I have tried to ignore her, or more violently, to remove her. I have tried to out-run her, starve her, hide her, forget her – but since she is a ghost none of these strategies affects her, she stays. She has stayed, patiently, by my side. Waited for me to acknowledge her. She has also protected me from my own pain, and my responsibility, my obligation to make decisions and choices for myself. Sometimes she has taken over and lived my life for me, spoken and acted through me.

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