PTSD Dissociation and How it Impacts Your Identity
PTSD Dissociation is a necessity that is born out of survival. Dissociation is put in place to protect the still functioning parts of yourself when you go through trauma.
Depression, for example, is one of the leading mental illnesses of our times, although only 10% of those affected actively seek help. I would say in most cases, depression is directly linked to PTSD Dissociation.
PTSD has been around for eons. It is not something new; however, there still seems to be a taboo, denial or sense that it is unacceptable around it. Both on the individual and the collective level. Admitting that you need help– on an emotional and mental level– is a big step to make. Making that first step and setting the intention to heal is the catalyst to the whole process of finding a sense of peace once more in oneself.
So why then is it so difficult to do?
PTSD Dissociation and Your Identity
When you go through PTSD you disconnect with a part of yourself. You give up a sense of integrity in order to survive in order to deal with the overwhelming surge that floods your body and mind. To be overwhelmed by an incidental or developmental trauma is to lose a sense of control and to be in a state of helpless vulnerability. That is the first step in disconnecting from your integral self. The emotions that follow as attempts to deal with this overwhelming force are anger, fear, sadness, grief, guilt, and shame, blame, self-reproach, and quite often a mixture of these.
Do you have PTSD or Complex PTSD and struggle with hypervigilance, anxiety, or depression? Would you want to have more resilience, so you can live a normal life without feeling further overwhelmed? Let’s get started right here →
PTSD disconnects you from having an integrated sense of self. It is the splitting of your identity, also called dissociation. On a corresponding physical and energetic level it is referred to as a trauma vortex in Somatic Experiencing and an energy cyst in Somato Emotional Release.
When a state of disconnection and PTSD dissociation persists, the disconnected state becomes an identity unto itself and thereby becomes very difficult to move out of and away from. The fear of reconnecting– by working through the dissociation of PTSD and addressing the overwhelming helplessness– also means dying of one’s “trauma- identity.” You tend to prefer staying with the familiarity of the known– even if it is painful and destructive– than face the unknown and potential healing.
Let me put forward an example by which to clarify this:
Dissociation in PTSD in Action
Carry’s parents split up when she was just two years old and she has, since then, lived with her mother. As her parents were not on good terms she hardly saw her dad who, by then, also happened to have moved far away. In her current life as an adult, she has had trouble maintaining steady personal relationships. She falls very easily in love and is prone to get attached. The loving and attachment come with a fair amount of possessiveness and jealousy out of a fear of losing that person, which is what tends to happen in the end. Carry is convinced that finding the perfect partner will solve her problems and sees most men as being uncommitted.
This is a classic example of Dissociation in PTSD regarding a developmental issue. Carry’s initial trauma of abandonment and loss fuels emotions of fear and attachment. In her attempt to fill up the gap formed by the trauma, she projects it outwardly in trying to find the perfect partner. However, the dynamics of the relationship are still based on a past traumatic tragedy, which sets her up for a reenactment of her initial trauma on an emotional level. Blaming men for being unreliable keeps her “trauma-identity” alive.
How does PTSD Dissociation show up for you? Leave your comments below.