Understanding PTSD and The Need for Dissociation

There are many facets to understanding PTSD and dissociation. Today, I want to go deeper into what happens when belief and judgment take over and become props which you use to avoid your underlying pain.

Beliefs vary greatly, and can be acted out towards others through blame and judgment, or turned inward on oneself through self-reproach and guilt.

Beliefs and Attempting to Understand Their Role in PTSD

Beliefs easily get channeled into expectation, which is then projected onto something or someone. What further complicates this is that you accept your belief as reality.

For example, you want your spouse, sibling, or parent to be more attentive to you, but they aren’t. The expectation is that they should be. This belief is based on a notion of what is idealized, socially or otherwise, but the reality is often horribly different.

Beliefs easily get channeled into expectation, which is then projected onto something or someone. What further complicates this is that you accept your belief as reality.

This simple example easily gets complex when you consider and understand the dynamics of trauma and PTSD.

Dissecting Beliefs and Projection Further

The “should” or “shouldn’t,” whether projected towards oneself or towards others, is going to cause conflict. Judging oneself or others is a movement of dissociation and takes you away from what is.

When you have gone through neglect or abuse and are dealing with PTSD or CPTSD, there is a part of you that is hurting. That part of you looks for resolution by projecting towards an opposite. When you have experienced a lack of bonding, or lack of feeling appreciated and valued, you will seek for resolution by expecting to be appreciated and valued by your close friends, your partner, or your parents. This expectation is most often unconscious.

Your need for feeling valued and the belief that those close to you should fulfill that need continues to be based on a lack or perceived lack that you experienced in childhood; furthermore, feeling valued and appreciated can become something that you constantly demand from those close to you.

The Subtleties of Understanding PTSD Projection

Bear with me: it makes sense that you want to be valued and appreciated by those around you. I don’t question that. It is the “too much” that is the issue; your attempts to understanding PTSD and Dissociation overcompensate for the “lack of” or “too little” love that you received. It is that part that we are addressing here, because it is that which causes your patterns to reenact.

Once you realize that you are projecting your needs—through demands, expectations, and beliefs—and begin to understand how they relate to your hurt of not having those needs met as a child, that can help you to curb your acting out of that need.

Such realization and understanding also give you an entrance into meeting the pain of that lack of love and validation.

When you can change the direction of that movement which by default flows outward through projection, and can bring it inward to meet your initial hurt, you are on your pathway of healing.

Understanding the subtleties of PTSD is complex.

How do you find yourself being too demanding or having expectations of others that are too high? Leave your comments below.

  • Donna Bunz says:

    I assume that my husband should know my feelings, know what’s bothering me and make it right

  • Chrissy says:

    I’ve been seeking validation in ways that I shouldn’t. And I’ve been disrespecting and betraying myself in the process. And was settling for less than I deserve.

    • Roland says:

      It can be a tough calling of where to set healthy boundaries and stand up for yourself and where you might be overdoing yourself.

  • jaymez says:

    My needs where not met as a child. I actually have nothing to do with the only parent that is alive.

    • jaymez Alexander says:

      I have wondered a few times if you have PTSD or anxiety. Some days I can’t even read all you put in your emails. I have to save it & go back later. It may not even be that same day. I love isolation. I may not go outside for days. My week has to pre-planned or I don’t function.

      • Roland says:

        I had to deal with developmental or attachment trauma, but have not suffered any acute PTSD or CPTSD. As for anxiety, I am not an anxiety based person and default more to getting angry when I get triggered or overwhelmed than anxiety.
        Come back to the articles over and over. You will pick up on new insights over time.

  • Raeesa says:

    I find that my manager at work will often load me with work beyond my capacity despite knowing that I have PTSD and a somewhat debilitating anxiety disorder. However I dont ever tell her that I am not coping or in a bit of a rut. I expect her to know this, to see it and to be the first to approach me and tell me to take it easy. Yet I continue to work very hard because I need that sort of validation too. I find myself thinking that my work place isnt sympathetic to people with mental disorders, but didn’t consider that maybe people with mental disorders just dont ask for help enough.

    • Roland says:

      Hi Raeesa. I think your comment really sums it up how hard it can be to live with complex trauma. It becomes incredibly confusing to know where you are not valuing yourself enough and need to set boundaries and how anxiety and the need to be seen self-sabotages the ability to set those boundaries. The unexpressed expectation, inhibited by anxiety, finally overlays it all.

  • Tommy says:

    I appreciate the elegance and clarity of your descriptions of PTSD. The complexity of the symptoms while living and experiencing them can be quite daunting. It’s refreshing to be regularly shown a way out that is clear and understandable, thank you.

  • Lindsey says:

    Humbled to own my projection. I turn to self-loathing in response to needing constant reassurances from those I love- and when not received, I react in a manner that, while justified during my periods of chronic trauma, is no longer appropriate (I’ve learned to not ask for the reassurance anymore, but instead the need “stews” into new manifestations). I can become quite mean, even antagonistic, or weepy and withdrawn. My need is undoubtedly disproportionate to what’s appropriate- there’s much to be said for building one’s intrinsic value/worth. It’s a really basic need- acknowledgment that I exist and am worthy of living- but because of its simplicity and deep-seeded roots, the idea I can find it outside of myself is unrealistic- and would not truly be healing. The healing of these traumas is a life journey; that’s the commitment it seems to take, and I’m ok with that, except for the negative ways it impacts my loved ones. And projection is where that happens, but we can own it- time and again- until we can change. I know that’s the best I can do right now, and that’s ok 🙂

  • Karan says:

    I understand that my dysfunctional responses are a product of my dysfunctional beliefs. My dysfunctional beliefs depend entirely on my interpretation of events that happened to me in childhood. So I can notice when I do something like try to get acceptance from someone I perceive to be in authority because I never got acceptance from my mum and dad (emotional abuse actually). So knowing all this why can’t I shake the inappropriate emotional response (and pain when that person dosen’t return my affection) and know that this is all about my parents behaviour and not necessarily about who I am and what I am worth?

  • taŕryn says:

    ROLAND I am exactly as you describe here .. And recently its causing more and more people to pull away from me. How do I identify the exact root of my trauma? The things that I can remember dont seem all that traumatic and I feel like maybe I’m not aware of something.

  • Olivia says:

    Wow I did not see it this way. I do have expectations, high ones but thought it was because I hold myself to such a high standard. Will think about that the next time I fly off the handle about it.

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