Dissociation is Real

Dissociation is Real

Recently I was alerted to an article on Psychology Today which denounced dissociation as a real response to trauma.  Not surprisingly, this article made my blood boil.  The most infuriating part of the article was how he kept repeating how dissociation was used as an excuse for behavior.  So basically, he was saying that if someone doesn’t want to take responsibility for their behavior, they could claim dissociation caused it.  It was written by someone with the letters behind his name.  I am sure he had went to school and read the books.  I am sure he has worked with some clients with some mildly irritating symptoms associated with some mild forms of trauma.  And suddenly, he is an expert on what does and doesn’t exist.

These kinds of articles are irresponsible for so many reasons (most of which I don’t need to tell you).  Dissociation is hard to acknowledge even for those of us who are graced with severe forms of it.  We have learned denial from the best.  That’s why we dissociate in the first place.  Acknowledging dissociation requires us to admit there is another narrative, a narrative we have been denying a very long time.  Of course, we need help with that.  We need to hear from credible sources that we are on the right track, that what we are uncovering is real.  We won’t hear that from our abusers.  We won’t hear it from the general public.  So we have to hear it from trained professionals.  When they throw denial in our direction, they cause more damage than they will ever fully understand.

So why do they do it?  Why do they use their credentials to enable the denial of something very real in such an irresponsible way?  Why can they not accept dissociation as a trauma response considering all the research in support of it, all the experts who say it is real?  Why do they continue to claim it is false?  Well, I have some ideas.

Their controller is in charge.  This is not much of a stretch.  The controller is in charge of the majority of inner systems on this planet.  And the controller is very black and white about life.  They are responsible for most justice, law enforcement, technology, medical and educational systems on the planet.  What does that mean?  Anything that falls into a grey area must be untrue or made up.  The possibility that life contains the unexplainable is completely outside their understanding.  Ironically, dissociation is quite explainable, but it takes time to get there.  The controller-enmeshed person isn’t likely to be open-minded enough for that journey.

They have their own deep denial about pain they experienced or caused someone else.  If the controller is in charge, there is a good chance they are denying something.  They don’t want to feel pain that they have shoved deep into the crevices of their being.  Dissociation is what keeps it all hidden away.  And if they acknowledge dissociation, they have to admit they might have it.  And if they admit they might have it, they might be opening a Pandora’s Box they don’t want to open.  They don’t want to feel their pain.  That makes sense.  None of us want to do that.  But their personal denial approach is invalidating the journey of others.  And that is not acceptable.

They are in cahoots with the drug companies.  I do not use my platform to bash drugs.  I do see a time and place for medication in the fight against traumatic responses.  We need them to manage symptoms while we heal.  But there is a problem.  Drug companies don’t want clients to get better, at least not that much better.  They encourage the continued denial by suppressing what we need to address.  And that can get a bit too comfortable if we are not careful.  But everyone knows there are no drugs to “fix” dissociation.  There is no medical solution.  So if we admit dissociation is the primary cause of the symptoms we are having, the drug industry takes a hit.

They want the attention they are claiming we want.  I am so sick of people saying that claiming dissociation is about attention-seeking.  These polarizing articles are written to get an argument started, to seek attention themselves.  They know it is a heated topic.  And they know they are going to trigger people.  What an opportunity to get some attention and maybe even some clients who want to stay in denial.  After all, in this day and age, all publicity is good publicity.

When you see ridiculously invalidating articles out there, please remember that anyone can get an article published in this internet age.  Please remember that this person is in denial.  For one reason or another, they have chosen to build on the pain of others for their own comfort.  Know that this person’s opinion does not matter in your recovery journey.  And do with this person what you did with the others who hurt you.  Set them aside unapologetically and continue to heal.

 

**And if you want to take action, feel free to contact the editors at Psychology Today and let them know they are irresponsibly and blindly promoting systemic denial.

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11 Comments

  1. They’re zombies

    Reply
    • They really don’t get it.

      Reply
  2. Yes, thank you.
    And what would he say about the number of individuals who are finally able to work with his/her dissociation, and then observe s-ignificant changes in behavior.

    Reply
    • He doesn’t observe. That’s his problem. People like this aren’t paying attention.

      Reply
  3. Hi Elisabeth,
    I was shocked to read what you had written. I am cocooned in a way, in my recovery from abuse I surround myself with others who are also fighting for recovery so to read that there are people who are denying is shocking.
    Its also depressing.
    I love your spirit, go you !

    Reply
    • Honestly, I was a bit shocked by it too. I could not believe there were still people in denial because I am surrounded by all of you amazing souls every day. But it is out there and we need to fight it. Love to you.

      Reply
  4. Ha! Ha! LOL he is threatened by dissociation. I see it clearly.

    I can say from personal experience that all persons who have dissociated do not know it at first so his argument does not fly. You use a ‘state’ to seek attention if you are not aware you have it. You also cannot use it as a form of ‘denial’ of your behaviour if you do not know you suffer from it- so all of his theories are B.S.

    I was a verrrrry dissociated person – and I did not know it. I still remember the first time I felt my feet – it is the strangest feeling to realize that you had feet, saw them every day, used them every day but did not actually FEEL them and know they were yours.

    Dissociation is STRANGE, even therapists will affirm that – the ones that are truly know what they are talking about.

    I agree Elisabeth, having someone who has ‘letters’ behind their name make these kinds of accusations (that is what they are) is very damaging to those of us who are working on becoming whole. It also proves that you cannot rely on someone just because they have those letters behind their name – trust what resonates, what feels right. Your heart knows.

    Thank you Elisabeth – this makes my blood boil too!!

    For everyone else, do not let ANYONE else invalidate you and your experience – that is what he is doing – attempting to invalidate other peoples experiences.

    Reply
  5. Sorry, meant to say – You ‘cannot’ use dissociation as a form of denial of your behaviour if you are not aware of it. How do you deny something if you do not know it exists.

    Reply
    • This all so true Wendy. Thank you for your take on this ridiculousness.

      Reply
  6. Hi Elizabeth, I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while now, and I find your articles are always very enlightening.

    This really did hit close to home, because I never knew I dissociated until a very short time ago (meaning literally weeks). However, I’ve had psychiatrists and psychotherapists in the past tell me my symptoms (what I now know was really dissociation) were just a poor excuse for my bad behavior. They told me it was an alibi, that I didn’t want to accept this “bad” me. Please note that this invalidation started 15 years ago, 15 years of my life that I have wasted until I finally found a therapist who deeply understood what I was going through. This makes me so angry.

    Thank you for all your great work, you’re amazing.

    PS. Sorry I hide behind my initial and don’t give my name, I’m unfortunately quite paranoid and don’t want for people who might know me to realize it’s actually me.

    Reply
    • Thank you M. You have nothing to apologize for. The act of writing this comment takes fierce courage. I am so sorry to hear you experienced so much invalidation at the hands of therapists. It upsets me so much to hear it. And I hear it way too often. For those out there reading this, keep searching. The good ones are out there.

      Reply

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