Disconnecting from history

dissociationDetachment is easy. Apparently it is something I have always done and something I do well. I don’t know how I do it, sometimes I don’t even mean to do it, I just do!

Dissociation is a rigid separation from repetitive and overwhelming trauma. Someone who dissociates detaches from feelings, thoughts, sensations, memories and perceptions. Sometimes we even disconnect from each other.

Dissociation is common in abuse victims, especially when the abuse is severe and repeated. Detachment from our emotions can, more often than not, be the only way we can survive the trauma.

My therapist says I dissociate a lot. I am different in therapy than anywhere else. At least in therapy I can kind of be myself. I have to be different everywhere else. I have to dissociate sometimes. It is the only way I know how to survive.

I feel like I am living behind glass sometimes. Like I am on the inside looking out, watching my life go by.

I kept the horror of my childhood a secret for so long. I had no adult for comfort so I had to become emotionally self-sufficient. The only way I could do that was to pretend the abuse wasn’t happening. I would dissociate from my emotions. I would never let myself feel anything.

After a while I began self-harming. At least then if a feeling or emotion snuck in, I could get rid of it by cutting. I used self-harm to withstand the emotional pain. I had to hide my pain and the abuse to keep myself alive.

Detaching from the abuse was how I learnt to survive; it was the only way I knew how to survive. I would play happy families and pretend that nothing was happening. To the outside world we were just a normal family.

How untrue that was!!

Now that I have spoken up I try not to dissociate so much, especially now I am more aware that I do it, but sometimes I just cannot help it. It is my defence mechanism for things that are too painful to cope with. Like, for example, the subject of my mother.

It hurts so much. Too much. Every time my therapist broaches the subject I go into defence mode, I begin to detach.

I don’t mean to. I don’t want to. I want to face my emotions around my mother. I need to. I am just scared because those feelings and emotions already hurt so much that I pretend I feel nothing. Except my therapist sees straight through me. She knows me well enough to know when I begin to dissociate. I do it a lot!

To outsiders, people who dissociate can seem like they don’t care or just don’t want to face their trauma. However for most of us that isn’t true. We disconnect and detach for survival. Sometimes it is the only way we know how to survive.

If you were in our shoes, having to face years of repeated abuse and trauma, wouldn’t you want to detach too? Wouldn’t you want to not have to feel the pain and emotions that came with it all?

We disconnect from history to keep ourselves safe. Safe from the pain. Sometimes it is all we know how to do.

However as time goes on, as we begin to face things, dissociation becomes harder.

We are suddenly filled with all the memories from yesterday. We are taken over by the flashbacks and nightmares of today. But we are also searching for tomorrows healing.

Sometimes that journey to healing involves dissociating every once in a while. It does not make us weak but in fact means that we have a strong desire to survive.

If you know someone who has experienced trauma and who disconnects from their history try to remember that it is because the trauma is just too painful for them to bear at that moment.

Please be patient with them. After all, like me, they could be fighting for survival.

Like me, they could be fighting for their life!

Thanks for reading.

**Image courtesy of Google Images**



6 thoughts on “Disconnecting from history

  1. As the saying goes – you have once again hit the proverbial nail on the head with your writing. You have a gift in being able to put down on paper what many people think and feel, and honestly I myself don’t feel so alone. As long as you keep writing, I and others, will keep reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I will keep writing as long as people want me to. I am glad I am connecting with people. It stops me from feeling so alone too.

      Thank you for reading x


  2. “Dissociation is common in abuse victims, especially when the abuse is severe and repeated. Detachment from our emotions can, more often than not, be the only way we can survive the trauma.” and “I feel like I am living behind glass sometimes” OK, maybe I should quote the entire post as you explain it so well.
    I didn’t know I did this until I started blogging and others named it as such. I called it ‘zoning’ out. And though I am more present now, I still need rest sometimes by going to that place. I seem to have a choice now, but it arose without consciousness and continued that way without really even being aware that I did it.
    The hurts of abuse, reading your words and how it affected you which is so similar to my own body’s way of coping— hit deep right past my reserves. Wow, what writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for your kind words x
    I used to call it zoning out too until I knew what dissociation was. I am glad that I am not alone in this though sad that you go through it too.

    Thanks for supporting me xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Gemma…once again I am so sorry that you and so many others suffer/have suffered in such horrific ways in order to satisfy the ‘needs’ of those who have no clue what real love is! I am so glad that you didn’t fully believe the lie that somehow you deserved his/their abuse!!!!! Your ability to dissociate has kept you alive to this point, and I am thankful that you are receiving help from your therapist. I hope you find some comfort in knowing that others, like me are standing with you as you speak up, and defend yourself and others in similar situations. You don’t yet believe it, but you are a brave role model to sister-sufferers, and an inspiration to all who hear of you, and read your posts. Sending much love your way, and prayers for great peace, steadfast determination, and continued healing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Carrie xxx

      Thank you for continuing to support me through this journey and for always helping me with your kind words.
      They help me to keep going.


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