Dissociation can be defined as disruptions in aspects of consciousness, identity, memory, physical actions and/or the environment. The causes of dissociation typically include trauma, often prolonged trauma, such as sexual or physical abuse, in childhood. The stress of war or natural disasters may also cause dissociation. Dissociation is more common in children, which is why this particular behavior is often developed in childhood. Dissociation is a coping skill used to separate the person from the traumatic event(s) and memories of the traumatic event(s). Children find it particularly easy to “step out of themselves” as their identity is still forming. Dissociation may be worsened during times of stress, even in adulthood, in those who have learned this coping skill.
“Stepping out of themselves,” feeling out of your body. I have spent a lot of my life with the feeling I was out of my body. Going through the motions to survive without totally falling apart. I picked this topic because I am trying to distance myself from the feelings associated to the trauma I experienced at the hands of someone I believed loved me. I never believed that I would be a statistic. Especially since I was educated, stupid right.
I was raped when I was 14 years old, but I only remember waking up with my pantyhose off. It was by someone I liked and he was a friends cousin. The only reason I know that it happened was that I was bleeding when I went to the bathroom. We were making out and I was tired because we were at a party and it was late after midnight. He took me to a secluded room and we were kissing and then I remember waking up having to put on my pantyhose and shoes. Never saw him again. Never told anyone. Never thought it affected me.
I have always been a flirt, but I was seen as a “dick tease” so I usually followed through with what was happening. I can’t say I remember any of the experiences because I always felt like I wasn’t there, my body was a shell.
I was thinking about the Abuse I experienced and I began to cry and feel really sick. I remember having a counselor after I had gotten away from the DV “Domestic Violence” that I really tried to explain what happened and how I felt. I think I freaked him out. I was having real trouble connecting and staying grounded. There was a “floating through life” feeling. I didn’t sleep because of the nightmares, eating was once in awhile only for survival and any relationship (dating) that was a joke. I couldn’t hold down a job, there was no distraction that would help and during this time I was an awful mother. If I wasn’t yelling and screaming at them, I was neglecting them. I couldn’t run from what happened and even the dissociation from myself seemed to be pointless.
Some people use drugs and alcohol to kill the pain, I used some drugs, but I used men more. I justified my behavior by saying that I was using men like they used women. The only person I was hurting was myself.
OK, here is the big whammy.
The first time I got beat up was on my birthday, March 8th 1989. He came home from work and I don’t know what provoked it, but it was bad. First thing he did was pour a full beer over my head. He taunted me, saying horrible things, accusing me of cheating on him and I deserved what I got. When I told him to get out he laughed at me so I went to call the police and that is when he knocked me on the ground, ripped the phone from the wall and started kicking me with his steal toed boots. He never bruised me anywhere you could see it.
I blamed myself for along time because I told him that I would rather hit me then say the things he said to me. I thought I gave him cart blanche’ to do what he wanted. It all got progressively worse.
So I was looking back on some of my earlier post and I have discussed some of the horror I endured. Because I am discussing PTSD and Dissociation I will recount some events. Hopefully in more cohesive descriptions. Again I ask for patience while I work to relay these events. My attempt is to give a clear picture of what truly happened not only for the world, but for my daughters who were too young to know exactly what was happening and give them a clear insight to what caused me to be the angry, ugly person I was while they were growing up. Not only was I terrorized, my children had to endure me as I tried to overcome the trauma.
“So the father comes home and beats the wife, Mom takes it out on the children and then the baby kicks the dog.”
What does that have to do with dissociation: It is the cycle of violence and most of the time the after effects are “out of body experiences.”
Lunatic Fringe Forever
One thought on “Dissociation: PTSD #2”
Good for you for taking steps to break the cycle and work on healing.