Positive Dissociation?

Menna

The Living Force
Interesting this thread came to the front of the line just when I was pondering a time I used dissociation to deal with a traumatic situation. Was it positive or not I don’t know.

When I was 11-12 years old I was typing back and forth with this girl on the computer (instant messaging) to make a story less long…The conversation turned intimate…after some time (other conversations) my mother called me into the computer room and sat me down right inbetween my father and her and forced me to read back the private intimate conversations. During this time I couldn’t believe this was life and that this was happening in my life in the moment what was probably 5-10 min I disassociated and went somewhere else. My legs were shaking and I believe something in me was buried down into my lower body (maybe a center) I was reading the words but I wasn’t present for all of them….fast forward to 16-17 years later as I was reading the book “When the body says no!” The memory of that event popped back into my head for the first time since it happened almost two decades ago. Ahhhh that’s why I was nervous around women my whole life and my legs would shake I said to myself…

Was this positive disassociation? I am not sure…but it was disassociation something happened in that moment that caused me to forget that event during after and long after it happened only to leave the shaky legs in social situations as a clue what type of wicked internal Alchemy is disassociation? …how do you heal trauma you don’t remember? Auyaska? Well that’s a different topic…
 

Mike

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Was this positive disassociation? I am not sure…but it was disassociation something happened in that moment that caused me to forget that event during after and long after it happened only to leave the shaky legs in social situations as a clue what type of wicked internal Alchemy is disassociation?
Hi Menna,

First, I'm sorry that your parents did that to you!

In terms of this reaction of yours being positive dissociation, my understanding is that this type of dissociation you experienced was a defense mechanism to survive the experience and overwhelming feelings of the experience in the moment. So in a sense the dissociation you experienced was positive in terms of you being able to get through the experience, but also negative in that it shoved and buried the emotions and trauma down, since in the moment there was likely no positive way to work things out emotionally in the presence of your parents, which has caused you to have some unidentified issue with the unremembered, until now, event - "that’s why I was nervous around women my whole life and my legs would shake I said to myself…".

Also, I think positive dissociation is more along the lines of forgetting yourself in something or some activity that has positive aspects to it. Such positive dissociation activities might be things like doing guided meditation, EE, reading the romance novels mentioned on the forum, and possibly even praying. Negative dissociation related to this aspect of this type of dissociation would be forgetting oneself/dissociating during and with certain negative type movies, music, video games, etc.
 

monotonic

The Living Force
I would think a good bar for determining the difference between positive and negative dissociation is the effect on your awareness. If what you're doing is good for you then the overall effect should be increased awareness.

From what you describe the overall effect of the whole situation was to plant a blockage in your nervous system that impaired your interaction with women. If the dissociation had a positive effect then we can ask how could it have been worse if you had not dissociated? It's not obvious that you were protected if you have been traumatized for so long.

I wonder if the reason you dissociated was partly because that is the reaction your parents wanted. Maybe in their way of thinking the more humiliated you were the better, and being the child you were, to resist would be to reject the punishment, which would mean harsher and harsher punishments. In other words, you dissociated because you trusted your parents, so you chose that road over the rejection of your parents and all that would entail. Once you reject the guidance of your parents, not out of mere rebellion but in principle, the things you see cannot be unseen and to reckon with those things may require the very guidance that you have rejected, the moreso the younger you are. Many children in this situation instead reject their parents and then suffer greatly from the loss of the guidance of the previous generation - although this situation is partly due to the degraded state of that very guidance as society deteriorates.

To me, positive dissociation means for one, that the reduced awareness while dissociating is a reduced awareness of things you don't really need to be aware of, at least not yet, and that you could be aware of at any moment if the need arose (unlike if you were sleeping or dissociated with degraded awareness). So first there is no harm. And secondly, while dissociating some part of you rests or recuperates, so the effect afterward is an improved awareness, attention span, creativity, spontaneity and capacity for experience. And improved ability to think on multiple levels simultaneously. And it's not obvious that overall awareness is decreased during positive dissociation, it could be that your awareness is shifting from awareness of outer circumstances which are mostly settled (if you haven't been avoiding your problems), to an inner landscape full of thought and information absorbed from your reading material, which after all is not mere entertainment is it? Are you aware of your thoughts, aware of the information coming in, are you consciously engaged in working out the personal implications of the information you are receiving?
 

monotonic

The Living Force
We can also ask, if you were not to dissociate, what would you have done instead? Maybe the stoic answer is to accept the situation, accept your parent's intent albeit flawed in execution, so you can accept they still live you in some sense. Then it is not so difficult to read the words, after all they don't matter so much in the greater picture. But this is not what we would expect of a child, is it? Why is that? I think that what we are asking of this poor child is the very courage that a trusting child lacks when faced with the withdrawal of parental love (or at least the appearance that it has been withdrawn).

But, that is just my theory, which is probably more a reflection of my experience and assumptions and illusions than it is your specific situation.
 
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