Dissociation is an adaptive response to threat and is a form of “freezing”. It is a strategy that is often used when the option of fighting or running (fleeing) is not an option. We shut down to draw less attention to ourselves, or in extreme cases, play dead by leaving our body and mentally and emotionally shutting down. It is important to know that dissociation is a normal response in the face of trauma. It can become problematic when Dissociation becomes the only and primary method of coping with situations that are experienced as traumatic. It is important to be able to recognize it when it is happening so as to learn how to bring yourself back to the present. It is possible to learn strategies to assist with this; such as those included on this website.
It is also useful to note that many people oscillate between being hyper aroused and dissociating. Both experiences stem from the same part of the brain (limbic system) that is not settled and perceives current experiences through a distorted lens of a past trauma.Next: Flashbacks >