Super Power

My super power was dissociation and my counselor took my super power away.  Well, it felt like that.  Dissociation is the ability to disconnect, disengage and not be there for an experience.

Lilly Hope Lucario 

Lilly agrees with me that dissociation is a coping tool.  Works amazingly during times of extreme trauma.  Using dissociation I was able to straighten my broken arm for an needed x-ray.  So why would my counselor want to take it away?

First to make sure we are all talking about the same thing this is the first thing that popped up when I did a search:

Dissociation is a mental process of disconnecting from one’s thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity. The dissociative disorders that need professional treatment include dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, depersonalisation disorder and dissociative identity disorder.
Dissociation and dissociative disorders – Better Health Channel…/dissociation-and-dissociative-disorders

When it comes to coping in extreme situations dissociation is powerful when used temporarily.  The problem became when dissociation was controlling me.  My brother described it best, “Lights are on but nobody is home.” From my perspective it meant missing time.  Big chunks of time.  When asked how to describe how I saw it:  I would go to sleep on Monday, wake up on Wednesday and wonder what happened to Tuesday and why am I in trouble for it?  Most of my counseling was centered on this one symptom.  My mother tried to deny that I ever did this.  She admitted that when she would lecture me I would get this far away look on my face.  Yup, she watched me dissociate with no understanding of what was happening.  I learned it at a very young age.  My younger sister told my aunt that I was always like that.  For her, I always was.  I organized my life in a very elaborate no connection between school, home and friends.  My friends would be puzzled by how I acted at school but I always blamed it on worry about grades which they understood.  Home never noticed because I always acted that way.  Friends saw me differently.  I worked hard at keeping all the pieces separate. My teenage children questioned me as to why I acted differently around different people.  I shrugged it off as just different people expected different things.  In counseling, there was no pulling the wool over my therapists eyes.  He saw what was happening and through books and movies he guided me slowly to understand that dissociation was how I functioned and made my relationships more difficult.  I agreed.  My journey towards healing is documented in my other blog.

Dissociation is used by almost everyone.  From day dreaming while driving home to the extreme of total disconnection between experiences and emotions leading to Dissociative disorders of several varieties.  I agreed with some that decided that staying dissociated was to their advantage.  It was how they coped.  I made the decision to pull all the parts of me back together.   A long journey but I believe worth it.

After I integrated, my counselor was talking to me about dissociation and how everyone does it from time to time.  He pointed out that he didn’t understand why some children, like me, would stay dissociated. I told him the answer was easy.  On Monday I was expected to go hungry so my brothers could have seconds, on Tuesday I would go hungry again, same on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday….when would the crisis end?  When was it safe for me to not dissociate?  After 30 years of counseling, he admitted that he had never looked at it that way.

To me, dissociation is a powerful survival tool, however walking around disconnected from the World is a lousy way to live, in my opinion.



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