Dissociation: The action of
dissociating; the condition of being dissociated; disassociation. 2 Psychol. The process or result of breaking up an association of
ideas. 3 Psychiatry. A process, or the resulting condition, in which certain concepts or mental processes are separated from the
conscious personality; spec. the state of a person suffering from dissociated personality. Oxford
How trauma and dissociation are related:
Professionals working in the area of
abuse and trauma are quite familiar with dissociative processes. Clients/Patients commonly share in the context of treatment the phenomena of
separating their thoughts and emotions from the trauma that they were experiencing and/or had experienced in the past. This separation
(dissociation) of one’s thoughts, emotions and even body sensations are commonly seen in traumatic disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD). In addition, patients who are diagnosed with a dissociative disorder are often discovered to have trauma in their background.
The apparent co-existence of trauma and dissociation have led many therapists to note that ‘you can’t have trauma without dissociation and
that you can’t have dissociation without trauma’.
There are always exceptions to this noted co-existence of trauma
and dissociation, but nevertheless the phenomenon is quite commonly reported to therapists. There has even been discussion within the
diagnostic community of possibly having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) listed as a dissociative disorder and thus removed from the
DSM-IV category of Anxiety Disorders. © George F. Rhoades, Jr., Ph.D. November 1, 1998, P.O. Box 1164,
Pearl City, HI. 96782.
Richard: All the mystics advise
dissociation (wherein painful reality is transformed into a bad dream) as being the most effective means to deal with all the wars and murders
and rapes and tortures and domestic violence and child abuse and sadness and loneliness and grief and depression and suicides and the
such-like. Just as a traumatised victim of an horrific and terrifying event makes the experience unreal in order to cope with the ordeal, all
the Gurus and the God-Men, the Masters and the Messiahs, the Avatars and the Saviours and the Saints and the Sages have desperately done
precisely this thing (during what is sometimes called ‘the dark night of the soul’). Mystics have been transmogrifying the real world
‘reality’ into an unreal ‘True Reality’ via the epiphenomenal imaginative/intuitive facility born of the psyche (which is formed by the
instinctual passions genetically endowed by blind nature for survival purposes) for millennia.
Such dissociation is a psychotic sickness culturally
institutionalised into a head-in-the-sand escapist ‘solution’ to all the ills of humankind … hence the divine perpetuation of all the
misery and mayhem across the millennia through a belief in karma or samsara or some-such metaphysical reason being the cause of such aberrant
behaviour. Mysticism is nothing more and nothing less than a frantic coping-mechanism, institutionalised into a cultural metaphysics over
thousands and thousands of years … especially if accompanied by dissociative states such as ‘derealisation’ and ‘alternate personality
disorder’ and others. It is also known as ‘disassociation’, or ‘disassociative identity disorder’ and dissociative reactions are
attempts to escape from excessive trauma tension and anxiety by separating off parts of personality function from the rest of cognition as an
attempt to isolate something that arouses anxiety and gain distance from it.
For example, in everyday life, mild and temporary dissociation, sometimes hard to
distinguish from repression and isolation, is a relatively common and normal device used to escape from severe emotional tension and anxiety.
Temporary episodes of transient estrangement, depersonalisation and derealisation are often experienced by normal persons when they first feel
the initial impact of bad news, for instance. Everything suddenly looks strange and different; things seem unnatural and distant; events can be
indistinct and vaporous; often the person feels that they themselves are unreal and everything takes on a dream-like quality. Dissociation
becomes abnormal when the once mild or transient expedient becomes too intense, lasts too long, or escapes from a person’s control … and
leads to a separation from the surroundings which seriously disturbs object relations. In object estrangement the once familiar world of
ordinary objects – the world of people, things and events – seems to have undergone a disturbing and often indescribable change.