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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bruce's Lecture

Dissociation

One way the immaturely parented child can adapt to abuse is to fly off into fantasy so that he doesn't have to look reality in the eye. He dissociates himself from painful information because he has come to believe the falsehood his caregivers have taught him: that he is worthless. From the one-down position, he chooses to live in the shut-down world of adaptation rather than face the reality that he does deserve his place on the planet. He creates fantasies in which he has power and control. Trapped within the dysfunction of this kind of trauma, he chooses isolation, so that he is free to create his own world rather than risk contact with reality.

Even worse off than the love addict who turns a real-life lover into "a knight in shining armor," the individual suffering from trauma dissociation eschews real people and substitutes a dream world of his own making. In the world of sexual deviation, this is the realm of romance novel addicts and the fictitious re-creation of self in Internet chat rooms.

Trauma dissociation protects the traumatized individual from learning information that is too shameful for him to accept. It is a challenge to treat this particular kind of trauma because trauma dissociation is so effective. The individual creates almost impregnable compartments in which he locks away his "bad news" so that it cannot escape and damage his self-esteem. The degradation is kept separate from all other information in his life.

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