Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: Living with dissociation
Author: Fraser Trevor
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Living with dissociation We have no idea that we grew up emotionally neglected. We give, our care for others, and we try to feel that we b...
Living with dissociation We have no idea that we grew up emotionally neglected.

We give, our care for others, and we try to feel that we belong. Or, sometimes, we simply try to feel anything.

But alas, too often, we come up empty.

Some are our neighbours, our friends, our brothers and sisters, our husbands or wives. Who are quietly suffering with an invisible ghost from their past, with no way to understand or name it.

There is a reason that Childhood Emotional Abuse is so hard to recognise. It dwells in the background – in things not said, and in actions not taken. Emotional Abuse is not just something, it’s the absence of something which, truth be told, has far more power.

Living with unknown emotional abuse is like living under a box. It’s a dark cloud hanging over us, weighing us down and holding us back. It saps the joy and energy from our life, and leaves us feeling lost and alone, no matter how many people surround us. Secretly, deep down, we are left to wonder who we are, and if we actually even matter.

When someone we care about grew up without enough emotional validation and emotional attention , we may feel in some ways very close to him (or her) but yet in other ways, very far away. Even though we like or love someone, we sense that something is missing in our relationship. Somehow, in some way, something is not quite right.

How can our self be both connected and disconnected; loving but yet distant? It’s because our adult self has pushed emotions away in order to cope in the original childhood home. Now, fully grown, we are living our life without proper access to our own feelings and emotions.

Now as an adult, we do not truly know what another feels, needs or wants. We don’t even realise that it matters.

If we know someone who may fit this description, perhaps we’ve been feeling somewhat confused. After all, if our person doesn’t know what’s wrong with them, how can we?

The dissociated is always there for you when you need her, but she seldom asks you for anything. Self-contained and independent, she can handle it all herself, and prefers to do so.Conversations are weighted in your direction. You want to hear more about your person’s life, but your questions for her are typically met with attempts to steer the focus back on you.She is excessively flexible. She expresses few preferences, and often does not seem to know what she wants or likes.She seems to have something like a protective shield around her. Sometimes you want to try harder to connect with her emotionally, but it just feels banned somehow; as if to do so might make her uncomfortable, or drive her further away.She avoids conversations that involve feelings, and becomes uneasy with any demonstrations of emotion. Tears, anger, hurt, and maybe even joy can seem to make your person acutely uncomfortable.

If you see elements of these signs in your friend, family member or spouse, you are in a difficult position.

Your heart tells you to reach your hand across the chasm, but somehow it feels like your person may not reach back. Perhaps it may even feel somehow wrong to reach out. In truth, it probably feels this way because your person has built an invisible wall of dissociation to protect herself, and that wall stands between the two of you.

 Reach Through Your dissociates Wall
When you notice your person deflecting the focus back to you, point it out in a non-judgmental, observational tone. “Hey, I asked you a question and suddenly we’re talking about me again. Have you ever noticed you do that a lot?”
Use the same technique when your person expresses no preference. “You’re extremely flexible. Why is that?” Explain the guiding principals of dissociations anonymous.

Your person may resist this explanation if he’s not ready. On the other hand he may be incredibly relieved.

Either way, you’ve given your person two things he grew up deprived of: You’ve identified a dissociated trait, and you’ve validated it.

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