June 26, 2022 at 2:06 pm #403108
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Dear anita,</p>
Thank you again for more insights. I will wait for your second post before i answer as to not let things get confusing.
EdJune 26, 2022 at 2:57 pm #403110
Thank you for making my insights possible by your intelligent questions and empathetic, patient and kind attitude. It will be a couple-few hours before I reply further.
anitaJune 26, 2022 at 7:41 pm #403111
“Your mother… she would also use her mask/ persona to seem loving to you (good food, caring when you were sick) and then crush your hopes to enjoy your pain… I guess one could see that as a push-pull dynamic?“-
– Her persona (kind, generous, loving) is about hiding the anima (repressed anger/ hate) by pretending to be the opposite. But not all of her behaviors are either anger/ hate or pretense. Sometimes she genuinely felt affection towards me and towards other.
My mother started like any other child: honest and eager to please, trusting and loving. Then she experienced a series of traumas: physical violence by her father, the death of her mother, severe physical and emotional abuse by her older sister, to name three major sources of trauma.
Emotional trauma causes a fragmentation of a person’s mental-emotional self. Definition of fragmentation: the process or state of breaking or being broken into small or separate parts.
When a piece of fragile glass falls to the floor, upon hitting the floor, a physical internal stress within the glass is created, and that stress causes the glass to break. Similarly, when a person experiences severe emotional trauma, an emotional- physical internal stress within the person’s brain causes parts of the brain to break.
For example, because of trauma I experienced as a child, the part of my brain that connected words to definitions and remembered the connections broke or froze and did not develop further. This is why I have to keep looking up definition of words that I read and used hundreds or thousands of times. Also, parts of my brain that are responsible for paying attention broke or froze and did not develop further, and therefore, I’ve suffered from Attention Deficit Disorder since I was a young child. You can think of these as micro-breaks or micro-tears in the brain because these micro-tears are too small to be made visible by a medical diagnostic imaging technique.
There is a famous disorder called Multiple Personality Disorder, renamed by the DSM-4, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), colloquially known as <b>split </b>personality disorder. A synonyms of split: broken.
The Dana Foundation (dana. org) on DID: “the problem is not that they have more than one personality, but rather that they have less than one—a fragmentation of self rather than a proliferation of selves…. (a) difficulty integrating their memories, their sense of identity and aspects of their consciousness into a continuous whole. They find many parts of their experience alien, as if belonging to someone else…
“Evidence is accumulating that trauma, especially early in life, repeated, and inflicted by relatives or caretakers, produces dissociative disorders. DID can be thought of as a chronic, severe form of post-traumatic stress disorder… involving fragmentation of identity, memory and consciousness”
“Another plausible neurobiological mechanism linking childhood trauma to dissociative difficulties with the integration of memory is smaller hippocampal volume… This research indicates that chronically elevated cortisol levels may damage the hippocampus, leading to smaller size and poorer function… a smaller hippocampus would likely limit a person’s ability to encode, store and retrieve memories and manage the emotions associated with them…. Limitations on hippocampal size and function hinder memory processing and the ability to comprehend context”.
The hippocampus is a major part of the brain, and cortisol is a stress hormone that is released in great amounts during and as a result of trauma. What the source I quoted from above says, I am paraphrasing (and greatly simplifying, I am sure) is that emotional trauma causes such internal stress within the hippocampus that the hippocampus breaks/ fragments (like the breaking of glass when it hits the floor, resulting in smaller pieces of the glass), or that it freezes and does not continue to grow, resulting in a smaller hippocampus.
The reason why I am talking about DID is that it is an extreme result of trauma, but less extreme results exist in everyone who suffered repeated trauma, particularly in childhood.
Back to my mother: sometimes she was affectionate and loving, but you couldn’t trust or rely on that part because it was not integrated into a whole cohesive mental-emotional self, and the angry/ hateful part, being as strong, loud and vicious as it was ,made my life hell. What I wrote about here can help you, Ed, understand the complexity in fragmented people.
“Regarding therapists.. If you have general advice I’d like to hear your most important pieces” – you mentioned two negative experiences with therapists: one blamed you and the other wanted you to get off medications (something you didn’t want to do). To prevent being blamed by yet another therapist after starting therapy, you can ask a candidate therapist (one that you are considering) if she thinks that some of the people who experience depression (or another mental condition) are at fault. You can also ask a candidate therapist what she/ he feels about psychiatric medications.
“<b>I used to value my ability to be empathetic and to be brave enough to accept criticism and grow with it. I don’t know if these were ‘good’ values, but I was proud of them because I worked hard to achieve them… I chose to explore my understanding of emotions to be a better friend for those who wanted to connect on a deeper level</b>” –
– I see these things as good values, very much so. You worked hard at (1) being able to be empathetic, (2) being brave, (3) exploring your understanding of emotions and (4) being a better friend for those who want to connect on a deeper level. Well, your hard work is very much evident in your posts, and your genuine empathy and kindness are much appreciated.
It is because of you that I further explored my understanding of emotions, as I did in this post, and it is because of you that today, I understand more than I ever did. Thank you for working hard and for putting your good values into practice as well as you do!
anitaJune 28, 2022 at 4:05 am #403140
I had to manage 2 very stressful days and i didnt want to rush a new post out without taking the time thats needed to make it meaningful.
Thank you for researching and sharing your findings. I am now very much smarter than before!
For me personally, i felt like the word ,,objectifying” always had a strong emphasis on the idea of dehumanizing a person while not having to compare them to an actual object. This is not a critque in any way to how you understand it in any way, just an explanation about how i used it in the context.
Your experience about being seen, used and treated in this isolated and ,,fragmented” kind of way by your mother made me feel sick. I can also see correlations a lot of experiences of mine in that. I guess this process is what makes abuse what it is. From the perspective of the abuser there have to be parts of a victim that make the abuse ,,worth it” aside from sadism and the feeling of control. I think that by isolating aspects of the personality of a victim they try to control which parts they are presented with, or in short, its a process of conditioning the victim.
Going by what you wrote about your mother maliciously (re)inventing your existence, like your grades or your interest in boys, i feel like that was also an attempt of forcing a conditioning on you to change who you are to someone who would please her.
At least thats the impression i got. Maybe i projected my experiences of conditioning in this, i just see similarities to my life: my father screaming at me for hours for not being ,,good enough”, my mother supporting this by not intervening and making me feel like he was right, my first ex-girlfriend physically and verbally abusing me when i didnt do things she wanted me to do and my second ex hating me for not being able to save her.
I thank you also for your kind words regarding my values!
As i am diagnosed with DID relating to ptsd i am interested if you are as well, if you are okay with sharing about that.
I will ask my next potential therapist as you suggested.
If i may ask, you shared a lot about the process of trauma-related fragmentation or ,,breaking” of ones personality following trauma and your own steady progress of understanding this process as a part of your life. How are you generally doing in that regard? Do you feel like piecing yourself together while still generally trying to grow as a person will have an end? (At least speaking about yourself?) Or do you see it more as a life-long obligation to yourself, no matter if you are ever ,,finished”?
EdJune 28, 2022 at 6:47 am #403142
I read your post first thing this Tuesday morning, and am glad to read from you, but I want to reply to it later, in a couple of hours, maybe three, when I am better prepared. Oh, one thing, if you get to this before I reply further, you wrote “As I am diagnosed with DID relating to ptsd”- you weren’t diagnosed with Disassociation Identity Disorder, were you? (You did mention ptsd before, I assume you were diagnosed with ptsd?
anitaJune 28, 2022 at 7:04 am #403143
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Dear anita,</p>
I have been diagnosed with ptsd and i have been suffering from diagnosed dissociations and depersonalisation for years as part of the ptsd complex of symptoms.
(Based on where i live my mental health problems are diagnosed with the icd, and most of my psychiatrists and therapists gave me different diagnoses for the same problems. I myself ,,accept” the diagnoses from the professionals i trust the most.)
Im looking forward to read from you again, take your time of course.
EdJune 28, 2022 at 7:12 am #403144
*so to be clear, i am not diagnosed with DID, i am experiencing the same symptoms like i wrote above.June 28, 2022 at 11:56 am #403174
You are welcome. “For me personally, I felt like the word ‘objectifying’ always had a strong emphasis on the idea of dehumanizing a person” – yes, it makes sense to me, objectifying=dehumanizing. To dehumanize (my definition): to treat a person with no compassion, with no care for the person’s hurt and pain; no care for causing it, for adding to it, and/ or witnessing it happening and not intervening.
“From the perspective of the abuser… I think that by isolating aspects of the personality of a victim they try to control which parts they are presented with, or in short, its a process of conditioning the victim“-
-conditioning (online): “the process of training.. a person or animal to behave in a certain way… a form of learning in which… a given stimulus (or signal) becomes increasingly effective in evoking a response”- conditioning then applies an intent to condition, on the part of the abuser, and a purposeful, persistent execution of a plan to condition.
I read from people who assign their abusers with an intent, a plan, and an execution of a plan to abuse. When you look at a story of abuse from a distance above grounds, away from the story in time and place, you can see retroactively elements of a plan, but on the grounds, most often- the abuser acts on impulse/ the heat of passion.
“Going by what you wrote about your mother maliciously (re)inventing your existence.. I feel like that was also an attempt of forcing a conditioning on you to change who you are to someone who would please her” – there was no planned conditioning on her part, no execution of a plan to reinvent me: that’s why she failed at creating “someone who would please her”. If she had a plan to reinvent me and if she executed such a plan.. she would have succeeded, at least while I was a child, because I was highly motivated to please her: I would have done anything and been anyone!
“I just see similarities to my life: my father screaming at me for hours for not being ‘good enough’, my mother supporting this by not intervening and making me feel like he was right, my first ex-girlfriend physically and verbally abusing me when I didn’t do things she wanted me to do and my second ex hating me for not being able to save her” – all these people were abusive to you. As I understand it at this point, your father abused you impulsively, in the heat of passion, projecting his anger at himself/ at his real-life abusers => into you.
My mother too screamed at me for hours, it was a miserable experience. She didn’t stop going on and on and on until she got physically tired.
“I have been suffering from diagnosed dissociations and depersonalisation for years as part of the ptsd complex of symptoms“, “I am interested if you are as well, if you are okay with sharing about that” – I am okay sharing about it with you, but as you know, it’s difficult to do so (that’s why I procrastinated replying to you this morning). Personally, in real-life, I never met or noticed anyone being anywhere close to how very dissociated and very depersonalised I felt and acted so very often, for so many years, except for a few actively-psychotic people I came across. It is surprising that I physically survived, ex., I remember.. finding myself in the middle of a busy street with a truck just passing me by very closely, not remembering how I got there. Currently, I am less dissociated/ disconnected… more and more associated/ connected.
“you shared a lot about the process of trauma-related fragmentation or ‘breaking’ of one’s personality following trauma… Do you feel like piecing yourself together while still generally trying to grow as a person will have an end?.. Or do you see it more as a life-long obligation to yourself, no matter if you are ever ‘finished’?” – I mentioned to you that I go on walks, and I do, every day. I live outside the city limits in an elevated area, a forest. So, on my walk I see lots and lots of trees. Whenever you see an injured tree, you can see that it doesn’t stop growing, it finds a way. It grows in a different direction than it would have grown if it wasn’t injured, but it grows. I see old growth trees, dead stumps of trees, but at the top, new trees grow. Life finds a way.
Becoming more and more associated (less and less dissociated) will not have an end point in my life for as long as I am alive, there is no finish line other than physical death. There will never be a finished product. I will never be… as good as new, I will never be anything like I would have been if I grew up in way better circumstances. I hope I answered your questions.
In the next few posts, just in the next few, don’t ask me more questions: talk about yourself, if you will. Will you?
anitaJune 28, 2022 at 12:19 pm #403178
I will talk about myself and pause my questions.
EdJune 28, 2022 at 12:30 pm #403180
Thank you. I need the break.
anitaJune 28, 2022 at 1:15 pm #403181
P.S., a break from questions about my childhood, not a break from you..June 28, 2022 at 1:39 pm #403182
I am sincerly sorry that i pushed too hard.
I dont really know how to respectfully proceed from this.
EdJune 28, 2022 at 1:48 pm #403183
You didn’t hurt me, not at all. You taught me today to not talk to members about their childhoods, and to not ask them about their childhoods as much as I did all these years in the forums, ever since 2015. I need to do less f that, from now on. So, thank you for teaching me this!
“I don’t really know how to respectfully proceed from this” – this is not a tragedy, no harm done. Procced as if we are both allowed to be imperfect (we don’t have the option of being perfect, so…)
anitaJune 28, 2022 at 4:00 pm #403190
A few thoughts that occurred to me during my walk, from which I just returned: you did nothing wrong by asking me about my childhood. You asked me graciously, with outmost respect and you expressed empathy for me all along. You weren’t able to predict that it would get difficult for me to answer at one point, neither was I able to predict when it would happen. When I mentioned that you and I are imperfect, I mean that we are unable to do what is humanly impossible: to read minds and predict the future. I often say that healing and learning are synonymous: to heal we must learn, and you helped me learn.
I feel sad at the thought that you might not return to your thread and that I may not talk with you again, in which case I want to say: thank you and my best wishes to you. If you return.. well, maybe you can help me learn more, and maybe I can help you learn-heal, if only just a bit.
anitaJune 29, 2022 at 5:11 am #403207
It is good to hear that i didnt hurt you. I was afraid that i did. Im glad that you are learning more about yourself and that it helps you healing.
This moment we had in our conversation showed me something too: i am desperate for a judgement about my past, in the sense that i am desperate to know if i did wrong and deserved what i experienced or if i am allowed to free myself and move on. I also learned that only i can decide that.
The situation i had with my last ex just woke up this life-long conflict in me and made my desperation real again after i thought that i had grown out of it.