Emotional Dissociation And What To Do About It

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION from the Florida Jewish News There was a spate of books some time ago about women who had been severely emotionally abused and sexually molested as children and grew up with “split personalities.” The Three Faces of Eve was even made into a movie. A well done and true story was presented in The Flock. Milder cases of dissociation are described in Marlene Steinberg’s Stranger In The Mirror.   While a complete barrier to conscious awareness to the extent described in these books is very rare, there are degrees of everything, including the tendency to split off, or dissociate, feelings or information. In fact, disconnecting oneself from painful feelings is rather common. What’s scary about it is the fact that the person doing it is usually not aware that he or she is doing it. That’s a problem. How Prevalent This Problem Is: 1. When going through a divorce, the nicest people frequently can shut down any feelings of compassion for someone who they now consider an adversary, even if they had presumably been in love at one time. When you talk to them about this phenomenon, they deny that’s what they’re doing and tell you they never had any positive feelings for that no-good so-and-so.   2. Mothers who went through all sorts of tribulations to nurse their babies manage to turn off that feeling of connection to those same children six years later when the children get wild. Not only does the mother feel intensely angry, but they often cannot recall or recreate those warm, fuzzy feelings they once had toward their own children....
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