If the part of the brain that is responsible for meaning-making is compromised due to severe trauma in early childhood before it has a chance to develop – that function can be ‘outsourced’ as a projection or introjection depending on at which developmental stage the neurobiology has been hampered.
The rest of the ‘system’ – without ‘affect’ – plays a variety of roles for operational, communicative and symbolic purposes; they do not feel ‘real’. This creates a dis-ease. I –the witness – experiences the force employed to repress the various problematic selves in order to present a viable, socially acceptable, facsimile as Exhaustion. This is the true state of Being for the Disassociated Self; absolute exhaustion at having to live a life lie that has no ‘body’.
Large numbers of people appear to exist in a high functioning version of this state. Their primary ‘Self’, however, is often to be found OUTSIDE the individual or INSIDE the body (see below). Because so many people experience this phenomenon as ‘normal’, it is quite a challenge to ‘awaken’ someone in this state. Nobody should be awoken prematurely – and without support – Hibernation of the Self is a crucial survival strategy.
I believe the IDEA of the opportunity to awaken should be more firmly presented as an option. People should know that opportunities for integration, individuation and self-realization are possible; many people are good, many people are good witnesses. We exist. By holding a safe and secure space for the different selves to express themselves and receive an ‘acceptable’ response it is possible for the individual and the witness to notice the ‘absence’ of one or more of the selves in the system.
There are two simultaneous ‘places’ where this missing self can be found. The first is as an ailment in the body. The second is as a projection. I am adept at decoding the projection. The Beloved reads the body.
We are both witnesses. We create the space, it is up to you to decide what you want to do with the opportunity.
How do you train for this, other than by practicing Mindful Loving as a constant way of Being?
You do not need to have experienced trauma to suffer from its consequences.
The trauma your mother experienced has significant implications for how you experienced the world as a child under her care – and ‘inherited’ her wound – by altering the expression of genes that regulate behavioral and endocrine responses to stress.
Meaney M. Maternal care, gene expression, and the transmission of individual differences in stress reactivity across generations. Annual Review of Neuroscience 2001;24:1161–92.
Why we work as a team.
Emotion and cognition are important: children who only use cognitive schemes to deal with their environment and have no contact with their emotions are as disturbed as children who only use emotion. You shouldn’t need a citation for this but …
Crittenden P. Treatment of anxious attachment in infancy and early childhood. Dev. Psychopathology 1992;4:575–602.
I still feel hindered by a false ‘rationality’ that stands in opposition to my lived experience like the many who must have questioned their intuitive sense that the world was round – and doubted themselves – because the prevailing consensus said otherwise. With authority. If you experience doubts, it may be helpful to understand where they come from.