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Temporarily adopting identity

Discussion in 'Dissociation, Depersonalization & Derealization' started by Rad, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Rad

    Rad I am not PTSD.

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    Something has bugged me for years.

    I have childhood trauma with very intrusive parents, and no clear identity until recently. I´ve noticed that when I´m in public, sometimes I feel like I´m "caught up" in the identity and/or energy of somebody else. This is triggered by different things such as;

    When somebody is walking at the same pace as me
    When somebody is walking the same route as me
    When I cough and then somebody else coughs as well

    There are much more examples of these, but usually I´m not noticing what triggers it so much, as trying to "pry" myself free of "being the same person" or "being in the same energy" as them. It´s as if their actions, when they mirror mine, sort of become my own. I hate it.

    Whenever this happens I try to do an opposite action as them. If they are walking my pace, I slow down or stop altogether. When they are walking the same way as me, I usually stop and wait until they´re ahead of me. When someone else coughs after me, I cough again to "appropriate" my action.

    I´ve shown symptoms of fragmented personality in the past, but I don´t have DID. I was wondering what you think this is. And whether anybody can relate.
     
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  3. shimmerz

    shimmerz My silence spoke a thousand words you never heard Premium Member

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    Yes. I can. Very much so. Nobody has ever asked about this before so I need to find the words......

    I will be back
     
    scout86, Rain and Rad like this.
  4. Rad

    Rad I am not PTSD.

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    I was starting to think I was a lone anomaly :D
     
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  5. shimmerz

    shimmerz My silence spoke a thousand words you never heard Premium Member

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    Yeah, that's why I posted, saying I would come back. I got the feeling you would perhaps feel that way.

    So, after reading your original posting again, I am going to say that for me it was a bit different, mainly because when I went into the same (what I call) psychic space as someone else it was because I was dissociated and literally felt like I was, idk, hovering(?) so close to the person in the room that I felt I was in them. Part of them? And for me, the reason (I believe) that I did this was because I was totally invested in what they were doing --- in case they were coming back to kill me.

    The difference that I am thinking I am seeing is that when I used to experience this I was frozen solid. Couldn't move. Couldn't see. But man, my hearing was A-1. Also, when I was in this state I was clearer in the head than I ever am. It was like I was having to assess the situation while I was completely dissociated from my body but was so incredibly invested in whatever energy was in the room. Oh, and by the way, I used to do this with my cat as well.

    Sorry, this has got to sound muddled and I am not used to talking about it because I have never heard anyone else describe what I think it is you are getting at in this posting.

    So, if it is the same thing then I am thinking the trigger is your thought that someone is physically mimicking you (or that is your perception anyway). Do you feel dissociated at all? Once the mimicking is done do you feel like you unlock from the energy immediately? How can you tell the difference between your locked in state and your disengagement?

    Anyway, if my response doesn't sound like it applies, no worries. Just like my damned response willya because this response took a lot of digging.... :cool::D
     
  6. shimmerz

    shimmerz My silence spoke a thousand words you never heard Premium Member

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    lol. Thanks for the like!
     
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  7. Rad

    Rad I am not PTSD.

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    Liked because it´s 2:51 AM and I should go to bed instead of lingering online :roflmao: (I´ll reply later)
     
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  8. Ragdoll Circus

    Ragdoll Circus I'm a VIP Premium Member

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    It’s most noticeable for me when I find myself adopting another person’s speech, including their accent and any weird phrasing they use. There’s been times that it’s been really distressing that suddenly I’m mimicking their behavioural mannerisms and the way they talk to the point where I worry they’re going to think that I’m mocking them. There’s been times where I have been mistaken for the person who’s behaviours I’ve adopted (for example, when a person turns their back and thinks it’s the other person who is speaking when it was actually me).

    I’m pretty sure that’s me being dissociated, and I kind of assume (with no objective reasoning really) that it’s a form of depersonalisation. I could be waaay off there; but that explanation makes me feel less concerned about it.

    I do have DID, but this is a very different experience. Unlike switching alters with my DID, I’m very aware when this is happening, and it’s someone else’s mannerisms that I’m taking on. And it’s very weird.
     
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  9. Hope4Now

    Hope4Now I'm a VIP

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    Hi Rad,
    You're not alone in this. I suspect some people experience it more extremely than others, and/or feel it more keenly. I also think that sometimes it is and sometimes not trauma related. I suspect, though, that people who have had early trauma that screws with ego strength may have more issues with this.

    I think most humans are wired to be empathic more or less. There's been a long-standing theory about something called "mirror neurons" that enable us to feel/behave in connection with another person. Probably goes far back in our genetic history--a way to both fit in socially as well as keep ourselves safe. Many people have powerful empathic skills but weak or inconsistent self-protective ego barriers that prevent us from "merging" with other people. I suspect this comes from a traumatic past.

    I'm curious, if you're willing to elaborate on this. It sounds as if you feel swept up into the other person's energy vs. you taking on the other person's energy. I think the psychological term is "engulfed." Is it one or the other for you? Or do they feel like the same thing?

    Like @shimmerz, I'm digging to find how to express my version/interpretation of what you're saying. I have a huge problem with taking on other people's energy. Occasionally, I find myself taking on their bodily or verbal expressions (though it happens...I pick up accents and expressions fast, for example, or catch myself mirroring their stance or gestures). Mostly for me, though, it's more emotional energy. I've described it to my therapist that I have huge holes in my energetic body. The problem is that I take other people's stuff in, but then I can't get rid of it. And it always seems to be their pain, or sadness, or anger, or those miserable emotions we hate to feel. It feels like a curse. I am working hard to develop and practice what might be called psychic shielding skills.

    It sounds to me that you are doing good things in response to this experience--prying yourself free, appropriating your actions for yourself, etc. These kinds of things help to differentiate yourself as an individual--one who shares space with other people, but is his/her own separate person.
     
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  10. Rad

    Rad I am not PTSD.

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    Thank you for your responses!

    I´m coming back to this later. I need some time to think about it, in order to reply. This week has been a chaotic mess and I´m kind of dissociated, maybe not the ideal mindset to think about things (that might be) related to dissociation :)
     
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  11. Hope4Now

    Hope4Now I'm a VIP

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    Take gentle care of yourself, and be safe, Rad. Good choice to give it a rest for now.
     
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  12. Friday

    Friday Raise Hell Moderator

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    It's a kind of mirroring. Most people do it to some extent, both consciously & unconsciously.

    ((Not being able to is actually a sign of a few disorders, most noticeably, high functioning autism.))

    Actors tend to be the most aware of it, because they're deliberately going into & out of character to greater or lesser extent. One of the most hilarious things to watch is when actors are fighting really hard not to take on the characteristics of another person's role. Like limping, or a speech pattern. World class actors have minds that absorb and reflect even the tiniest detail. That's what makes them good at their job / believable. So, one of the tricks (in learning how to project what you want to)? Is to watch BAD acting. It's the wrong that stands out like a neon sign and breaks the 4th wall, and makes them impossible to believe. Then switch back to world class acting, and it's like everything internally just relaxes. Ahhhhh.

    It's also super noticeable when it's a very BIG emotion in real life. Like how someone immediately GETS angry, just because someone else storms in all angry. That's something marriage counselors have to work with, a lot, because spouses are usually highly attuned to even the small signs, much less the big ones. So escalations, with each person feeding off the energy of the other, is a huge problem for a lot of couples.

    If you're blessed to live in a city, you can also see it in groups of people who spend time wih each other. From businessmen to street gangs. People adopt certain ways of walking/talking/dressing/etc. in order to fit in with their group. People who don't fit? Tend to get pushed to the outer edges -at best- or run off. Just like the runt, sport, or mis colored wolf.

    Aware or unaware, though? It's a highly adaptive trait, and fundamental to how we learn... Everything. Language, walking, interacting, etc. Monkey see, monkey do. Literally.

    Certain kinds of trauma can hardware the need to be exquisitely aware of other people's tiniest signs, and to present the "correct" reaction to them. Whether that's cringing, or mimicking to fade into the background/not stand out, or to make allies, or several other things. It's your brain being smart. Being confident enough in your own self NOT to do that? Is a skill. And it's gained by doing exactly what you're doing. Noticing the mirroring, and deliberately stopping, and redirecting. It will get faster over time... Like instead of noticing yourself mirroring, you'll notice yourself start to, but be able to keep walking without ever actually copying the other person NOR having to stop, and then it will become a force of habit to be yourself in most situations, and then all situations unless you're sick/surprised/scared/etc.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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