dissociation as a defense mechanism

I think I now know why i dissociate.

A hazy flashback of a scene with my mom from when I was a child came to mind today while in my parents house. She started yelling and hitting me, and i knew that as long as I was still me - this living, breathing organism with its own opinions, thoughts, and desires - I might continue to trigger her. And I knew that nothing I could say would stop her from hitting and yelling at me, on the contrary - my attempts at defending myself increased the intensity and longevity of the hitting and verbal abuse. So I intuitively did something that would make the yelling stop - I checked out. I stopped moving, breathing, I made sure there was no hint of a living soul in my eyes. I think i felt that’s what she wanted. She seemed to be beating the ‘will’ out of me because the more I writhed and screamed and protested, the harder she hit. But when I dissociated; played dead; gave in - she would stop.

So now, several years later, as an adult, when I enter into my parents house, I still check out. This time, it’s in a form of hiding. I deaden who I really am to put on the mask of who I know they want me to be: a smiley, happy-go-lucky girl with no complicated emotions, sensitivities, or trauma.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
I think I now know why i dissociate.

A hazy flashback of a scene with my mom from when I was a child came to mind today while in my parents house. She started yelling and hitting me, and i knew that as long as I was still me - this living, breathing organism with its own opinions, thoughts, and desires - I might continue to trigger her. And I knew that nothing I could say would stop her from hitting and yelling at me, on the contrary - my attempts at defending myself increased the intensity and longevity of the hitting and verbal abuse. So I intuitively did something that would make the yelling stop - I checked out. I stopped moving, breathing, I made sure there was no hint of a living soul in my eyes. I think i felt that’s what she wanted. She seemed to be beating the ‘will’ out of me because the more I writhed and screamed and protested, the harder she hit. But when I dissociated; played dead; gave in - she would stop.

So now, several years later, as an adult, when I enter into my parents house, I still check out. This time, it’s in a form of hiding. I deaden who I really am to put on the mask of who I know they want me to be: a smiley, happy-go-lucky girl with no complicated emotions, sensitivities, or trauma.

I have to ask......your description "a smily, happy-go-lucky girl with no complicated emotions.....is that also who you want to be? That sounds purely delightful to me! ?
 
I have to ask......your description "a smily, happy-go-lucky girl with no complicated emotions.....is that also who you want to be? That sounds purely delightful to me! ?

No. That person doesnt exist in real life but only in movies, TV shows and cartoons. I want to be me in all my fullness : happy as well as unhappy feelings. I want to feel the full range of what it means to be human. A real human.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
I think both are you but just not at the same time understandably. To be human is to feel all those at any given time when it is called for and be aware of your own integration to call up which part is needed at any given time. I am in awe your description of how you feel when you visit your parents to put back the mask - this sounds like years of therapy and recovery. Kudos and wishing you even more concrete finding of your hidden parts.
 
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