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Seeking Healing and Support After Disturbing Meeting Experience - was it a bad disassociation?

anxietygirl

New Here
I’m new here. Hi everyone.

I suffered horrible child abuse by my dad (who I usually just refer to as my dna donor in case I say that anywhere) and yesterday I was at a union meeting for work when a steward slapped her hands on the table and started yelling at me.

Tbh I only heard a few seconds of her rant and I heard myself say “Please don’t talk to me like that” and “this is inappropriate,” but it was like I was so far away from my own voice even and then I couldn’t even hear anything else. My friends next to me told me people in the back said something, but I just couldn’t hear it, it was like I was there physically, but even seeing things was a blur. It was like I could see things but my mind couldn’t comprehend them and any noise around me couldn’t actually be heard.

I have had this happen before, but never this intense. I haven’t had anyone treat me like this or react like this in my presence in so many years. I ended up grabbing my things and leaving and by the time I got to my car I was hyperventilating and sobbing.

I get that not everyone understands people can be triggered, but I need to figure out more therapy and better therapy and maybe meds if being around people can be this jarring for me. I don’t know. Covid was a blessing for me, I enjoyed not having to worry about others.
 
Hi, welcome to the forum. You're in good place to find support. You'll find only understanding and no judgement here.
Sorry for what happened to you. I hope you will heal and find peace with yourself.
I'm as well having trouble with dissociation. In my case it's not as deep, but rather constant.
Take care! Have an emotional support koala: 🐨
 
hello anxiety girl. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here. you just did an elegantly clear job of describing my own involuntary dissociation. over the course of my psychotherapy for this symptom, i've grown aware and mindful enough to be able to use dissociation as a coping tool. voluntary dissociation might have gotten me through the work scene you described, with the use of additional psych therapy tools to prevent the dissociation from escalating to the involuntary dissociation.

I get that not everyone understands people can be triggered, but I need to figure out more therapy and better therapy and maybe meds if being around people can be this jarring for me. I don’t know. Covid was a blessing for me, I enjoyed not having to worry about others.
i have yet to find much benefit in other people understanding my trigger events --especially not the perps. a therapy support network where i can vent and sort freely is one of my own best therapy tools. emphasis on, "network." this very forum is one of the nodes on my therapy support network, but i find that it pays to diversify. having more than one node on my network helps me find more options when life throws me those nasty curve balls. but when it comes to understanding my strictly personal trigger events, mine is the only understanding which can open the healing paths.

steadying support while you sort your own case.
 
There's two things, in my opinion here:
The situation triggering you.
The situation being wholly inappropriate in a work setting.

You're in a meeting and someone is shouting at you. You respond by highlighting their behaviour is inappropriate. They continue. You leave.
You have every right to make a complaint about their behaviour, their inability to control their behaviour when you pointed it out to them. It is not acceptable for someone to behave like that. Even without a trauma history, anyone would find that a difficult thing to contend with.

And then there is the PTSD world and how this has hit deep for you. Work colleagues don't need to know about your triggers. They are for you to be aware of and find ways to manage them. I'm sorry it triggered you. It's totally understandable that it did. It was a horrible experience.
Hopefully that situation at work won't happen again. But triggers might. And it's good you recognised how it impacted you. Do you have grounding techniques to help you come back from disassociation? Ways of connecting with yourself again?
I think it's great you left the room. You took yourself out of a situation that was not appropriate (it was safe as you weren't going to be hurt. But it wasn't appropriate and you don't need to tolerate that behaviour). So leaving was a self care behaviour.
Sobbing was also releasing the emotions.

All horrible for you to experience. But you got so many good elements in there with how you managed a horrible situation.
 
Thank you so much for all your replies. I feel like I’ve found a home of so many that understand. I don’t even know how I found this site, but after all these years of searching it popped up in my browser and I’ve been reading for hours. I stayed up so late and thought “wow these are my people.” Where have you all been for so long?

hello anxiety girl. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here. you just did an elegantly clear job of describing my own involuntary dissociation. over the course of my psychotherapy for this symptom, i've grown aware and mindful enough to be able to use dissociation as a coping tool. voluntary dissociation might have gotten me through the work scene you described, with the use of additional psych therapy tools to prevent the dissociation from escalating to the involuntary dissociation.


i have yet to find much benefit in other people understanding my trigger events --especially not the perps. a therapy support network where i can vent and sort freely is one of my own best therapy tools. emphasis on, "network." this very forum is one of the nodes on my therapy support network, but i find that it pays to diversify. having more than one node on my network helps me find more options when life throws me those nasty curve balls. but when it comes to understanding my strictly personal trigger events, mine is the only understanding which can open the healing paths.

steadying support while you sort your own case.
That is why I need to figure out how to calm my disassociation from happening or at least be able to function thru it. I can’t recall the last time someone has screamed at me like that In person. It was just so jarring.
 
alas, i only need the body language of somebody wishing they could chew out their spouse to trigger my dissociation. left unchecked, my dissociation cycle is often well underway before said quarreling spouse can target their anger at me. i typically don't stick around long enough to know whether they will actually target me, or knot.

for what it's worth
"tactile grounding" is my go-to psychotherapy tool for dissociation. with tactile grounding, i use my physical senses to keep myself grounded in the here and now. touch is the sense most recommended, but i find i can use smell, sight, taste and hearing, as well. the exercises can be discrete enough to use anywhere.
 
... I was at a union meeting for work when a steward slapped her hands on the table and started yelling at me.

Tbh I only heard a few seconds of her rant and I heard myself say “Please don’t talk to me like that” and “this is inappropriate,” but it was like I was so far away from my own voice even and then I couldn’t even hear anything else. My friends next to me told me people in the back said something, but I just couldn’t hear it, it was like I was there physically, but even seeing things was a blur. It was like I could see things but my mind couldn’t comprehend them and any noise around me couldn’t actually be heard.
That's a form of dissociation. Whatever was happening at the union meeting was just too much for you to handle - perhaps reminded you too closely of child abuse - and so you distanced yourself from the situation. You were there but yet not quite there.

This is not a bad thing. You were just buffering yourself, taking care of yourself.
 
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