Fragmentation and Dissociative Identity Disorder
Fragmentation and DID
Dissociative Identity Disorder
I have been requested by a HUB reader to discuss a specific topic; this topic is the “fragmentation reaction” or what is termed dissociative identity disorder (DID). The full process of dissociative continuum is discussed in detail in my book, . But for the purpose of this article and the request, I will simplify and target my remarks to help understanding of an extremely difficult human reaction to life threatening experiences. Separated from the Light: A Path Back From Psychological Trauma
The dissociative continuum is the description of the movement an individual symbolically travels internally, within his or her mind, to separate themselves from an overwhelming painful and life threatening event. An individual accomplishes this by escaping into one’s mind while protectively disconnecting from his or her body which is trapped in an abusive or traumatic situation.
When the body is in a life threatening situation that is so overwhelming and painful, stressful, abusive or traumatic that the person cannot physically escape or emotionally process. So the only way to escape reality is through the mind. I term the process the “unfolding of self”. The individual’s life feels so threatening that the only way to escape is to “mentally dissociate” or travel deeply into his or her mind. The act of dissociating is the mental ability to turn what is "real into unreal”. Other elements an individual uses to complete the act of dissociation are their consciousness, creativity, perception, power and strength. The description of dissociative continuum in my book in detail discusses the movement of a human to survive (see dissociative continuum diagram in my book ).
It is not only my belief but I have witnessed, in all my years of working with abuse and trauma survivors who have been labeled Dissociative Disorder and Dissociative Identity Disorder. I had seen that any person who has survived a horrific life event is extremely creative, intelligent, strong and powerful or they could not have triumph and lived through such repetitive tragedies.
That being said, the process of fragmentation goes far past general separation of head and body which occurs in Stage 2 – Dissociative Reaction. Simply, the fragmentation stage focuses on the multiple division of personal characteristics / functions into their own compartment when disconnecting his or her conscious connection with what is happening (thought / mind) from what the body is feeling (emotional and physical pain). Fragmentation reaction is not the breaking apart of the individual identity but the creative disconnecting of the functions of all aspects of the individual in order not to be captured by the trauma. Fragmentation is normal and natural defensive reaction to further separate the "self" from the destructive reality of what is happening to them.
Fragmentation or DID is Not a Personal Weakness
An example of this is the protection act is better understood if you look at how armadillos protect themselves. When an armadillo is threatened, it will roll up into a ball to protect its core. The greater the threat the tighter it will curl up. Each layer of skin takes on more and more independence and responsibility in an attempt to save their vulnerable stomach or inner core.
Human dissociation mimics this example. The greater the threat the more creative and intelligent the response is to save the inner core occurs. So when the outside is under attack, the more effort is put into separating the mind from a harmful and painful reality. If this act does not keep the overwhelming pain away, then the mind puts all its energy hiding all human characteristics such as skills, traits, and qualities into a mental compartment. If all that effort creativeness, strength and power fail then emphasis is placed increasing the effectiveness of the individual’s ability to further separate or termed fragmenting human characteristics into individual compartments or parts.
Truly what I have discussed is a normal, natural and healthy human response to an abnormal and painful life threatening situations. There are many recorded cases in history of abuse survivors, trauma survivors, combat soldiers and veterans that demonstrate what I have discussed in this article. Every survivor is creative, intelligent, strong, and powerful. All showed extraordinary survival against overwhelming odds and possible death. There are countless stories of humans in many different cultures and different ages to support what I have discussed.
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