“To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness.” – Erich Fromm
“Detachment is not about refusing to feel or not caring or turning away from those you love. Detachment is profoundly honest, grounded firmly in the truth of what is.” – Sharon Salzberg
“A heinous history of emotional, psychological and sexual abuse at the hands of trusted partners or caregivers, sometimes leads to the suffering from complex PTSD. This manifestation of Traumatic Shock is more complicated than “simple” PTSD, as it pertains to the chronic assaults on one’s personal integrity and sense of safety, as opposed to a single acute traumatic episode. Such chronic tyranny of abuse results in a constellation of symptoms, which impact personality structure and development.
The symptom clusters for C-PTSD are:
Alterations in Regulation of Affect and Impulses
Changes in Relationship with others
Changes in Meaning
Changes in the perception of Self
Changes in Attention and Consciousness
Fragmentation of the personality occurs because the capacity to integrate what is happening to the self is insufficient. The survival mechanism of dissociation kicks in to protect the central organizing ego from breaking from reality and disintegrating into psychosis. Hence, fragmented dissociated parts of the personality carry the traumatic experience and memory, while other dissociated parts function in daily life. Consequentially, profound symptoms of depersonalization and dissociation linked to c-ptsd manifest.
Dissociative disorders are conditions that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity or perception. In the context of severe chronic abuse the reliance on disassociation is adaptive as it succeeds in reducing unbearable distress, and warding off the threat of psychological annihilation. The dissociative disorders survivors of chronic trauma represent vary widely, and are inclusive of: dissociative identity disorder (formerly multiple personality disorder), dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, and depersonalization disorder. Identify confusion is also deemed a by-product of dissociation and is linked to fugue states when the traumatized person loses memory of their past and concomitantly, a tangible sense of their personal identity.
The treatment process for those afflicted with c-ptsd and attendant dissociative disorders is extensive and comprehensive. Depending on the severity of the repetitious traumas, even in progressed stages of recovery a client may find himself grappling with persistent feelings of detachment and derealization. Given that the brains mediation of psychological functions is dramatically compromised by the impact of chronic trauma, this neurobiological impact may be a strong contributing factor regarding lingering dissociative symptoms in survivors of c-ptsd. Integrating and reclaiming dissociated and disowned aspects of the personality is largely dependent on constructing a cohesive narrative which allows for the assimilation of emotional, cognitive, and physiological realities. And finally when fight/flight responses diminish and an enhanced sense of hope and love for self and others results from years of courageous pain staking hard work, the survivor reaps the rewards of this capricious and harrowing journey; one’s True Self.”