Mental Health related to Trauma

Mindful Monday

Trauma And Dissociation project:

Mindfulness… watching the sunsets and sunrises

Originally posted on Dr. Kathleen Young: Treating Trauma in Tucson:

I thought I’d try something a little different here, as part of my ongoing desire to blog more frequently. I considered titling this series “Wordless Wednesdays” because I especially want to share evocative images with you. I find at times in trauma therapy that words fail us, or we need to step outside of the traditional form of communicating about and processing therapy. However, knowing me, I just don’t think I could do away with words altogether! So I chose another day to make my alliterative title plan work and named this series “Mindful”.

As Treating Trauma has developed over the years, I’ve come to appreciate what an important role mindfulness can play in trauma therapy and in all our lives. Finding a way, even for a moment, to be present with what is, in this moment, can have transformative, healing power.

So my plan is to share some things…

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The Trauma Freeze Response – Playing possum?

freeze response



Freeze response


There are times when fighting is impossible and would result in serious injury or death, and flight is impossible too. This possum isn’t choosing to freeze, it is an automatic response.

A survival mechanism, activated in the face of inescapable threat.


Attachment, Trauma and Multiplicity: Working with Dissociative Identity Disorder

I take a look at this book and discuss it.

Attachment, Trauma and Multiplicity: Working with Dissociative Identity Disorder
January 15, 2011
by Valerie Sinason (Editor)

This book had multiple editors and again I have problems with Sinason’s statements. Her and I have almost opposite views on most things, so again I am not going to address her sections of the book and instead I will talk about the parts I found to be interesting. The other book Sinason edited that I read yesterday was far brighter than this one. In this book I did like the writings of the following authors: Peter Fonagy, Jean M. Goodwin, Brett Kahr, Phil Mollon, Sue Richardson, Howard Steele.
Let’s begin with the brightest spot of the book and that was the writing of Howard Steele. He brought forth some fascinating ideas that I had not yet read about before concerning the traumatized mind of an adult who was also traumatized as a child. He states that when a child has unprocessed trauma, that it just might work itself out before the individual gains adulthood and I agree with some aspects of his hypothesis and respectfully disagree with others. Let’s look at this through the eyes of Janet’s structural dissociation of the personality and with the example of an 8 year old boy we will call Henry.
Henry is very ill and has been throughout the 8 years of his short life. He struggles in school, at home, and on society in general. He is considered to be different from other boys his age because he is autistic. As he aged this only got worse. His disorder resulted in screaming fits, and one day his Mother could not take it anymore and she shoves him down the stairs and he died, but his sister, Rachel, is 2 years old and she watched all this. What is going on in her head? She observes the following: HER Mother kills the boy, who this little girl adores more than life itself. The Mother hushes the child so others can’t hear since this is not an isolated place. The Mother drags the boys body into the cellar, while the 2 year old child observes. That’s all the 2 year old ever knows of the event. So what’s going on in her head?
She was not hurt, but that was an obvious trauma and it changed her life forever. Did structural dissociation occur at this point? I doubt it, but it set the stage for it to happen. Fast forward to when Rachel is 8 years old. Let’s take a look at her. She has a learning disability. Is it connected to the trauma? I believe so. What else is going on in her head? Her Mother is strict which was not uncommon back in the 1940’s when Rachel grew up, but the combination of the trauma she suffered at the age of 2 and the strictness of her Mother resulted in structural dissociation even though Rachel was never abused. Now what direction did the structural dissociation take? It was not OSDD or DID, there was nowhere near enough harm in her life to cause that. What about PTSD? Sure. What about simple dissociative disorders? Sure. What about BPD? Yes. I can tell you right now that Rachel grew up to be one of the worst maternal child abusers of all time. So let’s look deep into her mind. She is angry as she grows up. Angry at her Mother for taking her brother away from her. Angry at her brother for leaving her. Angry at her Father for not protecting her. Angry at her sister for not supporting her. Angry at the world. Because of this anger, abandonment and neglect (as she sees it) she actually does have enough trauma to create OSDD. Hmmmmm….. What do we have here then? I believe she has Complex PTSD, BPD, and OSDD. Interesting? I certainly think so.
Now let’s look at what Fonagy has to say. He proposes that the mind is capable of recall far beyond what is normally accepted and from personal experience I must agree – how could I not. I know the experience all too well. Here is his proposal. The mind has aspects to it that have yet to be mapped, so we cannot limit our understanding to what has been researched and well… mapped either due to injuries in humans or from purposeful injuries to lab animals. I believe the man is spot on the money.
Next let’s look at Goodwin, who has a very good write up on the logic of DID. Well DID is not logical from the stand point of many, but I do agree with this author. DID is indeed straightforward and logical. Kahr and Mollon have some unique views and I am quite fond of them. They believe, against formal protest I might add, that DID is due to childhood abuse – period. Well this all boils down to how we define abuse. In the example above the Mother allowed the 2 year old to see her murder her brother. That’s abuse dang it! I don’t care if it’s an accident or not – that abused the child and it affected her and her off spring and then theirs, and so on. Again, it’s all in how you define it.

Moving on, the final author I want to address, Howard Steele, talks about an odd subject to be sure. He muddles around and hen picks and then he jumps right at the target. DID/OSDD/Complex PTSD are due to abuse. Plain and simple, and so he agrees with Kahr and Mollon, but with a twist. Steele accepts that something like the 2 year old child observed something by accident, but then that child should have been soothed and taken care of so that trauma never stuck.

Forensic Aspects of Dissociative Identity Disorder

My summary of the book:  Forensic Aspects of Dissociative Identity Disorder (The Forensic Psychotherapy Monograph Series)

Adah Sachs & Graeme Galton (Eds) (Author), Graeme Galton (Editor), Adah Sachs (Editor)

There were a variety of authors giving their views in this book and some of it did not make sense to me, but since this is an accounting of reported facts, I would never discount them without proper proof. The following are what I cannot verify with my own experience: Well others inside just put my whole list to rest. It seems we have actually experienced those things. Very well then, let’s move on to the next point. Nijenhuis made an appearance in the book which was grand to see. His view is that mind control is not only possible, but it is a reenactment of how trauma works. Ha! I wrote that up just the other day myself and posted it here in this group. I do like how that man thinks! Nijenhuis and I differed on one aspect, and I still maintain that mine is correct. He believes that instead of a trauma immediately causing structural dissociation, that it has a lag time of perhaps years, where I believe the SD occurs immediately but is not acted upon until the correct sequence of triggers comes about. I will happily look more into his view and consider it.

The next sections went on to address complications with dissociatives in court. Well, heck yes! My mind is victim of mind control and no matter what I know is correct, the correct things will not come out on paper, in words or in any other method. Even when speaking to others inside it’s wrong. How could anyone with such programming ever function in court? We are helpless in this regard, but at the same time we know what happened, and that it did happen.

Finally, let’s address the following. Rabbits run. Rabbits hop. Rabbits procreate. Which one is correct, and only one is actually correct?

Good! You chose correctly. Now that we have that straight, let’s look at this. Who is Adam? Who is Eve? Who is God? Who punished Adam? Who killed Eve? Who is God? (this is not a religious bit, so please don’t go there, but just follow me)

Adam is man. Eve is a woman. God is God.

God is God. Eve is woman. Adam is man.

Eve is man. God is mankind. Adam is God.

God is mankind. Adam is mankind. Eve is mankind.

I am man. I am mankind.

You are man. You are mankind. You are God.

We are man. We are mankind. We are God.

Do you see the pattern? This is the thinking in the minds of the cult members that authors were talking about. They did not say this, but this is the pattern they presented. The cult members apparently think themselves to be God and I don’t believe they love Satan. I believe the FEAR Satan. I don’t know if they realize either point. They probably don’t know they feel they are God or that they fear Satan, but it’s obvious in the pattern presented. Therefore in their troubled minds the cult members are Gods that live to appease a stronger God. They feel they are above mortal man and can do as they want with us because we are mere mortals. In their minds they are not hurting others, we are here to serve them. That is our place in life. If we look at the pattern backwards it shows this.

Cult is God. Cult serves Satan. Mankind serves God.

Trauma, Dissociation and Multiplicity: Working on Identity and Selves

My summary of the book: Trauma, Dissociation and Multiplicity: Working on Identity and Selves
201 pages.
Edited by Valerie Sinason

I don’t agree with the things Sinason herself is saying, but on the bright side the authors of the other chapters in the book were delightful! Morton gave a wonderful dissertation on memory and DID, Chefetz was a delight to read, Moore was good, Moskowitz was quite delightful, Orbach was so so, Wilkinson was okay, and the crowning glory was none other than Ellert R.S Nijenhuis! I do admire his work! Now I will go and write up a summary of my thoughts on the book.

I have tried to get what Sinason was trying to say, but she had so many things wrong it was impossible. I am not even going to talk about her bits of text in the book, but instead will move on to Morton who was a delight. His prose was to counter skeptics (Huntjens et al. 2003) and I was thrilled with the path he took to do it. Huntjens maintains that DID is a result of poor therapy, but Morton put that myth to rest. We all know that poor therapy could create a temporary state, but that certainly is not DID. Morton put this all to bed by this simple formula.

Rest + silence + noise + adequate care = what? A well rounded human.
Noise + silence + Inadequate care = what? A stressed human.
Inadequate care + silence = a scattered mind struggling to maintain itself.
A struggling mind + noise = a new temporary part
A new temporary part + time = nothing.
End of story.

Chefetz took on the topic of sound. (Sinason did as well but she was so off base I can’t even stomach discussing it) Not just any sound of course, but the sound that individuals with DID hear. Odd to me. I never hear anything. That was his point. I loved it! People with DID DON’T hear nothing! People with OSDD hear so much it’s hard for them to handle. We all know why, right? Yes, the amnesic boundary is bigger/thicker/bolder whatever word you want to use – in DID than it is in OSDD. Moore and Moskowiz talked about much of the same thing as Chefetz, but they did not draw such a hard conclusion. I have to applaud Chefetz for this.

Orbach I don’t think is much talking about much. He tackled synergism. I would sum it up by saying DID is similar to OSDD sort of. Wilkinson, he also did not make any grand points. I would sum up his section by saying DID is to OSDD as Complex PTSD is to PTSD. Now, we get to the Grand Master! Nijenhuis!

Nijenhuis said this, but here in my word, there in his. The personality is made up of complex material that is able to form itself into a unit which we call the personality. The units that make up the personality are what we call states. Each state if stressed enough can devolve into as many as 8 parts. This process is called Structural Dissociation. He actually addressed this here in this chapter. I was thrilled since I have been on this topic. He did not go into detail, and but whole heartedly agree with him.


Structural Dissociation part structuring

My Hypothesis:  At the far end of structural dissociation, a normal part of the personality could and often does devolve in 8 parts, which 4 ANP and 4 EP.

ANP Categories
1. Attachment to parents.
2. Attachment to offspring and others.
3. The ability to move forward in life without any direction other than what can be obtained by material objects.
4. Hypoaroused at times, hyper at others, but always a brain dead zombie robot.

EP Categories
1. Evil, lying, cheating, stealing, obsession, ungrateful, intense and passionate fear, defensive, egotistic, patterns of confusion and denial.
2. Startles easily, fearful, timid, shy, manipulative, greedy, loathsome, guilt ridden, sly, sneaky, powerfully deceiving.
3. Loving, easy to love, well rounded interests, giving, accepting, kind, happy, satisfied, and careful.
4. Over reacts to guilt, shame, and common place standards. Seen as the one that says but does not do. Rejects others that are not like him. Cannot tolerate differences in others. Cannot deal well with change, even when it’s an improvement. Cannot accept death and is fearful of it. Cannot ever get to their pot of gold over the rainbow because nothing is ever good enough.

Probably more common are ANP and EP that are able to manage 2, 3 or even all 4 categories.

*Warning! These are my own thoughts and observations and as such there is no reference.