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Dissociation Is Nice But Very Frustrating In Social Situations

My dissociative abilities stem back from severe childhood abuse, abuse taken in many forms and I'm aware that it is a learned coping mechanism. In fact, I feel like I'm lightly dissociated 24/7 these days. I don't have DID or alters who appear during heavier dissociations, medical professionals diagnosed me with Social Anxiety and Avoidant Personality.

I find that as I get older I am dissociating more and more heavily and it is really hindering my social abilities and it's frustrating the hell out of me as people wonder why I seemingly just shut down and appear vacant and unable to hold conversation. It's getting to the point that I'm starting to avoid many social situations because people think I'm being arrogant and rude when I all of a sudden become vacant and appear uninterested or cannot respond properly to questions etc. My deeper dissociations happen whenever I'm feeling stressed, pressured to talk or have had enough of a conversation/person/situation or when I'm feeling threatened and/or challenged.

I don't mind being dissociated when I'm alone as dissociation feels pleasant in that situation, but I need to be 'all there' in social situations and as much as I try to explain to some people what is actually happening to me when the 'veil' descends over my consciousness, most don't seem to understand it and think that I'm just strange and wilfully ignorant. I wish people would take initiative and research this phenomenon to gain understanding and realise that it is not deliberate...but most don't.

How to fix this?!







Mercvry Mercvry 31-35, M 6 Responses May 13, 2012

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"I find that as I get older I am dissociating more and more heavily and it is really hindering my social abilities and it's frustrating the hell out of me as people wonder why I seemingly just shut down and appear vacant and unable to hold conversation. It's getting to the point that I'm starting to avoid many social situations because people think I'm being arrogant and rude when I all of a sudden become vacant and appear uninterested or cannot respond properly to questions etc. My deeper dissociations happen whenever I'm feeling stressed, pressured to talk or have had enough of a conversation/person/situation or when I'm feeling threatened and/or challenged."-----so this happened to me the other day. Long story short,I am just discovering this dissociation thing about me recently. I have always had these ways about me or these "symptoms" for as long as I can remember,but now that I can attach a name and a possible diagnosis to these actions of mine,it's all making more sense. Again long story short,but I have past trauma,and while in a VERY heated verbal and physical argument with a boyfriend,I think I dissociated or something. This was a never before in eight whole years kind of argument,but mind you my mind is slipping more rapidly than ever before so an argument with me nowadays is I'm sure different from one had with me in prior years. Anyhow,I never called the police on the person that assaulted me in my past trauma,and this came up in therapy last week. I have only been in therapy for like a month and a half,and I told them to hurry some medication or something because I feared something bad would happen. They said I had to wait and it's a process. So I had been waiting. Anyhow at one point the boyfriend was on top of me kicking me and kneeing me in the ribs and yelling stuff at me and I just went back to that place of trauma. I said I would call the police and I did. I didn't "want him to get away with this." I think somewhere in that fifteen seconds of calling I realized I didn't REALLY want to call,so I hung up. They tracked the call back to my place,and about ten minutes later I was being forcibly questioned in my own home about attacking the "victim" when I couldn't even bring myself to tell him how I had really been the victim myself. I mumbled some things. I said I didn't understand the read Miranda rights like two or three times. I said something about recently resurfaced past trauma and my mental health. I asked for a supervisor or some kind of superior to report to the scene. My boyfriend outside the whole time saying same thing I was. It's not that serious and we're fine. But the cop told my boyfriend that even though I hung up I still placed a call,and in a domestic dispute "someone has to get arrested" so that someone was me. But BS. I honestly feel like I dissociated and at the time that he was trying to question me,I just couldn't connect. I wasn't there. Physically I may have looked fine so he couldn't tell I guess,but I told him,and I know I was acting "weird". He just said "well he's out there talking so if you don't want to talk then fine by me but turn around and put your hands behind your back you're under arrest." Annnnnnnnnnnndddddd....THAT'S my life.

I dont think you can fix this disorder because it goes way beyond our control, like you i tend to avoid the outside world as much as i can.

I always tried to trample it down in the back of my mind, put my head down and just bull my way through social events. But it almost always inevitably gets the best of me, and every time I come away with another bad memory that makes it harder to put myself out there again. So because of it, I think I have missed out on a lot of good stuff.....

A lot of that resonates with me, I've had similar problems like that all my life, I never had a name for it before though.

what hylierandom said, plus zazen (just sitting) worked miracles for me.<br />
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Do not do fancy meditation like those that use mantras. I'm fairly certain that would not be helpful.

Thanks for your comment :) I just did a quick read on zazen and it sounds nice, I will give it a go.

I get more present by doing something physical.<br />
I go to therapy to talk about my horrible childhood, and lately I feel so floaty afterwards it would be a bad idea to get in my car and drive.<br />
So to come back to reality I will do pushups and yoga in the parking lot.<br />
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Martial arts class helped me to tune in also... but really doing anything that requires you to pay attention to your body and physiological responses will help you tune back in to reality.<br />
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Since I get freaked out around a lot of people...I am forcing myself to go places where there are a lot of people and just hang out, so that I get exposed and desensitized. I think that might help you too.

Thankyou for your tips on how to overcome dissociation, very much appreciated. I've been contemplating some form of martial arts to help sharpen my focus, depends on if I stay in the town I'm in now or whether I follow through with my plans to travel Australia soon. The push ups and yoga sound like they work nicely to rid that dissociative state.

Thanks again :)