Recently, I watched the Dr. Phil show where he interviewed a mother who was about to respond to his pressing question, “Now that you look back, what were the telltale signs that your partner was sexually abusing your children for all those years?” The audience and I waited with bated breath for the mother to respond and she answered, “No, everything was normal, I did not see any signs from him or the children.”
That’s when I started shouting at the TV with the urge to jump through and shake the woman and say “Wake Up – there were signs, how could you not know!” Then I settled myself, sat back on the couch, took a deep breath, trying not to think of the suffering her children have been through and the disconnection that occurs to survive such a nightmare. I then realised I was once this woman, disconnected, unfeeling, unknowing, and someone who made many mistakes and many insane choices that I have now agreed to plead guilty on the grounds of “temporary insanity”.
Disconnection occurs when a child is subjected to emotional or physical abuse. There are varying degrees of the disconnection that can cause dissociative disorders or dissociation as the person grows into adulthood. Dissociation is a mental process where a person disconnects from their thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity to survive a traumatic ordeal. This dissociation is a disorder that can remain with a person for a lifetime if not treated or addressed.
The mother in this story was disconnected from her feelings and from the signs that were telling her something was not right with her partner and children. Her legacy of being disconnected is passed onto her children who will grow up disconnected, having survived the horrors of abuse.
How to know if you are dissociated
The signs and symptoms of dissociation include the following :
- Feeling disconnected from yourself
- Intense emotions
- Sudden shifts in mood (highs and lows)
- Feeling as though the world is distorted or not real (derealisation)
- Memory and concentration difficulties
- Memory lapses such as forgetting important personal information
- Feeling compelled to behave in a certain way (compulsion)
- Suicidal tendencies
- Sleep disorders (insomnia, night terrors, and sleepwalking)
- Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias (flashbacks, reactions to stimuli or “triggers”)
- Identity confusion – behaving in a way you wouldn’t typically or becoming submissive and resigned to pleasing others
- Addictions, ie. eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse
The book I am currently writing is based on connecting women to feel and become more awake and alive called Freeing the Unloved Girl. I am wondering if you can identify a level of disconnection in your own life?
Have you done things that left you saying “What was I thinking?” I would love to hear your stories and your challenges to ensure the answers are contained in the book to help you move forward in your life. I have sooo many “insanity stories” to tell you – what are yours?
Blessings and love,