Disassociation: Uninvited Guests From Realms Unseen
When traumas aren't given breathing room to be processed, felt, and recognized, they can create complexes in the psyche.
June 1, 2022
A common psychological response when enduring trauma is disassociation. This mechanism allows the consciousness of the individual to leave their body altogether and go elsewhere. It may be traveling to another dimension, a fantasy world, or somewhere else. Disassociation protects the psyche from experiencing complete annihilation. Additionally, if the psyche is not at a development where it can process the heinous acts occurring, the disassociation protects them from the truth. Sometimes the truth can be so utterly heinous one does in fact need protection from it.
Through a mythical lens, angels step in and protect the individual on a psychic level. However, as years pass and if the individual never contends with the trauma, those exact protective angels turn into persecutory demons. Through a psychological lens, these 'demons' may be expressed as defense mechanisms. Denial, rationalization, and projection are just a few defense mechanisms a psyche may employ. These are employed as a way to prevent further anxiety of having to confront the truth.
The truth may be that one who the individual loved and placed on a pedestal is actually not worthy of such idealization. Or, that a leader who many adore and see as a hero is actually a monster behind the curtain. Truth might need to be veiled and protected in order for one to not have to undergo rejection and excommunication from their community.
When traumas aren't given breathing room to be processed, felt, and recognized, they can create complexes in the psyche. Complexes make life interesting and are potent fuel for creativity and art if the individual can learn how to hold the reins and use these larger than life energies for good. Too often though, individuals are unconsciously run by their complexes and in complete submission to them. This can lead to hijacking, where the individual appears possessed (by a monster or demon) and may act in such a way and have no recollection of what they did or said after the hijacking.
A healthy practice for mitigating the risks of falling under the dominion of one's complexes is the practice of compassion and empathy. Instead of reacting to others' behaviors in a judgmental or condemning manner, taking a moment to breathe and attune to the suffering that individual has endured can do wonders. To take it a step further, exercising muscles of the heart and mind to turn inwards and reflect on where those energies (of say, a person acting out in a way which might typically evoke disdain or repulsion) live within oneself can expand the threshold of psychic fluidity.
Psychic fluidity involves the ability to embody understanding and compassion upon the nuances and complexities of life and individuals. The opposite of psychic fluidity would be rigidity in thinking, binariness, dogmatic proselytization, and compartmentalization.
Practice for the week: Think about someone who activates/triggers repulsion and/or anger within you. Then ask yourself, why? Now, take a moment to pause and reflect on where that lives inside of you. Once you've located it, breathe into your heart and exhale with sound. May the alchemy continue.