Recently I was alerted to an article on Psychology Today which denounced dissociation as a real response to trauma. Not surprisingly, this article made my blood boil.
The most infuriating part of the article was how he kept repeating how dissociation was used as an excuse for behavior. So basically, he was saying that if someone doesn’t want to take responsibility for their behavior, they could claim dissociation caused it. It was written by someone with the letters behind his name. I am sure he had went to school and read the books. I am sure he has worked with some clients with some mildly irritating symptoms associated with some mild forms of trauma. And suddenly, he is an expert on what does and doesn’t exist.
These kinds of articles are irresponsible for so many reasons (most of which I don’t need to tell you). Dissociation is hard to acknowledge even for those of us who are graced with severe forms of it. We have learned denial from the best. That’s why we dissociate in the first place. Acknowledging dissociation requires us to admit there is another narrative, a narrative we have been denying a very long time. Of course, we need help with that. We need to hear from credible sources that we are on the right track, that what we are uncovering is real. We won’t hear that from our abusers. We won’t hear it from the general public. So we have to hear it from trained professionals. When they throw denial in our direction, they cause more damage than they will ever fully understand.
So why do they do it? Why do they use their credentials to enable the denial of something very real in such an irresponsible way? Why can they not accept dissociation as a trauma response considering all the research in support of it, all the experts who say it is real? Why do they continue to claim it is false? Well, I have some ideas.
Their controller is in charge. This is not much of a stretch. The controller is in charge of the majority of inner systems on this planet. And the controller is very black and white about life. They are responsible for most justice, law enforcement, technology, medical and educational systems on the planet. What does that mean? Anything that falls into a grey area must be untrue or made up. The possibility that life contains the unexplainable is completely outside their understanding. Ironically, dissociation is quite explainable, but it takes time to get there. The controller-enmeshed person isn’t likely to be open-minded enough for that journey.
They have their own deep denial about pain they experienced or caused someone else. If the controller is in charge, there is a good chance they are denying something. They don’t want to feel pain that they have shoved deep into the crevices of their being. Dissociation is what keeps it all hidden away. And if they acknowledge dissociation, they have to admit they might have it. And if they admit they might have it, they might be opening a Pandora’s Box they don’t want to open. They don’t want to feel their pain. That makes sense. None of us want to do that. But their personal denial approach is invalidating the journey of others. And that is not acceptable.
They are in cahoots with the drug companies. I do not use my platform to bash drugs. I do see a time and place for medication in the fight against traumatic responses. We need them to manage symptoms while we heal. But there is a problem. Drug companies don’t want clients to get better, at least not that much better. They encourage the continued denial by suppressing what we need to address. And that can get a bit too comfortable if we are not careful. But everyone knows there are no drugs to “fix” dissociation. There is no medical solution. So if we admit dissociation is the primary cause of the symptoms we are having, the drug industry takes a hit.
They want the attention they are claiming we want. I am so sick of people saying that claiming dissociation is about attention-seeking. These polarizing articles are written to get an argument started, to seek attention themselves. They know it is a heated topic. And they know they are going to trigger people. What an opportunity to get some attention and maybe even some clients who want to stay in denial. After all, in this day and age, all publicity is good publicity.
When you see ridiculously invalidating articles out there, please remember that anyone can get an article published in this internet age. Please remember that this person is in denial. For one reason or another, they have chosen to build on the pain of others for their own comfort. Know that this person’s opinion does not matter in your recovery journey. And do with this person what you did with the others who hurt you. Set them aside unapologetically and continue to heal.
**And if you want to take action, feel free to contact the editors at Psychology Today and let them know they are irresponsibly and blindly promoting systemic denial.
Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW