Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: For victims of disrespect and trauma, dissociation is often lifesaving.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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What children — or, for that matter, adults — generally do when exposed to physical violence or other trauma they can’t flee from or prev...
What children — or, for that matter, adults — generally do when exposed to physical violence or other trauma they can’t flee from or prevent: They “dissociate.”

Dissociation is an involuntary human response to stress or trauma that causes the conscious mind to withdraw and turn inward, reducing incoming stimuli and mitigating the effects of overwhelming emotion. The feeling is one of being present but not consciously aware of oneself or one’s surroundings and is characterised by memory loss and a sense of disconnection. For victims of trauma, experts say, dissociation is often lifesaving.

But when the dissociative response is called on repeatedly, especially in early childhood, the defence can become fixed and ingrained, disrupting normal functioning and undermining emotional and physical well-being. The most common cause is child maltreatment — physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
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