From the book Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists by Kathy Steele and Onno van der Hart

painting by Scott Musgrove

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“People with complex dissociative disorder were often confronted as children with situations that evoke extreme and overwhelming emotions. Generally younger children learn from their caregivers how to understand and regulate emotions.  People with dissociative disorder often grew up in families in which it was not acceptable to show or discuss certain emotions.

In some cases it was actually dangerous to express feelings, resulting in punishment, ridicule or complete disregard.  Parents or caregivers of people with complex dissociative disorder typically had a problem with emotions themselves and were thus unable to teach children adaptive and healthy skills to deal with emotions.  These children learn to avoid or disregard their own feelings.  They also have difficulty reflecting, that is, accurate reading other people’s emotions and intentions in the present, generally assuming something negative rather than positive.”

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