overwhelming experience is split off and fragmented,

Pixabay: cocoparisienne

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The Body Keeps the Score

The overwhelming experience is split off and fragmented, so that the emotions, sounds, images, thoughts, and physical sensations related to the trauma take on a life of their own.

The sensory fragments of memory intrude into the present, where they are literally relived.

As long as the trauma is not resolved, the stress hormones that the body secretes to protect itself keep circulating, and the defensive movements and emotional responses keep getting replayed.

Unlike Stan, however, many people may not be aware of the connection between their “crazy” feelings and reactions and the traumatic events that are being replayed.

They have no idea why they respond to some minor irritation as if they were about to be annihilated.

Flashbacks and reliving are in some ways worse that the trauma itself.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. He bluntly states that dissociation is the essence of trauma (p.66) because overwhelming adverse experiences cause a split-off and fragmentation of experiences. The survival brain, which he labeled the ‘smoke detector,’ loses the capacity to evaluate danger and safety in the environment. Lanius’ research particularly shows how the body is lost through disconnection, explaining how severe early trauma leads to missing self awareness. When the brain shuts off this awareness to survive terrifying and overwhelming emotions, the person’s capacity to feel fully alive is also deadened. A key to trauma treatment is helping clients to ‘reactivate’ a sense of self, ‘

  2. Nice addition

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