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i cannot begin to tell you how much I agree with you about our need to better understand dissociation.  I only learned about a concept called structural dissociation a month ago but it’s something I should have known about decades ago.    I’m not healed because no one explained to me what happens to the mind in severe and chronic dissociation and my family members aren’t well either so I’m pretty sure there way to many people out there who cannot even expect to really heal because no one is there to tell them what has happened and is happening in the mind. 

I see dissociation affecting us all through the life cycle - the infants use it to deal with the overwhelming anxiety, emptiness and terror of being left in that crib (like Spitz’s orphans) and when they are toddlers and preschoolers - going into that space in their mind where no one can find them and then at school - zoned out, spaced out and creating fragmented parts of the personality, most not able to do well in school because they just aren’t there to hear and learn the material living in a world where absolutely no place is safe..... and then the consolation of those fragments into semiautonomous parts as a teen 

the angry and pissed off Fight Part that will break your arm or break your skull at the slightest provocation (or at least rage at others or an unjust world) 

the Alcoholic/Drug Using Sex-Addicted Flight part doing everything possible to escape from the overwhelming fear and numbness .... 

the I need to get this Hell over once and for all Submit to Suicide part etc....

we don’t see these infants, toddlers, young kids and teens - and if we decide we want to help them later in life, no one knows what’s happened in that shattered mind... I think it’s much worse and far more prevalent than most people know. 



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"You know this handout talks about β€œsurvival mode response”   (hyperarousal response)  but it says little about dissociation" (Tina Hahn)


Thank you Dr Hahn


As a general truism, "Dissociation" needs to be taught and understood much more clearly in many many spheres as a common, but distinct response to trauma trigger(s). 

I am thinking especially among younger children who do not have the ability to fight or to flee.

I am thinking especially for trauma informed schooling.  From my own personal experience, it is overwhelmingly tempting for an adult in a school to inadvertently overlook the quiet "shy" child, while regularly dealing with hyper-aroused children (often several at a time) who are impatiently clamoring for the adult's focus. 

As an order of magnitude, the research speaks to proportion of dissociation (vs. hyperarousal)  greater than 50% among younger children.

Of course this ultimately raises the related, but more controversial (sorry) need for universal screening, vs relying on "observation" of, or "reaction" to externalizing behaviors...   A very real risk, at least in public school classrooms.

Last edited by Daun Kauffman

You know this handout talks about β€œsurvival mode response”   (hyperarousal response)  but it says little about dissociation  which eventually in the adult becomes the fragmented personality that we will develop (to varying degrees - some develop much more fragmentation and state switching than others)  after we have experienced severe and chronic maltreatment.  

I think it’s this state switching that we have to be aware of when parenting infants or toddlers. 

When the infant cries and you automatically feel that intense irritability and anger at the infant (or the toddler), that is dissociative switching that gets built into the baby’s biology if it isn’t managed in the parent.   If the parent isn’t cognizant of the switch and doesn’t know about implicit memory and we don’t know about dissociation and being able to really see what is going on in our bodies, we can not regulate a baby or a toddler because we can not regulate ourself. 


Roxana Garcia Chelin posted:

Hello-- Thank you for such a colorful and informative flyer, but sadly I was not able to print the Spanish one. There is a error,  first I couldn't downloaded it then went I send it to the printer it shown as an error. I don't know if one else is experiencing this too?

Thanks for your comment. I just opened the blog post and am able to download the post and print it out by clicking this link (download the pdf). However, I'm going to tag a few of my co-workers to see if they can check as well if they are able to download and print. @Carey S. Sipp (ACEs Connection Staff) and @Donielle Prince (ACEs Connection Staff)@Karen Clemmer (ACEs Connection Staff) would you mind checking if you are able to download and print the ACEs flyer in Spanish and report back, please?? 



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