I learned a lot while writing FALLOUT: A Survivor Talks to Incest Offenders. I have two points to make in this post.
First, I did an incredible amount of research and am left with a big box full of articles which I Xeroxed. I hate to just throw them away. If anyone thinks they may write on the subject some day or is just curious, please let me know and I’ll send them to you, USA, post-paid.
Second, I learned that I have a slight tendency to dissociate, at least according to John Brier’s definition of dissociation. He and Runtz (1988) questioned sexually abused and non-abused college women and found that the subjects could be discriminated one from the other group by whether they met Briere’s broad criteria for dissociation, which included “reduced responsiveness,” “spacing out,” “derealization” (experiencing things as unreal), “out-of-body experiences” and “lost time.”
Briere describes spacing-out behavior and disengagement as “withdrawal into a state of affective neutrality, where thoughts and awareness of external events are, in a sense, placed on hold.” These periods usually last from seconds to several minutes. The depth of dissociation in these cases is usually shallow. (Briere, 1992, 37-38, Child Abuse Trauma.
I can remember “going inside” myself but never thought of it as dissociation, which perhaps it was.
At the other end of the continuum, of course, are the much more serious examples of DID, or what used to be called “multiple personality disorder.”
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