adversity

When Hard Times Hit: Pain, Shame, and Dissociation

Over the years and indeed recently as well, I’ve come across people who have directly or indirectly expressed a need to dissociate themselves almost completely from their pasts. These are people who have gone through what are sometimes extremely difficult circumstances at some point in their lives. Deaths, divorces, abuse, abductions…the list goes on. We all deal with adversity differently. So many people I know deal with it by suppressing it; pretending it doesn’t exist. Or they acknowledge it but do not want to be defined by it. And to avoid being defined by it, they separate themselves from anyone who knows anything about it. In the process, new lives are created and so many friends and family from the past become all but non-existent.

Although I’ve attempted, quite sincerely, to show empathy to this state of dissociation from one’s past, I’ve always found it difficult to comprehend. I’ve gone through some difficult times in my life. (more…)