Effects Of Trauma

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Effects of Trauma: The Uncontrollable Unconscious The individual’s mind has various methods of protecting the self by identifying a scenario and applying certain defense mechanisms. This part of the mind is called the psyche, which acts as the brain’s defense mechanism when one deals with trauma or sadness. Most often, people do not even realize they are being protected by the psyche, because its job is to make one become unaware of their potential intense feelings. This feeling of unawareness is called dissociation, which Martha Stout refers to in her essay, “When I Woke Up Tuesday Morning, It Was Friday.” Dissociation isolates memories so that one can function properly without letting their emotions take over. Stout explains that trauma …show more content…

Dissociation does not work the same with everyone. Also, everyone’s dissociative mind is triggered by different situations. One can feel alienated in a social group if a certain situation triggers past traumatic emotions, leaving the individual to feel alone and unaware of how to socialize. When people are triggered, they are often caught off guard and can become frustrated because they do not know exactly what triggers them. One can be alienated just by worrying to themselves that their dissociation will be triggered. Gilbert talks about the how one can be confused by their own mind when he talks about the psychological immune system by saying, “our brains do their shopping unconsciously, we tend not to realize they will do it at all; hence, we blithely assume that the dreadful view we have when we look forward to the event is the dreadful view we’ll have when we look back on it” (Gilbert 132). It is difficult for people to maintain a healthy social competence when they are constantly worrying about the effects dissociation might have on them. People may be triggered by scenarios that do not directly relate to their past traumatic experiences, so they cannot predict when and where they will be when dissociation affects them. One could be enjoying themselves talking to friends and family, but instead, worrying about dissociation causes one to be stuck in their own world, unable to communicate. This is the point when the protective barrier of dissociation becomes a threat. In her essay, Stout explains the harms of dissociation by saying, “later in the individual’s life, in situations that are vaguely similar to the trauma - perhaps merely because they are startling, anxiety-provoking, or emotionally arousing - amygdala-mediated memory traces are accessed more readily than are the more complete, less shrill memories” (Stout 422).

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