Updated: Jan 5
Refusing to take care of yourself in a trauma response leads to extremely harmful behavior.
Dissociation becomes dangerous when you refuse to use your self-care to help yourself through a trauma-response.
I call this avoidance behavior ANTI-SELF-CARE.
Anti-self-care opens the door to dangerous behavior because it's tempting to use numbing as a way to 'heal' when all you're doing is adding more pain, shame, fear, and trauma to your life. Anti-self-care seems harmless because it masquerades as temporary relief, when actually the more you engage with harmful behavior you are creating the same bonding hormones and neuro-pathways of pleasure/pain that bondage you into addiction (and eventually lead to fantasizing about wanting to die.)
If you're already in-deep with self-harm, here is an amazing hotline you can call:1-800-656-4673 (NATIONAL RAPE HOTLINE)
If you're struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call my friends on this hotline: 800-273-8255 (SUICIDE PREVENTION)
If you're wondering what the heck I mean by 'anti-self-care' and hoping it's something you can avoid, read on. Here are a lot of the self-care relief traps we can fall into as trauma survivors. Remember, this is anti-self-care behavior that can kick in when you don't have a strong self-care strategy in place for dealing with trauma. There is a better way to create new thinking, feeling, and relieving patterns in your psychology -- self-care.
Self-harm habits, like cutting, burning, ripping, tearing, pulling, stretching, pinching, piercing, slicing, jamming, jabbing, etc.
Using alcohol or drugs or medication, or even food, aka binge-eating, to 'check out.' This taking in 'way too much' of something in your body puts your body in an extreme response, altering your normal, sober state of awareness to give you a thrilling or pleasurable experience (Like feeling drunk, high, or 'restful/peaceful' from being so full of food you can barely move or breathe, therefore you can finally just chill.)
Getting involved with abusive people who treat you dangerously emotionally, mentally, or physically. The rollercoaster of emotions from the danger feels thrilling or draws you in, or makes you feel curious or 'alive' or 'seen' and 'wanted'. You like being forcibly touched or pushed or yelled at or insulted or hurt or bruised or broken because you 'feel' something in those moments, then you later tell yourself that's just 'how you like it' or 'how you love.'
Being a reckless daredevil and doing really risky things like driving really fast or jumping off really high things, or gambling, or going to dangerous places, doing dangerous things
Getting so angry that your extreme, explosive emotion 'dumps' all over your closest friends and family, even over little things that escalates and the rage actually starts to 'feel good' because the rush of adrenaline makes you feel alive or in control or powerful.
Compulsively or 'causally' using sex to spice up your life or pass the time or have fun. This could be hooking up randomly with people for the intensity of the experience or the thrill of it or the 'fearlessness' it makes you feel. You could literally somehow always end up taking a guy home or hooking up with someone, even if you didn't intend on it when you left your house because these situations just 'draw you in.' Or you could be addicted to pornography or inappropriate and risky sexual behavior like having sex in public places, or doing it with people who are 'off limits' somehow, or even worse, actually becoming an abuser yourself and harming others with your own sexual appetite or desires, all for control or 'letting go of control' of your own emotions.
If any of this behavior describes what you're facing, go back up and call one of those hotlines. The girls on those phones have been exactly where you are right now and know exactly what to say to you to make you feel loved and seen.
Don't let dissociation rob you of one more day, hour, or moment of your life.
Why is it so tempting to fall into anti-self-care?
Simple -- it creates a sense of being 'in control' and the physicality of the behavior puts you back into connection your body, even if it's a high-cost to your health.
Why is it so hard for survivors to break-up with self-harm?
The science of addiction to toxic behavior is the same for every human being -- neuropathways of pleasure/pain are being forged and reinforced by bonding hormones. BUT FOR THE SURVIVOR, especially those of us who told ourselves we were okay with what happened, or maybe we enjoyed the attention and affection that came with it, or maybe even our body 'liked it' even though our insides were hating every minute of it --- anti-self-care activates these forgotten channels of pleasure/pain and may even bring back a familiarity that makes you feel less alone after the abandonment you felt when the abuse ended.
That's why even though you know hurting yourself is bad, you may feel drawn back into the things on that list. I sure was!
But there is supernatural breakthrough available for your pain. Click here for a prayer I wrote to help you overcome self-harm. I was set-free from my trauma and all of my abusive patterns through my faith, and if I could heal this way, you can too.
It's never too late to start dealing with the original pain, of your trauma. You don't have to add more pain to your life to feel in control.
Your divine inheritance is to live trauma-free.
• Self-Care for Dissociation
• My Dance with Dissociation