posted on Aug, 5 2014 @ 09:14 PM
Terms to remember:
Trauma: A state of intense emotional pain, oftentimes triggered by the experience of shame and anxiety.
Dissociation: An unconscious process which separates the experience of trauma from ongoing self experience
Enactment: If trauma cannot be thought of and "mentalized", it will become enacted when the self system interacts with relevant contextual cues
Attractor State: Concepts or ideas, oftentimes grouped as a category, which possesses enough psychic energy to draw consciousness towards it.
Chaos theory is one of many frameworks that is taking over the sciences: from ecology, to biology, to physics, to computer science - it seems every
branch of human theoretical thought is being led to the same conception of reality: the system or network point of view.
Psychoanalysis was taken in this direction in the 50's with the work of Harry Stack Sullivan, and later on by interpersonal and relation
psychologists. This development has occurred instep with the development of cybernetics, chaos theory, systems theory, complexity theory, all of which
look at the particular in terms of the dynamic relationships between parts.
To explain: everything in human life and mind is embedded in a "interpersonal field" or "relational matrix" or "dyadic interlocking" which are
all different ways to express the fact that human thought is constantly being influenced by the relational dynamics inherent in communication. Not
saying anything says something. Saying something in THIS way helps determine a range of conceptual possibilities of response for the hearer. When
insight "comes" upon us, we seldom - if ever - recognize that it emerged from the interplay of back and forth dynamics - something which "he" said
which 'allowed" this perception, which led to this perception in him, and finally, this "perception" in me, which was consummated in the
"insight" or thoughts I had about this situation.
Trauma - and it can be little - has suprisingly powerful effects in organizing the "self system' of the mind.
A fictional illustration: Dad calls to his son to come to the kitchen. When he comes, his dad is drinking beer with a few of his buddies and he asks
his son to do that thing he likes: the impression of so-and-so. The son is feeling excited, but with a little bit of anxiety. He does the impression,
but he sees that his dad doesn't think its all that good. His face is saying "that sucked". And his lack of response is making him feel a strong
feeling of shame. His buddies are going "ah, hum, yeah..it was good", but it doesn't feel authentic. Can he tell, though? no, he cannot. Whether
they liked it or not is "displaced" by the shame he's experiencing but his dads obvious disapproval. Which draws him to "think" that even they
didn't like it. In the future, he will "dissociate" the experience of himself as taking a exciting risk in front of other people. When asked to do
an impression, he wont. He's been traumatized by his dads response - by the shame - by the self experience of himself as vulnerable and shamed in
front of other people.
This is what trauma is - and how it works in shaping the personality - and dissociation is the unconscious "splitting" event which pushes from
conscious awareness - as if the opposite of an attractor state - that experience which is too painful to be held in awareness.
One could well argue that this idea is consistent with evolution: adaptation. If a certain experience "threatens" the cohesiveness and stability -
or sanity - of consciousness, it is removed from conscious expression as a way to keep affect/emotion within tolerable limits.
But dissociated contents are not simply dormant. This is where enactment comes into play. Enactment is something EVERY one of us does. Just as trauma
and dissociation exists in every personality - a basic mechanism of human consciousness (and all mammalian consciousness, really) - enactment is the
unconscious means of discharging the energy of the trauma if it wont find expression in conscious awareness.
Enactment happens all that time. It's oftentimes called "projection". But projection implies that someone is "using" you as if you contributed
nothing to the projection itself. When people enact something, one person embodies the "not-me" or "bad-me" content being 'projected' from the
other persons mind. At the same time, the person who feels he's being "projected" upon - no doubt, the "bulk" or intensity of the projectors
enactment is greater than his own - still, he will feel "defensive" and in this defensiveness he is experiencing his own enactment, albeit, smaller
and less damaging than the other - but his response allows the projectors projection to fall into a feedback loop, what is called a "mutual
enactment", where each party is basically saying to the other - unconsciously - "no, YOU'RE wrong, not me".
We all know this very simple reality, but we probably haven't seen it analyzed in the manner that leading thinkers on the subject, such as Philip
Bromber, Peter Fonagy and Donnel Stern, have delineated it.
All mental illness - all problems within consciousness - big issues like borderline personality disorder, depression, bi-polar, and smaller issues
like obsessiveness, paranoia, neuroticism, or bitchiness, follow the dynamics of chaos theory, or non-linear dynamics.
So the question is, how do we extricate ourselves from the positive feedback loops - where our unconscious enactments of dissociated trauma cause us
to interact with people in ways that cause them to respond with their own enactment of a dissociated trauma? A vicious feedback loop that oftentimes
is revolved by either a break in the relationship, or some act of repression, suppression of the "negative" feeling so that you can build positive
This is where "attractor state" comes into the situation. First of all, you need to learn about whats happening within your mind - what are you
dissociating from? What do you have trouble experiencing - consciously recognizing as a part of "who you are"? These are the evidences of
dissociated and traumatic material. When you allow yourself to think about these things - to know their etiological origins in experiences - and to
accept that they merely represent possibilities that occurred in the absence of awareness, than you can allow yourself to cultivate "attractor
states" - or ways of perception that allow you to see situations that usually evoke a dissociation in a manner that allows you to "mentalize" or
think about the subject without dissociation.
This can be anything you do, since every thought represents a metabolic activity - and every thought which organizes feeling overtime can become a
powerful attractor state; so that the thing which usually caused you to get antsy - anxious - if you allow yourself to simply accept and experience
the dissociated material - to think of it and allow it to co-exist with another perception - you can really break down the pathological process and
regain a happy life, and with it, a deep sense of mastery over your perceptual experience.